US State Dept Presser

US stresses security relationship with Pak, refrains from confirming possible revival of ‘security cooperation’: Ned Price on Feb 15, 2023

20 Min
<strong>US stresses security relationship with Pak, refrains from confirming possible revival of ‘security cooperation’: Ned Price on Feb 15, 2023</strong>

Speaking at his press briefing on Feb 15, 2023, the US State Department Spokesperson, Ned Price stressed Washington- Islamabad security relationship but refrained from confirming possible revival of ‘security cooperation’.  He hailed Air India’s order for some 400 planes as an opportunity to deepen a profoundly intertwined relationship between the US and India.

Excerpts (South Asia related questions are tweaked to appear upfront)

MR PRICE: I just have one announcement at the top, and then we’ll turn to your questions.We are deeply concerned by the reported arrests of multiple political figures, business leaders, and journalists in Tunisia in recent days.

We respect the aspirations of the Tunisian people for an independent and transparent judiciary that is able to protect fundamental freedoms for all. We are engaged with the Tunisian Government at all levels in support of human rights and the freedom of expression.

It is a core U.S. principle that people around the world should be able to express themselves without fear or reprisal. All governments have a responsibility to uphold this basic tenet.

With that,  

QUESTION:  Jahanzaib Ali from ARY News. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan once again took a big U-turn from his statements/allegations. In his recent interview with Voice of America, he said United States was not involved in any conspiracy to oust him from the PM office. It was actually former military chief General Bajwa. So how much relief it is for Biden admin that a man who started the blame game ended it by himself?

MR PRICE: I’m just not going to comment on the evolution of the blame game, as you say. Our – we have spoken clearly about this ever since these erroneous allegations surfaced. We’ve consistently said there is no truth to these allegations. We value our longstanding cooperation with Pakistan. We’ve always viewed a prosperous and democratic Pakistan as critical to our interests. That very much remains unchanged. Whether it has come to an end or not, we don’t let propaganda, misinformation, disinformation get in the way of any bilateral relationship. And that of course includes our valued bilateral relationship with Pakistan. When it comes to various political players inside of Pakistan, we don’t have a position on one political candidate or party versus another. We support, as we do around the world, the peaceful upholding of democratic, constitutional, and legal principles.

QUESTION: Sir, a defence delegation from Pakistan is in – is here in D.C. for military-to-military talks. I just heard that the security cooperation with Pakistan, which was suspended by the Trump administration, is going to be revived soon. Any update or information on that?

MR PRICE: Nothing I’m in a position to share publicly beyond the fact that Pakistan is a valued partner of the United States. It’s valued across many realms. Of course, we have a security relationship that is important to us knowing that many of the threats Pakistan faces could well in turn be threats to us. And so, we value the work we do together, but I’m just not in a position to offer anything beyond that.

QUESTION: Sir, one last question, please. (Inaudible) BBC documentary. After banning the BBC documentary in India, the Indian Government is now raiding the offices of BBC in New Delhi and Mumbai. Sir, your thoughts? Any concern? Because all of the journalist organization, including National Press Club here in D.C., termed it an assault on the media freedom.

MR PRICE: I spoke to this yesterday, and what I said is that we’re aware of the search of the BBC offices in Delhi by Indian tax authorities. I’m going to have to refer you to the Government of India for any further information about this. The broader point, without speaking specifically to this search, is that we support the importance of free press around the world. We continue to highlight the importance of freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief as human rights that contribute to the strengthening of democracy here in this country, in India, and in our fellow democracies around the world.

QUESTION: Thank you, Ned. Two questions, please, India and China. As far as India is concerned, now there’s an airshow going on in India, largest Asia – largest airshow in Asia, and the U.S. is also among the almost 100 countries, and Air India have now ordered civilian planes – almost 470 of them – and that will create millions of jobs in the U.S. My question is if diplomatically this building is playing any role as far as this airshow is going on?

MR PRICE: I couldn’t speak to this particular airshow, but you did point to the deal that was announced yesterday, including by President Biden. It is something that we’ve heralded. It is an opportunity not only for the American economy and for workers here in this country, but it’s an opportunity for the Indian people as well. It’s an opportunity to deepen what is already a profoundly intertwined relationship based on shared interests, based on shared values, based on our deep economic ties. And with the announcements between Boeing and Air India yesterday, those ties are all the deeper.

The United States is engaged around the world – not just in India but around the world – in what we refer to as commercial diplomacy, seeking to find concrete, tangible, practical ways to deepen our economic ties with countries around the world in a way that benefits the American people back here at home. And I think the agreement that was announced yesterday between Boeing and Air India is a vivid example of that – the number of jobs it creates here, the number of opportunities it creates in India, and the possibility it provides to deepen that partnership even further.

QUESTION: Armenia’s foreign minister visited Türkiye in the wake of the earthquake, and Armenia’s help. What is your reaction on its implications particularly for the peace efforts in the region? Overall, how do you view that trip?

MR PRICE: Well, I will leave it to those two governments to speak to their engagement. Our message to both Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the parties themselves, but also to the entire region is the need to find a way to de-escalate tensions to put this back on a path towards a comprehensive and lasting peace. We have been engaged in that effort; we’ve been engaged in that effort bilaterally, we’ve been engaged in that effort multilaterally, and we’ll continue to do everything we can as the United States directly with the parties, through multilateral institutions and groupings, to advance that cause. It is our hope that other countries will send precisely the same message, but I’m not in a position to speak to the messages that other countries are sending.


QUESTION: It’s a – Armenia, Türkiye – like, how do you view the role of earthquake diplomacy, quote/unquote, in terms of those two countries didn’t have a relationship before? So do you find it – do you welcome that? Or what do you —

MR PRICE: Well, we certainly welcome countries around the world stepping up and showing up for the people of Türkiye, for the people of Syria who have been devastated by these massive earthquakes that struck on February 6th. A number of countries have demonstrated a generosity of spirit that will be necessary if we are going to be able to address the full consequences and implications of these massive earthquakes. The United States has attempted to lead by example. So far, we have already contributed or announced $85 million in support from the U.S. Government to the response in Türkiye and in Syria. The Secretary, as Matt just alluded to, will have an opportunity to travel to Türkiye in the coming days, he’ll have an opportunity while there to witness some of what the U.S. Government is doing, and I think he’ll also be in a position to speak to what more the United States will be prepared to do for our Turkish allies and for the people of Syria in the days to come.

QUESTION: So how much of the $85 million went to Syria? I mean, you said the 85 million to Türkiye and Syria. Do you have any more specifics?

MR PRICE: Said, this is a response that is still in motion. And in some ways, it’s difficult to disaggregate what goes to Türkiye and what goes to Syria because much of our operation is based in Türkiye. When we have talked about the massive amounts of equipment and supplies, the 200 members of the search and rescue teams, 170,000 pounds of specialized equipment, the other capacities that we have put in place in Türkiye in the first instance, oftentimes that is to facilitate cross-border humanitarian support for the people of Syria. So I’m not sure we can break it down precisely when it comes to the 85 million. And I will also say that that was our initial contribution,  

QUESTION: And lastly, today the Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, a close friend of the United States, was in Syria and met with President Bashar al-Assad. Do you have any comment on that? Did Jordan coordinate with you? Did they let you in on what transpired and so forth?

MR PRICE: I don’t have a comment on that. I would of course refer to our Jordanian partners to speak to that. The fact is our focus right now is on the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people. We are encouraging all parties to set aside divides so that we can focus on getting humanitarian support to the people of Syria who need it most.

As we’re focused on the humanitarian imperative, we’re also mindful of the history here. There is not a single entity that has done more to devastate the Syrian people than the Syrian regime. So as we weigh the humanitarian imperatives ahead of us, we’re very mindful of the humanitarian predicament the Syrian people are in. We are also mindful of precisely why they are in such dire humanitarian straits.

QUESTION: Thank you, thank you. I have two questions. Thank you, Ned. The United States congressional foreign committee pointed out that China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea as threatening countries to United States, and said that they should be reserved a priority. The former President Bush called North Korea as the axis of evil. However, President Biden did not mention North Korea’s threatening behavior in his State of the Union address this year. Does the Biden administration regard the North Korean issue as less important than Ukraine, China, and Taiwan issues?

MR PRICE: Janne, all of these issues are important. We don’t have the luxury of being able to prioritize. But in some ways, all of these same issues are made of the same cloth. All of these challenges that we face, very different challenges that we face from the PRC, from Iran, from Russia, from the DPRK, in some ways this all boils down to the rules-based order and the role the United States and our partners and allies and the rest of the world has played over the course of some 70 or 80 years now to build a rules-based order, a rules-based order that is codified not in anything the United States wrote or anything that our partners alone wrote, but that’s codified in the UN Charter, that’s codified in international law, that is codified in elements that all of the countries you just cited have signed on to.

So whether it’s Russia’s unprovoked, brutal aggression against Ukraine, whether it is the PRC’s attempts to change or undermine the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, whether it is Iran’s provision of support to malign actors that in turn destabilize the Middle East, or whether it’s the DPRK’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs – all of these in different ways pose a challenge to the rules-based order. Everywhere and anywhere it comes under assault, the United States and countries around the world are standing up for that rules-based order. It’s what we’re doing in Ukraine. It’s what we’re doing in the context of the DPRK too.

QUESTION: Yeah, one more. Regarding the discharge of radioactively contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, South Korea and the international community are very concerned about Japan’s decision to release contaminated water into the sea and arising issues. What is the United States position on this?

MR PRICE: We strongly support the nuclear safety and security standards championed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, or the IAEA, and we welcome Japan’s continued openness and close coordination with the international community as Japan prepares to disperse the treated water in a manner that appears to be in line with the internationally accepted nuclear safety standards. We are aware that the Government of Japan examined several options related to the management of the treated water currently being stored on site at the Fukushima – Fukushima installation. In this unique and challenging setting, Japan has weighed the options and effects; it has been transparent about its decision-making in doing so; and it appears to have adopted an approach in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety and security standards. We look forward to the Government of Japan’s continued coordination with the IAEA as it monitors the effectiveness of this approach.

 QUESTION: Ned, I will follow up on your answer to Said. When he asked about the Jordanian foreign minister visit to Damascus, you said we called on everyone to set aside divides. Who you are calling here, can you please explain and clarify what’s the U.S. position on these visits? They are visiting Damascus also; they are saying they are focusing on humanitarian side as well. So, do you support that? Do you support the engagement with Assad regime under the humanitarian aspect?

MR PRICE: Here’s what we support: We support countries around the world doing all that they possibly can to get as much humanitarian assistance into Syria as quickly as we collectively can. Here is what we don’t support: We don’t support normalization of relations with the Assad regime. This goes back to the second part of my answer I gave to Said. We are urgently mindful of the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people right now in the wake of the earthquake. We are also mindful of the history, and we are mindful of precisely why the Syrian people are in such a perilous predicament that the earthquake has compounded in just devastating ways. And that’s the responsibility primarily of Bashar al-Assad and his regime.

So we – every time this issue comes up, we continue to convey to our partners around the world that now is not the time for normalization of relations. The only context in which we would encourage normalization or improvement of relations would be were the Assad regime to fulfill the political guidelines, the political roadmap that has been spelled out in UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Until and unless that happens, our approach to the Assad regime itself will remain the same, but I would stress: We want to see humanitarian assistance get to all parts of Syria where it’s needed. It does not matter to us whether it is regime-held areas, whether it’s opposition-held areas. What matters most to us is that humanitarian assistance is getting to those who need it as quickly as that can be managed.

QUESTION: Are you ready to engage with Assad for humanitarian purposes?

MR PRICE: We are ready to engage with partners around the world for humanitarian purposes. We believe we can do that most effectively given the approach that – using the approach that we’ve adopted over the past dozen or so years. Our assistance is continuing to flow, not through the regime but to the independent humanitarian organizations that have been present on the ground for much of the past 12 years, the humanitarian organizations that were able to respond so swiftly to the earthquake precisely because we had been funding them to the tune of billions upon billions of dollars over the course of the past 12 years.

We are not changing our approach to the Assad regime. The humanitarian situation on the ground is our overriding focus on the moment. It is the humanitarian situation that has been made all the more dire and urgent by the earthquake, but it is a humanitarian situation that didn’t emerge on February 6th. It’s a humanitarian situation that in large part has its roots in the Assad regime’s treatment of its own people.

QUESTION: As you well know, there is five crossing point on the border in Türkiye and Syria, I think, plus Bab al-Hawa. There is a conflicting report about whether all of them are open now or some of them. Did you ask Türkiye or work it out with Türkiye to open all those crossing point?

MR PRICE: So you’re referring to the cross-border transit points that we’ve talked about over the past couple days. The UN has been engaged on this. Martin Griffiths has engaged directly with relevant stakeholders, including relevant stakeholders inside of Syria. As a result of that UN engagement, two additional border checkpoints have been opened in recent days. It’s our understanding that additional convoys of trucks have been able to use at least one of those border checkpoints over the past couple days.

Our focus remains, as I said before, on the need to keep aid flowing into Syria at the – as quickly and as in – with as much aid as we can muster. That’s what matters most to us. It’s – the overriding imperative is to provide assistance to the Syrian people. We also want to ensure that as these border checkpoints are now on the table, that they cannot be turned off on a whim. And we believe that a Security Council resolution codifying the opening of additional border checkpoints in a Security Council resolution would do just that.

In the meantime, we’re going to continue to monitor the flow of this aid to see to it that the parties are living up to their commitments and will continue to consult very closely with our partners on that.

QUESTION: Thanks, Ned. Can you confirm reports that the U.S. had been tracking the Chinese spy balloon ever since it took off from the Chinese south coast?

MR PRICE: I’m not in a position to speak to that. That is a question for my colleagues at the Pentagon

QUESTION: Any reactions to China threatening today that it will take actions against U.S. entities following the latest U.S. sanctions against China following the balloon incident?

MR PRICE: My only point on that would be that the United States is always going to take responsible, prudent, and appropriate actions to protect our people, to protect our interests. That is precisely what this government did in response to the PRC violating our sovereignty, violating international law by sending a high-altitude surveillance balloon deep into the heartland of the United States. This is not the type of program that the United States is conducting over China. The PRC’s attempts to accuse us doing the same, it is just more misinformation, disinformation. It is just not true.

QUESTION: Oh, thank you. The UN yesterday reported that al-Qaida has a new leader, Saif al Adel, and he might be in Iran at the moment. In the past he had been in Iran and released once from an Iranian prison. And also the UN reported that another key member of al-Qaida network, Abu (inaudible) al-Masri, is probably in Afghanistan and he is active again. I would like to ask you on that: Any concern for the United States, since we have an interior minister for the Taliban in Afghanistan who has a 10 million bounty off of FBI on his head right now?

MR PRICE: A couple points. First, on Saif al Adel, our assessment aligns with that of the UN, the assessment that you referenced that Saif al Adel is based in Iran. When it comes to his presence there, offering safe haven to al-Qaida is just another example of Iran’s wide-ranging support for terrorism, its destabilizing activities in the Middle East and beyond.

When it comes to other al-Qaida members, including those who are in Afghanistan, our message is twofold. One, to the Taliban, the Taliban has a commitment. It has made private commitments, it has made public commitments to uphold that it not allow Afghanistan’s territory to be used as a safe haven for those who would plot against the United States. Our second point is that we are prepared, willing, and able to take action ourselves if the Taliban is unable or unwilling to fulfill the commitments that it has made. I think you saw that perhaps most vividly late last year when the United States took out the then-leader of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was being provided safe haven in Kabul. We – if we – the President has said we are not going to allow threats to emerge that pose a challenge to the United States, to our partners, to our allies. We’re going to act decisively to disrupt such threats.

QUESTION: One follow-up on that. Sorry. If Saif al Adel is in Iran, what is next for the United States?

MR PRICE: Again, I’m not in a position to go beyond what I’ve said. We have taken action against Iran for its support to terrorist groups, to other malign actors throughout the region. But this would just be another indication of Iran’s provision of support to international terrorist groups, its wide-ranging actions that only serve to destabilize the region. We are and we have been focused on working with our allies and our partners since the very start of this administration to reverse the dynamic that we previously had where the United States was on one side of the table, and it wasn’t Iran on the other side of the table, it was our closest allies and partners, including our European allies on the other side of the table. By engaging in concerted diplomacy, by coordinating closely with our closest allies and partners, we are more effectively able to take on all of the challenges that Iran poses to our interests, to the stability of the region, and to the interests of countries well beyond. We’re going to continue to focused on – focus on the full range of challenges, including its support to terrorist groups.

Yeah, go ahead.

QUESTION: My question is about NBC’s report on indirect talks between Iran and U.S. on a possible prisoner exchange with UK and Qatar as mediators. First, do you confirm this report? And if yes, how much progress has been made so far?

MR PRICE: I’m not in a position to confirm every detail in the report, but at the core of the report as I read it is an indication that we are committed to doing everything that we can to secure the freedom of the U.S. citizens who continue to be wrongfully detained in Iran, to bring home Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi, and Morad Tahbaz just as soon as we can. I’m of course not able to get into the details of what it is that may be underway. As you can image, such discussions with allies and partners around the world are sensitive. But what is not sensitive and what I repeat just about every time the question is posed, including earlier today, is that we’ve been unambiguous with the Iranian regime about the priority we attach to seeing the safe and prompt returns of the three Americans that are currently wrongfully held in Iran.

QUESTION: And also about the possible release of Iranian frozen fund – the billions of dollars in South Korea. Can you explain the technicalities and what sort of assurance can you give to the Iranian people that that money is not going to end up in IRGC’s hand?

MR PRICE: That’s just one of the details of the report I’m not in a position to confirm or to speak to. We engage regularly with our partners around the world to thank them for upholding the sanctions regime that is in place and that will be in place until and unless Iran addresses the challenge that its nuclear program poses to the United States, poses to our allies and partners, and poses to the broader region.

QUESTION: And if this happens, is it going to pave the way to the starting of talks or revival of JCPOA – if it happens?

MR PRICE: Without commenting specifically on this, I will just make a broader point. We have demonstrated in other contexts that even when relations are at a low, we are able to pursue our interests and to pursue them effectively. In the midst of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine, despite everything that we were doing to support and are doing to support our Ukrainian partners and everything we imposed on Russia as a result of its brutal aggression, we’ve been able to bring home Trevor Reed; we’ve been able to bring home Brittney Griner. Now, that is not dispositive. It doesn’t say anything about what may or may not happen with Iran. But bringing Americans home will always be profoundly in our interest. And even when relations are at a low or maybe close to that point, we’re determined to do everything we can to secure the safety and the well-being of our citizens.

Yeah, go ahead.

QUESTION: And as for China, a different question a different way. Can you say that China is spying on the United States in a different way, is collecting military or cultural or maybe nuclear or other types of espionage against the United States and hurting the national security of the U.S.? But also, if you can say what is different between these balloons and also TikTok, which we have been hearing about TikTok also related to the Chinese military directly.


QUESTION: Collecting information from the U.S., sir.

MR PRICE: Sure. And you can understand I am not going to offer too much here. But what I will say is that we are acutely aware of the challenges that the PRC poses to the United States, and those challenges come in many different forms – the threat of espionage or the misuse of private or confidential information on the part of private American citizens, American companies, the U.S. Government. Of course that is something we are acutely aware of when it comes to the PRC, and we’re determined to do all we can to counter it.

It is part and parcel of the broader set of challenges that the PRC poses to our interests, to our values, and it’s also why we believe in the importance of maintaining open lines of communication. We are highly attuned to these challenges. We are also highly attuned to the need to do everything we can to see to it that the competition and the potentially conflictual elements between our two countries don’t actually veer into conflict, to see to it that there are guardrails on this relationship. It is what we hope to establish. It is what we seek to do as a responsible country. It is also what the rest of the world expects our two countries to do.

QUESTION: Despite all this, where is the relations between the U.S. and China today?

MR PRICE: The relationship today is where it has been for some time. It is the most complex and consequential relationship we have on the face of the Earth. The same could be true for any number of countries around the world in their own bilateral relationship with China. We are clear-eyed to these areas of competition, and it is competition that we think dominates this bilateral relationship. We’re clear-eyed about the profound challenges and even potentially conflictual elements that divide us as two countries. We’re determined to establish guardrails and to see to it that competition doesn’t veer into conflict, but we’re also aware that there are areas where it would be profoundly in our interest to cooperate and to coordinate with the PRC and perhaps even to deepen that cooperation with the PRC.

It’s also, by the way, what countries around the world expect us to do. They recognize, as we recognize, that as two leading powers in the world, there are challenges that the world simply could not address unless the United States and China were able to find some way to cooperate together. Climate is a prime example of that. It is why we not only want to keep the lines of communication open, but we want to manage this relationship in a way that is responsible for our interests and a way that is prudent for countries around the rest of the world as well.

QUESTION: Thank you. I want to follow up on the Chinese balloon issue. Do you think it’s possible that Chinese balloon flew off course and China didn’t intend to penetrate the U.S. continental and – with the surveillance balloon? So does the U.S. assess this possibility?

MR PRICE: In some ways, it doesn’t matter. And I’m not going to opine on what the PRC may or may not have intended, but in key ways it doesn’t matter. It’s completely immaterial. It’s immaterial because this was a high-altitude surveillance balloon that did violate our airspace; it did violate international law. And that’s why the President did order the action that was undertaken a number of days ago now to disrupt any potential threat that this high-altitude surveillance balloon posed.

QUESTION: A couple of questions on Russia. Thank you. Yesterday you said that the U.S. will pursue accountability for Russia’s war crime in Ukraine. Does the U.S. stand ready to do the same with respect to the war crimes committed by the Ukrainian armed forces against Russian prisoners of war? Last week we all saw this video of execution of Russian prisoners of war. And my second question is about the UN. Russia requested a UN Security Council meeting on February 22nd to discuss the blast of the Nord Stream pipelines. Does the U.S. consider that the UN should play a more active role in the investigation? And are you ready for this meeting?

MR PRICE: To the first part of your question, there has been extensive documentation of the war crimes committed in Ukraine, and every single objective study shows overwhelmingly that Russia’s officials, that Russian service members, are responsible for the overwhelming number of war crimes and potential war crimes that have been committed in Ukraine. We are dedicated to pursuing accountability for war crimes, and I’ll be clear that a war crime is a war crime. It doesn’t matter who commits it. To the extent that there are allegations that Russian forces or Russian individuals have been subjected to war crimes, we would call for an investigation. And I’m aware that our Ukrainian partners have spoken to their own investigations into such allegations.

But there’s no denying the massive scale of criminality, of war crimes, that Russia’s forces have committed on sovereign Ukrainian soil, and we are prepared – and in fact we are – supporting every potential venue to hold accountable those who are directly responsible for committing those war crimes on Ukrainian soil and those who may have given those orders as well.

When it comes to the UN Security Council, I’m not in a position to speak to any forthcoming session of the Security Council. But I will repeat what we’ve said before, what we have heard from Moscow, what we’ve heard from the Kremlin, is nothing but a lie. It is pure disinformation that the United States was behind what transpired with Nord Stream 2 – the Nord Stream blasts. This is the message that we have conveyed consistently in the face of these lies that have been parroted by Russian officials, and we’ll convey them again if we need to in any forum.

QUESTION: Do you think that UN should play any role in the investigation?

MR PRICE: These blasts did not occur on U.S. soil. I would leave it to our partners on whose territory, on whose soil, as it were, these blasts occurred to speak to the appropriate investigative mechanisms.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: I want to follow up on the question about Said al Adel, al-Qaida leader in Iran. Are you ready to go after him on Iranian soil? You went after every al-Qaida leader, and you announced the operation after that. Are you ready to do that on Iranian soil?

MR PRICE: We have a commitment that we are prepared to act, and to act decisively, if our people, if our interests come under threat from terrorist groups. We’ve demonstrated that before in any number of cases, but I’m just not in a position to preview or to speak to the specifics of that.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: The U.S. chargé d’affaires for Afghanistan tweeted this morning quote, “Are Afghans familiar with #blackgirlmagic and the movement inspired? Do Afghan girls need a similar movement? What about Afghan women? Teach me, ready to learn.”

Is it appropriate for a U.S. diplomat to ask women and girls who are being systemically denied an education to teach her about a hashtag?

MR PRICE: I became aware of those tweets just before I came down here. Those were tweets that were, as I understand it, drafted by the chargé herself. Those were not tweets that were cleared with the Department of State here in Washington. I will say that there’s[2] sentiments in her tweet thread that one can appreciate. I think the messaging in this context is rather inappropriate and ineffective, and it is not messaging that we would issue from here.


(The briefing was concluded at 3:20 p.m.)

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