US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #89: Thursday, 5/30/91

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: 12:36 PM, Washington, DC Date: May 30, 19915/30/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, South Asia, East Asia Country: Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia (former), Ethiopia, France, Iran Subject: Human Rights, Nuclear Nonproliferation, Regional/Civil Unrest, State Department, Travel, Arms Control (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I don't have any statements right at this moment so I'd be glad to take your questions. Q Let's start with the fact that you put out a little statement yesterday about the six Syrian Jews who made the mistake of trying to leave the country and were apprehended. You reported that four -- the two women and the two children -- evidently had been released but the two men are still in prison. Could you go beyond that and say what kind of condition they may be in; what are they charged with? Because you always make a point of legal niceties in the Middle East and how you like certain procedures followed. And also, is Ed Djerejian or anybody trying to do anything about these two guys, or are they just goners now? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure we're continuing to follow up, Barry. I didn't check exactly to see what more we had. I'll have to check for you. Q Do you know what crime they're accused of? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. I'll have to check on those things. I'm sorry. Q Please. Thanks.

[Ethiopia: Transition Talks; Future of Eritrea]

Q Richard, does the U.S. Government take a position of the possible splitting-off from Ethiopia of the Eritrean province? MR. BOUCHER: The position that we've taken is the one that we've taken through the London talks and the understandings that were reached there. The ultimate status of Eritrea is now for the parties themselves to determine within the context of a peaceful, democratic process. Until that time, of course, we'll work with whatever authorities emerge in Eritrea in order to pursue relief efforts and other issues as they arise. Q But as a goal, would you support an independent state of Eritrea? MR. BOUCHER: We support the goal of a peaceful, democratic process that will determine all these issues in Ethiopia of a future government and the future status of different parts of the country. Q But you seem to value territorial integrity in a place like Iraq, for example, where you would not favor an independent Kurdistan. Why does not that principle apply to a place like Ethiopia? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I did anything to discourage you from applying that principle. In general, our position around the world has always been that any decisions on borders and status have to be done through peaceful, democratic processes, and that's the principle we're applying here. Q Who, in the U.S. view, are the people who would be making the peaceful, democratic decision? The people of Eritrea or the people of Ethiopia? MR. BOUCHER: I think this was explained at some length by Hank Cohen when he was in London. I'd really refer you back to that. Q Your first answer to Jim's first question brings to mind the statement you read yesterday, or Margaret read yesterday, which speaks of the U.S. desire for some sort of a broad-based government. MR. BOUCHER: That's right. Q I didn't ask yesterday, but it's apropos now. Does that mean you want all these -- the U.S. would like to see all these rebel elements and the residue of the government that's been swept away, etc? This is apropos? You're telling us that it's a matter for the government to decide? MR. BOUCHER: It's a matter for the Ethiopians to decide through this process that they've established. As you remember, from Hank Cohen's briefings in London, they will get together again before July 1 with a very broad-based group of Ethiopians from all sectors and all political factions and will work on the issues of the transition to a democratic government. Q Would that same principle apply, for example, if the Province of Tigre should choose independence? MR. BOUCHER: Again, the ultimate decisions about democracy and relations between different parts of the country in Ethiopia are to emerge from this transition process to a democratic government. We've always stressed that should be a peaceful and democratic process. That's the process that was started in London and it will continue again when they meet again. Q Richard, the Eritrean Front leaders said that they wouldn't take part in a transitional government. Can you clarify whether they will take part in the July 1 talks? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I can do that for you at this point. Q Anything further on the embassy where there were demonstrations yesterday -- one person killed? MR. BOUCHER: That's right. Let me run through yesterday. There were demonstrations yesterday outside our Embassy in Addis Ababa. Our Embassy and other embassies in Addis are being guarded by members of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front. Sadly, we learned yesterday that during the demonstrations, one of the demonstrators was shot and killed outside our Embassy. My understanding is that today there have been more demonstrations in various parts of the city but none outside our Embassy. The demonstrators are apparently concerned about the entry of the rebels into the capital, and they're afraid that the agreements in London will somehow impose a government on Ethiopia which is not of the Ethiopians' own choosing. Our policy throughout has been to encourage all Ethiopian groups to work together to stabilize the situation, maintain an orderly transition, and move quickly to a democratic government that represents all political factions and points of view. More generally, the situation around the city is that the forces of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front have basically secured control throughout the city. There doesn't appear to be any armed resistance, but, as I mentioned, there are a number of demonstrations still taking place in various areas around the city. They have lifted the 24-hour curfew, called on all residents of the city to resume normal work. There is still a nighttime curfew in effect, from 7:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. We have reports that they have acted quickly to stop outbreaks of looting. Their forces are still protecting our Embassy as well as others. Our Embassy continues to advise American citizens in Addis Ababa to stay where they are for the time being and not to travel around the city. Q Richard, other than the public statement you just made, is the United States making any other attempts to communicate to rebel groups there that are unhappy with the arrangement, or suspicious of it, that our intent is for all players to have a role? MR. BOUCHER: We have made a number of public statements, including the statements made by Assistant Secretary Cohen in London. We've also been in touch in London and in other places with various leaders of the rebel factions, with people in the former government. So I think this is a consistent line that we're taking both publicly and in the meetings that we're having with people. Q Could I ask you, please, if -- Q Still on the other subject. In these London talks, is Assistant Secretary Cohen in touch at all with the Eritrean delegation? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. They were part of the talks. Q And is he encouraging them to remain in the union, as it were? MR. BOUCHER: He, again, has been working with them, as I said, to encourage all the groups to work together to stabilize the situation and to develop an orderly process of peaceful and democratic transition. That's what he's been working on with them so far. Q Where is he now -- in Lisbon? MR. BOUCHER: I think he's going to Lisbon. Q The President's arms initiative. Do you happen to know about this Paris meeting next month? What level? When? Maybe next month? MR. BOUCHER: We don't have a lot of detail for you at this point. We're still in consultation with others that are involved. The French, of course, as you know from the President's announcement, have agreed to host the initial suppliers' meetings. We think that Under Secretary for International Security Affairs Bartholomew would lead the U.S. delegation to the meeting. We're now consulting with the intended participants on the details related to that meeting, so I don't have any further specifics for you. As we announced yesterday, the initiative calls for the five major suppliers of conventional arms to the Middle East to meet to discuss the guidelines for restrains on destabilizing conventional arms tranfers as well as weapons of mass destruction. Discussions begin with these five nations because they have been responsible for a significant portion of the conventional arms transfers to the region, and we share a special responsibility for developing responsible arms transfer policies. Q (Inaudible) June when? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. Q But it is June? MR. BOUCHER: I can't say for sure since the date hasn't been set. It will be in the upcoming weeks. Q Another part of the initiative calls for a freeze on all nuclear materials, including weapons and such. Does the State Department believe that there are currently any actual nuclear powers in the Middle East? MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check and see what the standard answer is on that, Jim. (Laughter) Q How about the truthful answer? MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to see what the appropriate answer is, John.

[Cuba: Nuclear Reactors]

Q Richard, on the question of nuclear materials, television last night carried a story on two nuclear reactors being built in Cuba with Soviet workmanship and Soviet materials, which are claimed to be defective. Is the United States encouraging Western suppliers, who would normally not ship such material to Cuba, to, in fact, ease up on their requirements and be able to ship material and perhaps experts into Cuba to help the Cubans build their reactors so that they're operated in a safe fashion? MR. BOUCHER: John, I haven't seen any reports of Western suppliers being involved in any way. I'll check on that and see if we've had any contacts. We do know something about these reactors. The Soviets are providing construction materials and management as well as operational training for the nuclear power plant -- this is the one at Cienfuegos -- which consists of two nuclear reactors. The reactors are advanced models of the Soviet advanced pressurized water reactors. These are not the same design as used in Chernobyl. They contain essential safety features similar to U.S. standards. The first reactor is not scheduled to begin operations before 1993. The facility is close to the United States and many other countries. Cuba and the Soviets do have a responsibility to the countries of the region to ensure that the facility is constructed and operated safely and in accordance with international standards. We've told the Cubans and others that we want to see the facility operated in a safe manner. We understand that the Cubans have been discussing nuclear safety with other countries in the region. I point out that in October 1989, when the facility was in the early stage of construction, we arranged an exchange of visits which allowed a Nuclear Regulatory Commission official to visit Cienfuegos, and we would hope to arrange more such visits. Q Can you tell us the results of that meeting? What he or she discovered, found out? MR. BOUCHER: In 1989? I don't have anything handy with me. But, as I said, our understanding is that the design of these reactors contain essential safety features very similar to U.S. standards. Q Is the United States satisfied with what it knows through this visit and other, perhaps technical, means that the reactors are being constructed in such a manner as to be safe? MR. BOUCHER: As I said, our understanding is that the reactor design does contain the essential safety features, but we do think that the Cubans and the Soviets have a responsibility for ensuring that as it's constructed and when it's completed and during the whole process, that the high standards of safety are maintained. Q The question is not one of design. The question is, how is the design being carried out? The report last night from several defectors who had worked specifically on the plant said that the design is not being carried out in a safe fashion and gave specifics of bad welds, for example, that are being made there. It raised questions about the safety. MR. BOUCHER: Since our last visit to the place in October '89, I don't have any updated information that could give you that kind of information, independently, on how the reactor is being constructed. That's why I continue to point out that we do think that the Soviets and the Cubans have this responsibility to assure people that as it's constructed and built that it will be completely safe. Q Richard, are there reasons for the State Department and the Government of the United States to be concerned about the way in which the design is being carried out? MR. BOUCHER: Again, John, I have to go back to say that we're concerned with the nuclear facility that's being built close to our country and to other countries in the region. We know something about the design of the reactor. We think that it does incorporate essential safety features, but it's something that we maintain an interest in because we think that the countries involved need to be able to assure the rest of us that this will be built in a fashion that's completely compatible with safety standards. I can't at this point give you a judgment on welds and constructions materials. Q Richard, in light of the allegations that were made that the construction is faulty, some of the materials are perhaps no good, how might you satisfy yourselves that it is safe, that it will be safe when it is finished? MR. BOUCHER: It's essentially the same question. I've said that we think that they have a responsibility to be able to assure us of those things. We said that we had a visit 2 years ago and that we would hope to arrange future visits. Q Richard, are you confident that this reactor or these reactors would be used strictly for the purpose of power -- nuclear power -- or could it be used for some other weapons-related procurement or plutonium or -- MR. BOUCHER: I haven't heard any concerns of that sort raised. The reactors, as I said, are of a standard design that we're familiar with. The Cubans have full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on the nuclear material. On current projects, they have not signed the Treaty of Tlatelolco which would establish a nuclear weapons-free zone in Latin America, and of course we've always said we'd like them to sign that. Q Richard, could I come back to my original question, please? Would you take the question of whether the United States has told Western suppliers that it will, in effect, look the other way if they supply first-quality material and perhaps workmanship to the Cubans in order to ensure that the reactor goes on line safely? MR. BOUCHER: I'll see if we've had any such contacts, John. Q Richard, if I may take the same question one step further, is the United States ready to help with technicians or by technical assistance to guarantee the safe operation of the plant there? MR. BOUCHER: I think I'd have to go back and say that we've already had an exchange of visits dealing with the issue of nuclear safety where at least we exchanged opinions and technical expertise, and we would hope to have more such visits. Q Richard, Secretary Cheney is in Israel where he announced -- Q Hang on just a second, Pat. Let's finish this subject, if we could, please, before -- when the official from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission visited Cuba, did he write a report of his visit? Is that report available? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know, John. I'd have to check. Q Could you check -- MR. BOUCHER: I'll check. Q -- and could it be made available if it -- MR. BOUCHER: If it's available, we'll make it available. Pat?

[Israel: US Policy on Arms Transfers]

Q Secretary Cheney in Israel was announcing millions of dollars in U.S. money for their Arrow anti-missile system, and that we would be giving them F-15 jets, and this comes a day after President Bush's speech about trying to halt weapons proliferation in the Middle East. So how does that jibe? MR. BOUCHER: No problem, Pat. (Laughter) Let me -- Q Next topic. MR. BOUCHER: Let me remind you of a couple of things, first of all, that the President said that the legitimate defensive needs of countries in the region could continue to be met. For specifics, I'd point out on the F-15s, these are older F-15A models. They come from excess defense stocks. They're equipped primarily with air-defense weapons with limited offensive capability. Note that the F-15, including more advanced versions, is already in the Israeli inventory. We do remain committed to our longstanding policy to maintain the security of Israel, and we maintain a responsibility to our friends in the region to help them meet their defensive needs. Security, deterrence, as well as arms sales restraints, are all a part of peace and stability. Our proposals allow a reasonable level of arms transfers to Middle Eastern countries when they're not destabilizing, and they will enhance the ability of regional states, including Israel, to meet their legitimate defensive needs. Our goal is to prevent the sort of arms buildup that allowed Iraq to commit aggression against its neighbors. Q Is this the right message, though, to be sending, such a short time after Secretary Baker was critical of Israel for continuing to build settlements, and that that's the biggest obstacle to the peace process? Is that how we reinforce our displeasure? MR. BOUCHER: You asked that question at the White House, and I'll refer you to the answer that Marlin gave you. I listen too. Q Richard, on another topic -- Q No. Same topic. Is the United States already unilaterally applying President Bush's policy of responsible, stabilizing arms sales? MR. BOUCHER: Basically, yes, Alan. I mean, the idea of destabilization and how arms sales would affect the balance in the region has always been a feature of U.S. arms sales laws. You know that we've always had strong support for things like the Missile Technology Control Regime. We've always had strong safeguards on nuclear supplies that we might issue. So we have a lot of laws that already govern these things. The President has taken new initiatives in the area of chemical weapons recently and announced these other new initiatives that are completely in harmony with what we've been doing and extended somewhat further in terms of the region, in terms of global outlook. Q But under the President's proposal, who would decide what is a legitimate arms sale and what is a destabilizing arms sale? MR. BOUCHER: That issue is something that, under the President's proposal, is going to be addressed by the participants. It's going to be addressed, first of all, at the meeting in Paris of the five major countries. Without prejudging the outcome, I can tell you what some of the factors might be in that kind of consideration in establishing those sorts of guidelines. Does the transfer introduce a new type or a level of sophistication to the region that wasn't there before? Will it increase power projection capabilities, or is it essentially a defensive element, or is it likely to result in escalating competitive purchases by neighboring states? Those are the kinds of factors that have to be considered as these countries start to work together to develop guidelines for responsible arms transfers. Q How about the type of government? Democratic oriented governments preferable, or do we waive that in terms of the Middle East? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure there are an awful lot of factors that will be thought of as further consideration of this is given by the various countries, and certainly the intentions of the governments that might acquire them and use them would certainly be a major factor. Q But isn't the idea that any prospective arms sales by these particular countries would be submitted to the group as a whole for approval or consideration as to whether they fit into the criteria which you've listed and any other that might be added later? MR. BOUCHER: That's not the exact way it's done. I think I'd best get you the White House fact sheet, and you can see what -- Q That's a little vague, that White House fact sheet. Q That won't help. MR. BOUCHER: No, it's not. It talked about establishing the guidelines. I probably won't remember all the pieces of it -- I should have brought it -- but, establishing the guidelines; going back to countries; consulting if we thought that guidelines were not being followed; annual reporting to each other; and a few other things that I don't remember. Q Do you happen to know if all five countries have agreed to go to that Paris meeting? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know for sure at this point. Q I think you've seen generally some of the reactions from various countries on the wires. The Soviets said it was positive. The Japanese, I think, were out there. Israelis and others have already spoken for themselves. Q China, of course, is the question mark. You can't update? Q Would you please define the Middle East geographically for the purpose of this initiative, because I don't know. MR. BOUCHER: Again, that's in the White House fact sheet, and the information provided, it's from the Magreb to the Gulf -- or the Gulf to the Magreb. Either way, Barry. Q Richard, some time ago, the United States presented a number of demarches to Czechoslovakia, because they were thinking of selling tanks to Syria and Iran. Do you know if anything came of that? Do you know what the status of that particular story is? MR. BOUCHER: I haven't seen anything recently. I'd have to check. Q Has China shown any willingness to join the Missile Technology Control Regime and become a signatory to that? MR. BOUCHER: That's something you'd have to ask the Chinese. Q I'm wondering whether or not -- I mean, they're not even a member of this regime which we consider extraordinarily important, and yet we're talking about ceasing the flow of arms to the Middle East, including Syria, obviously, which they apparently are helping to provide. So how important is it, as far as we're concerned, for them to be a member of this regime? MR. BOUCHER: I'll stick with what I said before -- that we think that the five countries that we're starting out with have a special responsibility, and we certainly would hope that they would all participate. Q Richard, do you know if the State Department's finished examining the right-to-travel law that the Soviets passed, to see if it passes U.S. muster? MR. BOUCHER: If you're asking, have we made a decision, which would essentially be a Presidential decision on submitting the trade agreement, the answer is no. Q Well, I don't want to go that far. The first step was to look at that law and see if it satisfies what the U.S. considers to be an international right to leave your own country. You know, to see if there were sort of bureaucratic obstacles built into the legislation. MR. BOUCHER: The answer is no, we're still reviewing the law. Q Richard, on Kuwait, there are press reports of continued torture by Kuwaiti soldiers of Palestinians and Iraqis. I wonder if you have anything on the specific instances reported this morning and whether the Ambassador has raised those reports with the Government of Kuwait. MR. BOUCHER: Someone called those reports to my attention, but at this point I don't have any information on those particular allegations. We have passed the details of the story on to our Embassy in Kuwait. We've asked our Embassy to look into it. I'd point out that on Sunday, the Crown Prince gave a stern public warning to security officials that such activities would not be tolerated. He and other officials have told us the same thing in private. Kuwaiti officials have also met with Palestinians leaders in the last day or two in order to reassure them about the government's efforts. We look forward to the government vigorously investigating these latest allegations and doing everything possible to ensure that the mistreatment of Palestinians and others has, in fact, ended. Q But you don't know if, privately, doctors in hospitals have complained to the United States Government about the abuse they have witnessed? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any reports about those kinds of allegations that were in the article. I'm sure we'll be checking them out. As I said, we passed the details to the Embassy and asked them to check these out -- both themselves and with the Kuwaiti Government. Q Richard, if I could go to Iraq for a moment: Last week there was this rather alarming Harvard study of a number of childhood deaths that would occur in Iraq because of, basically, the shattered infrastructure of the country. I'm not sure that we ever really got a reaction from that podium on this rather alarming scenario that they said, as the summer months approached, was going to get worse, and so on. MR. BOUCHER: I don't remember if we ever gave the reaction from this podium or not. I think we did have something prepared. Essentially they identified the kinds of problems that we and the international agencies have identified already. If you look in our Iraq situation updates -- and I think we pulled some of this stuff out separately -- you'll see that the International Red Cross, UNICEF, other organizations are operating throughout Iraq. Some of them are putting in water purification units. There's a lot of anti-diarrheal medicine being distributed; tons and tons of supplies, medicines, and other things that have gone into Iraq from these international agencies to try to take care of these problems. Q I just wanted to follow up for a second: The point of the study was essentially yes, a lot of these humanitarian groups are working in there, but that the fact that there is not clean water and electricity in a lot of the country is the underlying problem; and that unless you do something about that, it's sort of a band aid to have UNICEF in there. MR. BOUCHER: That's why one of the things I pointed out is that one of the efforts that these international organizations have undertaken -- I believe it was first in Basra, and then they did it in other cities as well -- was to establish clean water supplies. They have worked on clean water systems, they've worked on mobile purification units, and things like that. Q And I'm sorry to bother you, but one last thing: Could you just restate what the U.S. policy is on how long sanctions will be in, vis-a-vis how long Saddam Hussein is around? MR. BOUCHER: I'll get you the appropriate quotes. Q Richard, also on that study, they gave a figure, projecting that the war has cost 200,000 lives. Does that sound pretty close to U.S. estimates? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I haven't seen any U.S. estimates. Q Richard, is there a clear idea -- I mean, an advance idea from now as to what kind of representation, the level of representation and the type of representation for the five main supplier countries in the meeting? MR. BOUCHER: I think I just answered that we expected, for our part, that Under Secretary Bartholomew would be going. Q So it's going to be -- Q On the senior official level. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q So it's a political kind of State Department representation, not a Pentagon representation? MR. BOUCHER: Not what? Q Not a Pentagon. MR. BOUCHER: No. My understanding again -- Q O.K. DoD. MR. BOUCHER: I mean, I expect we will end up with interagency teams, with a variety of experts. For our part, we expect it would be Under Secretary Bartholomew that would head our delegation. Q Kind of interagency? MR. BOUCHER: I would expect that would be the case. The details are still being worked out. I can't give you delegation lists. Q Speaking of Bartholomew, before the President's speech -- several days, I think -- you had announced his trip to China, which I guess would be before this proposed conference. Would this proposal be at the top of his agenda there? MR. BOUCHER: I'm certainly sure it would be part of the agenda that he would discuss. Yes. Q Could you lend us some insight into the thinking of doing it at senior official level, because when Mulroney originally put forward the idea, he was thinking of heads of government. There are many levels in between that one could pick, like foreign ministry level. Why particularly senior official level? Why not give it more of a high-level imprimatur by sending the Secretary of State there, for instance? MR. BOUCHER: Alan, I don't have any particular insight into the thinking on that, and, as I said, the details are still being discussed, and I guess there's always the possibility that things might change. One of the things that you'll remember from the President's statement is this was an initial meeting; that we look forward to the G-7 meeting in London as well as an opportunity to further discuss these issues with other countries. And, of course, that takes place at the head of state level, and ministers have a number of meetings as well. Q Yes. But the Soviet Union so far is not part of the G-7, or that might change too, and China would be there come what may. MR. BOUCHER: This is a matter of discussion. It's been a matter of discussion on Secretary Baker's trips where he's discussed it with other countries. So it's been a matter of discussion at different levels all along, and I would expect that will continue to be the case. Q Richard, is Bob Zoellick involved in the meetings with the Soviet delegation over at the White House? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. That's right. They're having more expert sort of meetings with the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Michael Boskin, Zoellick, Mulford from Treasury, and some other NSC officials. It's taking place throughout the day. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:05 p.m.)

US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #90: Friday, 5/31/91

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: 12:28 PM, Washington, DC Date: May 31, 19915/31/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, South Asia, East Asia Country: Iraq, Kuwait, Ethiopia, Cuba, Israel, Vietnam, Yugoslavia (former), Syria Subject: Trade/Economics, POW/MIA Issues, Development/Relief Aid, Nuclear Nonproliferation, Democratization (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Yesterday we were talking about the Cuban nuclear power program, and I think we left a couple questions suspended and we didn't get answers to you in the afternoon. So, if I can, let me update you on a little more information that I found out on what can be done to look at the safety of the construction and what we're telling other countries in our contacts with them.

[Cuba: Safety of Nuclear Reactors]

Cuba has access to technical assistance needed for safe operation of its nuclear power program, both through bilateral arrangements and through the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA could provide technical advice on the plant construction to assure plant safety, including quality assurance, civil and engineering works, and preparation for startup and operation. We understand that the IAEA and Cuban officials are discussing the possibility of such an advisory mission. I don't have any more details on it at this point. Concerning bilateral arrangements, the United States has told other suppliers that nuclear cooperation with Cuba should be limited to safety until Cuba makes an international non- proliferation commitment by signing the Treaty of Tlatelolco. We believe that such cooperation is best done in coordination with the IAEA and should include visits by international and regional specialists. And then I mentioned yesterday the visit that we, ourselves, had undertaken in 1989 and the hope that we have that we could arrange more such visits. So taking care of that, I'd be glad to take your questions from today. Q Since there is no Barry Schweid today to ask the first question, when you say the U.S. has told other suppliers cooperation should be limited to safety, has it always been limited to safety, or in fact are we now allowing a new measure of cooperation which did not exist before? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think it's quite that we are allowing. I'm not sure what other suppliers, other than the Soviets who are involved, might have done before, but I don't think other countries might have the same restrictions that we would have on our own sales and cooperation with Cuba. Our recommendation in this case to other countries, as we discussed these reactors in Cuba, is that those that are contemplating some sort of assistance or association with the project, that they limit their cooperation to the area of safety, and that that's the most important, and it should be done in conjunction with the IAEA. Q And if the IAEA could provide technical advice, they are not now providing technical advice, is that correct? MR. BOUCHER: No. But, as I said, I understand they're discussing the possibility of such an advice mission. John, let me correct that. I think there have been exchanges with the IAEA and Cuba on more specific technical areas, not specifically this area that we're talking about here of plant safety and construction and operation. Q And just to dot the "I" and cross the "T," has Cuba, in fact, received two research reactors from the Soviet Union, and is it now in the process of putting those on line? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything on that for you today. I'll have to check and get you something on that. Q Referring to your amazingly explicit statement on nuclear developments in the Middle East, can you please explain to me why the United States does not identify specific countries as having nuclear capabilities? MR. BOUCHER: I think it's largely, Alan, a question of the information that we have and how we got it. Q I mean, it's been widely testified, including testimony by Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at Dimona, including full-color photographs, that Israel has such a program and such a capability. I fail to understand why the United States goes along with the Israeli fiction of refusing to confirm or deny the existence of such weapons. Whose interest does this serve? Does it serve the interests of the American people or the world as a whole, or does it serve the interests of Israel? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid you know that in many cases around the world where we have information on the activities that might be going on in other countries, wherever they are, we're not in a position to share that information. Q Can you enlighten us any further on the Secretary's meeting tomorrow with Farouk al-Shara? MR. BOUCHER: I can tell you that five minutes before I came down here, I got the transcript of what he said about it in Lisbon, and I'd be glad to throw it in the photocopier when we finish here. Q Do you know of any plans for anything else to be added onto that trip? MR. BOUCHER: That's the only thing that they've announced that I'm aware of. Q And are there any plans to add anything, front or back, to the trip next weekend to the NAC? MR. BOUCHER: I haven't heard of any changes in the schedule, but again I never rule anything out. Q And the Secretary is still coming home tomorrow, is that correct? MR. BOUCHER: He is still coming home tomorrow.

[Vietnam: Road-Map to Normal Relations]

Q Richard, did you have something on a letter by the Foreign Minister of North Vietnam to Secretary Baker and the contents of it, and what the reaction is? MR. BOUCHER: There was a letter dated April 20 that was brought back by General Vessey's delegation that went to Hanoi. Without trying to describe what the Vietnamese put in their letter, I think we can say that it was consistent with Vietnamese public statements. To remind you, on April 20 Vietnamese Foreign Minister Thach stated publicly that his government has neither accepted nor rejected the U.S. road-map approach, and this position was recently reaffirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson in Hanoi. Q Specifically, didn't he accuse the United States -- or say that the U.N. plan in Cambodia would allow the Khmer Rouge to broker relations between the United States and Vietnam? MR. BOUCHER: Again, I don't want to try to describe for the Vietnamese something that was in their letter, but certainly that is not our view of the situation. As we see it, this situation is that a longstanding key objective of U.S. policy has been to prevent the return of the Khmer Rouge to power. It is our view that the best way to ensure that is through adoption of a comprehensive political settlement drafted by the Permanent Five members of the United Nations Security Council. That approach was unanimously endorsed by the U.N. Security Council in Resolution 668 on September 20th and by the U.N. General Assembly by acclamation on October 15 of 1990. To date, all three resistance factions have indicated that they're prepared to accept the agreement. Only the Phnom Penh authorities and Hanoi are holding back. There's a meeting of the Cambodian Supreme National Council in Jakarta on June 2 to 4. We see that meeting as offering the opportunity to make real progress toward full acceptance of the agreement, and we urge all parties to approach this meeting in a constructive spirit. Q Just one other thing, wasn't there an invitation to Under Secretary Kimmitt to come to North Vietnam in the letter? MR. BOUCHER: Our view of the -- again, without commenting on what the Vietnamese have to say for themselves, they can say it for themselves. Our view on meetings it that we certainly do welcome further discussion with representatives of the Vietnamese Government about our proposal. We have a regular established channel for this purpose in New York with Vietnam's permanent representative to the United Nations. We have also used other opportunities to try to advance the process. For example, during General Vessey's mission to Hanoi in late April, the road-map was discussed. We have indicated our willingness to consider further consultations. However, the level and the venue for such exchanges would be dependent on Vietnam's response to our proposal. Q Excuse me. When you said that the road-map was discussed during General Vessey's visit, I have a distinct memory -- and others here might also have one -- of it being stated from this very podium that that mission was only and solely to discuss questions of MIAs and POWs. MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure if we used "only" and "solely." The focus of the mission, the purpose of sending the mission, was clearly MIAs and POWs. I think you'll remember from reports and statements the delegation made at the time, that the road-map did arise in some of their discussions. Q Richard, why does the Department continue to use the term "North Vietnam?" Isn't that kind of archaic now? MR. BOUCHER: (Inaudible) use that? Q Yes. Q I think you (inaudible) the question. MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't think I did. Q I thought the answer -- MR. BOUCHER: No. I kept saying Vietnam. If I said North Vietnam, I said it incorrectly.

[Yugoslavia: Croatian Independence]

Q Do you have a reaction to the statement by Croatia that they're going to break away from the federation of Yugoslavia if the constitutional crisis isn't solved by the end of June? MR. BOUCHER: I didn't bring with me what I had yesterday which explained, I think, in more detail what the situation is for the next 30 days. Basically, our reaction is that we continue to support a peaceful, democratic, united Yugoslavia achieved through peaceful dialogue. Q The French announced yesterday they were going to try to get the U.S. to drop its opposition to attending an oil meeting between the producing and consuming countries in Paris, which they're planning to hold July 1-2. They did this in the presence of the President of Venezuela who was there. Do you have any comment? MR. BOUCHER: I saw the press report. I didn't have time to look into it. I'll have to look into it for you.

[Ethiopia: US Supports Peacful Transition]

Q I had a question on Ethiopia. Now that the Administration supports the principle of self-determination for the Eritreans and a referendum which could possibly lead to Eritrean independence, is the Administration now going to apply this same principle of self-determination to other countries such as the Soviet Union or maybe even Iraq? MR. BOUCHER: We went round and round on that, to some extent, yesterday with regard to Eritrea. The principles involved, I think, are that we've always stood for the territorial integrity of countries with certain specific exceptions where non-recognition was involved -- the incorporation of the Baltic states. We have said, I think, in all these cases that decisions that are made have to be made by the people of the countries themselves. They have to be made peacefully, and they should be made through democratic processes. Q At the risk of going around the tables again -- unfortunately, I wasn't a participant -- was U.S. support for the principle of self-determination for the Eritreans a pre-condition for attendance by the Eritrean representatives or the Ethiopian rebels at the peace talks in London? MR. BOUCHER: Was it a pre-condition for our allowing them -- Q No, for them to attend. For them to be willing to attend. MR. BOUCHER: Was it their pre-condition to be willing to attend? I don't know. You'll have to ask them what their pre-conditions were. Q No. Let me rephrase the question, then. Did the United States offer -- I mean, this is a reversal of policy, and that's on the record. Did the U.S., or the Administration, change its policy on Eritrean independence, or self-determination, in order to persuade the Eritrean representatives, or the Ethiopian rebels, to attend the peace talks in London? MR. BOUCHER: Again, our policy on attending the peace talks was that we encourage the major groups involved, including the government and the three major rebel factions, to attend meetings in London that could lead to a peaceful and stable transition. Those meetings then resulted in some understandings, or decisions, about future meetings that will involve broader groups of people; understandings that the Eritreans, who have not previously been consulted on their status, should be able to make a decision on self-determination, and resulted in certain other things that are being carried out on the ground at this point. The ultimate resolution of all these issues depends on a peaceful dialogue, a broader-based dialogue among Ethiopians that is planned for some time in the month of June. Q So, in other words, you're not rejecting my contention that the price of attendance by the Eritrean rebels at the London talks was, indeed, U.S. support for Eritrean self-determination? MR. BOUCHER: You can ask them if they put up such a price again. I think our desire to get them together, our encouragement of getting together was based solely on the desire to see the major players involved work out a stable transition. Q What makes the Eritreans so special in that they are to be accorded this right where others are not, in the view of the United States? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we've ever said that people should be denied a right to express their view of their future. We've always said it should be able to be expressed democratically. Q So you support the right of the Kurds to express a view of their future? MR. BOUCHER: Alan, I can't blanket one situation in one country onto every other country in the world at every moment in history. I don't think that's very useful in terms of policy. Q Let's take two specific situations -- the Eritreans a-- MR. BOUCHER: What is important is that in all these cases, we have said that people need to work out their futures by democratic means, by peaceful means. That is basically how we approach these issues. In each country, circumstances are obviously different. Q To take another example, did you just state that you support the peaceful, democratic unity of Yugoslavia, or words to that effect, when the Croatians, only one week ago, had a referendum in which a huge majority voted for something different. MR. BOUCHER: That has always been our policy on Yugoslavia. That is the policy that we continue to uphold on Yugoslavia, and that is a policy that we explained in much more detail in a 5-page statement we put out last Friday. Q But it really didn't explain it very well, Richard, with all due respect. MR. BOUCHER: I thought it did. Q You specifically use the words "self-determination" when referring to Yugoslavia, and "unification," in the same sense, I believe. Clearly, many of the peoples there don't believe the two are compatible. How do you reconcile the two when those people you're urging to bring about self-determination are saying unity is not part of that? MR. BOUCHER: I just have to say this is a tremendously theoretical discussion. Q It's not theoretical there. MR. BOUCHER: The exposition of the U.S. policy on Yugoslavia was contained in five pages that we put out last Friday. I think our views on unity, on democracy, on peaceful dialogue were clearly stated. They were backed up with a rationale and reasoning for why they were important in this case, and I'll stick with that. Q Can I ask you one more very general and theoretical question? Are there broad, moral principles running through the entire range of U.S. foreign policy? MR. BOUCHER: There certainly are, Alan, but I'm not in a position to list them all for you right here. Q Sorry. I have one last crack myself. These are not theoretical questions concerning Ethiopia because, as we know, there were peace talks and there was broad agreement, and everybody recognizes that Secretary Cohen seized an opportunity and there seems to have some progress toward some sort of end to a very bloody and costly civil war. But the problem is, people are saying U.S. support for the principle of self-determination for the Eritreans could actually lead to the breakup of Ethiopia. So we, here, I think, are trying to understand why the U.S. reversed policy, why it's risking setting precedent which could be applied elsewhere. MR. BOUCHER: I really think the answers to these are probably best explained by what Assistant Secretary Cohen said himself when he was in London. I don't have that with me, but let me try to get you something on that later. Q Do you have anything on the week-long conversations in Caracas between the FMLN and the government? MR. BOUCHER: Nothing at this point. I think you've seen what we've said in the past. We've urged them to move quickly to agree to a cease-fire. Q Richard, last night, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said that the only chance for the future of Israel, for the existing of Israel, is if Israel has a new generation of Jews that will never give up a piece of Israeli land. This is something stronger that he's probably ever said. Do you have any reaction to this, any comment? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid I just hadn't seen that statement. I don't have any reaction. Q Can you look at it? MR. BOUCHER: I'll see. Q As Barry Schweid says, Thank you very much." (Press briefing concluded at 12:47 p.m.)