US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #105, Tuesday, 6/25/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:09 PM, Washington, DC Date: Jun 25, 19916/25/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, E/C Europe, Europe, Southeast Asia, Subsaharan Africa, Polar Regions Country: Iraq, Kuwait, Israel, Yugoslavia (former), North Korea, Cambodia, Germany, China, Antarctica, Libya, Croatia, Slovenia Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Development/Relief Aid, Mideast Peace Process, Democratization, Trade/Economics, Military Affairs, POW/MIA Issues, Arms Control, Human Rights, Science/Technology (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I have two little housekeeping things. Secretary Baker will address the Gannett Foundation on Wednesday, June 26, at 7:45 p.m. at the Gannett Foundation Building, which is 1101 Wilson Boulevard, 22nd floor. The speech is open for press coverage. He will be taking Q ∧ A from the audience at the end of his speech. Press interested in covering the speech should contact Tracy Quinn at (703) 284-2804. I can't answer your questions concerning an advance text yet. I don't know when we're going to have or if we'll have one; and, two, the topic will be "The Role of a Free Media in Central and Eastern Europe." Q And the date again? Q The number again? MS. TUTWILER: Wednesday -- this Wednesday of this week, June 26, 7:45 p.m. What do you want, Barry? The girl's name? Q The telephone number again? MS. TUTWILER: Tracy Quinn, (703) 284-2804; or a man named Brian J. Buchanan, (703) 284-2802. Q This is a dinner, Margaret? MS. TUTWILER: It's my understanding it's dinner, yes. And he will be the dinner speaker and then do Q ∧ A. One other thing that I thought you would be interested in knowing. I talked to Reggie [Bartholomew] this morning. He will be leaving tonight -- very, very late tonight -- and he will be traveling with a team of senior interagency officials for Geneva. He does not yet have a time when he will return or the length of the talks. But his first talks will be tomorrow. As you know, he will also be supported there by our START delegation that the Secretary has told you about that has already been supplemented by additional experts there in Geneva. Q Evidently, Reggie-type people are coming from other parts of the government. Do you have those parts or those people? MS. TUTWILER: Do I have a list of who is going? No, I don't. Q Just key figures like who is the Pentagon person, or something like that? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I asked him this morning if Assistant Secretary Hadley was going from the Pentagon. He said he was. My understanding is the National Security senior person, Arnie Kantor, is going. I just don't have the list, but I'll be happy to ask upstairs and post one for you. Q Could we ask you -- there are lots of things to ask you about. MS. TUTWILER: There are? Q But most in mind is the Slovenia-Croatian moves to secession. MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Let me preface this by saying, on Friday, which was 3 days ago, the Secretary of State had seven different press briefings and addressed himself, I feel quite extensively, to the United States policy concerning this situation. As of today, it is our understanding that at 2:00 p.m. today, the Croatian Republic Assembly is going to make a unilateral assertion of independence from Yugoslavia, and we regret this. Right now, Barry, we cannot give you exactly what the Slovenian Republic is doing. We've heard it a number of different ways this morning. Some, they're going an hour before; some, they're going a day after; some, they're going several hours after. So we just do not have something we feel comfortable with, saying we know for sure what they are going to do. Q Is it still U.S. policy not to recognize these two republics should they go ahead -- MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q In addition to regretting it, does the State Department see any dangers, any new round of a Balkanization with -- MS. TUTWILER: Jim, the Secretary -- and, again, I'm not trying to duck you -- is so extensively on the record, just on Friday while we were there in Belgrade. As you know, he met with all six republic leaders. He spoke to the press at the beginning of each one of those meetings or at the end. He gave a final wrap-up, closing statement of what he ascertained during his very extensive day in Yugoslavia. I'm really not ducking you, but I don't have a lot to add to what he said on nine different occasions, including his own closing statement. He said that we and the EC and others -- as you know, just in Berlin, CSCE issued a statement on Yugoslavia. He did address himself to, yes, we viewed this as a dangerous situation. I think that he pretty extensively covered almost every aspect of this situation that I can envision. Q In addition to this, Margaret, does -- in addition to failing to recognize Croatia and Slovenia, does the United States plan any other moves which would help to bring pressure to continue the talks toward a federation such as doing anything on IMF membership or in any way trying to bring economic pressure on the new newly independent republics? MS. TUTWILER: As you know, the Secretary -- and you were there with us -- addressed himself to what type of economic pressure the United States could bring to bear. I would refer you to his record on those responses. As you know, our 1991 economic aid to Yugoslavia, it's my understanding, is approximately $5 million, $3.5 million of which has already gone. Concerning your other question, when we left Belgrade, he had sent from the airplane a debrief to the other ministers that he had met with in Berlin. As you know, he had a number of conversations with other concerned members of CSCE and the EC, who were very concerned about the situation in Yugoslavia. Over the weekend, he has not had any specific phone calls with the Foreign Ministers. His last personal involvement was this debriefing cable. As he said, in that last press conference in Belgrade, we will continue, obviously, to review the situation with others and see what, if anything, we can all do. Q Margaret, can you be a little more specific about -- the Secretary, as you know, at the end of those talks, said that his talks had not allayed his fears. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q But to be a little more specific about that now, considering the situation developing today, did the Secretary did get any sort of assurances from the federal officials he spoke to that they will not use force against these republics? MS. TUTWILER: I would refer you to what I have read this morning that the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia is on the record saying concerning force. Check with their government if this is a correct quote or not. I don't seem to have it right here in front me -- here it is. The Prime Minister said, it's my understanding, just this morning, "Even if I were given any form of force, I would not use it." Q Is that the understanding that the Secretary had in private also? MS. TUTWILER: I will again address you back to the Secretary. He was asked his question -- it may have been by you -- on what our views were on the use of force. We have been very articulate on -- and he has -- that we think, as does the international community, that this should be resolved through negotiation, through peaceful means, through dialogue. Q Does the United States now believe that the republics will continue their discussions with the center there on some way of working this out, perhaps in a federation? MS. TUTWILER: He closed by saying that he had reason to hope and believe that the republics that he met with -- he met will all six presidents of the republics -- would, indeed, be willing, but he could not categorically say that there had been any kind of commitment, to try to continue to pursue what we referred to as a dialogue and peaceful negotiation to try to resolve this situation. Q And nothing has changed as a result of this action that you expect today? MS. TUTWILER: Nothing has changed that I personally was made aware of this morning. Q You referred to "others" awhile ago, meaning other countries. Is the United States, as a matter of policy, taking this -- or can this problem be dealt with by any of these new institutions? You have right here in town a 2-day NATO seminar. NATO talks about acting to bring about stability and yet I don't think they contemplate using troops. Is there some CSCE -- is there some European institution that the U.S. thinks should be brought into play here? MS. TUTWILER: As you know, Barry, CSCE issued a unanimous statement while we were in Berlin concerning Yugoslavia. So that's one manifestation of that. As you know, the Secretary -- or maybe you don't -- had a number of meetings with individual Foreign Ministers while we were in Berlin, many of whom are neighbors of Yugoslavia; many of whom have -- as you know, the EC just sent a delegation there in the last 2 weeks. He met again with the EC to see what further measures we could all take and what we could discuss. Right now, I can only characterize those types of discussions, other than the CSCE public document, of continuing concern and discussions in reviewing what, if anything, to be perfectly honest, other neighbors and other countries can do to try to continue to encourage a resolution to this situation through peaceful means. Q Margaret, the Secretary made reference several times when he was in Yugoslavia to a situation analogous to 1914. Could you explain what he means by that? The situation is not such that the breakup of the Yugoslav republic is about to bring about a new world war. I'm sure that wasn't what he meant. Can you explain? MS. TUTWILER: I have refrained in the past and I will refrain today from interpreting what the Secretary of State means and what he intended. He used that, as you know, many times while we were there. I will only tell you, from my experience on this recent trip, that line of thinking was brought up by any number of people that he had separate bilateral meetings with outside of Yugoslavia who were very, very concerned about some type of -- I'm speaking totally hypothetically -- violent disintegration of a country there spilling into other parts of Europe and across other borders. Q Is he relaying a message from other Foreign Ministers, or was this a concern of his? MS. TUTWILER: I think I tried to articulate, John, and said, yes, Secretary Baker said this. But also this was expressed by others who met with the Secretary of State. Q Was the U.S. informed that Kuwait is terminating martial law? I suppose that's something you welcome? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know if we were informed; if Skip Gnehm was told. But I can tell you that this is something that the Kuwaiti Government announced on June 8, that martial law would end on June 25. The Kuwaiti News Agency report confirms this this morning. This fact that the Government of Kuwait feels conditions allow the end of martial law is a positive development. My understanding also, Barry, is that the Minister of Justice said June 8 that all court cases would be considered by the regular court system after June 25, which they said would be the end of martial law. It's the end of martial law. Q In other words, even the convictions which occurred before today will be reviewed by the regular court system that was in effect before martial law? MS. TUTWILER: I don't want to venture a guess on that, Jim. I'm not to that level of detail on this. I will find out if cases that were previously being reviewed after June 25 go to a new court system or continue in the old one. I'll just have to check with the Ambassador at the Embassy. Q Margaret, John Major has made a statement in Parliament, listing four conditions for a withdrawal of British and, presumably, American troops from the safe-haven areas. Do you have anything on that? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen his statement, so I can't comment on something I haven't seen. Q I'll outline them and get a response then? First, he says there has to be an effective U.N. force on the ground; secondly, clear warnings to Iraq about a severe response to any renewed repression; thirdly, a continuing deterrent military presence in the region to back up those warnings, and maintenance of sanctions. Without that, "We will not leave." Is that the position taken by the U.S.? MS. TUTWILER: I'm sure that your characterization of the Prime Minister's remarks are accurate, but I'm not going to start commenting on something that is characterized to me that I haven't seen. As you know, Marlin did, I think, a quite extensive briefing yesterday from the White House concerning where we are on the situation in northern Iraq, and I don't have anything new to add to what he said yesterday, and he went through it quite extensively. Q Is the U.S demand that Iraq pay 50% of its revenues into the Compensation Fund, and is it willing to accept the 30% figure? MS. TUTWILER: I wouldn't characterize it that we have softened our demand. As you know, we had said that we are a member of the coalition. We are a part of this coalition, and our view had been that 50% was a correct figure for compensation. That, obviously, was not the view of the majority of members in the coalition. So the United States is now focusing on the actual percentage of Iraqi oil revenues to be contributed to the Compensation Fund. We believe an actual percentage of 30% is the minimum level to ensure there will be sufficient resources available to begin the claims process, especially for the hundreds of thousands of people with small claims against Iraq for losses and damages resulting from Iraq's illegal invasion and occupation of Kuwait. We have been consulting actively among Security Council members and believe there is significant support for the actual percentage level. My understanding is there are informal discussions that are continuing. They went on last week, and they're continuing this week. I would also like to point out that in addition to Iraqi requirements to finance the Compensation Fund, the Security Council in Resolution 699 declared Iraq liable for the full costs of the work of the U.N. Special Commission to oversee destruction, removal, or rendering harmless of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. So the 30% is separate from the other. Q Margaret, there's a little ambiguity in that minimum sentence. MS. TUTWILER: Minimum level. Q You're saying at least one of two possible things: that to get started, let's work with 30% and think of upscaling later; or you're saying, you don't settle for 30. It has to be at least 30, and there's reason to come to a decision because there's something to be done. MS. TUTWILER: Remember how this is going to work. Whatever you set as a ceiling, it is going to float. Remember, we said they could decide one day for X. It would be this percentage and then in 2 weeks, they can change their minds. So we are saying that 30% is the minimum level -- minimum. I would have to say that we believe that -- as you know, we started at 50%, knowing that this is going to float. We are, and we believe the majority of members now are, are on 30% for the actual level for this compensation. Q It will float according to the level of production? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding, no, is -- I can't remember this -- it definitely floats inside of the ceiling. And, as I remember, the Compensation Committee -- or was it the Security Council -- can determine -- they can change levels. I'll go back to the record and get it all for you. I haven't done this in about a month. But it definitely -- when we were originally on this at 50%, 50% was a ceiling -- that was the United States position going into this. Under the rules that were set up by the U.N. resolution, the amount can float. That's how we explained it the last time we went through this, right? That's how it exists. And the committee then determines and can determine and change their minds, it is my understanding, from one morning to the afternoon. It's not locked in concrete from now until time ends that that is the total percentage. But 30% now will be the ceiling, Jim, and within that it can float. We are for a level of 30%. We believe this is the minimum level that should be applied to this. There are others, I have to assume -- and I'm not an expert in this -- it's been about a month since we did this -- who might feel that this percentage, even 30%, is too high. So when the committee meets -- I cannot remember what triggers the committee meeting -- the Secretary General made a recommendation, as I remember. (TO STAFF) Do you remember what it was, Richard? MR. BOUCHER: I think it's 30%. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Then they can change these percentages. And, if you want more detail, I'll be happy to: (1) refer you to the record when we obviously had this in better detail than I'm pulling out of my memory right now; or (2) we will try to get a more detailed, fuller explanation for you of exactly how this works. Q Margaret, you're saying then it shouldn't float. You're saying it should be 30% and that should be the flat rate. I mean, if 30% is the ceiling, and you say it's also the minimum, that means the ceiling becomes the floor. MS. TUTWILER: I want to say the minimum level, but I'm not going to use the words that you're using. We're obviously working through a coalition. I just stated in response to Jim's question that there are some members who believe that 30% is yet too high. We don't, obviously, if we started at 50%. Q I understand what you're saying, but if you're saying it's the minimum and the Secretary General has said it's also the maximum, my question is how long should it be -- should it be 30% for the whole of the life of this fund, or should it be for the first 5 years, or how long should it be? MS. TUTWILER: I can't answer that for you, Alan. I know that this is what our view is there. I understand what you would like me to say, but I'm not in a position today to tell you that the United States wants it to be 30% from now til the end of time. Q You must have -- Q That's why I asked. MS. TUTWILER: I understand. Q -- because it sounded like to get started, you wanted 30 -- the need to get started -- MS. TUTWILER: Absolutely we did. That's right. Q Are you (inaudible) for some time period that you're telling your allies in the consultations -- MS. TUTWILER: There is an entire chart that we gave to you several weeks ago that shows, based on the different percentages and a United Nations' estimate, as I remember, of what the Secretary General said the Iraqi oil revenues were based on in 1990, which, I believe, were around $21 billion. And we broke out for you and handed out a fact sheet that showed, based on the different percentages, the number of years it would take, at that oil rate, which was the Secretary General's figure, to have the compensation completed. I'll just see if we can re-post it for you. Q Are you trying to get this written into the resolution -- I mean, presumably there will be a resolution that sets up this thing finally. MS. TUTWILER: I don't think we're working on a new resolution at all. The resolution already exists that set up the mechanism and set up the committee. I'm not aware of a new resolution at all. Q Margaret, can you talk to us a little bit about Cambodia, and what's happening with the negotiations? Q Wait, wait. Q Oh, excuse me. Q Just on this: Do you have a comment on the reports that Saddam has asked the Kurds to help him defeat the Shi'as as a condition of their own safety? MS. TUTWILER: I hadn't heard a thing about it. The first I've heard of it. Q And also on -- and forgive me if this came up yesterday, but is the sanctions policy -- that is, the stated policy that sanctions will stay in place as long as Saddam is in power -- being reviewed in this building? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't checked, Johanna, if it's being reviewed. I'm not aware of it. I'll be happy to ask. Q Margaret, if you could talk a just a little bit about Cambodia. Yesterday they signed the agreement about stopping receiving of arms from outside, and I wanted to see if you have any reaction to that about how the talks are going. MS. TUTWILER: I'm aware of the talks. I'm not aware of a specific part of the talks dealing with arms. We welcome today's reported announcement by Phnom Penh leader Hun Sen that that he accepts the Perm Five framework agreement as much as the overall draft settlement agreement. We expect the SNC members to continue to discuss U.N. involvement in the settlement process and hope that they will make progress toward agreement on a comprehensive settlement. That's on the talks that were yesterday and the announcements that were made yesterday. I don't know anything about arms. Q According to reports I saw, the Khmer Rouge were supposed to show up for today's meeting but didn't. MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. Q Do you know anything about that? MS. TUTWILER: This morning, that did not come up in my briefings with this bureau. I don't know. Q Anything further on Korean remains? Senator Smith, who was out there, says there's an agreement. He announced that there is an agreement in principle between the United States and North Korea on the return of the remains of American servicemen -- more than, I guess, just the -- MS. TUTWILER: Eleven? Q Yes. Instant cases. MS. TUTWILER: To be honest with you, I'd refer your questions to the Pentagon. They are doing most of the briefing on this. The latest that I have is on the 11 remains and Senator Smith. My understanding is that there are 8,177 Americans unaccounted for in North Korea. Of this number, 389 were at one time listed as prisoners of war. And, as you know, earlier this year, there were five remains that were returned.* Those have not been identified yet, and certainly the 11 have not. Q And do you -- are you going to keep (inaudible) policy in the joint committee which Senator Smith agreed to have between U.S. parties and North Korea? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of, to be honest with you, of what Senator Smith has -- he's announced some new committee? Q Agreed to have a joint committee to deal with the remaining 8,000 U.S. missing in action. MS. TUTWILER: I'll just have to look into it. It's something I haven't had an opportunity -- Q One more follow-up, please: Two controversial issues surrounding Korean Peninsula are emerging these days. One is that U.S.-North Korean relations, which North Korean *The five remains were returned in 1990. party yesterday hoped to be developed with the transfer of 11 remains. And the second issue is that as appeared on the Washington Times this morning, some U.S. opinion leaders declared that Korean Peninsula should be declared as a nuclear-free zone. So this kind of a two controversial issues could be -- will be included on the summit talks between President Roh and President Bush which is held on 4th of July. MS. TUTWILER: Let me look into both your questions, OK? Q Margaret, there are reports today that Helmut Kohl, who is going to be meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in Kiev, is going to be urging him to adopt a truly radical economic reform program to give to the G-7. I was wondering, did the Secretary of State, while he was in Germany, make a request to Kohl or Genscher that they intercede with Gorbachev and urge him to embrace radical reforms, or, alternatively, did the Germans tell him they were going to be doing this? MS. TUTWILER: He did not have a separate meeting with the Chancellor of Germany while we were in Germany. He did not, that I remember -- other than our day visit to Halle with the Foreign Minister of Germany -- have any such conversation. But I'll be honest with you, he and the Foreign Minister spent an entire day together covering what -- 7 to 8 hours? I didn't think to ask, "What's everything you talked about?" I have never heard that he raised such a thing. It's well known what our policy is, that we would like to see and support moves toward economic reform. Q Margaret, do you have any comment on the recent stories in this city that the Saudi Arabians retreated from promises to the U.S. and to the Israeli lobby to make peace with Israel? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen those stories. I'm not sure exactly what it is you're asking me that's contained in the stories. Q There were specific promises or pledges from the Saudi Arabians to come closer to the Israeli -- MS. TUTWILER: To who? To the Americans or to the Israelis? Q -- to the Israeli recognition and to Israeli direct negotiations, and then they retreated from that after the war. MS. TUTWILER: That's not a characterization that I'm personally aware of. And, as you know, our government has been very, very pleased and appreciative of the efforts of the Saudi Arabian Government to help us by getting the GCC statement. Q The Israeli Defense Minister is in Washington. Is there any conversation with the State Department by phone or meetings? MS. TUTWILER: Right now there's not, Barry. The Defense Minister had not requested such a meeting. If such a meeting is requested or if Secretary Baker thinks that it would be useful, of course, they would meet. I would point out, having said that, there have been a number of times when the Defense Minister is in Washington, D.C., and does not meet with the Secretary of State, in this Administration and previous ones. So there should be nothing read into this. Q Yes. But most of those times recently he came because of the war to discuss war topics with his counterparts at the Department of Defense, so perhaps it was understandable that he didn't see the Secretary of State. MS. TUTWILER: During the war he was here many times, Bill. Q That's true. MS. TUTWILER: In the State Department building. Q Doesn't all this suggest, though, there isn't much going on at the moment? MS. TUTWILER: That would be a good deduction. (Laughter) Q And while we're talking about nothing going on -- MS. TUTWILER: And aren't we lucky. Q Should we put a check mark near today as another day when you didn't hear from the Syrians? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Do you have any comment on -- Q Is there any possibility -- do you have any reason to believe -- I asked this yesterday, but this is another day -- MS. TUTWILER: That's OK. Q -- do you have any reason to believe that they might be preparing a response? MS. TUTWILER: I have every reason to believe that they are considering and thinking about preparing a response. But whether they actually are preparing a response, I have no way of knowing. But I have honest, substantive reasons to believe, based on our conversations with our Ambassador there, that, of course, they have been giving very serious consideration and thought to President Bush's letter to President Assad. Q Are you concerned about their delay? MS. TUTWILER: No. We're not. Q Are you prepared to wait forever? MS. TUTWILER: That's a Presidential decision, not a State Department Spokesman decision. Q It's the old higher pay grade answer. (Laughter) MS. TUTWILER: That's right. Q Margaret, another question, if I may -- Q Margaret, do you have any comment on the recent statements by Prime Minister Shamir that the settlements are unstoppable? MS. TUTWILER: I can restate for you United States' policy. Q Do you have any -- MS. TUTWILER: I mean I don't know how -- no, I don't, other than restating our strongly held policy, as you know, which we've said any number of times from this podium; good friends can agree to disagree agreeably. There, obviously, is a definite disagreement concerning settlement policy. It's well known. No secrets about it. And no, I don't have anything new to add to this story. Q In any case, the famous window of opportunity is still open to some extent. MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q Margaret, Li Peng delivered some rather blistering comments -- MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry. I couldn't hear the first -- Q The Chinese Premier delivered some rather blistering comments about the United States in a threatening way if we did not renew MFN. Do you have any comment to those? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen those statements. I'm not aware of them. Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes, Connie. Q On today's violence in South Africa, does that affect the U.S. decision on sanctions, or do you have any statements about it? MS. TUTWILER: I don't believe that the United States' decisions concerning sanctions are dictated to by violence; they're dictated by law. And the President has said he fully intends to abide by that piece of legislation. I'm not aware of new violence this morning, but I've never heard it linked with violence as far as sanctions. Q Any progress on the political prisoner list? MS. TUTWILER: I didn't check this morning. I'll be happy to see for you. Q OK. And also yesterday, I had asked for some more information on the Antarctic. Do you have any other briefings that you can offer us on that? MS. TUTWILER: On the Antarctic? Q Right. On the collapse of the talks this weekend? MS. TUTWILER: I don't. I'll be happy to see -- Q Have they come back and said there will be no briefing on the Antarctic? Is that what you mean? Or is it still a possibility? MS. TUTWILER: What? Somebody said they were briefing here on Antarctica? Q Or is it still a possibility? MS. TUTWILER: What? Somebody said they were briefing here on Antarctica? Q It being a major event, we asked yesterday if somebody could come down and explain why the United States stands alone amongst all the nations in the world in trying to let mining continue in Antarctica and -- MR. BOUCHER: Our negotiator is not back yet. MS. TUTWILER: Our negotiator is not back in town yet, Richard reports. Q (Inaudible) office told me he'd be back today, though. MS. TUTWILER: He might be a little tired. Where's he coming from? Q Antarctica. (Laughter) MS. TUTWILER: Then he might need a little time to rest. We'll ask. Q No! I made that up. MS. TUTWILER: I don't know where he is. Do you know where he is? Q It's winter there. Q From a good restaurant. MS. TUTWILER: There are reports that the Libyan Government intends to appeal to the International Court of Justice, asking for compensation from the United States Government out of what kind of damage that was done during the raids of April 1986. Do you have any comment on that? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard about such a request. Q Thank you very much. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (The briefing concluded at 12:39 p.m.)