MR PRICE: Good afternoon everyone.
MR PRICE: It’s a little more hospitable here today, at least temperature-wise. I have some stuff on top, and then…
QUESTION: Isn’t it because the building was empty for the last three days and probably the air conditioning wasn’t on?
MR PRICE: I think we also made a request to turn up the heat a little bit.
MR PRICE: Yes, yes, yes. Looking out for your needs. Before we start, a few things.
Yesterday was World Refugee Day. I would like to underscore the messages shared by the Secretary and the department acknowledging the unprecedented humanitarian crises around the world, which have resulted in the largest number of refugees in history.
For the first time in history, last month the number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights abuses and persecution exceeded 100 million. That means more than 1 percent of the world’s population has been forcibly displaced.
The United States reaffirms our unwavering commitment to alleviate the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable people through our global leadership in humanitarian assistance and diplomacy.
We are the world’s largest single donor of humanitarian assistance, providing more than $13 billion in humanitarian aid during fiscal year 2021.
We also acknowledge the generosity of communities hosting refugees and the united global response of international humanitarian partners working diligently to help them.
We will continue to represent the best of American values in saving lives and alleviating suffering, working with our partners at home and abroad to help the forcibly displaced in their time of need, no matter who they are or where, no matter who. be, where. they are, on World Refugee Day and every day.
Below, the United States congratulates the Colombian people for holding free and fair presidential elections on June 19. The United States welcomes the results of the second round of elections.
We look forward to working with President-elect Gustavo Petro and his new administration and continuing our strong collaboration and joint regional leadership.
The relationship between the United States and Colombia remains based on shared democratic values, and we remain committed to working with the next Colombian administration in support of our common goals. Those goals include supporting Colombia’s implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreement, reducing violence and drug trafficking, expanding rural development and security, promoting human rights, increasing inclusive trade and investment, protecting the environment, and combating poverty. climate crisis.
On June 19 we also celebrate the 200th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between the United States and Colombia. Together with the people of Colombia, we build this lasting partnership that reflects the deep ties between our societies, our economies, our security, and our efforts to build a more democratic and equitable hemisphere.
And finally, today, Ambassador General for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack joined Attorney General Merrick Garland on a quick visit to Rzeszow, Poland, and the Ukraine-Poland border.
At the border, they met with Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova to further promote cooperation between the United States and Ukraine in support of efforts to hold accountable those responsible for war crimes and other atrocities during the brutal war and not provoked by Russia against Ukraine.
They also met with…meetings, excuse me, with US government partners working on accountability and justice issues in Ukraine. This included leadership of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group, ACA, our joint initiative with the EU and the UK to support Attorney General Venediktova’s work to document war crimes and prepare case files for prosecution.
They also met with partners from the Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, or ICITAP, which provides assistance to the State Border Guard Service and the National Police of Ukraine. ICITAP’s efforts in Ukraine are jointly funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, or INL, and the Office of International Security and Nonproliferation, or ISN, and its Export Control and Security program. Related Border.
Attorney General Garland, during the visit, noted that “The United States is sending an unequivocal message: there is no place to hide. We and our partners will pursue all available avenues to ensure that those responsible for these atrocities are held accountable.”
Ambassador Van Schaack will accompany Attorney General Garland to Paris, where she will join the AG, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and other US officials for meetings of the US-EU Ministerial Meeting on Justice and Internal Affairs. And we will have additional information about that event in the coming days.
So with that, we’ll get to your questions.
QUESTION: Thank you, Ned. I have a very short one, but it’s going to be short because I think you’re not going to get much response. But as we haven’t had a briefing since Friday, when the British government made this decision on the extradition of Julian Assange, I just wanted to check if there has been any change in their policy that journalism is not a crime. or if there has been any change in your belief that Julian Assange is not a journalist.
MR PRICE: Matt, there has been no change, and there has been no change from the answer I gave you last time on this matter. We refer to the Department of Justice when it comes to all extradition cases. I would refer him to the Justice Department because this is a matter pending before the British courts and an extradition case.
QUESTION: But it remains your position, as it was on World Press Freedom Day not too long ago, that journalism was not, should not be a crime.
MR PRICE: That is absolutely our conviction, correct.
QUESTION: Thank you. Can you… did you have something on that? So I, this is, your colleague, actually colleagues, plural, in the White House, I had a little briefing with the State Department earlier. It was quite interesting because I think a lot of what you’re going to be asked today has already been asked and answered.
But your White House colleague, not Mr. Kirby, the press secretary, was asked about Brittney Griner and this phone call that was supposed to have happened the other day, and she said she understood it had been rescheduled. . So I was wondering if you could elaborate on that, but also explain what happened, what…
MR PRICE: Sure. As you heard today, the phone call has been rescheduled. It is not up to us to provide a specific time, because there is no official US government involvement in this call. This is not a call between an American official and a detained American; this is a call between two private Americans, one of whom is wrongfully detained by Russia, has been wrongfully detained for too long, and in which case we are working hard to see his release as soon as possible.
I think what you heard today is absolutely true. We deeply regret that Brittney Griner was unable to speak with her wife over the weekend due to a logistical error. It was a mistake. It is an error that we have worked to rectify. As we said before, the call has been rescheduled and will take place in a relatively short time.
It was a logistical problem that was compounded in part by the fact that our Embassy in Moscow is subject to significant restrictions in terms of personnel, so when we have problems with the telephone system there, for example, the technicians are not located in the place. In fact, they are not even located in Russia. They must be located in a third country due to onerous restrictions that the Russian Federation has placed on our embassy and its operations.
So all of that compounded what was a mistake, what was a logistical mistake, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity for Brittney Griner to speak to his wife before too long.
QUESTION: But regardless of the details of that logistical error, are you confident that when this call is rescheduled, when it’s supposed to happen, it will happen and it won’t happen again?
MR PRICE: We’re sure of that. We have done our best to correct this.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) About the tensions around Kaliningrad. What do you think of Russia’s statements threatening serious consequences and the train?
MR PRICE: Well, we’re not going to speculate on what Russian saber rattling or Russian bragging is like, we don’t even want to give it extra airtime. We have been very clear during the course of Russia’s war against Ukraine, and indeed long before Russia began its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, that our commitment to NATO and specifically our commitment to NATO Article 5, the premise that an attack against one would constitute attacking all, that commitment on the part of the United States is ironclad. Not only have we made this clear rhetorically, but together with NATO and our own announcements of troop posture adjustments, we have strengthened our commitment to the NATO Alliance. We have strengthened NATO’s eastern flank, especially those countries that have been at the forefront of Russian threats for, in many cases, many years.
Of course, we appreciate the unprecedented economic measures that many countries around the world, dozens of countries on all continents, that our allies and our partners, including in this case Lithuania, have joined us in taking against Russia for its war. unprovoked in Ukraine. Of course, I would refer you to Lithuania regarding the application of EU sanctions.
QUESTION: So, do you fully support the Lithuanian application of sanctions and against any threat from Russia?
MR PRICE: Lithuania is a member of the NATO Alliance. We stand by the commitments we have made to the NATO Alliance. That includes, of course, a commitment to Article 5 which is the foundation of the NATO Alliance. This is a campaign that includes dozens of countries from all over the world, including blocs of countries, in this case the EU, but also individual countries using their national authorities.
Lithuania has been a staunch partner in this. We support NATO. We support our NATO allies and we support Lithuania.
QUESTION: Ned, en – The New York Times also came out over the weekend with an investigation into the murder of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Basically, they are also saying, like every other media outlet that has done a similar investigation, that the bullet was fired from the approximate location of the Israeli military convoy. So, in light of this, I wonder if the United States is going to do anything else to pressure the Israelis to speed up their investigation, and if they’re going to do something different, maybe like consider conducting their own investigation, since he is an American citizen?
MR PRICE: Humeyra, we have been in close and constant contact with our Israeli and Palestinian partners as well. We have sought, in almost all these conversations, to build a bridge on cooperation between the parties. We want to see the parties cooperate. We believe that increased cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians in this investigation will facilitate what is and should be a collective goal, and that is an investigation that culminates in accountability. That is what we would like to see happen.
Once again, we have made clear our view, both to Israelis and Palestinians, that we seek a full, transparent and impartial investigation into the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh. We expect full accountability from those responsible. And we have urged to that end, as I alluded to a moment ago, that the two sides share their evidence with each other. We believe that the sharing of evidence and the bridging of these investigations will help facilitate accountability, an investigation that culminates in that.
QUESTION: Correct. Do you mean by that, do you mean by that that you’re pushing for a joint investigation? Because the Israelis are carrying out theirs, like, exactly what kind of bridge are we? To what end are we talking?
MR PRICE: Both parties are conducting their own investigations. We are not necessarily asking for a joint investigation, but we are asking the two parties to share evidence with each other. We believe, again, that by sharing evidence, we will be able to, or the two sides, I should say, will be able to facilitate what is our objective, what should be a collective objective, and that is an investigation that is impartial. , which is transparent, thorough and culminates in accountability.
QUESTION: Are you considering making your own? And if you’re not, why not?
MR PRICE: We’re… that’s not on the table at the moment. The two parties, the two sides, the Israelis, the Palestinians, are conducting their own investigations. We want to see those investigations carried out in a thorough, impartial, transparent and accountable manner. We think that can be done more effectively if the two sides share evidence with each other, if they connect their investigations in that way.
QUESTION: That’s not on the table. Could that be on the table in the next few weeks, months if the Israeli investigation or this cooperation that it’s pushing doesn’t come to fruition?
MR PRICE: Again, I’m not going to comment on a hypothesis. We want to see the two sides work together in a constructive way because we believe that it should be a collective goal of the three of us and of course all the other countries that have an interest not only in this particular murder, but also in this broader issue. freedom of the press and ensure that the independent press and media around the world are adequately protected, that interest is served.
QUESTION: Well, super fast on the latest on Israel. Defense Minister Benny Gantz basically briefed lawmakers the other day on this Middle East air defense alliance, saying this has been going on for some time, basically a US-sponsored regional air defense alliance. Can you talk a little about that? Which countries are in this? What is the exact role of the US? Will this be something President Biden will talk about at length when he’s there?
MR PRICE: I have nothing specific to offer at this time. We have talked and talked extensively before about cooperation. We have: in the face of Iran’s destabilizing activities throughout the region, of course, Iran is a country that exports its malign influence not only in the Middle East, but far beyond. We cooperate very closely with our Israeli partners. We cooperate closely with our Arab partners and with other countries around the world to counter Iran’s malign influence.
QUESTION: Thank you. I just want to keep track of Humeyra, from Shireen. Now, do you think that Israel’s record shows that it can carry out a transparent and thorough investigation in this particular case?
MR PRICE: You said that we’ve talked about historical analogies before. Israel has the means to conduct an investigation that is transparent, impartial and, most importantly, leads to accountability. That is what we would like to see happen.
QUESTION: I mean, how often does this happen specifically?
QUESTION: I mean, we don’t want to compare notes and stuff, but I can assure you that there aren’t many examples showing that Israel can commit to a transparent and thorough investigation. I want to come back –
MR PRICE: We’ve talked about previous examples. We have talked about the example of Eyad al-Hallaq, for example, one of those examples. But again, I’m speaking for –
MR PRICE: I’m talking about what the United States is asking for, what we’re looking for. We seek an investigation that is transparent, that is impartial, that culminates in accountability.
QUESTION: Okay. I want to ask you about what I asked you about last week, which is the Secretary of State, asked about Abby Martin, responded by saying that she is asking for an independent investigation. What does that mean? Have you thought about what he said? Are there mechanisms you have in mind to conduct an independent investigation?
MR PRICE: The Secretary was not signaling a change in our approach. I wasn’t pointing out anything different than what I just said right now. What we are asking for, what we are looking for, what a large part of the international community is looking for is a set of investigations, there are two in this case, but investigations that are impartial, that are transparent, that culminate in accountability.
QUESTION: I have a couple more questions about Israel. Now, the collapse of the Israeli coalition, I wonder if you would comment on that? How would that likely affect any ongoing programs that you have with the Israelis, whether it’s the JCPOA or anything else or possible, possible normalization even with the Arab countries, etc? How do you see this impacting your policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
MR PRICE: I don’t expect the political developments in Israel to have implications for what we’re trying to accomplish together with our Israeli partners or with our Palestinian partners, for that matter. And that is because Israel is a strategic partner of the United States. It is a fellow democracy. We respect your democratic processes.
One of the strengths of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel, a strength that has been built up over many decades, is the bipartisan support that it has in this country, is the fact that the strength of our relationship does not depend on who sits in the Oval Office. It does not depend on who sits in the prime minister’s chair in Israel. This is a strategic partnership between our two countries. It will continue to be a strategic partnership between our two countries in the coming weeks, in the coming months as the process unfolds.
QUESTION: Even as we look ahead to the fifth possible election in three years, and the specter of Mr. Netanyahu returning.
MR PRICE: Again, Said, this is a strategic relationship. It doesn’t depend on who sits in the Oval Office; it does not depend on who sits in the prime minister’s chair.
QUESTION: And I promise the last one: about refugees because you mentioned refugees. My heart goes out to all the refugees and especially the Palestinian refugees who have been languishing for more than 70 years. There’s a UN resolution, there’s a General Assembly resolution calling for his return since it happened. Why can’t you, why can’t you support this call from the United Nations?
MR PRICE: You said that there are a number of so-called end-state issues. The right of return is one of the so-called final status issues. What we seek to do is create the conditions to promote the long-term prospects of a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians. That is what we are trying to establish now, those conditions. In the case of the Palestinian people, we’re trying to do that in part with our significant humanitarian support to provide the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with what they need to have more prosperity, to have more stability, to have at least finally and after all the dignity they deserve.
Once again, our approach to this conflict is based on what should be a very simple and uncontroversial premise that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of security, prosperity and dignity, and that is what we assess, Like previous administrations, it would be best achieved with a two-state solution.
QUESTION: You mentioned that the collapse of the Israeli government will not have an impact on politics. Where does this come from? Does this mean that President Biden’s promise of a consulate in Jerusalem will not be fulfilled? Just because there was a widespread belief that the reason this wasn’t implemented is because the administration feared the collapse of the Israeli government, that’s why they didn’t follow through on Biden’s promise to open a consulate. But now it’s collapsed, so where are we in this process? What, is that really going to happen?
MR PRICE: We remain committed to reopening a consulate in Jerusalem. In the meantime, we have really reinvigorated the relationship between the United States and the Palestinian Authority, but also with the Palestinian people. And I talked about our humanitarian support, but of course we’ve had several opportunities, I think most recently when Barbara Leaf traveled to Ramallah, to meet, even at higher levels, with the Palestinian leadership. Secretary Blinken has had the opportunity in the last two weeks to speak with President Abbas. President Biden, when he travels to Bethlehem in the next few weeks, will have the opportunity, I hope, to meet with the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. This does nothing to our, which remains our goal of opening, excuse me, reopening the consulate in Jerusalem. As you know, we have recently taken some steps, including changes to the reporting structure, so that our diplomats in Jerusalem can report directly to State Department headquarters. We are taking steps to ensure that we can continue to engage constructively with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people.
QUESTION: Has the concern of the collapse of the government now shifted to any step, whether at the consulate or perhaps the JCPOA, that would prompt a possible return of Netanyahu to power?
MR PRICE: As I said before, our relationship with Israel does not depend on who sits in the prime minister’s chair. We certainly do not take action or avoid it, for that matter, based on any possible political developments in Israel. We trust the bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel in such a way that we can pursue the national interests of the United States and we can pursue the many interests that we share together with our Israeli partners as partners. That is what we will continue to do before the president’s trip and also after.
QUESTION: Sir, on Ukraine, I know that the State Department confirmed the death of US citizen Stephen Zabielski. I was wondering if the department could confirm some details that have been circulating in reporting that he was an Army veteran and was killed by a landmine. Can you provide any further confirmation of those details?
MR PRICE: I am not in a position to provide additional details. We did indeed confirm his death, but in terms of any of the details of his death, that’s not something I can weigh in on, partly out of respect for the family during this difficult time.
QUESTION: And then on the Americans captured in Ukraine, I’d like to follow up on a comment by my colleague, NBC’s Keir Simmons, with Dmitry Peskov saying that they are not subject to the Geneva Convention. I know the Biden administration weighed in on this today, but what is your response to Peskov saying that those Americans are not bound by the Geneva Convention and cannot apply to, quote, “soldiers of fortune”?
MR PRICE: Well, let me start on the general topic and just note that we are working very hard to get more information about reports of Americans who may be in Russian custody or in the custody of Russian proxy forces. We have been in contact with Russian authorities regarding US citizens who may have been captured while fighting in Ukraine. As I mentioned, last week, at the end of last week, we also reached out to our Ukrainian partners, to the ICRC, to other countries, as well as to families of Americans who have been reported missing in Ukraine.
We have both publicly and privately called on the Russian government and its representatives to abide by their international obligations in their treatment of all people, including those captured fighting in Ukraine. We expect, and indeed international law and the law of war expect and require, that all those who have been captured on the battlefield be treated humanely and with respect and in accordance with the laws of war.
Once again, we must take this opportunity to reiterate to Americans the inherent dangers of traveling to Ukraine. For weeks, we have been urging Americans not to travel to Ukraine because of the dangers Russia’s aggression inside Ukraine poses to American citizens who may be there. Our message to American citizens in Ukraine is to leave immediately using any commercial or private transportation available. We certainly understand that there are Americans all over the country, millions of Americans all over the country, who are motivated to support the just and noble cause of the Ukrainian people. There are ways to do it that work for the direct benefit of the Ukrainian people, ways that are safe, ways that are useful and constructive. We have many of those forms on our website.
QUESTION: Just a follow up:
QUESTION: Quick follow up with that. We know? Does the US government know where these Americans are and has the Kremlin even confirmed that they have been captured or does it know where they are?
MR PRICE: We have no additional details beyond what has been reported in the media, including by some of your own media organizations. As I said, we have been in direct contact with the Russian authorities. Neither the Russian authorities nor the Russian proxy forces nor any other entity have provided us with additional details on the whereabouts of these Americans. We are looking at every channel, every opportunity we have, to learn more and support your families, especially in this difficult hour.
QUESTION: Just to follow up on that, Ned —
QUESTION: Well, he will understand why this has to do with death, and I just want to know one thing. I realize there are privacy concerns you can’t take. Can you at least say when… when you learned of this man’s death? And, because it’s a bit strange that the obituary of the local newspaper that this news comes from and that you have now confirmed was published on June 1.
MR PRICE: Yes, I understand that we…
MR PRICE: — is that we learned of the death of this individual several weeks ago. It is not standard procedure to formally announce when an American has been killed.
QUESTION: Yes, well, I understand.
QUESTION: But before the obituary or after his death in May (inaudible)?
MR PRICE: I understand we found out before June 1st.
QUESTION: Ned, on the same point:
QUESTION: Can I track…
QUESTION: The Russians claim that there are 450 Americans fighting with the Ukrainians. Do you have, can you confirm that figure or is it too inflated? Do you have any way of knowing how many Americans are fighting alongside the Ukrainians?
MR PRICE: We have no means of corroborating that figure. I just want to point out that we often encourage Americans and everyone else to take anything the Kremlin says with a grain of salt. But in terms of that specific information, it’s not something I can confirm or refute.
QUESTION: Okay. Are you in a position to be a bit more specific about who you are in contact with in the Russian government? Because Medvedev said over the weekend that “We have no [relationship] with the United States… They are at zero on the Kelvin scale.” In agreement?
MR PRICE: Well, I think our embassy officials in Moscow would be surprised to hear that, because we have an embassy in Moscow that is still operating. As I said before in a different context, it works under severe limitations. But we have worked hard despite the onerous and unnecessary restrictions that the Russians have placed on our embassy operations to maintain a fully functioning, or should I say functioning embassy compound. Ambassador Sullivan is here in Washington attending the Heads of Mission Conference, but he will return to Moscow soon to lead the small but very capable team at the Moscow Embassy. The embassy regularly engages in exchanges and talks with its counterparts at the Foreign Ministry or elsewhere within the Russian government.
One of the topics that the embassy regularly discusses with its Russian counterparts is the status of Americans detained in Russia, the status of our embassy as well, to try to preserve what we believe to be a critical position. We have done everything possible to preserve the lines of communication between the Russian government and the United States. We have done so with great effort not because we are at a particularly optimistic moment in terms of our relationship, but because we believe that in times of conflict, in times of crisis, communication channels, including the channel offered by our embassy, are especially vital. and it is especially important. And it has been valuable for us to convey precisely these types of messages.
Q: While we are in Russia-Ukraine, Project DYNAMO, an independent organization, has just released a press release saying that John Spor, an American nuclear scientist who was trapped in Ukraine and was being hunted by Russian forces in Russia-Ukraine territory. occupied in the Ukraine, is now being pushed out of the country by Project DYNAMO. Is the State Department in contact with this organization about this, what they call a rescue effort?
MR PRICE: I am not familiar, immediately familiar with the details of this case. It seems that the press release has just been issued. If we have anything to add, we will certainly let you know.
QUESTION: And generally speaking, due to the lack of US military presence on the ground in Ukraine, do you support the efforts of these independent organizations to get the Americans out if they need assistance on the ground that can be provided?
MR PRICE: Whether this is, whether this is the efforts of private Americans, private American organizations, our guidance remains: Americans should not travel to Ukraine. Traveling to Ukraine brings with it significant and profound dangers, including some of the dangers that we have already discussed throughout the course of this report. So whether it’s for individuals or organizations, that guidance is constant.
QUESTION: I just wanted to keep track of the captured Americans. Russia says that they are… that they were captured by the forces of some of these small breakaway states. So is the United States working with Russia on his release, and is working with Russia working, or is there any need to negotiate with others about the status and what’s going to happen? In other words, does Russia act as a kind of force behind these proxy forces? is that working?
MR PRICE: It’s hard for us to say right now. As I noted earlier, we have been in contact with Russian authorities regarding reports of Americans being detained. We have not received any formal or official response. The only response we have seen has been the response given by Russian officials in public interviews. So we just don’t have any of that private engagement.
QUESTION: About Iran. After a long pause, in a second you are witnessing a new naval confrontation between Iran and the US in the Persian Gulf. Any reaction to that?
MR PRICE: I would refer it to the Department of Defense. They may have more for you. But we have seen not just in the last few days but over the course of many weeks and months that Iran has engaged in maritime activities that are unsafe, unprofessional and put sailors at risk. It is something we have condemned. It is something in which we have urged Iran not to get involved.
QUESTION: Also, we’re seeing some efforts by US allies in the region that are trying to persuade Biden to change course, to come up with a new strategy towards Iran. I want to ask specifically about Biden’s trip to the region. How much of this trip is about Iran? And can you give us more details if any meetings are planned regarding Iran?
MR PRICE: I’m not aware that there will be a meeting focused specifically on Iran. This trip, I must also add, I hasten to add, is still a few weeks away, and of course it is a trip to the White House, so I will ultimately let the White House do the talking.
But I will say that it is my strong suspicion, and I think you’ve heard this from the White House, that Iran will be a natural topic of conversation during at least a couple of these stops. When the president is in Jerusalem meeting with Israeli officials, when he is in Jeddah meeting with members of the GCC+3, as well as participating in bilateral meetings with Saudi officials, of course, the threat that Iran poses in its many manifestations: not just its program but also its ballistic missile program, its support for regional proxies, its support for terrorist groups: I imagine that the full panoply of malign influences and threats that Iran poses will be a topic of discussion.
QUESTION: Okay. And one, another about the latest UN nuclear watchdog report on Fordow and Iran starting to use more than 100 IR-6 centrifuges. Anything about that? Any update on the nuclear talks?
MR PRICE: Well, we’ve seen these reports. We remain concerned that Iran continues to deploy advanced centrifuges well beyond the limits prescribed by the JCPOA. We are seeking a full return to implementation of the JCPOA precisely because we believe that Iran’s nuclear activities, including the manufacturing of centrifugal components to which you referred, should be strictly limited and supervised by the IAEA.
And, of course, the JCPOA brought with it the strictest monitoring and verification regime ever peacefully negotiated. The fact is, and we have made this point on several occasions, that Iran’s program in different ways has now far exceeded the limits imposed by the JCPOA. These are rotating cascades from advanced centrifuges that are not allowed under the agreement. Its fissile material breakup time has been drastically reduced from about a year to what it is now, which can now be measured in weeks or even less.
We are deeply concerned about the current state of Iran’s nuclear program. That is precisely why we want to see those strict limits, that verification and monitoring regime reimposed on Iran.
QUESTION: But do you still believe that going back to the JCPOA will be in the interest of the US, even though you outline all these concerns?
MR PRICE: Well, all of these concerns exist when the JCPOA is not fully implemented. If we were to fully implement, if Iran were to fully implement the JCPOA, many of the concerns that you just alluded to, that I just mentioned, would be taken off the table, because they would not be allowed. And the IAEA would have the means to be able to inspect, to monitor in real time, to alert the international community if Iran exceeds those limits. That is not the case now, and that is what we are so concerned about.
QUESTION: But it is the case that it is not yet allowed under the JCPOA. None –
MR PRICE: And Iran is not fully compliant with the JCPOA.
QUESTION: But I mean, it’s not the case that they’re now allowed to do this kind of thing.
MR PRICE: Iran has distanced itself from the strict limits that the JCPOA imposed after the last administration decided to move away from the JCPOA when Iran, by the way, was fully implementing and in strict compliance with the JCPOA, as confirmed by the IAEA.
Anything else on Iran or the Middle East? Nazira.
QUESTION: Thank you. Mr. Price, two questions. A question about Daesh/ISIS activity in Afghanistan. They killed so many people, including the Hindus. It was a very big tragedy.
And the other question about the travel sanction of the Taliban leaders. Are they allowed to travel to so many countries? Interested persons, especially human rights organizations.
MR PRICE: Two questions. Let me take the first one first.
Of course we all saw these horrible reports over the weekend. We, as you have heard from several of our senior officials, have condemned the recent attacks that have killed and injured civilians in Afghanistan. This includes the cowardly attack we saw this weekend on the Sikh community in Kabul that claimed innocent lives, including the life of a Sikh worshipper.
This is part of what can only be described as a worrying trend against members of minority religious groups in Afghanistan. We know that, as is the case throughout the world, Afghanistan’s diversity is one of its greatest assets; it should be seen as such. And a threat to any minority group in Afghanistan is a threat to the identity, the heterogeneous identity of Afghanistan itself.
Special Representative for Afghanistan Tom West, Special Representative for Afghan Women, Girls and Human Rights Rina Amiri, our Special Ambassador for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain all issued statements yesterday expressing our condolences to the families of the victims in this cowardly attack.
But then again, this was more of an attack. What we’re seeing here seems to be a pattern by the terrorists, by the extremists, who are attacking the heart of Afghanistan’s pluralist identity, who are attacking Hindus and Sikhs, and we must, those perpetrators must be arrested. accountable, and members of all minority groups must be protected.
As for the travel of senior Taliban officials, this is something that has been discussed at the UN in recent days. And in accordance with the Security Council’s ongoing consideration of the situation in Afghanistan and the council’s actions in support of the Afghan people, the council, as you may know, removed from the 1988 travel ban exemption list two individuals who oversee education policy for the Taliban. With this step, this list now has 13 people. So, in other words, these people who are responsible for the educational policy of the Taliban are no longer exempt from the inability of senior Taliban officials to travel beyond the borders of Afghanistan.
We proposed that the Security Council take this step to signal to the Taliban in no uncertain terms that their decision to ban girls from pursuing secondary education has consequences, including very practical consequences like this one. Through press releases, the council has expressed deep concern about the erosion of respect for human rights in Afghanistan, including the rights of women, girls and other minority groups in Afghanistan.
We will therefore continue to coordinate very closely with our partners at the UN and other stakeholders to hold those responsible to account, not only for the violent attacks we have seen inside Afghanistan, but also for all those who seek to erode human rights. . and the protections afforded to minorities in Afghanistan.
QUESTION: Yes, sir. Tunisia: any reaction to the latest development lately, the demonstrations against the president’s proposed constitution?
MR PRICE: We, what we have tried to see is that we have supported the Tunisian people in defending democracy and protecting human rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly. This is what the Tunisian constitution stipulates and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well. We continue to call for a speedy return to constitutional governance, including the installation of a new parliament. We believe that doing so is necessary to restore widespread confidence in Tunisia’s democratic institutions.
QUESTION: Going back to the two Americans killed while fighting for Ukraine, can you say if the State Department is providing consular services to others, despite these two, I mean, beyond those two particular cases?
MR PRICE: Some consular service in what sense?
QUESTION: For Americans killed while fighting in Ukraine.
MR PRICE: I am not aware that we are aware of any confirmed reports of other Americans who have died while fighting in the Ukraine.
QUESTION: And because of your stance towards Russia, have you communicated that you will hold them accountable if anything happens to the two captured Americans at the hands of their proxies? Is that a position that the department has?
MR PRICE: We have made it very clear to the Russian Federation that we have, and just as importantly, the international community has every expectation that anyone in their custody or in the custody of delegated forces who falls under the Russian control, your health, your safety, your well-being is the responsibility of the Russian Federation. We’ve made a very similar point in terms of, this is a different context, but to Americans who are detained in Russia, and also to Russians who are also detained in Russia. We recently made this point very clear, that anyone who is in Russian custody, but this would also apply to those who are in the custody of groups that are under Russian control, that their safety, their well-being is the responsibility of the Russian Federation.
QUESTION: Thank you. Two short questions about Russia and Ukraine. First of all, he mentioned heinous crimes. It was reported in the topper. When he first announced that this group will cooperate with Ukraine from this podium, he said that they would work outside of Ukraine. I heard a discussion that they could return to the country. Has the final decision been approved and what about the terms?
And second, Secretary Yellen said yesterday that the United States is in talks with allies to further restrict Moscow’s energy revenues by imposing a price cap, or as she put it, a price exception, on oil, on Russian oil. Any comment on that? Are you at the State Department as part of these discussions, these conversations? And which countries already matter?
MR PRICE: As for your second question, I will say briefly that we are looking at all appropriate ways to hold the Russian government accountable for the war that it is waging in Ukraine, for the violence and brutality that it is waging against the people of Ukraine. . We are looking at ways to ensure accountability, including with sanctions, and to limit the revenue that the Russian government and top Russian decision-makers can amass, just as we work with the international community to make sure we preserve supply. of world energy in the energy markets.
When it comes to our support for Ukraine’s attorney general, you’ll remember that last month we announced the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group. This is a group made up of the United States and also our partners in the EU and the UK. It also calls on the expertise and experience of many of our non-governmental partners. And while much of this work takes place outside Ukraine, some of this work also takes place inside Ukraine. Part of the idea of the ACA is to make sure that the experience of these groups and these people is applied to prosecutors in Ukraine who are building cases, collecting evidence and preserving evidence as well.
And indeed, the ACA had its first formal meeting in Kyiv on June 16 with key implementing partners from the US, EU and UK. And our ACA Senior Advisor, Ambassador Clint Williamson, who was Ambassador at Large for Global Criminal Justice and is now at Arizona State University, also participated in the AG and Border Ambassador meeting with the Attorney General. which I mentioned at the top.
So there is activity that takes place inside Ukraine, but there is also a lot of support that takes place virtually and in third countries.
QUESTION: Ned, thank you very much. Ned, on Russian aggression, Putin hinted last week that neighboring countries could face the fate of Ukraine if they turned against him for the invasion. Now if you sit in Azerbaijan, Georgia, or Kazakhstan, you might scratch your head and wonder whether or not the United States will help me in case Russia has more conflicts. Can you state explicitly that the United States will not leave those countries alone if Russia does what it says it does?
MR PRICE: Well, I think we’ve sent a very clear signal with the support that we’ve given to Ukraine, support that amounts to more than $5 billion in security assistance since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24, the how that the United States has brought the international community together, how dozens of countries on several continents have come together to provide not only the security assistance that Ukraine needs, but also the economic assistance and humanitarian assistance for the Ukrainian people, such as we have imposed an unprecedented set of economic and financial measures, as well as the export controls that we have spoken about, on the Russian Federation.
That is a clear sign of the determination we have. It is a clear signal that the United States will not tolerate Russian aggression against sovereign and independent countries. It will also not be tolerated by our international partners.
QUESTION: Candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova, prospective for Georgia. As you know, this is the recommendation, sorry, of the European Commission, and now the three countries are waiting for June 24, when the decision of the European Union will be announced. Do you think that Georgia also deserves to be supported on her way? I understand that this question does not concern you directly, however, your position on the western perspective of Georgia and on this path is extremely important to us.
MR PRICE: Well, generally speaking, we stand by our longstanding commitment to a Europe that is whole, that is free and that is at peace, and we support further integration of Ukraine and Moldova and Georgia as well with their European neighbors. . When it comes to Ukraine and Moldova (inaudible) European Union.
Yet for all of these countries, these are countries that over the course of the last few decades have expressed a desire for a closer relationship, a greater proximity to the West. The United States has worked with these three countries to help them develop their democratic institutions, to help them develop their system of checks and balances; help them develop their economies integrated with Europe and the West; and we will continue to support them in the future.
The details of the accession processes and deadlines, of course, are a decision of the EU and its member states, so you would need to refer them to the EU to know the details of that process.
QUESTION: Ned, on global food insecurity, what is the US doing to help alleviate the situation globally and specifically in the Middle East?
MR PRICE: Well, we recently had the opportunity to talk a little bit about food security, including when Secretary Blinken convened several of his fellow ministers, about 40 ministers, in New York last month at the UN General Assembly and the UN General Assembly. Security Council. This was a challenge that in some ways predates Russian aggression, but it is certainly a challenge that has been compounded by what we call the three Cs: by COVID, by climate change, and now by conflict. And the fact is –
MR PRICE: I was counting climate change as one, but yeah, thanks, Matt, if you want to be literal about it.
The and, unfortunately, is that final conflict C, the one that has had an enormous implication not only for the region but also for much of the world. The fact is that the Russian forces have attacked, they have disconnected the grain silos. They are attacking the farmers of the Ukraine. They are rendering Ukraine’s wheat fields and its other parcels of arable land unusable. There, there has been an effort to go after Ukrainian ships at sea that have been transporting grain. And of course there is an ongoing blockade with ships now stuck in port that have some 20, 25 million tons of grain that countries around the world, including in the region, but also well beyond the region, even in Africa and, as heard recently at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, it is also needed in the Western Hemisphere.
So we have produced a global action plan that focuses on five lines of effort. First, we provide billions of dollars (over $2.5 billion) in food security and other humanitarian assistance. In addition, the President last month signed the emergency supplemental request that provides more than $5 billion ($5.5 billion) in additional aid for food security around the world.
Second, we are working with other countries to mitigate the global fertilizer shortage. President Biden recently announced a $500 million investment to increase domestic fertilizer production. We are working with countries around the world to also increase their own national levels of fertilizer production.
Third, we’re boosting agricultural capacity and resilience through the Feed the Future initiative, and this is a program that has been around for a long time but aims to achieve greater long-term resilience for food security, knowing that even if we are able to tackle the acute crisis in the short term, that this will be a long-term challenge that we will have to tackle together.
Fourth, we are taking measures to cushion the macroeconomic impacts of this crisis on the most vulnerable populations. We are working with international financial institutions, international credit institutions, with international partners on this.
And fifth, we keep the issue high on our diplomatic agenda. As I mentioned, Secretary Blinken during the US presidency of the UN, he thought that food security deserved to be the main issue, it deserved to be high on the agenda or the most important item on the agenda, and it was for that reason. And I will, hopefully in the days to come we will have more to say about the trips that the Secretary will undertake to advance this goal to make sure that we can address the acute crisis in the short term and also the longer term. long-term implications of not just COVID and climate change, but of course Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine and its implications for global food security.
QUESTION: Should we expect solutions from the meeting (inaudible)?
MR PRICE: I don’t think one meeting can produce a solution. Of course, there are a number of countries, including the United States, that are looking for short-term, practical steps that we can take regarding grain that is stuck in Ukrainian ports. That is something we have worked on with the UN and Secretary General Guterres. It is something that our Turkish allies have been very committed to. We are supporting your efforts to make sure that grain is released from Ukraine. Of course, it could be published tomorrow if Vladimir Putin authorized it, if he authorized what would be a purely humanitarian gesture that could save countless lives around the world, but that is something he has not yet done.
I think the point of the session at the UN, and the Germans have already spoken publicly at a session that Foreign Minister Baerbock will convene later this week in Berlin, but the point of sessions like this is to continue to highlight the acute situation. challenge that we face in bringing together countries that have potential food supplies, fertilizer supplies with those that need them, as well as countries that have resources, whether it’s food, financing or other resources to offer them to give them the opportunity to do those connections
QUESTION: Move to PRC, China. Give us your feedback on China’s claim of a successful anti-ballistic missile interceptor test on Sunday, as well as the recent launch of a domestically designed aircraft carrier.
Second, does the United States view the Taiwan Strait as international water?
MR PRICE: So on your first question, I just don’t have anything to offer on these ads that we’ve seen from, excuse me, that we’ve seen from the PRC.
As for the second question, we clarified last week, I think it was, that the Taiwan Strait is an international waterway. That means the Taiwan Strait is an area where freedoms on the high seas, including freedom of navigation and overflight, are guaranteed under international law. The world has an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and we believe that this is critical to the security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region as a whole. We are concerned about China’s aggressive rhetoric, increasing pressure and intimidation regarding Taiwan, and we will continue, as we have said before, to fly, sail and operate where international law allows, and that includes transiting through Taiwan. Close.
QUESTION: Two follow-ups, actually, Mr. Price. So, one, we have: As the war in Ukraine continues, there may be more and more Americans stranded, killed, or captured in Ukraine. And is there a discussion within the department to take some steps to stop the flow of American foreign fighters into Ukraine other than issuing an advisory: travel advisories?
MR PRICE: At this point, we continue our efforts to encourage, urge, recommend, do everything we can to impart to Americans, well-intentioned Americans, that they should not travel to Ukraine. They shouldn’t travel there because of the dangers involved, but also because of the challenge you allude to. We were recently able to resume limited operations at our embassy in Kyiv. We are unable to provide the same level of services to US citizens who may be in Ukraine. That is part of the reason why before the beginning of this phase of the Russians, the invasion of Russia on February 24, we encouraged the Americans to leave Ukraine, and now we are doing everything we can to urge the Americans to don’t go there.
QUESTION: Also a follow-up to the reopening of the consulate in Jerusalem. Why is it taking so long to reopen? Like, what’s the hurdle there? The building is just reopening. For example, moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem didn’t take that long. What prevents you from reopening the embassy?
MR PRICE: Obviously, these are complex issues. These are issues that we must also coordinate with the Government of Israel, but it is an issue that we are committed to and we continue to discuss with our Israeli partners, with our Palestinian partners.
QUESTION: Why should you coordinate with the Israelis while opening a consulate for the Palestinians?
MR PRICE: Because this will be in Jerusalem.
QUESTION: Are you concerned that France, a major European…
QUESTION: Wait a minute, again, but you, Jerusalem, when it comes to your politics, you are divided.
MR PRICE: Well, that’s why I said we’re consulting with Israel.
QUESTION: You would not recognize that Israel —
MR PRICE: We are consulting with Israelis and Palestinians.
QUESTION: Yes, I was asking, are you concerned that France, a major European ally, is going through a rare political crisis with President Macron perhaps unable to take action for a long time in the middle of a war in Europe, in an international crisis? ?
MR PRICE: President Macron has just been re-elected. He has, well, I’ll let the French voters assess the results of those elections. But no, we know, as I have said in other contexts during these briefings, that France is an ally of the United States. We are fully confident that we will continue to work closely with the Macron government on the challenge presented by Russia and the other shared challenges we face as allies.
QUESTION: Colombia? Can I have a question about Colombia, where did you start?
QUESTION: Gustavo Petro is a leftist, so that was, that is the first leftist in, I think, in the history of Colombia. He is a former rebel. Last year we also had leftist candidates who won the presidency in Chile, Peru, Honduras. We will probably have Lula da Silva coming back and so on. In your opinion, is this a repudiation of US policy towards South America?
MR PRICE: These are the sovereign decisions of voters within sovereign countries. I don’t think it’s in any way a reflection of American policy. I think the point that we heard repeatedly during the Summit of the Americas and something that applies equally to every country in the world is the challenge that all of our countries face, and that is to make sure that our fellow democracies can deliver for our people. . And I think whether it’s in Colombia, whether it’s Brazil, whether it’s Israel, whether it’s France, whether it’s anywhere along the way, all over the world where we have free and fair democratic elections, people express their views based on unique circumstances.
But again, I think what ties a lot of what we’ve seen together is a desire on the part of people around the world, especially in the midst of COVID, especially in the midst of the implications of climate change, especially in the midst of economic recovery that we are trying to promote, that people are looking for representatives who can fulfill those democratic promises.
Secretary Blinken, as you know, spoke with President Elect Petro last night and they had a very good conversation. They talked about a number of issues, some of those very high-profile issues that are very real issues for people in both of our countries: public health, COVID, climate change and the environmental degradation that we’ve seen, shared democracy. values that unite both countries.
So whether it’s the new government, or the incoming government, I should say, in Colombia, whether it’s a partner around the world, we’ll be able to pursue our shared values and our shared interests.
QUESTION: I have a quick clarifying question. Sorry to change the subject here. But going back to the US citizen killed in Ukraine, I know you said you don’t want to give specific details due to family privacy, but can the State Department confirm that he was killed in combat specifically?
MR PRICE: We have confirmed his death, but we have not confirmed details, specific details.
QUESTION: Were you able to confirm that it was combat related?
MR PRICE: I can’t confirm any specific details.
QUESTION: Just, Ned, super quick about Finland, Sweden and NATO, since next week is the NATO summit. So it looks like this deal between, well, Turkey saying no to NATO offers from Finland and Sweden, that whole disagreement is not being resolved quickly. The United States has been saying that they would like to see these two countries join NATO relatively quickly, and the Turks said yesterday that next week’s summit is not a deadline. So, US? Does the US also now understand that this is not the case, that the summit is not going to be a deadline and that this type of disagreement may well expand beyond that? Or do you still hope this will be resolved by then?
MR PRICE: I don’t think we’ve ever put a firm deadline on it. Of course –
QUESTION: But I mean, would you like this to go on for months?
QUESTION: I mean, from the beginning you said that…
QUESTION: — you would expect to finish this pretty quickly given the war in Ukraine.
MR PRICE: No, of course. Of course, we would like it to be concluded quickly, but this is a process that requires the consensus of all NATO Allies. Of course, the Finns, the Swedes and the Turks have been involved in discussions, tripartite discussions, bilateral discussions. We have heard of them. We have heard them characterize these discussions publicly as constructive and ongoing. We are not part of these talks, but we are providing support to our partners Finland and Sweden. We also had the opportunity to discuss the issue extensively with Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu and other Turkish officials.
I’ll do quick final questions.
QUESTION: And if you could, is there any other meeting, any other meeting between the Secretary and the Foreign Minister or the President next week in Madrid?
MR PRICE: We haven’t announced anything yet. If there is, we will announce it in due course.
Yes, final, I will come to you. I don’t think you had a chance today.
QUESTION: Yes, I’m Gabby. I’m with Jewish Insider.
QUESTION: So my question is about the kosher and halal slaughter ban in Belgium that was recently defeated, and I understand that US diplomats played a fairly important role in working with lawmakers there to defeat that bill. I wonder if there is anything you can share about the US involvement in that process.
MR PRICE: I’m not immediately familiar with the details, but we’ll see if we can give you more details after this.
(The briefing ended at 3:20 p.m.)
How do you say America in French?
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How do French people say American?
To say “American” in French, you would say: américain (nasal sound “en”) for masculine something/someone. This may interest you : The expert group calls for a renewal of the U.S. Public Health System. américaine (rhymes with the letter “N”) for something/someone feminine.
Why is France a wealthy country?
France’s diversified economy is led by tourism, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, but maintains a strong presence in sectors such as energy, public transportation, and defense.
Does France have a rich economy? With a GDP of approximately $2.6 trillion in 2020 (down 8.2% in 2020, year-on-year growth of 1.5% in 2019), France is the fifth largest economy in the world and the third largest economy in the world. of Europe after Germany and the United Kingdom. It has substantial agricultural resources and maintains a strong manufacturing sector, despite a recent decline.
Is France a richest country?
With a gross domestic product of more than $2.6 trillion in 2017, France is one of the richest countries in the world. The French created almost $40,000 in economic output per person in 2017.
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$746.9 billion (fifth; 2020 est.) $803.6 billion (fourth; 2020 est.)
Which African country has a French name?
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What is the most French country in Africa? Democratic Republic of Congo. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the largest concentration of French speakers in all of Africa and has the largest population of any country with French as an official language. This means that even France does not contain as many Francophones as this former Belgian colony.
How many African countries are French?
French in Africa: 29 countries where French is spoken. French is the official language of 21 countries in Africa.
Can you name an African island state where French is spoken?
Like many African nations, Mali is a multilingual country. The official language is French, Bambara is the lingua franca, the national language and the most widely spoken language.