11 February 2013

North Africa: U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing: Libya


Excerpt from the United States Department of State daily press briefing:

MS. NULAND: Happy Monday. Second week of Secretary Kerry's tenure. I have a couple things at the top, first to advise you that Under Secretary Sherman will lead the U.S. delegation to the Libya ministerial in Paris tomorrow. This meeting is designed to demonstrate the international community's strong support for the Libyan people and the democratically-elected Libyan Government as it works to establish security, to bolster economic development, and to facilitate the next steps of the democratic transition.

This ministerial will bring together representatives from various European and Arab countries as well as the Arab League. We understand that Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Aziz will lead the Libyan delegation. The meeting will address security, rule of law, justice challenges, and other democratic transition challenges that Libya faces. The Government of Libya will outline measures that it's undertaking in these sectors, and international partners will summarize their ongoing assistance efforts and look at how they can do more to support the Libyan transition.

Next is with regard to the Bahrain National Dialogue, which began over the weekend. The United States welcomes the start of Bahrain's National Dialogue. We're encouraged by the broad participation of Bahraini political groups in the dialogue. We view the dialogue as a positive step in a broader process that can result in meaningful reform that meets the aspirations of all of Bahrain's citizens. We believe that efforts to promote engagement and reconciliation among Bahrainis are necessary to long-term stability.

Let's go to --

QUESTION: Was that put out as a statement?

MS. NULAND: Say again?

QUESTION: Is that going to come out on paper?

MS. NULAND: It was not, but I can put it out on paper if that helps you, Matt.

QUESTION: Well, I just - I don't - I'm trying to save ink.

MS. NULAND: Trying to save - (laughter).

QUESTION: Trying to save ink?

MS. NULAND: But now that --

QUESTION: Well, I won't have to write it.

MS. NULAND: Now that we live-stream, Matt, you can watch it again. How about that?

QUESTION: You're right, you're right. Could I just --

MS. NULAND: Exactly.

QUESTION: I don't have any - at the risk of appearing to be ignorant or not having paid attention over the weekend, I don't have any real questions to ask. But I do have one on Under Secretary Sherman going to Paris. Is there a reason why it was her and not the Secretary or Burns? Is it a scheduling thing? Are the French okay with this? Is she going to be the only non-foreign minister?

MS. NULAND: My understanding is that there may be some European foreign ministers, but this is a mix of political directors, et cetera. It was going to be Assistant Secretary Jones for us, and the decision was made by the Secretary to augment and to ask Under Secretary Sherman to go.

QUESTION: Is this group - is this what happened to the Friends of Libya? Is this basically that same group?

MS. NULAND: The Friends of Libya group that met before the fall --


MS. NULAND: -- of Qhadafi has not met in that --

QUESTION: But essentially it's the same countries?

MS. NULAND: It is many of the same countries who've been longtime supporters of a democratic Libya, yes.

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