(AGENPARL) – mar 27 settembre 2022 You are subscribed to Collected Releases for U.S. Department of State. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.
09/26/2022 07:53 PM EDT
Ned Price, Department Spokesperson
1:52 p.m. EDT
MR PRICE: We saw many of you last week in New York. Speaking of last week in New York, the world came together last week to spotlight and – in nearly all cases – reaffirm the principles at the core of the UN Charter. President Biden cited one of his predecessors, President Truman, who heralded the charter as proof that nations can, quote “state their differences, can face them, and then can find common ground on which to stand.”
 And last week we witnessed a tremendous amount of common ground among the UN’s member- states regarding Russia’s illegal, unjustified invasion of Ukraine. Country after country – in both the Security Council and General Assembly – condemned Russia’s war and called for an end to the invasion.
They did so because not only is the Kremlin’s war an assault on Ukraine, but it is also a stark affront to the principles at the heart of the UN Charter: sovereignty, the independence of states, the inviolability of national borders, the tenets of peace and security.
These are the principles that apply equally in Europe as they do anywhere – and everywhere – around the world.
The statements from world leaders in New York crystallized the stakes, but so too did the statements and actions that emanated from Moscow. President Putin did perhaps as much as anyone last week to further isolate Russia and bolster international resolve to stand with Ukraine.
His nuclear saber-rattling, the sham referenda, his partial mobilization, and the broad – and sometimes violent – crackdown on Russians exercising their universal rights were galvanizing, but almost certainly not in the way that President Putin intended.
These actions from President Putin signal very – signal very clearly that he knows he is losing. He’s on his back heels. And he’s making every attempt to intimidate those who would stand up to him. We – along with our allies and partners around the world – are not going to bow to intimidation.
So let me state once again: the so-called referenda Russia is holding right now in the sovereign Ukrainian regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, and Donetsk are a total sham. The United States will never recognize seized Ukrainian territory as anything other than part of Ukraine. We stand by Ukraine’s sovereignty.
As you saw today, we are increasing our support to our Ukrainian partners. The Secretary announced an additional $457.5 million in civilian security assistance to enhance the efforts of Ukrainian law enforcement and criminal justice agencies to improve their operational capacity and save lives as they continue to help defend the Ukrainian people, their freedom, and their democracy from the Kremlin’s brutal war of aggression.
This new tranche of aid brings the total – brings the total the United States has committed to our Ukrainian law enforcement and criminal justice partners, since mid-December 2021, to more than $645 million. The provision of additional protective equipment, medical supplies, and armored vehicles to the National Police of Ukraine and the State Border Guard Service has significantly reduced casualties for Ukrainian civilians and their defenders.
In addition to continuing and expanding our direct assistance to Ukrainian law enforcement, a portion of this new assistance will also continue U.S. support for the Ukrainian government’s efforts to document, investigate, and prosecute atrocities perpetrated by Russia’s forces, drawing on our longstanding relationship with the Ukrainian criminal justice agencies.
The United States stands side by side with the Ukrainian people, and we remain committed to supporting a democratic, independent, and sovereign Ukraine.
With that, Matt.
QUESTION: Thanks, Ned. Just on the additional aid, is it possible – you don’t have to do it here, but if someone’s got it – to break that down in terms of what goes to – I’m particularly interested in how much is going to go to the prosecutors and the – for the investigation, but it would be good to know if we could get – how much is going to go armored vehicles and how much is going to go to PPE and that kind of thing.
MR PRICE: Understood.
QUESTION: Is that possible to do?
MR PRICE: Okay.
QUESTION: Okay. Secondly, which is not Ukraine specifically – and I know that your colleague at the White House was asked about this – but you’ve seen President Putin giving Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden. Back in 2013 when you guys – this building, the State Department during the Obama administration – revoked his passport, it was made clear by one of your predecessors that this did not affect his citizenship; that he was still, as far as the U.S. Government is concerned, an American citizen. And I just want to know if that is still – and I’m not asking about any kind of prosecution, so please don’t refer me to the Justice Department. Is it still the belief of the administration that he is a U.S. citizen?
MR PRICE: I’m not aware of any change in his citizenship status. I am —
MR PRICE: — familiar with the fact that he has in some ways denounced his American citizenship. I don’t know that he’s renounced it.
QUESTION: Right. Well, no, he hasn’t. And in fact, when he applied for citizenship, he said he wasn’t going to renounce it. But I just —
MR PRICE: And —
QUESTION: But there are ways in which the U.S. Government can revoke one’s citizenship. And as far as I know, he doesn’t meet any of the – or hasn’t met any of the criteria yet. One of the four is committing an act of treason, which I know you’ll refer to the Justice Department on. But I just want to make sure that as far as you’re concerned, he remains an American citizen, so he is now a dual U.S.-Russian citizen.
MR PRICE: Our position has not changed. Mr. Snowden should return to the United States, where he should face justice as any other American citizen would. Perhaps the only thing that has changed is that, as a result of his Russian citizenship, apparently now he may well be conscripted to fight in Russia’s war in Ukraine.
QUESTION: All right, last thing and this has to do specifically with your comments about President Putin and his – what he did last – the reaction to what he has recently announced last week at the UN as it – or during the UN as it relates to sovereignty and territorial integrity. And I just want to make sure that I understand correctly that your “one China” policy, right, means that Taiwan is part of China and that you respect Chinese territorial integrity and sovereignty over Taiwan.
MR PRICE: Matt, our “one China” policy has not changed. Our “one China” policy has not changed in the sum of 40 years.
QUESTION: Well, what does your “one China” policy say about Chinese territorial integrity for —
MR PRICE: Very, very basically, we don’t take a position on sovereignty. But our “one China” policy has not changed. That is a – that is a position we made very clear in public. It is a position that Secretary Blinken made very clear in private to Wang Yi when he met with him on Friday.
QUESTION: Does that mean that Taiwan is part of China? I mean, it’s one China, right?
MR PRICE: Again, Said, our one policy – our “one China” policy has not changed. We don’t take a position on s sovereignty. But the policy that has been at the crux of our approach to Taiwan since 1979 remains in effect today.
What we want to see continue, what we want to see preserved, is the status quo – precisely because the status quo since 1979, more than 40 years now, has undergirded peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We want to see that continue. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the same could be said of the PRC, which has become only more coercive and intimidating in its actions and its maneuvers across the Taiwan Strait.
QUESTION: Just to follow up on that, can – if Vladimir Putin has conferred Russian citizenship on Edward Snowden today as they say, does that mean he automatically loses his American citizenship, whether or not he’s renounced it?
MR PRICE: I’m not aware of any change in his American citizenship status. I’m not aware that anything has happened yet when it comes to that. Mr. Snowden is apparently now a Russian citizen, and again, that makes him subject to any Russian decrees that may come down, including the one we heard about last week.
QUESTION: What are your bets on that? Let me ask you a China question —
QUESTION: One second. This is kind of interesting. Because if he is now – you say he’s now a Russian citizen, but he’s also an American citizen, right?
MR PRICE: Well, I didn’t say that. I said the – obviously, the Russians have put out a formal decree.
QUESTION: Yes, exactly.
MR PRICE: Yes.
QUESTION: But, so apparently he is both, U.S. and Russian citizen. Now, when it comes to Iran – so U.S. – American – the Iranian Government does not treat U.S. dual-nationals as dual‑nationals, right? They treat them only as single, and you deplore that and you denounce it when they get arrested and charged under Iranian law. And yet here, you seem to be happy by the – or you seem to be enjoying the idea —
MR PRICE: There’s —
QUESTION: — that somehow now as a Russian citizen, Ed Snowden could – Edward Snowden could be conscripted.
MR PRICE: There’s no emotion attached to my voice, Matt. I am just saying that a Russian citizen – he would presumably be subject to Russian laws.
QUESTION: A related question on China. Can you tell us whether during the President’s – excuse me, the Secretary of State’s meeting with Wang Yi on Friday he brought up the issue of wrongfully detained American Kai Li who’s been detained for five years in China?
MR PRICE: In just about every single one of our engagements around the world at senior levels, we raise cases of American detainees, Americans who are wrongfully detained; when appropriate and applicable, Americans who are being held hostage around the world. We have consistently raised cases of Americans who are wrongfully detained in China or who are otherwise unable to freely depart the PRC. We will continue to do that until such cases are resolved.
QUESTION: Well, was it raised in this instance on Friday?
MR PRICE: I’m – it is something we consistently raise.
QUESTION: But that doesn’t – that doesn’t – can you take the question of whether it was raised on Friday?
MR PRICE: It is – we issued a readout of this. It’s something we consistently raise. But we’re not in a position to go beyond that readout.
QUESTION: What is the latest on Kai Li case, and do we have consular access?
MR PRICE: We’ll have to get back to you on the question of consular access. But these are cases that we regularly do discuss with our PRC counterparts. These are cases that the embassy in Beijing routinely works on, just in the same way that our embassies around the world work on behalf of American citizens who are wrongfully detained, but when it comes to all instances of Americans who are detained around the world to provide them appropriate consular support in line with the Vienna Convention on consular access.
QUESTION: One last China and Russia and Korea, okay, Chinese issues. There are reports that Russia is pushing to recruit Chinese Russian soldiers to fight Ukraine. If this is true, then China will engage in military cooperation with Russia. How would you assess this? Did you ever hear about this?
MR PRICE: Could you repeat the first part of the question?
QUESTION: Yeah. There are reports that Russia is pushing to China – I mean Chinese Russian soldiers to fight Ukraine – I mean, this – who are Chinese living in Russia (inaudible).
MR PRICE: Chinese nationals living in Russia who wouldn’t go fight in Ukraine?
MR PRICE: I am not familiar with these reports. With – as I mentioned a moment ago, when it comes to the Secretary’s engagement with Wang Yi on Friday, there was a discussion of Russia and its illegal, unjustified invasion of Ukraine. This, of course, was also a topic of conversation at the UN. We heard from Wang Yi himself in the UN Security Council. Wang Yi, during that setting, made very clear that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be safeguarded, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be abided by, all parties concerned should exercise restraint and avoid words and deeds that aggravate confrontation.
So the test will be whether these words from the PRC are actually implemented. We have made clear, and the Secretary made clear again to his PRC counterpart on Friday, that we are watching very closely. We know that Russia has sought assistance from the PRC. We know early on in this conflict that Russia lodged a request for military assistance. We made that public at the time. We warned both publicly and privately at the time that the PRC would face consequences if it provided security assistance to Russia or if it assisted Russia, in a systematic way, evade sanctions.
We haven’t seen the PRC do either of those. We’re continuing to watch very closely. But again, our message to the PRC has been a simple one: China should not make Russia’s problems China’s problems.
QUESTION: But recently Xi Jinping, Chinese prime – I mean, President Xi Jinping and the Russian President Putin have a meeting together. You never know what they – they’re talking about, what kind of conversation they did. So how you going to trust China and Russia? That’s – their trust is very important.
MR PRICE: We’re not trusting, we’re verifying. We are looking at every single bit of information we have. We have seen nothing as of yet, at least, to indicate that the PRC is taking a different approach when it comes to security assistance, when it comes to efforts to systematically help Russia evade sanctions. But we’re continuing to watch. We know that conversations – including at high levels, as we saw in Samarkand the other week – between the PRC and Russia are ongoing.
What I will say is that if you look at President Putin’s words, if you look at President Xi’s words, if you read Wang Yi’s words, the very words I just referred to, you hear the PRC expressing a degree of unease with what Russia is doing in Ukraine. And that’s really no surprise. It’s no surprise because Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine is not only, as I said at the top, an assault on Ukraine, it is an assault, a brutal assault on the UN Charter, on the UN system, on every member state of the United Nations that subscribes to them.
So it’s no wonder that the PRC is expressing varying degrees of reservations. The real test, though, will be if those apparent reservations, this apparent discomfort with what Russia is doing in Ukraine, will actually contour what the PRC does in its approach.
QUESTION: One more quick. The South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said that yesterday in the event of dispute between China and Taiwan, the possibility of a North Korean provocation would increase. Does the United States wants South Korea to support U.S. defense to Taiwan?
MR PRICE: We have an ironclad alliance with our South Korean partners. It is an alliance that is built not only on shared interests in the Indo-Pacific but also on shared values. And one of the many reasons for our support for the people on Taiwan is the fact that we share values with the people on Taiwan. That is also true of our South Korean allies. So we have a shared interest, together with South Korea, together with our other allies in the region, in upholding a free and open Indo-Pacific. That’s something we routinely discuss and something we routinely act upon.
QUESTION: Change of subject?
MR PRICE: Sure. Anything else on China?
MR PRICE: Let’s – we’ll go to Iran, then we’ll come back to Russia.
QUESTION: All right. Thank you, Ned. Today was the tenth day of continuous protests in Iran. The Biden administration has sanctioned people and in today’s – it has issued the general license for providing technology to Iranian people for communication. But that hasn’t stopped the law enforcement from killing people, and their number is rising. What can the U.S. administration to stop the killing?
MR PRICE: Let me first start by saying that we, of course, condemn the violence, the brutality that is being exhibited by Iran’s security forces. The ongoing violent suppression of what are peaceful protests following Mahsa Amini’s death is appalling. We are aware that security forces have killed dozens of protesters. We believe it is incumbent upon the international community to speak out, to make clear where they stand when it comes to the exercise of what should be universal rights, rights that are – belong to the people of Iran as much as they do to people anywhere and everywhere across the globe. We’re closely following these developments. Iran’s leaders should be listening to the protesters, not firing on them. Unfortunately, this regime is one that has a long history of using violence against those who would peacefully exercise those universal rights.
The United States, whether it is protesters in Iran, whether it is protesters in Russia, whether it is peaceful protesters around the world, we support the rights of these individuals – these Iranians, in this case – to peacefully assemble and to express themselves without fear of violence or detention by security forces. We are going to continue to do a couple things. We, as you know, as you alluded to, are holding to account the so-called morality police, the entity that is responsible for Mahsa Amini’s death. We sanctioned seven other individuals who have been involved in Iran’s repression over the years. And we are doing what we can to enable the people of Iran to exercise those universal rights.
And you mentioned the general license that we issued on Friday. People – countries around the world have an interest in seeing to it that the people of Iran can communicate freely with one another, can communicate freely with the rest of the world. And we all have an interest in knowing about what’s going on inside of Iran, what the brave Iranian people are peacefully doing in response to the tragic death of Mahsa Amini.
QUESTION: You mentioned the Biden administration urges the international community to speak out. Well, Germany has summoned – today summoned the Iranian ambassador to Berlin and apparently asked him not to suppress the people. But that’s not going to stop the law enforcement. And would – do you think maybe he’s recalling ambassadors from Iran? Would that be a more effective means of Iran’s isolation and maybe rethinking of their policy?
MR PRICE: This is going to be a sovereign decision on the part of countries around the world. We have encouraged and we do encourage, we are encouraging, countries around the world to lend, of course, rhetorical support to these Iranians who are doing nothing more than exercising peacefully their universal rights. For our part, we have used our own authorities. We have granted a license using a Treasury Department authority. But different countries are going to have different approaches. What is less important to us is that these approaches are identical. What is more important to us is that these approaches are complementary, that they work together to support both the rights and the aspirations of the people of Iran.
QUESTION: Can I follow up on Iran?
MR PRICE: Well, Said, you’ve already asked. Let me go over here. Please.
QUESTION: So not that I question how Mahsa Amini, or Jina Amini, as she was calling herself, died. We’ve spoken to her family members, that they’ve kind of confirmed how she died. But I’m just curious: How did you determine that she was killed by morality police? Because the Iranian Government is trying to float the idea that she died as a result of heart attack, this attack or that – not other issue.
MR PRICE: There are certain facts of this case that don’t seem to be in dispute. Mahsa Amini was arrested. Mahsa Amini, of course, was alive at the time of her arrest. There is video of her after her arrest. And some time later, she was dead, after spending time in the custody of the so-called morality police. The facts don’t seem that complicated.
QUESTION: And then on the General License D-2, there are – so the Starlink services that has kind of given a lot of hope to a lot of Iranians. But does the general license, does that also include hardware? Because the terminals and the dishes that requires to use some service like the Starlink, does that also include hardware for – to give to Iran?
MR PRICE: So the short answer is yes. Both GLD-2, the general license we issued last week, but also GLD-1, the general license that we issued in 2014 under the Obama-Biden administration, includes some forms of hardware. Let me – this is not a simple issue, so let me give you a little bit more context.
GLD-2 expands authorizations for software services, but it does continue to authorize certain hardware, including residential consumer satellite terminals that were already authorized under GLD-1, the general license from 2014. General licenses are self-executing. What that means is that anyone who meets the criteria outlined in this general license can proceed with their activities without requesting additional permissions from the U.S. Government.
Now, some types of equipment, including some – including certain commercial uses and worked with – work with sanctioned entities, still require a specific license from Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, before they can be exported to Iran. But on Friday, OFAC also expanded its policy for issuing case-by-case specific licenses, and now OFAC will prioritize any request for a specific license pertaining to internet freedom in Iran.
So back to your question on Starlink. If SpaceX, in this case, were to determine that some activity aimed at Iranians requires a specific license – again, this would need to be a judgment that SpaceX and its lawyers would come to on their own – OFAC would welcome it and would prioritize it. By the same token, if SpaceX determines that its activity is already authorized – again, owing to the self-executing nature of these general licenses – OFAC would welcome any engagement, including if SpaceX or any other company were to have questions about the applicability of this general license or the 2014 general license to their envisioned activity.
QUESTION: And just quickly, to revisit her question, so more than 30 people have died on the hands of Iranian authorities. Will we see tougher reaction from the U.S. or just that first sanction on the Iranian morality police?
MR PRICE: We’re doing two things. As we were talking about in the context of this general license, we are taking steps that we can to facilitate the ability of the Iranian people to communicate with one another, to communicate with the rest of the world – essentially doing what we can to support the peaceful aspirations of the Iranian people for greater levels of freedom and for the respect of rights that are universal to them.
At the same time, we’re also going – we have held to account and we will continue to hold to account those Iranians who are responsible for acts of violence, for acts of repression against their own people. Of course, the sanctions that we issued on Thursday of last week, the sanctions against morality – so-called morality police and the seven other individuals, those are not the first human rights sanctions we’ve levied against Iran. They will not be the last human rights sanctions we levy against Iran.
Let me move around to people who have not asked questions. Kylie.
QUESTION: So Elon Musk has said in recent days that in order for Starlink to work in Iran, there would have to be a terminal in the country that would enable it to actually be activated, and he said that would require someone smuggling that terminal into the country, which would be challenging because the Iranian Government doesn’t want it there. Does the U.S. support someone smuggling that into the country if you are in a position right now where you are supporting bringing freedom of internet to the Iranians?
MR PRICE: We have – the Treasury Department through the general license has taken steps that, through its self-executing capacity, authorizes additional companies to provide software – in some cases hardware – that would be operational in Iran. Of course, we’re not going to speak to what would be required for any such hardware to get into Iran. It is our charge, it is our responsibility to see to it that there are no restrictions – U.S. Government restrictions – that would prevent relevant software and in some cases hardware from being operational inside of Iran.
QUESTION: But isn’t that action on behalf of Treasury a bit meaningless if they can’t actually get the hardware into the country?
MR PRICE: Again, it is our charge to see to it that the Iranian people have what they need to communicate with one another, to communicate with the rest of the world. Private companies are going to take steps that they deem appropriate, whether it’s the authorization, the use of software inside of Iran, or the provision of hardware to the people of Iran.
QUESTION: And just one more question. Are you encouraging allies of the United States to support this effort, allies that may have diplomats or diplomatic presence in Iran?
MR PRICE: We are supporting countries around the world to do what they can to support the aspirations of the Iranian people for greater freedom, greater respect for human rights.
QUESTION: Can I just follow up on that, just very briefly?
MR PRICE: Okay.
QUESTION: Our correspondent there an hour or so ago was telling me that there has been no evidence of any internet right now. It’s completely shut down. Have you seen any tangible evidence since Treasury’s announcement on Friday that there is more internet access for people?
MR PRICE: So I couldn’t speak to internet access broadly. What is true is that the Iranian Government has consistently since these protests began cut off or attempted to cut off internet access to large swaths of the Iranian people. By some accounts, the Iranian Government has cut off access for most of its 80 million citizens to prevent them and to prevent the rest of the world from watching the regime’s ongoing violent crackdown against peaceful protesters. And it’s clear from these actions that Iran’s leaders are, in essence, afraid of their own people. And so we are committed to ensuring that the Iranian people can exercise what is, again, a universal right, the universal right to freedom of expression, the universal right to freely access information via the internet, and that’s why we took this step on Friday.
There is reason to believe that companies are taking action pursuant to the general license that was issued on Thursday of last week. We do encourage companies that have questions as to whether their software or whether their capabilities are authorized under this general license to reach out to OFAC, and again, even if this general license doesn’t authorize the specific piece of software or hardware that a company may have in mind, OFAC, as a result of action we took last week, will prioritize a review of specific license. And that is for a very simple reason: We want to do everything we possibly can to support the Iranian people’s exercise of their universal right.
QUESTION: Ned, I – one on this issue. How do you expect this tragic incident to impact the talks, Vienna talks on going back to the deal or not going back to the deal? I mean, does the incident such as the – you, in this case – of going back so quickly or, let’s say, in a short period of time, considering that there’s so much, apparently, opposition to the government in Iran? How do you factor that into it?
MR PRICE: This does – this in no way changes our determination to see to it that Iran can – is permanently and verifiably barred from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It is, of course, a fact, as we’ve made clear, that these negotiations are not in a healthy place right now. We’ve made clear that while we have been sincere and steadfast in our efforts to see to it that Iran is once again permanently and verifiably barred from a nuclear weapon, we haven’t seen the Iranians make the decision, the Iranian Government make the decision that it would need to make if it were to commit to a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA.
But the simple fact remains that every single challenge we face with the Iranian Government would become more difficult, in some ways more intractable, if Iran were in the possession of a nuclear weapon. We think about that not only in terms of Iran’s ballistic missile program, not only in terms of its support for terrorist groups and proxies, not only in terms of its support in malign activity in cyberspace, but also for the types of human rights abuses that we’re talking about now. Every single challenge we face would become more difficult if Iran were to be in possession of one.
QUESTION: The Iranian foreign minister said, I guess on Sunday, that U.S. is still reaching out, saying that we have goodwills, we have good faith, and we want to tailor a deal. Can you confirm that comment?
MR PRICE: Like I said a moment ago, we are determined – the President has a commitment to see to it that Iran can never and will never acquire a nuclear weapon.
QUESTION: Have you sent any messages in the last 10 days?
MR PRICE: Look, we have made very clear to Iran that we have certain requirements, and we are not going to accept a bad deal. As you heard the Secretary say last night, Iran responded to the most recent proposal in such a way that did not put us in a position to close the deal but actually moved us backwards somewhat. I’m not aware of any further back-and-forth with the EU from Iran. As of now, based on Iran’s positions which it reaffirmed very publicly in New York this week, we don’t see a deal coming together anytime soon.
QUESTION: And do you see any urgency to change your policy towards Iran? There are so many different op-eds being published in recent days urging Biden to change its Iran policy at the moment with what is going on inside Iran. Do you see any urgency to change your policy towards Iran?
MR PRICE: Our policy when it comes to the protests that are ongoing inside Iran?
QUESTION: Protests and also the nuclear.
(AGENPARL) – mar 27 settembre 2022 You are subscribed to Collected Releases for U.S. Department of State. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.