From: Davis, Julie [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 03:22 PM
To: Goodman, Meghan K. EOP
Subject: VPOTUS Pool report #5a, 9/29/15 – Summit on countering violent extremism and a 2016 reference, but no news
VPOTUS Pool report #5a, 9/29/15 – Summit on countering violent extremism and a 2016 reference, but no news
Well, he did warn us.
Vice President Biden spent more than three hours chairing the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism, which involved sitting mostly silent on the dais and calling one by one on a succession of foreign leaders and representatives of international organizations who gave speeches on how they were addressing the issue. The entire event was streamed live on the White House website, but here are a couple of highlights:
Kristian Jensen, the Danish foreign minister, addressed the elephant in the room near the tail-end of the summit when he slipped and referred to Biden as “Mr. President” during his statement. “Sorry -- vice president,” Jensen stammered. “Well, could have been! Could be! Who knows? If you have some news to tell us here, please let us know.” Biden smiled and gestured with one hand and appeared to comment, but unfortunately his microphone was off, so your pool did not hear his response.
The European Union’s Federica Mogherini was careful when she began speaking next to address him as “VICE …president,” drawing another smile and off-mic comment from the VP.
At one point, Biden said he wanted to turn his attention to how countries were working to stem the flow of foreign fighters joining up with ISIL. Later, he invited the leaders to speak on countering the spread of extremism, saying: “It’s a key element to our broader counterterrorism strategy, and it’s a mission that requires all of us to work together, as you all well know – governments, civil society groups, communities and individuals.”
Through much of the event, the VP clutched a pen in his right hand, sometimes writing something down on the papers arrayed in a three-ring binder in front of him, once scrawling a note on a sheet of notepad paper, which he folded and handed back to Colin Kahl, his national security adviser who was seated behind him, and occasionally gazing down at his lap. Every once in a while, he would nod his head as he listened to a leader’s statement.
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive officer of Afghanistan, said during his statement that the “latest news from Afghanistan points to new attacks that have taken the lives of many civilians, but also to a split within the ranks of the Taliban,” with some trying to “raise the black flag in an opportunistic, yet violent, manner.”
Biden concluded with about five minutes of general closing remarks, highlights of which will follow shortly in a separate report, then gaveled the session to a close.
Jensen approached Biden on the dais immediately after adjournment, and the two shared some laughs and more off-mic chitchat. Mogherini also went up and greeted him. Smiles all around. The pool was led out at 3:09 p.m. We are now holding awaiting a look at Biden’s meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Julie Hirschfeld Davis
White House Correspondent
The New York Times
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