MR. CASEY:  Good afternoon, everybody.  I don't have anything to  start you with, so let's go to your questions.                                                                                                          

Q     Any update on U.S. contact with Turkish officials, whether  the secretary's made calls or anyone else?                                                                                                                    

MR. CASEY:  Well, Secretary Rice does plan to speak with the               Turkish foreign minister a little later today, and she's also  requested calls with Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gul.  Those       calls have not yet taken place.  As you know, she's en route right now    to Moscow for the two-plus-two talks, and I expect that we'll try and        make those happen over the course of the day.  But they have not as of        yet occurred.                                                                Again, Undersecretary Burns did speak last night with the Turkish  ambassador.  Our ambassador, Ross Wilson, in Ankara has spoken with           counterparts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well.  And the           basic message and the one I expect the secretary to convey in her                   calls to Turkish authorities, as well as the regret that the  administration has over the passage of this resolution by the                      committee — our continued opposition to it and our commitment to work       with Congress on this to see that the full House in fact votes to    defeat this resolution as we move forward.                                                                               

Q     Is that another way of saying "damage control"?        

 MR. CASEY:  Well, it's a way of saying that this is an issue  where the Turkish officials have made clear their very strong concerns  about this and have raised questions about potential consequences in  the event that this resolution passes.

 We certainly want to make sure that they understand that we also don't 

  support this resolution and that we're going to do everything we can            

  to ensure that it does not receive approval by the full House.  And I   

  think at this point we respect and understand Turkish views on this. 


       As you've heard from Dan Fried and from others, and Nick Burns        

  yesterday, we just don't think that this resolution is the right                

  response to the mass killings at the beginning of the last century.       

  We recognize that this was a great tragedy, and we're not trying to    

  minimize or deny the enormous significance of this.  But the                  

  determination of whether these events constitute genocide is something     

  that we believe should be a matter for historical inquiry, not for        

  political debate.                                                        




       Q     Have you been in contact with the Hill today, reaching out    

  to them and asking them to vote differently when it gets to the floor?     


       MR. CASEY:  Well, as you know, we've been engaging before the       

  vote with members, and that includes the secretary and Undersecretary    

  Burns, Assistant Secretary Fried, among others, as well as our                

  Legislative Affairs staff.  That is continuing today.  I expect that     

  we will have additional outreach to members by all of those officials        

  as this moves forward.  I'm not sure -- the White House can talk to           

  you.  I know that my counterparts over there have talked about the       

  continued desire on the part of the White House to engage with members     

  of Congress on this.                                                      


       But we do intend to talk with various members, certainly now with        

  the range of the full House involved, to explain to them our views and      

  again to reiterate that we don't think that this is the right response  

  and we don't believe that passage of such a resolution is helpful               

  either to the cause of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation or to U.S. 

  national security interests.                                           


       Q     So you haven't directly approached Nancy Pelosi, for                    

  example --                                                             


       MR. CASEY:  I'm not aware of any new contacts with the speaker on       

  this, no.                                                                    


       Q     Okay.                                                         





       MR. CASEY:  Yeah?                                             


       Q     Is there any possibility for the United States to take               

  forward steps against PKK in the near future (to satisfy the ?)         

  Turkish people?          


       MR. CASEY:  Well, I think what we have been doing is trying to             

  work with Turkey and the government of Iraq to take steps to deal with 

  the problem that's posed by the PKK.  And those efforts are going to        

  continue and they're going to continue regardless of what happens with   

  this vote, because the PKK is a terrorist organization and all of us   

  want to see the PKK put out of business, whether that's in terms of  

  their operations in Turkey or Iraq or anyplace else. 


       Mr. Lambros? 


       Q     On the resolution again. 


       MR. CASEY:  I knew.  I sort of assumed you were probably on the 

  same subject. 


       Q     Okay.  Mr. Casey, the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, 

  stated -- quote -- " this unacceptable decision of the committee 

  has no validity or respectability for the Turkish people. 

  Unfortunately, some politicians in the United States ignored appeals 

  for common sense and once again moved to sacrifice big issues to petty 

  games of domestic politics," unquote. 


 Do you agree?                                                     


       MR. CASEY:  Well, look, again, this is an issue that we know has            

  great emotional resonance in Turkey and elsewhere, and we certainly             

  believe that it's not the right response to trying to deal with the        

  facts of what occurred, the mass killings that occurred at the         

  beginning of the last century.                                          


       I'll let the Turkish government and its officials speak to their        

  views on it, but from our perspective, it's the wrong resolution at       

  the wrong time.  We oppose it, and we're going to continue to do so.        


       Q     Is the U.S. position on the Armenian genocide in any way             

  linked to Turkish denial of this crime?                           


       MR. CASEY:  Well, again, we think that the determination of               

  whether the events that happened to ethnic Armenians at the end of the           

  Ottoman Empire should be a matter for historical inquiry.  It's not             

  something that's going to be fostered or resolved or furthered by this        

  resolution.  And I think, as you well know, there is tremendous amount   

  of debate in Turkey and in elsewhere about the facts, about what           

  happened, about accountability for it and about how people move           

  forward.  There's been real efforts on the part of this Turkish         

  government to engage the government of Armenia and have a dialogue                

  about a variety of things, including the historical record that's              

  there.  But those are the ways for people to pursue their                       

  understanding and establishing a historical record.                        


       Again, this action by the committee doesn't foster any of those        

  goals and therefore is another one of the reasons why we oppose it.   


       Q     And the last one, Mr. Casey.  If Turkey recognized the       

  genocide, would the U.S. also recognize this atrocity as genocide?       


       MR. CASEY:  Look, Mr. Lambros, we think that there is a(n) ample            

  amount of discussion on this issue among historians, among people in            

  Turkey, among Armenians and among people here in the United States.        

  And again, no one is trying to deny or minimize the enormous                       

  significance of the tragedy that was suffered by Armenians at the end     

  of the Ottoman Empire.  I think we're all aware of the record.  Dan      

  Fried, I think, spoke as eloquently as anyone has on this last week     

  when he addressed this subject.                                          


       But there's a difference between talking about and acknowledging      

  historical facts, realizing the tragedy they represent, and passage of  

 a resolution that, as we have discussed, does nothing to foster                     

  reconciliation, does nothing to foster an establishment of the           

  historical record, and undermines U.S. national security and relations       

  between our countries.                                                  


       Q     Thank you.                                



 Okay, Mr. Lambros.    


       Q     On Kosovo.  Mr. Casey, according to reports from The 

  Albanian, Kosovo authorities are planning to declare finally 

  independence November 28th, the day of Albanian independence.  Are you 

  aware about that? 


       MR. CASEY:  Well, Mr. Lambros, what I am aware of is that the 

  contact group and the troika are still engaged in negotiations and 

  diplomatic conversations between Kosovars and the government of Serbia 

  to try and come up with a solution acceptable to all parties, and 

  that, as you know, is the mandate that the contact group gave them. 

  Those discussions are slated to conclude in early December, but one of 

  the things that I think is important is they have been making some 

  progress in those discussions. 


 I can't predict for you what the outcome of those will be, but            

  certainly what we want to see happen is people focus on those          

  discussions, on those negotiations, to try and see if we can reach an    

  acceptable conclusion to it.                                            


       If not, as you know, U.S. policy is very clear on this:  that we     

  would believe it would be -- then be appropriate, if an agreement        

  can't be reached, to move forward with the implementation of                       

  independence, supervised at first, for Kosovo along the outlines that 

  the Ahtisaari plan calls for.                                               


       Q     One more question.  Since the crucial day of December 10th        

  is approaching, as the U.S. government, did you succeed to convince       

  finally the Serbians and the Russians that Kosovo should become 



       MR. CASEY:  Mr. Lambros, the purpose of the negotiations that the         

  Contact Group is having with the Serbs and the Kosovars is to work out       

  the details of what an arrangement might be.  Again, since those       

  haven't concluded, I think you can safely conclude that there isn't an      

  agreement at this point, though we're going to keep working on it.        

  We're certainly hopeful of being able to move this process forward and        

  come to some clearer understandings, clearer mutual agreement among      

  the parties.                                                                 


       In terms of the Russian position on this, I think the Russians            

  have made their views known on this subject, and you can ask them if       

  it's changed any.                                                           




       Q     This is just something that we're hearing just now, is that           

  there are reports that Turkey has just recalled its ambassador to 

  Washington.  Was there indication that that could happen, or can you            

  even confirm that?                                                         


       MR. CASEY:  I'm not -- I can't confirm that for you, Zain; it's       

  not something that I've heard.  As I mentioned, Nick did speak with       

  the ambassador last night, and as far as I know, he did not convey    

  that he had received any kind of instruction like that.                           


       Q     But that surely is a blow to what you're trying to do, if     

  it's -- if these reports are indeed accurate.                            





       MR. CASEY:  Well, again, I think the -- I'll let the Turkish 

  government speak for itself in terms of its plans or its ideas or how            

  it intends to respond to this vote by the committee.  But I think the     

  Turkish government has telegraphed for some time, been very vocal and 

  very public about its concerns about this and has said that they did        

  intend to react in a fairly forceful way if this happened.  So I would       

  leave it to them to tell you whether in fact they've made this       

  decision, and if so, whether that's the specific reason for it. 


       The point that I made earlier and that I'll just make again for 

  you, though, is that we are going to engage with the Turkish 

  government on this.  The secretary will be making calls later today on 

  this subject, and again our clear message is that this is a resolution 

  that we don't think is the right response, it's the wrong resolution 

  at the wrong time, it's one that the administration opposes and will 

  continue to oppose, and we're going to actively work with Congress to 

  ensure that it ultimately is defeated when and if it comes to the 

  House floor. 


       Q     And there is no indication in the meetings or conversations 

  that Nick Burns had that this would -- that would happen or -- 


       MR. CASEY:  Not that I'm aware of.  Certainly it wasn't any part 

  of the readout that I received. 

 Q     What are the implications of this though?                 


       MR. CASEY:  I think I'd need to confirm that it happened before        

  I'd try and tell you what the implications are.  It also of course      

  always depends on, you know, there are ways -- people are sometimes     

  called back for consultation.  Sometimes they're called back for other       

  reasons.  Without knowing whether this is true or not and what the    

  specifics are, I really don't want to speculate on it.                           


       What's important to us though is that we continue to work with            

  the Turkish government on the broad range of issues where we have a 

  common interest in cooperating.  We recognize the difficulties for                

  them that are presented by this resolution.  They have certainly again    

  been vocal in sharing their concerns, and we have been equally vocal        

  in explaining our position on this resolution, and in telling their        

  officials, as Nick did last night and as Ambassador Wilson has done       

  and as the secretary will do, that the administration does continue to       

  oppose this resolution and that we are going to make every effort we         

  can with Congress to see that it's defeated.                          




       Q     Presumably if it is -- we have the same report.  If it has     

  happened, and the Turkish ambassador is recalled, presumably you don't 

  plan any reciprocal action.                                                


       MR. CASEY:  Certainly nothing that anyone's told me.                  


       Q     (Off mike.)                                                            


       MR. CASEY:  Look, I hesitate to try and categorize something even        

  if it's reported by AP or CNN.  Let me be fair.  (Laughter, cross        

  talk.)  Even if it's true, I think we'd need to see what it is.  We      

  certainly want to continue to have good, positive relationships with     

  the government of Turkey, to continue to work with them on the broad 

  range of issues.  But you know, again, if they wanted to bring their       

  ambassador back for consultations or do something else, then that is    

  their decision.  I think that it certainly will not do anything to        

  limit our efforts to continue to reach out to Turkish officials, to 

  explain our views, to engage them on this issue and again to make        

  clear that we intend to work on this with Congress.                    


       Okay, Mr. Lambros.                                              





       Q     One follow-up:  Yes, Mr. Casey, are you planning also to       

  block the efforts of the Armenian resolution not to go to the floor of     

  the House of Representatives?                                            


       MR. CASEY:  Well, Mr. Lambros, the -- I leave it to the                

  parliamentarians and the folks that understand the rules and          

  procedures in the House.  The administration, the executive branch,      

  can't block bills from reaching the floor any more than we can block a     

  vote in committee on them.  But our main point would be that we do not      

  think this resolution is appropriate.                                          


       We would encourage those who are thinking about it and who will      

  have to vote on it eventually to vote against it.  We'll be reaching        

  out to them at a variety of different levels over time.  If the                  

  resolution were withdrawn, I think that would be wonderful, but I                 

  don't think anyone's expecting that to happen at this point.    


       Q     Is there any change on Secretary Rice's planned visit at     

  the end of this month to Turkey? 


       MR. CASEY:  In terms of, oh --                                        


       Q     The neighbors meeting.                                       


       MR. CASEY:  Yeah, I don't -- we don't have any particular travel 

  plans to announce, but I'm not aware of any changes in her schedule at 

  this point. 


       Okay, thanks, everyone