HomeUnited StatesDepartment Press Briefing – July 26, 2022

Department Press Briefing – July 26, 2022

QUESTION: About what?
QUESTION: Didn’t you say that time is of the essence?
MR PRICE: Sure.
QUESTION: Almost a year.
QUESTION: I wonder if you have any update of – the last week’s developments with the Ukrainian prosecutor general being dismissed, and particularly from a U.S. point of view, does that change your position in terms of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group that was working closely with the prosecutor? Is that still – is that sort of still in action?
QUESTION: If I could ask you on the same topic – is the State Department reviewing to update the U.S. North Korea policy as South Korea is crafting its roadmap for their own North Korean policy that is known as the “audacious plan,” which is including the measures to implement economic cooperation with North Korea and provide security guarantees for the country?
QUESTION: Well, yeah, just – I mean, did he – does he have anything to say to them that is more than what was said, what has been said previously?
Matt.
MR PRICE: So the point is that when we reach the point where the JCPOA, the nonproliferation benefits it would convey have been eroded by the advancements in Iran’s nuclear program, that is the point at which we’ll pursue these alternatives, alternatives that we’ve been discussing for some time now.
QUESTION: I mean, in what world is December recent?
MR PRICE: Yes.
Of course, not going to detail exactly what it is that we are doing, but of course, there has to be and there is engagement with Russian authorities on both of these cases, just as we are discussing with relevant authorities around the world the cases of Americans who are wrongfully detained and who have been separated from their families for far too long.
MR PRICE: Good afternoon.
QUESTION: Right.
QUESTION: The space program.
MR PRICE: Matt, you – as we’ve said before, the point at which we will pursue alternatives is the point at which it’s no longer in our interest to pursue a mutual return to compliance.
As the Secretary’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley has affirmed, we don’t limit our recognition of disability pride or commitment to disability inclusion to one day or to one month – we strive to recognize these important issues every single day.
MR PRICE: When this administration first came into office, we spent several months conducting our own policy review, taking a look at what the prior administration had done vis-à-vis the DPRK, what previous administrations had done vis-à-vis the DPRK, what had worked but, unfortunately, more of what has not worked over the course of decades when it comes to the DPRK and specifically its WMD program.
QUESTION: Can I just follow up on that again?
QUESTION: And it’s been – the runway has been shortening; the window has been closing since the beginning of this year.
2:06 p.m. EDT
QUESTION: Which means it’s indefinite. That’s the very definition of “indefinite.” Is it not?
MR PRICE: Sure.
Shaun.
QUESTION: Couple of questions. First, on Iraq, Iraqi foreign minister has said that Iraq will ask the Security Council to vote on a resolution that pushes the Turkish forces out of Iraq. Will the U.S. support Iraq in this demand?
MR PRICE: I would need to refer you to our Israeli partners to speak to any engagements that they have had with Russia regarding this. That’s not something we would weigh in on.
QUESTION: And on the corruption piece, obviously the U.S. has pledged a lot of money, a lot of – as well as the weapons and arms that are going there. There’s a lot of humanitarian support. Have you gotten any – have you got any evidence that – since you say Ukraine has work to do, like, that some of that money may be being lost to corruption? Or is there – do you have a way of knowing whether it has been?
QUESTION: Is there a timeframe within which both sides have to answer?
MR PRICE: And that’s why we’re urging for his swift appointment.
MR PRICE: We’ve supported those principles, including the principles that were articulated in the UN Security Council statement that was – that was released today.
When it comes to the prosecutor general, we continue to monitor the situation closely. We join the people of Ukraine in emphasizing the importance of transparently appointing a highly qualified and truly independent successor as prosecutor general. The independence and impartiality of the prosecutor general is vital to ensuring the integrity of accountability efforts in Ukraine. The judicial system must be fair, impartial, independent to ensure that both victims and the accused receive justice. And the recent final selection of the specialized anti-corruption prosecutor was an encouraging sign, and we look forward to a swift appointment. And we hope that this momentum continues with, again, the selection of an independent prosecutor general who meets high standards of professional ethics as well as personal integrity. And our assistance and advisories program – excuse me, our assistance and advisory programs support these strategic reform initiatives.
QUESTION: Okay. Well, does that mean that once the meeting is over, you can update us on your engagements with the – in particular with the Israelis, but also with the Palestinians?
QUESTION: So you said we continue discussion. The question was about no-fly zone. Are you discussing no-fly zone with anybody in the region?
MR PRICE: Well, we have said an awful lot on this case, and as you know —
QUESTION: But do you – will you support Iraq in the UN Security Council in cases —
MR PRICE: It – time is an important consideration in this.
MR PRICE: I will leave that to the Russians to speak to their motivations. Here I will just note that the United States and Russia, we have cooperated on space exploration for years now, over the course of decades. We obviously – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has obviously changed our relationship fundamentally, but there are still aspects of our relationship, including our joint pursuits in science, joint pursuits in safety, people-to-people ties, that we would like to see preserved, and the Russians are sending a contrary signal here.
We’ve continued to urge Russian authorities to allow this, and we also continue to press for fair and transparent treatment for all U.S. citizens detained in Russia.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) can I ask your comment on upcoming Erdoğan-Putin meeting in Sochi, both in terms of PR element of it, also but just the fact that Putin is being allowed to meet with a world leader, let alone a NATO member, another time?
MR PRICE: Well, part of this meeting is, yes, the Secretary – providing the Secretary an opportunity to convey messages to them. It will be a message of condolence. There will be a message of the priority we attach to accountability going forward. But this is also equally an opportunity for the Secretary to hear from the family, to hear their important perspective, to have a dialogue back and forth, something we have sought to have.
Special Advisor on International Disability Rights Sara Minkara is at the forefront of our efforts to protect the rights of persons, and she travels around the world to disrupt the narrative of disability from a charity-based model to one that is value-based.
MR PRICE: Well, we note the outcome that has been reported by the Independent High Authority for Elections, or ISIE, and civil society election observers. The referendum has been marked by low turnout. That is something that we do note. A broad range of Tunisia’s civil society, media, and political parties have expressed deep concerns regarding the referendum. And in particular, we note the widespread concerns among many Tunisians regarding the lack of an inclusive and transparent process and limited scope for genuine public debate during the drafting of the new constitution. We also note concerns that the new constitution includes weakened checks and balances that could compromise the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. With legislative elections scheduled for the end of the year, we continue to stress the importance of respect for the separation of powers and an inclusive and transparent electoral law that enables wide participation in those elections.
QUESTION: Yes, a —
QUESTION: Yes, a —
QUESTION: Yes, a —
QUESTION: Yes, a —
QUESTION: I mean, look, we’ve been having the same conversation pretty much every day for the last eight months, nine months, even maybe ten months.
QUESTION: I mean, look, we’ve been having the same conversation pretty much every day for the last eight months, nine months, even maybe ten months.
QUESTION: I mean, look, we’ve been having the same conversation pretty much every day for the last eight months, nine months, even maybe ten months.
MR PRICE: — is that our Ukrainian partners, even in the midst of Russia’s brutal aggression, can’t let their eye off the ball when it comes to corruption.
MR PRICE: I would need to refer you to the Department of Defense. We are – for the part of the State Department, we are having diplomatic engagements with our allies and partners; of course, with our Turkish allies in this case.
MR PRICE: I don’t have any travel to speak to, but he has engaged – remained engaged with the parties since his last travel to the region.
MR PRICE: We have. We’ve been working with partners and allies on this for some time now.
QUESTION: Ned, one last one on this. Is this development the reason the hearing tomorrow at House Foreign Affairs Committee has been canceled or postponed?
QUESTION: And just one more question on Mark Fogel, an American who was sentenced to 14 years in prison in June for the crime of carrying cannabis into the country. Does the State Department view that sentence as appropriate for the crime that he committed?
MR PRICE: This is the first time in person, and obviously —
QUESTION: Russia announcing that it will no longer participate after 2024 in the International Space Station. How does the United States feel about this? Does it have the confirmation that this is the case? How will it affect the space (inaudible)?
QUESTION: That’s it?
It hasn’t just been Foreign Minister Lavrov. It wasn’t all that long ago, as Secretary Blinken has pointed out on a couple of occasions now, that President Putin spoke – compared himself to Peter the Great, noted that when Peter went to war with Sweden, he was simply looking to take back what Peter thought belonged to Russia. President Putin went on to note that Russia is again looking to take back what is theirs. So repeatedly senior Russian officials have put to the lie just about everything that we heard from them prior to the invasion. They have made clear in doing so this is not a defensive operation.

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