US Department of State Daily Briefing #49: Tuesday, 3/26/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:04 PM, Washington, DC Date: Mar 26, 19913/26/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Subsaharan Africa, Caribbean Country: Iraq, Kuwait, Israel, Mali, Cuba, France, USSR (former), Egypt, Jordan Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Terrorism, Military Affairs, Refugees, Travel, United Nations, State Department, Human Rights, Democratization, Regional/Civil Unrest (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Middle East Peace Process: Secretary's Meetings]

MS. TUTWILER: What I thought might be helpful is to give you a little bit more of an update on further phone calls that the Secretary of State made yesterday. In addition to the phone call to the Soviet Foreign Minister I had mentioned to you, he had placed calls to the Foreign Minister of France and the Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom. Those were both completed. In addition, he spoke to the Foreign Minister of China last night. As you know, yesterday he met with Mr. Odeh of Jordan. I had said yesterday that he was going to meet today with President Mubarak's National Security Adviser, Osama el-Baz. I spoke incorrectly. He ended up meeting with him yesterday afternoon. This morning he met with Ambassador Shoval, and the bulk of that meeting was obviously on the peace process. The Secretary obviously took the occasion at this early morning meeting to raise our views on deportations. He obviously expressed the views that I expressed to you all yesterday of our government's policy concerning deportations. Ambassador Shoval noted the Secretary's concerns and said he would convey them to his government. He is, it's my understanding, leaving today to go back to Israel for a visit; and he would take these thoughts on this subject plus other thoughts they had on the peace process with him back there. These particular two meetings have been part of our ongoing process and follow-through after Secretary Baker's trip to the region. The purpose of these meetings is to begin the process of probing to see what they may be prepared to do. I would characterize the phase that we are in now as trying to determine what the points of convergence are between the parties -- what those convergent points might be. As I said yesterday -- and it is still true today -- there are other conversations and meetings that are going on at different levels other than the Secretary of State.

[Iraq: Update on Civil Unrest]

I would like to give you an update on the situation in Iraq. Fighting continues between government forces and dissidents in both northern and southern Iraq. In the north, heavy fighting continues in the area of Kirkuk subsequent to the fall of that city to dissidents. In the south, some fighting has occurred in the past 24 hours in the Basra area as well as along the lower Euphrates and Tigris rivers. We cannot confirm recent reports of massacres by government forces, but there is no doubt that heavy civilian casualties have resulted from the fighting between government and dissident forces, particularly in the densely populated urban areas of southern Iraq. More specifically on the questions we were asked yesterday -- "Has Saddam Hussein succeeded in crushing the rebellion in the southern part of Iraq?" -- overall unrest has dropped off somewhat in the southern part of Iraq relative to levels of unrest observed there a week ago. But the government's hold in many areas is still tenacious, partly -- tenuous -- partly the result of its decision to shift forces, including elements of the Republican Guard, from the south to the north as the situation in the Kurdish north has deteriorated. Q Just to clarify, you said that the government's position is "tenuous," is that correct? MS. TUTWILER: Tenuous. Correct. I mispronounced the word. Q They're not hanging on. They're in trouble. MS. TUTWILER: Tenuous. Right. Q Do you have any -- I'm sorry. George, do you want to go first? Q Go ahead. Q Do you have any explanation to offer us at this point or perhaps some guidance about what -- now that the U.S. is able to see how the fighting is going, what would the U.S. -- what does the U.S. expect to occur or what would the U.S. like to see occur in this country? Has the Administration come to a decision about which side it would like to help or not help or hurt or not hurt? Do you have any guidance on that? MS. TUTWILER: Not anything new, Ralph, than what we had yesterday. Our policy has been very clear. As you know, the President has said many times that he would not shed any tears should the current leadership of Iraq be changed, but that is something that is up to the Iraqi people to determine. We have also stated many times that our policy is not to see a Lebanonization of Iraq; that we are not for the dismemberment of Iraq; that we respect the territorial integrity of Iraq; and for whoever the leadership of Iraq is, it is for the Iraqi people to determine. Q Does that mean that the United States would advise what you call "dissidents" in the north who have taken control of Kirkuk that they should not think in terms of taking control of only a part of the country, but if they're going to take control they ought to do so throughout the entire country of Iraq? MS. TUTWILER: We're not in the business of giving various elements advice on what they should or should not do, Ralph. Our policy is quite clear that the leadership of this country is up to the Iraqi people to determine. Q Margaret, if the government forces appear to have any momentum in their favor, it appears to be the result of their use of helicopter gunships. Has the United States decided if that is a violation of the cease-fire and, if so, what will the coalition forces do about it? MS. TUTWILER: Our policy concerning helicopters has not changed over the last 24 hours, and I would refer you to the transcript from the Pentagon where that is articulated almost every day. Q Margaret, you just said the situation in the north has deteriorated. Could you for us explain a little bit more about how deterioration has taken place in the north? MS. TUTWILER: No. I have no further elaboration of characterizations for you, other than the guidance that I was able to give to you this morning on our assessment of what the situation is today in Iraq. I have tried to do this every day for you, and unfortunately I cannot flesh it out further for you. Again today, as yesterday, I did not have a description for you of what our views are of what is going on in Baghdad itself. Q Margaret, can you tell us, does the United States have a policy against Saddam Hussein's use of tanks or heavy artillery to put down the rebellion? MS. TUTWILER: Tanks, John, I am not sure. I have not heard our government address themselves to tanks. Yesterday you all asked me a number of questions about United States tanks. The Pentagon answered that yesterday afternoon in their briefing, explaining, I believe, this was the 18th Division and the 7th Division changing and rotating out. Again, I'd refer you back to the Pentagon. But as far as Iraqi use of tanks, I would just like to check because I have not heard anyone address themselves to that. Q Can you get us an answer on that, as to whether tanks and heavy artillery -- MS. TUTWILER: I'll try. Q Margaret, you're talking about "points of convergence" and an attempt to determine them. Has the Secretary or have other U.S. officials talked to any of the Arab parties? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q You have now talked to the Israeli Minister. MS. TUTWILER: There have been conversations with Saudi officials, and I expect and we expect that there will be conversations with other nations there in the region that are involved in this. But the ones I can point to right now are the Israelis, the Egyptians, the Jordanian -- those three were handled both at the Secretary of State level and at another level here in the Department -- and the Saudis. Q In the wake of the Secretary's phone calls yesterday which presumably were about the -- partly about the U.N. resolution, the cease-fire proposal -- MS. TUTWILER: They were about the U.N. Q Can you give us a status report on that? What kind of a resolution does the U.N. Security Council look like supporting? Will it include the destruction of all ballistic missiles and chemical weapons? MS. TUTWILER: That I don't want to do for you today, David, at this briefing. We have outlined for you broadly what types of issues a resolution will deal with. The members of the Permanent Five met until, I believe, it was a little after midnight last night. They were supposed to be getting back together at the Perm Five level around 11:00 this morning. They are actively, obviously, working on a draft. Secretary Baker's four phone calls yesterday to his counterparts who serve on the Security Council dealt exclusively with this issue, and it is something that hopefully, maybe even today, we would be able to have agreement and then present it to the Security Council and hopefully try to move forward on this resolution as early as this week. Q Margaret, back to Iraq. I'm a bit puzzled by U.S. policy. I have been, actually, for a while. MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry, Alan. Q Maybe you can clarify it for me. MS. TUTWILER: I'll try. Q He's the only one, though. I mean, everybody else understands it. MS. TUTWILER: Everybody else is crystal clear. Q You say it's for the Iraqi people -- and you have said for a long time it's for the Iraqi people -- to determine their leaders. You also say that the government forces have helicopter gunships. They have heavy artillery. They have tanks. The rebels have what they've managed to capture and what is smuggled in to them. You also say that outside parties should not be involved in this conflict. How on earth can the Iraqi people exercise any kind of a choice in their leadership? You also said today, by the way, that there are heavy casualties. I mean, apart from stepping up and committing suicide, how are they supposed to exercise any choice? MS. TUTWILER: But what you are asking me is "Why isn't the United States helping X or Y faction?" Q No, no. I'm not asking that at all. MS. TUTWILER: Well, your question in my mind is "How do you expect the United States, if there are" -- which we all know there are -- "groups that are against or fighting against the current regime -- how are they supposed to succeed in what their goals are if you" -- I assume you mean the United States or the coalition -- "do not help them?" Our policy is that whatever the leadership of this country is is for the Iraqi people to determine themselves. Q Let me just follow up. You've inhibited them from using poison gas. You've inhibited them from using their fixed-wing aircraft. So you are involved. You have taken a stand. You have inhibited the Iraqi army in certain things that it can do. Why should those rebels feel more happy to be killed by a helicopter gunship than by a fixed-wing aircraft? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know that anybody would be happy to be killed, Alan. And I know, and we have all said and recognized -- the President has as recently as Saturday -- that there is an enormous amount of turmoil in this country. I am sure that there is an enormous amount of, as you say, civilian casualties, probably atrocities, that are still going on. We read reports of these constantly. There were a number of them today in our newspaper. I cannot confirm those atrocity reports today. We're not in a position to do it. But our policy has been consistent. It may be confusing to you, but it is consistent, and it hasn't changed overnight: we would not shed any tears -- we have said this for months on end -- if the current leadership was changed by the Iraqi people. Q But, Margaret, the question is why is that U.S. policy? If we would like to see Saddam Hussein ousted, which is the clear import of what you're saying, why don't we step up to it and do something to make it happen? MS. TUTWILER: What you're asking is why hasn't the President of the United States, who is the elected leader of our land, determined that he will personally take sides -- whichever side it is, the Kurds or some rebel group in a southern village -- Q Well, without rephrasing my question -- MS. TUTWILER: -- and get involved. Q -- perhaps you can answer my question -- MS. TUTWILER: That's his prerogative. Q -- rather than yours. MS. TUTWILER: That's his prerogative. That is not our policy. Q Why is it not our policy? You haven't answered my question. MS. TUTWILER: The President of the United States, in my opinion, has the prerogative to set America's foreign policy. This is the policy that he has set. I am not in the business of second guessing or analyzing why he has determined that his policy is -- as I am aware that the vast majority of the coalition and the world, to my knowledge, has taken -- whoever the Iraqi leadership is is up for the Iraqi people to determine. I personally am unaware of the French, the British, the Soviets -- anybody else that you can name -- that has personally come out and said "We are supporting X group against the current leadership." I'm just not aware of that. Q Wait a minute, Margaret. What is the goal of the U.S. policy? What is the intent? MS. TUTWILER: I said that earlier. The United States supports the territorial integrity of Iraq. We are not, as you know many of these groups are, for separatism or for dismemberment of this country. We have said we do not support that. We have said we do not -- the Secretary said it on the trip that you were on, that he did not wish, or our government didn't, to see the Lebanonization of Iraq. These are our policies. They're quite clear. Q All right. With all due respect, though, you've just given us a list of things that it is not. What is it that the U.S. would like to see in Iraq or in the Gulf? You've said "territorial integrity," so presumably you favor the existing borders of Iraq. MS. TUTWILER: Borders. Q Is that the only goal? That's it? It doesn't matter who? MS. TUTWILER: Currently what we are working on with this government is to get a United Nations resolution which will require that they do any number of things to implement the previous 12 resolutions to get a permanent cease-fire. That is what we are foremost focused on right now. The President said on Saturday that if Saddam Hussein is the leader of this country, which he is, it will make it double tough -- in fact, I think he used the words "next to impossible" -- to have normal relations with Iraq. I would remind you that Iraq several weeks ago severed relations with the United States. We didn't; they did. So I can't say that they're exactly reaching out, anxious to have normal diplomatic relations with our country. Q Is the U.S. doing so? MS. TUTWILER: No. But we did not break off, as you remember, relations -- Q But we're trying to figure out what it is the United States is trying to do. Does the U.S. want normal relations with Iraq, and, if so, with what kind of government? MS. TUTWILER: Not with Saddam Hussein in power. The President addressed that question on Saturday. Q O.K. And you said a moment ago that you don't favor separatists, so presumably you would not want relations with the Kurds either. MS. TUTWILER: I said there are some groups -- I did not name which -- Q Right. MS. TUTWILER: -- that are advocating separatism. I did not say which. You're aware that there are some groups who are calling for that. I have said, in answer to John's question, our policy is the territorial integrity of Iraq. Borders. The things that you just said. Q Does the U.S. consider the military, the Republican Guard, members of the population of Iraq to be among the citizens who should choose Iraq's future leadership? MS. TUTWILER: Well, they're Iraqi citizens. What do you mean? Q Well, you say it's up to the Iraqi people to decide. The Iraqi people are clearly very divided. MS. TUTWILER: That's true. Q There's a civil war going on there now. Does the U.S. agree that the Kurds are among those who should decide Iraq's future? MS. TUTWILER: Of course. Q Does it agree that the Republican Guard are among those who should decide? MS. TUTWILER: We have never broken it out into categories of citizens. Q Except one. MS. TUTWILER: We have said the Iraqi people. Q Except Saddam Hussein. He's not among those people who should be allowed to decide. Or is he? MS. TUTWILER: Well, he's obviously someone who has a great deal of influence right now over deciding it. The President, when asked this question on Saturday, said that he had no other analysis on the cabinet reshuffle, that it certainly looked like Saddam Hussein was still calling the shots. Q Margaret, can I try and ask you if the United States has any contact with any of these so-called "dissidents" or "opposition people"? MS. TUTWILER: Not to my knowledge, Barry. As you remember, about three weeks ago I believe some individuals, either representing the Kurds or Kurds were here and met with -- I believe it was Assistant Secretary Schifter. That's the only meeting -- Q And limited to human rights we were told at that point. MS. TUTWILER: That's the only meeting that I personally am aware of. Q Well, in keeping with the previous questions, which are all valid, can I ask why the United States -- which is in touch with dissident Bulgarians, with Palestinians connected to the PLO; the Secretary goes to the Soviet Union; he goes from talks with the government to a dinner that brings together a lot of people who want to bring down the government -- why shut the door on the Kurds and these other people who you wouldn't shed tears should they take over the government? MS. TUTWILER: I think that you're assuming -- and maybe you know something that I do not -- that there is a request here for the Secretary of other State Department officials to meet with particular Kurds. I'm not aware of that. I'm only aware that I'm pulling out of my memory from about three weeks ago a specific request which was honored by Assistant Secretary Schifter. * Q I don't know about any specific requests. It has been very customary for this Administration especially to seek out opposition people to sort of get the drift of the way things are going, God forbid without trying to influence events, but I'm sure that's part of it, too. (Laughter) So why are you keeping -- I mean, Dancy's asking, Ralph -- we're asking the same question. Why is the United States keeping a hands-off policy if it doesn't like the current government? MS. TUTWILER: That is our policy, and that is not inconsistent with any number of countries that we deal with all over the world. You've brought up the Soviet Union. I would tell you the same thing in the Soviet Union. It is for the Soviet citizens to determine their leadership. It is our policy -- Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: Wait a minute. -- around the world. I will check for you if there is a request from some Kurdish individuals -- Q I don't know about any requests. MS. TUTWILER: -- or I will ask the other part of your question to experts, "Why aren't we soliciting Kurdish meetings?" Q Yeah. Basically -- MS. TUTWILER: I'll ask. Q And not only the Kurds. I mean, there are other people who, there's some feeling -- MS. TUTWILER: That's exactly my next point. Q -- might be a coalition some day to run the country. Then you're going to be in the same fix you were in Iran when you didn't know the opposition. * Two officers from the Human Rights Bureau, Michael Arietti and Charles Glatz, met on March 1 with Iraqi Kurdish representatives on human rights issues. Q Margaret, you've stated -- MS. TUTWILER: Susan's got a question. Q You've stated our policy, but can you tell us whether or not this policy is under any kind of current review, given the circumstances of what's going on in Iraq? I mean, at some point it seems that territorial integrity would become less important than the slaughter of civilians, particularly since we have so many troops there. MS. TUTWILER: It is not under review as of, myself, beginning this briefing this morning as far as any changes in the policy. I am very current on what the policy is, which had not changed as of, say, three minutes after noon. But I want to be careful here. As in any situation, in anything that our government is dealing with, are there individuals who continue to analyze and assess and review and look at situations? Of course. So I can only say that the policy as of my coming to the podium today had not changed. Q Margaret, could you answer the question why this is our policy in some other fashion other than simply telling us that it is our policy because the President says it is our policy? MS. TUTWILER: Well, about the best answer that I could give you, John, is [that] he, after all, with his senior advisers, determines America's foreign policy. This is a policy that he has determined. I am not in the business -- Q Did they just wake up one morning and decide that this was our policy, or did they perhaps have a reason for it? And, if they had a reason for it, could you perhaps explain what the reason is? MS. TUTWILER: Maybe what you could do is either yourself or ask John Cochran maybe to ask Marlin if he has done an analysis of why the President has decided that we are for the territorial integrity of Iraq; that we are not for the Lebanonization of Iraq; that we are for the Iraqi people to determine their own leadership; and why the President has said that it would be next to impossible to have normal relations with Iraq -- all of which makes perfect sense to me. But maybe, if you need a further amplification of it, the White House would be the place that maybe could have a better analysis of why that is the policy path that the president has chosen. Q Margaret, the United States is also for human rights. They're against -- we've spoken many times against the slaughter of civilians in other countries. Now, we're saying at this point that it's all right, up to a point, as long as they don't use chemical weapons, as long as they don't use fixed-wing aircraft. MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware that our government has said that it is all right to slaughter individuals, to use your phrase. I have said this morning -- Q The actions are out there, Margaret, MS. TUTWILER: I have said this morning that there are press reports, one of which is in a local newspaper today, that we are not in a position as of this briefing to confirm those atrocities. Yes, we can confirm that there are civilian casualties. Ralph just used the phrase himself that there is a civil war going on in this country. Obviously, there are going to be casualties. Yes, our country deeply hates any type of atrocities in any country where it is going on. But right now, today, we are not in a position to confirm these horrifying reports that were in our newspaper this morning. We have confirmed what we can confirm for you based on the ways that we gather our information. As you know, we don't have people there on the ground and we are somewhat limited in our information-gathering abilities. So we are trying to be as forthcoming as we can, when we report every day what the situation is concerning the fighting. But, actually on the ground, there is some information that is not as easy for us to gather as in other types of situations. Q Gee, whiz, Margaret, is anybody in this government at all concerned that all of us are so thick-headed that we have a great deal of trouble understanding this policy? We seem to be universally having a hard time getting it. MS. TUTWILER: I don't think you're having a hard time getting it. Q Is there a communications problem here? MS. TUTWILER: You may not agree with it, but I do not think there is a communications problem. Q No, no, it isn't a question of agreement. I guarantee you that's not the problem. MS. TUTWILER: What is it you don't understand? Q We don't understand it. Q The goal of the policy. MS. TUTWILER: I just answered that, Ralph. Q You told us one thing that the policy is for, and that is, it's for territorial integrity, and then you've listed a lot of things that the policy is against. It doesn't tell us what the goal of the policy is. Is it to determine -- to maintain a unified Iraq under a single, central government, as the U.S. has said many times about Lebanon? Is it to aid one group or another group? Is it to bring -- MS. TUTWILER: I've answered both of those questions this morning. Q Is it to bring an end to the civil war? You haven't talked about bringing an end to the civil war in Iraq. Maybe the U.S. would like to see it continue. I don't know. We don't know. Q You talk about the territorial integrity of Iraq and yet you countenance conditions which seem, if anything, guaranteed to break up the territorial integrity of Iraq if allowed to go on unchecked. MS. TUTWILER: That's your assumption. Q It isn't a question of not agreeing. It's genuinely a question, I think, of us all being apparently -- MS. TUTWILER: Terribly confused. Q -- not smart enough to understand it. Q Talking of the opposition, there was a meeting in Beirut a couple of weeks ago of various opposition groups -- Iraqi opposition groups -- including Shi'ites and Kurds in which they formed an alliance. They committed themselves to democracy and to the territorial integrity of Iraq. Is there anything wrong with that group that the United States should not have sought out a meeting with it? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not going to comment on a group that I'm not that familiar with, Alan. I don't know who they represent, exactly who the group is. I would be happy to check it out for you and get back to you on what we know about the individuals that had this meeting and who they represent . I would remind you, I answered John Dancy's question yesterday, when you asked the broad-brushed question, "What type of government would the United States like to see in any country," I answered you generically and said, obviously, democracy is a model that we think is first-class and it's what we would wish for everyone. We would wish for everyone the rights that we have. We would wish for everyone the liberties that we have. But that's not how the world is in many cases. But that's quite different from going in and interjecting yourself in the middle of what Ralph said today was a "civil war." There are any number of places that we do not do that. For instance, you have not asked about Mali today. Why aren't you asking why we aren't in there? They had a coup last night. They threw out a head of a government. There are 600 Americans there. Q We haven't sent 500,000 troops yet. MS. TUTWILER: It's really kind of not fair, to be honest, to say that somehow we don't have a very straightforward policy. Again, I get back to, when you say, "What is your goal?" Right now what we're spending an enormous amount of time on, and have been since the suspension of hostilities, is trying to get a United Nations resolution and get the Iraqi government that's currently there to do what they should do concerning any number of U.N. resolutions. So that is our most immediate goal. Q Does the U.S. think that the conclusion of a U.N. resolution promptly, as you mentioned earlier -- perhaps this week -- would in some way resolve some of the issues that are underlying the fighting in Iraq? Would that somehow bring an end to this? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know what it will do concerning that. But I know what it will do concerning implementation of 12 United Nations resolutions, which is, after all, what the coalition was about, what hostilities were about. It is still our intent and the coalition partners' intent to see that those things are, indeed, implemented, some of which the Iraqi government has implemented in the last three weeks. Much it has not. Q Does the U.S. want to see an end to the on-going fighting in Iraq? MS. TUTWILER: Of course, we would in any place, Ralph, where there are innocent people who are being hurt and who are being killed. Of course, we would. But that is quite different from physically going and interjecting ourselves in the internal affairs of another nation. Yes, George. Q Except to fire at planes. Q Maybe we can get some news -- MS. TUTWILER: What? Q Do you have a readout on the meeting that the Secretary had with the German Finance Minister this morning? MS. TUTWILER: He was just meeting with him as I came downstairs, so I don't. I know the German Finance Minister -- I believe he already had his meeting this morning with the President and I believe he spoke with you all as he came into the building. (TO STAFF) His meeting with the President is after the Secretary? It's after. Sorry. So, no, I don't but I'll get it for you, George. Yes, Norm. Q On the situation in Iraq, one more try at it. MS. TUTWILER: OK. Q The governments of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and perhaps some others, have regular relations with dissident groups in Iraq. Are they interfering in the internal affairs of another government? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not going to comment on what other sovereign nations do concerning their foreign policy. You know that, without naming countries, many of the countries in that region do meet with other groups in Iraq. But that is not our policy, to determine what another sovereign nation's foreign policy should be. My job is to enunciate for you what our foreign policy is and what we are doing. Q Could you please make a clarification on the Iraqi dissidents? MS. TUTWILER: Iraqi dissidents? Q Yes. You said that some of them separatist. Can you name one major Iraqi group that has called explicitly for separation? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q There isn't a single Iraqi opposition group that is calling publicly in their political programs for separation, including the Kurds. MS. TUTWILER: There are individuals that have made it quite public that they are interested in such a thing. I have not named them. I'm not going to name them, and I am not going to pass judgment on whether they, indeed, represent "X" group or not. But you know as well as I do, there are individuals, quoted throughout any number of wire stories, saying that this is indeed what they would like to see. Q But there isn't a single major opposition group that is recognized by anybody as representing any sizable number of people in Iraq that is calling for separation, including Kurds. MS. TUTWILER: I don't believe that is what I said. I said I believe that there are some individuals that have said this is the type of policy they would like to pursue. Yes, Alan. Q Can I clarify one other aspect of U.S. policy, the policy of when you will not weep tears? Would you weep tears if Saddam Hussein was to stay? MS. TUTWILER: The President has said that this is, again, for the Iraqi people to determine. He said on Saturday that it will make it next-to-impossible for our government to have normal relationships with the Iraqi government if Saddam Hussein is there. As you know, because you've followed this so closely for the last 8 months, we have, throughout the coalition, said, one of our goals -- and it was never in the United Nations resolutions -- was not the removal of the current leadership. So you had to assume that that leadership would be there. As it turns out, that is exactly who the leadership is today, but it was never a goal of the international community, or specifically the coalition, or a United Nations resolution, to change the leadership of that country. Q When you enunicate the U.S. policy goals, you always put "territorial integrity of Iraq" at the head of the list. Is that an indication of priorities of those policy goals? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know that I've done it intentionally or unintentionally, Alan. It's just the one that comes to my mind. Q There have been places in the world where the United States continues to be involved in the internal affairs, even to the point of supplying weapons to certain factions such as Angola and Afghanistan. I was wondering whether and how, specifically, you distinguish those two cases from the case of Iraq? MS. TUTWILER: I will retreat into what I've done many, many times. I'm not in the business of -- Q Do comparisons. MS. TUTWILER: -- doing comparisons. Q Well, could I just follow for a second? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q If we're going to do a new world order, "order" usually works according to rules that make behavior predictable. If you retreat into the "no comparisons" dodge, how can you hope to erect a new order in which people know what exactly they're supposed to do in order to gain the favor of the United States or earn its disfavor? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not exactly sure that I'm following your question at all. Q "Order" is usually based on a legal structure, or things that are predictable. When people do certain things and incur certain enmities, certain consequences follow no matter where it may be. How can you erect an order that has basically no rules to it? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not sure that -- if I'm following your question correctly -- we are trying to erect an order in Iraq. I believe where you have heard the phrase, "a new world order" discussed, or at least I have over the last two years I've been here, has been in East-West relations; it has been in looking at this region of the world, in particular, concerning the peace process recently. I have not heard ourselves address ourselves to creating a new order in Iraq. Q But isn't it a question of international law, of people obeying international law? Hasn't the President endorsed that? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware that the policy the President is pursuing right now is not totally and fully in line with international law. Q What is the international law's relationship to Afghanistan and Angola? MS. TUTWILER: You have a question? Q You have been telling us that it is U.S. policy -- MS. TUTWILER: What is? I'm sorry. Q You have been telling us it is the U.S. Government's policy that it is for the people of Iraq to choose their future of whatever government -- MS. TUTWILER: Future leadership. Q Future leadership. But we have 65 percent Shi'ite, and the Kurds, and the rest are Sunnis, who have traditional animosities with one another. If they come up saying that we want the breakup of the country, or we want the country put into three pieces, do you still tell them, "No, you have to put your territories together as maintaining Iraq?" Is that your policy? MS. TUTWILER: That's way too hypothetical for me to deal with. None of that has happened or exists, and I'm not going to deal with hypotheticals. Q Margaret, just before Secretary Baker went to Israel, he let it be known that he would be willing to meet with the Palestinians if they wanted to meet with him. Would he be willing to meet with the Kurds or any of the other opposition groups in Iraq if they make it known that they'd like to meet with U.S. officials? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't asked him. I'll ask him this afternoon and get back to you.

[Mali: Military Coup]

Q Can I ask you about Mali? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, you can. We have not interjected ourselves there in the internal affairs. Q Not yet. MS. TUTWILER: No, we have not. Q Except that they use fixed-wing aircraft? MS. TUTWILER: Well, I don't know. That would be a policy decision. I'm not sure of that either. Malian Radio announced on the morning of March 26 that the government had been taken over by the military. Looting and disorder in the capital was continuing during the morning hours. International communications with Mali have been disrupted, and news reports indicate the country's borders and airports have been shut down. The regime of President Traore was toppled by a coup on March 25. The President was reportedly arrested and is being held by military officers. A Committee for Reconciliation, made up of military and opposition leaders, has issued a series of declarations suspending the constitution, dissolving the government and the ruling single party, but maintaining international agreements and treaties. The committee promised to work to create a multiparty political system and called for an end to the violence and looting. We encourage the Committee of Reconciliation to restore order, to seek political resolution through dialogue, and move towards pluralistic democracy as soon as possible. As of 10:00 this morning, our local time, there were no reports of Americans injured or damage to U.S. property. There are about 345 official Americans, including American dependents, in Mali, and a total of about 600 Americans in the country. At present, we have no plans to evaucate. A travel advisory remains in effect for Mali, and we urge that all travel to Mali be deferred for the present. We have not yet been in direct contact with any leaders of the Reconciliation Council. Q What is your analysis, or the Embassy's analysis about whether this is a move toward democracy, as they claim? MS. TUTWILER: I don't think at this moment in time we have that analytical work done for you. This has just happened. Q Is the U.S. Ambassador on post there? MS. TUTWILER: I didn't ask. I'll ask for you. I haven't heard that he's not, but I'll ask. Q Margaret, can I ask one question about Cuba? MS. TUTWILER: Cuba? Q A Cuban-American group says it has sent to the State Department a report showing the Castro regime getting more than $235 million American dollars in 1990, despite the trade embargo. Have you received this report? And if so, what is your response? MS. TUTWILER: I have no idea if there's such a report. I don't know if it's been sent here. I'll be happy to take your question and look into it. Q One follow up. Is there any more information on the exile status of the Cuban defector -- pilot? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't looked into that in several days. I'll check for you on what's going on. Q I'd like to come back to Iraq for just a second. Earlier you said there was no review underway of the policy with regard to Iraq. Just so I'm clear I understand what is going on, all of the meetings and discussions, and so on, that you talked about with Egypt and Israel and the Saudis, and so on, and the Jordanian emissary, all of those relate to the peace process? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q There's no discussion of the arms control regime that the Administration has talked about in the Gulf? There's no discussion of future security in the Gulf? No discussion of political arrangements in the future in the Gulf? No discussion of troop withdrawals from the Gulf -- any of that? That's not being done in this context now? MS. TUTWILER: In the meeting that I attended yesterday with the Jordanian official, those subjects had been thoroughly briefed to him on the day before yesterday by other officials here at the State Department. There was no need for the Secretary to address those issues with Osama (el-Baz) since Osama had sat in President Mubarak's meeting with Secretary Baker, which I believe was over two hours in length, when we were in Cairo. So in his meeting with Secretary Baker he specifically addressed himself to the peace process. With the Jordanian official, it turned out the same way, because those issues were dealt with by other State Department officials. May I correct one thing? I said there is no policy review. I did say that and then I said also, but as of when I came to this briefing today, the policy had not changed. But I followed by saying that any number of officials are constantly reviewing and assessing and looking at the situation as the situation evolves. Q But the discussions with other parties in the region are essentially where they were when Baker was on his trip? There's been no further exchange of views with the Saudis or the Kuwaitis, or anybody else on the Gulf issues as opposed to the peace process issues? MS. TUTWILER: On the other three areas? I am sure that there are any number of officials here who are addressing themselves to many of those topics. I don't have for you a specific on how many meetings Reggie has had concerning arms control or that Assistant Secretary Clark has had concerning regional security. I'm sure there are any number of internal meetings going on and meetings with other individuals. Q Are those discussions affected by the outcome, or the conduct of the war in Iraq at the moment? MS. TUTWILER: I think that some of them are intertwined, Ralph, but some of them, I think, are stand-alone issues and issues that countries have said they wish to explore and to look at regardless, in my understanding of this, of exactly what goes on inside of Iraq. Q Did you receive any reaction from Egypt for the proposals or the ideas presented to Egypt through Baker's visit to the area? MS. TUTWILER: Osama is here discussing, or was here yesterday discussing those issues with Secretary Baker. I do not have any specifics for you that I am in a position, or at liberty to divulge to you. These are very private meetings on a subject that you're very familiar with that is very difficult and very sensitive, and so I don't have any thing to announce other than this is, in our opinion, as I said earlier, the next phase after the Secretary's trip. He said he would be in touch with people, that he would be instructing others here on his staff to be in touch with people, and that's exactly what's going on. Q Did he raise any kind of anxiety about anything? MS. TUTWILER: Did he what? Q Did he raise any kind of anxiety? MS. TUTWILER: I didn't attend his meeting either with Secretary of State Baker or he had another meeting with Ambassador Ross. So I don't know. Q Can you tell us anything about when -- in the scenario that's being set up at the U.N. and the timetable that is apparently to be part of this resolution, when is the U.S. going to withdraw its troops from Iraq? What is the bottom line after which the troops can be withdrawn? MS. TUTWILER: As I've said generally, I can't answer you as literally as you would like. I have said that the President has said, "Once you have a ceasefire" -- which we do not have -- "then, we would envision that the United States troops would be leaving." But I don't have for you, "Does that mean in 5 minutes or at 12:00 midnight?" I don't have that answer for you today. Q For example, do they have to commit to pay all the reparations, or do they have to pay all the reparations? MS. TUTWILER: That is all what is being discussed and worked out among various governments in the coalition. That's the very reason why I don't have an answer for you yet. Q Will you support the resolution by the Security Council on the deportation of the Palestinians? The Security Council is discussing this now. MS. TUTWILER: My understanding, sir, is they are not discussing a resolution. What is being discussed, it's my understanding in corridor-type of talk, is a statement by the President of the Security Council. We would be prepared to consider a properly worded statement by the President of the Council. Q Margaret, on arms control for just a second. Has there been an exchange of views between the U.S. and the Soviet Union as a result of the letter that Matlock apparently delivered yesterday in Moscow? Have the Soviets responded in any way? MS. TUTWILER: Not to my knowledge. Q Can you say whether the U.S. thinks there has been any progress toward resolving either of the CFE problems or the START problems at this point? MS. TUTWILER: Whether we're saying we've made any progress, I would just be able to characterize it as, it is obviously something at the highest levels of both governments that they are working on and are trying to make progress on. But I don't have a characterization for you today that there has been progress. Q And would you care to characterize On the Record in any way what it is the United States told the Soviet Union yesterday? MS. TUTWILER: No. Marlin refrained from doing that on behalf of the President so I'm not going to. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (Press briefing concluded at 12:45 p.m.) (###)