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09/27/2021 06:21 PM EDT
Jalina Porter, Principal Deputy Spokesperson
2:39 p.m. EDT
MS PORTER: Hi. Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to today’s press briefing. I have nothing at the top, but I’m going to give it a few minutes to enter the queue before I start taking your questions.
Let’s go to Francesco Fontemaggi.
OPERATOR: One moment while we open your line. You may go ahead. Your line is open.
QUESTION: Hi, Jalina. Thank you for this. I wanted to ask you if you have a comment on the German elections and whether there is any concern that the negotiations for government could last very long, and for the stability of a key ally.
 And also, if I may, I have a question on the ICC prosecutor decision that its probing on Afghanistan was focused now on the Taliban and ISIS-K. Is that a welcome development for the U.S.? Thank you.
MS PORTER: Thank you, Francesco. I will start with your second question.
What I can say from here is that we are aware of the Office of the Prosecutor’s announcement that it will seek judicial authorization to reopen its Afghanistan investigation prioritizing the alleged atrocity crimes committed by the Taliban and ISIS-K. We’re deeply concerned about the current human rights situation in Afghanistan, and that also includes allegations of atrocities, and certainly welcome efforts to ensure accountability.
We have also consistently emphasized, as has the international community, the importance of respect for human rights as well as fundamental freedoms on the part of any government in Afghanistan. Of course, these rights would include freedom of expression as well as the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls as well as other ethnic and minority religious groups.
To your second question on Germany, we are also aware of the preliminary results and await the outcome of negotiations to form the next German government. We also look forward to continuing our strong partnership with Germany and on many key issues of mutual concern. We’ll also say that the current German government will remain in place until a new government is formed, and we certainly look forward to continuing our engagement with German officials on a range of bilateral issues and global challenges as well.
Let’s go to Eunjung Cho.
QUESTION: North Korea said it is willing to consider a summit with South Korea. For a second straight day, North Korea indicated that it wants to improve relations with South Korea. Do you have any reaction to this?
MS PORTER: Thank you. What I can say from here is that we – that the United States certainly supports inter-Korean dialogue as well as engagement and cooperation.
Let’s go to Pearl Matibe.
QUESTION: Hello, Jalina. Good morning. Hopefully this will be a slower week for everybody at State Department. My question is regarding the announcement today regarding the data strategy, the Enterprise Data Strategy. Can we speak a little bit about that and what does that mean for, for example, journalists like ourselves when we interact with State Department and for our audiences, maybe perhaps in layman’s terms? Thanks.
MS PORTER: Thank you for your question, Pearl. I’ll start by saying that we did issue a Media Note this morning that details our first-ever Enterprise Data Strategy, but we are excited. Again, this is a new platform for the department, and the goal of this strategy is to basically help us to harness and promote any evidence-based decision making, especially when it comes to our diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility efforts, and really throughout the entire department. So this is a new effort. I’m sure we’ll have updates ongoing throughout the year and the rest of our time here, but I also encourage you to view our Media Note as well. Thank you.
Let’s go to Jenny Hansler, please.
QUESTION: Thanks for doing this. Given Ned’s tweet about his COVID diagnosis, I was wondering when the last time Secretary Blinken was tested for COVID, if all the members of the traveling delegation who were at UNGA have tested – have gotten tested, and if anyone else has tested positive since General Assembly week last week. Thank you.
MS PORTER: Thanks, Jenny. So, while we typically from here won’t comment of the health status of any individual employees, of course, per the tweet, I can confirm that Spokesperson Price has tested positive for COVID-19. He actually first felt symptomatic only this morning, and he had no previous symptoms before that. He confirmed his diagnosis in coordination with our Medical Unit with a PCR test this morning, and we’ll all follow all relevant protocols and will quarantine for the next 10 days.
To your question on Secretary Blinken, Secretary Blinken has actually tested negative for COVID-19 as recent as this morning, which is a matter of his routine testing. None of the other members of the traveling party are currently exhibiting symptoms, and all will also continue to follow appropriate protocols.
Let’s go to Michel Ghandour.
QUESTION: I have a quick question on Iran. Israeli prime minister has said today that Iran has crossed all redlines in its nuclear program and words do not stop centrifuges from spinning. Do you share his assessment? And do you have any comment on that?
MS PORTER: Thanks, Michel. What I can say, broadly speaking from here, is that a mutual return to compliance is in America’s national interest and we believe the best available option to restrict Iran’s nuclear program and provide a platform to address Iran’s destabilizing conduct.
Let’s go to Janne Pak, please.
QUESTION: Hi, Jalina. Can you hear me?
MS PORTER: Hi. Yes, I can hear you.