7 November 2012

West Africa: U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing - Mali

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Washington, DC — QUESTION: Yes, on Mali. And I'm sorry, I was not here yesterday. You may have --

MS. NULAND: We didn't brief yesterday. I wasn't here either.

QUESTION: That's - I really wasn't here. One of the Islamist groups in Mali has reportedly now agreed to allow humanitarian aid groups to enter its territory and showed an openness to peace talks. Have you seen these reports? How is the United States involved in this within the context of Ms. Clinton's visit to Algeria, which I think was last week?

MS. NULAND: I think you're talking about the statements made by Ansar al-Dine yesterday or today. So we welcome Ansar-al-Dine's announcement rejecting extremism and declaring the group's willingness to engage in a process of honest political dialogue with the interim Government of Mali. As you know, we have been calling for some time for a political conversation. This is one of the groups that participated in - is participating in the ECOWAS-led dialogue process in Ouagadougou, which we're also supportive of. And Ansar-al-Dine is also one of the groups that's had a strong dialogue with the Government of Algeria. So now, having talked the talk, we want to see them walk the walk and lead the way in terms of a strong political process in Mali that can support greater security in the country as well.

QUESTION: I'm sorry, could you just repeat who would lead the way, the walk the talk?

MS. NULAND: (Laughter.) Did I confuse you?

QUESTION: Whom do you want to see do that? Yes.

MS. NULAND: Well, this particular group, which is a group that's participating in the Ouagadougou process, has said good things about the possibility for political reconciliation with the transitional government. So they're talking the talk. Now they need to walk the walk and work on an actual reconciliation deal that others can join into as well.

QUESTION: Can I suggest that you use another expression?

MS. NULAND: Am I boring you, Matt? I'm so sorry.

QUESTION: Well --

QUESTION: The Ouagadougou process --

MS. NULAND: The Ouagadougou process, you like that?

QUESTION: No, the walk the walk, talk the talk.

QUESTION: That one, too.

MS. NULAND: Okay. I'm open to your suggestions.

QUESTION: Particularly for Nicolas, because apparently it doesn't translate into French. (Laughter.)

MS. NULAND: It doesn't? It doesn't work? (Laughter.) (In French.)

QUESTION: Instead, if you could use multiple analogies to American football, that would be good. (Laughter.)

MS. NULAND: Excellent, excellent, excellent. We'll do - that's Mark's department, you know. I'm more into ballet and opera on my side. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: (Inaudible) because American football is not always understood --

QUESTION: It doesn't translate either, okay. (Laughter.) Mark is the football dude.

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