US Department of State Daily Briefing #64: Thursday: 4/19/91

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: 12:38 PM, Washington, DC Date: Apr 19, 19914/19/91 Region: MidEast/North Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia, E/C Europe, Subsaharan Africa Country: Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, South Africa, Israel, Vietnam, China, Albania, Romania Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Development/Relief Aid, Refugees, POW/MIA Issues, Military Affairs, Democratization, Human Rights, Arms Control, Mideast Peace Process (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I think I'll start off, if I can, with an update on the refugee crisis and what we're doing about it, and then we can talk a little bit -- or I'll talk a little bit about the Iraqi letters that have been delivered to the United Nations yesterday and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

[Iraq: Refugee Crisis]

First, on the refugee crisis: I think we have put out the A.I.D. update that's much more comprehensive than what I'm going to give you. I'll try to hit the highlights of what's new. As for the number of refugees in the area near Turkey, we now count about 450,000 Iraqi refugees who have entered Turkey and about 400,000 located near the Turkish-Iraqi border.
Turkey
The Government of Turkey continues to move about 2,000 refugees a day to the new camp at Silopi. Priority is being given to the most vulnerable groups. That is, people who are ill, pregnant women, new borns, and the elderly. The number is now over 6,000 at this facility. American Embassy personnel report that tremendous progress in relief efforts is being made, though much, much work still remains to be done. The Turkish Red Crescent Society, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and other international and private voluntary relief organizations are actively involved in the relief efforts on the Turkish side of the border. The main problems that still need to be overcome are potable water supply, sanitation, and organization. U.S. military reconnaissance teams are working inside Iraq, assessing areas for possible camps. They are also identifying the location of displaced civilians. They haven't yet completed their survey operation. In addition, the International Committee of the Red Cross is working in northern Iraq and is delivering relief supplies to refugees. The ICRC has dispatched to a mountain pass, near the Turkish border, a convoy which is carrying blankets, kitchen sets, stoves, tents, and medical supplies; and the ICRC is setting up a dispensary near that mountain pass. There's another ICRC group that has gone up to work in northeastern Iraq.
Iran
On the Iranian side of the border, the numbers are approximately the same -- nearly 1 million Iraqi refugees, mostly Kurds, have entered Iran. As many as 500,000 are moving towards the border. Yesterday, the EC and the Belgian Government announced a jointly financed effort to dispatch equipment for a camp of Iraqi refugees in Iran. Four C-130 plans are scheduled to depart Brussels this weekend to ferry tents, beds, blankets, and other relief supplies to Iran.
Southern Iraq
In southern Iraq: There are approximately 24,000 refugees in the area of coalition troops in southern Iraq. About 7,000 refugees are in the vicinity of Safwan. In addition to that, the Saudi Arabian military has established a camp for Iraqi refugees north of Rafha. There are about 17,000 refugees in that camp. Allied forces continue to provide protection and assistance to refugees in need in the demilitarized zone, including in the town of Safwan. Allied forces are also providing protection to the 17,000 refugees in the camp run by the Saudi military near Rafha. That's about it, as far as new things on refugees. We can move right into the Iraqi letters, if that's what you want to do. And if there are any other questions on refugees, I'll be glad to take them later.

[Iraq: Compliance Letters to the UN]

Iraq has submitted two letters, one on nuclear-related items submitted to the IAEA in Vienna; and the second, on chemical, biological weapons, and missiles to the U.N. in New York. We've seen informal copies. We don't yet have the formal translations from the Arabic originals. We note that Iraq has responded on the date required by the U.N. Security Council Resolution 687. In some areas, the pledges appear to met the requirements of Resolution 687, though we, as I said before, don't have an official copy. We will be studying these letters more thoroughly. The Declaration, delivered in New York, shows clearly that the Iraqis have significant stocks of chemical munitions, ballistic missiles, and warheads for these missiles. But the responses appear to fall short of reality. I'd note, for example, the declarations of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and ballistic missiles and their development, manufacturing and support facilities that we think fall short. The Special Commission that is to be created under the U.N. resolution is entitled to inspect any location in Iraq to enable them to carry out their mandate. We will assist them in drawing up a list of sites for on-site inspection. It is important to us, and I think to the whole world community, that Iraq not be allowed to evade the obligations set out for them by the United Nations. With that, I'd be glad to take your questions. Q Richard, do you have any information, specifically regarding numbers, for instance? The Iraqi letter supposedly says they have 52 Scuds left and 30 CW warheads. Do you know whether that's correct? Does that fit in with your estimates? MR. BOUCHER: That's about correct. You mean, in terms of what's in the letter? That's what's in the letter. The letters, I understand, have been released in New York. So I was sort of leaving all the details for you to get up there. As far as how it corresponds to our estimates, I think I gave you the general appraisal, that in many respects we believe that these declarations fall far short of reality. We are obviously going to study the letters carefully against all the available information. Q Richard, you didn't mention -- in your letter part, you didn't mention the nuclear issue. Does that seem to satisfy the requirements? MR. BOUCHER: That was among the things that I cited after I stated "it falls short." So, no. Q What is it about that part that falls short? MR. BOUCHER: We're continuing our analysis of this, obviously. The letters involve a lot of complicated issues that have to be compared to the available information and compared to the resolutions. On the nuclear side of things, the letter that was delivered to the IAEA basically says that apart from the safeguarded material, that they have no other weapons-related stuff. Actually, I think I have a better explanation of that. On the nuclear items, they admit to only having nuclear material safeguarded by the International Atomic Energy Agency. They declare no nuclear weapons, nuclear-weapons useable material, or other related facilities or activities. We don't think that response is satisfactory. The resolution obligates Iraq to declare all activities actually or potentially related to nuclear weapons development. Once again, I'd say that the Special Commission of the IAEA are entitled to inspect any locations in Iraq, and we will assist them in drawing up a list of sites. Q Does the United States take the position that the Iraqis should turn over this -- was it 12 kilograms of enriched uranium? MR. BOUCHER: The resolution specifies what the IAEA should do about that. As I said, it's a question of what the declarations have in them and the information in this declaration, in particular, but also in some of the other statements in these letters, we feel fall short of the information that's generally available. I think you're aware that we have, in the past, often expressed our concerns about Iraqi nuclear activities. I can't get into all of our information, obviously. But you're aware of such things as the intent to purchase capacitators last year. Q It sounds strange now, Richard, because during the war the Pentagon briefings, and General Schwarzkopf, went On the Record saying that in the early days of the warfare the coalition forces destroyed nuclear capabilities, most of the nuclear facilities in Iraq. Those On-the Record briefings gave us a strong impression that most of the facilities were destroyed by either the Tomahawk missiles or maybe the bombardment of air attacks. What you're saying now, today, is the Iraqi letter pertaining to this nuclear material is not satisfactory. Particularly in what field are you talking about, or are you looking into this Iraqi explanation on this nuclear facilities? Do you understand what I mean? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. I understand what you mean. I'm not prepared -- I don't think I'm able to give you an update on the exact status of each of the locations where we thought that nuclear activity might be carried out. That's just something that, because of the way we get our information, I'm not prepared to do. I think we've expressed our concerns about Iraqi nuclear activities in the past. If they were providing full information, one would expect that they would have either reported on the damage at some of those places or reported on the status of some of the places where we think this activity might have occurred in the past. Q We had a list of where all of these activities were purported to be taking place; right? Presumably, they became targets. Is that not right? MR. BOUCHER: I think exactly how the Pentagon drew up its targeting information, you can refer yourself back to the various Pentagon briefings. But, yes, we had information and we targeted places. Q And since the Iraqis can move things around now, under cover of dark, I guess, how do they prove what they don't have? MR. BOUCHER: Well, the important thing, I think, is that anywhere that there are suspicions or concerns on our part on behalf of the IAEA, on behalf of the international community, the Special Commission and the IAEA, when it comes to nuclear things, is authorized by the resolution, which Iraq has accepted, to go and conduct on-site inspections. That's where the actual, final determinations can be made. Q So we've given them a list of suspected sites and suspected facilities that suggest that we have a look? MR. BOUCHER: We haven't given it yet. We will do something like that, as the Commission proceeds in its work. The timetable is laid out in the U.N. resolution. Q Richard, as long as these numbers fall short of reality, does that mean that we will oppose a lifting of sanctions and continue to forbid the sale of Iraqi oil?

[Iraq: Response to Military Sanctions]

MR. BOUCHER: I think you're aware of the general statements that the Secretary made on our attitude toward sanctions just the other day in Luxembourg. The Sanctions Committee is the place where these exceptions to sanctions get discussed. We understand the Sanctions Committee is actually meeting now on this request. I would note, though, in this context that Resolution 687 makes it clear that the prohibition on Iraqi exports will remain in place until certain conditions have been fulfilled. These include things like the elimination of the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and the establishment of a compensation fund for claims against Iraq. Those conditions are still a long way from being fulfilled. The Iraqi Government request refers to Paragraph 23 of the resolution which allows for an exception to the ban on Iraqi exports under certain limited circumstances. We're examining that request, and obviously we'll be discussing it with other countries in the Sanctions Committee. But we do have a number of concerns related to the implementation of Resolution 687 and related to the situation of the Kurds. Q At the moment, we're not willing to go ahead and support the lifting of sanctions because of this? MR. BOUCHER: As I said, I'm not going to give you a final position because this is under discussion by the Sanctions Committee right now in New York. Q So what is the position that we are advocating up there, or don't we have a position? MR. BOUCHER: Again, we have the position that I have expressed to you. We have a number of concerns. This is something that we have to examine along with the other countries in the Sanctions Committee. Q Do the concerns include the welfare of the Iraqi people and the possibility that what's happening up north and in the south is, in part, the result of simply a terrible, terrible economy in Iraq? MR. BOUCHER: I don't quite know how to answer that. I don't know who among the refugees has said that they're there for economic reasons. But the concerns about people in Iraq, I just cited. One of our concerns is about not only the -- the two concerns that I cited: one is the implementation of this resolution and the second is the situation of the Kurds and the other refugees that are fleeing. You all know that the resolution itself provides for the lifting of sanctions, we'll take into account not only the implementation of the resolution but Iraq's general policies and practices. Q But there are a lot of Kurds who have not fled and are subject to the problems of the Iraqi economy. And, of course, there are a lot of people who are Kurds or Shi'ites, or people who have fled, who have -- if we're strangling Iraq, we're strangling the people who are there. MR. BOUCHER: I see. You're saying -- Q I'm wondering, to what extent, when you voice your concerns in the Sanctions Committee about such things as nuclear capability and whether they're being truthful on these things, are we balancing it with the concerns about the people of Iraq with whom we were never at war? MR. BOUCHER: You're talking about the concerns on the other side of the ledger. As I said, this Paragraph 23 of the Resolution does allow for exceptions under certain limited circumstances. Of course, that is -- Q We're objecting to those exceptions at the moment. MR. BOUCHER: -- provided in order to permit consideration of these kinds of requests. But you have to consider the various factors that go into that. You have to consider the international relief, and you have to consider whether permitting such a request would actually effectively get the food and things like that, whatever is needed, to needy people. There are a variety of factors that have to be taken into account. Things like you're citing are obviously part of the balance. Q On the nuclear issue, just a quick question. Have the Iraqis made clear what's happened to this safeguarded material? Is it safe? MR. BOUCHER: I haven't seen that. I think that may be a good question to ask the IAEA. I'm not sure I have the answer to that. Q Is that one of your concerns, that you're not sure that that material is safe and where it is? MR. BOUCHER: That certainly is one of the things that under the resolution has to be looked at and has to be taken care of. That's certainly one of the sites that the Special Commission would want to go visit. Q Do you know -- does the United States know what's happened to that material? MR. BOUCHER: I do not know at this point. I think that information would probably come from the IAEA. Q Is it the understanding of the U.S. Government that those letters from Iraq are final in their nature, or could be supplemented somehow by new information and data? MR. BOUCHER: I really don't know. First of all, that's a question that would have to be asked of the Iraqi Government. I think we'd certainly welcome any further disclosures that the Iraqis might want to make. But the requirement of the resolution was to provide full disclosure of all these sorts of activities in stocks and production of manufacturing facilities by yesterday. Q Richard, is it your impression that Iraq is trying to evade the terms of this resolution in the hope of maintaining some of its missile biological/chemical capabilities -- nuclear capabilities? MR. BOUCHER: It's not a determination that I can make at this time. I think the major next step is the establishment of the commission and the on-site inspections that will be done, and those sorts of firmer information will come out of that process. Q So you don't anticipate going back to them and asking them for nuance? You anticipate the inspection teams going out next and trying to come to an independent assessment? MR. BOUCHER: The one thing I do anticipate is that the commission and its inspection teams would continue to proceed under the resolution. Whether there are further exchanges with the Iraqis probably depend on discussions with the Secretary General and discussions with other people in New York. Q Presumably, the sponsors of this resolution in the Security Council have the power to send the letter back and say, "That's not satisfactory; give us a new one." MR. BOUCHER: Presumably. Q Is that an option? MR. BOUCHER: I, at this point, don't know if that's being considered or not. Frankly, I think that's a matter that would have to grow out of our common consideration. And as I said, we're still examining the letter. Q Do you characterize this as intentional deception by the Iraqis? MR. BOUCHER: That's close to the question that Alan just gave me. I'm not going to try to offer a conclusion on that at this point. Q Richard, you said that in some areas the letters appear to meet the requirements. Other than the date, in what other areas does it meet the requirements? MR. BOUCHER: Well, you asked. One of the things that was required under various paragraphs of the resolution were pledges by Iraq to meet the standards of certain international resolutions. Let me run through those, first noting that one of the areas where it falls short is that Iraq stated it doesn't have biological weapons. Some of the things that it does respond to are: Paragraph 7 of the resolution, in that connection, Iraq submitted a statement that the Presidency, subject to ratification, had accepted the provisions of the agreement banning development, production, and storage of biological weapons and toxic weapons in 1972. Also in response to Paragraph 7, Iraq stated it also reaffirmed its obligations under the 1925 Convention that relates to chemical weapons. In response to 9(a), Iraq submitted a list of locations, quantities, and kinds of chemical and ballistic missiles, which I noted that there were some questions about that. In compliance with Paragraph 10, Iraq pledged unconditionally not to use, introduce, build, or acquire any chemical weapons or missiles. In accordance with Paragraph 11, Iraq said it unconditionally reaffirmed Iraq's commitments under the 1968 Treaty on Non-Proliferation. And in accordance with Paragraph 12, Iraq said it unconditionally agreed not to acquire or produce nuclear weapons or materials which can be used in nuclear weapons, or to acquire components or to support research and development on nuclear weapons, and consented to making all materials which may be used in nuclear weapons subject to immediate inspection and agreed to the requirements of Paragraph 13 of U.N. Security Council Resolution 687. Q That's a good answer, but given it comes from Saddam Hussein, is it worth any more than the paper it's written on? MR. BOUCHER: Well, this isn't his piece of paper. That's basically the point we're at, Alan. If I could characterize these responses in general, I would say that they were submitted on time. They contained many of the pledges that were required under the resolution to abide by certain international conventions. But in terms of the information provided, we think it falls short from reality. Q Do you happen to know when Iraq adhered to the 1925 Geneva Convention on Chemical Weapons? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. Q Was it before 1988, when they gassed the Kurds? MR. BOUCHER: I'm pretty sure it was. Q Do you draw any conclusions from the fact that they had all of these chemical weapons for Scud missiles but didn't use them? MR. BOUCHER: No. I think that's better for the military people to try to do. Q Can we go to a related subject: Israel? Q Can we stay with Iraq? Can you tell us anything about the meeting between, or the planned meeting today between U.S. officials and the Iraqis on sites and routes for the refugee camps? MR. BOUCHER: You mean the military meetings? Q Yes. MR. BOUCHER: No. I just don't have the up-to-date information on that. I think the Pentagon and Marlin have both said it was to explain our humanitarian efforts and to talk about avoiding contact between our military forces. But it was to take place, I guess, a little while ago. I'm not sure if they actually got off or not. Q A related question. Have there been any further contacts with the Iranians? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything new to report on the Iranians today. Q Is Iraq now agreeable to our setting up the refugee camps? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we've seen anything new from the Iraqis on that specifically. Q Well, there was a lot of discussion at the White House about that, about whether or not they agreed at the U.N., and are we acting on behalf of the U.N.? I just wonder whether you've got some language on that. MR. BOUCHER: I think we've explained that here over the last couple days, or explained it yesterday. We say that we see our efforts and the U.N. efforts as complimentary. We have always said that we expect that our presence will be very short-term. It will be temporary, and it will be geared to having the United Nations take over. I've said there's a lot of cooperation among relief agencies. In Turkey, they're providing relief in various forms. I think the only additional thing that I would add is that our position has always been that Iraq should not interfere with the conduct of our relief efforts. At this point, I don't think we have any evidence that they have. Q Richard, on the U.N. taking over, or some other international organization taking over, these camps, would that require more Security Council resolutions, and has anyone at the United Nations given an indication that they are willing to take over these camps and the responsibility for protecting Kurdish refugees? MR. BOUCHER: We hope that the United Nations will take over very quickly the administration of the camps. As you know, these are being established not just by us but by the United States, the British and the France acting together; and I think there may be other countries cooperating with the effort. So, at this point, that is kind of where we stand. Whether it requires further resolutions to do some of the things, I think we believe that the basis of Resolution 688 provides a basis for our efforts, provides a basis for the U.N. effort that is going on inside Iraq, that will go on inside Iraq. The President spoke to this the other day, about the possibility that something like Blue Helmets, the deployment of Blue Helmets, would require further resolutions. It's really too early to say whether a further resolution would be required. If more is needed to deal effectively with the situation, we would discuss with other Security Council members what the Security Council might do. Q Have you asked the U.N. to take over? MR. BOUCHER: Excuse me? Q Have you asked the U.N. to take over the camps or to begin planning? MR. BOUCHER: We have certainly been talking about it all along. Do you mean, is there some formal request that has gone to the U.N.? It has been a matter of discussion between us and the United Nations all along, as we have been planning this and discussing this.

[Iraq: US Contributions]

Q But the response has been, yes, no, maybe? And can you also say whether you have pledged anything to their relief effort, of the $520-some million requested? MR. BOUCHER: We have been contributing to the United Nations efforts all along. I think I have reported here on various different contributions. The total U.S. contributions to the relief effort, going back to last August, are probably over $70 million -- probably quite a bit over that -- and some of that money was given directly to the United Nations. Some of it was given in January to help them set up their infra- structure that is being used now. Some of it was given in terms of food through various international programs. In the President's April 5 announcement, when he announced the $l0 million then, I think $6 million of that was for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, $2 million for the Red Cross. So there have been consistent contributions from the United States to the U.N. effort that is going on, that will go on, and I am sure that we will continue to contribute to those efforts. Q Richard, is there some way of quantifying how the information that they have given in those letters falls short of yours? I mean, is it half of yours? Are their numbers half of yours? MR. BOUCHER: No. I'm not in a position to do that. I have mentioned a few specific things. Let me, rather than quantify, try to characterize it, but, as I said, with the caveat that we'll have to continue our analysis of the information that they have provided. In the nuclear area, I think I cited some of the concerns that we have expressed in the past about Iraqi nuclear activities, and you are aware of a couple cases that involved potentially nuclear activity. I said in the biological area they provided no real information on that, denied that they had any; and of course you remember from the so-called "baby milk" factory our firm view that they had a biological weapons program of some sort. Q It was destroyed, wasn't it? That was destroyed. MR. BOUCHER: Yes, but the Resolution requires reporting of all facilities that are related to this, and I think we assume that that includes whatever state of repair they happen to be in. Q Was there any evidence on the ground that that was biological? I mean, all the evidence from the people who were there is that it wasn't. MR. BOUCHER: I refer you back to the multitude of Pentagon briefings where they described what they knew, so let's not go back to it. That, I think, was handled. On the chemical and missile areas, they have provided some information. We just believe that there is more there than they reported. Q Richard, this leaves out something, because if you expect them to report on a destroyed facility, does the language of what they are responding to spell out to them that they are not only to report on facilities that are extant but those that are no longer there? Because otherwise you can carry on saying that they are not reporting on things because these things have already been destroyed. If we are to believe what the Pentagon told us, which obviously many of us now don't, that so many targets were fully destroyed, then surely Iraq wouldn't have to report on things that are no longer viable. MR. BOUCHER: Well, I don't think I'm in a position to give you a precise legal interpretation of all the language in the resolution. That has to be examined further. But I cited, I think, the language on the nuclear area where we felt it provided the need to report actual or potential nuclear weapons-related activities and facilities, etc. And, one, I don't think the Pentagon ever made the claim that everything in these areas was totally destroyed. So that has to lead you to the conclusion -- Q I didn't say that. I said that there were times when the Pentagon said that this was destroyed. MR. BOUCHER: Well, I know. You said "most," at certain sites. But that would then lead you to the conclusion that if those kinds of sites existed before the war and if most of those were destroyed but not all, there would be still sites extant. Q How can you possibly prove a negative, however? MR. BOUCHER: You prove it by having a Special Commission that goes out for on-site inspection, and that is precisely why that mechanism was created in the Resolution, so that we don't rely just on declarations or information that is obtained by various means. But we actually have a special commission that can go and investigate and verify and see for everyone's satisfaction what there is and there is not at various places. Q So that if they go to -- the Special Commission goes to the baby formula factory and finds that it was making baby formula, you will still insist -- you will take their word for it. Is that the final word? MR. BOUCHER: I go back to -- I don't have the Resolution with me. I think the Special Commission's task is to report on activities that are currently there. Q But why then ask that they report on that which is destroyed if what they are supposed to report on is activities that are current and therefore a threat? MR. BOUCHER: If we believe that something was there, it is important to find out if it is still there now. And that's the purpose of all this inspection Q In other words, we are never going to know the truth about the baby milk. MR. BOUCHER: I think we do already, frankly. But I'll rely on the Pentagon for that. Q Richard, does the United States Government want to verify what the military intelligence claims to have destroyed during the war? MR. BOUCHER: The international community wants to verify, through the use of the mechanisms established in the Resolution, what capability Iraq might have in this area and wants to follow the provisions of the Resolution for the destruction of those capabilities. That is the process that is underway. The delivery of the letter and the declarations is the first step of the process. The next steps in the process will involve the on-site inspections. Q How long does all this take? Do you have any idea what kind of time period we are looking at? MR. BOUCHER: It's all laid out in the Resolution, and I think we have provided you a cheat sheet that I didn't bring with me with the specific timeframes. Jim? Q You didn't respond to Dennis' question about the response at the U.N. in your discussions about whether further authority is needed or not and whether they were willing to undertake the administration of the northern areas. I wonder if you could respond. MR. BOUCHER: I really have to leave it to the United Nations to respond, as far as how they are going to proceed in taking over the camps. You know that we have consistently urged them to take over very quickly. We have been talking to the United Nations about this, but they are going to have to give their response and their plans for themselves. Q Have you been encouraged in these discussions? MR. BOUCHER: I really don't have any way of characterizing it at this point. We'll keep working with the United Nations and all the other relief officials that were there. As you know, the primary focus, the emphasis right now, is on delivering food, clothing and shelter, medical assistance to very needy people. Q Part of the problem that the refugees have been citing is the blockade at the borders, that they are unable to move as quickly as they want to get through the borders in Turkey and through the borders in Iran. What sort of pressure might the U.S. be trying to apply to Turkey and to Iran to open up the borders more quickly? And what else is the U.S. going to do to help the refugees in Iran, or is it still tied with hostages? MR. BOUCHER: I think this is something that we have been talking about for many days. Q Any more being done? MR. BOUCHER: The situation at the borders is such that you have several things going on. One is the immediate air drop of supplies to people where they are. Two is the organizational effort to get people to places like the camp being established in Turkey and then to the camps that will be established by the coalition military forces inside Iraq, to places where they can better receive supplies than just sitting on the mountain sides. As far as the Iranian side of the border, I think I have reported to you several days now that Iran is operating 29 camps for 250,000 people. There is a long line of people waiting near the border. There are Iranian Red Crescent and other efforts to help them. And, finally, I just note that we have had regular discussions with the Iranians through our protecting power, the Swiss, about ways that we might be helpful as well. Q But the U.S. isn't doing anything more to ease up the bottleneck, basically, to get them through. MR. BOUCHER: All these efforts are aimed at taking care of people, some of whom are in the bottlenecks and the people that are stuck on the mountainside. All these various efforts are to bring immediate relief to them and then to move them to places where we can take care of them even better. Q Do we have the impression that Iran has agreed, or is close to agreeing, to accept a great deal more American aid? MR. BOUCHER: I'll leave it with the way we have discussed it for the past several days. I really don't have anything new to discuss on Iran today. We have reported on these discussions, on Iranian statements, over the course of the last week, and we can get you that. Q Has any United Nations official raised the possibility that under 688, which we have cited as reason for going in there, we might be violating that provision of 688 which suggests everybody honor the integrity, territorial integrity, independence of Iraq? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if any United Nations official has -- Q Has anybody raised that issue with us? MR. BOUCHER: -- ever raised that issue. That is something that the President and the Secretary and we have addressed repeatedly. Our effort is a humanitarian one. We do not support the dismemberment of Iraq or ending of the territorial integrity of Iraq. Our effort is devoted to bringing assistance to people where they need it. Q We don't see that sending l0,000 people, some of them armed, into northern Iraq as a violation of that particular provision of 688? MR. BOUCHER: We think that Resolution 688 provides the authority, along with previous resolutions, to take care of this urgent humanitarian problem which is affecting the peace and security of the area. Q Can I clarify something? You say that the U.S., France and Britain will go into these areas and that is seen as authorized under 688, but you are not sure whether or not further United Nations resolutions would be required for the U.N. to come over there and take over the administration of those areas? MR. BOUCHER: No. I think what I was trying to say was that the Resolution and, as I just said, previous resolutions, the situation, are ample basis for the efforts that we are making now to get food to needy people, to help people where they are now. We have always stated that our efforts would be temporary inside Iraq, that we wanted to turn this over to the United Nations very quickly, and that Resolution 688 provides the authority for the United Nations to operate these sorts of facilities inside Iraq. Whether there are specific aspects of this that might require some further United Nations action, or whether we find that what is being done under 688 isn't effective, at that point we would discuss it further with U.N. Security Council members. But we think there is ample authority now for the international relief efforts. Q Can we go to another subject? Q Richard, there are Members of Congress who are saying that countries are not paying what they pledged during the war and that we will have to ante up more money. Is there going to be an effort by this government to get the money pledged by other countries to help pay for the war? MR. BOUCHER: There has been an effort all along to work with other countries in meeting the needs of the situation, including meeting the commitments that were made. I think there is an Administration report that has to go to Congress in the next few days. At this point, I don't have a full list for you, but when that is available, I'll get it to you.

[South Africa: Establishing a Commission]

Q Richard, on another subject totally unrelated, President de Klerk of South Africa has put forward an idea of solving violence in the townships. Do you have a reaction to that? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. President de Klerk announced yesterday that he will appoint a commission of inquiry to investigate the causes of factional violence in South Africa, and he also proposed a two-day conference on the issue in late May. We welcome any initiatives that could end the violence and help provide for security in the transition period. We agree with President de Klerk that it is important for a wide range of individuals, organizations and parties to meet to discuss ways of achieving this goal. We also support the proposal for a standing commission of inquiry on the violence, but of course the composition and authority of such a commission will determine its credibility and effectiveness. We hope that all parties will give these proposals serious consideration. Q In that connection, do you have any comment about the ANC's plans announced earlier this week to have self-defense forces in the townships? MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to get you something later after the briefing. I forget what it was. Q All right. Q It is funny how interchangeable terms can be -- conference, composition, credibility. All that can be applied to the Middle East international settlement, too. Secretary Baker and Shamir today, any breakthroughs? Anything new that you can give us on that? MR. BOUCHER: That is purely, solely, and totally a subject for the Secretary to address on the road. I'm sorry, it is not for me. Q Okay. Another one. I understand that Yasser Arafat has named three representatives from the Occupied Territories to meet with Mr. Baker in Jerusalem and that Mr. Baker is meeting, or about to meet, with them. Does that imply a change? Is Mr. Baker going to meet with people named by Mr. Arafat? MR. BOUCHER: I'm very sorry, but I am not going to touch questions that relate to the Secretary's meetings and trips.

[China: Prison Labor for Exports]

Q Richard, on another subject, has the State Department seen the report by Asia Watch suggesting that the Chinese themselves acknowledge that prison slave labor is used to produce goods that are exported to the United States? MR. BOUCHER: Yes, we have, Jim. The study contains some important new reports on the extent of Chinese Government awareness and approval of prison labor exports. We do intend to make full use of the contents of this report in our continuing dialogue with the Chinese Government on this issue. We have suspected for some time that some Chinese prison products were making their way to the U.S. market. We have been cooperating with the Customs Service for over a year now to investigate the extent of such imports and whether they violate the Tariff Act of l930. Should those investigations uncover exports in violation of U.S. laws, we will take firm steps to enforce those laws. Q Would that have any bearing on whether or not China should get MFN? MR. BOUCHER: Well, the Administration is still considering the question of whether to renew China's MFN status. Under the law the President has until June 3 to make this decision. The Jackson-Vanik obligates the President to consider whether MFN renewal would substantially promote the freedom of emigration. But in reaching his decision to extend MFN in 1991, the President will also consider whether extending MFN would advance the cause of human rights and reform in China as well as other vital U.S. national interests. Q Do I translate that correctly to say that if this report were true, it would then have a bearing on the President's recommendation? MR. BOUCHER: You translate this correctly in saying there are a lot of factors that need to be considered. Q Richard, just to clarify, do you have any details of what the Tariff Act of l930 stipulates? MR. BOUCHER: Not with me, but I am sure it is widely available. Q Richard, while we are talking about Asia, there is a prominent Vietnamese writer, Zum Thu Hung, who has been arrested, perhaps also with an American citizen taken into custody. Does the State Department know anything about this case? MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't heard about it. I'll have to check and see if somebody else knows. Q Thanks. MR. BOUCHER: Jim? Q There is a report in the Philippines that there is a new snag in the negotiations because it is charged the United States has sub-leased some of the military facilities to third countries and wishes to continue doing so. Do you have any guidance on that? MR. BOUCHER: No. Q Do you have anything today about Albania? MR. BOUCHER: What do you want to know about Albania?

[Albania: Situation Update]

Q There is more unrest in Albania. Have you any response to it? MR. BOUCHER: Unrest in Albania. Yes, I do. I think our principal focus is the events that occurred two days after the March 3l elections where there were four opposition democratic party members killed and nearly 60 wounded in Shkoder by gunfire reportedly fired from within the Albanian Party of Labor headquarters into a group of peaceful demonstrators. The Albanian Government appointed a special commission to look into the shootings. The head of the U.S. team in Albania has urged the Albanian Government that the investigation be thorough and that its conclusions be released promptly. To date, no official report has been released. Subsequent to that, the Democratic Party of Albania boycotted the April 15 opening session of the newly elected parliament to protest the government's delay in naming and charging those responsible for the violence in Shkoder. We remain strongly opposed to the use of force against peaceful demonstrators who are exercising basic human rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, and we would again call on the Albanian authorities to investigate these acts of violence thoroughly and promptly. Q Richard, to go back to human rights, what can you say about the Helsinki Watch Report on Romania and the allegations of increased human rights abuses? MR. BOUCHER: I can say that I haven't seen it and I'll have to check. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:22 p.m.)