tv Secretary of State Holds Briefing CSPAN August 3, 2021 1:17am-1:38am EDT
rg is c-span's online store. browse to see what is new. you still have time to order the congressional directory with contact information for members of congress and the biden administration. go to c-spanshop.org. >> secretary of state antony blinken announced a new program to relocate afghan interpreters and others in the country who assisted the u.s. military during its operations there. secretary blinken also discussed an attack on the oil tanker in the arabian sea. secretary of sd a new program to relocate afghan interpreters and others in the country who assisted the u.s. military during its operations there $ he also discussed -- and an attack on the oil tanker in the arabian sea.
sec. blinken: we have a special guest with us today. >> he will offer some remarks at the top. you have time for a question or two. we will resume with our regularly scheduled programming. sec. blinken: thank you. good afternoon. good to see everyone here. before i turned to today's announcement. i want to address a few urgent matters. first, i want to condemn again the attack on friday because the commercial ship which was peacefully transiting through the north arabian sea, in international water when it was targeted a drone laden with explosives, killing two people.
we have conducted a thorough review. we are confident around carried out this attack --iran carried out this attack. there is no justification for this attack on a peaceful vessel, and a -- on a commercial mission in international water. it is a direct threat to the region -- freedom of navigation and permits -- commerce. we are correlating with our partners and governments in the region. we join others around the world in sending our deepest condolences to the families of the crew who were killed. second, on friday, the white house announced two outstanding public servants who with the consent of the senate, will be 20 our team at the state department. -- joining our team at the state department.
that privily served as special envoy to -- other key roles in the obama administration. he is director for partnerships and global engagement at the national security council. he has monitor and comment on it semitism. he fights from endlessly against holocaust nihilism, -- the nihilism -- denial. -- resulting in an overwhelming victory for deborah and all of those fighting holocaust denial. she was a two term member of the holocaust memorial council. we are eager for rashad and debra to get to work. according to the pew center, 56
countries, have high or severe restrictions on religious freedom. here in the united states, as in many parts of the world, we have seen a rise in anti-semitism and anti-muslim hatred. this hits painfully close to home. as you know, there was an anti-semitic incident here in this building last week. that was deeply disturbing. not only because it was a deliberate act of hate towards many of our employees, but because this is the state department. at our best, we lead the fight for the dignity and freedom of people everywhere. we are resolute in the fight against anti-semitism. that swastika was not just a threat direct at jewish people, it was an insult to our global mission and our national ideals. there is one response we make to that kind of paper to that hatred. -- to that kind of hatred.
that is to be more aggressive in the fight against anti-semitism. the investigated -- investigation into that is ongoing. while i am on the topic of nominees, the state department has more than 65 nominees who are awaiting confirmation. within the next week, we are hopeful that a third of those, 25, will be pending a vote in the full senate. these are critical national security positions. they include overseeing facilities around the world, and helping clear the passport application backlog caused by the covid-19 pandemic. the american people need the services. it would also be those who lead our diplomacy around the world. the american people need these nominees in place. we urge the senate to confirm
these individuals before the august recess. let me turn to another urgent matter. as we withdraw our forces from afghanistan, the united states and our partners remain deeply engaged. we will continue to work towards and afghanistan where all afghans can live in safety and security. we will continue our support for afghan institutions and the gains they have made over the past 20 years. our partnership will endure long after our service members have departed. we will keep engaging intensely in diplomacy to advance negotiations between the afghan government and the taliban with the goal of a political solution. that is the only path to lasting peace. we will work closely with countries in the region which all have a stake in a democratic afghanistan. afghans who worked with the united states at some point
since 2001 are facing acute fears of persecution or retribution that will likely grow as coalition forces lead the country. we have a special -- this was us, -- they stood with us, we will stand with them. the state department issued more than 73,000 special immigrant visas to eligible afghans who helped the united states and their families. this year alone we issued nearly 8000 of those visas. we have accelerated and expanded the program. congress increased the case -- cap by another 8000 pieces. the first flight arrived in the united states on friday. the second flight arrived early this morning. transporting around 400 people in those flights -- and those flights will continue. we focus on relocating a group of more than 1000 applicants and
their families who have nearly completed processing. around 4000 people in tokyo daschle -- around 4000 people in total. they will be safely move to another country as we finish this vigorous vetting process. getting to this point was not a simple matter. earlier today i visited the interagency task force responsible for executing this for seven operation. -- 24/7 operation. as you know, the special immigrant visa program is defined carefully by statute. we know that there are afghans who do not qualify, but who helped us and deserve our help. some may not have the qualifying employment for the special immigrant visa. they worked for a project funded by the u.s. government but not
for the government itself. some may not have met the minimum time in -- and service requirement. those who have been working for us recently. some more and played by american media organizations doing vital work to support democratic process in. afghanistan today -- in afghanistan. we are creating a new settlement program for those who do not qualify for special immigrant visas. we created a priority two designation, or many of these afghans and their family members -- for many of these afghans and family members. there is a significant diplomatic, logistical, and bureaucratic challenge. we take our responsibility to our afghan partners seriously. we know the american people do as well. we have a long history in the united states of welcoming
refugees into our country. in helping them resettle into new homes and communities, it is the work of state and local governments, ngos, faith-based groups, advocacy groups, tens of thousands of volunteers. it is a powerful demonstration of american friendship and generosity. many americans are asking how they can help afghan refugees in their communities get resettled. the answer is to reach out to your local resettlement agencies. there are national websites with state-by-state resources -- phone numbers. they would be grateful for the help. to emphasize that although u.s. troops are leaving, the u.s. is still deeply engaged. we will support afghanistan through diplomatic support through the peace process.
the afghan people deserve a just and lasting peace. the security at opportunity that piece makes possible. we will do all that we can to advance that goal. we will continue to welcome afghan immigrants and refugees as our neighbors in gratitude for helping us despite the danger. we will not forget it. thank you. >> thank you. the afghan people, i present them today, -- i represent them today. thank you for your service. the afghan people have suffered a lot, especially women. they are under a lot of risk in afghanistan. i need good news for them two -- too. the taliban are increasing their attacks. the u.s. and you and nbc's essay the taliban killed innocent people.
any reaction up to this point? sec. blinken: with regard to afghans who may fear persecution. who may fear violence. who may not qualify either for the special immigrant visa program are what i just announced today, the t2 program. they can avail themselves to their rights to seek fiji status in the united states. -- to seek refugee status in the united states. you have to do that from a third country. they can go to the u.n. acr and seek refugee status. we have seen the reports of atrocities being committed by the taliban in various places where they are on the offensive. these reports are deeply
disturbing and totally unacceptable. i think it speaks to a larger issue. the taliban has repeatedly said they seek in the future a number of things. international recognition, international support, they want their leaders to be able to travel freely around the world. they would like sanctions lifted on them. none of those things are going to be possible if the taliban seeks to seek -- take the country by force and commits the kind of atrocities that have been reported. afghanistan, does not respect the basic rights of his people does not have a representative and inclusive government that does not abide by the main gains of the last 20 years. it is a afghanistan that will be
a pariah state for the international community. >> if i may follow up, how do these people under the t1 program get to third countries? you're asking neighboring countries open their borders. how can they get from here to there with targets on their backs? if i may follow up on the -- how you interpret this action you attribute into a ran? -- to iran? you see as a vindication of the new government policy? what action is going to be taken by us, israel, who in some way a combination -- or, in some way, a combination? sec. blinken: we have afghans
who seek to leave the country and seek to avail themselves in the refugee programs. you are right. this is incredibly hard. it is hard on so many levels. it is hard to pick up and leave everything you know. family, friends, community, culture, language. it is hard to get yourself to a place where you can take advantage of what opportunities exist. to apply for refugee status. we recognize that. this is the case for millions of people around the world who find themselves in difficult situations. particularly in afghanistan. especially a group of people who may have worked for us.
worked for ngo's, media organizations, women, girls, and others who feel an acute sense of threat and fear. for the future. as we see it again and again, people have to do difficult things to make sure that they find safety and security. we will do everything we can to help them, including making different avenues of arrival to the united states this group of people possible. we are also dedicating significant assistance, humanitarian assistance. not just to afghanistan, but to neighboring country to allow them to support those who come to their countries seeking refugee status. or immigrant status. that support, makes it a little bit easier. i do not want to deny the
challenge or difficulty. it is indeed a hard thing. our obligation, is to make sure we are making good on our commitments to those who in particular put themselves on the line. to help us. working directly with the united states government, international security force, or if it was working for media organizations and others. as we discussed, some afghans who are not -- do not fit into those categories but may feel particularly at risk, we have the principal refugee program available for them. with regards to iran. we have seen a series of actions taken by iran over many months including against shipping.
i am not sure this particular action is anything new or augers one thing or another for the new government. iran continues to act with tremendous responsibility. -- irresponsibility. when it comes to threats to navigation, commerce, to innocent sailors who are simply engaged in commercial transit. as i noted, we are in very close contact and coordination with the united kingdom, israel, romania, and other countries. there will be a collected response.
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