US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #110, Tuesday, 7/2/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12: PM, Washington, DC Date: Jul 2, 19917/2/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa Country: Iraq, Yugoslavia (former), Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia-Montenegro, Israel, Lebanon, USSR (former) Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Regional/Civil Unrest, Democratization, United Nations, Arms Control (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: What I'd like to do is give you a brief update on where we are in Reggie Bartholomew's talks, and then I'd like to make a statement on the overall situation in Yugoslavia and a statement that we have to make. On Reggie: As you know, he's kept me informed very graciously every day on where they are. He is right now in the air on the way home. He gets here sometime tonight. Before he left, he sent me a message that basically said that they had very intensive and productive discussions but that important work remains to be done. He also is not sure and cannot answer the question of whether he and his counterparts will be meeting again, nor can any of us answer today whether the Foreign Ministers will engage on this subject again. At this point, Reggie does not feel, obviously, prior to briefing the Secretary upon his return here tonight, that he's in a position to say either way about whether they will or will not finish this; but, to keep reiterating, important work remains to be done. Obviously, the Secretary and his arms control experts here in this building will be reviewing the meetings in Geneva. Reggie says that there is work still to be done on down-loading, new types and data denial, and on a broad range of other, but still important, issues. Then we'll obviously have a full brief sometime tomorrow with the Secretary of his mission to Geneva. So that's what I know on that. Q Can we request a briefing with Bartholomew, please? MS. TUTWILER: You can request it, but I don't believe it will probably happen. But I'll certainly ask. Q We'll request it and the State Department will refuse it. That's the way it goes. MS. TUTWILER: I'll request it, but I think that probably, as you know, when they are in these intensive negotiations and discussions, I think it would be unusual to step out of that at that time and brief, since they're working so intensively on this. I will be glad to ask him. My honest hunch is that it probably won't happen at this particular time. On Yugoslavia: In recent hours, as many of you know, there is growing evidence that the fragile cease-fire agreed to over the weekend has begun to break down. It goes without saying, we view this situation as a very tense one, a volatile one. To the best of our ability this morning, because it is a confused and constantly changing situation, I will try to tell you what we know and feel comfortable with saying here at the Department that is going on there. As you all know, there have been conflicting press reports today -- and we cannot sort out for you at this briefing which is correct or incorrect -- that the Yugoslav Air Force conducted several bombing raids on the outskirts of Ljubljana, apparently targetting communications facilities. Also today, a major firefight broke out between a Yugoslav army tank battalion and Slovenian forces near the main Zagreb-Ljubljana highway. According to the U.S. Consul in Zagreb, the Yugoslav units had sought to return to their barracks with their tanks and weapons, rather than in buses as demanded by local Slovenian commanders. We understand from press reports that the fight is still in progress, and that there are many casualties. We cannot confirm this or confirm a number for you. The Yugoslav Army has issued a statement threatening massive attacks against Slovenia unless Slovenians desist from threatening the federal army as an occupying force. This morning, the Deputy Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger, called in the Yugoslavian Ambassador to discuss the situation in Yugoslavia. Without going into all the Deputy Secretary had to say, I can tell you that he reminded the Ambassador of what Secretary Baker said when he was in Belgrade on the excessive use of force. He told the Ambassador that we would not condone the use of force. Indeed, we condemned it. As you all will remember, we condemned this last Friday here from this podium. The Deputy Secretary urged the Yugoslav Government to get the federal government troops back to the barracks in Slovenia and in Croatia. He warned of the real danger of the fighting taking place around the Krsko nuclear power plant in Slovenia. He urged that the government do all it can to avoid innocent bloodshed and civilian casualties and expressed our deep concern about the situation in Yugoslavia. Just to remind you all of the United States policy concerning this situation: As you know, we have condemned the use of force and called for an immediate halt to the use of force by all parties, especially the Yugoslav Federal Army. We have opposed unilateral steps because we feared they would contribute to violence and, indeed, as we all are witnessing, they have. Dialogue -- not use of force -- must shape Yugoslavia's future. We do not support the use of force to preserve Yugoslavia's unity. A cooling-off period is needed to launch a dialogue that responds to national aspirations of the people and creates a new basis for relations among the peoples and republics of Yugoslavia. As we have said before, and as the CSCE statement in Berlin emphasized, it is only for the peoples of Yugoslavia themselves to decide on the country's future -- peacefully, by consent and with the full respect for democratic values and human rights. Q You made no mention there about the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia and for the need to preserve it? MS. TUTWILER: That is something, as you know, that we have been on the record about and that we have said, and at the same time by saying that, that whatever is to evolve here in the Yugoslavian situation, it is our strong urge, it is our strong desire, it is our strong belief that it be worked out peacefully through dialogue and not by what we see happening on the ground right now. Q Margaret, are you saying that Yugoslavia now is like Humpty-Dumpty at this point: That all the President's horses and all the President's men won't be able to put it together again? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have a crystal ball for you, Alan. I'm not sure how this situation will evolve. As I said, it's a very volatile situation, it's very fluid, it's changing hourly. It is something that we have, as the rest of the world community has, been urging that the violence cease and that people begin a dialogue, continue a dialogue and try to resolve this very delicate situation through peaceful means. Q Going back to George's question -- Q The nuclear plant that you mentioned in Slovenia has been shut down. Do you have anything on that? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. It is our understanding -- and I believe the Yugoslavian Government has announced this -- that they began over the weekend shut-down procedures. It is my understanding that the nuclear power plant is shut down. As we pointed out, the Deputy Secretary raised our concerns this morning with the Yugoslavian Ambassador. There was fighting near this nuclear power plant yesterday. Today, there is fighting in a city that is near this nuclear power plant. This is obviously something that we view as a very serious and dangerous matter that deserves the urgent attention of all those who are engaged in fighting near or around this plant. Q Margaret, a follow-up on that: Do you have any details how it remains dangerous if the plant is shut down? Is there any chance to get at the nuclear facilities; is that what you're saying? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not in a position today to go into a lot of details for you concerning situations that exist once a power plant has been shut down. I would tell you I would not come out here and characterize it -- even saying we acknowledge it as shut down -- as other than a dangerous situation. Q Let me follow that, Margaret. Is this of the same type -- a reactor of the same type that the Soviets have designed and was in use, for example, at Chernobyl? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know that, Bill. Q Is that why we're concerned -- because of the type of the reactor or because of -- is there some ancillary process at this nuclear plant? Does it process fuel? MS. TUTWILER: I think the concern is that this is a nuclear power plant. There was fighting very near this power plant 24 hours ago; now, in a city near there. There have been reports, that I'm sure you've seen this morning, of -- I cannot confirm them -- flyovers over this plant. It is my understanding, from nuclear experts here in this building and from the nuclear experts that are now being quoted in the Austrian press, in the Yugoslavian press, that even though a plant is shut down, that it is a dangerous situation. It doesn't take a lot of common sense, in my mind, to figure out that you should not be tampering with something like this that is that explosive and that dangerous in this area. Q Margaret, could you tell us, please, how does the Department feel about the fact that the Slovenes are saying they will not let the soldiers go back to their barracks unless they completely disarm? Apparently, one of these firefights that broke out was because the soldiers are trying to go back to their barracks but they were in their tanks and not in buses, as the Slovenes had demanded. Do you view that as a reasonable request, that these soldiers have to lay down their arms, abandon their tanks and equipment, and get into buses and go back to their barracks? MS. TUTWILER: What we have tried to do, Mary, throughout this, is refrain from getting ourselves embroiled in those types of issues which we believe should be discussed on the ground, by the parties involved, peacefully. I'm sure you noted in today's statement, I called on all parties to cease acts of violence and violence. That would obviously, without having said so, go to any type of provocations on all parties. What we want to see is a peaceful resolution to this very tense situation that exists there in Yugoslavia. Q Margaret, I'm not sure -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes, John. Q -- I quite understood your answer to -- MS. TUTWILER: To Mary? Q -- to Alan's question. If I can recap. As I understood our policy position up through, say, last Friday, it was that we didn't want violence. We wanted dialogue, and we wanted negotiations on some kind of new internal political arrangement among the various parties there that would satisfy different ethnic complaints and aspirations, but that we also wanted Yugoslavia to remain united as a country, that it's political and territorial integrity be preserved in some way. Is this last part still operative? MS. TUTWILER: What we have said, as far back as May 24 -- and I will get you the record; it was a statement we issued here. I've drawn from it this morning -- is that we will respect any framework on which the people of Yugoslavia peacefully and democratically decide. We firmly believe that Yugoslavia's external or internal borders should not be changed unless by peaceful, consensual means. I would maintain that in all our statements -- there's another one of June 8; there's another one of June 24 -- if you read them in their entirety, that has been the United States Government's policy. We have always said that -- when you point correctly, a basis for unity -- that it's always, always said in the same breath, this is up to the Yugoslavian people to decide in a peaceful means through dialogue. Q Would this framework include total independence for Slovenia and Croatia if that's, indeed, what Slovenians and Croatians want, and that's, indeed, what the central government would accept in the final analysis? MS. TUTWILER: I'll continue to answer it the way as we all have from the beginning of this: That those types of issues are for the peoples of Yugoslavia to decide through peaceful means. We support the democratic -- democratization in Yugoslavia. We support the national aspirations of the people in Yugoslavia, and we are strongly opposed to the use of force in Yugoslavia. Q So I take it as a "yes," then, to full independence, if that's the arrangement acceptable in Yugoslavia by both parties? MS. TUTWILER: We support whatever the Yugoslavian people decide the Yugoslavian people want for themselves. As you know, and I'll refer you back to the record, the Secretary said -- I believe it was 9 different press conferences: first and foremost, democratization. Second and foremost was the human rights and national aspirations of people, and that it was up for the people of Yugoslavia to determine this. He also said, which has come true, that unilateral acts of secession could, indeed, in our minds -- and, in fact, they have -- trigger violence. The Deputy Secretary of State said just Saturday on CNN, when he did a very lengthy interview, what we are the most concerned about is innocent bloodshed, innocent civilians being killed, and they are. Q Is it fair today to use the phrase, to say the words from that podium that the United States supports the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia? MS. TUTWILER: The United States supports the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia as the Yugoslavian people themselves determine what that is through peaceful means. Q If the Yugoslav people through peaceful means determine that that Yugoslavia's borders shall not be the same as they were yesterday, the United States would support that? MS. TUTWILER: We've said -- again, I'll remind you -- back to May 24. Q I'm not asking about the past. I'm asking about the -- MS. TUTWILER: But the past states our policy, as I'm stating it today. We firmly believe that Yugoslavia's external or internal borders should not be changed unless by peaceful, consensual means. Q We went through this exercise a couple days ago about what Baker meant when he talked about sovereignty and autonomy in his statement at Gannett last week. There are various definitions of those words, obviously. But among them -- fairly prominent among them, "sovereignty" is defined as independence. Yet Baker chose not to use that word. Is the United States now prepared to say that if the Yugoslav people peacefully choose independence for Slovenian or any other republics, that the United States would support that? MS. TUTWILER: I believe we've been saying that throughout, because I'm not aware of anyone who has ever said, "Never would we support such a move by the Yugoslavian people." What we have said continuously -- as I'm saying again today -- it is up to the Yugoslavian people themselves to determine their future, their internal, their external borders. We've been very, very consistent on that. Q And if they choose independence, that's okay? MS. TUTWILER: What we did do was make a very strong statement -- the Secretary of State did, as I just pointed out to Frank -- saying unilateral acts, whether it was by Slovenia, Croatia, or any of the four republics, could in our opinion -- which it has -- lead to innocent deaths and bloodshed and violence in a situation that was, as you know, very, very explosive. It has indeed, so far to date, been exactly what the United States and others feared. I would venture that that's why in Berlin 35 nations issued a public statement calling on this to be resolved, however they work it out and determine they want to resolve it through peaceful means. Q What if they don't want to resolve it through peaceful means? What do we do next? MS. TUTWILER: What we're doing next is, as you know, a CSCE meeting has been called tomorrow. We will be represented by our Ambassador -- Ambassador Maresca. That meeting, we hope, will somehow contribute to stopping the violence that has, once again, erupted today. As you know, they called a meeting yesterday -- I believe it was -- was it Prague or Vienna? Vienna? In Vienna, they've been meeting for two days, members of the CSCE. The meeting in Prague tomorrow will be the first time that I'm aware of that they've used the emergency mechanism under CSCE that was called for in the Berlin Conference. Q Aside from the -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me. A strong statement, John, was issued yesterday after the meetings in Vienna. I'll be happy to get you a copy of that. Q Aside from calling in the Yugoslavia Ambassador, who is representing the federal government, was there any effort by Croatia or Slovenia to establish any contact with your Administration? And what's your reaction to that? MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry, I didn't catch the first part of your question. Q Aside from calling in the Ambassador, who is representing the federal government of Yugoslavia, was there any effort by the Croatians and the Slovenians to establish contact with your Administration? And do you refuse to get involved in any direct contact with them? MS. TUTWILER: Our Administration has had continuous contact with them. The Secretary of State just met with the two presidents of the republics you mentioned last Friday when we were in Belgrade. Ambassador Zimmerman and our Embassy staff continue, over the last 48 hours or 24 hours, to stay in touch, not only with the central government, but with various government officials in those republics. Q The President of Croatia has sent a letter to Secretary Baker pleading for U.S. support. Has the Secretary responded to that letter? MS. TUTWILER: To be honest with you, John, I haven't seen that letter or heard a thing about it. I don't know if it's here or not. Q No such letter? MS. TUTWILER: The Secretary has talked to Ambassador Zimmerman once that I know of in the last 24 hours, and he's talked to the Deputy Secretary a number of times in the last 24 hours and no one has mentioned such a letter. I'll be happy to ask for you. I don't know a thing about it. Q Late last week. MS. TUTWILER: It was last week? Q Yeah, late last week. MS. TUTWILER: I'll check into it. Q You can get it from the American Croatian Society very easily. MS. TUTWILER: I guess it's here at the State Department. I hadn't heard a thing about it. Q I'm reading a slight change in the Administration's position from this podium. Could you correct me I'm wrong? Last week you were talking about supporting the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia. Period. Now, you're qualifying it: Ask the people of Yugoslavia to decide. Previously, you had a statement condemning all use of force by all parties, especially, you said, the federal army. Is this a slight opening toward a Slovenian position? Can we talk about a tilt? What am I reading in here? Am I misreading? MS. TUTWILER: I can't interpret for you what you are or are not reading. I would tell you that you have selectively, as I do many times, pulled out one statement that was made from this podium last week. I would refer you to any number of statements that were made at the same time that one sentence was stated. I would maintain, as I've pointed, our May 24 statement. I have June 8th. I have June 24th. I know what I said last week. We have always said that this determination -- final determination -- is up for the Yugoslavian people themselves to determine. But, yes, we were very, very concerned -- as has proven to be true -- to have been concerned about unilateral acts of secession or independence, declarations of independence, that could cause and trigger the violence that it has triggered. Q Margaret, if I may put it in a different way. Is it fair to say that the United States at the current moment gives higher priority to peace over territorial integrity of Yugoslavia? MS. TUTWILER: We have always given, and always will give, a higher priority to the protection of human life and for human lives not to be innocently killed, as is going on there. So that's not a change today and that's not something that is as of this moment. That exists and is a constant of our nation. Q Margaret, referring to human life, has the number of Yugoslavs approaching the American Embassy, consulates, etc., increased? Has there been a -- MS. TUTWILER: There's only one consulate. Q There's a consulate in Zagreb; right? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q And then there's an embassy? MS. TUTWILER: Correct, in Belgrade. Q So have they been -- MS. TUTWILER: If they have, I'm unaware of it. No one sent any reporting cables that I've seen that there's an increase of people at either location. Q Also on that subject, the State Department announced yesterday that it was urging U.S. dependents, government dependents, I think, to withdraw from Slovenia, I believe, was the limit. Perhaps also Croatia. What is the status of U.S. Government officials in Yugoslavia, and what recommendations is the State Department making to U.S. citizens in Yugoslavia, who are not in -- beyond Slovenia and Croatia? MS. TUTWILER: We don't have a new travel advisory, Ralph. We did three, I believe, last week. The most recent one, obviously, is still in play. Q There was one yesterday. MS. TUTWILER: Basically, it referred, it's my understanding, to urging Americans to defer travel to Yugoslavia right now. You are correct concerning the two republics. As I remember it, though, it was a voluntary -- an authorized voluntary departure from those two republics for American personnel that are there. I did not check this morning to see if, indeed, they had all taken up the offer or have chosen to stay. I don't know. Q But the U.S. is not ordering an evacuation of U.S. dependents from any portion of Yugoslavia? MS. TUTWILER: Unless something has changed this morning. I knew of a authorized voluntary departure, as I recall it, from the two republics. Q And, also, just to follow that one more step, are any steps being taken by the U.S. Government to offer assistance to U.S. citizens there who feel they might need protection such as taking them to centers, community centers, or anything like that? MS. TUTWILER: Our Embassy personnel have had in place for a number of days our normal system which, as you know, is referred to as the warden system. It's more like what I refer to as a "buddy check," where those individuals and Americans that are in a country have a system they're aware of, if they've registered with the Embassy, of checking in on each other and touching base. That system, it's my understanding, has been in place for a number of days. Q There was a piece of paper issued this morning. MS. TUTWILER: What new did we put out this morning? I don't know about it. MR. BOUCHER: A travel advisory. MS. TUTWILER: A new one? MR. BOUCHER: We've used the authorized departure and it talked about (inaudible). MS. TUTWILER: We just reviewed the thing we put out the other day? MR. BOUCHER: You talked on Friday about authorized departure and this puts it into the travel advisory. MS. TUTWILER: Okay. Q It also adds an ordered departure at the American center in Ljubljana. Q It seemed to add an ordered departure from Ljubljana. MS. TUTWILER: Then I'm obviously behind the loop here on the latest travel advisory. I'll be happy to read what you all have seen, and I apologize for being behind the loop. Q Margaret, two quickies, please, on the Middle East. Have we heard from Syria yet? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Okay. And can you give us an update on Iraq and the U.N. team? MS. TUTWILER: There's not a lot to update, Connie. As you know, the team is still there. My understanding is they are still in meetings, and we do not yet have a readout on those meetings. One thing that I can update you on: As you know, Ralph asked me yesterday what was the United States' policy concerning the release of this film footage. Our policy is that we believe it would be appropriate if it was made public, but it is not our decision to make. Q Just to follow that up, I've got to ask the question if it's appropriate for the IAEA to release footage of that material, why is it inappropriate for the United States to release that footage -- its own footage? MS. TUTWILER: This is not our -- Q I know. So if it's appropriate for them to release theirs, how can a country that -- MS. TUTWILER: As you know very well, they are different types of footage. Q How can a country that has pictures of something urge somebody else, who also has pictures of it, to release it without releasing their own? MS. TUTWILER: I think that you understand probably as well as I do the types of pictures that are permissible and those which are not which would fall into an intelligence matter. And, as I recall, the IAEA/U.N. Special Commission was there on the ground, filming this as the equipment was leaving, the trucks were leaving, etc. They were right there on the spot, and they have the film footage that we are suggesting be made public, but we do not know what they will determine. Q We don't have any other kind of footage -- ourselves -- as we did in our war against Iraq where we showed craters of previous buildings that were demolished? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of. Q Since I struck out on those, does the U.S. believe all political prisoners have been released yet in South Africa? MS. TUTWILER: It's something that's still under review. Q Margaret, what's the purpose of the Secretary's meeting with the Palestinians this afternoon? MS. TUTWILER: That's very easy. They requested this meeting. They are in town. I don't really, to be honest with you, know exactly why they're here. They come to this city very often. And these are two of the people that he has met with, I believe it's four times, while he has been in Israel. It will be an ongoing discussion and a review of where we are, and they asked for the meeting, and he said sure. Q Back on Iraq for just a second -- MS. TUTWILER: Iraq? Yes. Q I may be a day or so early, but I think it was today that the U.N. was supposed to begin dismantling Scud missiles on a separate mission unrelated to the nuclear mission. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Has that proceeded? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. The first ballistic missile inspection team is in Iraq. They visited a facility today and will be witnessing the destruction of some ballistic missiles scheduled for later today. So far as of this briefing, I know of no problems to report to you. So that we all are current here, as you know, the team that is in and that had the problems this week was the second nuclear inspection team. The third is to arrive in Iraq this week. The first CW inspection was completed last month, and we are looking forward to receiving a full report. Preliminary reports are that this will be a large, difficult and dangerous job. I've just reported on the first ballistic missile inspection team, and the first biological warfare inspection team will be traveling to Iraq at the end of July. Q Back to Yugoslavia, Germany appears ready to recognize the independence of Croatia and Slovenia. Could you comment on that? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware that that's the case, and I have seen that the Foreign Minister of Germany, I believe, right now is either in Yugoslavia or is in Austria -- Q Austria. MS. TUTWILER: Austria. He got there? And I can't comment on something that I haven't seen. And the comments that I've seen from the Chancellor and from the Foreign Minister are not along that line. Q But, Margaret, on that same point, if I could. The Germans seem to be accentuating the move toward independence, as does the European Community. Although the word "unity" might be in the May 24 declaration, the emphasis seems to be on how we can or how they can move these regional republics toward some sort of confederation, which Mr. Eagleburger has specifically said on the record. Now, we're just trying to reconcile the difference between unity and non-unity and what this Government believes is politically possible. And I don't have any real clear sense of that, after listening to this discussion for half an hour -- what this Government would like to see happen, or what it thinks is politically feasible to happen. MS. TUTWILER: Well, again, I don't have a crystal ball for you, and I'm not in the business of doing predictions. That is something for the Yugoslavian people to determine themselves; and, when you point to the European Community, what I have seen the European Community do is send two delegations of the EC troika within two days there to urge the same types of things that we are urging, to call an emergency meeting tomorrow in Prague of the CSCE, the first time it's ever been called. I would envision that they will be discussing how to peacefully resolve this. As I think you are aware, there are some in the European Community who have suggested and called for some type of CSCE observers or some type of observer force in there. The United States would support such a move, if that is indeed what they decide at the CSCE. And I'm not aware of anyone, to be quite honest with you, who is not deeply concerned about the violence and the situation that exists there in Yugoslavia. I don't know personally firsthand of any difference among any of us over what our concerns are and all of our governments expressing, of course, it is up to the people of Yugoslavia to determine what type of government they will be in. And when you say that Larry Eagleburger mentioned federation, I would point you back to the public transcripts of the Secretary of State. He said at one point whether it is a community, which some in Yugoslavia use, a confederation, a federation -- whatever it is that they want to devise -- it is up to the Yugoslavians. Q But that's not what you've said in regard to other countries when you've talked about independence, when you've talked about the Baltics or the Soviet republics. There has been a different line on that. MS. TUTWILER: I don't do comparisons, as you know. Each situation is unique and different; and, as you know, there is a totally different situation concerning the three Baltic states. After all, we've never recognized their forcible incorporation. Q Margaret, can you address the question of arms going into Yugoslavia now? There were reports in a Beirut newspaper, for instance, that the Lebanese forces, militia, had sold arms to the Yugoslavians. Is there any move for some kind of weapons boycott, or as far as you know is everybody free, including the United States or anybody else, to sell weapons to any of the parties in Yugoslavia? And is there any talk about doing something about that, if that situation exists? MS. TUTWILER: That is something that I don't know and do not want to prejudge, that the CSCE meeting tomorrow could itself address. But I'm not giving you a signal that indeed they are. As far as your report that -- who did you say? The Lebanese -- Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: -- are selling arms. I don't know anything about that. But I do know that in the republic meetings with the Slovenian and with the Croatian, arms that were being given to the public, that the public had, Secretary Baker raised in both of those meetings. He also raised in the meeting with the Prime Minister arms in this country; and, as you know and has been reported, many people, civilians, were arming themselves in fear of the escalating violence or the potential of an outbreak of violence. So it is something that has definitely been of concern to us -- the arming of these republics and these civilian populations. Q Margaret, does the United States believe CSCE can be impartial, considering that the Yugoslav central government is a member of CSCE and Slovenia and Croatia are not? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding under the mechanism of CSCE is the Yugoslav central government, which it has done, it's my understanding, has to agree to come to such a meeting. They have agreed. I don't think it takes a lot of foresight for them to not know what is going to be said there. After all, Minister Genscher was just in that country; Secretary Baker was just there last Friday; and these two EC trips. Everyone has been quite outspoken and quite vocal and public about their concerns -- their concerns over the use of force and getting to a dialogue. Q That wasn't Norm's question. The question was whether the CSCE with, as you just said, a central government representative could be expected to broker some kind of an agreement, even if only a cease-fire, if two of the key parties are not present? MS. TUTWILER: Well, I would say that two of the key parties -- you're absolutely right -- technically and legally will not be present, representing their republics. But I would have to say that the 35 Ministers that are sitting there are certainly very sensitive to and very aware of -- as their governments have expressed in all their public declarations -- the national aspirations of the peoples in those two republics. Q Margaret, reports coming out of Yugoslavia include requests from Yugoslavs to people here, especially to send them gas masks, because they're concerned about the use of chemical weapons by both sides. Does the United States know whether or not the Yugoslav army or the Slovenes have, in fact, chemical weapons? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know, Jan. It's something that has not come up. I'll be happy to ask for you. And I know nothing about gas masks. Q Since peace is your highest priority, are you attempting to discourage other countries from arming the Yugoslavs? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Margaret, to get back to the Middle East for a minute -- Q Could you elaborate on that answer? MS. TUTWILER: No. It is something, George, that we are aware that others have been accused of doing, and it is something that has been raised or pointed out, that this is obviously a concern to us -- arming civilian populations. If indeed you're doing X, please take another look at it. Q Have you made representations to Singapore on that subject? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I personally have any knowledge of. Q Margaret, to go back to the Middle East for a minute, there's a report from a wire service today quoting an unnamed senior Administration official or senior State Department official as saying that the Department has decided to let the Middle East peace process simply drift and not push for an answer from the Syrians. Clearly, there has been somewhat less momentum in the last few weeks than there was initially after the Gulf war. Is it true that the Secretary is letting the Middle East peace process drift and that his attention is now turned to issues such as Yugoslavia and the Soviet economic situation? MS. TUTWILER: I have read the article by the senior State Department official. I don't remember the official saying that a decision has been made to let the Middle East drift. As you know -- and the President addressed himself at some length yesterday to this from Kennebunkport -- we right now are and have been waiting for a response from President Assad of Syria. I have said that in the interim of when he was given the letter by Secretary Baker to his Foreign Minister, they've had a number of questions that have come back through our American Ambassador. And so it has not been like the letter was just handed there and there's been no communication since then. All I can do on where we are in the Middle East is refer you to what the President said yesterday in Kennebunkport. As far as the Secretary turning himself to other issues, I would venture that even when he is in the Middle East -- although it is difficult at some times -- he always has himself focused on other things that require his attention. There's more than one thing that he does here as Secretary of State on any given day. Q Margaret, is the Administration eager to get a response from President Assad? MS. TUTWILER: The President said yesterday that this is a situation that he would like to see resolved peacefully -- he thinks the world would -- and I'll just refer you to what the President said yesterday. It's something that he cares about, any number of people around the world care about, and it's something that he, in my opinion, fully expressed to you all publicly where we are on this situation. Q Margaret, do you have any comment on the Lebanese army movements in the south of Lebanon? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. We strongly support the Government of Lebanon's efforts to fully implement the Taif Accords and to exercise sovereignty over all its territory. The Lebanese Government's decision to send troops to the south is an important step toward the objective we all share -- a Lebanon free of all militias, both Lebanese and non-Lebanese. We urge all parties, including Palestinians, to cooperate with the Lebanese Government's efforts. Q Well, Margaret, another question on the Middle East. Have you been approached any time lately by the Israeli Government with regards to the status of Jerusalem? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Margaret, obviously the Palestinian guerrillas are not cooperating with the Lebanese army's efforts. They're having fierce firefights with them. Do you think that the Lebanese army is using excessive force, as the Yugoslav army is in Yugoslavia, or not? MS. TUTWILER: I don't do comparisons, Mary. And, as you know, we have strongly supported the Taif Accords. This is what the Taif Accords call for; and, as I have just stated for you, we strongly support this effort by the Lebanese Government. Q Margaret, don't you have anything to say about the fact that Palestinian civilians are being killed by the army? MS. TUTWILER: I do not have right now, Mary, any information on who's being killed or who is not. I would certainly hope that no civilians are being put in harm's way and are hurt, and I would urge those that are resisting the implementation of the Taif Accords to let the Taif Accords go forward. Q Shifting to the Soviet Union for a moment, would you please comment on the move to establish an opposition party? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. One, I would point out that I have just seen this morning where President Gorbachev's own spokesman has, on his behalf, welcomed this move. Our government, as I mentioned yesterday, we have consistently supported democratization in the Soviet Union and therefore welcome the creation of a new political movement as a step forward in this process. The formation of a new political movement is yet another indicator of a growing political pluralism in the Soviet Union, and this is all to the good, for it represents a growing normalization of Soviet political life and a positive step for reform in the Soviet Union. Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes, Alan. Q Can we say -- in the beginning that on your statement on START and Bartholomew -- that there were -- MS. TUTWILER: Reggie. Yes. Q -- that there were no plans at the moment for a Ministerial meeting on START. So just to broaden the question, do you think it's likely that the Secretary will meet Mr. Bessmertnykh before the London meeting of President Bush and President Gorbachev? MS. TUTWILER: It's very possible that he could. What will determine that, Alan, is when Mr. Bartholomew gets back tomorrow with the delegation and gives the Secretary a full debrief. If the Secretary then, after discussions with the President, determines that such a meeting would be useful and would help move the process forward -- which we, as you know, are all interested in moving forward -- then such a meeting could, yes, take place. Q But at the moment you can't confirm the CNN report that Bessmertnykh is coming to Washington next week? MS. TUTWILER: No, I cannot confirm any such report because I know for a fact that the Secretary has not raised with the Foreign Minister coming to Washington next week. As you know, just totally being speculative here, which I usually refrain from doing, if you do it as we normally do, we go there, they come here; if such a meeting was determined by the President and Secretary of State to be helpful and necessary, some would say that it might be in Washington because it is their turn to come to Washington. But that is not a given, and I can positively tell you that there are no decisions on this and there are no plans that have been made. But the Foreign Ministers have discussed in the past, both in Lisbon and in Berlin, that should such a meeting be necessary if it would be helpful to move the two sides closer together and resolve this, then of course they would be willing to do it. Q Are there discussions about the possibility of a visit here by Bessmertnykh? MS. TUTWILER: Are there discussions? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: Well, there are always discussions. But there is -- Q About a visit next week by Bessmertnykh? MS. TUTWILER: There is, as of this moment -- so we don't play this game again next week, okay? -- I am at this time -- it is 1:29 p.m. today -- telling you that there is nothing secret, there is nothing planned, there has been no direct and literal conversation between the two Foreign Ministers. I will state right now, I reserve the right for at 3:00 o'clock this afternoon or 7:00 o'clock tonight or 9:30 tomorrow morning when he meets with Reggie Bartholomew, and they make a decision with the President to come right back out and say, "Things have changed." Q Do it at 3:00 o'clock! (Laughter) Q Do you hold yourself to those times? MS. TUTWILER: Because we've gone through this once before, remember? Q Do you hold yourself to those -- MS. TUTWILER: I am not misleading. What? Q Do you hold yourself to those specific times? MS. TUTWILER: No. It can happen at any moment in time. I'm only stopping and freezing the clock right here. I've answered this truthfully. I have said that such a type of meeting has been discussed, both in Lisbon and in Berlin. I have said that if Reggie comes back here and says, after his debriefing, that he thinks it would be useful, then such a thing could take place. That's all that is in play right now. Q Could we parse Bartholomew's statement just a little bit? You say it's very intensive and productive. MS. TUTWILER: Productive. Yes. Q But then down a little later, all of the issues, including new types which the Secretary had indicated was almost resolved before these talks began, are still up in the air. So a sense of how productive? Any feel at all? MS. TUTWILER: Well, I asked Reggie before he left if every night he'd send me a cable, and he has been an angel and he's done so. This is my cable from overnight. I have not spoken with him. By the time I got here this morning, he was in an airplane. I do know from brief briefings that he has sent to the Secretary that they do believe that work was accomplished; that some things were resolved. But I also know that the state of play is, very accurately, that a lot of work remains to be done. So I don't have anything more specific for you, and I did list all three categories where we still say there's work to be done. But apparently they were very engaging meetings, is my understanding, from my own cable traffic and from briefings that he has been able to give to others here in the building. Q Margaret, is there going to be any kind of readout -- will you be able to do any kind of readout after the Secretary meets with Faisal Husseini and Hanan Ashrawi, as there was each time he met with them in Jerusalem? MS. TUTWILER: As I recall, each time we've met with them in Jerusalem, Mr. Husseini and his group have gone out on the street and talked to members of the press. I don't recall the Secretary or one of his representatives going out and talking afterwards. I can remember officials speaking on background who had been traveling in the Secretary's party, but I'm unaware of a formal readout from the American side after those meetings. Q Does that mean "no"? MS. TUTWILER: That means that there will not be a change in policy today after this meeting. As you know, there is, as there is in Jerusalem, a press opportunity/photo op for reporters who are welcomed and invited when the meeting begins. Q Thank you. Q Can I go back to one other on Iraq. I'm sorry. You gave us kind of a rundown of the various teams that have gone from the U.N. MS. TUTWILER: Where are we? Iraq? Yes. Q One of them was -- you said that the second -- you were talking about the nuclear teams that have been in. My question is, did the first team identify -- have the Iraqis identified any nuclear material, enriched nuclear material, to the U.N., and, if so, is there a procedure underway for removing that or destroying it? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of. On the first team -- and you know what happened on the two surprise inspections on the second team's visit -- Q Right. That's why I'm asking about the first one. MS. TUTWILER: On the first one, as I recall, the Iraqi Government gave us a report that we said, as I remember, fell far short of being realistic. Then I remember they sent a second report that we said got a little closer to being reality. Then the second team went in, and we know what happened on the second team. But I will ask specifically. That's just how I remember the first visit. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (The briefing concluded at 1:32 p.m.)