HomeUnited StatesDepartment Press Briefing – September 7, 2022

Department Press Briefing – September 7, 2022

MR PATEL: Alex. Still on Russia-Ukraine?
“Filtration” is a dehumanizing word describing a massive campaign that the Kremlin has launched to imprison, forcibly deport, or disappear those Ukrainian citizens Moscow decides could be a potential threat to their control over Ukraine. The tactics Russia has used to collect information are invasive, and victims of filtration are given no choice but to submit or face dire consequences. Russia has systematically used the practice of forced deportations previously, and the fear and misery it evokes for people forced to live under the Kremlin’s control are hard to overstate.
QUESTION: Does Israel have veto power over the deal, whether it goes or does not go? Because that is in – that’s really the essence of the story. Do they have a veto power over whether this deal, or returning to the deal, see the day of light or it doesn’t?
All right, thanks, everybody.
MR PATEL: Sure.
MR PATEL: Sure, Said. I think we’ve been very clear from the onset that any kind of military or violent activity near a nuclear power plant is unsafe. But I would reiterate again that Russia is the country that is illegally infringing on Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty by being present at the ZNPP.
Anything else on JCPOA? Go ahead.
QUESTION: Thank you, Vedant. Staying on Putin, he made a number of statements today. Broadly speaking, do you see his statements as part of his war strategy – particularly when he was talking about lift the sanctions or else, that language. Do you see he is – do you think – based on your assessment, is he blackmailing the West?
The Ethiopian people have suffered tremendously from this conflict. As the largest donor, the U.S. is committed to continuing to provide its life-saving humanitarian assistance to those in need affected by the resumption of conflict. It is important to note that we remain concerned by the negative impact of conflict and drought in other regions of Ethiopia.
MR PATEL: Yeah.
Janne, you had a question?
MR PATEL: You’re saying the UK —
But, I will also note that President Biden and this administration are not going to re-enter a deal that is not in the national security interest of the United States. But also, it’s important to note that this is an extraordinarily complex set of issues. We’re continuing to study the response, work closely with our allies and partners, including our E3 partners. It is, as I said, unfortunate that Iran’s step took us backwards, but we’re continuing to work through this process.
MR PATEL: What’s important to note, to any country and to anybody talking about this, is that the U.S. did not offer or provide any sanctions relief in exchange for participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. And we have been clear from the very beginning that we have exemptions for food, for fertilizer; and our sanctions have never targeted humanitarian assistance. We want to see food and fertilizer reach global markets. We think this has been a very important development that has allowed grain to get to people in countries who need it most, and now it’s up to Russia to live up to its commitment of this initiative.
QUESTION: (Off-mike.)
Special Envoy Hammer delivered the same message to the TPLF chairman, and we have condemned the TPLF offensive outside of Tigray, the Ethiopian Government’s airstrikes and ground offensive, and Eritrea’s re-entry into the conflict.
On your question about President Biden’s call with the Israeli prime minister, I’d refer you to the White House’s readout of that call. In general, we don’t get into specifics beyond that. But as we have said, part of this diplomatic process is regular engagement with our allies and partners, including our allies in Israel. And as we’ve said before – late last week – Iran’s response did not put us in a position to close the deal. We continue to work through that process. We are reviewing Iran’s response, and we hope to have an update soon. But this is something that we’re going to continue to pursue because we continue to believe and affirm that a mutual return to compliance of the JCPOA continues to be not only in the national security interest of this country; it’s an important step to contain Iran’s nuclear program; it is an important step for regional stability as well.
MR PATEL: Yeah.
QUESTION: And lastly, any comment or concern on upcoming China-Russia leaders meeting in Uzbekistan next week? Thank you.
So, I want to bring Russia’s so-called “filtration” operations back to your attention ahead of the UN Security Council meeting this afternoon where Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield will deliver remarks on behalf of the United States.
We call on the global community to join us in condemning this practice and calling for humanitarian access to be granted.
QUESTION: (Off-mike.)
QUESTION: And then in Erbil she also discussed energy issues between Kurdistan region and Baghdad. I know that you’re saying the Iraqi formation of the government is not a U.S. issue, but then this one has some sort of U.S. angle where there are a lot of American companies – or some American companies – that are working in Kurdistan region and threatened by Iraqi supreme court’s ruling. Where do you guys stand on that? Do you want to see the continuation of American energy companies working in Iraq?
QUESTION: And then in Erbil she also discussed energy issues between Kurdistan region and Baghdad. I know that you’re saying the Iraqi formation of the government is not a U.S. issue, but then this one has some sort of U.S. angle where there are a lot of American companies – or some American companies – that are working in Kurdistan region and threatened by Iraqi supreme court’s ruling. Where do you guys stand on that? Do you want to see the continuation of American energy companies working in Iraq?
QUESTION: And then in Erbil she also discussed energy issues between Kurdistan region and Baghdad. I know that you’re saying the Iraqi formation of the government is not a U.S. issue, but then this one has some sort of U.S. angle where there are a lot of American companies – or some American companies – that are working in Kurdistan region and threatened by Iraqi supreme court’s ruling. Where do you guys stand on that? Do you want to see the continuation of American energy companies working in Iraq?
MR PATEL: I’m not going to speculate on anything beyond what I shared initially at the top.
QUESTION: Same topic. Given that the report is out there, though, is there any concern within the department that this could alarm foreign governments and perhaps jeopardize intelligence sharing?
QUESTION: One more quick question.
QUESTION: One more quick question.
MR PATEL: We continue to appreciate the extraordinary efforts of the IAEA in their efforts to continue to maintain a presence at the ZNPP to assess its safety and security. I will note again, as I noted yesterday, that it is Russia that is unjustly and illegally and unlawfully infringing on Ukrainian territorial integrity and Ukrainian sovereignty by being present at the ZNPP. I know the IAEA put out a report yesterday. Our experts are continuing to review that report and its recommendations, and we continue to call on and support Ukraine’s call for a demilitarization zone around the ZNPP facility.
MR PATEL: I think, again, I am not going to speak to the Department of Justice activity directly. I will let my colleagues speak – at the DOJ to speak to that. But what I will note is that in countries where we have bilateral relationships, we remain – we have open lines of communication where we engage with them directly on a variety of issues, and those communication channels are open, and we continue to work closely. But I don’t have any specifics to offer on that.
QUESTION: I’m sorry, just one follow-up.
QUESTION: IAEA —
MR PATEL: Well, we’re certainly not going to preview any actions, and I think in recent weeks we have seen Russia rely on states like the DPRK and Iran in ways that are deeply problematic. And everyone, not just in the region but around the world, should be concerned with Russia closening alliances to such countries.
QUESTION:  Can I change topics?
QUESTION: North Korea. So, after the trilateral meeting of the special representatives in Tokyo, what is the latest assessment of the United States on the possible nuclear test by North Korea?

  1. Black Sea Grain Initiative

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