One important announcement before we begin the festivities.
Happy Birthday Helen Thomas!
We love you, girl!
Now, back to the gaggle. Surprisingly, there was a gaggle yesterday in Grapevine, Texas, where we learned that Chimpy has deigned to participate in a “press availability” on Tuesday at his “ranch” in Crawford.
We also learned that the nuclear non-proliferation program of the Bush assministration is for shit.
Q What about the situation with North Korea? Christopher Hill is basically saying that the North Korean situation is out of his hands and it’s now up to the North Koreans. Are we in a stalemate?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know if that’s exactly what he said. I mean, the talks are continuing. There are some further discussions today in Beijing, and we need to let those talks continue at this point. I mean, China has been working to move forward on a proposal that I think the five parties really have coalesced around and it’s a set of principles and I think that there are still discussions going on with North Korea at this point. The talks are still going on. So I don’t want to pre-judge the outcome at this point, from here.
Q It seems, though, that that proposal is sort of not going anywhere with North Korea, that basically –
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, no, no, China has been working hard, as have the other parties, and let’s let the talks continue. I’ll let Ambassador Hill speak more to it on the ground. He’s in a better position to talk to the latest –
Q — his comments –
MR. McCLELLAN: He’s been keeping the press updated on the talks as they’ve been going on. And we will have to see where it goes from here.
Q Do you have any reaction to the announcement by Iran that they’re going to start uranium processing again on August 6th?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, what they said – I mean, they had originally said they were going to start that this week. And now they’ve said that they’re not proceeding right now on starting their uranium reprocessing and enrichment. I don’t think it changes anything from what I said the other day, we continue to support the efforts by the Europeans to resolve this matter diplomatically. We have long-standing concerns about Iran’s ambitions. And Iran made a commitment, the Paris agreement with the Europeans, not to restart their uranium and reprocessing activities – uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities while the talks were ongoing. It’s important for Iran to live up to that commitment and abide by it.
We’ve made very clear, as have the Europeans, that we’re prepared to pursue a further course of action if necessary, if Iran is not going to live up to its agreements. And I think the Europeans have made very strong statements in a letter to Iran stating that they need to live up to that agreement.
In other words: Iran, North Korea – Welcome to the club! May all your clouds be ‘shroomy.