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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 16, 2016 8:45pm-9:01pm EDT

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people -- poor people, a young people. >> watch our issue spotlight saturday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span and c-span.org. congress back home in their districts. senatorgton state tweets that she had another productive day discussing america's energy future in washington at the civic northwest national laboratory. darrell issa attended the naming ceremony for the uss john basilone.
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mo brooks of alabama attended defense and missil system. a new york times has an article saying russia uses an iran base for its syrian campaign. russia launched a fleet of bombers bound for syria tuesday from an iranian air base. the first foreign military to operate from iran since world war ii and speed the convergence between moscow and tehran. common on thee situation. here is a look at his remarks. use oftart with russia's the iranian air base for syrian missions today. what is your general response to this decision by russia? do you find this concerning?
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are you worrying about it deepening russia military lines? mr. toner: we are still trying to assess what exactly they are doing, to the extent that they are doing it. fashion use in some iranian airbases. the defense department has spoken to that to some extent. but look. i guess i would say it is unfortunate but not surprising or unexpected. speaks to the continuation of a pattern we have seen of russia continuing to carry out airstrikes. directh iran's
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assistance. in fact, we have seen this continually, predominantly target moderate syrian operation forces. it is unfortunate. makes morenly difficult what was already a complex situation. it pushes us farther away from what we say we are trying to pursue, a credible nationwide hostilities and a political process in geneva that leads to a peaceful transition. what is clear is the extent to which they are using iran. we have seen varying reports. we just don't know at this
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point. i can confirm secretary kerry did speak to foreign minister .ever of -- lavrov did you get any answer to these questions? did he explain why they are using the military? mr. toner: it did,. the call just concluded before i came up here. it did,. it was raised by the russian side. secretary kerry stated our concerns. u.n. --year when the the iran nuclear agreement was signed there was specific language that carried over from previous resolutions about the use of iranian territory, airspace for combat aircraft.
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do you view this as a violation of the security council resolution? if the security council gave specific permission. i'm guessing that didn't happen in this case. >> i don't believe it did happen. we are looking into it is the shore answer. of thed be a violation un security council resolution which prohibits the transfer of combat aircraft to iran unless approved in advance. i do have a definitive answer. our lawyers are trying to collect as many details as they can. worldt would be the real ramifications? mr. toner: a fair question and i don't have a complete answer for you. we discussed at the security council level if it is even proven that this happened.
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i can't give you much detail right now. that it your understanding they would have used iraqi airs race? iraqi permission to use that airspace? referner: i would have to you to the iraqi government to speak to whether they gave permission. normally it is prudent for any country overflying military to seek permission. >> you said they did use it? you believe they are using it as a base? >> i don't know. we have seen varying reports. i would have to refer you to the russians to speak to what their future intentions are. it's unclear. we've seen reports they may have
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used it as a stopover. the u.s. has a vast intelligence base. theyan they not know if are using iran as a base? >> we haven't completed our internal assessments. >> when did the u.s. become clear? mr. toner: i think the department of defense channels, we were told as part of conflicting reports, it was short notice. >> they give you notice on their coordinations? mr. toner: i believe so. our spokesperson spoke to this in baghdad. >> does it complicate what they are trying to do in syria? mr. toner: again. i don't want to over hype this in a sense that -- we have known
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iran has been supportive of and an active combatant in the syrian civil war in support of the regime. russia has been supporting the regime. the fact they are working collaboratively against what they say are terrorist targets, but what we -- aseen are a majority mixed bag of targeting, some legitimate targets but moderates here in opposition. question, ito your don't want to say we are shocked but it is not helpful to the situation we currently have where we have the stalemate around aleppo. humanitarian situations.
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civilian populations at incredible risk and we are no closer to any credible cessation of hostilities like we had. real relaunch of negotiations in geneva. it complicates a tense situation. say theyssians discussed the possible operation. given now that they are , is it your understanding the cooperation ahead givenn go this? we are looking forces station of hostilities -- cessation of hostilities. want --r: well, i don't
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my short answer is no. it does not preclude the fact we will reach some kind of cooperative arrangement with russia. we will continue to speak with about in working groups ways we can put in place a , have fullase-fire access to humanitarian assistance, and get negotiations restarted in geneva. we are not there yet though. >> it doesn't preclude it? mr. toner: i misunderstood. it doesn't. we are continuing to pursue that. >> and that would suggest that
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you are open to the possibility of a u.s., iran, russia policy -- partnership. that is what it means. that is russia, iran, u.s. partnership. >> i'm in today's offense did not mean we would stop those discussions. thank you for trying to clarify. don't want to jump ahead to far. we will continue to have those conversations. we believe it is the best way of creating a coordination cell with russia that we talked about before. we believe that is the best mechanism to get back on track in syria. we don't know all the details
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about today's events. forink we are still looking clarification on that. this just a one event? is it happening in the past? is toner: the reason why they acknowledge it was happening today. the department of defense has acknowledged they did give us notification. >> first of all do you have any reason to believe this is going to be one event or part of a future problem that may go on?
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second, do you have the luxury to tell russia you cannot cooperate with iranians to bomb whatever targets you want to bomb? mr. toner: of course not. that is a very frank answer. we can only pursue dialogue and diplomacy with russia. , no one should be under any illusions there is some military solution or ultimate victory to be gained in syria. conversationsing and dialogue with russia they insist they are of the same mindset. this towe have to test its limits. the idea that russia is on board in syria. we have talked about these tension points, where they see
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terrorists we see moderate syrian opposition. and they are daesh terrorist organizations. beyond that we have a difference thatinion and we believe moderate syrian opposition that notbought into the process be subjected to ongoing airstrikes and attacks by the regime. >> a quick follow up on the potential for talks and working together. he basically said we can conceivably support an armed opposition for the foreseeable future. incentivize the
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russians to come along. i have not seen the interview. i'm not trying to parse your words. my guess is he said something weng the line of what including the secretary have said before which is that there is no military solution but the alternative to a diplomatic solution which we believe is the best way forward or political solution could mean full-scale war and that means all the members of -- not all the members but various members of -- supporting various factions of the civil war they believe is in their interest could exacerbate what is already a very difficult situation. we do not want to see the last -- the last thing anyone wants to see in syria is for things to get worse. we believe that

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