HomeUnited StatesDepartment Press Briefing – September 6, 2022

Department Press Briefing – September 6, 2022

QUESTION: Good to see you up on the podium.
QUESTION: That the energy crisis that Russia and allies are basically blaming the sanctions as a reason why Europe is facing this crisis. Do you have a response to that?
QUESTION: The Nord Stream pipeline that Russia shut the gas supply off, does the department have an assessment and/or a comment as to why Russia is doing that?
QUESTION: Well, I mean, you’ve said some stuff in response to my questions a couple times. I don’t think you’ve answered them. Let’s move – let’s —
QUESTION: Thanks.
QUESTION: 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, shouldn’t it?
MR PATEL: Well, as you know, Alex, this is – it’s an EU-led process; it’s not a U.S.-led process. But I also want to use this opportunity to note that Ambassador Reeker, our senior advisor for Caucasus negotiations, will be traveling to the region this week in what will be his first trip in this new role. This is a first of what we expect to be regular travel to the region. He departs this evening and will be going to Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, and in all three countries he’ll 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.
MR PATEL: So —
QUESTION: (Off-mike.)
QUESTION: If calling Russia – if, let’s say, given the fact that Russia has been cooperating with North Korea and Iran purchasing weapons against Ukraine, if calling Russia what it is, which is a state sponsor of terrorism, then what other means do you have in mind to call for accountability?
QUESTION: Thanks. Just circling back briefly to the state sponsor of terrorism branding, I want to just be clear on that phrase “final decision.” Is the view of the administration that there are still red lines that Russia could cross that would merit the designation?
MR PATEL: So I have no travel to preview for Special Coordinator Hochstein, but we remain in close touch with both governments. 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.
QUESTION: But it won’t happen again. That’s the – that’s what accountability is, or is it something more?
MR PATEL: And then I’ll come to you, Janne. I promise. Go ahead.
MR PATEL: I don’t have anything on that from here. I don’t have anything on that from here.
MR PATEL: Well, as you know, that’s a process that is determined by the Secretary of State, and I don’t have any updates to offer on that right now.
And with that, Matt —
MR PATEL: Sorry, I couldn’t hear you. Say that —
QUESTION: How does that – but that doesn’t – reviewing their practices and policies does not mean accountability for this woman’s death, does it?
Leon. I’m sorry, I skipped you over when I was going through the first round. Apologies.
Anything else on Russia or Ukraine?
MR PATEL: Said, I’m not going to 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 risks, 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, continue to support press freedoms and the 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.
MR PATEL: I am not going to speak to the response for – 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.
MR PATEL: You and then I’ll come to you in the back. Go ahead.
MR PATEL: All right. Thanks, everybody.
QUESTION: Okay. So this is actually returning to the beginning about Liz Truss.
QUESTION: One more —
QUESTION: Okay. Well, what is then the other part or other parts of accountability and from your perspective?
MR PATEL: Said, 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 residence of potentially thousands of people 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 for these procedures and how they could impact Palestinian civil society, how it could impact tourism, impact family unity, investment, and other health care and academic institutions.
I’ll note that according to humanitarian experts and NGOs who 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 a position to defend itself.
QUESTION: Can I follow up on that, please?
QUESTION: And just one follow-up on that.
MR PATEL: Yeah, I’m not going to 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 release, and our governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal.
QUESTION: One, on this whole idea of holding Russia accountable for the invasion of Ukraine. So accountability – does it mean something different in the context of Russia invading Ukraine than it does for a U.S. partner and ally like Israel? Does it?
MR PATEL: Our thoughts remain with the Abu Akleh family as they grieve this tremendous loss. Not only, as you all know, Shireen was a U.S. 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 —
MR PATEL: Take us away.
MR PATEL: Specifically at the ZNPP or —
QUESTION: Thanks so much, Vedant. Congratulations on your debut, although you’re not a stranger to the room.
Anything else – going back to Russia-Ukraine before we close out? I know we’ve been jumping a little bit. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Just to follow up to that, so has he seen the Ethiopian officials yet?
MR PATEL: So I don’t have any updates to offer on his medical condition. But – give me one second – apologies. Again, so I don’t have anything to offer on his medical condition. Due to privacy concerns, I’m just not going to get into that. But as it relates to Iran, we are continuing to approach negotiations to secure the release of four wrongfully detained U.S. citizens with the utmost urgency, and we continue to urge Iran to do the same. Iran must allow Baquer and Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi, and Morad Tahbaz to return home to their loved ones.
QUESTION: — going back to that North Korea.
QUESTION: And one more on Amos Hochstein talks with Israel and Lebanon.
QUESTION: Thank you so much. Yesterday marked 200 days since detention of Brittney Griner. Last time, the U.S. embassy reached out to Russian officials? Do you have any information about that?
MR PATEL: All right, Michel.
QUESTION: Does State have a legal analysis —
MR PATEL: I was —
MR PATEL: What has been —
Our countries are deeply linked by our economic ties and the bonds between our people. The UK 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.
QUESTION: No problem, Vedant. Congrats.
QUESTION: Okay. But that’s not what accountability is, unless you guys have a different definition of it than the dictionary does. So what does accountability mean for this administration? An apology? We’re sorry. It happened maybe – it looks like it happened by accident.
Can we stay on Russia-Ukraine before we shift away?
QUESTION: I have a couple more question. Let me ask you about the new rules that Israel is imposing on those who visit the West Bank and Palestinians who are going to get married and so on, that they are demanding like a time, date on romance, if you will, and so on. Do you have any comment on that?
QUESTION: I have a couple more question. Let me ask you about the new rules that Israel is imposing on those who visit the West Bank and Palestinians who are going to get married and so on, that they are demanding like a time, date on romance, if you will, and so on. Do you have any comment on that?
QUESTION: I have a couple more question. Let me ask you about the new rules that Israel is imposing on those who visit the West Bank and Palestinians who are going to get married and so on, that they are demanding like a time, date on romance, if you will, and so on. Do you have any comment on that?
QUESTION: I have a couple more question. Let me ask you about the new rules that Israel is imposing on those who visit the West Bank and Palestinians who are going to get married and so on, that they are demanding like a time, date on romance, if you will, and so on. Do you have any comment on that?
QUESTION: I have a couple more question. Let me ask you about the new rules that Israel is imposing on those who visit the West Bank and Palestinians who are going to get married and so on, that they are demanding like a time, date on romance, if you will, and so on. Do you have any comment on that?
QUESTION: I have a couple more question. Let me ask you about the new rules that Israel is imposing on those who visit the West Bank and Palestinians who are going to get married and so on, that they are demanding like a time, date on romance, if you will, and so on. Do you have any comment on that?
QUESTION: I have a couple more question. Let me ask you about the new rules that Israel is imposing on those who visit the West Bank and Palestinians who are going to get married and so on, that they are demanding like a time, date on romance, if you will, and so on. Do you have any comment on that?
MR PATEL: So again, we’ve continued to underscore the importance of accountability in this case, and we’re continuing to press our Israeli partners on that.
MR PATEL: Sure.
Go ahead.
MR PATEL: Well, my understanding is that they are – they have reduced flow due to claims of maintenance and a 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.
QUESTION: — while she was still foreign secretary. Do you happen to know?
MR PATEL: Look —
MR PATEL: No, no, you’re okay. Just for you I will —
Yeah, go ahead.

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