Department Press Briefing – January 4, 2023 & More Trending News


2:03 p.m. EST

MR PRICE: Happy Wednesday, everybody.

QUESTION: Happy Wednesday.

MR PRICE: We have two components on the high earlier than we flip to your questions. First, this morning, Secretary Blinken, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Gender Policy Council Klein, and the United States Agency for International Development Administrator Power launched the first-ever whole-of-government U.S. Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security. This technique goals to help girls and ladies world wide, in all their variety, to totally, meaningfully, and equally contribute to and profit from financial progress and world prosperity.

This technique has 4 precedence strains of effort. First is selling financial competitiveness and decreasing wage gaps via well-paying, high quality jobs; second is advancing care infrastructure and valuing home work; third is selling entrepreneurship and monetary and digital inclusion, together with via commerce and funding; and fourth is dismantling systemic limitations to girls’s equitable participation within the economic system.

The Department of State labored with eleven departments and businesses to develop this technique. All of them will every formulate corresponding motion plans and commonly report progress on implementation of this technique.

Next and at last, as we speak we announce the retirement of Ambassador Philip Reeker from his position because the senior advisor for Caucasus negotiations, from the Foreign Service, efficient tomorrow, January fifth. For over thirty years, Ambassador Reeker has epitomized dedication and repair to the division and the folks of the United States of America, together with as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs and as our chargé d’affaires at our embassy in London.

Ambassador Reeker’s work because the senior advisor for Caucasus negotiations accelerated engagement and helped construct a structured course of to carry peace to a troubled area. His contribution reaffirms the significance the United States locations in serving to Armenia and Azerbaijan negotiate a bilateral sustainable peace, in addition to our objective of supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, as lead of our delegation to the Geneva International Discussions. Since the start of Ambassador Reeker’s appointment in August of final yr, it was at all times understood and anticipated that he would serve on this place on a short-term foundation till the top of final yr.

Ambassador Reeker’s departure by no means undermines the United States’ dedication to selling a safe, steady, democratic, affluent, and peaceable future for the South Caucasus area. The United States continues to interact bilaterally with likeminded companions, just like the European Union, and thru worldwide organizations, just like the OSCE, to facilitate direct dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia and to seek out options to all excellent points associated to or ensuing from the Nagorno-Karabakh battle.

Ambassador Reeker’s extraordinary profession on the division has centered on probably the most difficult of our diplomatic endeavors. From his work on peace agreements to his tireless efforts to barter the discharge of detainees, to his work at this very podium, Ambassador Reeker’s efforts have stemmed the tides of battle and altered lives for the higher. On behalf of the division, we thank Phil for his service and need him the very best within the subsequent chapter of his profession. We will all miss him very a lot.

With that, Matt.

QUESTION: Right. Thanks. And let me simply add to your congratulations on Phil’s retirement. You ought to have talked about that larger up, I believe – that he was the deputy spokesman —

MR PRICE: He – I made reference to his work at this very podium.

QUESTION: Well, I do know. Yes, yeah. But it was like a really small reference.

MR PRICE: He has performed so much in his profession.

QUESTION: One would possibly argue that there was – Phil was really the primary person who I ever heard of who obtained up and stated that the Taliban had been about to explode the Bamiyan Buddhas again in pre-9/11 days, and it made a giant impression.

QUESTION: Hear, hear.

QUESTION: So congratulations to Phil on his retirement.

MR PRICE: Yes, certainly. Indeed.

QUESTION: Speaking of Afghanistan, your first opening assertion talked in regards to the Global Women’s Economic Security. And but within the Secretary’s speech, there was one – a one-word point out of Afghanistan in a one-sentence a part of it. Why not spotlight this just a little bit extra, contemplating you could have expressed deep concern and reservations in regards to the state of affairs for girls and ladies in Afghanistan?

MR PRICE: Of course.

QUESTION: And this appeared – this might have appeared like a great alternative to say one thing just a little bit greater than a clause.

MR PRICE: So a pair issues on this, Matt. The occasion this morning was to launch the U.S. Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security. This is an agenda that, as I detailed on the high, has a number of proactive and affirmative components. Unfortunately, our work in relation to supporting the ladies and ladies of Afghanistan proper now’s centered, in the beginning, on looking for to mitigate the harms that the Taliban has inflicted on the ladies and ladies of Afghanistan. This is a technique that applies to girls and ladies world wide – to developed nations, growing nations alike. It is with an ideal diploma of regret that we are saying that girls and ladies in Afghanistan are, sadly, in a class unto their very own.

And there may be one actor that’s answerable for putting them in that class. That is the Taliban. The steps, successive steps, that the Taliban has taken over the course of latest months – first with the edict banning ladies from receiving secondary training, most lately with the edict banning worldwide NGOs working with feminine humanitarian help employees – these are steps that the Secretary has weighed in on in his personal voice. These are actions that the Secretary, in fact, is engaged on. The division as an entire can also be engaged on them. As I discussed yesterday at some size, we’re working with our companions all through the federal government and likewise with likeminded companions world wide to plan an applicable set of penalties that register our condemnation for this outrageous edict on the a part of the Taliban, whereas additionally defending our standing because the world’s main humanitarian supplier for the folks of Afghanistan.

We had been very fast to sentence this, as had been quite a lot of our allies and companions world wide. This occurred on Christmas Eve. We didn’t let the day go by earlier than we lent our voices to condemning this. We’re now engaged on that coverage response, and we’ll have extra to say on the applicable time.

QUESTION: Okay, advantageous. But going again to when the announcement was made, when the administration introduced that it was going to withdraw after which the precise withdrawal, you guys had been saying on a regular basis we’ve got leverage over the Taliban as a result of they need worldwide recognition. They need overseas funding. They need respectability on this planet. And there have been folks – a whole lot of them, together with me from sitting proper right here —

MR PRICE: That was my thought.

QUESTION: Yeah. Who stated, what offers you any motive to suppose that they do? And now you continue to say that. But they’ve performed completely the other, as they did again within the Nineties. What are you able to do? What are your plans? If you actually care, if human rights are actually like on the forefront of this administration’s overseas coverage agenda, and should you actually care about Afghanistan post-withdrawal, what are you going to do?

MR PRICE: Matt, a few issues. We have made no bones in regards to the reality the Taliban have failed. They have both been unable or unwilling to reside as much as the commitments that they’ve made to the United States, however extra importantly to —

QUESTION: Look, Ned, the issue is that they by no means supposed to and also you guys ought to have recognized that primarily based on —

MR PRICE: — the folks of Afghanistan.

QUESTION: Based on their previous historical past, it’s best to have recognized that.

MR PRICE: Matt, look, we’ve got by no means been underneath any illusions in regards to the nature of the Taliban, what they search, and the way they search to go about doing that. But it isn’t the truth that we’ve got been baselessly claiming that the Taliban needs higher relations with the remainder of the world. The Taliban, together with yesterday the appearing commerce minister, publicly requested for nations world wide to spend money on Afghanistan, to interact in overseas direct funding within Afghanistan. That is a transparent a sign as any that the Taliban seeks higher relations with the remainder of the world, that —

QUESTION: I’m sorry, that’s simply – that – what they’re doing, when it comes to insurance policies, not when it comes to needs – sure, if I had my very own nation —

MR PRICE: And the Taliban – the —

QUESTION: — I want to have a ton of overseas funding and would wish to have billions in —

MR PRICE: The Taliban – the Taliban should still be underneath the defective phantasm that they will have it each methods, that they will search higher relations with the world —

QUESTION: Well, then why don’t you show to them that they will’t have it each methods?

MR PRICE: So we’ve got taken a sequence of steps to date. We are contemplating what further steps we will take to make very clear to the Taliban exactly the place the United States stands. But we’re going to do that in a coordinated manner with the remainder of the world so the Taliban hears, continues to listen to, a unified refrain from the remainder of the world, a refrain of condemnation and a sequence of steps which can be coordinated that make very clear the place we stand.


QUESTION: Ned, on this level – simply on —

MR PRICE: Let me go to Nazira, after which I’ll come to you, Said.


QUESTION: Yes (inaudible). Thank you a lot. I used to be there upstairs, that Secretary Blinken —


QUESTION: — was speaking about Afghanistan. I anticipated to say one thing extra, and I attempted to ask query, however I don’t do something in opposition to that protocol. I used to be scared, as a result of prior to now I did – I used to be scared to not lose my job within the delicate time that girls is underneath a whole lot of stress in Afghanistan.

Number two, yesterday, I requested you a query – thanks very a lot; at all times you reply my query – Taliban instantly confirmed response. And the Taliban spokesperson, Bilal Karimi, stated this morning that we don’t care about United States; United States failed the battle, and we defeat them. We pay attention (inaudible) our chief, Mullah Akhund Hasan and Mullah Hibatullah, say. In this example, what’s – you stated we’ve got another choice. What might be subsequent motion of – subsequent motion from the United States to point out – to do to defeat Taliban? They appearing that they’re very highly effective, much more than United States. That’s a tricky state of affairs.

MR PRICE: So that’s the very query that we’re discussing internally and with our allies and companions, what that response – what that exact response to this newest affront to the rights of ladies and ladies however on this case to the entire folks of Afghanistan, together with and positively probably the most neediest – the neediest inside the nation – what that response will seem like. We wish to make very clear the place we stand on this. We’re assessing the impacts that this edict has had and may have. We’re discussing the choices that may finest permit us to take care of a powerful, principled place as the only largest humanitarian donor to Afghanistan whereas additionally doing what we will to forestall the humanitarian state of affairs from deteriorating additional because of the terribly troublesome working setting the Taliban have created in Afghanistan for humanitarian suppliers on this case however for the entire folks of Afghanistan. It’s girls. It’s ladies. It’s ethnic and non secular minorities as properly.

We stay dedicated to serving to to alleviate the struggling of the Afghan folks. There is an amazing quantity of it. We are underneath no illusions about that both. And we’re taking a look at these particular penalties that may be levied in opposition to the Taliban to register the condemnation that they’ve already heard from the remainder of the world. They – as I – the purpose I used to be making to Matt earlier – they can not count on to have it each methods. They can not count on to take these draconian, barbaric steps that forestall alternative for girls and ladies however extra lately inflict such large struggling on the entire folks of Afghanistan and nonetheless look forward to finding a path to improved relations with the remainder of the world. The Taliban might proceed to harbor that defective phantasm. It is our objective with the response that we’re growing internally and with our allies and companions to show them – to show to them that won’t be the case.


QUESTION: Can I observe up? Thank you a lot. Depriving Afghan folks from their primary rights is a giant downside, however harboring the terrorist teams is one other main concern, particularly for the neighboring nations. What measures are being taken to take out the hideouts of – terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan?

MR PRICE: So it is a concern for us as properly. When I made the purpose to Matt that the Taliban has confirmed itself unable or unwilling to meet the commitments it has made, that is definitely a type of commitments. In the U.S.-Taliban settlement, the Taliban made a dedication to see to it that worldwide terrorists wouldn’t function freely inside Afghanistan. The United States has within the operation that we undertook just a few months in the past that eradicated the chief of al-Qaida – who was residing inside, in Kabul – made very clear that the Taliban had not lived as much as that dedication.

But it is a shared concern we’ve got. It is a priority we share with Afghanistan’s neighbors, together with Pakistan. In this case, Pakistan, in fact, has suffered large violence owing to the threats which can be – which have in lots of circumstances emanated from Afghanistan. So we’re dedicated to working with companions, however President Biden additionally has a dedication to behave unilaterally if and when crucial as we did only a few months in the past with Ayman al-Zawahiri to take out threats that emerge in Afghanistan that doubtlessly current a menace to the United States, to our allies, and to our pursuits.

QUESTION: The Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan threatens the highest Pakistani political management, together with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. I hope you could have seen their assertion?

MR PRICE: I’ve, and we condemn any menace of violence from any group, however definitely a menace of violence like this from a terrorist group just like the TTP.

QUESTION: Sir, one final query. Pakistan is planning a large operation in opposition to Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, their hideouts in Pak-Afghan border areas. So what sort of help the United States can supply to assist Pakistan in that type of operation?

MR PRICE: With this, I believe it’s essential that we not lose sight of the larger image. Terrorism stays a scourge that has taken, as I stated earlier than, so many Pakistani, Afghans, and different harmless lives. The United States and Pakistan do certainly have a shared curiosity in making certain that the Taliban reside as much as the commitments and that terrorist teams like ISIS-Ok, just like the TTP, like al-Qaida are not in a position to threaten regional safety. But for questions concerning their plans, I would want to refer you to Pakistani authorities.


QUESTION: Switching matters. Cuba. The embassy I consider as we speak resumed visa operations for immigrants. What does this say each – does this have any implications extra broadly for relations with Cuba? And additionally, what does it say about Havana Syndrome – so-called Havana Syndrome that was the unique motive for decreasing employees ranges there? Is there a notion that there’s not the identical menace degree, not less than in Havana?

MR PRICE: A pair issues on this. So as you talked about, beginning as we speak, the U.S. Embassy in Havana is processing all immigrant visa classes along with present companies supplied in Cuba, which embody American citizen companies in addition to official diplomatic and emergency non-immigrant visas. This is a major step within the restoration of consular companies in Havana. It means all Cuban immigrant visa candidates scheduled for interviews beginning this month will not must journey to Georgetown, Guyana, the place processing was going down. Immigrant visa candidates whose appointments had been initially scheduled in Georgetown, Guyana should nonetheless full case processing in Guyana. Those circumstances is not going to be transferred to Cuba, however going ahead new circumstances might be processed from our embassy in Havana.

The embassy started increasing consular companies in May of 2022 by increasing immigrant visas for fogeys of U.S. residents, and in July of 2022 expanded to incorporate all different classes of instant family members – relative immigrant visas, together with spouses and minor youngsters of U.S. residents as properly. Additionally, in August of final yr DHS resumed processing circumstances in Havana underneath the Cuban Family Reunification Program. The – we stay dedicated to facilitating the protected, orderly, and common migration of Cuban residents to the United States.

To the primary a part of your query, what this speaks to in relation to our broader method to Cuba, I believe it makes actual what we’ve got constantly stated that we search to seek out sensible methods to help the Cuban folks. As I stated only a second in the past, this visa processing, a lot of it’s directed in very sensible methods to help the Cuban folks, together with via household reunification. That has been a spotlight of our visa processing because the begin of this administration. It will proceed to be a spotlight now.

When it involves anomalous well being incidents, we’ve got reviewed our staffing posture at our embassy in Havana on the course of the President, and we’re exploring choices to reinforce staffing to facilitate diplomatic, consular, and civil society engagement with an applicable safety posture, as we do world wide. Our high precedence stays the well being of – and security of U.S. residents abroad, together with in fact our diplomats and their relations, and we’re working to unravel anomalous well being incidents and to supply top-notch care and help to everybody affected.

The investigation into what has brought about these incidents and the way we will shield our folks is ongoing. And this represents a significant effort that’s underway inside the interagency – among the many White House, the Defense Department, Intelligence Community, in addition to Congress and main scientists, all with the enter of the State Department, in fact.

So the truth that we’ve got been in a position to increase our staffing posture at our embassy in Havana is a sign that we’re assured in our means to mitigate the dangers, assured in our means to take prudent steps to guard our folks. But that is one thing we consider and re-evaluate on a – nearly a each day foundation.

QUESTION: Just briefly, you say you’re assured in regards to the – the State Department is assured in regards to the means to mitigate the danger, within the sense that it’s not – there’s not seen as a selected threat in Havana from anomalous well being incidents versus different locations?

MR PRICE: Well, diplomacy is rarely a risk-free endeavor, and our objective— is rarely a risk-free endeavor.

QUESTION: What? Oh, “risk-free.” I believed you stated “risky endeavor.”

MR PRICE: Yes. Yes, it’s by no means a risk-free endeavor. And our intention is rarely to eradicate threat, as a result of we all know that’s inconceivable. Our objective is to mitigate threat, and to conduct our operations responsibly, safely, taking into consideration the entire prudent precautions which can be crucial in posts world wide. And that’s what we’re doing right here.

QUESTION: But you’re – however simply to be particular as to this, you’re trying so as to add folks, not cut back folks, to Havana?

MR PRICE: Over the course of the final yr, we’ve got —

QUESTION: No, I do know, however now, from now —

MR PRICE: Yes, we’ve got added folks, and as we restart this visa processing out of our embassy in Havana, our intention, our hope might be so as to add folks so we will broaden these companies that we’re in a position to present from Havana.


QUESTION: Thank you. Can I alter matters?


QUESTION: While everyone is concentrated on the Ben-Gvir visits yesterday, nobody appears to be taking note of what Mr. Netanyahu intends to do, which is legalize the – what you name unlawful outposts like Evyatar and others. Do you could have a place on this?

MR PRICE: We do. You’re referring, I consider, to the Homesh outpost within the West Bank.


MR PRICE: The Homesh outpost within the West Bank is illegitimate. It is illegitimate even underneath Israeli regulation. Our name to chorus from unilateral steps definitely consists of any determination to create a brand new settlement, to legalize outposts, or permitting constructing of any type deep within the West Bank adjoining to Palestinian communities or on personal Palestinian land.

QUESTION: A pair extra actual fast. The Palestinians are – properly, they’re saying that they – the Security Council will meet tomorrow at an emergency session at 3:00 within the afternoon. Do you could have a place on the assembly of the Security Council to debate Ben-Gvir?

MR PRICE: We have a place on the underlying subject. As you heard me say yesterday, we stand firmly for preservation of the historic establishment with respect to the holy websites in Jerusalem. Any unilateral actions that depart from that historic establishment is unacceptable. To your query, if a member of the Security Council requests a gathering on this subject, as appears to have occurred, we might be able to reiterate our views to our fellow Security Council members.

QUESTION: Okay. And lastly, simply in a short time, on the – on a possible summit, I suppose, in Morocco for the Abraham Accord nations, is the Secretary working or coordinating together with his counterparts to carry such a summit in March?

MR PRICE: We definitely intend to proceed down the Negev Forum course of that was began final yr within the Negev Desert in Israel. The Secretary, in fact, participated together with his counterparts. I do count on that there might be lower-level engagement via the Negev course of, doubtlessly even within the coming days, if – I count on we might have extra particulars to share on that earlier than too lengthy. But sure, because the conclusion of the Negev Forum final yr, the inaugural convening of the Negev Forum, it has at all times been our intention to carry collectively the Negev members on the ministerial degree. Again, we don’t have a selected date in the intervening time to supply, however that continues to be our intention. Because normalization between Israel and its neighbors is one thing that we unambiguously help. We consider it brings alternative to the folks of Israel, to the folks of the area, and we search to assist Israel and its neighbors construct these bridges of alternative.


QUESTION: Thank you. Several months earlier than, Secretary Blinken had spoken about that he’ll take steps to cut back the visa backlog in India. Instead of reducing, it’s gone as much as greater than thousand days, typically 1,200 days. What steps the U.S. is taking to cut back these visa backlog, as a result of that is impacting people-to-people and business-to-business ties between the 2 nations?

MR PRICE: Certainly perceive these frustrations. And I can let you know that it’s a precedence of the Secretary and of the division to do every part we will to cut back that backlog and finally to cut back the wait occasions. We are dedicated to safeguarding nationwide safety whereas facilitating respectable journey to nonimmigrant vacationers, and we all know that well timed visa processing is crucial to the U.S. economic system and to the administration’s objective of household reunification.

We have made nice strides in recovering from pandemic-related closures and staffing challenges, however we’re nonetheless working to answer the numerous demand for visa companies. And that demand for visa companies has solely elevated as pandemic restrictions have eased in nations the world over and persons are in search of alternatives to journey to the United States.

We are efficiently decreasing visa wait occasions worldwide. We have doubled our hiring of U.S. Foreign Service personnel to do that essential work. Visa processing is recovering sooner than projected, and over the approaching yr we count on to succeed in pre-pandemic processing ranges. We issued extra pupil visas in Fiscal Year 2022 than in any yr since 2016. Our embassy and consulates in India, specifically, broke their all-time document for the variety of pupil visas issued in a single fiscal yr. We issued almost 125,000 pupil visas. We in fact acknowledge that some candidates should still face prolonged visa wait occasions, and we’re making each effort to additional cut back visa interview appointment wait occasions as rapidly as attainable in India and world wide, together with for first-time vacationer visa candidates.

QUESTION: This yr being – India being the G20 head, there’s a whole lot of actions with the 2 nations. Do you could have a timeline for the two+2, the annual mega occasion with the 2 nations?

MR PRICE: I don’t have a date to announce simply but, but it surely is a crucial alternative for the Secretary, for the Secretary of Defense, to interact with their Indian counterparts each single yr. It’s a chance to debate the breadth of our Global Strategic Partnership that we’ve got with India. The Secretary will in fact have most likely a number of alternatives to journey to India over the course of the yr, given India’s internet hosting of the G20 – one thing we sit up for participating and positively sit up for a profitable G20 underneath India’s auspices.

QUESTION: And lastly, another factor on the Taliban half, should you can return. There’s a confrontation between the Taliban and the Pakistani military nowadays. Have you taken notice of it? What do you suppose – make out of this?

MR PRICE: Sorry, might you repeat that query?

QUESTION: There’s a confrontation between Taliban and the Pakistani military. What do you – how do you see this?

MR PRICE: We know that the Pakistani have – Pakistani folks have suffered tremendously from terrorist assaults. We know that the Taliban have made commitments to curbing the flexibility of worldwide terrorists to have the ability to function on Afghan soil. We proceed to name on the Taliban to uphold these counterterrorism commitments.

Yes, Alex.

QUESTION: Ned, thanks a lot. Happy hump day.


QUESTION: A few questions on – housekeeping questions involving Ambassador Reeker, after which I’ve a pair extra on (inaudible) —


QUESTION: — should you stick with me. Who is the purpose particular person proper now on this constructing overseeing U.S. mediating efforts within the South Caucasus?

MR PRICE: Well, proper now Ambassador Reeker, fortuitously, continues to be a State Department worker, not less than for one more 24 hours or so. Upon his departure, this is a matter that may proceed to obtain consideration from senior-level officers on this constructing. As you realize, Secretary Blinken is personally invested on this course of; he’s demonstrated that non-public funding by bringing collectively the leaders of – his counterparts from Armenia and Azerbaijan by talking with them commonly. I count on he’ll have a chance within the coming days to re-engage by cellphone together with his counterparts in Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Karen Donfried, our assistant secretary for Europe and Eurasian Affairs, additionally performs a number one position in these efforts. But it’s one thing that we are going to stay dedicated to going ahead.

QUESTION: And will his place as particular envoy be vacant or store is closed?

MR PRICE: I don’t have something so as to add in relation to personnel. But I do have one thing to emphasise in relation to coverage, and that’s what I stated on the high. This by no means diminishes our dedication to selling a safe, steady, democratic, and affluent South Caucasus area.

QUESTION: And you stated that your – his departure is not going to – by no means undermine your efforts.

MR PRICE: That’s proper.

QUESTION: But are you able to give us extra – are you able to give extra efforts, apart from the cellphone calls, to persuade the Azerbaijanis, Armenians, and Georgians that that would be the case transferring ahead?

MR PRICE: Well, what you’ve seen from us so far, each underneath Ambassador Reeker’s tenure and underneath the tenure of his predecessor as properly, we’ve got engaged bilaterally. We have engaged with likeminded companions just like the EU. We’ve engaged with worldwide organizations just like the OSCE to facilitate direct dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia to seek out options to all of these points associated to or ensuing from the Nagorno-Karabakh battle. Our method is just not going to vary. Our method is one in all facilitation, serving to the events themselves to sit down down collectively in a constructive manner, and to ideally obtain progress to what’s finally a complete, long-term answer.

QUESTION: So there’s no connection between his retirement, announcement of his retirement, and likewise the truth that his newest effort to carry the ministers collectively in December didn’t pan out?

MR PRICE: Of course not. This was at all times supposed to be a moderately short-term task on the a part of Ambassador Reeker. He’s somebody who took on this task on the request of the Secretary after what had been a storied profession. He’s been ambassador many occasions over, most lately the chargé on the Court of St. James, stood on the very podium, has served as our assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs. This is somebody who has been world wide, been across the block on this division, and it was at all times his intention to step down on the finish of final yr.

QUESTION: Thanks a lot. Moving to Russia, I’m certain you could have seen the media studies that Putin – studies on Putin sending new hypersonic cruise missiles to Atlantic. There are additionally studies that the ship would additionally sail within the Mediterranean Sea. Just was questioning if the division has any place on that.

MR PRICE: I’d refer you to the Department of Defense for any explicit place on this. From right here, it isn’t our follow to weigh in on propaganda workouts.


QUESTION: Thank you. I’ve two questions. Russia and North Korea and South Korea (inaudible).


QUESTION: It was reported that Russia despatched a letter of appreciation to North Korea for supporting a particular navy operation within the battle with Ukraine. Can you share any data on what North Korea particularly supported to North Korea – I imply, supported to Russia? I’m sorry.

MR PRICE: Yes. So we’ve got made no secret of the very fact – and in reality, we’ve got supplied data that speaks to the help that the DPRK has supplied to Russia, apparently at Russian – at Russia’s request. The DPRK has supplied wanted safety help, sending this help via third nations. We launched data on the finish of final yr, chatting with the DPRK’s provision of safety help to the Wagner Group specifically.

The reality is that due to the sanctions, due to the export controls that the United States and dozens of nations world wide have levied in opposition to Moscow, Moscow has been pressured to search for nontraditional safety companions – nations like Iran, nations just like the DPRK. In some circumstances, Moscow has not had a sturdy safety relationship with these nations. That in and of itself has posed a problem to Russia, making an attempt to combine such a help that it has been pressured to hunt out.

And due to all of this, the Ukrainians are and have been in a position to show their efficacy on the battlefield. They have been placing to extraordinary use the weapons and the provides that the United States and our companions world wide have supplied to them. We’ve seen proof of that success and efficacy even in latest days.

QUESTION: Is there any proof that North Korean particular forces supported to Russia besides – beside arms?

MR PRICE: I don’t have something so as to add on that.

QUESTION: Okay. One extra on South Korea. South Korean Government introduced that it was contemplating suspending the September 19 navy settlement with North Korea as a result of North Korea violated the settlement 17 occasions after signing the 9/19 settlement. Can you share the U.S. view on this?

MR PRICE: Well, I can share our view on what you raised. We are involved in regards to the DPRK’s obvious disregard of the 2018 Comprehensive Military Agreement and calls – and we name on it to finish its irresponsible and escalatory conduct. The DPRK has continued to interact in a sequence of provocations, together with those that you simply alluded to. Regarding a attainable abrogation of this Comprehensive Military Agreement, we’d must refer you to the ROK Government on that.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR PRICE: Thanks. Shaun.

QUESTION: Could we keep in Asia? China – extra on China and COVID. The World Health Organization stated as we speak that it believes that China is undercounting the COVID circumstances. Is that an evaluation that the United States agrees with? And just a little bit extra broadly, how do you assess the position of the World Health Organization? The earlier administration was not particularly pleased with the WHO’s efficiency initially of COVID-19, initially of the pandemic. How do you assess how the WHO is dealing with what’s occurring proper now?

MR PRICE: Sure. We – the CDC, I ought to say – when it introduced the pre-departure COVID testing requirement for vacationers coming from the PRC, made a pair factors. The CDC advisable this method due to the unfold of COVID inside the PRC, the prevalence of COVID inside the PRC, but in addition due to the shortage of sufficient and clear epidemiological and viral genomic sequence information being reported from the PRC. It’s the shortage of transparency that has compounded our concern for the potential for a variant to emerge within the PRC and doubtlessly to unfold properly past its borders.

We aren’t going to characterize discussions between the PRC and the WHO. Those discussions passed off yesterday. Senior WHO officers have, over the course of the day, characterised not solely these discussions however their evaluation of what they’ve seen, however extra appropriately, what they haven’t seen from the PRC. We’ve seen the assertion from the WHO’s emergencies director that the present numbers being printed in China underrepresent the true impression of the illness when it comes to hospital admissions, when it comes to ICU admissions, notably when it comes to deaths. I consider the identical official went on to say that we don’t – we nonetheless don’t have full information. That, in fact, is the WHO’s evaluation. They are in the very best place to make an evaluation, as a result of PRC officers lately took half in discussions with them, discussions that included a proper presentation.

When it involves the WHO, the WHO is an indispensable group. It is a company that’s always essential. It is particularly essential within the midst of what nonetheless continues to be a pandemic that’s having implications the world over, not solely when it comes to sickness and dying however when it comes to the knock-on results, the financial results, the inflationary pressures, the provision chain disruptions as properly. This is a company that, at its finest, could be efficient when it comes to their response. Just as importantly, it may be terribly helpful when it comes to increase resilience in order that the world could be ready for the emergence of the following outbreak, hopefully staunching it earlier than it turns into an epidemic or, at worst, a pandemic.

They’re – like all organizations, in fact we consider they’re – it’s attainable to optimize its operations. From the earliest day, actually, of this administration, we reengaged with the WHO out of the information of its indispensability, but in addition out of the assumption that by – via re-engagement, we might assist the WHO in its efforts to meet its essential mandate.

Kylie, go forward.

QUESTION: Just a follow-up on that.


QUESTION: Tomorrow the restrictions for vacationers coming from China go into impact within the U.S. So might you simply communicate to how these restrictions are a part of an effort to maintain out any potential new COVID variants or detect any potential COVID variants from coming to the U.S.?

MR PRICE: Well, that is actually a greater query for the CDC. They are those which can be administering this method. They had been those that introduced it. Of course, this was an method that’s primarily based on science. It is predicated on the very best medical recommendation that emanates from the CDC and its peer organizations. So I’m hesitant to delve too far into this.

But the purpose we’ve made repeatedly is that when COVID is spreading wherever, however particularly when COVID is spreading with such prevalence in a rustic as populous and as massive as China, in fact there may be the potential for variants to emerge. We have seen variants emerge apparently from different areas of the world which have finally reached the United States. This is a transnational – all public well being threats are, by their very definition, transnational. We wish to do all we will to see to it that the PRC will get this underneath management and to place in place prudent steps in order that we do every part we will to forestall the unfold of any potential variants, ought to they emerge past any nation’s borders.

QUESTION: And can I simply ask you one home query? Given that we’re going into day two with Congress nonetheless type of in havoc, not in a position to choose a speaker, what’s your message to U.S. allies who’re watching this in regards to the state of the U.S. political system?

MR PRICE: Our message has by no means been that democracy is neat or that democracy is seamless when it comes to its operations. But what the – what we’re seeing, what the world is seeing, are our democratic establishments at work. The reality is that that is —

QUESTION: Or not at work.

MR PRICE: Well, no. The reality is that these are the processes that –

QUESTION: Sorry. What work has the House gotten performed within the final day and a half?

MR PRICE: These are the —

QUESTION: What work have they gotten performed?

MR PRICE: They are seeing our democracy at work, as a result of the processes which were written into questions just like the management, the elected management of the House of Representative – House of Representative – House of Representatives, that’s what is governing this course of, and that’s what members are complying with and abiding by. That’s what the world – that’s what the world is watching. Democracy isn’t at all times – it isn’t at all times with out its issues. But when processes are adopted, establishments are revered, finally the end result is one that everybody can get behind.

QUESTION: Ned, that is the primary time that this has occurred in a few hundred years. So, I imply, what does that present the remainder of the world? I imply, is the U.S. political system as steady because it has – in a extra unstable place now than it has been lately?

MR PRICE: Look, I’m not going to characterize the U.S. political system. I’ll simply say that there’s a course of that’s being hewed to proper now by elected lawmakers. We noticed Americans end up – in some circumstances in document numbers – within the midterm elections to vote for the 118th Congress. That 118th Congress is now participating within the course of that’s set out within the bylaws of the House of Representatives. That in itself is a testomony to the functioning of democracy, even when that functioning could also be taking just a bit bit longer than it has prior to now hundred years or so.

QUESTION: Can I ask a query on Iran?

MR PRICE: Let me transfer round to —

QUESTION: Yeah, please. Go forward.

MR PRICE: — individuals who haven’t requested a query but. Yes.

QUESTION: Today it was introduced that Jarrett Blanc, the particular – the deputy particular envoy for Iran, is leaving State Department. He was very a lot concerned within the nuclear speak. What is the explanation behind this departure, and do we’ve got a brand new appointee for this place?

MR PRICE: So Jarrett is a Department of Energy National Nuclear Safety Administration worker, and after almost two years on element – that’s to say, he was on mortgage from DOE to the Department of State – he’s returning to his residence company, the place he might be managing particular initiatives for the Secretary of Energy and the NNSA administrator. The Department of Energy is a important accomplice in shaping U.S. coverage on Iran’s nuclear program, and in his new position, Jarrett will stay concerned on this subject, and returning to his residence company after two years is a standard personnel transfer.

QUESTION: So in nature, this departure is completely different than Richard Nephew’s departure?

MR PRICE: I’m not going to —


MR PRICE: I’m not going to match the 2, however it’s true that Richard Nephew was not a detailee. Richard was then and now’s once more a direct rent by the Department of State. Jarrett is a detailee from the Department of Energy and he’s returning to his residence company.

QUESTION: Today, two senators – Ted Cruz and Jim Risch – they named Iran as one of many largest essential political challenges that U.S. is going through in 2023. Do you could have the identical evaluation?

MR PRICE: Of course. There is not any denying that Iran presents one of the crucial advanced challenges we face. That has been the case over the course of successive administrations. Its nuclear program has been the main focus of successive administrations. Its malign actions all through the Middle East and in some circumstances doubtlessly even past has been the main focus of successive administrations, because it has been throughout this administration. And now what it’s doing to its personal folks – the repression, the violence that it’s perpetrating in opposition to the courageous Iranians who’re taking to the streets; and the navy help, the safety help that it’s offering to Russia – all of those are compounded and symbolize what’s undeniably one of the crucial troublesome challenges we face.

QUESTION: Ned, an Iranian official stated final week – I believe it was Saturday – that issues aren’t that bleak or don’t look that bleak for returning to the – to the nuclear deal. What is your evaluation?

MR PRICE: We spoke to this yesterday, however at each step of the best way, the Iranians have given —

QUESTION: During the time —

MR PRICE: — have given us no motive to place any inventory or religion into the statements that they’ve made, the assessments that they’ve put ahead. We had a chance to place that proposition to the take a look at only a few brief months in the past in September. There was a deal to mutually return to the JCPOA that was on the desk that was accepted by all events. That finally went nowhere solely as a result of the Iranians weren’t ready to just accept it, and in reality they reneged on that deal.

The JCPOA hasn’t been on the agenda for some months now. Of course, on the high of our agenda has been doing every part we will to help the common rights of the folks of Iran and to counter this burgeoning safety relationship between Iran and Russia.

QUESTION: So what could be the one factor that the Iranians might say this week to reinject life into the method subsequent week?

MR PRICE: Look, proper now our focus is on the protests, our focus is on what Iran is offering to Russia and what in flip Russia is doing with these supplies and wares to the folks of Ukraine.

QUESTION: One extra on Iran?

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)


QUESTION: One extra on Iran.


QUESTION: Charlie Hebdo, the satirical newspaper, has some cartoons of Ayatollah Khamenei. The Iranian – the regime is just not very joyful about these cartoons. They’ve summoned the French ambassador, calling for simply the prohibition of the publication. Does the United States wish to weigh in on that? Is there a view —

MR PRICE: We would solely weigh in on the aspect of freedom of expression, and freedom of expression is a worth, it’s a common proper that we shield, we uphold, we promote the world over, whether or not that’s in France, whether or not that’s in Iran, whether or not that’s wherever in between.

Let me – sure.

QUESTION: Ned, one last on Iran, please.

MR PRICE: Go forward, sure.

QUESTION: Yes, hello. The Libyan minister of oil and gasoline is on the town, in D.C. Does he have any scheduled assembly on the division?

MR PRICE: I’m not conscious. We’ll verify on that and get again to you if there may be any engagement with the Department of State.

QUESTION: And my second query is on Lebanon. The Lebanese overseas minister was right here, and he – I consider he met Barbara Leaf. Did you give the Lebanese any guarantees concerning sanctions waiver in the event that they wish to import gasoline from Egypt and electrical energy from Jordan? Is there any replace?

MR PRICE: Sorry, is there —

QUESTION: Any replace on that sanctions waiver?

MR PRICE: There – we don’t have any replace to supply from right here. Of course, we’ve got common discussions with our Lebanese counterparts, with our Lebanese companions, emphasizing to them the necessity of – the necessity for the Lebanese Government to place the pursuits of their nation first and to create and maintain a authorities in a position to implement long-overdue reforms important to unlocking the worldwide help that Lebanon so clearly wants. But I don’t have an replace so that you can supply in relation to any sanctions, any method to – change in our method to sanctions.


QUESTION: Thank you, Ned. There is an impression being created in Pakistan that the U.S. principally needs Pakistan to take some motion in opposition to the terrorist hideouts on the border. Is there such encouragement?

MR PRICE: This is a menace that Pakistan itself faces, going again to what I used to be telling your colleague only a second in the past. Militants, terrorist teams working within the border areas, working inside Afghanistan, have claimed far too many Pakistani lives. Of course, Pakistan has each proper to defend itself. This is finally, in some circumstances, a shared menace to the area, and it’s one we take very severely, as do our Pakistani companions, in fact.

QUESTION: But Pakistan – however the U.S. is just not, like, encouraging Pakistan to take such motion? That’s – if I’m right on that, the U.S. is just not encouraging that Pakistan ought to take motion.

MR PRICE: Pakistan will do what’s in its self-interest, and it’ll take motion when it deems applicable primarily based on the inherent proper of self-defense.

QUESTION: But Pakistan has been saying the identical factor for 20 years. When the U.S. was there and greater than hundred thousand NATO troops had been there, Pakistan had the identical considerations that these terrorists throughout the border conduct terrorist actions after which they return. So how will the – if the U.S. couldn’t do it together with the NATO forces, how can the Taliban regulate such hideouts and – like, is it attainable? Do you see one thing like that?

MR PRICE: It’s clear that this has been an everlasting problem. It’s been an everlasting problem for the United States, for NATO, however definitely for Afghanistan’s neighbors, who’ve usually most steadily been the victims of assaults which have emanated from Afghanistan. Pakistan is an in depth accomplice, an in depth safety accomplice. We work carefully collectively to do what is suitable to confront shared and mutual threats in addition to shared alternatives, however I’m not going to talk to any plans or operations that the Pakistanis could also be taking or considering.

QUESTION: Okay. Just another factor on the identical (inaudible). If such factor had been to occur, the U.S. is conscious that on each aspect of the border area, there are largely Pashtun inhabitants, and this might result in a extreme warlike situation between this ethnicity as properly. I’m certain the U.S. is conscious of that, proper?

MR PRICE: I’m simply not going to weigh in on a hypothetical. Of course, too many Pakistanis have – the lives of too many Pakistanis have been taken because of cross-border violence. The terrorist menace emanating from Afghanistan has prior to now not solely offered a menace to Pakistan however to the area and, in some circumstances, as we all know all too properly, properly past. So these are questions for the Pakistani Government. We are a accomplice to Pakistan, however finally its selections are its selections.


QUESTION: Two questions. Russia’s particular envoy for the Middle East, Safronkov, stated as we speak that the United States is withdrawing itself from the work of the Quartet, the Middle East settlement. Is it – is the United States nonetheless excited by working with the Quartet, have you learnt?

MR PRICE: I’m not conscious that we’ve made any formal determination concerning the Quartet or any formal assertion concerning the Quartet. Of course, the Quartet is concentrated on Israeli-Palestinian points. We have made no secret about the truth that, in our estimation, we’re not on the precipice of any significant engagement between Israelis and Palestinians in the direction of that two-state answer. Our focus, subsequently, has been on doing what we will within the interim to assist set the situations: re-engaging with the Palestinian Authority, re-engaging with the Palestinian folks, persevering with to take care of our ironclad dedication to Israel’s safety, persevering with to advance and deepen our partnership with Israel, all in ways in which over time we hope will assist create the situations for significant progress in the direction of that final finish objective of a two-state answer.

QUESTION: Do you suppose in 2023 we’re going to see Russian and U.S. embassies coming again to regular staffing?

MR PRICE: That is a greater query for Moscow, and that’s a greater query for Moscow as a result of Moscow has sadly imposed onerous restrictions on our staffing posture on the embassy in Moscow. We in fact have been curtailed when it comes to what we’ve been in a position to do and supply from that platform because of these onerous restrictions. All we search is reciprocity. We search to have in Moscow what the Russians have within the United States. That’s the precept that we search to train the world over with our diplomatic relationships and our reciprocal missions, and we proceed to work on these questions with Moscow and we hope to see progress.

QUESTION: Well, however actually – I’m sorry, I don’t wish to drag this out any extra, however simply can you discover out once you say you need – what you need is reciprocity, are you – when it comes to presence in one another’s nation? That doesn’t embody the UN, does it?

MR PRICE: The UN is just not a —

QUESTION: Because should you’re going to – as a result of should you’re going so as to add – should you’re going to say that the Russians must provide the similar quantity as they’ve in New York and in Washington —

MR PRICE: The UN doesn’t represent a bilateral mission to the United States.

QUESTION: Okay. So it —

MR PRICE: That is true.


MR PRICE: The Russians have extra diplomats within the United States of their bilateral services than we do in Russia.

QUESTION: But not together with the UN?

MR PRICE: That’s proper. That’s proper.

QUESTION: Okay. And then when was the final time the Quartet met at any —

MR PRICE: I used to be – I used to be wracking my mind myself.

QUESTION: — at any degree?

MR PRICE: I used to be wracking my mind. That is a query for the historical past books. I don’t know.

QUESTION: Do you could have an replace as to when Lynne Tracy might be arriving?

MR PRICE: I do know she needs to reach simply as quickly as she will. She was simply confirmed late final yr. Obviously she’s been serving as an envoy within the area. She’s concluding that service shortly and might be in Moscow simply as quickly as she will.

Alex, last query?

QUESTION: Thank you, Ned. Two last on Iran, please. Ukrainian intelligence as we speak revealed that Iranian drones include components from 13 – one-three – completely different American corporations. Was the division conscious of this reality? And is anybody on this constructing protecting good monitor of the supplies manufactured within the U.S. that Iran has its arms on, both instantly or via resellers?

MR PRICE: We’re definitely conscious of those studies. This is one thing that we’re centered on. As you realize, our method has been to deprive, to systematically starve Russia of the inputs that it must prosecute its brutal battle of aggression in opposition to the folks of Ukraine. And so studies that Russia has been in a position to get its arms on wanted elements from Western nations, doubtlessly even together with the United States, that’s one thing that we’re taking an in depth take a look at. It’s one thing that we’re partaking personal trade with. Supply chain safety is one thing that’s particularly essential in a case like this to make sure that distributors know the place their merchandise are going, to make sure that we share data as applicable and related with the personal sector as properly. And if there are further steps we will take, together with further export restrictions, that’s one thing we’ll take an in depth take a look at as properly.

QUESTION: Just (inaudible), you meant Iran, not Russia? Just to —

MR PRICE: I’m sorry, Iran.

QUESTION: So lastly, again to (inaudible) query, is the administration reconsidering whether or not or to not preserve the Iran negotiator place now that we all know the President stated the deal is useless, until the phrase “dead” has completely different which means on this constructing?

MR PRICE: So Rob Malley’s place is a broad one, and naturally firstly of this administration he was primarily centered on efforts to attain a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA. More lately, now that the JCPOA has not been on the agenda for a number of months, Rob has been very centered on what we will do to help the common rights of the Iranian folks, these Iranians who’re taking to the streets to train these basic rights, but in addition what we will do as a authorities to counteract Iran’s broader malign affect and actions, together with its provision of safety help to Russia, however along with the entire different malign actions that we’ve talked about as we speak and in latest weeks.

Thanks, everybody.

(The briefing was concluded at 3:01 p.m.)

# # #

Department Press Briefing – January 4, 2023

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Department Press Briefing – January 4, 2023

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