Thursday, March 11, 2010

Huh? News: You Can’t Joke from the Podium, Anymore?

Ask Your Questions HereImage by amineshaker via Flickr
The press briefing room of the Department of State (also known as the Carl T. Rowan Press Briefing Room) is at Room 2209 in the Harry S. Truman Building on C. Street. Used to be a fun place to watch. Now, the Spokesman can't even tell a joke anymore without causing a diplomatic incident:

This one from HuffPo:

The U.S. State Department has been drawn into an international dispute between Libya and Switzerland after Muammar Gaddafi demanded an apology for disparaging remarks by a U.S. official.
In February, confusion over the term, and the dispute itself, prompted U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley to say Gaddafi's comments reminded him of Gaddafi's infamous 2009 speech to the United Nations, which involved "lots of words and lots of papers flying all over the place, not necessarily a lot of sense."
Libya responded furiously, with a top official indicating priority for oil rights may now be given to China and Russia. Crowley was forced to make a public apology.

"I understand that my personal comments were perceived as a personal attack," he told reporters this week. "These comments do not reflect U.S. policy and were not intended to offend. I apologize if they were taken that way."

While Libya today confirmed they had accepted the apology, the wider situation now appears to be in a state of deadlock, with both Libya and Switzerland refusing to back down.

On March 10, Asharq Al-Awsat also reported that the Chairman of the Libyan National Oil Company [NOC] has informed them that “Tripoli is seeking to give precedence to Russia and China – at the expense of US oil companies – with regards to the Libyan oil industry because of its dissatisfaction of the Obama administrations support for Switzerland in its current crisis with Libya.”

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