We have also heard the perspectives of other neighbors in the hemisphere. We, again, recognize and respect the position of our allies in supporting — in support of inclusive dialogue. We also note, as I have, that non-governmental representatives will be in attendance from Cuba, from Venezuela, and from Nicaragua.
Participants from those three countries have registered to take part in stakeholder events. We will be able to explore and to delve into elements of that relationship with our Mexican neighbors this week in Los Angeles. We will have engagements with our Mexican neighbors in the coming days and weeks beyond that.
So certainly there are diversity of opinions when it comes to who should be invited to the Summit of the Americas. The United States, as I mentioned before, as the convener of this particular summit has broad discretion. We have done our best to incorporate the viewpoints of the hemisphere.
When it comes to our Mexican partners, we look forward to engaging with the foreign secretary. Does that mean that until the end, possible, potential invitation of one of them or three of them was on the table? And what made the balance go on the side of not inviting them? And, in fact, Secretary Blinken had an opportunity to speak most recently with Foreign Secretary Ebrard last night.
When it comes to the participation and the issues that have been at the fore, I think it is unfortunately notable that one of the key elements of this summit is democratic governance. And these three countries are not exemplars, to put it mildly, of democratic governance. In recent days alone, the Cuban regime has tried two artists on charges that actually criminalize the freedom of speech and artistic expression in Cuba.
Diplomats and the press were barred entry to their trials. But again, these most recent — this most recent suppression of freedom of expression is a hallmark of what we have seen from this Cuban regime over the course of years, but especially since the protest of July 11th last year. Since those protests, this is a regime that has not countenanced peaceful opposition. But these are not isolated incidents.
We have seen this regime arrest, detain, hold without charge, hold incommunicado, individuals who were doing nothing but expressing the universal right that they have to assemble peacefully, to express their views, and views that did not happen to correspond with the views of the Cuban regime for that supposed offense. They have been detained.
They have been deprived of their liberty. They have been deprived of rights that should be universal. Or were you sharing some more precise demands on something to do on democracy, et cetera? I am saying that the challenges that these three regimes pose to some of the central tenets of the Summit of the Americas that is to be held this week, those challenges were just insurmountable when you talk about bringing together a summit where democratic governance, democratic values, is on the agenda.
Now, of course we have worked closely, we have listened carefully, to other countries, to important stakeholders in the region. Many of our neighbors have voiced their opinions, their good faith opinions about what a Summit of the Americas should look like in terms of representation.
A very quick question. Will he attend? Will he be represented in the summit? You cannot just wish them away. Why not include them in these discussions? I mean, I asked you this on inaudible the other day. You want countries that you disagree with in the summit. MR PRICE: Well, Said, our policy towards each of these countries — Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba — is predicated on one thing, and that is furthering or advancing the democratic aspirations of the Cuban people, the Venezuelan people, and the Nicaraguan people.
That is not what we have done. But as I said before, in recent weeks in at least one of these cases, in all three in one way or another, the challenge to democratic governance has only been underlined by the actions of these regimes. When it comes to our approach to all three countries, we have taken steps, including steps in recent weeks with at least a couple of these countries, that at least in our estimation seek to advance the democratic aspirations, the aspirations of these three peoples to live in a more freer, more open society.
We have taken concrete steps. We will continue to do what we can to advance the cause of liberty, to advance the cause of democracy, that these three peoples so desire. Anything else on the Summit of the Americas? MR PRICE: My understanding is that we found out the same way all of you did when your colleagues were summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and essentially read a riot act that was a litany of false equivalence. Look, Russia has already suffered devastating reputational costs, and of course, any effort to further suppress or constrict the ability of independent journalists to operate freely inside Russia will incur further reputational costs for Moscow, as if those costs needed to be underlined any further.
And we have already seen that. We have seen even senior Russian Government officials express and air their grievances, their profound disagreements, with the policy choices of the Kremlin, most notably the choice that the Kremlin has taken to wage a brutal war against Ukraine, to air those disagreements publicly. In the earliest days of this war of choice, this unjustified war, we saw thousands, tens of thousands of individuals across dozens of Russian cities peacefully take to the streets.
Many of them were detained, many of them were arrested, for doing nothing more than, again, exercising what should be the universal right to freedom of assembly. And so the point is that even as Russia tries to put forward these false arguments, these lies to justify their — what is a clear and apparent effort to intimidate independent journalists, Russia will not be able to fully suppress the dissent even within their own system to this brutal war against Ukraine.
There could be no means of doing that because we know that opposition to this conflict is so widespread even inside of Russia, where, unfortunately, the Russian people are fed a steady diet of lies and propaganda and disinformation. Do you know what prompted this? Do you have any idea?
I believe the Russian Federation has publicly attributed it to the designations that we enacted against Russian-backed or Russian Government entities. These are entities that had been primary sources of foreign revenue for the Kremlin to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, a key driver in terms of foreign funding for the Kremlin, or at least a significant source of foreign investment. Of course, in justifying what is unjustifiable — because it is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate independent journalists — we have seen this false equivalence, putting on the same plane your colleagues, your colleagues whom you know to be independent-minded, impartial, doing what they can under a very difficult operating environment, to uncover and to report the truth, to what are propaganda arms of the Russian Government.
How many senior Russian Government officials are you aware of who have voiced their opposition and disagreement to their policy? He was like the number three or four guy. So I just want to make sure I understand who. We have the latest example of Andrei Soldatov. He is known for his coverage of Russian security service, a very well-known journalist.
He got — basically, he learned that he is on the wanted list, and also his bank accounts got frozen this morning. How do you read that news? First of all, them being able to freeze a bank account of their own reporter and at the same time put him on a wanted list? The Russian Government, the Kremlin has a long track record of pursuing those who have attempted to put a spotlight on it, including its security services.
And of course, history is unfortunately riddled with examples of independent journalists and truth-tellers whose reporting has been suppressed, or in some cases, much worse has befallen them. And there are even recent examples of what appears to be very clear examples of the Russian Government pursuing and subjecting even to intimidation and to violence those who would attempt to expose corruption, malfeasance, wrongdoing on the part of the Russian Government.
And does the renewed bombing campaign of Kyiv change operations at Embassy Kyiv at all? The ongoing violence continues to take the form of attacks that have injured or killed civilians, destroyed civilian infrastructure, and that follows previous strikes that have hit civilian hospitals, schools, religious sites, the infamous strike on a theater in Mariupol, a busy railway station of civilians attempting to flee for their lives.
As you know, we resumed embassy operations at Embassy Kyiv last month. Since then, our team at the embassy has continued to engage with Ukrainian officials, to engage with the Ukrainian people, including representatives of civil society as well. Moscow has made a condemnation and also a senior Russian official even threatened to — these three countries with a missile strike.
We urge Serbia to focus on its stated goal of EU membership, including aligning its foreign and security policies with the rest of Europe. MR PRICE: Well, to your question, we have consistently urged Serbia to take steps that advance its European path, including diversifying its energy sources, to reduce energy dependence on the Russian Federation, and aligning its foreign and security policies with the EU.
We have sought and we continue to seek to be a partner to Serbia to assist in its efforts to enhance its energy security for the long term. Well — is that what you mean? Are there routes out of the country that have been identified and are up and running at this time? And just last week, a UN delegation briefed the United States, including senior members of our team here, on efforts to coordinate maritime security on the Black Sea. This is a war that not only has brutalized, and in many ways terrorized, the people of Ukraine, but it has put at risk food security around the world.
There are approximately 84 merchant ships, some laden with wheat and corn, and about seafarers are trapped at Ukrainian ports. Not only is there grain aboard these vessels, but there are about 22 million tons of grain sitting in silos near the ports that also needs to move out to make room for the newly harvested grain. In addition, Russia has actually taken aim at ships at sea. They have taken aim at grain silos. That was billed as a call to action.
We feel that we were successful in bringing together much of the world to focus on this problem. As you know, the Secretary later today will actually convene a group of stakeholders from the NGO community and also from the private sector together with Secretary Vilsack. Russia too has the potential to export its wheat, its fertilizer, its other foodstuffs. We have been very deliberate and careful in designing our sanctions policy.
Is that, like, a big meeting that you guys are also following, and would you expect maybe, like, a breakthrough after that on the grain issue? Again, we are supporting all diplomatic efforts that are carefully and closely coordinated with Ukraine — nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine — that have the potential to increase Ukrainian exports of food and fertilizer to the global marketplace.
You have referred to a meeting between two countries, Russia and Turkey, neither of which, of course, is Ukraine. This will be a challenge that will, of course, need to involve Ukraine at the center of anything that we collectively do to facilitate the export of Ukrainian food and fertilizer. It is a country where citizens from the world seek to travel to, where citizens from the world seek to educate themselves and their families. I have two questions on North Korea and China. North Korea fired eight ballistic missiles yesterday.
MR PRICE: Well, I would refer you to the Department of Defense, and they can share details of the live-fire exercises that they conducted in the aftermath of the most recent provocations. These launches are in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. We call on them to engage in dialogue.
At the same time, we have an ironclad commitment to our allies in the ROK in Japan. And not only is our deputy secretary of state in Seoul at this very moment, where she will have an opportunity to engage bilaterally with her South Korean and Japanese counterparts, but also trilaterally, underscoring the importance of trilateral engagement and coordination.
He was in immediate or near-immediate contact with them in the aftermath of the most recent provocations. That coordination will continue, but just as importantly, that shared resolve to confront this challenge and to find ways to advance what is our overarching objective, the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, that will remain front and center in our trilateral agenda. Our policy is to seek dialogue, to seek engagement with the DPRK.
Any country that puts the responsibility on us for the lack of dialogue, the lack of engagement, is either ill-informed or is propagating falsehoods. And the fact is that we have made clear for months now, since the earliest days of this administration, that we believe that diplomacy and dialogue provides the most effective means by which to promote our shared objective, a shared objective that emanated from a comprehensive policy review that we conducted last year, where we determined that our goal, a goal we now share with our trilateral allies, is the complete denuclearization of the DPRK.
We believe we can achieve that most effectively through diplomacy and dialogue, which we have consistently offered. We have made clear both publicly and privately to the DPRK that we harbor no hostile intent towards the regime.
Much to the contrary, it would be far preferable if we were able to engage in that diplomacy and dialogue. How are you going to respond to this? When it comes to security in North Asia, in this particular region, there is no greater threat to international peace and security. So it is incumbent on all members of the international community to enact and to continue to abide by international sanctions. It is profoundly disappointing, as you heard from Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield late last month, that certain members of the P5 have not fulfilled the obligations that they have as members of the P5 — again, an organization that is charged with being the preeminent forum to discuss threats to international peace and security.
But all the while, we will continue to promote accountability. There are other means by which we can promote that accountability. We have our own authorities. Our partners and allies have authorities that we can coordinate just as we work on defense and deterrence together with our partners in the region. Would you be — would unilateral actions be the only option left to the U. MR PRICE: Unilateral actions are never going to be the most attractive or even the most effective response, and that is especially the case because we are gratified that we have close allies in the form of Japan and the ROK bilaterally, trilaterally.
So we remain concerned that the DPRK could seek a seventh nuclear test in the coming days. I can assure you that it is a contingency we have planned for, and it has been a concerted topic of discussion with allies and partners. Given that China, Russia were the only two who vetoed, has the ambassador engaged directly with China and Russia how to move forward —.
We do engage regularly our partners in New York on this. But for any particular conversations, I need to refer you to her. As you know, Taliban establishing a good relationship with India. Indian officials visited the Taliban in Kabul, and they agreed to train some personal security people, maybe army, police or something else. Although Pakistan and Indian relationship is worse. Taliban, they get two part.
One go to India and the other one maybe there. MR PRICE: Well, there are a number of countries around the world that have a discrete set of interests in Afghanistan and who predicate their engagement with the Taliban on those interests. We too have interests when it comes to Afghanistan. India similarly has a set of interests when it comes to the Taliban. Different countries will engage with the Taliban in different ways.
We have a team on the ground in Doha that is responsible for, as appropriate, engaging with the Taliban on our set of interests just as other countries do. What issues will be discussed? The advisor is also having meetings with several other administration officials, including our National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Assistant Secretary Donfried will convey to Mr.
Hajiyev the U. This is something that Secretary Blinken has had an opportunity to engage with the leaders of these two countries on in recent days and recent weeks. It continues to be something we wish to promote. Is there a change in your position on the sale of Fs to Turkey?
Turkey has made no secret of its desire to invest more heavily in the F program. Do you have a position on that? We have emphasized that we remain deeply concerned about discussions of potential increased military activity in northern Syria, and in particular, its potential impact on the civilian population there. We have continued to call for the maintenance of existing ceasefire lines.
We would condemn any escalation beyond those lines. Any new escalation beyond those existing ceasefire lines could prove to be especially costly setbacks — costly setbacks to our collective efforts to counter Daesh, the efforts of the counter-ISIS coalition, but also to our efforts to promote political stability within Syria. Are you optimistic that this time there will be anything different? What we can do is to make very clear where the United States of America stands on this.
This is something that we have had an opportunity to discuss, including at senior levels, with our Turkish allies. I think over a period of 24 hours, four Palestinians were killed. They held a three-year-old child and they made him take off his t-shirt at a checkpoint.
The whole world saw that. I mean, morally speaking, how much should this military occupation go on, generation after generation? This has been at the heart of our policy. We have spoken out against steps that have the potential to be setbacks towards the prospect of a two-state solution.
QUESTION: So can you tell us at least one thing that you have done to bring this solution, this two-state solution, a bit closer in the last six months? Our goal since the very start has been to set the stage to create an environment in which diplomacy, including diplomacy toward — between Israelis and Palestinians is more likely to be effective. And I can point to a number of steps that we have taken, including the resumption of humanitarian funding for the Palestinian people, including the resumption of contact between the United States and the Palestinian leadership.
That is something that unfortunately had taken a hit in the last administration. We think it was profoundly counterproductive to the prospects of stability in the region, to the prospect ultimately of a two-state solution. And you have not taken any steps to reopening that.
Since the beginning of the year, 14 Palestinian kids — children — have been killed by the Israelis. Over the past 55 years, 1. Including administrative detentions. Can you at least tell your allies, the Israelis, that they should end this practice of administrative detention? We believe Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of stability, of security, of freedom, and importantly of dignity.
That is really at the heart of our efforts to set the stage for a two-state solution. There was a Washington Post story saying that the PRC is secretly building a naval facility in Cambodia for the exclusive use of its military. Do you have any comment about that? We and countries in the region have expressed concerns about the lack of transparency on the intent, the nature, the scope of this project, as well as the role that the PRC military is playing in its construction and in its post-construction use of the facility.
We have seen the PRC attempt to put forward a series of shadowy, opaque deals that they would like to see signed in the dead of night with no input or transparency, and even limited visibility on the part of the governments in question. So this has been a pattern on the part of the PRC. Does it give any metadata? When did you first start raising your concerns about the Chinese construction at Ream? Maybe it was before — before your time. Your colleague asked me a question about —.
We will —. I mean, are the participants coming in person, or are they going to be in a laptop screen? And is there any dialogue with the Russians at the UN right now on this? But as you know, Linda Thomas-Greenfield was just in the region late last week. She went there to put a spotlight on the indispensability of this remaining border crossing. It is a border crossing that facilitates much needed, desperately needed humanitarian support for the Syrian people. We — the United States believes, and many of our allies and partners around the world believe, that we should not allow the profound differences we have with Russia or any other country to stand in the way of humanitarian assistance to make it to the people of Syria.
This is not something that should be treated as a bargaining chip. This is not something that should be used for political favor or advantage. This is about lives. This is about livelihoods. This is about the ability of millions of Syrians who are at grave risk of food insecurity to continue to subsist and to live. When it comes to the DPRK — we have already talked about this to some extent during the briefing — our objective is to see the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
We believe we can achieve that most effectively through dialogue and diplomacy. We are doing what we can to signal very clearly to the DPRK regime that we are ready, willing, and able to engage in that dialogue and diplomacy. This has tended to be cyclical. It is very clear at the moment that we are in the former. We are doing what we can to give way to a period that is marked more by the latter. It was in a confined box until May of , when the decision was made on the part of the previous administration to essentially give Iran a get out of nuclear jail free card.
And since then Iran has been in a position to advance its nuclear program in ways that would have been prohibited under the JCPOA and to do so in the context — in a context where we have not had the stringent verification and monitoring regime that the JCPOA affords us. Now, it remains a very big question mark as to whether we will get there.
If we are in a position to mutually return to compliance with the JCPOA, that will be the vehicle by which we fulfil that commitment, but we are equally determined and we are engaging with allies and partners around the world in the absence of a JCPOA to ensure that even in the case that we are unable to get there that Iran will not be able to acquire a nuclear weapon.
Are those precursors to a meeting with MBS, or is there any more detail you can provide on a potential meeting there? As you know, the White House has said that they are working on a visit to the Middle East. He has accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Bennett of Israel to travel to Israel in the coming weeks, and we may have more to say, or I should say the White House I expect will have more to say on that front at the appropriate time.
What we are doing with Saudi Arabia is precisely what we are doing with countries around the world, and that is forging a relationship that first and foremost advances U. Our engagements with countries around the world are predicated on the idea that these relationships need to serve American interests and to be consistent with American values.
I think over the course of the past 16 months we have been in a position to forge a relationship with Saudi Arabia that does that. And you saw another piece of evidence just last week when it was announced by the UN another extension, or I should say an extension, a two-month extension, to the humanitarian truce in Yemen.
This, of course, would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Special Envoy Lenderking under the direction of Secretary Blinken and President Biden, but of course the UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg, but also the support of our Saudi partners.
We have also worked and Saudi Arabia has done quite a bit to mend regional divides — the exchange of ambassadors with Lebanon, healing rifts within the Gulf as well. And of course, we have common interests in terms of the threats that Saudi Arabia faces, has faced, from Yemen. So we are working with our Saudi partners on all of these common interests.
We can do all of that while keeping human rights at the center of our foreign policy. Has that process of recalibration concluded, or are you guys still in the process of recalibrating the relationship? The same could be true of countries around the world. Is there any plan that a State Department official will meet him here in the State Department? The director general said that Iran has a considerable amount of enriched uranium and it could be only weeks before it could have enough fissile material for a bomb.
We have full faith and confidence in the IAEA. The assessment that you heard from the director general today is largely consistent with our own assessments. The fact is that when the JCPOA was implemented, when it was fully in effect, the breakout time was about 12 months. It was about a year. We are now no longer talking about months, unfortunately, but we are talking about weeks or less. It is based on assessments that are ever evolving.
These assessments are updated based on every piece of relevant information. As I said, the breakout time that we have now is quite short. The prospect of a mutual return to compliance would still prolong that breakout time fairly significantly if we were successful in negotiating a mutual return to that. That remains a big question mark. We are every day engaging with our allies and partners in this effort.
And again, as long as it is in the national security interests of the United States, we will continue to pursue a mutual return to compliance. But either way, as I said before, President Biden has a commitment. He has made a solemn commitment that Iran will never be in a position to acquire a nuclear weapon.
So is it — so can I just drill down into that a little bit? We have gone on for quite a while. He works closely with leadership across the government. He in fact leads an interagency team. That team actually includes a senior military advisor.
And are you planning to send Mr. Amos Hochstein to Beirut and Israel on this question? We believe that a deal is possible if both sides negotiate in good faith and realize the benefit to both countries. To that end, we do strongly support efforts to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Two questions on Russia-Ukraine. You also owe me an Azerbaijan follow-up.
And also characterizes missile attack on Kyiv as an act of terrorism. Do you share that characterization? Was it an act of terrorism? He was quoted today as saying Russia should not close its embassy in the U. I get the sentiment that when ambassador talked about that, this is two-way road. But I wonder how comfortable you are in terms of seeing Russian diplomats wandering around, feeling they are part of international community just as normal after everything they have done on Ukraine, just pick up from where they left off.
But Russia is diplomatically isolated in a way that it never has been before. You should ask Moscow how it plans to vote in terms of the next Human Rights Council meeting, just to give you one example. This is a country that is now, in many ways, a pariah on the international stage. We have seen countries distance themselves from Moscow. This is not only confined to private sector companies. We believe that lines of communication, lines of dialogue, are always important, but they are especially important at — during times of increased tension or, in this case, even conflict or war.
We want to see those lines preserved. Our goal is to see those lines of communication maintained. What we are doing is working with our Ukrainian partners to provide them with the support they need — security assistance, economic assistance, humanitarian assistance — just as we impose costs on the Russian Federation. The Secretary, in fact, offered his help with border efforts. Other than just bringing both sides together, what does that mean in practice? Do you have different maps, or what are you offering that — if Brussels does not —.
It includes border demarcation efforts, ways that we can help Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to make progress in terms of this conflict. Quite a crowd today. You have picked a good day to turn up at the State Department, and I say that because we have a special guest, as you can see. It is my pleasure to introduce Rashad Hussain. Ambassador-at-Large Hussain is our ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Good afternoon, everyone. Today we released the International Religious Freedom Report.
This comprehensive resource is an indispensable part of our efforts to advance human rights globally. The stories of so many people and the persecution that they face is brought to life in the pages documenting the state of international religious freedom in the report. The report clearly shows that governments and civil society must collaborate to address deteriorating conditions around the world.
During the past year, we have seen increased repression by authoritarian governments and the politicized use of blasphemy, apostasy, and conversion laws, including against Christian communities. The concerning trend lines in these countries underscore that much work remains to be done. Yet there is also reason for optimism. We are seeing the progress that is possible when civil society, a coalition of activists, and multilateral bodies work with government, and many — in many cases when they push and when they challenge governments to live up to their obligations.
We need those conversations to generate and sustain continued progress. Your advocacy is critical to continued progress. I can see him now. This report covers obviously last year, not this year. But since you brought it up upstairs, you talked a little bit about Ukraine.
Following their unprovoked and unjustified invasion, Russia has targeted religious minorities in Ukraine. The Kremlin seeks to create division, as you alluded to, within the Orthodox Church and has targeted religious minorities and even damaged religious sites within Ukraine. I recently actually just met with the Ecumenical Patriarch when I was in Riyadh. And the Ukrainian people continue to inspire the world with their courage.
They have been doing phenomenal work — the faith-based communities have — at the border. And so we will continue as a part of our economic and security and humanitarian assistance to do everything that we can to support the courageous people of Ukraine, and that includes the religious communities that are there.
Well, I was less focused on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church than I was on the Russian Orthodox Church, and particularly — in particular, the patriarch, who you may have seen the reports today that the EU had him on their sanctions list — this is Patriarch Kirill, I believe his name is — and then removed him because of objections from Hungary.
And as I mentioned, the malign influence efforts that they continue to engage in in Ukraine and elsewhere continue to be of deep concern, and we will continue to be in touch with our counterparts in the Ukraine and other parts of the world regarding the concerns that you mentioned.
I guess one of the —. I mean, do you see any — do you find that there is more adamance on the part of Beijing perhaps to try to force a reincarnation process for the next Dalai Lama? How is the U. Do you find — is there a stance that the U. The whereabouts of the Panchen Lama remain unknown since his abduction by PRC authorities, and actually, May 17th will mark the 27th anniversary of his disappearance.
And we are concerned that the PRC continues to deny members of the Tibetan community access to the Dalai Lama — the Dalai Lama-designated Panchen Lama, the second most revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism — and instead continues to promote a state-selected proxy.
I actually had a chance to attend an event here in Washington a couple of months ago commemorating the disappearance of the Panchen Lama and at that time as well worked with some of our civil society partners to urge China to end their interference in the succession. You mentioned and the Secretary as well briefly mentioned India in the remarks.
Obviously, India can be quite sensitive about criticism. And does the United States actually raise these issues with India despite — in addition to comments inaudible? The remarks spoke for themselves. We continue to raise these issues regularly with our Indian counterparts. USCIRF is an important partner, and as we collect our data for our report we take their recommendations into account as well.
We are concerned with targeting of a number of religious communities in India, including Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindu dalits, and indigenous communities as well. Should freedom of religion also cover freedom from religion? And the reason I ask this is because atheists in some Islamic countries and societies could be stoned to death and ostracized.
And we speak regularly with our counterparts, including in the countries that you mentioned, to urge them to uphold this freedom. A constant principle that we hear or a constant refrain that you may be familiar with in Arabic is La ikraha fid-deen , that there is no compulsion in religion, and so that is a principle that we share and that we continue to raise with our counterparts around the world. There is many religious peoples in prison in China and North Korea right now.
How is the United States getting involved in North Korea and China, where there is no religion and the oppression of religious peoples? Well, China continues to be one of the worst abusers of religious freedom in the world.
They have engaged in genocide and crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs. China has been designated as a CPC since I alluded to the genocide determination. As you recall, we decided not to send any diplomatic representation to the Olympics. Ambassador Hussain, let me ask about the tools that you have or you might want to see in your toolkit to move the needles.
What I also see is some quiet diplomacy going behind the scene — ambassadors meetings with officials. Are there other tools that you would like to see when you try to move the needle in those countries? When should we expect them coming? Thank you so much. With regard to tools, we are doing our best to use all the tools at our disposal to address these restrictions.
We raise individual cases. I do that routinely with ambassadors here in the United States, in our travels overseas. We raise cases of individuals that are being held in prison and being persecuted because of their religious beliefs. We oppose policies and laws that are on the books, such as apostasy laws and blasphemy laws that are used often to restrict religious freedom. Our report in and of itself is a unique document. It meticulously goes through the condition with regard to religious freedom in countries around the world.
And we believe that highlighting the status of religious freedom country by country, something that is not done anywhere else in the world, raises the profile of the issues and the cases. So you mentioned the toolbox. We try to apply them in the most appropriate way in each situation to make progress on these issues.
But even after witnessing worst-ever situation of religious freedom in India, this country is still out of red list. In fact, for a number of years at the UN, there was a resolution passed with regard to so-called defamation of religion, and Pakistan was one of the leading advocates. And our concern with that resolution is that it is an instrument that gives support or sanction to blasphemy laws, and we work with a number of countries around the world, including OIC countries, including Pakistan — Pakistan was a close partner on this — to eliminate the use of that resolution and move towards the Istanbul process, which we continue to seek to energize today.
Now, there is a number of troubling blasphemy cases that continue today and those are cases that we continue to raise, and I raise them regularly with the ambassador here. Those are positive steps, but much work remains, and we continue to be in dialogue with our Pakistani partners about that.
My question is about Georgia. What are the main challenges the country is facing today in regards of religious freedom? And I wonder if you find any attempts of Russian church to increase its influence. Are there concerns that forms of Chinese religious intolerance are going to be exported to Hong Kong in the future? Do you foresee, for example, greater control over Hong Kong religious institutions in the near future?
And we are concerned, I would say more broadly, about transnational repression, so the efforts to which China is going to to oppress religious minorities not just in their country, but minority groups that are elsewhere. So yes, it continues to be a concern and something that our office is watching very closely.
QUESTION: On Syria, your report points out that after the Turkish incursion into northwest Syria, members of minority groups have faced execution, extortion, kidnapping, and destruction of religious shrines. As far as — you guys looked at the issues there. As far as you know, is that because — do these things happen because Turkey allows the armed groups to carry out these acts, or is it because Turkey does not have control over the armed groups there?
And is it safe to assume that if Turkey attacks other areas of northern Syria, the same fate will await the other minorities there? Secretary Blinken in his statement mentioned Saudi Arabia. Can you elaborate on that? With regard to Saudi Arabia, we are concerned about the religious freedom situation there.
Saudi Arabia has been designated as a CPC country since They continue to criminalize blasphemy and apostacy and discriminate against the Shia population within the justice system, the educational system, in employment. I just recently came back from Riyadh. The Secretary mentioned that we are seeing some signs of progress. At the conference that I attended, there was representation, which I think was unprecedented, from a number of major religious communities and from some of their top leaders, including the Ecumenical Patriarch, and there was other Christian leadership there, Jewish leadership, Hindu and Sikh community leaders as well.
Iran has been a CPC for the past 20 years. They are one — they have one of the worst records on religious freedom. And we have implemented a series of sanctions and support actions at the UN to condemn Iran and their human rights record, and we strongly support the mandate of the UN special rapporteur to investigate human rights abuses there.
Thank you to your team as well. We have consistently communicated to Tunisian officials the importance of checks and balances in a democratic system. We continue to urge the Tunisian Government to pursue an inclusive and transparent reform process with input from civil society and diverse political voices to strengthen the legitimacy of reform efforts. Next, today we welcome the announcement by the UN special envoy extending the truce in Yemen by an additional two months to August 2nd.
This extension brings further relief and hope to millions of Yemenis. This is a pivotal moment for Yemen. Yemen has the opportunity to continue this progress and choose peace instead of war, suffering, and destruction. We hope the parties to the conflict will seize the opportunity to take further steps to ease the suffering of Yemenis, including urgently opening roads to Taiz city.
Most importantly, we hope the parties use this opportunity to begin an inclusive, comprehensive, UN-led peace process. We know that only a durable political agreement and permanent end to the fighting can bring true relief to Yemenis. As the President said today, ending the war in Yemen has been a priority of this administration from the very start. The United States will remain engaged in this process over the coming weeks and months. The Secretary reiterated that the United States remains committed to an inclusive, durable resolution to the conflict that alleviates the suffering of the Yemeni people, empowers them to determine their future without foreign interference, and addresses their calls for justice and accountability.
We know that countries are stronger when people — regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics — are fully recognized as free and equal members of their society. Russia regularly fires missiles from its territory at cities in eastern Ukraine. Does the U. And if so, why is the U. MR PRICE: Everything we have provided to our Ukrainian partners, everything our allies and partners around the globe have provided to our collective Ukrainian partners, has a singular goal in mind, and that is self-defense.
That is to say, this is security assistance that will permit and in fact has enabled our Ukrainian partners to defend their democracy, defend their freedom, their sovereignty, their independence, to defend their country. There were those in the Kremlin who thought this war would be over within hours, who thought that Moscow would essentially be in charge, in control of Ukraine, at least on a de facto basis, within several days. That, of course, is not the case.
Our Ukrainian partners have won the battle of Kyiv; they have forced Russia to narrow its objectives and its war aims. Of course, the battle is now ranging in the south and the east. There is tremendous violence that the Russian Federation is inflicting on the Ukrainian people, including Ukrainian forces but also Ukrainian civilians, in the Donbas at this moment.
But we will continue to provide our Ukrainian partners with what they need to defend themselves. And that is just what the United States has done. There are dozens of countries around the world, including the some 40 countries that Secretary Austin and the Pentagon regularly convene, that have provided their own forms of security assistance to Ukraine as well.
She said the range itself is going to be up to the Ukrainian forces. So just to clarify, is the U. And why is that the expectation of the U. The fact is that there are Russian forces inside sovereign Ukrainian territory. They have been there in some ways since , but certainly on an expanded basis since February 24th of this year. Ukraine has every right, just as every country does, to defend its territory. So at every step of the way, when it was for the battle of Kyiv, when it has now shifted to the south and the east, we have provided our Ukrainian partners precisely with what they have requested and when they have requested it to take on the dynamics of the battlefield that they are encountering at this very moment.
So the — and so I think it was a pretty specific question: Does Ukraine have the right to retaliate, to defend itself, against Russian attacks that are launched from inside Russian territory? We are providing Ukraine with precisely what it needs to fulfill that self-defense mission.
Our goal in all of this is to do everything we can to bring this war to an end, to diminish the violence and to put an end to a conflict that was needless to begin with. So we want to do everything we can to strengthen the hand of our Ukrainian partners both on the battlefield but also at the negotiating table.
But we also want to be careful to ensure that we are not doing anything or the international community is not doing anything that would needlessly prolong this conflict. If Ukraine stopped fighting today, there would be no sovereign, independent country of Ukraine tomorrow. If Russia stopped fighting today, there would be no war today. That is what it boils down to. What we are trying to do is to strengthen the ability of our Ukrainian partners to defend themselves, to defend their freedom, to defend their sovereignty, to defend their country on the battlefield as we strengthen their hand at the negotiating table.
I have two questions. One is on the M launchers that the UK needed U. The announcement came last night, but it was not fully clear whether or not they have your green light. I know that the Secretary had a phone call with his British counterpart this morning.
Do they have your green light? What I can say is that dozens of countries around the world have provided needed security assistance. In cases where the commitment is U. In terms of the state sponsor of terrorism list, the point we have made is that — and you saw this again today — we are going to pull every appropriate lever to see to it that we are holding Russia to account, just as we continue to provide significant assistance to our Ukrainian partners: security assistance, economic assistance, and humanitarian assistance as well.
The state sponsor of terrorism statute is a statute. It is defined by Congress; it is written into law. What we are doing with all of the authorities that are available to us, many of which are written into law by Congress, is taking a close look at that law, taking a close look at the facts on the ground, determining whether the facts are, in fact, correspondent with the law.
And if we think any such measure would be effective, we would enact it. But I will make one additional point: With the financial sanctions that we have imposed on Russia, with the export controls that we have imposed on Russia, we have had an enormous effect on the Russian economy, on the Russian financial system. We have isolated Russia diplomatically and politically in a way that no single designation could do.
The cumulative toll of every measure we have put in place has been extraordinarily biting on the Russian economy, and if you take a look at the latest facts and figures, the World Bank projects that Russian GDP will contract by about 11 percent in Inflation has been soaring, with analysts estimating that inflation above 20 percent for Russia in Our export controls have been biting. Was this something that you, like, wanted to do since they sanctioned you, so you wanted to get back at her? Well, as you said at the time that you were sanctioned, this has zero impact on you.
What is the point of going after spokespeople like this? One, I can assure you this was not personal. What I will say is that this individual was sanctioned not because of her specific role, but because she is a senior figure in the Russian Government.
We have gone after, as you know, a number of senior figures in the Russian Government, and the spokeperson was included in this latest round. Two, I would dispute the premise of your question when you talk about symmetry. Yes, I was, shall we say, unfazed when I was sanctioned by the Russians, when I was more recently banned from traveling to Russia, for a couple reasons. I think that is true of my other counterparts and colleagues that have been sanctioned. But —. There is not exactly symmetry between the United States and Russia when it comes to the allure of this country, when it comes to the strength of our financial system and the centrality of our financial system.
I think it is far more likely — hopefully this is a noncontroversial statement — that a financial transaction would touch a United States entity or touch the United States before it would touch a Russian entity or the Russian Federation. So the fact of the United States designating someone in Russia is in many ways far more biting than what the Russians would do to us. We are the United States of America. Russia, of course, is a country that is far —.
It was attacked by the West. When you say that —. So it must have some sort of certain sense of allure, to use your word. But Russia has — is a great country, and it has been attacked by the West, the West has tried to conquer, to —. If so, I — we would, of course, dispute the premise of that. Let me just ask you on the sanctions. Now, the sanctions that you impose on officials, they are on officials.
They have no bank accounts in America. They have — so the sanctions you impose really hurt businessmen, the people that you tried to sort of nurture over the past 30 years and establish relations with and so on, and have some sort of a business exchange environment, not these officials.
The Treasury Department targeted prominent Russian Government officials and business leaders, the luxury properties of oligarchs and cronies and elites, luxury asset management and service companies key to the Russian attempts to evade sanctions. The Department of Commerce imposed additional export controls. So I am not — again, I think I would dispute the premise of your question that we are pursuing those that we need to be reaching out to.
We certainly applaud the advancement of the most recent sanctions package. Just as we did today, our European allies — in this case, the EU — has been working on their next tranche of sanctions. We have always said that our sanctions need not be identical. And oftentimes, they are not identical, but what they are is complementary. And we have taken actions that complement actions that our European allies have taken and vice versa with, again, the cumulative goal of having a significant bite, not only on senior Russian Government officials but oligarchs, cronies, elites who are in the inner circle of the Kremlin.
Really appreciate. I have a question on China and North Korea. I have still jetlag. This page was not helpful because the content has too little information. Drop points are numbered and marked locations on a fire where people meet, equipment is exchanged, and resources may be stationed. Theft, seizure, or loss of a nuclear weapon or component FEMA. National Telecommunications Support Plan; a.
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Welles Wilder , that helps traders evaluate the strength of the current market. RSI is similar to Stochastic in that it identifies overbought and oversold conditions in the market. It is also scaled from 0 to Typically, readings of 30 or lower indicate oversold market conditions and an increase in the possibility of price strengthening going up. Readings of 70 or higher indicate overbought conditions and an increase in the possibility of price weakening going down. In addition to the overbought and oversold indicators mentioned above, traders who use the Relative Strength Index RSI indicator also look for centerline crossovers.
A movement from below the centerline 50 to above indicates a rising trend. This indicates the market trend is increasing in strength, and is seen as a bullish signal until the RSI approaches the 70 line. A movement from above the centerline 50 to below indicates a falling trend. This indicates the market trend is weakening in strength, and is seen as a bearish signal until the RSI approaches the 30 line.
Personal Finance. Your Practice. Popular Courses. RSI and Forex The relative strength index RSI is most commonly used to indicate temporarily overbought or oversold conditions in a market. An RSI of over 70 is considered overbought. When it below 30 it is considered oversold.
Trading based on RSI indicators is often the starting point when considering a trade, and many traders place alerts at the 70 and 30 marks. When the alert is triggered, the trader will examine the validity of a trade. The RSI can give false signals, and it is not uncommon in volatile markets for the RSI to remain above the 70 or below the 30 mark for extended periods.
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