US Department of State Daily Briefing #53: Tuesday, 4/2/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:35 PM, Washington, DC Date: Apr 2, 19914/2/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, South Asia, E/C Europe Country: Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Albania Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Development/Relief Aid, Refugees, Security Assistance and Sales (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Iraq: Civil Unrest Continues]

MS. TUTWILER: I thought I'd begin by giving you an update on the situation overall in Iraq. Scattered fighting continues in northern Iraq between government forces and dissidents. Government forces appear to have retaken the town of Zakho. Kirkuk and Dohuk remain in government hands, but some fighting may be continuing in those areas. The current status of Irbil is unclear. The government continues to send additional reinforcements into northern Iraq. The government seems to be in the process of leveling substantial portions of the Turkoman town of Tuz Khurmatu, which is located approximately 40 miles south of Kirkuk. This area was the scene of heavy fighting between dissidents and government forces last month. My point in telling this to you and bringing it to your attention is, if true to past form, the Iraqis may well start claiming that the damage was done by the coalition or in the fighting. In the south, clashes between government forces and dissidents have occurred in several locations along the lower Tigris River. We believe there has also been some limited unrest inside the city of Basra. George. Q What do you mean "leveling?" MS. TUTWILER: What do I mean by "leveling?" I cannot, unfortunately, get into how we know this or what methods are being used or the specifics. But "leveling" means in the truest sense of the word, leveling. Q Taking it over? MS. TUTWILER: I've asked honestly and I was told that that would not be something we could be forthcoming on today. Q For clarity, could you spell the name of that town, please? MS. TUTWILER: Which town? Q The one being leveled. MS. TUTWILER: The first word is spelled T-U-Z; second word is spelled K-H-U-R-M-A-T-U. Q You mean "leveling" as in "flattening?" MS. TUTWILER: I mean leveling. Q Are they using fixed-wing aircraft to do that, Margaret? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Margaret, the French today say they will support a call for intervention in the fighting there on behalf of the United Nations. Does the United States have a view on this? MS. TUTWILER: To set the record correct on that, we've seen one press report on it, and we have checked. We know of no such proposal to bring this issue to the United Nations Security Council by the French Government. So it doesn't exist.

[Iraq: US Policy on Intervention]

Q But U.S. views on intervention in the fighting have not yet changed? MS. TUTWILER: Our views have not changed on that at all. Q Have you checked with the French? MS. TUTWILER: Have I checked on the French views? If their views have changed? Q Have you checked with the French to ascertain if such a proposal does not exist? You said it doesn't. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. And we've checked at the United Nations and there's no such proposal. Q In a broader sense, what's the United States view of the Security Council taking up the issue of the brutality against Iraqi rebels, either the Kurds or Shi'ites? MS. TUTWILER: It's totally speculative for me, Mark. I think that the United States' views on this subject are very well known. There is no such draft or resolution or proposal at the United Nations now, that I'm aware of, that has been brought forward by any nation. I believe that all nations of the coalition have expressed how appalling this situation is, how tragic it is, how heart-wrenching it is. But that is quite different from any nation, including our own, saying that you're going to send in your armed forces to do something about it. Q How about aid to the refugees as they flee Iraq? Is that under -- MS. TUTWILER: General assistance from the United Nations?

[Iraq: US Relief Efforts/Planning for Withdrawal]

Q Not from the United Nations but from the United States. Is there any thought about helping the refugees once they get out of Iraq? (Inaudible) Turkey. MS. TUTWILER: Well, let me just refresh your memory of what the United States has done since January. In January, the United States took part in planning for refugee flows under the U.N.'s regional plan of action for dealing with refugees and displaced persons created by the Gulf crisis. The United States has contributed $2.75 million to U.N. agencies and the ICRC to assist overall relief efforts under the plan. The United States contributed another $250,000 to the Turkish Red Crescent Society for its planned activity in Turkey. In southern Iraq, United States forces and other coalition forces are providing care and maintenance to displaced persons and determining how best to provide support for these people when coalition forces withdraw. We are having discussions right now with the ICRC on its taking over those responsibilities when coalition forces withdraw as a transitional measure until U.N. agencies can provide for them. Also in Kuwait, we support the efforts of the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society in providing what help and assistance they can there. Concerning the ICRC, I obviously would have to point out that, of course, their ability to do work in Iraq will depend on the Iraqi leadership cooperating with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

[Iraq: US Contacts with Dissident Groups]

Q Margaret, on any level at all, are we talking with any of the Kurdish leaders or Kurdish representatives, or any representatives of the Iraqi dissident groups? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Assistant Secretary Kelly and members of his staff will be meeting tomorrow with a group representing a cross-section of Iraqi opposition groups. So far, we have received about 10 requests. That number changes on us daily since we made the statement last week -- I did -- that, of course, we would be willing to meet with opposition Iraqi groups, or people. We will be meeting with about 10 Iraqi opposition figures in 4 separate meetings in the next 3 days. These figures are from a wide range of Iraqi opposition groups, including representatives of Kurdish groups. The first group will include 6 Iraqi Muslim intellectuals, both Sunnis and Shi'as. Two of the group are American citizens. We will be meeting with Kurdish representatives later in the week. We will not necessarily be disclosing the names of all or maybe any opposition figures with whom we meet, including this group, in order to safeguard members of their families that are still in Iraq. Assistant Secretary of State John Kelly will be the senior U.S. representative in this first meeting. This group had not asked -- should you ask me -- to meet with Secretary of State Baker. Other groups have, and those requests are being evaluated now. Q Margaret, while we're talking about meetings, has the United States -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me? Q Where are the meetings going to take place? MS. TUTWILER: They'll be here at the State Department. Q While we're talking about -- Q (Inaudible) MS. TUTWILER: I do not. Q While we're talking about meetings, you know the oft-stated -- in fact, it goes back two years with the Bush Administration -- willingness of the U.S. Government to meet with an authoritative representative of the Iranian Government. Has such a meeting taken place? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I am personally aware of. If one has taken place, I don't know about it. Q With a U.S. official; an Administration official? MS. TUTWILER: I didn't ask, Barry. I've been on vacation since Thursday morning. I did not think to ask that question this morning. Prior to leaving town on Thursday at 8:00 a.m., I knew of no such meeting. I'll be happy to ask after the briefing if such a meeting has taken place. Q And do you have some reflections on the release of the businessman in Iran? MS. TUTWILER: Some reflections? Q Cooper? Well, I mean, does the State Department have any comment on it? It's one of those -- MS. TUTWILER: Not particularly, no. Q Will we be able to know anything about these meetings -- when they take place -- so that we can talk to some of the participants? And will we be getting a readout on it? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. But having just stated publicly that we are, at their request, not going to be publicizing their names, I don't know what these individuals views will be concerning talking to you. It is due to the fact that they have family members still in Iraq and are very concerned about them. This is a request from them. Not something that we are making the rules on. Obviously, we would honor such a request. John's meeting -- Ambassador Kelly's meeting -- the last I checked was tentatively scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. I just don't have a specific time for you yet. Q Getting back to the question I asked earlier, do you know if, on another level outside the State Department and in the field, whether any American officials have been meeting with Kurdish representatives, say, in the Middle East or wherever? MS. TUTWILER: Throughout the whole region? I have never asked that broad a question. My impression is that different people have, but let me get a specific for you -- if we can. I'm sure we can't say with whom -- but when these meetings took place and how many there were and where they were, etc. Q Margaret, these Kurds have been careful not to declare for statehood. When the State Department, through you and Richard (Boucher), continually speak of the territorial integrity of Iraq, presumably, you're saying you're not for a Kurdish state. But there's something in between that. There are various things in between that. One is some identification of Kurdish autonomy, or some identification of -- what is the phrase you use for Palestinians: legitimate political rights, or something? Does the State Department recognize the Kurds of Iraq as being a people who are entitled to some legitimate recognition of their rights?

[Iraq: US Policy on Leadership]

MS. TUTWILER: The State Department recognizes that the Iraqi people have a right, as in any other nationality, to determine who their leadership is. The State Department recognizes that this is an internal civil war that is going on inside of Iraq. We have not changed our policy over the last 8 months, and we're not changing it today as far as our consistency in what the policy was, what the goals were, what our mandate is, why we are there. But that is quite different, as I said I believe to Mark, of putting American lives at risk by going in and recognizing either this group, Barry, or, as you know -- I think you yourself just said -- this is not the only group that is fighting the current leadership there inside of this country. I don't know how we, as a government or a country, should, on a total hypothetical, the President of the United States makes such a decision. If you take it to its logical conclusion, are we supposed to decide which group is to be the leadership? How does this evolve? Q I neither raised the issue of who's to be the leader nor did I speak of bringing in troops or anything of the sort. Obviously, the Administration is not going to send -- I guess not -- send troops into the West Bank to establish -- to foster Palestinian rights, but you do speak of Palestinian rights. So I'm asking you -- you talk about Iraqis; I asked you about Kurds. The question is, does the State Department recognize Kurds as a distinct nationality entitled to certain rights, political rights? MS. TUTWILER: The State Department supports the legitimate aspirations of the Iraqi people, which includes Kurds who are living in Iraq, to choose their own leaders. We are in touch with people representing opposition groups in Iraq. I've just told any number of meetings we're having, the first of which meeting, I said, will include Kurds but represents a broad cross-section of opposition groups in Iraq. Q How were the 4 meetings decided? In other words, did you -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't know, Johanna. Q Did the Department decide to split the representatives up in this -- MS. TUTWILER: I believe, Johanna, I'm just totally -- Q Or is that how the requests came in? MS. TUTWILER: I'm assuming here. I said there were 10 different requests; that the requests change daily, 4 of which are going to happen this week. So I assume they're all separate requests. Q What would be the official purpose of these meetings? MS. TUTWILER: No different than any other times, as Barry pointed out when I left town last Wednesday, when we meet with opposition groups in any number of countries around the world. That does not, however, as I stated last Wednesday, change in any shape, fashion, or form our policy. But do we meet with people? Of course, we do. It is for us to state and articulate in person our policy concerning this situation and to listen to their concerns and what their points of view are. Q Have these people asked to meet with U.S. representatives to ask for help in their cause, or just to talk about what's going on whether the -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't have that level of detail about their specific requests. I don't know if they came by phone; I don't know if they came in writing. I haven't seen a written request. I don't know. Q Margaret, you say that there is no change in policy. But isn't it a fact -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me, Jim. Can I do one thing? May I point out, as I tried to earlier, these 10 requests were not non-existent before last week's briefings, to be perfectly candid, when I believe it was Barry who asked me if there were any such requests and were we going to meet with people. I said there were not. I said that on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we said, of course, we would meet with them. So these requests have all come in since we have said that, of course, sure, we will meet. Yes, Jim. Q You said there's been no change in policy. But isn't the fact of the meeting at the policy level, in itself a change of past policy in the State Department? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know if the State Department had an iron-clad policy, Jim, of never meeting with opposition groups from the country of Iraq. I will check that out for you. My impressions are that there have been not just one group but other people at lower levels in our embassies, etc., who have met from time to time, but I will double-check that fact to make sure I have it correct. Q Margaret, without giving names, can you identify the group or groups that asked to meet with Secretary Baker? MS. TUTWILER: No. I think I did as much as I could today by saying that two were intellectuals. I will try, but it is their request and I certainly, myself, and I know that you don't either, want to be in a position of doing anything that would cause someone's loved one harm. So if they all request it, we're going to honor it. If they don't, then, of course, we would give it to you. Q But I think you indicated earlier that the Kurds have not asked to meet with Baker? MS. TUTWILER: I don't think I said that. I think I said the first group, which will be meeting with Ambassador Kelly, represents a cross-section of Iraqi opposition groups, including 6 Iraqi Muslim intellectuals, both Sunni and Shi'a; two of the group are American citizens, and we will be meeting with Kurdish representatives later in the week. So that will be a separate meeting. Q How many are in that first group? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have a number. Q It's not inclusive, then? MS. TUTWILER: What? Q You've talked about 6 intellectuals of whom 2 are American citizens; is that right? MS. TUTWILER: There is the first meeting tomorrow of a cross-section of Iraqi opposition groups. It's happening with John Kelly. I do not have a number. I have told you 8 people who are going to be in that. I don't know if more will be added. I have said that this week we have scheduled 4 meetings. One of those meetings will include Kurds but I don't know how many in each group or when those meetings are scheduled or who is going to be seeing these various groups. But overall so far, we have 10 requests. Q Margaret, does Ambassador Kelly, or other people who may meet with these people, hope to persuade them of the validity of the American view concerning intervention in the Iraqi civil war? MS. TUTWILER: Since I don't know that they will be coming in here -- not subscribing to the United States' policy -- I don't know what their specific agenda is. Q If in the remote possibility that they do not support the American view, will you try to persuade them of that? Or is it possible that they could be persuasive and change the American position? MS. TUTWILER: I believe that -- we spent a lot of time on that last week, myself -- the President's policy is very clear, it's very concise. I have no reason to believe that the President's policy is going to change. As far as Ambassador Kelly persuading, I wouldn't characterize it that way. I would say, as in any number of these meetings, that he will be articulating America's policy concerning this situation, which I am sure is very well known -- I would assume -- to the individuals who are coming. Q On clarification on policy, you say the State Department supports the legitimate aspirations, etc. What do you mean by "support?" By word, by deed, by both? MS. TUTWILER: It's no different than in any other situation where you're like this. In the United States, our model -- the one that we think is the best that has ever been created on the face of the earth -- is democracy; a democratic model. We recognize in the real world that's not how the world is. So we are for, as a nation -- one of the pillars of our country is people's fundamental rights, their human rights. So by saying we support someone's aspirations for freedom to vote, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom to choose their own leadership -- those are all encompassed, in my mind, when we say we support the aspirations of -- in this case -- of the Iraqi opposition and in many other cases around the world. Q Does support mean U.S. help to achieve those goals? MS. TUTWILER: It does not mean United States military intervention. Q No. But there's a big gap between them. MS. TUTWILER: I just gave you this morning United States support in the form of humanitarian support for refugees who are deciding to leave their country and who are escaping. Q What about things like Stinger missiles? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know of any arms sales that the United States is contemplating in this situation. I've never heard of that being discussed. I have said that in southern Iraq, where we are, where our troops are -- and you've seen it yourself; I just saw it this morning -- some military individual helping a young boy who had been terribly burned. We, in southern Iraq, have been helping with food, with medical care, of Iraqis who are coming into the region where we are. Q Margaret, a technical question. Is this a State Department group, or does Mr. Kelly -- MS. TUTWILER: Is what? Q No, the U.S. group -- is it drawn from other parts of the government or is it all State Department people? MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry, I've lost you. What? Q The U.S. group that will meet with the Iraqis, are these all State Department personnel -- MS. TUTWILER: I think it's just State Department. Q -- or are you drawing from NSC and the Pentagon? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I'll ask. I didn't think to ask this morning. I just assumed that since Kelly's hosting the meeting that it was State, but I'll ask if NSC is coming. Q Have they travelled here from Iraq, or are these dissident groups that are exiled groups? Can you tell us anything about that? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have anymore detail on them other than what I've already said. I'll try to get more for you. Q Margaret, I'd like to find out exactly what is it that does not exist as a French proposal. They're not calling for a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss the Kurdish situation? MS. TUTWILER: That is my understanding. Q Speaking of the Security Council, how is the resolution coming? MS. TUTWILER: The resolution. As you know, they met in informal session last night. They're having informal consultations today. A text was formally inscribed with the U.N. Secretariate last night. They were supposed to start -- and I just didn't check before the briefing -- at 11:30 today. We're hoping that we can move forward to a vote. Q (Inaudible) MS. TUTWILER: Well, yes, but we always say we hope. I left here on Wednesday saying we hoped we'd have it last week. As you know, things sometimes don't exactly come out the same at the U.N.

[Afghanistan: Arms Transfers]

Q Moving next door or thereabouts, Mr. Kimmitt was on a government-sponsored telecast yesterday speaking of the fall of the (inaudible) Afghanistan town and he hoped it would remind Najibullah that he's not really securely in change. Can you bring us up to date so far as where does the United States stand on weapon shipments to the rebels? And what is your understanding of the Soviets supply? MS. TUTWILER: No. Can I -- Q Is it still going on? He referred -- you see, the reason I bring it up is because -- MS. TUTWILER: I didn't see it and I haven't had a transcript. Sorry. Q That's all right. Maybe you can get it later on. But he referred to the U.S.-Soviet agreement. You remember that era of good feelings, regionally, with Gorbachev and all sorts of nice things were going on? The two sides decided to transition Afghanistan to democracy, or to some popular choice. MS. TUTWILER: I believe that when we were in Moscow -- when was it? When were we last there? Q July. MS. TUTWILER: I believe that we said that Afghanistan was one of the regional issues that the Foreign Minister and the Secretary talked about. As I remember it, I don't believe that either Minister had a lot to say about what they had discussed when they came out and did their briefing for you all. Q I'm trying to find out if they capped -- if there's still enough cooperation to cap arm shipments, or if the two sides are still fueling a bloody civil war? MS. TUTWILER: Let me just talk to Bob Kimmitt and see what he said yesterday and where we are.

[Iraq: Un Discussions on Cease-Fire Resolution]

Can I mention one other thing on the U.N. that I forgot to mention that I think is important to point out. As most of you know, the vast majority of the Council supports this very lengthy, very detailed proposal. I should say that Cuba remains the sole obstructionist on the Council with some 34 proposed amendments designed to block the key elements of his resolution which, as I've just said, is stated by the vast majority of the Council members. Q Margaret, the Italian Foreign Minister is apparently on his way to Tehran and has been talking publicly about an economic agreement between Iran and the EC. Is this something that the United States is aware about, and is this kind of cooperation within the bounds that Washington thinks is appropriate? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have what our policy is concerning EC contributions to Iran. I think I saw this morning, early on the TV, that he's already there in a meeting -- being welcomed there. I saw him in a meeting with their Foreign Minister. So I don't have anything specific on his trip, but I'll be happy to ask, if he is going with such a proposal, what would our views be on such a proposal. Q Margaret, do you have anything more than Richard did yesterday about Brent Scowcroft's trip to the Mideast? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Margaret, do you have anything beyond what Richard had to say yesterday about the proposed Israeli restrictions on Palestinians? He gave an abbreviated answer because he didn't have anything more than press reports, and so forth. MS. TUTWILER: We really don't have a whole lot more to add to that today. It is something that, obviously -- as I believe Richard said yesterday -- we have raised, and we are looking into. And we have raised it, obviously, with the Government of Israel yesterday. Israeli officials have said that Israel had approved these measures in the face of increasing attacks by Palestinians on Israelis over the past several months. As you point out, Richard said yesterday we strongly believe that Israel should be looking for ways of promoting and developing dialogue and trust with the Palestinians, not imposing new restrictions. But I don't have any other specifics for you. Q What measures, specifically, did they confirm that they have invoked? MS. TUTWILER: I asked for that this morning. I don't have that detail for you yet. We're trying to get it. It's through verbally, but I didn't have it. They were comfortable enough to give it to me, to say: "Here, put this out."

[Albania: Elections]

Q Margaret, do you have any comment on the post- election violence in Albania? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have a lot on the violence. What I can tell you is that the Albanian people on Sunday voted for members to the new 250-person parliament in the nation's first multi-party elections since l945. According to official accounts, 96 percent of Albania's l.9 million eligible voters cast ballots. Our official delegation in Tirana, headed by David Swartz, reported that Albanian TV news announced Monday evening that the Communists had won 66 percent of the seats, the Democrats 27 percent, and the Greek Party three seats. A few candidates reportedly face run-off elections next Sunday, and until the official count is announced, we here at the State Department do not have a comment on these elections. We are aware that there have been some reports from our advance team in Albania that there were some isolated incidents. It appears that observers have not identified any pattern of systematic abuse in the voting process. As you know, there were over, I believe, 250 observers -- international observers -- who were there observing these elections. And on our brief and initial look at this, we believe that the electoral law procedures were generally followed; and we are aware that opposition leaders have spoken out about irregularities and intimidation. It is something that, obviously, our team on the ground will look into; but we are not in a position today to characterize this election as either fair, unfair, totally free and fair. We're just not there yet. Q There are reports of the police opening fire on people. They say they have seized -- MS. TUTWILER: I have reports of one gentleman that was killed. That is the only report that I'm aware of as of this briefing. Obviously, we condemn the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators. Q (?) ... $9 billion contribution. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Prime Minister Kaifu is repeatedly saying that Japan will not make up for the shortfall from the exchange rate; and they will explain to the U.S. why they care, if there is any misunderstanding. MS. TUTWILER: I think it would be best just to leave that question. As you know, the two heads of state are meeting in -- what is it? -- about 48 hours. And so I would rather, if that is something that will be addressed in that meeting, leave it to Prime Minister Kaifu and President Bush to address in California. Q Can you just restate the U.S. policy on this? And are you getting any explanation from Japan, how this -- MS. TUTWILER: Number one, you have said to me this morning that these are statements made by Prime Minister Kaifu. When I left here last week, I had not seen the Prime Minister making these statements. I had seen many unnamed officials in the Japanese government, and I believe there might have been one Japanese official. We clearly stated what our policy was and said that if this was an issue -- which we at that time last week were not sure that it was -- that it was something that our two governments would discuss. Q Margaret --

[Iraq: Discussion of US Policy Non-Intervention Policy]

Q Getting back to Iraq for a minute, isn't there a contradiction in Washington's hands-off type of policy? First, the President wanted the Iraqis to rise up and oust Saddam. And the Kurds and the Shi'ites did rise up and now they are being massacred, and the U.S. is now taking a sort of hands-off policy. Isn't there a contradiction in this policy now? MS. TUTWILER: Not in my mind. As I have said -- that this is appalling; it is tragic; it is heart-wrenching, what is going on inside of this country. You know, as well as I do, that for eight months we have had a consistent United States policy. That happens to be the same policy of the international community, and certainly of the coalition. It was a policy that was supported by the American people, the American Congress, the United Nations, and the international community. We never, ever, stated as either a military or a political goal of the coalition or the international community the removal of Saddam Hussein. Yes, many leaders -- including our own -- expressed the sentiment, the emotion, that they would not shed any tears should Saddam Hussein be removed and the Iraqi people have a new leadership. Our policy has been consistent. We support the territorial integrity of the nation of Iraq. We do not support the dismemberment of Iraq. We have said a hundred thousand times it is up to the Iraqi people to decide their future leadership, not for outsiders. The President has stated, as recently as last Saturday, that it will be next to impossible to have normal relations with Iraq as long as Saddam Hussein is there. Having stated all that, it is quite different from saying, "You are going to interject yourself." I would assume that you might be suggesting as a solo nation -- or are you suggesting you go back to the United Nations and try to get yet another resolution on this, or are you suggesting: "Well, you decide. Let's just shoot helicopters down"? Well, once you make that decision, then why aren't you taking on tanks; why aren't you taking on artillery? How are you going to determine who is going to leave this country, should you decide to go in militarily? But the very most important thing, I would think, in the minds of all Americans: Why would you be putting American lives at risk, to interject yourself in something that was never a stated goal or objective -- either militarily or politically -- to somehow change the Iraqi leadership? And so I would say that we have been totally consistent for eight-plus months now on what our policy is while we were there, what our mandate is. None of that has changed. Q The President specifically said for them to rise up, so aren't they paying in a sense dearly for taking the President seriously? MS. TUTWILER: The President has said, that I am aware of, that he would not shed any tears should the Iraqi people choose to -- I believe he said -- push aside Saddam Hussein. I do not believe that the President went out and made a policy speech calling on Iraqi people to put their lives on the line to overthrow their current leadership. I personally do not remember that the President did that. Q Do you remember -- I assume that the President did warn Saddam not to use his helicopter gunships against the rebels, which also could have been taken as a warning that he would follow it up with some action since U.S. troops occupy about 20 percent of Iraq. Why did he make that statement and then decide not to follow it up? MS. TUTWILER: That -- Q Isn't that an inconsistency? MS. TUTWILER: That question would be best answered, in my opinion, by Marlin. Q Can we take a filing break? MS. TUTWILER: It's fine with me. Q Margaret, the Pentagon indicated today that much of the fighting in Iraq -- at least, on a large scale -- may be over, that the Iraqi troops control Kirkuk and now two other Arabic cities in northern Iraq. They control the population centers. And the Kurds have now -- many of them -- fled to the mountains. If, indeed, all guerrilla action is over now, what impact might that have on the diplomatic resolution of -- MS. TUTWILER: Pat, I think you came in a little bit late. And we did our assessment of the overall situation in northern and southern Iraq, and I'll just refer you to the record. It doesn't exactly match exactly what you were characterizing to me that the Pentagon has said, but I'm sure there's no difference between the two of us. Q I'd like to get a clarification of one thing. You seem -- MS. TUTWILER: I'll try. Q -- to indicate that supporting the rebel groups would be inconsistent with the U.S. policy on preserving the territorial integrity of Iraq. MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Is it the understanding of the Administration that support for these groups would lead to the dismembering -- MS. TUTWILER: What I am -- Q -- of Iraq? MS. TUTWILER: What I am trying to point out is, as many of you asked me last week -- I remember vividly John asking me -- "Why aren't we doing something? We have troops there in southern Iraq." What is it, when you literally sit down and think this through and go from step to step -- what is it that we are supposed to be doing? We have this manpower there; we have these weapons. Every question, I have to assume -- and maybe I'm assuming wrong -- is: "Why aren't you using the power that you have there?" And I am saying that it has never, ever, been any of our goals, intentions. It was never stated in a single -- I think there are l4 now United Nations resolutions. There's no mandate for doing this. That does not take away or detract from that this tragic, that it is heart-wrenching. It is a terrible, terrible situation. But to say we're going to go do something about it -- there is no authority to do that. Q I wasn't asking that. I was really stepping back a bit just to a policy question. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q And that is: We support a lot of people in a lot of places that we don't intervene -- MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q -- in and we don't give arms to, or anything like that. Is it that we don't support, as a matter of policy, these rebels because we think that they're going to interfere with the goal of territorial integrity -- or that they're going to dismember the country? MS. TUTWILER: It is we are not going to interject ourselves in a civil war that happens to be going on in Iraq. For instance -- you yourself brought it up -- there is fighting in the last three weeks in Mali, in the Sudan, in Ethiopia. I could probably go upstairs and get an enormous list of people who -- Q (Inaudible.) (Iraq?) MS. TUTWILER: I didn't say that one. -- people who are fighting and that the United States of America is not interjecting themselves in it. Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: Wait a minute. But I have said that, to the best of our ability -- and I've listed specifics of what we're doing for refugees; what we are doing in southern Iraq where our troops are to help people with medicine, with food, with water, with essentials, to be kind to these people. But that is very different than somehow changing the goalpost here nine months into this and saying, "Now our goal and our policy is ... And are we going to decide this by ourselves, the United States of America lose the entire coalition? No other nation in the world -- we don't know where they would support." And so I mean it's very, very -- Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: -- much more complicated than just going in. Q Margaret, let me back up. Wait, let me back up one. Can I try one more time? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Would we like to see the rebels currently fighting the Baghdad regime win? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not going to answer that question because we have said that it is up to the Iraqi people to determine their own leadership. Q Or is it the policy of the Bush Administration and this State Department not to intervene ever in a civil war, internal fighting within a country? MS. TUTWILER: I learned a long time ago in this business never to say "ever" or "never," so I'm not going to say that for you. I'm not going to make a categorical statement like that, and then we get into another situation l8 months down the road and circumstances are quite different and somehow the United States does something different and you come back and say, "But, Margaret, you told us 'never.'" So I won't do that. Q Well, then in your mind -- then in your mind -- this is a peculiar circumstance in Iraq -- MS. TUTWILER: By definition. Q -- with a peculiar set of conditions which make it incumbent on the United States not to intervene, and the fact that we do not intervene in Iraq does not necessarily set a precedent for future action by the United States; is that correct? MS. TUTWILER: I am, John, in my limited time here at the State Department -- which I think we're now at 26 months -- I am not aware of the United States interjecting themselves with military troops, hardware and equipment, into a civil war where we have got troops going in there since I've been here. Now, I can't tell you what's gone on for the last 200 years. Q I don't really understand your answer. MS. TUTWILER: We've got American troops there fighting -- Q You said "hardware." We have lots of hardware in Angola and in Afghanistan. MS. TUTWILER: I said "troops, hardware," et cetera. And I also have said a hundred times -- that's why I did not use the example; I think it was Saul that mentioned to me -- I don't do comparisons. And every situation is different. But I would say -- I think you would agree -- by and large, the United States' policy, throughout administrations, Democrat and Republican, is not to interject ourselves in civil wars that are going on in countries. Q How can you say we're not interjecting ourselves in the internal affairs of Iraq when we got over a hundred thousand troops in the country? MS. TUTWILER: We are there, as you know, on a mandate to liberate Kuwait -- there's no cease-fire -- and we have said as soon as that cease-fire is adopted by the United Nations, which it has not been as of l2 Noon today, in the United Nations Observer Force -- which is part of this resolution, provided it is still in there, our troops would, as they're going in, be coming out -- out of Iraq. Q The other reason we went into Iraq and what we wanted in that resolution -- 678 -- is also to protect the peace and stability -- MS. TUTWILER: Of the region. Q -- of the region. Is our non-involvement, while at the same time tacitly encouraging a civil war -- is that conducive to restoring peace and stability in the region? MS. TUTWILER: We have said, as recently as last Saturday by the President, that it is going to be next to impossible -- it was his exact words -- to have normal relations with Iraq with Saddam Hussein in power. I think you will see, if the United Nations resolution passes, as I believe that it will -- I think that you will see that there are an enormous amount of restrictions, for lack of a better word, that are going to be placed on this nation for that very reason, if he's in power, to do everything the world can do to assure that he does not build back up his arsenal -- have his weapons of mass destruction, build back up his army, to do all over again, maybe to some other innocent neighbor, what he's just put the world through. Q I'm going to suggest that what the gentleman pointed out in his question was that we did, whether we like it or not, encourage this uprising; and we encouraged it further by threatening to shoot down planes that attacked the people who are doing the uprising, and we encouraged it further in statements of support, basically, of the Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein. And then when based on getting clobbered, for good or sufficient reasons perhaps, we then wash our hands of it. And it seems to me that policy is not very consistent. MS. TUTWILER: I beg to different on that somehow the United States of America or the coalition caused the situation that is there in Iraq. I would argue that Saddam Hussein, with his policies of terror, his policy of arrogance and total disregard for his population -- after all, he led his population on his own arrogance get into a war that was very destructive to his people -- to real people who have real families, who saw an incredible amount of unnecessary suffering because of this man's policies for his nation. So I would not say that we or the coalition is responsible in any way for people who finally had it with their leader and living the type of lives they have lived. Look at the economic suppression over the last eight years. Here it is a wealthy nation, and what has he done? Build up this arsenal that had no rhyme or reason. His people have suffered because of that. I would say this is a manifestation of his people who are saying they've had it. Q If this is the official -- and we've been talking now for quite some time on this -- and I assume that when Kelly and folks meet with the opposition, if this is the policy of the United States I assume that that's what these people are going to be told. MS. TUTWILER: Of course. Q All right. Then I really don't understand what the purpose of the meeting is. MS. TUTWILER: They have requested the meeting. We have said publicly -- as we did last week -- that should such requests come in that of course they would be looked at seriously and that those that were serious requests would be honored. They are being honored. Q But under no circumstances, as near as I can see -- under no circumstances would we be willing to be forthcoming in helping these people get rid of the fellow we want to get rid of. MS. TUTWILER: Helping them how? Do you mean militarily? Q Whatever ways they may ask. I don't know. MS. TUTWILER: I have expressed -- I'll do it again -- this morning ways that we are helping the Iraqi people on a humanitarian basis. Interjecting ourselves militarily in a civil war in Iraq is not the policy of the United States Government. And, again, I would point out I am personally unaware of any nation in the coalition -- or who is outside the coalition -- who is saying they're going to. Q Margaret, do you believe like in Cambodia, some boots -- MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware that our country is doing anything like that. Q No. What I mean is: Is that to be included in a list of not doing things? Are you talking about lethal aid, or -- MS. TUTWILER: It's a total hypothetical. I don't even know if anybody's requested it. Q Margaret, does the United States believe that vastly increased humanitarian aid will be necessary to stem the refugee problem once the American troops withdraw, indeed? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have an analysis of that for you, Mark. I don't know what the refugee problem, for instance, is going to be. I don't know if the money that our nation has given and other nations have given are taking care of the situation adequately. As I remember, isn't it Japan that gave $38 million recently? The Japanese gave $38 million. I just told you about our $2.75 million. I don't have a breakout of how much money is in the pot, how much has been spent, and how much is going to be needed. I don't have a way of doing for you right now. Q Margaret, the Soviet Union has instituted its new effort to make its prices more sensitive to market forces. Do you have any comment about them? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Thank you. Q Thanks. MS. TUTWILER: Thanks. (The briefing concluded at l:l8 p.m.)