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Attack on Ashraf

US State Department Assistant Secretary’s press Briefing on Ashraf events

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English News
English News
In his Daily Press Briefing on August 13, 2009, Philip J. Crowley, US State Department Assistant Secretary, answered the questions on U.S. approach to events in Ashraf: QUESTION: Turning to Iraq, Camp Ashraf. Human rights attorneys and U.S. members of Congress are saying that the Obama Administration is not doing enough regarding the Iranian detainees in that Iraqi camp. Do we know where the detainees are, and is there any progress, and do you have a reaction? MR. CROWLEY: Well, obviously, as we have said many times, we regret the - what happened at Camp Ashraf and the loss of life and injury that occurred. Even as we understand the Government of Iraq desiring to extend its sovereignty into that camp, we are still in conversations through Embassy Baghdad with the Iraqis, and we hope that the interests of the people in the camp will be respected, and that that conversation continues. QUESTION: To follow up, you know, some critics are saying that the United States perhaps has a double standard because they not doing enough in that area where - you know, we’re working more on human rights in other areas. MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, we have - we, obviously, have a relationship with Iraq. It is moving towards - well, from a military-dominant relationship toward a partnership and dialogue with Iraq on a variety of issues. Human rights is one of them. We have understandings with Iraq about how the people in this camp will be treated. We are continuing to pay attention to that. And this is one among many issues on which we will continue to have significant dialogue with our Iraqi counterparts. QUESTION: This group has said that the U.S. has gone back on promises it made to them to protect them, especially after the transfer of security control. Can you -- MR. CROWLEY: -- an inherent contradiction, in that this was an attempt to - for the Iraqis to establish, I think, a police station in the camp and bring officials into the camp, which we completely understand. It is - we had a small contingent of forces nearby. It was not necessarily their purpose to protect these people. We have received assurances from Iraq that they will respect this particular group and their rights, and we continue that dialogue. But as I said yesterday, it is regrettable that in trying to do something which was understandable, it was not executed well, and I think the Iraqis understand that as well. This is not an issue that we’re ignoring. We remain in active discussion with Iraq about Camp Ashraf, and we’ll continue to talk to them and to focus on this issue. But it is - this is fundamentally about Iraq and its ability to govern its own country and the people there within its sovereign boundaries. QUESTION: I understand that. Can you address their accusation that the U.S. has gone back on security guarantees that they got? MR. CROWLEY: We received assurances that they would be well treated. And we understand that what happened was a mistake, and we continue to have discussions about how they can work with this group in the future. QUESTION: -- you have talks between you and the Iraqis. This is between you and the group. I mean, this is between -- MR. CROWLEY: Yeah. But this is ultimately about the sovereignty of Iraq and the ability of Iraq to protect all of its citizens and all of the people who are inside its boundaries. So we haven’t carved out a special protectorate within Iraq. Iraq was trying to extend its sovereignty to Camp Ashraf. We understood what they were trying to do. They did not do it well. There are, obviously, ramifications of that, and we continue to talk to Iraq about what should be done with respect to this group going forward. QUESTION: Can you just clear up, for once and for all, then what sort of agreements or assurances you had provided to this group? I mean, can you just lay that out there so we understand it? MR. CROWLEY: I’ll take that question.

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