Meet the press september 20 2015 transcript

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meet the press september 20 2015 transcript

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So we have not started yet the discussions on those two annexes. The GNC representatives have said that you have proposed to them new mechanisms to include some of their remarks. Will they be included in the initial first draft?

Transcript of a media stakeout by SRSG for Libya, Bernardino Leon, in Geneva 04 September 2015

Well, we believe that most of them can be addressed in the annexes, but some of them can also be included in the final provisions.

The final provisions is the part of the text we have to add to the main agreement, and we will be making proposals on this point. I have also explained many times that we should be flexible on the overall package. What is important here is to address the specific concerns of all the parties. No one should be expected to finally support the agreement if their concerns are not addressed. And what we will try in the coming days is to make different proposals on where this should fit.

But basically we believe that, through the final provisions and the annexes, it will be possible to address these nine points we have been discussing today with the GNC. Le premier, c'est le travail sur les annexes, le travail sur les noms qui seront inclus dans le gouvernement.

meet the press september 20 2015 transcript

As I understand Mr. Leon, in Geneva and in Morocco, the delegation of the parliament wouldn't agree to discuss the points proposed by the GNC. Do you have agreement this time in Geneva from the parliament to put those points in the last annex? I have been discussing with the HoR delegation an exchange of views yesterday and today on these nine points and we believe that it is possible to accommodate the nine points while at the same point keeping the support for all the different solutions of the HoR, the House of Representatives, and the other participants.

So for the moment we are there, for the moment I am positive, and this is why I am telling you that the mood is quite positive. So I don't think it is going to be a problem. I think we can include these nine points and have the support of the House of Representatives. Since you seem to be on the final stretch of this do you already have a time and a venue for some kind of signing ceremony on 20 September or 20 October?

Not yet, this will be the final metres, or yards, of the final mile. The timing is more or less 20 September. I think all the participants and also the United Nations agree that this ideally should take place in Libya but we have still not discussed this with the participants. We will probably need, beyond this general idea that it could be in Libya, we will need to make different assessments — political, security — there will be a number of logistics and issues to consider before we can choose a specific location.

Is it safe enough in Libya, is it secure enough for the UN? I have been going to Libya quite often. It is a country with confrontations in different locations, fighting still ongoing in Benghazi, in Sirte, in the south, and this is what we are trying to overcome with this agreement.

Whenever we travel to Libya we try to travel with the appropriate security measures. In case we finally decide to go to Libya it will be because the security assessment, as I said, together with political and logistical assessments, will be positive, and we will agree to go to a specific location. Any number of countries have gone underground. The tunneling equipment that exists today is very powerful. It's available across the globe.

And people have recognized the advantages of using underground protection for themselves. It may take us going from cave to cave with a great group of men I know in the United States military, the tunnel rats, to try to flush out Osama bin Laden.

We're entering a very dangerous aspect of this conflict. There is no question about it. It is a confused situation in the country. The amount of real estate they have to operate on has continually been reduced. The noose is tightening, but the remaining task is a particularly dirty and unpleasant one. If need be, would we put gas into those caves to flush them out? Well, I noticed that in Mazar, the way they finally got the dead-enders to come out was by flooding the tunnel.

And finally they came up and surrendered, the last hard core al Qaeda elements. And I guess one will do whatever it is necessary to do.

If people will not surrender, then they've made their choice. Let me turn to the situation on the ground. This is a headline from the Washington Post, "U.

Are we surprised, are we concerned the Russians are trying to reassert their influence in Afghanistan by sending in troops with our permission? Actually, I did receive a call from the minister of defense on the subject indicating that they wanted to bring some planes in. The planes were cleared for the Bagram Airport, and they indicated what they were bringing in, the numbers of people and what the purpose was.

It was to begin to reestablish some diplomatic activity and to have sufficient forces to protect that diplomatic activity, to move toward some humanitarian assistance.

I am not concerned at the moment. I have not seen anything in their behavior that was untoward. Let me show you another headline from the New York Times, "Many eager to help; few are chosen. But they've been basically doing nothing but support. Why not bring in the Brits, the French, the Turks to help us in this search? Well, first of all, they've been doing a lot more than your comment suggests.

They have provided intelligence. We have coalition forces physically on the ground operating in Afghanistan today, non-U. One of the issues has been that the United States seems to have persuaded Afghanistan that we do not covet their land, that we do not want to stay, that we are there to rid that country of the Taliban and the al Qaeda. And Afghans are historically skeptical about non-Afghans.

And so when we try to bring in coalition forces to assist us, sometimes we've had difficulty. That is to say, the forces on the ground have not quite been ready to bring in other countries besides the United States. So we have some foreign nationals, non-U.

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But it takes a good deal of discussion with those opposition forces. And that is what's caused some of the delay. We are very anxious to have the right kind of help. Second, the work going on in Bonn to try to figure out whether or not there's a need for stabilizing forces is taking place. And until some decision is made as to whether or not it's appropriate to have a peacekeeping force, and, if so, what countries might be most appropriate to make up that peacekeeping force, I think that it is not surprising that the peacekeeping force has not gone in.

Once Taliban has been destroyed, Osama bin Laden in custody, there'll be a need for a multinational force, peacekeeping force, as you said, in Afghanistan to help stabilize it. If the forces on the ground are able to provide a stable situation such that the humanitarian aid can get in, then there wouldn't be a need for an international peacekeeping force. If there is a need, you would prefer the United States not participate. Well, we've got an awful lot to do.

And we want to participate with humanitarian assistance. We want to have enough activity in Afghanistan so we can finish the job. I suspect that if there is to be humanitarian activity going in, which there must be, or people are going to starve, and if there is to be an international peacekeeping force, the key thing is that it be done in a way that we're free to go after the Taliban and after the al Qaeda, because that task is going to take some time.

And I think it's important that the world understand that we are leaning forward, not back. We expect that there'll be casualties. We expect that there will be people captured.

And we recognize how difficult this is going to be.

meet the press september 20 2015 transcript

And when that happens, the United States will be leaning forward, not back. There will be no doubt. Do you think we have a few months of long, bloody battle?

Oh, I wouldn't limit it to that. Pakistan, a lot of discussion.

meet the press september 20 2015 transcript

Both Northern Alliance and Taliban soldiers have said they've seen Pakistanis fly airplanes in to bring out Pakistanis who were fighting with the Taliban or with al Qaeda.

Can you assure the people watching today that the United States government did not see or in any way tolerate the evacuation of Pakistani terrorists? Oh, you can be certain of that. We have not seen a single -- to my knowledge, we have not seen a single airplane or helicopter go into Afghanistan in recent days or weeks and extract people and take them out of Afghanistan to any country, let alone Pakistan.

The Pakistani government is cooperating with the United States. They're putting crack troops up along the border. The border is a long border. It's a porous border. It's a very difficult thing to know precisely what's happening at any given moment. We have coverage in the air. And we watch to the extent it's humanly possible. And it hasn't happened? We have not seen anything that even begins to approximate those reports.

The president has given an order as commander-in-chief that military tribunals be established, if need be. What does that mean to you? And as a result, he has put in place and begun the work to develop the kinds of procedures and approaches that would be appropriate so that in the event that we need to have a military commission, that we would be in a place to detain a person and take control over a person that he designates. He has not designated anyone to be tried by a military commission.

He may not, but he may. And if he does, he wanted to get the military order out designating the secretary of Defense as the person responsible so that that work could begin.

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I must say I've been interested in the press discussion and media discussion on the subject. I think it's been generally useful. It's elevated a lot of issues that are important and need to be considered.

Some of it's been a little shrill given the fact that nobody's been designated yet to be tried by a military commission. But overall, those of us in the Department of Defense have found it useful, and we are working very hard with some very smart people all across the country, out of government, to try to make sure that we do this in the event it happens in a very measured, balanced, thoughtful way that reflects our country's values and approaches.

Here he is on the screen. You can see him. He was convicted for blowing up the Trade Center in ' His son has now been taken into custody in Afghanistan. Is his son the kind of person that would go before a military tribunal? Until we have developed the information that I need to make sensible judgments on something as important as this, I've decided not to opine on things like that. And second, I would say that that's a decision for the president.

He will be the one who will designate what individuals will be assigned to the Department of Defense to take control over and then deal with respect to military commissions. As you have mentioned, there's a lot of discussion about this issue. Terry Golway in the New York Observer had this to say: If so, we can expect convicted al Qaeda operatives to demand recognition as prisoners of war.

Where will they serve their time? Will they be prisoners of war? We have thought through a good deal of it, and we're in the process of discussing some preliminary thoughts with, as I say, some truly outstanding legal advisers from around the country, out of government, people whose judgment we respect. And we're not prepared at the moment to draw conclusions. And we will be at some point in the future.

There is some downside, as you know. This headline caught it: So you have countries arresting people, but they're saying we're not sending them to the United States because we don't have faith in military tribunals. Well, first of all, we don't know that that's true.

That's a report that may or may not have substance under it. If it is true, it may be true in a very modest situation and not broadly true. Third, we have known for years that there's some differences in Europe with respects to views as to capital punishment.

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And that's fair enough. They have their countries; we have ours. They can make their judgment. I would suggest that I think that'll not prove to be much of an impediment.

If a United States citizen was arrested as a suspected terrorist in China, would you feel comfortable with that American going before a military tribunal in China? If one looked down from Mars and looked at the countries of the world and said if you had someone in whom you had an interest, where would you prefer -- of all the countries on the face of the earth, where would you prefer that that individual be tried in a military commission, I would think an overwhelming number of the people in the world would prefer it be done in the United States.

We have a reputation for being fair and balanced and measured in what we do. But other countries may react to that by creating their own military tribunals for American citizens. Other countries already have military tribunals.

And we've criticized them for it. And in cases where we've disagreed with how they've been handled, we have indeed, and we will in the future. And I'm sure that people will criticize us if we behave in a way that they, in their measured judgment, feel we've acted improperly. But I don't think we've going to act improperly, Tim. Let me move to Iraq. This headline in the LA Times Thursday caught my attention: Vows Not to Attack Iraq.

The only person who could make such an understanding is the president of the United States, and he hasn't. Well, I mean, people have misunderstandings all the time. Five people listen to a discussion and walk out and write down what they heard, and you'll get five different versions.

Three years ago this month, the last inspector left Iraq. Will we insist, demand, that Saddam Hussein allow in United Nations inspectors to find out just how developed his biological, chemical and perhaps nuclear weapon systems are? Well, that's a call the president and the secretary of state, of course, are going to have to consider. The reality is that we had inspectors in Iraq for many years, and we didn't find much.

Evolution of thought , or Hypocrisy ?

The way we found information about what was going on with Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological and nuclear programs was through defectors. When they left, got out of the country, told the truth, that's when we learned the most. It is enormously difficult, even if the most intrusive inspection system, to find out what's actually going on. Saddam Hussein has had mobile biological laboratories where he could move them from place to place, and it is very difficult to find out.

Now, there ought to be inspections. He is violating the U. Ought we to have inspectors? But is it possible to know of certain knowledge? We know that man is determined to have those weapons. He has them, and he's used them against his own people. Why are we importing a million barrels of oil a day from Iraq?

It is a complicated matter with respect to that. He is under the U. But is it a good idea for us to use Iraqi oil? The issue came up -- it's tied to food and medicines, is the issue. And the world's community, in its infinite judgment, came to the conclusion, as I understand it, that the Iraqi people ought not to be penalized because of a vicious dictator that's repressing them. And one way to do that would be to permit a certain amount of oil from Iraq to be exported in exchange for non-lethal things such as food and medicine.

And that is the underpinning of the world community's decision. You have no problem importing a million barrels of Iraqi oil a day? I am not going to disagree with the U. The problem I have is with Saddam Hussein. He keeps the food and medicine from his people.

meet the press september 20 2015 transcript