Fw: VPotus Travel Pool Report #2: Sweden Presser

From: Barbara Plett-INTERNET
Sent: Thursday, August 25, 2016 14:43
To: Goodman, Meghan Hays K. EOP/OVP
Subject: VPotus Travel Pool Report #2: Sweden Presser


Halfway through the press conference with Sweden’s Stefan Lofven VPotus started to address the prime minister as vice president, then checked himself: “It’s terrible to call a man vice president” he said to laughter

Other points of interest:

Biden on Nord Stream 2/LNG:
Speaking for the US, Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a fundamentally bad deal for Europe
Europe needs diverse sources of gas, not a new Nord Stream pipeline
Russian gas should be a part of European market, but that market should be open and competitive, everyone has to play by the rules
The time to act is now, this is a transformational moment in global energy
This year first time ever LNG from US arrived in Europe
Every country in Europe can decide to buy LNG from the US; we have changed, altered, increased access to NG
So we’re eager to continue working with Europe on energy policy for Europe

Lofven on Nord Stream 2:
We must ensure that the interests of the EU and neighboring states protected in legal, security and political terms

Biden on Cancer Moonshot:
Talked a bit about the cancer moonshot…one thing that’s pleased me the most on this is the number of contries willing to enter an MOU on how we collectively promote and expand and speed up research available for cures for cancer and some chronic diseases. At UN will meet with countries who want to do that

Lofven on Russia threat
Re security issue in our neighborhood: Russia not an immediate threat, but see what happened in Ukraine: annexation of Crimea and fighting in Donbass
That’s why we increasing our own military capacity and expanding cooperation agreements with different single countries, deepest one with Finland, and why we have cooperation with NATO, EU and others

Biden on Turkey visit:
Visit a success? Yes I think it was, b/c I have no doubt that the PM and President fully understand US position on every issue we discussed. With regard to whether the people and govt think we understand their trauma, I’m confident my visit shows we do and have great empathy

Biden on withholding criticism of Turkey Crackdown
We do not support the violation of civil rights in response to the coup attempt, but I said this happened only some 40 days ago, let’s give them some time, let cooler heads have an opportunity; no one’s been tried or executed; bad things could happen and if they do we’ll speak up and say abide by your constitution. That’s why I say give them some time, imagine if happened in your country

Lofven on Turkey Crackdown
We condemn the coup attempt, it was a very serious situation where they tried to destroy democracy
We understand that they need to act firmly in a situation like that
But have stated that we are a bit worried that some of the actions, the lay offs, people sent to prison, Turkey needs to stick to rule of law, adhere to intl law and human rights, impt b/c otherwise the coup attempt succeeded in another way, which is Turkey being a more closed country; so we expressed as friends that worried about some signals; the mentioning of using the death penalty is one of them; but we are very clear that Turkey is an impt partner for Sweden and the EU; want a partnership to stay and develop, think it’s good for both; some say we should end it, but we say definitely not, it should be developed

Biden in response to question about how long Turkish troops plan to stay in Syria:
I think the Turks are prepared to stay in the effort to take out ISIL as long as it takes; been a gradual mindset change with the realization that ISIL an existential threat to Turkey, there is a desire that not new found but more matured that want to continue to work with the US and anti ISIL coalition, that’s why when they went into Sinjar (??) there was air cover from us, didn’t involve troops on the ground but made clear that safe havens for ISIL, world not prepared to live with. So there is a growing maturation of the recognition of what the problem is, who they can work with within the coalition and within Syria, but ultimately needs political solution and we’ve all agreed that territorial integrity must be maintained.

Biden: My hope and expectation that Gitmo will be closed before I leave office

Barbara Plett Usher

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