US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #84: Thursday, 5/20/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:05 PM, Washington, DC Date: May 20, 19915/20/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, Caribbean, Subsaharan Africa, Europe, E/C Europe Country: Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, Yugoslavia (former), Cuba, South Africa, Israel, Ethiopia, Greece Subject: Development/Relief Aid, State Department, Democratization, Military Affairs, Terrorism, United Nations (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I have two housekeeping statements I'd like to make: On Wednesday of this week, May 22, at 10:00 a.m., Secretary Baker will appear before the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Room 2360, Rayburn. The subject will be FY '92 appropriations. On Thursday, May 23, at 10:00 a.m., the Secretary will appear before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations -- that's in the Dirksen Building, Room 138 -- on the same subject. As you know, since he will be testifying, there will be no State Department briefings.

[Angola: Secretary to Represent US]

My second statement concerns Angola. The Secretary will go to Lisbon on May 31 to represent the United States at the formal signing of the peace accords for Angola. The accords will be signed by President dos Santos of the Government of Angola and President Jonas Savimbi of UNITA. The civil war in Angola has been going on since 1975 with massive disruption of political and economic life and major suffering inflicted upon the Angolan people. The United States Government has been involved in efforts to bring about negotiations to end the conflict since 1986. Negotiations leading to the departure of Cuban and South African forces from Angola as well as the independence of Namibia were successfully mediated by the United States in 1988. Between April 1990 and May 1991, negotiations between the Angolan Government and UNITA were conducted under the mediation of Portugal. The United States and the Soviet Union were official observers at these negotiations and played a facilitative role in helping the two parties to the conflict reach the agreements which will be signed on May 31. Hostilities in Angola have ceased as of May 15. The cease- fire is holding. With the formal signing of the accords on May 31, a political process will begin which will result in free and fair elections between September and November 1992. Secretary Baker will be present in Lisbon May 31 to welcome these accords and reaffirm our consistent policy to promote national reconciliation in Angola through a democratic process. For your planning purposes, our current plans are to depart Thursday morning; and we will probably leave Lisbon on Saturday returning to Washington. We may leave Friday. The current planning for the other trip that you know the Secretary will be taking shortly after that, which is the spring NATO meeting, is to depart for Copenhagen on Wednesday, June 5, and return to Washington, D.C., on Friday, June 7. Q So they are two distinct trips? MS. TUTWILER: As of today. Q It seems a long way to go, to get back to Europe right away. Nothing he could drop in on -- MS. TUTWILER: We've looked at a number of options, Barry, and have been for several weeks now. As of this morning, for your planning purposes, I thought it might be helpful to tell you what the current thinking is. That doesn't mean that it won't change this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Q Well, could I ask you a totally serious question? Is the Middle East situation such that at this point it doesn't seem appropriate, to use a State Department word, for him to go back to the Middle East on that occasion? MS. TUTWILER: The President answered that on Friday in his brief press conference with the Secretary of State. I don't have anything new or different to add to what was said on Friday afternoon. Q The President was upbeat about the situation. MS. TUTWILER: He was also asked, "Would the Secretary be returning to the region?" Q He said it might kill him. MS. TUTWILER: That was one part of what he said. Q He said about everything. He was all over the subject. MS. TUTWILER: He did. I have his entire transcript, in case you all had asked me. Q You can pick up almost any part of it -- MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. Q -- and get almost any answer you're looking for. Even considering that you think that takes care of it, this is Monday and, who knows, in the four days, has anything crystalized that -- MS. TUTWILER: No. Over the weekend, I asked the Secretary. He returned very late last night from Houston, Texas. I asked him this morning if he had spoken with any of his counterparts or any individuals in the region. He has not. As you know, this morning he has had his bilateral meeting with Chancellor Kohl. As of coming to this briefing, I'm not aware of anyone that he has specifically spoken with. But in all candor and fairness to you, yes, he has had some debriefs of some of the meetings that you're aware of that took place among other officials this weekend. Q And as far as Angola, I suppose Bessmertnykh will be there? MS. TUTWILER: I can't answer for the Soviet Foreign Minister. Q Well, if he is, will the Secretary take the occasion to have another chat with the -- MS. TUTWILER: Sure. As you know, Barry, the two Foreign Ministers have discussed this, but their Minister's travel plans are for them to announce, not me. Q Margaret, in an interview over the weekend Shamir said that one of the things the Secretary suggested was a summit or a Middle East meeting -- a one-time summit here in Washington. Do you have any comment on that? Can you confirm that? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q You have no comment at all? MS. TUTWILER: I have no comment at all. The President refrained from answering this on Friday. And as you know, the Secretary of State refrained any number of times on our trip from saying anything concerning such an idea. Q Once Shamir's put it out in the open, one presumes that the Israeli Prime Minister is not a liar and one presumes -- MS. TUTWILER: I'm certainly not inferring that by saying I have no comment on a statement (1) I haven't seen, Alan; and (2) concerning that subject. Q Margaret, is General Moiseyev here? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. He began his meetings with Reggie Bartholomew this morning, I believe, at 10:00 a.m. Their plan was to begin one-on-one, or two-on-two, and then go into a larger group. He arrived last night. My understanding is that the Secretary will be seeing him tomorrow, as will Secretary Cheney, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Powell, and I believe General Scowcroft. You would have to check all of their schedules for times, etc. Secretary Baker's time is not yet scheduled. It is predominately, as was agreed before he arrived here, to deal with CFE. Q Are they suppose to be -- are General Moiseyev and Under Secretary Bartholomew suppose to be meeting all day long? MS. TUTWILER: Reggie didn't know when I talked to him this morning. I also asked Reggie if he would anticipate meeting again tomorrow, or how long this gentlemen and his team -- my understanding is, he came with a number of individuals. Reggie just didn't have the answers yet. Q Is there a U.S. team that is meeting with their seconds and thirds? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. I asked Reggie how he envisioned these meetings working today. He said his initial thoughts this morning at 8:00 a.m. were that he would begin either one-on-one or two-on-two, and then they would expand to a larger group. I said, "Does that mean the Defense Department representatives, etc.?" He said his thinking as of 8:00 a.m. is that, yes, it would. Q Do you know either if it's only CFE? You might be able to deduce that if you know if he brought CFE and START people or just CFE people. MS. TUTWILER: That I don't know, Barry. I did ask Reggie this morning. I said, "Are you all going to also deal with START?" He said, "Margaret, sure, START could come up, but predominately --and this was agreed in advance -- this is to deal with CFE." Q If this is suppose to be such a key meeting, has the State Department considered letting us take a picture of it to record it for -- MS. TUTWILER: Of Reggie's meeting? Q Yes, with the General. MS. TUTWILER: No, it hadn't come up. You can take a picture probably tomorrow of the Secretary and this gentleman. Q Margaret, in advance of this meeting, had the Soviets put forward any new proposals? MS. TUTWILER: If they have, Reggie did not mention it to me. I did not literally ask him that question this morning. But I think he might have said something to me. If they sent something in advance of this meeting, I'm totally unaware of it.

[USSR: Status of Emigration Laws]

Q Do you have any assessment of the new emigration bill that the Soviets have passed? Is that enough to go forward with the trade agreement and MFN? MS. TUTWILER: That I can't answer for you. But let me tell you what we learned this morning, what our Embassy has told us that we do know. Today, in Moscow, the Supreme Soviet passed the new emigration legislation with a vote of 320 in favor, 37 opposed, and 32 abstentions. The Supreme Soviet also enacted an implementing resolution which provides for entry into force of the law on January 1, 1993. We understand that the implementing resolution also instructs the Cabinet of Ministers to draft, within the next few weeks, a plan for step-by-step implementation of certain aspects of the law prior to January 1, 1993. The United States welcomes the news of enactment of the law. We have for almost two decades made the right of Soviet citizens to emigrate an important part of U.S.-Soviet relations. We regard this as a major step in the overall process of reform in the Soviet Union and in fulfillment of Soviet CSCE commitments. I have to be honest with you. We have not seen the text of the legislation or the implementing resolution as passed and would prefer to withhold judgment on specifics until we have been able to review it in detail. The very fact that procedures once subject to the arbitrary application of unpublished regulations are now established in law in our view is a positive development. I cannot answer your very valid question, which I knew I would be asked, "How does this impact on our trade agreement and MFN." I can't answer that yet. It is true that even this morning our Embassy does not have all of the language and all of the details. We're going to hold back further comment. Q But aren't you disappointed that, in fact, for another six to eighteen months this will not go into effect? MS. TUTWILER: Obviously, we would prefer to see it implemented faster. But that does not detract from something that we have been fighting for, for two decades. That is why we also want to have more clarity and understanding concerning the step-by-step implementation -- the other part of this that we understand was passed also. We have not yet seen the detail and fine print of that. Q Margaret, apart from codifying these rules in law, the United States has looked at Soviet performance on Jewish emigration. My understanding is that there have been some disappointing developments in that in the last couple months. MS. TUTWILER: Let me look for you. I have not heard that, but let me ask and look for you. Q More Refuseniks. In fact, some of the American Jewish groups say that there has been a decrease in the number of Jews that will come this year. MS. TUTWILER: I have not, to be honest with you, heard this raised at the Secretarial level at the meeting in Kislovodsk. I am sure that this building would have brought it to his attention so that he would know to raise it. I'm just not aware of this, but I'll be happy to look into it.

[Yugoslavia: Status of US Aid]

Q On a somewhat related matter, do you have anything on Yugoslavia and the absence of U.S. aid? MS. TUTWILER: The absence of U.S. aid? Yes. This morning I read in some newspaper where we did not have aid to Yugoslavia. That's a little bit incorrect. It's my understanding that for FY '91 there was $5 million that was supposed to be going -- yes, U.S. economic aid to Yugoslavia was projected at about $5 million for FY '91. My understanding of where we are on this is that the Nickles Amendment to the FY '91 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, enacted last November, prohibits U.S. economic assistance to Yugoslavia in FY '91 unless certain conditions are met. The amendment has a six-months review period which expired May 5. Q So is aid going or not going? MS. TUTWILER: We have not reached a final decision on Yugoslavia's status under this legislation. It's $5 million that we're talking about. Q I understand that. This decision also has implications for lending institutions like the IMF. MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. The Amendment also calls upon the United States to oppose loans to Yugoslavia from the IMF and the World Bank. Q The United States has not yet made -- MS. TUTWILER: A firm decision? Q Yeah, on that item? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q The May 5 deadline did not trigger anything? MS. TUTWILER: The Amendment has a six-months review period which expired May 5. I'm not aware -- are you, Richard [Boucher]? -- that it triggered a specific action. I'm not aware of that. Q Could you tell us what the condition -- MS. TUTWILER: Wait, one second. The legislation prohibitions entered into, effective on May 5, are being implemented. U.S. economic aid to Yugoslavia was projected at abut $5 million for FY '91. Q So it is done? It stopped? MS. TUTWILER: Right. Sorry. Q And what about the bit about the IMF? MS. TUTWILER: It's the same sentence. The Amendment also calls upon the United States to oppose loans to Yugoslavia from the IMF and the World Bank. Q What's the problem with Yugoslavia? MS. TUTWILER: Yugoslavia's problems with regard to this legislation lie in the conduct of the Serbian Republic leadership, which is exercising severe repression in the Kosova Province; has not conducted fully, free, and fair elections; and is now acting to destabilize the Yugoslav Presidency. As I said, we have not reached a final decision on Yugoslavia's status under this legislation. We strongly support the efforts of the Yugoslavian Federal Government under their Prime Minister to meet all its CSCE commitments and to hold democratic elections throughout the country. However, continued Serbian blockage of an orderly transfer of constitutional authority will have a direct influence on our decision. I've told you that legislation prohibits this. Q Do you have any comment on the Croation vote for sovereignty and secession from Yugoslavia? MS. TUTWILER: On the Croation situation? Q On the vote. Yesterday's vote. MS. TUTWILER: No, we don't, as I remember. Long-standing United States policy, as we've enunciated many, many times from this podium, is that the United States supports a democratic, unified Yugoslavia achieved through dialogue, as does the EC. We would be strongly opposed to any use of force or intimidation to block democratic change or impose a non-democratic unity. At the same time, we will neither encourage nor reward secession. That's standard policy. Q What about the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia? What is your policy? MS. TUTWILER: I've told you that our policy is -- the United States supports a democratic, unified Yugoslavia achieved through dialogue. Q A new subject? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, Bob.

[Cuba: Museum Display of Missles]

Q Do you have any comment on reports of SS-20 missiles in Cuba? And has this been discussed with the Soviets? MS. TUTWILER: Number One, we are not aware of any SS-20 missiles in Cuba. As you all may remember, it was about a year ago that we did tell you that the Cubans have a static display of an inert Soviet SS-4 missile at a museum in Havana. The Treaty of the Elimination of Shorter-Range and Intermediate-Range Missiles permits static displays of inert missiles provided there is advance notification. The Soviet Union complied with the provisions. The Soviets informed us of this static display. We did talk about this. It was almost a year ago from this podium. It's an SS-4. Q But you're sure that there are no SS-20s? MS. TUTWILER: We're as sure as we can be.

[Kuwait: Trails]

Q Margaret, do you have a comment on the conduct of the trials of so-called collaborators in Kuwait? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q So-called trials of so-called collaborators, I should say. MS. TUTWILER: These trials, so that you understand, are being done under a system that was set up under martial law. Our Ambassador, Skip Gnehm, is here in the building, and I spent quite a bit of time with him this morning on this subject. They have a Ministry of Justice, and under martial law they set up this system for specifics dealing with their country. There is one court, it's my understanding, under the martial law system. It has five members, made up of two military and three civilian judges. Prior to this, our Ambassador, as many of you are aware, has talked to the government in Kuwait about the whole question of trials and the steps needed to comply with international human rights standards. The Kuwaitis have a right to bring people to trial, including those who violated Kuwaiti law. They need to do that in full compliance with basic human rights. You should know that our Ambassador and our Embassy personnel there urged the Kuwaiti Government to have open trials. They were open. They also urged them to have international monitors, that they be permitted to attend. They did attend. The trials yesterday was open to you members of the press, the International Red Cross, and the United States Government; and other governments had representatives there. You should know that Amnesty International plans to attend future trials, which the Kuwaiti Government has also said yes to. We also urged that the defendants have a right to counsel. They did. We will continue discussing these issues with the Government of Kuwait. The Secretary, as you know, discussed this issue when he was there recently. Yesterday's trials: As you know, some people were acquitted. In addition, there were more than 130 cases that had gone before the Ministry of Justice that were not even referred to this court system that's set up under martial law; they were just dismissed outright. Of the 12 cases taken up yesterday, five were deferred, two defendants were acquitted, and five were given sentences ranging from three to 15 years. The sentences under the Kuwaiti system are subject to review by the Amir and the Crown Prince. As for the specific sentences that I believe you're asking me about, we understand that in one case that has been widely reported today there was more to the charges of collaboration than just the wearing of a Saddam Hussein T-shirt. We have been in close touch for more than one month with a group of Kuwaiti attorneys who organized themselves to provide defense counsel to these individuals. We are seeing Kuwaiti lawyers standing up openly in their country on behalf of these defendants, and this is something we will continue to discuss with them. In many people's opinions, Kuwaitis themselves, or a number of Kuwaitis, are demanding a fair system of justice -- i.e., these lawyers who are standing up and defending these people. Our own strong position remains that due process must be observed. Our principles regarding due process of law are consistent all over the world. The concerns we have expressed in the case of Kuwait are similar to those we have expressed in many other cases. Q Margaret, if our principles are consistent with the due process of law and the principles in Kuwait are consistent with due process, then why were these people not allowed to see their accusers? None of these people who were tried yesterday, it's our understanding, were allowed to know the origin of the charges against them nor to see their accusers. How can you defend this? MS. TUTWILER: In our first reporting cables that are in, Bill, that is not necessarily everything that we have, that I've read in one newspaper this morning. And that's why in fairness, number one, I'm not going to inject myself into individual cases. We want to find out more that was going on. You, the media, were there. Our State Department personnel were there. International observers were there. It is not that I am saying that this is a perfect system. I don't believe I did say that. But I have said that the things that the United States Government has been urging were done, as far as having observers, as far as being open, as far as these people having defense counsel; and those are things that we have been urging on the Kuwaiti Government. They did all of that. And we are not going to, at this moment in time, until we have all the facts before us, get ourselves involved in each individual case. Q Well, no, but none of these people apparently were allowed to know the origin of the charges or to face their accusers. Whatever else may have been done -- MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of that. Q Whatever else may have been done, there was no accountability for the charges. MS. TUTWILER: That part of this puzzle is something I did not discuss with [Ambassador] Skip [Gnehm] this morning. I wasn't aware of it. So I am not going to sit out here and debate it with you when I don't know exactly what went on. I'll be happy to ask him. He's in the building. Q Margaret, how often is it -- when you say that the case of the fellow with the T-shirt that there were more to the charges, and that wasn't brought out in court. MS. TUTWILER: I alluded to that, and I have to be very careful here because I am not going to interject myself in a case. I don't in any country we go in. I said it as elliptically, to be honest with you, as I can; and I also said that all of these cases under their system are able to be reviewed by the Amir and the Crown Prince. And, yes, I would be more than glad to agree with you that 15 years for wearing a T-shirt is a little steep. Q But by you saying that there's more to the case than that -- MS. TUTWILER: I can't get into it, George. Q -- you seem to be defending them now. MS. TUTWILER: I've said it the only way that I know how, by telling you what we know about this without interjecting myself into an individual case. Q Margaret, are lawyers, defense counsel, allowed to cross-examine prosecution witnesses, for instance? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have that level of detail. I'll be happy to ask. Q Would you agree that the right to cross-examine prosecution witnesses is a fairly fundamental element of a fair trial? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Were there any prosecution witnesses? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know, Bill. I spent a fair amount of time on this this morning, but I'm not a walking Rolodex, an expert on everything that went on over there yesterday. Q Our information is that there were not. MS. TUTWILER: I'll look into that part of it also. Q Margaret, what is Ambassador Gnehm doing here? MS. TUTWILER: He is back on normal consultations. Q And, secondly, you mentioned that the Secretary did raise concerns with the Amir when he was there about obedience to certain human rights principles. MS. TUTWILER: There's more under the umbrella. If you remember, at that time we were concerned -- many people were concerned -- about minority individuals who were there in Kuwait after the country had been liberated. Q Correct. MS. TUTWILER: I cannot say to you that I remember him specifically bringing up future trials. Q Nor do I. MS. TUTWILER: I remember it as a human rights concern. Q But he did mention foreign aid. He did talk about how unless Kuwait started adhering to certain norms of international law concerning human rights, he did not know whether current U.S. levels of assistance could be continued. MS. TUTWILER: You remember something I don't remember. He said that outside in the driveway to you all? Q In public. My question is, is this similarly an occasion that might affect funding? Is this kind of incident -- if some of these charges prove true; if, for instance, there was no opportunity for counsel to review the case -- MS. TUTWILER: That's a decision, Johanna, that will be made at a pay grade higher than mine. That's for the Secretary of State and the President to determine. I can't sit here and tell you that these -- I believe there are initially 12 cases, five of which I said were deferred, two were acquitted. So I can't tell you that based on 12 cases that that's going to affect United States aid. I just can't do that for you. Q The overwhelming impression you leave, after going through the litany, is that the United States has no particular objection to what has transpired thus far within their judicial system as it is set up in this particular process. Is that the impression you wish to leave with us, that you have no particular problem? You certainly have no criticism of it, so I guess you have no criticism, no problem. MS. TUTWILER: I said that the United States had been meeting for more than a month with Kuwaiti lawyers. Q Right. MS. TUTWILER: I said what the United States had been urging the Kuwaiti Government to do -- I named three specific things -- all of which in our minds they have done. I have said there were 12 trials yesterday. I have listed how those came out. I believe I said that the one case that has gotten the most publicity concerning the T-shirt was a little steep. Because my understanding is that there are going to be numbers of these trials, I cannot get in the position of commenting on them. I also, to the best of my ability, tried to tell you that I don't know the two very valid things that Bill has asked me. Q When you say "a little steep" -- Q (Multiple questions) Q Wait a minute. One follow-up here. When you say "a little steep," do you regard wearing a T-shirt as a crime at all? I mean, what would be an appropriate punishment if that is "a little steep"? MS. TUTWILER: I am not judge and jury here, Alan. I cannot interject myself -- Q No. But, I mean, if you asked me, I would say that wearing a T-shirt -- MS. TUTWILER: There are many cases -- Q -- is not a crime, and there's no punishment that should be associated with it. MS. TUTWILER: Well, as you know, we have been discussing for -- what is it? -- well over a year now people who were arrested for protesting in Tiananmen Square. I would tell you that those are also steep sentences. So, I mean, this is not something that does not go on in many places of the world. That does not change, as I said, what the United States' view of this is. And in fact I would refer you to our 1990 Human Rights Report on Kuwait where, it's my understanding, we commented on Kuwait and on their judicial system that existed prior to their invasion. Q There is a great difference between commenting on the specific cases and commenting in general about the system that you see set up. It's wonderful that they have done the three things that Skip Gnehm has listed for you, but it may also -- MS. TUTWILER: He discussed with me. Q That he discussed with you. It may also be their system may still lack many, many important things which the Ambassador chose fit not to discuss with you -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't believe I came out here and embraced this. Q Well, you're certainly not criticizing it, Margaret. I hate to keep raising this. MS. TUTWILER: I have said that two parts of this that Bill asked I really don't know about, after trying this morning to learn everything I could about these trials that I believe took place yesterday, sitting down with our Ambassador, asking the questions that you're asking me. It is correct that I overlooked two technical parts of this -- not on purpose -- in trying to gather all this together. But I am not out here, in my opinion, doing anything different than we do in any other countries by saying what our standards are. I have said what we thought about the T-shirt incident -- Q And their standards differ from our, don't they, in this case? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Well, that's right. I said that. Q Radically. What they have set up there by way of a judicial system is substantially different than what the U.S. would like to see in other countries that we have discussed and about which we have been highly critical. MS. TUTWILER: That's right. But I said that. Q Let me just ask one other thing: Was there anything else which the U.S. requested which was not done? You've listed those things -- MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q -- which -- MS. TUTWILER: If there was, Skip didn't mention it. But I didn't ask him either, to be honest with you. I said, seriously, what have we done? For instance, I did not know a thing about this group of Kuwaiti attorneys until this morning when he sat down and told me about it. He said that our Embassy has been meeting with them for weeks in advance of this trial of Kuwaitis who are going to defend these people in their own country. I didn't know anything about that. So, I mean, as fast as I could get information from Skip and get on his schedule, this is what I have. Q Margaret, I mean, notwithstanding the three conditions that Skip Gnehm put to the Kuwaitis, the Kuwaiti lawyers and the representatives of the human rights organizations are saying that these trials are a sham and a disgrace. I mean, after all, the lawyers did not see the defendants, the lawyers did not see the evidence, the lawyers were not allowed to cross-examine the so-called witnesses; and finally you talk about review, but the review is not an appeal. There's no appeal in Kuwait. MS. TUTWILER: That's why I didn't use the word. I know that. Q So, I mean, all these areas would constitute a grave violation of whatever the United States considers a fair trial. This is not Tiananmen Square. The Kuwaiti Government owes its future for the American intervention. These violations occurred at a time when the Americans had troops in Kuwait. MS. TUTWILER: We still have troops in Kuwait. Q Yes, so there is a moral responsibility, it seems to me, here. MS. TUTWILER: I have said, and I'll say it one more time: Our strong position remains that due process must be observed. Our principles regarding due process of law are consistent all over the world. The concerns we have expressed in the case of Kuwait are similar to those we have expressed in many other cases. I don't know how I can state this any more strongly, to be honest with you. I have not embraced the system. I have not said it was all perfect. I didn't say there weren't glitches. I did not say it's our standard. I didn't do any of that. Q No. But you have said they have made some very important strides in -- MS. TUTWILER: I said they've done some things. I didn't think I called them "important." Q But I think the gentleman's point is very valid in that you can criticize trials in China, but the very existence of the government and indeed the country of Kuwait is owed to the United States. So you have, obviously, much more influence to affect things in that case than you do in other countries that you might choose to criticize. MS. TUTWILER: We use our influence, Alan, as we can. They are still a sovereign nation. Q Well, do you think the United States should use its influence to seek further refinements of their judicial system? MS. TUTWILER: The United States has been using its influence on a constant, steady basis. As you know, the Secretary of State has made two trips there. As Johanna points out, he brought up the overall basket of human rights concerns that were being raised through the media and through other avenues that were coming to us, specifically concerning Palestinians. I am not aware that he has ever personally raised the subject of trials; but I am aware that our Ambassador has, and other Embassy personnel that are there have. A State Department official -- I believe two individuals employed by the State Department -- were there yesterday as observers. They're planning to go to all of the trials. But that doesn't mean that just because we see something that we don't think is up to the standards that we would prefer that they're going to instantly change it just because we asked. But will we keep pushing? Will we keep prodding? Will we keep pointing this out? Of course we will. Q Margaret, the defendants said that they were tortured. I mean, did Skip Gnehm -- MS. TUTWILER: Tortured yesterday? Q No, no. I mean they said they were tortured in prison. MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I don't have that type of detail. I'm sorry. Q Margaret, you just pointed out directly that you never said there were no glitches. Correct? MS. TUTWILER: I didn't. Q Okay. Fine. MS. TUTWILER: Or that it's a perfect system. Q No, no. If there were glitches, could you tell us what they are after you go back to Ambassador Gnehm? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Absolutely. Q Margaret, while you're talking about internal things, could you also -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me. What I'll do for you is see if Skip and I can sit down this afternoon and do for you what specifically our Embassy personnel, having seen these 12 cases that I believe it was yesterday or over the weekend -- if we can do this -- I don't know the specific concerns that we are continuing to raise with the Kuwaiti Government. Q It sounds as though the Ambassador has provided you with a briefing which is weighted entirely on the positive things which have happened in Kuwait and on none of the negative aspects of the judicial system -- just as a comment, having observed the Ambassador brief us on these situations. MS. TUTWILER: And I believe when he was briefing you, it was on an airplane, and it was ON BACKGROUND. Q Oh, no. He's briefed us many times in public. MS. TUTWILER: But that was before these trials. Now we've got this T-shirt thing. (Laughter) So we'll see what he comes out with today. Q Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt. (Laughter) Q How much do you think he'll get for wearing a Baker T-shirt? (Laughter) MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. Q On another subject -- Q I've also -- MS. TUTWILER: Go, Connie. Q Okay. Well, semi-related, the Palestinian expulsion, if that's an internal matter. Do you have statements on that? MS. TUTWILER: The deportations? Q Yes. And also could you talk about the South African rupture of talks, please? Thank you. Sorry, Pat. MS. TUTWILER: You want South Africa and Israeli deportations? Q Yes.

[Israel: Deportations]

MS. TUTWILER: As you know, Connie, we publicly deplored this decision when it was originally announced on March 25. Our views have been made known and are very clear to the Israeli Government. Our policy has not changed. We continue to strongly oppose deportations as a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention as it pertains to the treatment of inhabitants of the Occupied Territories. The United States believes that charges of wrongdoing should be brought in a court of law based on evidence to be argued in a public trial. Israel's deportation of Palestinians at this time cannot contribute to the development of a peace process. And your follow-up is probably, "Did Secretary Baker raise this when he was in the region?" Yes, he did.

[South Africa: ANC Suspension of Constitutional Talks]

Now you wanted South Africa. We continue to believe that dialogue among South Africans on the issues of violence and democratization is of the utmost importance. We note that the ANC has not broken off all contact with the government. It will continue to meet with the government to discuss ways to control the violence. Joint working groups considering other matters will also continue to function. However, the ANC said it will not begin constitutional talks until the government takes further steps to end the violence. In any event, negotiations on a new constitution were not scheduled to begin until the second half of this year, which, in my understanding, was after June. We hope that progress will be made on ending violence and that all parties will continue forward in negotiations on a non-racial, democratic constitution for South Africa. Q Does the U.S. believe that the South African Government can control the violence? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know, Connie, if I can answer whether they can control the violence. We believe that the South African Government is trying to control the violence, and President de Klerk has spoken out on this any number of times. Q What is the U.S. position on the lifting of sanctions and Saddam Hussein remaining in power? MS. TUTWILER: I believe that all the sanctions, Pat, are still on -- in force. Q Marlin had some things to say this morning about that, and about -- MS. TUTWILER: Well, I talked to Marlin about four or five times this morning -- Q -- that the U.S. would not lift sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power, and that he'd never spelled it out quite that specifically before. I wonder if you had anything further on that. MS. TUTWILER: Well, I can be honest with you and tell you since 7:45 this morning I've probably talked to Marlin four or five times, and this is not one of the subjects we discussed. So I'd rather just say talk to him about what he said. You've been over there and heard it. I haven't.

[Ethiopia: Situation Update]

Q Margaret, do you have anything on the fighting in Ethiopia and the impact it might have on the talks coming up next week? MS. TUTWILER: Not a lot. Fighting has sharpened in several places; and the talks, it's my understanding, were supposed to begin in London on May 27. These are, as I understand it, round-table talks; there will be three factions there, plus the Government of Ethiopia, plus the United States; and we're there in the position of a facilitator. Q Does the United States have any view on how this fighting has picked up? There seems to be dispute between the government and the rebels. MS. TUTWILER: I don't have a lot more for you than that. Q On Iraq, according to reliable sources, the Secretary General of the Iraq's Turkman political party, Mr. Muzaffer Arsalan, last week had a meeting here in the Department of State at the request of the Turkish Government. Could you please tell us the purpose of the meeting, and more specifically if, inter alia, they discussed the idea of confederating Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein? MS. TUTWILER: I know you'll be very surprised to learn I wasn't here last week, and I don't know that such a meeting took place. (TO STAFF) Do you know anything about it, Richard? MR. BOUCHER: No. MS. TUTWILER: We'll look into it for you. I don't know a thing about it. Q Can you check for me? MS. TUTWILER: I'll look into it. Yes. Q On Greece: Last Friday a bunch of Turkish warplanes flagrantly violated the Greek airspace over the Aegean Sea in a very severe incident, harassed a commercial flight of Olympic Airways. I'm wondering if you have anything on that -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't know anything about this. Q -- and would you express your opinion by some air traffic experts that it was an act of international state terrorism over skies? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not sure that I got all of that, but I don't know anything about the subject matter. I'll be happy to have somebody look into it for you. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. Q Margaret, excuse me, anything you have on the Lebanese-Syrian agreement that's expected to be signed in the next few days? MS. TUTWILER: What agreement? No. Q Richard was asked about it last week. Anything to add? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not sure what agreement you're talking about. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 12:43 p.m.)