March, 1991

US Department of State Daily Briefing #34: Monday, 3/4/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:00 PM, Washington, DC Date: Mar 4, 19913/4/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, East Asia, Eurasia, Europe, North America Country: France, Israel, Iraq, Kuwait, South Africa, Philippines, Jordan, Albania, Cyprus, Italy, Canada Subject: Terrorism, Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, United Nations, State Department, Human Rights, Democratization (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Announcement: Departure of Correspondent Jim Anderson]

MS. TUTWILER: I have a number of little items I'd like to go over, with your indulgence, the first of which is that Friday, as you know, we did not have a briefing because the President had a press conference. And I would like for the record to note that Jim Anderson, who is the senior correspondent at the State Department, representing UPI -- his last day was Friday. We all wish him well and am sorry that we were not here in person on Friday to wish him the very best.

[Announcement: Resignation of Deputy Assistant Secretary Hoggard]

Two, along those lines: Two years ago when Kim Hoggard agreed to come back from Australia and help Secretary Baker, she agreed to two years. Those two years have been exceeded now by three months, and she will be leaving in April. And it goes without saying that the Secretary of State deeply appreciates the enormous contribution that she has made here to the State Department. Three, a reminder -- Q Two, two. Still two. MS. TUTWILER: No. One was Jim Anderson. Two is Kim Hoggard. Q Well, I want to say we certainly appreciate what Kim has done for us. MS. TUTWILER: Oh, I'm sorry. Q Shorter stakeouts and all sorts of terrific logistics on these trips, and we're all very grateful. Q And the buses. Q And the buses! Sometimes actually they're livable. No. We're going to miss her terribly. Q She has gotten us through more gun-toting guards than you can shake a stick at. MS. TUTWILER: I know. She's going to be terribly missed. Q I hope she has a twin sister you're going to bring here. Q We know it will be hard to do, but we hope you'll try to find somebody who's her equal to take the job. MS. TUTWILER: I will, but it will be hard to do. And we will all -- it goes without saying, especially I -- will miss her deeply. Q (Inaudible) -- any plans? MS. TUTWILER: She goes back to Australia. Lucky girl, huh? The real world. (Laughter) Q Duck-billed platypuses and all that. MS. TUTWILER: That's right.

[Announcement: Briefing on the Annual Narcotics Strategy Report]

Three, just a reminder that there will be a 3:00 p.m. briefing today by Ambassador Mel Levitsky. I believe this has already been posted. This is just a reminder for you. Four, which I know many of you are interested in -- I have more details concerning the Secretary's trip. I don't want to give them out here. I will give them out at the conclusion of the briefing, if that's agreeable with everyone, because they are still so tentative.

[Terrorism: Update]

I have -- and I hope you'll bear with me -- a rather lengthy statement that the Department would like to make concerning terrorism. I will try to read it fast for you, and I just ask your indulgence. In the months following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the Department issued a number of public statements, warning Americans of the possibility of Iraqi-sponsored terrorism in various regions of the world. Since January 16, we recorded approximately 160 terrorist incidents, about half of which were directed at U.S. targets. One American died and three were wounded in these attacks. The vast majority of the incidents were uncoordinated, low-level bombings that caused no injuries and only slight property damage. They were largely concentrated in southeastern Europe and in the Andean region of South America. Few incidents can be linked directly to Iraq. Many areas, including the United States, experienced no terrorism. With the cessation of hostilities, we believe the threat from the Iraqi-sponsored terrorism has lessened. However, terrorism remains a serious concern in the post-war period. Previous wars in the Middle East have frequently been followed by a terrorist aftermath. In view of the long-term threat of terrorism, we are working with other governments to ensure that security measures that were implemented at airports and other facilities around the world will remain in place. We will also use this enhanced cooperation to further narrow the field for terrorists. The Department of State continues to urge travelers to refer to all travel advisories that the Department has issued for the countries or regions to which they plan to travel. This information is available by calling 202-647-5225. There is currently no specific and credible information on a terrorist threat to the American public. While terrorist events may occur for which we may have no forewarning, should specific and credible information on a threat to the American public be received, the Department of State will provide information for travelers and other concerned parties. This statement supersedes the previous ones concerning the potential for Iraqi-sponsored terrorist attacks.

[US Embassy in Kuwait Reopened and Kuwait Update]

Then if I can keep going, I would like to do two other quick things. Our Embassy in Kuwait: Ambassador Gnehm is now running the Embassy operations out of the Ambassador's residence. As you know, there was damage done to the Embassy. The Ambassador and his staff are living on military rations and bottled water. Generators provide electricity. The well that was dug by Ambassador Howell and his staff has been revived. Water from this well is being pumped to a tank on top of the residence to provide washing water. Q Are they washing their cars? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know if they're washing their cars or not. Most of the Embassy staff is living temporarily in an adjacent hotel where there is still no water or electricity. And concerning the return of the Kuwaiti government, I believe most of you know and have seen that the Crown Prince is back. As we said on Friday, there are any number of Kuwaiti ministers that had preceded his trip back. And the decision on when the Amir returns is, obviously, up to the Kuwaiti government. On Kuwait City, I believe most of you all know what the situation is there from your reporting, and I don't think that I have anything that I can add to that for you. One other thing that I wanted to give you our update on this morning is unrest in southern Iraq. We have received numerous media reports of civil unrest in southern Iraq: Crowds in the street, demonstrations and lack of civil control. There are approximately seven cities and towns which are mentioned in these reports, and I will be happy to post the names of these places for you after the briefing. Information available to us on the situation in southern Iraq is still quite limited, but we believe there has been unrest in several of these locations, including Basra, and it may be continuing even today. Q Margaret, on something else, does the State Department have anything on the situation in Bolivia so far as the narcotics program and whether there's a need now to review aid to Bolivia? MS. TUTWILER: Mel's going to address himself to that for you this afternoon in quite some detail. Q Can you -- going back to the terrorism business, it's not clear to me what you are recommending the American public do with their vacations, with their business plans, with everything else. The threat has lessened, but they can or cannot travel? MS. TUTWILER: We have never dictated whether Americans can or cannot travel, but we are making them aware that the travel advisories that exist for almost all the countries in this region and the region as a whole have not been lifted yet. We are pointing out that, as in the past, in a post-war situation, terrorism incidents have occurred, and we are giving you a final update of 160 basic activities. We are saying at the same time to be cautious and to call and find out what these travel advisories are; that there is as of this briefing no specific and credible threat against Americans. Q And on that same subject, Margaret, you are asking that other countries maintain the same level of airline security which they have instituted during this crisis? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. And we are also continuing our program, our counter-terrorism program, of staying in contact with the enormous number of countries that participated in trying to thwart any terrorist activities, and those programs will continue. Q Are you making the same request of the U.S. aviation authorities? MS. TUTWILER: As far as I know, Bill, yes. Q Margaret, you mentioned enhanced cooperation with other governments in counter-terrorism efforts. Can you say whether any of that enhanced cooperation occurred with either the Government of Iran or the Government of Syria? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of any enhanced cooperation with the Government of Iran, Ralph, and the Secretary addressed himself yesterday about his thoughts on what Syria may or may not have been doing concerning terrorism during this time. But on Iran, I'm not familiar with anything along those lines. As you know, what we did have enhanced cooperation on was: Many countries expelled Iraqis; many countries dealt very, very closely with their own aviation people; many countries had increased security at military installations, at airports -- those types of things -- reductions of staffs in many of these countries. Those are the things I'm talking about on cooperation. Q Margaret, is the Department taking Syria off the terrorist list? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard that brought up. No. Not that I know of. Q In a number of countries there were non-essential diplomats and their families brought out, and I was wondering if all that still stands? MS. TUTWILER: That's all under review and, obviously, as each country was put on the list, each country's situation will be looked at with the same criteria to determine when we will be sending them back in. It's not only non-essential staff, as you know, and dependents, in many places it was actually drawdowns of Embassy staffs. But no decisions on any country as of today have been made to start sending them back. Q Margaret, what about building security here? Since the crisis began, you've had streets blocked off around the State Department, and driveway entrances also blocked. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Is that going to continue that way? Are you going to make that a permanent fixture? MS. TUTWILER: That will be just like any other measure that was -- extraordinary measures that were taken. They are going to be reviewed, and I am sure the authorities that look at that type of thing will be looking at it no differently than sending personnel back to Embassies. Q Margaret, do you have anything on further release of POWs by Iraq? Do we have a time schedule, or have any more been released since those released this morning? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I personally have any knowledge of. Q And there is no time schedule, as far as you know, for the rest? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have any more on that. Q What's being done to work out a time schedule? MS. TUTWILER: As of today, the ICRC has not even been given the names yet by the Iraqi government of the remaining POWs, John. And, to be honest with you, CENTCOM, DOD and the ICRC are all working on this. I just don't have any additional detail for you. Q You sound a little irritated. Has there been some slow down? Things were swell six hours ago. MS. TUTWILER: I'm not irritated. Q No, no. I mean, the government. We woke up to, you know, Schwarzkopf glowing about cooperation and now is there any hitch in sight or -- MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of. I certainly don't mean or intend to be giving that signal. Q Margaret, anything about Baghdad? Is there any unrest that you can detect there? MS. TUTWILER: There's nothing that I have to report, Connie. Q Anything new about the fate of Saddam? MS. TUTWILER: Nothing. Q Margaret, there is a group of Iraqi dissidents called the United Front and some of its leadership is here in Washington right now. The U.S. Government has not seen them. They apparently are not going to see the U.S. Government. I would think that the State Department in particular would be interested in talking to some of the dissident groups that are wandering around, especially those that represent the Kurds, the Shi'ites and the Iraqi Sunnis. MS. TUTWILER: Number one, I'm not aware that there is a dissident group that's here in town; and, number two, not knowing that they're here, I'm not aware if they have made a formal request to either see someone here or at the White House. I'll be happy to see that if they did make a request, why we are not seeing the people or, indeed, if someone here -- a State Department official -- is meeting with them. I'm just not familiar with the situation. Q Margaret, you haven't been asked this one. They appear to claim that indeed they sought an appointment with people in the Near East Bureau, and they were turned down. After the intervention of Senator Pell, a meeting was arranged for them with Assistant Secretary Schifter. However, they make the point they want to talk about political rights, not human rights. The Near East Bureau says that the policy of this Department is not to speak to the Kurds about political rights, because all Kurdish problems have to be solved within the context of the existing boundaries. However, what they said on Friday was that they want their problems to be solved within the existing boundaries, and, therefore, they don't understand why no one would speak to them in this Administration. MS. TUTWILER: That is the same question that Mr. McWethy just asked me. I'm unaware that they're even in town. You, obviously, have a great deal of knowledge about who all they've asked to see. I just can't answer something that I personally know nothing about. I said I'd be happy to check with our Bureau and see, (1) if there is such a request; (2) if someone is seeing them; if so, who, or if there's not such a request. I know nothing about it. Q Margaret, on the dissidents for just a second: Has the United States Government met with any of those who have been living and working in Saudi Arabia and have become particularly active in recent weeks during the war? Has the U.S. Government met with them in Saudi Arabia, for example? MS. TUTWILER: Not to my knowledge, Ralph. I was asked this question, I believe, on Thursday, and at that time no one had. I did not recheck that specific thing this morning. I'll be happy to recheck for you. I have not heard of any United States officials meeting with any groups in Saudi Arabia. Q Margaret, you know there were reports that there were dissidents from Basra wandering around trying to present a letter to the friendly forces to come help them, so that they could be just like Iran. Do you know if in fact these people made it to any representatives of the allied coalition? MS. TUTWILER: All we have on that is we've seen those reports. We have no verification of it whatsoever. Q I think the President at his news conference -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me. That it's even true that they were trying to pass a letter. All we've seen are reports. Q I think the President at his news conference, in trying to show there is more than one dispute in the Middle East, spoke of Lebanon. And then the Secretary yesterday spoke of Syria as if the Syrians had progressed in some way from their old positions on various issues. But I don't think anybody made the link. We could wait until the trip, or I could try you now and ask you, what is it about Lebanon that the Secretary might ask of the Syrians? MS. TUTWILER: You will have to wait for the trip. That's something I've not heard him address himself to, and I'd prefer if you would just ask him if that is on his agenda and something he's planning on making. Q I don't even know what the identified problem is according to the Administration. I mean, what it is about Lebanon that they feel needs some American attention. MS. TUTWILER: You'll just have to ask him. Q Margaret, back to Saudi Arabia for a minute. There are reports that up to 20,000 people have been detained as political prisoners within Saudi Arabia because they didn't agree with the war. First of all, have you heard those reports? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q And, secondly, could you look into that, and what's the position? MS. TUTWILER: 20,000 Saudis? Q 20,000 Saudis have been detained within Saudi Arabia as political prisoners. MS. TUTWILER: I'll be happy to ask the Bureau to take a look at it. I've never heard of it. Q Margaret, yesterday Secretary Baker said the United States is willing to forgive and forget in Jordan. I'm wondering if there is any update on the status of their foreign aid. MS. TUTWILER: No. Their foreign aid is still under review. Q Margaret, in an interview a couple of weeks ago with CNN, the Secretary was asked whether April Glaspie, the former Ambassador to Iraq, was available for interview, and he said as far as he was concerned, that she was. Since then, several news organizations have applied to interview her, and none have been granted an interview. Are you aware that the Secretary's wishes are being flouted in this way and -- MS. TUTWILER: I believe you're a little bit behind the curve here, and, if you call NEA, you will find that, as any other official here at the Department, all media requests for her are being forwarded to her. It's always up to an individual to determine whether they will or will not talk to you all. And I think that you will find that she is in the process of accepting whichever interviews she so chooses to do. Q Margaret, is there a chance we could have a news conference by the Secretary before we take off? MS. TUTWILER: Probably not. He is, as you know, got three full days here. He normally, traditionally, does a news conference for you enroute to the first destination. Since we are traveling such a great distance on the plane, he will -- we have to refuel in Shannon, and it has been my observation of every trip he's taken, he normally does an ON-THE-RECORD interview there on the plane. Q It is easier to file from here than Shannon and -- MS. TUTWILER: I know. Q -- and he does get up to a television studio now and then. It takes less preparation, actually, to come down and answer a few questions. MS. TUTWILER: That's true. Q But nothing for the writing press? He hasn't done a thing on -- I can't remember his last news conference, unless you call those, you know, photo ops that sometimes get expanded to news conferences. He seems to be on the tube every weekend, and yet we can't seem to get him for a half hour to take questions from a whole range of reporters that write for a living. MS. TUTWILER: I think that you will, as you've observed on other trips, that you will have him more than a half hour over the next ten days. Q (Inaudible) MS. TUTWILER: You'll see an awful lot of him, and he does a great job of spending a fair portion of his time and percentage of his time talking with you all and spending time with you on these trips, it's been my observation of his past behavior. Q Margaret, does the Department have any observations on recent arrests in Albania? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q No? MS. TUTWILER: None than what I had last week. Q Any comment for the last Friday's meeting between the Secretary of State, Mr. Baker, and the Cypriot Foreign Minister, Mr. Iacovou? MS. TUTWILER: The meeting that took place -- I believe it was on Friday. Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: I think that we posted a readout for you. Beyond that, I really don't have anything. Q Margaret, a few weeks ago you told us about a study -- an interagency study -- that was undertaken about the future of the region, in the Middle East and in the Gulf. Do you happen to have any updating and, if Mr. Baker is going to the area, having this study or the conclusions of the study in his mind or in his portfolio? MS. TUTWILER: I think, sir, that the Secretary of State has laid out, as has the President, the four areas that the Secretary is going to not only consult on but to listen on. He has laid it out. He did twice in open testimony about ten days ago. The President addressed himself to these areas on Friday, and the Secretary again addressed himself to it yesterday. So those are the areas that they have been studying. And, as you know, the Administration has said that the Secretary is not going with a blueprint for how to solve all of these issues, they are going to consult and are going to listen, and foremost, the countries in the region must be the lead on all of these issues. Q Are studies still going on? MS. TUTWILER: Sir, reviews and studies go on here on subjects like this and in this region and other regions all the time. Q What's the agenda for, first of all, the Secretary's meeting with the Philippine Prime Minister this afternoon; and, secondly, the two meetings with De Michelis and Clarke. MS. TUTWILER: De Michelis and Clarke will be the same agendas that were with Secretary Hurd, Foreign Minister Dumas and -- who was on Friday? I can't remember -- Q Genscher. MS. TUTWILER: Genscher -- that's right -- which include the four areas, as you know, that everyone is discussing in this post-crisis consultation period: security arrangements in the region, arms control and proliferation, Arab-Israeli, and economic cooperation in the region. The second part of your question was what, John? Q The Philippines. MS. TUTWILER: Oh, the Philippines. As you know, the Foreign Minister is here to continue the base negotiation talks with our representative, Mr. Armitage; and he will also take the occasion to discuss that subject. As you know, as I remember, there are two outstanding issues: duration and compensation. And he will be discussing those with the Secretary too. Q Margaret, the French -- Q Would the (inaudible). MS. TUTWILER: Well, not until you close these other two issues out. Q Is it possible that a final agreement can be reached at today's meeting? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I've heard. Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: I mean anything's possible, Ralph, but I haven't heard that. And I'm sure -- excuse me -- that the Foreign Minister would have to go back and consult with his Head of State and his government, so I don't envision that. Q President Mitterrand suggested a Heads of State meeting of the Permanent Five of the Security Council. He also indicated that he had the agreement, or at least he had broached the idea with all of the other four nations, and then nobody had disagreed with that. Do you have a reaction to that? MS. TUTWILER: What I would do is refer you to the White House, and I believe that Marlin addressed himself to this on behalf of the President this morning. At least I know he was intending to. And that question is going to be answered over at the White House. Q Margaret, I'd just like to second what Barry said about a request for a press conference with the Secretary. There are those of us that cover this Department on a daily basis who never get access to him -- he doesn't grant interviews to the foreign press -- and we don't travel on his plane. So on behalf of the foreign press, I would also like to make it known that we'd like some opportunity to talk to him. MS. TUTWILER: I'll let him know. Q A question on the consultations about the future of the region. Over the weekend, I think it was Secretary Cheney, if I'm not mistaken, who floated the idea of having a rotating force of an unspecified number of American troops in the Gulf. My question is: The Secretary first stated, and President Bush has subsequently repeated, that the United States has no desire to have any "permanently stationed" American troops in the region. Does the Administration's definition of "permanently stationed" mean that if a soldier is there for four months and then is replaced by a different human being, that the slot is filled by another soldier, that those are not permanently stationed troops? MS. TUTWILER: The definition -- it is my understanding that the President clearly means permanent, as does the Secretary of State. As far as, Ralph, what type of regional security measures are going to be worked out, as you know the Secretary is getting ready to leave on a trip to the region and these issues are being thought about and discussed right now by the countries in the region. As you know, there are many people who are speculating that the Kuwaiti government itself will ask for some type of peacekeeping force. Would that be a U.N. peacekeeping force that they ask for? Would it be an Arab force? Would they ask for American forces to be there? All of these questions are right now being explored by, predominantly, the countries there in the region. As you saw, President Mubarak spoke on this subject yesterday. And so I don't have an answer for you, but I know that the clear policy of the President of the United States is no permanent ground force, and we will just have to wait to see. If the Arab nations, if the Kuwaiti government, come to us and ask us to do X, Y, Z, that then becomes a Presidential decision for him to make at that time. Q Would rotating units of that sort be considered permanent if they're there for a very long period of time? MS. TUTWILER: Why don't we wait and see what it is that the countries in the region -- if, indeed, they're anticipating or deciding to ask the President for something, and then maybe we could have a clearer definition for you of "permanent" and "rotation." Q Margaret -- Q (inaudible) if the countries in the region were by any chance to ask for a permanent ground force that the Bush Administration would consider that request seriously, and perhaps consider changing its policy against having such a permanent force? MS. TUTWILER: It will be a Presidential decision if, indeed, the countries of the region or Kuwait specifically ask for United States troops as some type of peacekeeping force, as some type of force on the border. All of this is in the total speculative stage right now. To my knowledge, no government has asked for such a thing. In fact, most governments are all saying that they are meeting among themselves. They want to meet with us. They want to meet with the British, with the French, with others. And there are no specific requests that I am aware of. Q Margaret, Yasser Arafat gave an interview today in which he predicted that there's about to be a massacre of Palestinians in Kuwait along the lines of the massacre of Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila. He said the responsibility for the safety of the Palestinians in Kuwait lies with the West and, in particular, lies with the United States of America. What is the position of the State Department on the status of Palestinians in Kuwait and whether or not the United States Government is responsible for their safety and well-being? MS. TUTWILER: One, I haven't seen what Mr. Arafat had to say today. And, as we said last week, we have a few reports of mistreatment of Palestinians since the liberation of Kuwait. We regard these as isolated incidents. Indications are that they are not part of a systematic attempt to harass Palestinians. As I mentioned last week, we have raised the possibility of this occurring and this subject many weeks ago with the Kuwaiti government in exile, and they have assured us that they -- the Kuwaiti government -- are taking steps to prevent reprisals against any group of citizens living in Kuwait. And the Kuwaiti Ministers with security responsibilities -- Defense and Interior -- are back in Kuwait City and are in place. Q Does the U.S. Government feel in some way responsible for the Palestinians in Kuwait? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know what you mean by "feel responsible." What the United States Government is pleased to see is that the legitimate Government of Kuwait is back, that Kuwait has been liberated. These people have their freedom back, which you have seen. All of us have seen and witnessed this on our TV screens. As I have said, we've made it very clear to the Government of Kuwait that all residents of Kuwait should be afforded the fullest protection against individuals taking the law into their own hands. Q Margaret, is Kuwait now fully responsible for the security in Kuwait? MS. TUTWILER: Obviously not yet. Q Who is in charge over there? Despite the fact that the Crown Prince may have arrived, there are many, many reports that the Kuwaiti government can't even pretend to be in charge of the streets. Who does the U.S. Government think is running things over there now? MS. TUTWILER: The Kuwaiti government is obviously running things. As we said, many, many ministers are there. Obviously, their buildings are completely destroyed -- many of them. Their files are gone. Their phones don't work. The electricity doesn't work. So we are there assisting them in many of these functions. As you all have seen -- I think even today -- there continues to be mass celebration in the streets by people who are firing their weapons into the air -- people who have been living in basements and underground for seven months who are, obviously, still in a euphoric mood. Yes, our military, as you know, went in there. I believe we said it was the 352nd Civil Command. We said 50 individuals had gone in to help them restore many of these functions as fast as they can, and the Crown Prince is back today. They, obviously, are making the big decisions concerning their country. But, yes, we're there helping -- excuse me, John. It's my understanding we're looking for mines on the beaches. You've seen our military doing that. We obviously are helping with our tractors, et cetera, to clear the streets. So there are many functional things that, yes, we are indeed helping them with. Q I'm talking more about police functions because the resistance is basically apparently stopping cars and there is no coordination between the so-called official government and the resistance. What role does the U.S. Government see for the resistance? Should they be a legitimate part to be taken into concern by the Crown Prince? What sort of recommendations does the U.S. pass on that? MS. TUTWILER: I think that all those types of decisions -- you somehow put the question as if the resistance is divorced from the government. Yes, they were separated by physical space and they stayed there and fought this out; but I'm unaware that there's a deep divide and that they are not supportive of their government. I am aware there are different Kuwaitis in this situation, in this city, who have different views about a future Kuwait. The Crown Prince himself has said these are matters they will be addressing, they will be discussing. So I think it's premature for me to say what we are recommending. After all, this would be a decision for the Kuwaiti people and the Kuwaiti government to decide and discuss among themselves. And I am aware, and don't want to seem to be misleading you, that, yes, there is obvious confusion in the streets and a lot of chaos still there. Q Well, the United States Government is not under the impression that the resistance is taking orders from the legitimate government; is it? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not sure, Bill, that anyone has gotten enough communications, enough coordination and enough order out of, obviously, a devastated city -- a city that is in the throes of still massive celebrations -- to be in a mode to function as we consider normally. Phones aren't even up, water, electricity -- the basics. Q So to get back to the point of Jack's question, who's in charge? Nobody, really. MS. TUTWILER: Obviously, the Kuwaiti government is in charge. Many of their ministers -- I can't remember how many -- returned on Friday. We've said the Crown Prince has returned today. As you know, the United Nations called for the restoration of the legitimate Government of Kuwait. That is the legitimate Government of Kuwait. Having said that, obviously the Minister of Interior, if he goes to his building -- I'm just using this as one example -- and the building is totally gutted, destroyed -- there are no phones, he can't find his personnel -- it makes things doubly tough. But that doesn't mean they're not trying to restore order and to get things up and functioning. Q But, Margaret, to link this question to one that was asked earlier, the United States, you said a moment ago, had made representations to the Kuwaiti government about guaranteeing Palestinians their full protection and so on. You don't want to see a massacre in Kuwait -- MS. TUTWILER: No. Q -- and yet at the moment there doesn't seem to be anyone who has the authority and power -- practical on-the-ground power -- to prevent that from taking place. MS. TUTWILER: I also said -- Q So I think the question here is: Is there anybody there who could prevent that from occurring? MS. TUTWILER: I also said that I am not aware that this is taking place, that we have any reasons to believe it's going to take place. I said that, yes, we have a few isolated incidences of this; and I said that, yes, it is something that was discussed with the Kuwaiti Government -- just as we had discussed martial law. Several of you had asked the other day about martial law. We had viewed, as had the Kuwaiti government in exile, that there would be this chaos, that there would be reports of a devastated city, and that there would be a need for martial law -- some type of martial law. So that is all that I'm saying concerning the Palestinians. Q Margaret, I'd like to just follow that up for a minute. Are you saying that as far as you know there really isn't a cause for concern about the well-being of Palestinians because these incidents are isolated? As far as you know, you're satisfied that we're not going to witness a replay of Sabra and Shatila? MS. TUTWILER: Actions on the ground are what I'm referring to, which is what is the real world. Now, if right now, Mary, a massacre is going on, I obviously don't know about it nor do you. Prior to the time of this briefing, there have been a few isolated incidences, and I have said that the Kuwaiti government had anticipated this. In fact, I saw the Kuwaiti Minister of Information on TV yesterday saying -- and you all should maybe get a transcript of it; it was a very powerful interview -- you have to understand that as desperately as we're trying to get order here on the street, many of these individuals have been living less than -- basically inhuman existences for the last seven months and they are out in the streets and they are excitable. And so they are well aware of this and had anticipated it. Obviously, if such a thing went on, the United States Government would condemn it; but that is speculative. It does not exist right now. Q Margaret, is the U.S. Government in the business of recommending other governments as to accept or not accept asylum requests from Saddam Hussein to their governments? MS. TUTWILER: We're not in that business. Q Is the State Department being given any explanations as to why the Amir of Kuwait is not returning immediately? MS. TUTWILER: I do not know when the Amir is returning. As we stated earlier, that is a decision for the Amir and his government to make. I know that one of the outstanding concerns all last week had been -- it's my understanding -- that his palace and his home, et cetera, are mined, have booby traps. And, obviously, they want to be able to secure a building, an environment, for his return. But you'd have to, you know, refer most of those questions to the Kuwaiti government here. Q Margaret, to another area, just briefly. Do you have anything on supposed killings, or reported killings, of civilians in Uganda? MS. TUTWILER: No. I hadn't heard a thing about it. Q A question on POWs, Margaret. Has the United States interviewed enough Iraqi POWs at this point -- or perhaps the ICRC -- to determine how many of them might not wish to return to Iraq? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have that figure, but I know if there are POWs who do not wish to return, according to the Geneva Third Accords, POWs or individuals who do not want to return cannot be forced to do so; and that will be a subject that will be then discussed with the Saudi Arabian government and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thanks. (Press briefing concluded at l2:35 p.m.)