Extracts on Pakistan
12:58 p.m. EST Date: Monday, January 23, 2012:
Q: Still in the region, (on ?) Pakistan. The Pakistan military today fairly categorically rejected the U.S. report on the cross- border incident in November, saying that it was factually inaccurate and accusing the United States of failing to share information. I'm wondering, number one, do you have a response to this? And number two, does this complicate your efforts to right-track the Pakistan relationship?
MS. NULAND: I like that — "right-track." I think I might have to steal that. (Laughter.) We stand by the investigation that CENTCOM conducted. We believe it was done in a thorough manner. I would remind that we did offer to the Pakistani government, to the Pakistani military, that they could participate fully in our investigation and have their own people on our team. They declined to participate. That could have led to more convergence of view, perhaps. But we remain open to continuing to work with the Pakistanis — civilians, military — on the way forward. And we look forward to the completion of their own internal review, so that our work can go forward.
Q: So you don't see in this response from the Pakistan military any sort of qualitatively new example of the lack of — (of the trust gap in dispute ?)? Hasn't this made the trust gap even wider or made it more of a difficult issue to overcome?
MS. NULAND: We have work to do; we're going to have to do it. But I think, first and foremost, we had to let the Pakistanis finish the totality of their own internal review
, come to us and talk to us about what — how they want to take the relationship forward. And then we'll be able to engage fully on the things that we need to do together. (Cross talk.)
MS. NULAND: Still on Pakistan? To Jeff (sp)?
Q: Yes –
Q: No, it's the region –
MS. NULAND: Pakistan.
Q: Well, when you talk of the internal review in Pakistan, the position they are taking today is in fact an illustration of — (inaudible) — this was internally debated; they analyzed the CENTCOM report; then it was approved by the defense coordination committee chaired by the prime minister, then with — General Kayani was also there. And then they have decided to officially convey this message that this is unacceptable and they are rejecting it. So is there any communication on this now?
MS. NULAND: Well, this would be — need to be communicated in military channels. So presumably, if there are official views of the Pakistani military, they're talking to our brothers and sisters at the Pentagon. So I think probably your question is better directed there.
Q: But does these opposite positions taken by United States and Pakistan on this issue make your job of trying to (bend ?) this relationship back on track more difficult?
MS. NULAND: What we want to do is talk through the issues that we don't agree on so that we can go forward. That's what we want to do, whether it's with regard to this incident in military-tomilitary channels or whether it's with regard to the broader relationship.
Q: So they have rejected it. You stand by CENTCOM. What's the next step for this particular report? I mean, that's it; they've rejected it? And where does it go from here?
MS. NULAND: I think I said that we would like to talk about this in military channels. So I think your question with regard to the next step and those channels is better directed to the Pentagon.
Please. Still on –
Q: There's an American citizen of Pakistani descent, Mansoor Ijaz — you probably know his name very well by now — who was supposed to travel to Pakistan and did not in the "Memogate" scandal. He had met American officials in the — in your embassy in Switzerland. Was he given any advice on whether to travel or not? And he was asking for some kind of protection? I mean, what exactly was he asking for?
MS. NULAND: You know, I'm not going to speak to private meetings that we had with an American citizen. I'll leave it to him if he wants to talk about that. But in general, we offer the same kind of services to Americans around the world. They can register with the embassy. If they have any sorts of incidents, whether they are legal, financial, et cetera, we're prepared to give support. But we are not a physical security protection organization. So you know, I think that the degree to which there are meetings with Americans at third-country embassies, they are usually about making clear what an embassy can and cannot do for its citizens who travel abroad and making clear what kind of warnings we might have – travel warnings we might have out to Americans.