State Dept.’s Ian Kelly: Ain’t Nobody Gonna Be Answering Mel’s Letters and I Don’t Have to Explain Why
Ay, Dios mio! I can only assume that the State Department press corps has to retreat to a dark bar and get ripped after enduring Kelly’s responses to their questions on Honduras.
If you want to see this in living color click for the video.
Ian Kelly, Spokesman
November 16, 2009
Excerpt on Honduras:
QUESTION: On Honduras, Senator Kerry’s – one of his spokespersons recently said that when Thomas Shannon said that the U.S. would recognize the winner of the November 29th elections, even if Zelaya was not to be put back into power beforehand, that that was undermining the deal that had been reached? Can you respond to that?
MR. KELLY: Well, on Honduras, we, of course, are continuing to call on both sides to begin implementing the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord. One of the key parts of that is setting up a government of unity and reconciliation, and we feel that once that is set up and the other elements of the accord are implemented, that it will be easier for the international community to recognize the elections. And I think that’s the point that Tom Shannon was trying to stress in his remarks that are referred to there.
QUESTION: But doesn’t it sort of allow Micheletti to – kind of a backseat way, to still be part of the process when the U.S. has been pretty explicit that it recognizes Zelaya as the president?
MR. KELLY: We have been very explicit that we recognize the – Zelaya as the democratically elected leader of Honduras. We think that there is a good way forward that the two sides agreed to in principle, and that right now, we need to concentrate on implementing it. It establishes a solid foundation not only for a way forward with the elections on November 29, but it establishes a foundation for a reconciliation in Honduras between the two sides.
And so that’s – that is what our energies and efforts are focused on. We continue to remain in daily contact with the two sides, both through our Ambassador in Tegucigalpa, and I know that Craig Kelly is – and also in constant telephone contact with the two sides. And we just remain committed to the implementation of this accord, and we’re sticking to that.
QUESTION: Why do you think that Zelaya doesn’t understand this? He sent a letter to President Obama. It seems to me, or it seems that he – he’s waiting for, from the U.S. – U.S., like a message or a solution of the problem. He doesn’t understand that maybe the problem is in Honduras. How do you feel on that? Is there any sensation of the U.S. Government with this why he continues to – not to solve the problem inside instead of waiting and sending a letter to Obama?
MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I’m not going to try and interpret why President Zelaya sent this letter. I’ll just say that we all along have been committed to this reconciliation process, to the restoration of the democratically and constitutionally elected leadership. And we have put a lot of effort into restoring democracy to Honduras. And we condemn the June 28 coup. We supported strong UN and OAS resolutions. We implemented tough measures, including suspension of economic and military assistance. And we have been very actively and very directly involved in a negotiated solution. So, I mean, we have been committed from the very start to this process. There hasn’t been any —
QUESTION: So the U.S. —
MR. KELLY: — hasn’t been any change of policy.
QUESTION: The U.S. feels like the OAS secretary, that there is not much to do on the way forward with elections?
MR. KELLY: I’m not sure what you’re referring to.
QUESTION: The secretary of the Organization of American States, in his last speech on the extraordinary meeting of the session, he said that there is not much things that we can do until – wait for the elections.
MR. KELLY: Well, I’m not sure —
QUESTION: That was Insulza (inaudible).
MR. KELLY: Yeah. I haven’t seen those comments, but we – I mean, we are – we continue to be involved. We think there still is something to be done. But our efforts are on trying to get the two sides to do it, to try and get the Hondurans themselves to do it.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: No, no, no. Did Zelaya ever get a response to the letter he sent to the Secretary?
MR. KELLY: We have not sent a formal response back to President Zelaya.
QUESTION: So you just – so what is – well, what is he supposed to think? I mean, you guys are – you’re ignoring him now.
MR. KELLY: No, we’re not ignoring him. In fact —
QUESTION: Yeah, you are. He sent —
MR. KELLY: No, we’re not ignoring him.
QUESTION: He sent a letter to Secretary Clinton asking what the U.S. position was and you just said – and that was like, two weeks ago.
MR. KELLY: Yeah. That doesn’t mean we’re ignoring him, though.
QUESTION: And he has not gotten a response.
MR. KELLY: I mean, we do talk to him. I know that senior American officials do talk to him. Just because we haven’t sent a formal response yet doesn’t mean we’re ignoring him.
QUESTION: Well, it seems – well, you know, talk is one thing, but something put down on paper is quite another. And it just seems to me that you’re kind of still floundering around for a policy here —
MR. KELLY: Well —
QUESTION: — and you’re not willing to put anything down on paper.
MR. KELLY: I don’t agree.
QUESTION: You don’t?
MR. KELLY: I don’t agree we’re floundering. I mean, we haven’t changed our policy. We have senior officials still involved in trying to get the two sides to – not to agree, but to implement something they’ve already agreed to, all right? I think we’re very – we remain very much involved in the process.
QUESTION: Can you explain why you have not replied to a letter from someone you consider to be the democratic —
MR. KELLY: I don’t think I have to. I don’t think I have to respond, Matt. We haven’t respond —
QUESTION: Well, I guess you don’t, because your silence to him says it all.
MR. KELLY: We haven’t”