Background Briefing on the African Union Summit
WASHINGTON, May 30, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Remarks
Senior State Department Official
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
May 24, 2013
MODERATOR: And this is just to – as always, but just so you know, on background as a Senior State Department Official.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah. All right, so thank you. Drink a lot of water. You're at 8,500 feet. If you go to the Embassy, it's 9,000 feet up. The other thing, too, is if you want to protect yourself on health, I wouldn't eat raw vegetables.
MODERATOR: We had a thorough briefing.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah.
MODERATOR: Very thorough. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Do you speak from experience?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes. I served here for three years (inaudible). And if you have a chance off (inaudible) to see the – and everyone is looking at Lucy (ph). I think (inaudible) is much better, (inaudible) and it's on display at the museum.
MODERATOR: Oh. All right.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So anyway, just a couple things that we're working on. As far as – number one, of course, this is the 50th anniversary. It really kind of highlights what the African Union has done over the last 50 years. And I think if you take the African Union at snapshots from 50 years ago to 20 to 10 to five to now, the developments and the progress has been dramatic. We now have a lot of peacekeeping operations organized by the African Union, et cetera. We have a lot of efforts that we're doing jointly with the UN as well as the United States.
The second issue, of course, is to highlight Ethiopia as a host for the African Union and everything that it's doing to support the African Union. And in that context, Ethiopia has done a lot of work for us in the African Union in Abyei, which has been a crisis area, Darfur, the Congo, Libya, Burundi issues, et cetera. So they've been a very part and parcel part of the African Union experience.
The third theme, of course, is to highlight what the United States is doing throughout Africa. And that is, of course, good governance, emphasizing holding governments accountable to the people. The other issue is economic development, and also peace and security. And also it's a prelude to the President's trip, so that means highlighting women issues as well as youth.
And as kind of background information, 70 – over 70 percent of Africa, 850 million population, is under the age of 30. And in many countries, two-thirds are under the age of 15. So it's a very young, dynamic continent.
So with that, tomorrow the schedule is very chockablock jam-packed. And so what we're trying to do as far as getting bilats for Secretary Kerry – the main area, of course, is Sudan. That means trying to meet with the Foreign Minister Karti, who was supposed to have come to the United States, but because the Secretary was on travel, we couldn't arrange those meetings. So we're going to do it here at the African Union.
And then the other side is Salva Kiir from Southern Sudan. The reason why is because of the challenges between North and South Sudan on the recent oil problems. The stoppage of the oil is restarted. The second area, too, is just the border issue challenges. And another area, too, is to work with Southern Sudan on their economic development program.
Another area that we're going to try to arrange a meeting is with Goodluck Jonathan from Nigeria. As you know, before we left Washington we did issue a statement on the offensive that Nigeria had launched into the north against Boko Haram. We, of course, in that statement said we do not deny or oppose a country's right for security or its effort to secure its border and the sovereign rights to do so, but also our concerns on human rights issues in the north. And that's something of great concern, and growing concern actually.
The other area, too, that we're going to try to meet is with the African Union leadership, and that's Madam Zuma, and also Hailemariam, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is the president for the African Union. So it's really a dual role for Prime Minister Hailemariam, not only as the President of the AU but also as Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and a discussion of bilateral issues.
MODERATOR: And the other two, just to add, of course, he's going to be meeting with Morsy tomorrow. The focus of that from our end will be urging action on, of course, putting reforms in place, economic reforms in place, so that they can shore the IMF loan agreement. Also they'll discuss Middle East peace. As you know, Egypt has played a role both with the Arab League in reaffirming API, and they've also had a historic role in that, so the Secretary will update the President on his talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah. And he'll also, of course, stress the importance of respecting human rights. And he'll also meet with Ban Ki-moon tomorrow to discuss the good work the UN and AU have done working together on a number of issues in Africa, but also in preparation for the Geneva conference. He'll update him on, of course, the events of the last couple of days and discuss plans moving forward.
With that --
QUESTION: Can I ask you a question about the – is it confirmed that the Secretary will meet with President Goodluck Jonathan from Nigeria, one? And then two, the statement that you issued was really extremely hard-hitting, as I recall. And one of the things that it talked about was deeply concerned by credible allegations that Nigerian security forces are committing gross human rights violations which internally exacerbate (inaudible) – have you seen any improvement since you issued the statement? Or is this partly just to try to drive home that this may be continuing and that you want it to stop?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We're looking at our relationship in Nigeria as extremely important. I mean, kind of one background information is if you ask any leaders on West Africa, what is one area of the relationship that's really critical, and the issue is Nigeria. Why? Because Nigeria has such a – plays such a pivotal role in West Africa, not only in peacekeeping operations but the economy, its population. And the issue comes in as whatever happens in Nigeria affects the regional states. So Nigeria becomes very critical.
We've worked with Nigeria on a wide range of issues. And one of them, of course, is stability within its own country, and that is the – towards the north. When Johnnie Carson was the Assistant Secretary, he made the speech – I think it was at – is it CSIS or USIP, one of the two – and he articulated that in the north, if you have – the education rates was around 40 percent as opposed to 60 percent for the south, and you had a greater focus on southern development, and that more needed to be done in northern development. In other words, economic development, trade and investments, education and healthcare, the whole wide range of areas. And so with that in mind, what we want to say is that there has to be greater dialogue, greater interconnections between the two areas. And I think that would bring not only stability to Nigeria but also calmness in the hill region.
QUESTION: Right, but do you still believe that gross human rights violations are being perpetrated? Or do you still – there are continued allegations that gross human rights violations are being perpetrated by government forces in the north.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: When we issued the statement, it was based on information that we had been receiving that there was continued violation of human rights. And we continue to monitor the north. We're going to continue to monitor the north. More important is we continue to work with the Nigerians, their military and their security to address the situation in the northern area. And as human rights violations continue, and I think the concern is that because of our concern, it does continue.
QUESTION: Because of what?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Because of our concerns in the north that human rights violations still continue, that we will continue to monitor and work with the Nigerian Government to address those concerns.
QUESTION: And so, since your statement came out, is it continuing?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Again, as I say, we're monitoring the north. We're monitoring the north.
QUESTION: And this will be raised by the Secretary in the meeting?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes.
QUESTION: So you're not --
QUESTION: Wait. Can I just – it's either continuing or it's not continuing. It's a very simple question.
MODERATOR: It's continuing. It's continuing.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: It's continuing. And that becomes – it still remains a concern for us, is the peace, stability in the north and human rights issues. That remains --
QUESTION: I know, but what's continuing? Sorry, this – I don't want to belabor this, but human rights violations are continuing, correct?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Human rights violations, yes.
QUESTION: This is post-Baga?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Post-Baga.
QUESTION: And can you just – the first part of Arshad's question: Is this meeting with Jonathan Goodluck confirmed, or are you still working on it?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We're still working on the – I think – the problem comes in is all the scheduling is just --
MODERATOR: We're going to get a schedule from upstairs, just to see where things are. This was something that's planned, so we'll get you guys that before the end of it.
QUESTION: Sorry. The Sudanese Foreign Minister, you said he was supposed to come to DC but he's not, and so they're meeting him here.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right.
QUESTION: Does that mean that the Sudanese delegation, which, as you know, was a bit contentious, is not coming to Washington? Or is this separate?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No, no, this is separate. This was an earlier meeting that was being arranged. We had it scheduled, but the Secretary had another trip overseas, and so we had to delay it. And we just couldn't get the schedule back on track, so we said we'll meet at the African Union Summit.
QUESTION: So the delegation, then, that is expected to include Mr. Nafie Ali Nafie, to your knowledge, is still on? That was announced.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah, yeah. The meeting here is just with Foreign Minister Karti.
QUESTION: I understand.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah. And the issue about Nafie Ali Nafie's visit, I think that would be discussed with Karti. But I think we will have to give you a briefing later about when that trip is and the details.
QUESTION: Right. No, I understand. Nobody really knows when that trip is, but --
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: That's right.
QUESTION: But the United States, at present, still intends to welcome a delegation that includes Mr. Nafie Ali Nafie?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: At this time.
QUESTION: Is that issue and his alleged involvement in human rights, will that be part of the conversation with the Sudanese Foreign Minister tomorrow?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right now, I think the main topics for the Khartoum meeting is going to be the relationship with the southerners and the issue of the oil which came up. That, I think, raised a lot of concerns on our part about the relationship between north and south.
QUESTION: So could I ask you – obviously I know there's a lot of leaders here, but are there any plans for any meeting with the leaders of Rwanda or D.R. Congo to discuss the – and also Mali and the issues that are happening up there?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: The schedule is so tight. We've been doing everything from the lunches and dinners that are being arranged, who's sitting next to the Secretary at the table. I think that's still being finalized.
MODERATOR: There's still a lunch and a dinner. There's possibilities that there can be kind of pull-asides. So we'll keep you updated as we know of those, but this is what's on the schedule as of now.
QUESTION: Can you – is there any expectation that Secretary Kerry or are there any plans of Secretary Kerry to meet or have any interaction with President Ahmadinejad?
QUESTION: And can you rule out that they'll see him or deal with him?
MODERATOR: Yes. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: They'll be in the same room at some point?
MODERATOR: There is a – it is a conference, but there are no plans to see him or --
QUESTION: Do you know the proximity or is --
MODERATOR: I don't. I don't. I don't know that level of technical detail of the setup.
QUESTION: They won't be sitting at the same dinner table then?
QUESTION: He's short; Kerry's tall. He won't see Kerry. (Laughter.)
MODERATOR: I don't know how the dinner tables are set up, to be honest. True answer. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: You mentioned that there's a Dlamini Zuma meeting as well. Is that something you're working on or you know?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Oh, no, that's – because that's the chairperson for the African Union.
QUESTION: Right. What are the highlights expected there?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Again, it's to highlight the great progress made by the African Union. The other issue, too, is our continued support and assistance for the African Union. As you know, the United States is the first non-African country to assign an ambassador to the African Union. And I happened to be one of the acting ambassadors during that period, too, so --
QUESTION: But maybe we – maybe there's some Mali in there? I mean, is that --
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes. It's going to be – when you talk to the African Union, it's a wide range of issues. And that goes into what the African Union is doing on the Mali issue, on Sudan, on Somalia, and the Great Lakes, the careful coordination with the United Nations. Just for your information, we had a meeting today with – or lunch with the deputy chair to kind of go over a lot of the issues that will be raised tomorrow. But our relationship with the African Union is very wide-ranging. So --
QUESTION: On Mali, I mean, apart from Secretary Kerry's meetings, what's the discussion here about the eventual African force? And where does all that stand? How big a part of the conversation is that here, and how do you assess where they are?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think if you talk about AFISMA, the African force, it really has to be in a context of our major goal and objective, and that's elections on July 28th and --
QUESTION: It has to be in the context of what?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: -- of the – I'm sorry, of the elections, the presidential elections in July 28th. The reason why is because really the elections are critical. Without a credible, transparent election – and we're doing everything we can, from supporting the registration of refugees in other countries to working on the registration of the Tuaregs in Gao and other areas, as well as the other minorities such as the Songhais and the Peuls is that without the elections, really that becomes a basis for a lot of the other crises that we're trying to address. That is the dialogue between the north and the south.
The second thing is the humanitarian relief efforts, and of course the addressing of the issue of extremism in the north, and that's posed by Ansar al-Dine and AQIM.
QUESTION: So --
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: And so in that context, then you look at the African Forces. And the issue is that if you look at the African force, you have, I mean, over a dozen countries, three different languages that are being spoken, the different – the capacity and capability of the African forces that are different levels, not all the forces can operate in the north. And then I think it's still a work in progress to see how you can integrate the interoperability of these African forces.
And so it's going to take time. And in that issue is that we are very thankful and appreciative of the French forces playing such a significant role in northern Mali. The other issue, too, is trying to get the right force structure, massive transitions from AFISMA to MINUSMA – UN operations. And so those are a lot of things that have to be addressed. But the right questions are being asked by ECOWAS, the African Union, and the United Nations. And as you know, the – a new UN Special Envoy is being assigned from Cote d'Ivoire, the Dutch person, Albert – was it Gerard Koenders?
QUESTION: You mentioned AQIM in the context of Mali. Is that going – is al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb going to be perhaps one of the topics across the board for the Union, or is it going to be contained country by country?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: It's – One background note is you have, on the Mali crisis, it is one of the – an African issue which galvanized and attracted all these African countries in ECOWAS. In other words, from Cote d'Ivoire to non-ECOWAS countries like Chad, to Algiers, to all these countries that are affected by not only extremism, but also by the flow of different ethnic groups and tribes such as the Tuaregs, which are really in multiple countries. And then the other issue, too, is the flows of refugees. You're talking 400,000 – over 400,000 people in North Mali who are displaced, either internally or are refugees. So that affects the entire region. And so because of that, it's really attracted the attention of the entire African area in that region.
QUESTION: So would it be fair to say it's a point on the agenda that --
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: That's right. AQIM, has to be looked at in a context that there's four interconnected, simultaneous ongoing crises that are taking place. And AQIM or extremism is only one of those four crises. And so it's not the – like the main one, but it's in a context of the four.
QUESTION: And the –
QUESTION: There are just four?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: The four crises are, again, reestablishing democratic governance, because that's going to be key to a lot of resolving the other crises. The other one is a dialogue between Bamako and the minority tribes in the north. That's the Peul, the Songhais, the Arabs and the Tuaregs. The third is the humanitarian crisis. Not only do you have 400,000 displaced in northern Mali, but if you look at the trans-Sahel, because of the drought and weather and climactic problems, you have – at one point it was 13 million people food insecure. It's been eased up because of our USAID efforts. And then the fourth issue, of course, is the issue of extremism.
QUESITON: Wait. How many refugees did you say? How many are without food?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Of the 400,000 displaced, what is it? It's – I thought was about even, but a little less than 200,000 – 177,000 in refugee camps in the areas and the rest are internally displaced in Mali.
QUESTION: And then – great. And then – well, not great, but thank you for clarifying that. And then – (laughter) – you said that at one point there were 13 million --
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: That's across --
QUESTION: -- food insecure.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: -- across the Sahel.
QUESTION: And you said USAID efforts had helped bring that down. How many do you think now are food insecure?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I would defer to AID, but it's – we're addressing the needs. It's not --
QUESTION: It's still millions, though?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Oh yes, of course.
QUESTION: One question on that food insecurity talk. I mean, you mention these four, but how much do they interact? I mean, this food insecurity, the jobs, the problems like that, how much does that interact with other problems, including extremism?
SENIOR STATEDEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I mean, if you have already a problem with drought, and then on top of it you start adding the insecurity or the instability in northern Mali contributing or exacerbating those people who are at risk of food insecurity, that danger remains there.
The other issue, too, is if you have one country or one area that's insecure that also compounds and exacerbates the problems that we're trying to address and makes it more complex.
QUESTION: Can you go back to Mali? You were starting to say something about without credible elections there's going to be problems basically. Can you say what that's going to mean from the U.S. and what you want the African countries to bring in terms of consequences, in terms of pressure to make sure that you get something that resembles a democracy story?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: When you – I think if you look at December it was – I think the United States was really pushing for credible, open elections, and there's a couple of reasons for that. Number one is in a coup situation, we have to impose 7008 sanctions. In order to raise those sanctions, you have to have elections – national elections and the election of a government. So that's one.
The second issue, too, is that looking at how to resolve the problems in Mali is that if you don't have a government that is – that people can talk to, discuss, or has the authority to negotiate or to do the dialogue with the North, then that becomes a hindrance to your efforts to dialogue and the address a lot of those things in the North. So things on those two issues – I think the change event from January to now that elections become really the priority.
QUESTION: But are you going to do? What are you – if – what are you and the other African – the African countries going to say to Mali to make sure this happens? It may be in their best interest, but how are you going to tell them, “Look, if you don't do this, you're not going to get as much military support. You're not going to get as much political support. You're not going to get help at all with dealing with the Tuaregs going across borders.” What specifically are you going to tell them so that they actually do what's good for them?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think – look at the Brussels meeting that took place on was it May 15th? There the Tuareg and President Hollande of France articulated that elections were important in the resolution of the crisis in Mali. And really that kind of underscores that this becomes one of the major focuses for resolving the Mali crisis.
Now what are we doing? We have all the countries that – African countries that are providing troops for AFISMA, which will become MINUSMA. Those countries have bought in that elections are important. The other issues, too, is that on the donor conference that part of the electoral process – I mean, part of the donation deals with governments and democracy, which is elections. For the United States, we're putting in --
QUESTION: Part of the donation – I'm sorry, what?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Part of the donation is for --
QUESTION: Donation of what? I couldn't hear.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Donations of money in Brussels.
QUESTION: Right. Brussels. Okay.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So in other words, the United States is putting in a little less than 7 million for the elections, but then other countries, too, will be putting money into it, and part of that money collected is also going to go for elections and electoral processes.
QUESTION: Can I ask one about – back on Nigeria? In just simple terms that an ordinary person can understand, what is Secretary Kerry going to say to the President about the human rights abuses that you believe continue to (inaudible)?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: As you know, the Secretary met with Nigerian Foreign Minister Ashiru in Washington, and remember, Nigeria is a very complex – relationship issues that are very important to Nigeria as well as to us, and it's not – it's a whole wide range of issues that we're discussing with Nigeria from economies to economic development to securities to what Nigeria's contributing to Malian forces, AFISMA, and also to peacekeeping operations. Nigeria plays a critical role well beyond its own borders in all parts of Africa, just because of its not only peacekeeping operations but because it plays a role in peacekeeping and security around Africa, just as South Africa does. It's an important continent-wide country. And so our discussions with Nigeria encompasses a wide range of issues, and human rights in the north is just one of those issues.
MODERATOR: Is it fair to say that he'll reaffirm our concerns about human rights --
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right. That's right.
MODERATOR: -- abuses in the north?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes. And as we did with –
MODERATOR: That we've expressed before and to the Foreign Minister last meeting?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: And as stated in our public statement.
QUESTION: Can I ask –
MODERATOR: One thing just – oh, sorry. I just wanted to make sure on the schedule that you guys know, so I didn't forget, these are the confirmed meetings, and this is still being worked through. And just remember that the African leaders who are participating have sessions in the morning and afternoon, so some of this is pulling them out of things, so it's possible there could be more added.
QUESTION: But this is for sure?
MODERATOR: This is for sure.
PARTICIPANT: And --
MODERATOR: Oh, go ahead.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I'm sorry. And then going to back to Nigeria, we have a Bi-National Commission, so we have strategic talks with South Africa, Angola, and Nigeria. And Nigeria Bi-National Commission discussions have really been very wide-ranging, progressive in the areas that we're discussing. So when we talk about security in Nigeria, it's just not military or intel; it entails the entire security (inaudible), finances, economy, et cetera. Because those are also security issues.
QUESTION: I guess what I was asking for it in simple terms. I was hoping you would say something just like he's going to urge the Nigerian Government to ensure that its military ceases such abuses.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes.
QUESTION: Thank you. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: We have a deal.
MODERATOR: Get up here, Arshad.
QUESTION: What are the meetings?
MODERATOR: Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Sudanese Foreign Minister --
QUESTION: Foreign Minister or Prime Minister?
MODERATOR: Sorry. Prime Minister. Sorry, long day.
QUESTION: Which one, Ethiopian or --
MODERATOR: Ethiopian Prime Minister.
MODERATOR: That's one we're doing an avail, after that one, joint avail. Sudanese Foreign Minister, AU Chairperson, Ban Ki-moon, South Sudan President, and Egyptian President. Those are the confirmed. There are others we're still working on.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) Goodluck Jonathan confirmed or no?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No. Not yet.
MODERATOR: Not yet.
QUESTION: Can I just ask – I'm not an expert on Sudan and South Sudan issues. You mentioned the oil. What is going to be the content of this discussion tomorrow on South Sudan - Sudan oil? What are you going to try to accomplish?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think the oil issue I think has strained trust between the North and the South and really it's restoration of trust. That's really the basic – one basic thing is to restore trust between North and South to work together to resolve common, shared problems, which is the border issue, it's the wealth issue, it's the oil issue.
MODERATOR: Do you want him to explain what the oil issue is?
QUESTION: Well, where it stands. I mean, you guys –
MODERATOR: -- talk about it.
QUESTION: -- talk about it, and you issued a statement some weeks or months ago cheering the agreement. And what's happened since?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, right now, as you know, the oil pipes are operating now. They're flowing again. So you don't have the prospect of the pipes, where it's coagulating and the oil breaking the pipes or leaking into the (inaudible). So no it's flowing again. But again, it's – I think what the North and South have to do is discuss what gave rise to the North putting restrictions on the oil, what is it that – further discussions need to take place between the North and the South. And as you know, ongoing discussions take place between the North and the South here in Addis Ababa. You have the African Union High-Level discussions. And I think when we get back to Washington is – and I defer you to our Special Envoy's Office on Sudan to give you really a good in-depth discussion and briefing on Sudan.
QUESTION: Who's the special envoy now?
QUESTION: It was Princeton Lyman.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Special Envoy's Office.
QUESTION: Oh, okay.
QUESTION: For Michael's sake and certainly also for mine, because I haven't written about this in a long, long, long time, can you explain in real simple terms? The issue, as I understand, is the South has the oil, the North has not been – has at times not been willing to allow it to be transported, and it's all because of the issues over how the revenue gets shared?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right. Yes. That's the bottom line is revenue sharing.
QUESTION: Did they solve the revenue issue or did they just get --
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think it's – the issue is – I mean, in simple terms, it is revenue. But in larger terms, its – it goes into the relationship between the North and the South, how they're going to address the whole wide range of issues. And unfortunately, how they express those issues is expressed, let's say, in this instance, is the blockage of the oil by the North. So now what we're trying to do is they build trust and find good (inaudible) for them to resolve their problems on the whole wide range of issues from the borders to wealth-sharing to citizenship to nationality, et cetera.
QUESTION: And how – really stupid question, but two questions. One, how long were the shipments, or more precisely I guess the flow, through the pipelines cut off? And secondly, how did the North do that? Did they have like a giant spigot, or did they just refuse to allow it to be transported along?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah. We have to get back to you on how long. (inaudible)
QUESTION: Days or weeks?
QUESTION: It was January of '12 to --
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Off and on. But I mean, this most recent one, because we had an agreement for the oil, oils to flow – I'd have to get back to you on the exact dates.
QUESTION: Right. But it included this year though?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes.
QUESTION: Okay. And then how do they stop it? Just by refusing it to be shipped?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: That's right. Because the oil – as you know, the pipes go through up to the Port of Sudan and other, which is Khartoum controlled.
QUESTION: Yeah. Okay. And so in other words, by refusing to let it ship on things get filled up and then you can't --
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: [Moderator], can I just ask, I know you're going to send out a schedule at some point, but just what time you think you'll have that joint press avail?
QUESTION: 8:40 a.m., right?
MODERATOR: Yeah. It's 8:40 a.m.
QUESTION: 8:40 a.m.
QUESTION: They sent it already.
MODERATOR: Yeah, we sent you where --
QUESTION: Well, maybe I'm not getting emails.
MODERATOR: Well, you're not getting emails here.
MODERATOR: We sent you a tentative, which may have had all of the meetings I went through. It may have had others that are still being worked through.
QUESTION: Okay. 8:40 a.m. Okay. That's great. Thank you. I just wanted to --
QUESTION: I feel a little silly about the Nigeria thing, but it's not even for sure that you'll meet – that he will meet with President Jonathan Goodluck --
MODERATOR: In a bilat.
QUESTION: In a bilat. Right. But he should raise those issues in a bilat. So you're basically seeking a meeting at which you would raise these issues.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes.
QUESTION: Does he want to meet the Secretary?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Oh, yes. I mean, we – this is a – yeah, we do.
QUESTION: So you expect this to happen, it's just --
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We hope it happens.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Again, you know our relationship is so robust and as complex that we're going to meet whatever happens. We will meet.
QUESTION: Yeah. Here?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah. And it's not just Goodluck Jonathan. It's the previous presidents as well also play a tremendous role – Obasanjo and others – in the process.
MODERATOR: Anything else?
QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much.