July 22, 2024

White House Urges End to Violence in Sudan, Provides Updates on Leaked Documents and First Lady’s Visit with Japanese Counterpart

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, joined by NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby, holds a press briefing Tuesday June 21, 2022, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith)

The White House on Monday called for an immediate end to hostilities between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces.

Addressing several important issues during a press briefing, the Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, John Kirby, stressed that the fighting is killing civilians and threatens the stability of Sudan and the region.

He urged military leaders to ensure the protection of civilians and non-combatants, including US diplomatic personnel and their families, along with humanitarian staff working to save lives. Kirby also revealed that the US government has been in direct contact with both the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, as well as consulting with regional and other partners, to urge them to end hostilities immediately without precondition.

On Japan, Kirby reported that U.S. First Lady Jill Biden welcomed Mrs. Yuko Kishida, spouse of the Prime Minister of Japan, to the White House on Monday. During the visit, they had a chance to greet and speak with President Biden in the Oval Office. The First Lady hosted Mrs. Kishida for a luncheon at the White House and participated in a charity tree planting ceremony on the White House south grounds.

Kirby also addressed the ongoing issue of leaked documents resulting from an unauthorized disclosure of classified materials. He noted that President Biden has directed a high-priority, senior-level interagency process focused on understanding what happened and assessing the implications for national security. Kirby stressed that the government is taking the responsibility to safeguard classified information seriously, including a close look at security protocols and procedures.

Asked during the Q&A session, about the possibility of accomplices in the leak of classified documents, Kirby said that the government does not know at this time.

Kirby urged caution in reporting on leaked documents and stressed that they should not be in the public domain. He emphasized that there could be significant consequences for national security and the safety and security of people serving and working overseas if the actual documents are published or shared widely.

He added that the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into the recent leak of classified Pentagon documents, and that the intelligence community is currently assessing the impact of the leaks on US national security and intelligence gathering activities within Russia, but no interim reports or conclusions have been made.

He said without providing any evidence that the leaked documents included doctored information, and that the Department of Defense is reviewing the access and clearance processes for classified material, as part of a broader interagency effort directed by President Biden to ensure that access to classified information is appropriately restricted.

In response to questions regarding the leak’s origins, Kirby stated that the Department of Justice investigation would determine the facts and that no theories had been formed yet.

In addition to the leak investigation, Kirby also discussed the ongoing situation in Sudan, where fighting has broken out between the military and civilian leadership. Kirby stated that the State Department is in contact with both sides and working to achieve a ceasefire.

Commenting on the recent arrest of two Chinese nationals operating an “overseas Chinese police station” in New York City, Kirby referred questions to the Department of Justice and did not comment on potential sanctions against Chinese officials related to the operation.

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