US Department of State Daily Briefing #14: Thursday,1/24/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:10 pm; Washington, DC Date: Jan 24, 19911/24/91 Category: Briefings Region: East Asia, E/C Europe, MidEast/North Africa, Europe Country: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iraq, Japan, USSR (former), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania Subject: Terrorism, Military Affairs, Travel, Democratization, State Department, United Nations, NATO, CSCE, Arms Control (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I have two things that I'd like to make statements on. The first is Japan and the second is terrorism.

[Japanese Contributions to Gulf Effort]

The United States Government appreciates very much this further significant contribution of the Japanese people to the multinational forces in the Gulf to fulfill the resolutions of the United Nations. This new contribution brings Japan's total commitment, to date, to the multinational effort in the Gulf to over $13 billion. Japan is also making preparations to assist directly in the transport of refugees from the region using Japanese civil aircraft and, as required, aircraft from Japan's Self Defense Force. We are very pleased with Japan's decision to participate directly in this vital humanitarian effort. From the very beginning of this crisis, Prime Minister Kaifu and his government have demonstrated strong support for the efforts of the United States and the United Nations. These new announcements, encompassing both a major new financial commitment for the defense effort and the physical presence by Japan in the humanitarian effort to assist war victims and refugees, demonstrates the important contribution that Japan is making as we work to implement the resolutions of the United Nations and establish a new world order. As you all know -- I think we announced it either earlier this week or late last week -- they also are contributing $38 million to refugee assistance. Yesterday, and almost everyday this week, you've asked me a number of questions concerning responsibility-sharing. This is the Japanese answer. I would tell you that yesterday afternoon the Secretary met with three Ambassadors -- the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, and the Ambassador from Kuwait -- to discuss Desert Storm and 1991 responsibility-sharing. Q And -- Q On the Japanese -- A Excuse me, Jim. Just as we have in the past, which is only appropriate and proper, each government will announce its own contributions. We will not be announcing on behalf of other governments what they have agreed or not agreed to do. You have the Japanese announcement today made by the Prime Minister. I've told you the Secretary met yesterday with three Ambassadors from three coalition partners, and it's up to those governments to determine what they will be announcing and when. Q On the Japanese $13 billion, that's $9 billion this year; right? A Yes. Q And when do we come calling again on them? A I don't have an answer to that question, Jim. Q Well, is that meant to carry through calendar '91 or what? A There are no answers to these questions. Whether it is being directed at Japan or any other country, that, of course, would depend on how long there are hostilities. Q On the Japan question, how much has actually been paid out? It's great to say "you pledge a certain amount." But in the early going, Japan was one of the slowest to actually come through with either the goods or the money. A How much is paid out of 1990? Q How much is paid out on any of it? How much have they actually come across with? A Since they've just announced the 1991 contribution this morning, I doubt that that's being disbursed. On the 1990 contribution, I believe their contribution was a $2 billion contribution. I don't have for you -- I'll be happy to ask the experts if all of that has been disbursed, what part has, and where it was disbursed. Maybe you could call the Japanese Embassy here, but I will see what information we have on their 1990 disbursement. Q It's swell to say you pledge something. But if you don't deliver it, then it becomes a point of friction between the governments and the coalition. It's an important point, I think. Q Margaret, while you're doing that, could you check on all of the pledges we got? On that first trip, there was announced $20 billion in pledges for 1990. How much of that is money and how much is pledges? A OK. Q Margaret, I thought -- in fact, using your figures, I thought the 1990 contribution by the Japanese was $4 billion. Q Part to the U.S. and part to the -- A The Frontline States. Q So the two is directly to the U.S. and the other two is -- A It's my understanding of how this breaks down, Jim. Q And the nine is all to the United States? a I'm not positive. (TO STAFF) Do you know if this literally -- I don't think they've broken this out, to be honest with you. We asked earlier this morning and I don't have a breakout for you at this moment in time. This is the Prime Minister's announcement that he made this morning. This is an amount that is -- as we have said, there have been conversations going on with various coalition partners concerning what the 1991 responsibility-sharing would be. I don't have for you -- I'll ask if it is all worked out at a lower level, what portions go where, and how this money is going to be allocated. Q Is the Secretary meeting with other Ambassadors in addition to the three you mentioned? A There are none scheduled right now. Q Margaret, can you tell me whether a formula has been worked out so that as and if this thing goes on all the participants will know approximately what their share is? A Those kinds of details and planning have been discussed between their officials, but I cannot give them out. Q When we were over there, we got, as you remember from a senior Saudi official, this 40 to 50 percent that the Saudis would pay. Was this correct? At the time we had no idea whether this was true or false or -- 40 or 50 percent of what? Can you tell us? A And at the time, a United States official said On Background that we were not clear about what the Saudi Arabian official meant on one statement On Background. That issue has never come back up, so I have not -- there hasn't been a reason to go pursue it further. I'll be happy to ask for you. As you remember, that was one comment that was made by a Saudi official at the airport when we were all leaving. And when asked of American officials, we simply weren't exactly clear what was being said. Q But since then there have been reports that the Saudis and Kuwaitis would pay a certain percentage, the Japanese and Germans would contribute toward another percentage, and the United States would have another percentage. A I answered that. I said, yeah. Q We're all doing that. But you can't discuss the percentages? Q What are the percentages? A I cannot. Q Why would that be a secret? A That is something that I am just not in a position to discuss or elaborate on at this briefing. Q I know, but what is the rationale, do you know, for wanting to keep it a secret versus something that is out in the public? A It's not a secret, John. As I just stated, there are many governments that conversations are still going on with. We're in the middle of a process. I am trying every day to be as forthcoming with you all as I possibly can. I think you also understand, I cannot pre-empt on-going conversations. I can't do it. Q Is it true that our contribution is around 20 percent? A I'm not going to answer any questions concerning percents of our Government or other nations. When our Government and other governments are in a position to make all of this public, they will make it all very, very public. Q But you do expect it to be make public? A I don't know when that will be. Q But you do expect it? A Just like it was on 1990 sharing. I don't believe there were any secrets kept from our public or our media concerning what our Government was doing concerning 1990 responsibility-sharing nor am I aware of any other governments who are participating in this who kept it a big secret. I have a statement on terrorism also, unless you all are still in Japan.

[Update: Terrorism]

There have been no major incidents directed against U.S. diplomatic or military facilities overseas in the last 24 hours. There have been sporadic non-violent demonstrations in various cities around the world. There also have been numerous telephone bomb threats to several U.S. Embassies as well as schools and businesses associated with the United States. Fortunately, these have proved to be unfounded. As I know you understand and appreciate, we cannot talk about on-going anti-terrorist efforts by our Government or any other government or say anything which might make it harder for us to prevent acts of terrorism and arrest those who are planning such acts. We have made four formal statements on the threat of terrorism worldwide. We have noted, in particular, Saddam Hussein's calls for terrorist attacks against the members of the multinational coalition. We have clear evidence that Iraq is supporting terrorists around the world who are planning to mount attacks against coalition member countries. The clearest examples of this activity is the attempted bombing of the U.S. Cultural Center in Manila on January 19. The Philippine government has expelled an Iraqi diplomat for his role in this bombing. The two Iraqis arrested are the sons of Iraq's Ambassador to Somalia. In addition to our worldwide advisories, our travel advisories for Sudan, Thailand, the Philippines, and India, specifically mention the threat of terrorism. We have worked actively with other governments around the world to counter the Iraqi threat. Cooperation, as we have said previously, has been excellent. Governments around the world, including our own, have expelled Iraqi diplomats in order to reduce the threat of terrorism from them. While some violent acts and incidents have occurred already, many of these appear uncoordinated and of local origin. Others may prove to be Iraqi-sponsored. We take the threat of Iraqi terrorism very seriously. Our primary goal is to prevent acts of terrorism and catch those who may be planning such activities before they are able to implement their plans. You will understand, hopefully, that I cannot confirm details of how we are going about this or how we are doing this. If we know in advance of a specific terrorist act, we will, of course, issue an immediate warning to the public. Q Do you know how many countries have expelled Iraqi diplomats and how many -- A I don't have the list for you. I could try to pull it together. Q The Israeli Ambassador says that there have been 20 incidents since the U.S. -- since the coalition started attacking Iraq -- 20 incidents directly traceable to Iraqi sponsorship. Can you confirm that? A The only one that I know that we are On the Record as saying is "Iraqi-sponsored" is the one I just mentioned. We have come out here everyday and told you all of incidents around the world at different U.S. -- either private facilities or Government facilities. But I'm unaware of the number of 20. As we said here -- you asked me yesterday, in fact, you were the one who asked me the question about a pattern. I tried to address that today by saying that it appears that the majority of these incidents, which we report on everyday, appear to be of local origin and uncoordinated. Q Does it appear that Iraqi diplomatic facilities in countries around the world are the hub of activities, to the best of your knowledge, involved in terrorist planning, help, storing of weapons? Are diplomatic facilities -- Iraqi diplomatic facilities -- involved in any way? A I have not heard that expressed, John. I will be happy to ask that specific question. But, again, I want to stress that we have got to be -- and I'm going to be -- and I know that you understand it -- extremely careful on what we say concerning this. This is, after all, a counterterrorism worldwide effort. I can't tell you how many numbers of countries are participating in this, and I'm not going to be responsible for somehow, in an effort to give out information, do something that could endanger lives. We have said -- I just stated it again this morning in this statement -- that many embassies or government, including our own -- as you know, we have the Iraqi Embassy here down to four. When we made that announcement, one of the reasons we gave was so that it could not be used for terrorism type activities. Q Do you feel that the United States and/or the coalition partners or any of the other governments involved have successfully thwarted terrorist activities because of the increased surveillance, increased law enforcement, etc.? A That's a question that they would prefer, the experts, for me to refrain from answering. I could only answer it generally the way that I did -- I believe it was yesterday -- by saying that we have certainly been on the record every day, speaking of the close cooperation we are having with many, many countries around the world. You know -- it's been no secret -- that our own airlines, the FAA, are in a state of alert. They say, in their own words, they have never implemented as many measures as are being implemented here. I do not have a readout from every country of what every country is doing, but my impression is that they are all doing very similar things. So I can't help but believe, common sense would tell you, without directly answering your question, that certainly life has not been made easy. Q Margaret, there was a report in the L.A. Times that Iraqi diplomats had smuggled weaponry or explosives in diplomatic pouches. Do you know of there being evidence of that? A I have no comments at all on the Los Angeles Times' piece this morning. My only statement on terrorism, in which I tried to address our concerns and what we have done, is the two-page statement that I just read. Q Margaret, can you go over for us what the State Department's understanding is of the rules regarding diplomatic pouches? What types of monitoring can the host-country use? Can it use metal detector? What else can you tell us about what the rules are on diplomatic pouches? A I don't know. I'll take your question. Q Included in that question, metal detectors, X-rays, is that considered O.K. for a host-government to X-ray either our diplomatic pouches going into another country or the Iraqi's diplomatic pouches coming into ours, for example? A This is an issue that has never come up in the two years I've been here. I've never had to deal with it. I'm sure that there are very explicit rules here, and I will just get with the lawyers here and get the information for you on what the standard operating procedure is. Q Margaret, can I ask a question on aid to Israel, please? Does the United States feel that Israel's continued stance of remaining out of the war justifies increased aid to Israel? A I'll answer for you on this specific the way the Secretary did to your question yesterday, I believe, on the sidewalk. That is, we frequently get requests from the Israeli government, I believe is what he said to you, John; that we consider all such requests, as I said yesterday. This formal request has not come into the Department yet, and that when and if it does, it would be given full consideration. Q Does the suggested amount of $13 billion sound to you as a reasonable amount? A Number one, it's my understanding from speaking with the Deputy Secretary of State and from reading the Finance Minister of Israel's public comments that this is not a formal request from Israel. Q But does it sound to you like a reasonable amount? A I'm not going to comment whether it's a reasonable amount or not, because to my knowledge there's been no formal request made of any amount. Q Margaret, yesterday or last night the President indicated that he, too, along with Prime Minister Major would shed no tears if something were to happen to Saddam Hussein. What's the U.S. official policy on targeting Saddam Hussein during this campaign? A That has been addressed any number of times and this week by Secretary Cheney and by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Powell. That is not our policy, as you know. That is not what we're doing, and in fact General Schwarzkopf addressed himself to this, this weekend. Q But the fact that the President of the United States has said that he would shed no tears if the Iraqi leader were to disappear -- A It's not the first time the President of the United States has expressed those sentiments, and I believe that they're sentiments that are shared by any number of people. Q And yet it's not part of official policy? A Expressing an emotion does not mean that that is policy. Our policy is very clear. I don't believe the President last night was stating policy. He was stating his personal emotions, is how I would interpret it, which is how I believe most people who heard the speech did interpret it. Q And the Secretary -- does he have any emotions on that point? A I have never asked the Secretary what his emotions are on this point. I know that the President, the world, the Secretary, wishes that Saddam Hussein would abide by the 12 United Nations resolutions; would stop what he has done knowingly, I have to assume, inflicting the hurt and harm to his country and to his own people. And so that, I think, is an emotion that the vast majority of the world is pretty much expressing. Q Margaret, given that the U.S. pilots have now been paraded in front of television and that the President has said he believes that they've been coerced into some of the critical remarks about U.S. policy that they've made, and given the Scud attacks which the U.S. describes as terrorist weapons, does the United States stand ready to do business with a government led by President Saddam Hussein? A That's a hypothetical question for me to answer. That has been answered before. I'm not aware that our policy has changed. What this is about, as you know, is the implementation of 12 United Nations resolutions. I'm not aware that any of those resolutions addresses itself to the Government of Iraq. Q No. But certainly the U.S. Government has to consider that. I mean, is there any circumstance under which, after what has already transpired -- that our government would have dealings with Saddam Hussein? A That is totally hypothetical and speculative for me to answer. I don't know, number one, if Saddam Hussein is going to withdraw unconditionally, totally from Kuwait. As I've stated, that is our policy. I'm not aware that a United Nations resolution says, and we have been very clear about saying, that our goal is not the change of Iraqi government, the change of Iraqi borders, etc. This is about withdrawing from Kuwait. So I would have to, on that premise, on a hypothetical, if this man leaves, then I would tell you that that is our policy. Q Margaret -- A Excuse me. But having said that, so that I do not make a mistake here, we have also said and the Secretary, I believe, said it in public testimony, that should Saddam Hussein withdraw completely, totally out of Kuwait, the region and the world would have to address what type of security structure you would have to have for that region if he is still sitting there with his weapons of mass destruction. And in fact this is something that the Secretary made very clear to the Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz, when we were in Geneva. Q Margaret, do you have any knowledge of Soviet advisers who may still be in Iraq? A I don't have any information which would confirm these reports. I would point you to a statement today by the Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman who says that there are no military experts left in Iraq. There's another statement that I read this morning that the Soviet Defense Ministry spokesman denied reports that Soviet military advisers remain in Iraq. Q Have you asked the Soviets here for any assurances? Have you raised the matter with them yourself? A Since this morning's report, we have not raised it. As you know, this has been raised in the past. Q And to the best of your knowledge, are there still a lot of Soviet citizens stuck in Iraq, or have those that wanted to get out, have they successfully gotten out? A The last time that we dealt with this, as I remember -- and the record would correct me if I'm wrong -- I believe that the Soviets were saying there were approximately 200 Soviet citizens still there. That was weeks ago. In addition, today the Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman said that there were 41 Soviet diplomats left at their Embassy in Iraq, and that all others had left. And, as I remember, we began with a Soviet universe there of between seven and eight thousand Soviet citizens on August 2. Q Margaret, on the Soviets, does the Secretary or anybody in the government have any intentions to meet soon with the new Soviet Foreign Minister Bessmertnykh? A We could well be. Q When and where would that be? A I don't have an announcement to make concerning that at this briefing. Q Margaret, the President said last night that Saddam Hussein would be "brought to justice." A Would be what? Q "Brought to justice." He said -- I'm paraphrasing -- "No one will weep when this tyrant is brought to justice." Can you give us any kind of an update on plans at work to bring this about, or what kind of mechanism would be followed? A I don't have anything new for you on what type of mechanism would or would not be pursued. Since I dealt with this, I believe it was on Tuesday, I have nothing new on it. Q Well, what does that mean -- "brought to justice"? What are you talking about? A I don't make it a business of mine to interpret Presidential statements or speeches. If you need clarification, maybe Marlin is dealing with this today at his briefing. I'm going to refrain from trying to do that. Q It sounds like arrest and trial, and things like that. That doesn't sound like you're dealing with the head of a government necessarily. It sounds like perhaps the U.S. has slightly different plans. A The United States plan -- I have not, unfortunately, had an opportunity to either see or read the President's entire remarks last night. I'm unaware if the President has changed our policy. I do not know of a change in policy by the United States government or the U.N. Q Margaret, has the Soviet Union fulfilled the U.S. request for an explanation of what happened in Latvia? A An explanation? Q You said the other day that we had asked the Soviet Embassy to explain those events. A There have been any number of meetings. I'm not sure what you mean by "an explanation." Q It's what you said. A They have had -- in fact, Ambassador Matlock has had any number of meetings at the Foreign Ministry, and I'm not sure that I'd call it an explanation. But they have certainly had discussions concerning this issue, and they are well aware of our deep concern about what is going on in the Baltics. Q Have they offered any explanation -- and can you tell us anything about where it stands, on this question of the Soviet ship that was carrying things that were not on the manifold -- weapons, parts, that were not on the manifold? Have the Soviets offered any explanation for that? Has the U.S. come to conclusion about why that occurred? A I don't remember this, David. When is this? Q I'm talking about the Red Sea ship which -- Q Before the war began. Q -- before the war began that was carrying tank parts? A I don't know. I have no idea. I mean, I'll ask for you, but I have no idea. Q Can you tell us if the START negotiations are still underway here, and how -- A They're still meeting, and I talked to Reggie [Bartholomew] this morning, and he has the same characterization: Work remains. Q (Laughter) A They're plugging along. Q Manfred Woerner, the top dog at NATO, was critical this morning of the level of support by the NATO allies for the United States in this coalition effort. Is the United States satisfied with the level of support of the various NATO countries? And I am aware that some NATO countries have troops there. But overall is the United States happy with the support? A To my knowledge, yes. Q Margaret, on burden-sharing, you can't give us the American share, but can you say that there definitely will be an American share? We're not asking the others to pick up the whole tab? A I don't want to answer any questions concerning percentages, etc., even our own. This is not for me to announce, and this is something that I'm just going to continue to refrain from answering. Sorry. Q On burden-sharing -- probably this is a silly question, but it should be asked -- A Go for it! (Laughter) Q In our discussions with the Saudis and the Kuwaitis, since they have helped other front-line states that have suffered damage, has any thought been given to asking them if they would help Israel which has suffered damage? A I don't know, Saul, if that has been raised or not raised. Q Do you mean it might have been? A I don't know. I've never, to be honest with you, asked the question, and so I can't make it up. I don't know. Q Would you see if you can answer it, if they have, or whether "yea" or "nay"? A Yes. Q Because we know that we've asked on behalf of -- I mean, Egypt and others who have not been physically damaged, at least not yet. A Yes. Q Is the U.S. planning to offer assistance or give some kind of help to Israel for the cost of settling Soviet refugees? A I'm not aware of -- this gets back into, I believe, the $13 billion request. As I saw it reported in one of our leading newspapers yesterday, a break-out from the Israeli Finance Ministry had dollar amounts for that. But in the same exact article, the Israeli Finance Minister was saying that they have not made a formal request. So I can't deal with something that we don't have yet. Q But I'm not asking whether there's been a request yet. I'm asking whether the U.S. in principle is planning to help the Israelis pay for their -- A The United States in principle, I believe, just gave several months ago $400 million in housing loan guarantees , which is the only formal request that the Israelis have made to date for help with this situation, that I'm aware of, Q Thank you. A Thank you all. (The briefing concluded at 12:38 p.m.)