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August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Victoria Nuland’

Turkish Ministers to US Amb: ‘MYOB or Get Out!’

Friday, February 8th, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama has described Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the world leader in the Middle East with whom he has the closest relationship.  But you wouldn’t know it, given the recent insults and reprimands various ministers in the Turkish government have hurled at the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, in addition to the very public backhanded attempt by Turkey to incite Syrian violence towards U.S. ally Israel.

Just a few days after a suicide attack on the U.S. Embassy in Turkey on February 1, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Francis J. Ricciardone, gave a lengthy press briefing which included a few mild rebukes.  Ricciardone mentioned Turkey’s jailing of non-violent protesters and a lack of transparency regarding charges against a large number of imprisoned former military personnel and academics, as well as a limitation in Turkey’s international terrorism law.

The response to those remarks created a hailstorm of very public and very blunt attacks by many high level Turkish officials, all of which amounted to “get your nose out of our domestic business or get out.”

Ricciardone, a Fulbright Scholar who is fluent in Turkish, Arabic, French and Italian, was appointed to his current post by President Obama in 2011.  The Ambassador has spent many years in various posts in the Middle East, and in 2001 was the Director of the State Department’s Coalition Against Terrorism.

In a reference to the dozens of Turkish nationals who were imprisoned after an alleged coup plot was uncovered, Ricciardone said, “You have your military leaders, who were entrusted with the protection of this country behind bars as if they were terrorists.”

He also said, “You have non-violent student protesters protesting tuition hikes behind bars. When a legal system produces such results and confuses people like that for terrorists, it makes it hard for American and European courts to match up.”

Ricciardone’s remarks ran more than a dozen pages long, most of which were complimentary about the host country.  The points about which the Turks took greatest umbrage addressed the jailing of hundreds of members of the military in an alleged military coup.

That plot, known as “Sledgehammer,” was an alleged secularist military plan dating back to 2003.  The suspects, all members of the Turkish military, allegedly planned to create havoc through coordinated acts of violence that included bombings throughout Turkey.  The chaos would destabilize the government, thereby paving the way for a coup d’état. The Turkish military has successfully pulled out three coups since 1960.

In response to a journalist’s questions at the press event, Ricciardone said:

My point about the justice system though is that you are striving to improve it, your leaders, your ministers, have recognized the flaws in the justice system, among them being lengthy pre-trial detentions, lack of clarity in presenting charges, lack of transparency.  Those are things your leaders – not your opposition, not foreign leaders – have spoken about.

But the response has been toxic.

AKP spokesman Huseyin Çelik vehemently censured the U.S. Ambassador for his remarks.  Çelik was quoted in Turkish papers as saying on the private broadcasting channel Kanal A, “We are inviting Ricciardone to remain within his boundaries and limits.  We are not pleased with [his remarks]; we condemn and denounce them. He should know his place.”

Çelik said of Ricciardone, “You are a diplomat; how can you make a judgment on those issues when you don’t even know the whole nature of the events and how the system works?  Who gives you the right to question [the political and legal system]?”

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also said Ricciardone should avoid making statements which could be considered an intervention into Turkey’s domestic laws.  In what sounds very much like a warning, the Deputy Prime Minister said it will be better for both Turkey and the U.S. if the ambassador minds his own business.

“It would be better if Ricciardone minded his own business,” Bozdağ said. “Those are statements that do not bode well for his assignment in Turkey.”

Another Deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arınç, said it was “inappropriate” for Ricciardone to have made his comments, explaining on a private broadcasting network SKY Turk, “there is a problem arising from the personality of the esteemed ambassador,” but, Arınç claimed, the ambassador has issued an apology letter which means “he is conscious that what he has done is not correct.”

Nuland: US Position on Hamas Unchanged Despite Reconciliation with Fatah

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

In her daily press briefing Friday, State Dept. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland responded to a reporter’s question regarding the “major show of unity today between Hamas and Fatah within the Gaza Strip.”

The reporter asked: “Does that give you pause and particularly when it comes to U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority?”

Nuland: “You know that our view on Hamas hasn’t changed, which is that any Palestinian reconciliation has to meet the conditions that we’ve all put forward, and that the Quartet has put forward for some time. There has to be a commitment to non-violence. There has to be a willingness to recognize the state of Israel, and there has to be an acceptance of previous obligations. So the fact that they were allowed to go celebrate their birthday in Gaza doesn’t change our view on whether or not and under what conditions we would see Hamas able to play a positive role in the Palestinian Authority.”

The next question was about the upcoming Quartet meeting which will be held in Cairo, Egypt, rather than in Amman, Jordan. The obvious speculation here would have been that Cairo was picked because of President Morsi’s close ties with Hamas.

Nuland did not offer any substantial explanation for the change of venue, saying she wouldn’t “read too much” into it.

Nuland also said that her department continues to work with Congress on releasing the funds intended for the Palestinian Authority, which were frozen by the House following the UN vote on Palestinian statehood.

Who’s Being ‘Provocative’?

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Israel is now “provocative” in a ratching up from State:-

In unusually rare and blunt criticism* of its top Mideast ally, the Obama administration on Tuesday slammed Israel for continuing to announce new settlement construction on land claimed by the Palestinians.

The State Department accused Israel of engaging in a “pattern of provocative action” that calls into question statements from Israeli leaders that they are committed to peace.

Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said settlement activity only puts the goal of peace “further at risk” and urged both Israel and the Palestinians to halt all provocations and take steps to revive long-stalled peace talks.

“We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action,” Nuland told reporters. “These repeated announcements and plans of new construction run counter to the cause of peace. Israel’s leaders continually say that they support a path towards a two-state solution, yet these actions only put that goal further at risk.”

I guess that since Arabs never build “settlements”, they aren’t ‘provocative’?

Note, on the Turkey blockade run, she avoids the term ‘provocation’:-

QUESTION: Okay. Well, one of the things that the Secretary said yesterday in – when – in her comments to this was that attempts to go into Israeli waters were provocative and irresponsible. And it’s my understanding that the flotilla organizers do not intend to go into Israeli waters but in – they will stay in international waters. Is that your understanding or is that not your understanding per what the Secretary said yesterday?
MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to the intentions of those involved in the flotilla. I think the Secretary was clear it was in response to a question yesterday –
QUESTION: Correct.
MS. NULAND: – as you remember, so that also speaks to the fact that publicly this issue is out there, that we do not want to see the bad situation of last year repeated. We do believe that channels exist for providing humanitarian aid to Gaza in a safe and secure way and that that situation is improving. And we urge all NGOs who want to participate in that to use those channels.
QUESTION: But does a flotilla sitting in international waters off the Gaza – off the coast of Gaza, is that a problem for the U.S.?
MS. NULAND: Again, I don’t want to get into the Law of the Sea issues here. I simply want to say that we don’t want to see a conflict at sea, on land. We want to see appropriate legitimate channels used for the –
QUESTION: I understand, but in the briefing that just preceded this –
MS. NULAND: Yes.
QUESTION: – you talked about wanting to – in another instance, in the South China Sea, the U.S. has been very concerned about the freedom of navigation.

But later used it:

MS. NULAND: Well, thank you for that, Arshad. We are quite concerned, as I said yesterday. We are talking to both the Israelis and the Turks. We are urging both sides to refrain from rhetoric or actions that could be provocative, that could contribute to tensions.

Hillary Clinton used it in connection  with North Korea:

We all agree that North Korea’s provocative and belligerent behavior jeopardizes peace and stability in Asia. We are deeply concerned by its unprovoked attack on the island of Yeonpyeong, resulting in the loss of South Korean lives.  On behalf of the American people, I would like to convey our sympathies to the victims and their families.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you.  We want the people of South Korea to know that we are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you, and we are deeply committed to your defense.The minister and I share the view that the attack by the North Koreans violates the Armistice Agreement of 1953; that North Korea’s provocative and belligerent behavior threatens us all, and that it will be met with solidarity from all three countries.

Visit My Right Word.

State Department Calls Israeli Residential Building “Provocative”

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

The State Department on Tuesday spoke with disdain about Israel’s “pattern of provocative action” – the building of homes for Jewish citizens in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.

In a report by the Associated Press, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland chastised Israel for putting land negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority “further at risk”.

Also on Tuesday, British foreign secretary Willian Hague called development of housing for the burgeoning Jewish population “illegal under international law,” and warned that upcoming projects in eastern Jerusalem “would make a negotiated two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, very difficult to achieve.”

State: Unilateral Talks between the US and Iran Are on the Table

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

If we were to read between the lines of an exchange during a State Dept. daily press briefing, Wed. Dec. 12, 2012, then the U.S., through our European allies, are busy trying to get bilateral, face to face negotiations going with the Iranians, over Iran’s nuclear program.

As was the case with the North Korean negotiations over the past decade plus, the Jury is out on which works better in the end, group talks or US-only face-to-facers. If anything, the Korean example seems to prove that neither approach really works if the other side is comprised of habitual liars hell bent on destroying us.

That aside, pay attention to the ease with which State’s Spokesperson Victoria Nuland glides into the possibility of bilateral talks with Iran.

Nuland took a question on Israeli reports that the Administration is looking to pursue direct talks with Iran over the next four or five months and is doing so without asking Israel’s permission.

NULAND: I haven’t seen those Israeli reports. What I can tell you is that the European Union has just made clear that earlier today, EU Deputy Secretary General Helga Schmid, who is Cathy Ashton’s deputy, had a phone call with the Iranian deputy negotiator Dr. Bagheri in order to discuss the way ahead, including possible dates and venues for another [P-5+1] plus Iran meeting. So we continue to make clear to the Iranian side that in that structure, the door remains open to talks if they are serious.

QUESTION: In the premise of the question, there was the idea that … you would have unilateral talks with the Iranians without the Israelis’ permission. I’m wondering … does the Administration think that it needs to get Israel’s permission to do that?

NULAND: …In the context … of P-5+1 Iran talks, we’d be prepared to meet bilaterally with Iran. The Israelis are well aware that that is our view and that is the way we would pursue it. So it’s not a matter of permission or not permission. They are our ally and partner, and we consult with them regularly, and we’re completely transparent in terms of how we’re trying to proceed here.

QUESTION: … But you wouldn’t ask for their permission, would you? Even if it was outside the P-5+1 context … does this Administration need to ask Israel for permission to … to talk with any other country in the world, including Iran?

NULAND: Again, Israel is our ally. Israel has an existential interest in the way this goes forward. We are very transparent with Israel on how this goes forward. So I don’t even think that scenario would arise one way or the other.

QUESTION: Well, can you just say that the Administration – that this country doesn’t ask permission from Israel to have talks with any countries –

MS. NULAND: I would say that this country doesn’t ask permission from any other country to act. Okay?

US ‘deeply concerned’ over Violence in Southern Israel

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, “We are deeply concerned by the renewal of violence in southern Israel. We call on both sides to make every effort to restore calm.”

“We condemn in the strongest terms the rocket fire from Gaza by terrorists into southern Israel in recent days, which has dramatically and dangerously escalated in the past day,” Nuland said. We call on those responsible to take immediate action to stop these cowardly acts.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-deeply-concerned-over-violence-in-southern-israel/2012/03/10/

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