US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #168, Thursday, 11/14/91

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: 1:05 PM, Washington, DC Date: Nov 14, 199111/14/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, Caribbean, Southeast Asia, East Asia Country: Libya, Syria, Haiti, USSR (former), Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Burma Subject: Terrorism, International Law, Security Assistance and Sales, Nuclear Nonproliferation, Arms Control, Trade/Economics, Regional/Civil Unrest, Mideast Peace Process (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Again, thank you for your patience and for waiting. Unless somebody wants me to do something else, I thought I'd start off by talking about Pan Am 103. Q It's the government's theme today, so go ahead. MR. BOUCHER: I think it's your theme too, Ralph. You've seen the briefings by the Justice Department on the indictments and the criminal responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am 103. We've made available to you and have in the Press Office the indictment itself and a paper on the Libyan Government's continuing support for terrorism. I want to run through some basic facts about the bombing and how it was organized. I want to make some things clear from the outset: The bombers were Libyan Government intelligence operatives. This was a Libyan Government operation from start to finish. We hold the Libyan Government responsible for the murder of 270 people over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988. Today, Scottish authorities and the U.S. Department of Justice charged two Libyan officials with carrying out the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 people aboard the aircraft and 11 people on the ground were killed. The charges are based on evidence that directly and conclusively links Abd al-Basit al-Maqrahi, a senior Libyan intelligence official, and Lamin Fhimah, the former manager of the Libyan Arab Airlines office in Malta, and other unidentified co-conspirators to the suitcase containing the bomb and to its insertion into the baggage system leading to Pan Am flight 103. The evidence also directly links al-Maqrahi to the Swiss company that manufactured the sophisticated electronic timer used in the attack. The timer is unique. It's produced solely by a single Swiss firm, and the entire production lot was delivered to the Libyan External Security Organization. Two intelligence operatives were indicted. But don't mistake this, the bombing of Pan Am 103 was not a rogue operation. An operation of this magnitude, involving people so close to the Libyan leadership could only have been undertaken with the approval of senior Libyan officials. That is the pattern of past Libyan terrorist operations. That is the pattern of the Pan Am 103 attack. Al-Maqrahi is a well-connected senior Libyan intelligence official whose extensive experience in the fields of civil aviation, cargo movement, and small business operations helped him stage the Pan Am 103 bombing. Al-Maqrahi works closely with his first cousin, Sa'id Rashid, a leading architect and implementer of Libya's terrorist policies and a powerful member of Libya's inner circle. It was Rashid who earlier purchased the timers. Abdallah al-Sanussi was al-Maqrahi's immediate supervisor in the External Security Organization in the fall of 1988. French judicial authorities have lodged criminal charges against al-Sanussi for the September 1989 bombing of UTA 772. Ibrahim al-Bishari, currently Libya's Foreign Minister, used al-Maqrahi's office at the Swiss firm as an accommodation address in Zurich and claimed that al-Maqrahi worked directly under him as Director of the Center for Strategic Studies. The terrorist case against the Libyan regime does not begin or end with the destruction of Pan Am 103. We've seen a consistent pattern of Libyan-inspired terrorism that continues to the present. The charges made today, however, are based solely on the evidence gathered during the criminal investigation. The Libyan Government is responsible for this monstrous act -- the murder of 270 citizens of 21 countries in the bombing of Pan Am 103. We are in touch with our friends and allies regarding steps the international community should take to ensure that action is taken to punish the Government of Libya in a way which will deter others. Q Richard, are you alleging that Libyan leader Mu'ammar Qadhafi was personally responsible? That it has reached the highest offices of the Libyan Government? MR. BOUCHER: I think I said to you, Frank, that we don't think that an operation of this magnitude could have been carried out without the approval and the consent of the senior Libyan leadership. I have named names of people in the intelligence apparatus who are connected with this bombing, where we have the specific indications of connections. You'll see in the indictments and what the Justice Department has put out, the people against whom we have clear and compelling evidence of having conducted the bombing. Q Can we get your opening statement when we're done with this briefing? MR. BOUCHER: We'll have to clean it up, but we'll make it available as soon as possible. Q As you know, the families are extremely unhappy with certain aspects of this indictment because there is no mention of Syria, Iran, Ahmed Jabril, the PFLP-GC, so on and so forth. They accuse the U.S. Government of being so interested in getting Syria engaged in the Gulf war, so interested in getting Syria to the peace process, that the U.S. is no longer interested in pressing the case against Syria's active involvement in support of terrorism. How do you respond to their accusations? MR. BOUCHER: John, that's not the case. There was no political influence over this indictment. We followed the evidence where it led. Let me describe to you the ways in which the evidence did not lead to the PFLP-GC. You have to bear in mind that the indictments have to be based on clear evidence, not supposition. In this case, there is no evidence linking the PFLP-GC to the bombing of Pan Am 103. The possibility that the PFLP-GC was responsible for this particular act was exhaustively investigated. It's clear that in the fall of 1988, the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Palestine-General Command planned a series of terrorist attacks targeted at civil aviation. As you know, that organization has historically operated from Syria. In 1988, the organization began to receive significant operational support from Iran. Our conclusion, as fully reflected in the indictments, is that all the evidence shows the culpability of Libyan officials for this specific act. The strongest evidence in that regard is the timer in the Pan Am 103 bomb. It was unquestionably a Libyan timer -- a clear Libyan signature. The PFLP-GC radio bomb was significantly different from the bomb used in Pan Am 103. It's also our conclusion that the arrests of the PFLP-GC operatives in Germany in the fall of 1988 derailed that group's efforts to attack civil aviation. As in any criminal matter, however, the possibility remains of additional evidence, additional information. I can state categorically that any such information would be pursued aggressively. Q It is also believed by some intelligence officials that once the effort in 1988, in Germany, was derailed, that they handed over information -- intelligence -- to the Libyans so they could proceed. You have found no such link? MR. BOUCHER: We considered the possibility, particularly the possibility that the timer might have been borrowed from Libya, however, there's just no evidence to support that kind of speculation. All the evidence in the case conclusively demonstrates that the operation that destroyed Pan Am 103 was carried out by Libyan operatives. Q Is Syria still on the terrorist list? Are you debating removing Syria from that list? And what is the bill of particulars regarding Syria and its support of terrorism? Do you still believe they support -- actively support -- terrorist groups? MR. BOUCHER: First, Syria is still on the terrorism list. No, there's no consideration being given to taking it off. You'll see in our previous reports in Patterns of Global Terrorism the involvement that leads there. I think one of the particulars that I would cite is the PFLP-GC, which I said was involved in terrorist planning back then. We continue to see them as a dangerous terrorist organization. It's still a functioning international terrorist organization. It has its headquarters in Syria; and it has ties to Iran, as I just mentioned. Q Speaking of the report on Global Patterns of Terrorism, there hasn't been one issued yet this year. Will it be issued? Or has a decision been made that this paper substitutes for that and eliminates the other? MR. BOUCHER: I assume it will -- I'm trying to remember when it usually comes out. Isn't it early in the year? It comes out early in the spring; right? Q I thought it comes out in the fall. MR. BOUCHER: I think it comes out in the spring for the previous calendar year. Q The one for this year has already been issued? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q Richard, you said that there is a consistent pattern that suggests that these Libyan activities continue to the present. Could you be more specific? MR. BOUCHER: Let me, first of all, refer you to the paper that we're putting out -- a little booklet that describes Libya's continuing support for terrorism; and then let me hit a couple highlights of that. Going back -- to some extent, you'll remember some of the incidents that Libya was specifically involved in. In the early Eighties, they provided passports to the Abu Nidal Organization. They conducted the attack on an El Al ticket counter at the Vienna airport in December '85. Libya also sponsored the bombing of the La Belle Disco. I think you're aware of Libya's involvement with the attempted attack on Israel in May 1990. That was what we called the Tiny Star incident. We put out information on that. Libyan involvement in terrorism today remains extensive. Tripoli is one of the largest financiers of terrorists worldwide, and it continues to permit terrorist groups to operate at camps throughout Libya. In the booklet, you'll see a list of the major camps and who works there. In addition, Libya provides terrorist support to various organizations: The Abu Nidal Organization, which is headquartered in Tripoli. Libya provides major training facilities and several hundred million dollars annually. They provided well over $1 million in 1990 to the PFLP-GC, which was responsible for the bombings of two U.S. military trains in Germany in 1987 and 1988. The PLF elements remain based in Libya. This group has a long history of terrorist attacks, including the Achille Lauro, and, as I mentioned, the Tiny Star. The provisional IRA continues -- Libya continues to maintain ties with that group. Libya has ties to the PKK, the Kurdish Separatist Group that's carried out numerous attacks on Turkish targets. In addition, there's evidence of Libya providing at least $7 million since 1987 to the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army in the Philippines. The booklet also mentions ties to the Haitian Liberation Organization, an organization in Costa Rica; the Tupac Amaru in Peru, and the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front in Chile. Q Richard, coming back for a moment to something you said earlier. I wasn't able to write down everything you said about Syria. But when asked about Syria, you talked about our conclusion being that all of the evidence shows the culpability of Libya. Is there any evidence in this case of involvement by Syria? MR. BOUCHER: I think, in this particular bombing, not that I'm aware of. I think Justice may handle that in more detail at some of their briefings. The point that I was making was that the PFLP-GC, which is headquartered in Syria, was planning to attack civil aviation. We believe that the arrests by the Germans disrupted those plans, and that this bombing of Pan Am 103 was conducted separately by the Libyans. Q I guess what I'm trying to get at is, a minute ago you said that $100 million was paid by Libyans to the PFLP-GC as recently as -- MR. BOUCHER: One million. Q I'm sorry, one million. Okay. -- to the PFLP-GC as recently as 1990. We'll have to go back and see what you actually said. So my question is, if they're continuing to fund the PFLP-GC, is the U.S. Government satisfied that the financing aspect of the Pan Am 103 bombing was not, in any way, tied to Syrians, or, for that matter, other groups? Is there any connection -- MR. BOUCHER: That's not the point. The point was the PFLP-GC has its headquarters in Syria; it has ties to Iran; it gets funding from Libya, and was planning some attacks on civil aviation. It's just that they didn't do this one. Q Richard, you said that you and the international community would be looking at ways of dealing with Libya, such as -- you already have an embargo. What else can you possibly do to Libya to ostracize it yet further than it has already been ostracized? MR. BOUCHER: Jan, all options are open to assure that those responsible are punished and to deter others from carrying out such attacks. No decisions have been made. Q The Secretary, during the process, of trying to put together a Middle East peace process, extended an invitation to Libya to join in the talks. Is that invitation still open? It's a serious question. I'm not joking. MR. BOUCHER: I know it's a serious question, Mary. I don't have any change in that. I have not seen any interest on the part of Libya in participating either. Q The invitation still stands? MR. BOUCHER: Our invitation to the Arab Maghreb Union and the countries thereof to participate in the peace process, if they were interested, still stands. I think you're aware of the countries that have expressed some interest in participating. Q Is there any indication that the intentions of the Popular Front -- the PFLP-GC -- has changed since the dozen or so trips the Secretary of State has made to Syria before and after the war? MR. BOUCHER: I guess, Saul, the answer to that is, we still see them as a functioning terrorist operation. We, as you know, have had a number of exchanges with the Syrian Government on the subject of terrorism. Q I'm trying to find out whether they've done any good? MR. BOUCHER: Let me sort of review the record on this. We've had some frank exchanges with the Government of Syria on terrorism matters, including the continuing investigation of Pan Am 103, although the investigation was conducted independently of diplomatic contacts with foreign governments. Syrian officials at the highest levels informed the U.S. that they had conducted their own investigation and had no evidence that Jabril's group did the bombing of Pan Am 103, and the U.S. has no evidence to the contrary. Further, Syrian officials have stated that if they were given such evidence, they would take action against the perpetrators, including the PFLP-GC, if that was the party responsible for the bombing. Q That's not the point. Okay, so they're not involved in 103. But, as you say, they were getting ready to do some other things. Presumably, they have the same intent. The intent has not changed. They're still a dangerous terrorist organization that had an interruption because of the arrests in Germany. I'm trying to find out whether, as a result of our dozen trips to Syria, whether Syria has restrained this group in any kind of way so that they would not be involved in future 103s? MR. BOUCHER: I guess the only answer I can give to that, Saul, is that we've had a number of exchanges with the Syrian Government. As you know, the Secretary has discussed this during his meetings in Damascus. We, I think, have described before for you the differences that we have over the issue of terrorism with the Government of Syria. It's an issue that we continue to pursue, but I don't have any resolution at this point. Q Has anyone from the U.S. Government attempted to deliver to the Libyans, at the U.N. for example, indictments, warrants, requests for extradition -- any of the normal legal gobbledygook that you have to do to try and get your hands on these guys? MR. BOUCHER: We don't have an extradition treaty with Libya. Q I know. But you would still go ahead and try to -- MR. BOUCHER: We're looking at a range of options, as far as the possibilities of gaining custody of these people for prosecution. At this point, we have not communicated with the Libyan Government. Q Have not communicated? And would you care to discuss the other possibility of the long arm of the law statute and all of that sort of stuff? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid I would not, John. Q The U.S. has a record now in at least two cases of attempting extradition without the permission of the country involved. One of the cases, Egypt, I believe; and one in the case of Panama. Does the U.S. -- Q And Mexico. Q That's right. There are other cases. That's right. Are those among the options that are open for consideration, or are you ruling any of those things out? MR. BOUCHER: We are exploring the entire range of options. We do not, however, have an extradition treaty with Libya. There are alternatives to formal extradition. As you point out, our general feeling is that Libya cannot hide behind its internal laws, as an excuse for avoiding its international obligations. Q Would the U.S. go so far as -- as it has in the past -- to kidnap an individual in mid-air in an attempt to bring him to justice, in the phrase of the U.S. Government at the time? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I'm not going to talk about particular options at this point. We're exploring a full range of options. Q I don't recall whether you said -- I think you said there were consultations with allies. Now that we're accusing the Government of Libya of murdering 270 people, I just wonder whether there's going to be some request to the U.N. to do the same kinds of things, economically, that the United States did when Kuwait was invaded; whether those are among the options we're considering? MR. BOUCHER: Saul, at this point, I'm afraid I just have to tell you that we're discussing a full range of options. We're considering a full range of options. We're starting the process of talking to countries about what the next steps are. We have the evidence and the information that we're sharing with foreign governments, but I don't have anything further to try to examine or explore specific steps at this point. Q Would the United States like to see Libya sort of declared an outlaw state that we think it is? MR. BOUCHER: Again, exactly what form our response and the international response is going to take is something that I'm just not going to speculate on at this point. Q Richard, one of the men you were talking about as being linked to the senior of the two men who was indicted today, was indicted 15 days ago, or whatever, by the French. You mentioned a number of other people who have not been indicted in this case but are high officials. Is there any link between the French indictments two weeks ago and these today? MR. BOUCHER: These were independent investigations. Both investigations have independently identified Libyan officials as responsible for the bombings. Our investigation, of course, continues and there are some aspects I can't discuss in detail. The French Magistrate issued warrants for the arrest of four Libyan officials on October 30. We, of course, respect the independence and judgment of those in the French judicial system. While the investigation into the bombing of UTA 772 is a separate matter in the hands of French officials, U.S. investigators have been in contact with their French counterparts. I think in a specific sense the bombers and the individuals who were indicted or charged in these cases were separate. In a more general sense, I think you see the Libyan intelligence organization involved in both cases. Q Richard, do you have any new information about the chemical plant which the Libyans are building -- Rabta? MR. BOUCHER: Rabta? No, I don't, I'm afraid. Q In the old days Libya's principal supplier was the Soviet Union. Do you know anything about the Soviet role, if any, in Libya nowadays? And, if the Soviets aren't up to very much, where is Libya getting its military equipment and military technology, and that sort of thing? MR. BOUCHER: It's not something I checked on today, George. I really don't have an update as far as the Soviet relationship with Libya. You'd just have to check with them. Q Just to clear it up, I assumed that in saying that there's no evidence of Syrian involvement, then we're also saying there's no evidence of Iranian involvement, indirectly or directly in 103. Is that (inaudible) -- MR. BOUCHER: The evidence is in a lengthy indictment and lengthy briefings by the Justice Department. I'm not going to try to rehash everything that's in there. The ties to the PFLP-GC by Syria and Iran are clear, but the involvement -- there's no evidence to say the PFLP-GC was involved in this bombing. Q And there's no evidence that the Libyans were doing this at the behest of Iran? MR. BOUCHER: That's not part of the evidence. Q Is the U.S. considering anything with regard to the World Court on dealing with this, or is that not among the options? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I'm afraid I'm just not going to speculate on the future response and the next steps. Q Where there's murder, there's motive. What is the motive? What's the allegation? Why? Why would Libya consider and execute, indeed as you've charged, a heinous crime? MR. BOUCHER: I guess there's just a few things to say about that. First, that there's just absolutely no justification for this kind of murder, whatever claims people might make about their motives. We haven't examined Libyan motives, haven't reached any conclusion for that. I'd just point out that Libya has a consistent pattern of using terrorism, and that this case fits that pattern. Q Richard, when you say that the United States is in touch with French officials and other governments sharing the information, and so on, is the United States doing the same thing with the United Nations in any way? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware that we've done anything specifically at the United Nations overnight. Of course, we're in touch with a number of other governments, and they are U.N. members. Q But is the U.S. using the U.N. as a mechanism in any way to pursue -- well, I mean, you're (inaudible) -- MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, you keep trying to draw me into what we're doing about the next steps. Q Only because you said that you were consulting with other governments. MR. BOUCHER: I said we were in touch with other governments. I'm not aware that overnight we've done anything at the United Nations, and I'll stop there. Q Can you tell us about how many other governments you've been in touch with overnight on this case, or which other governments that might be in on that? MR. BOUCHER: No. I'm not in a position to specify. Q Is it limited only to the other governments that are directly involved, i.e., those who had nationals on board Pan Am 103, or are there governments that are not directly involved with the bombing? MR. BOUCHER: As we said, there were 21 countries that had nationals on board Pan Am 103. I haven't gone through and compared the lists. We were in touch with a number of other governments overnight. Obviously, we've been in touch, working closely with British officials and the Scottish authorities throughout this. We've been in touch with the French during the course of their investigation that had similar links to Libyan intelligence services. That's about as far as I can go for the moment. Q You don't know of a plan, a bilateral effort by the United States in dealing with Italy and France, for example, about once again trying to get them to pull back their commercial ties to Libya? You have no particular diplomatic plan at this point to further isolate them? MR. BOUCHER: John, at this point I have no particular diplomatic plan to announce to you. Q Are you contemplating such -- is the State Department -- I know you aren't -- but is the State Department contemplating further action against Libya of that nature, trying to isolate? MR. BOUCHER: Once again, I'm not in a position to get into the next steps -- what we might be contemplating, what we might be planning. We're in touch with other governments. We're talking to them about next steps, and what we might do together, and I'm sure the information will come out at the appropriate time. Q I just find it a little strange why you're not in a position to get into next steps. You have a glossy "White Paper" with nice hand-drawn pictures, and it's a real PR campaign, it seems, with the public reading of the indictment and everything. And it would seem that steps would have been prepared. There would have been a certain intent in which direction to go, and I don't understand why you can't communicate that with us. MR. BOUCHER: Howard, I don't know how to answer your question really. We now have indictments that were just handed down and announced. We now have evidence and information -- voluminous evidence and information in a large indictment that we can make available to you and to other governments for them to digest and to look at. And we are now, at that point, beginning to draw the conclusions with other governments on what the future steps should be. Q Well, let me put it another way: I mean, obviously, because of the narrowness of the indictment, we'd like these people brought to justice, right? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q But diplomatically, politically, what would -- the United States is accusing Libya of murdering these people. I mean, that's what you're out here to do. So what would the United States like to see the world do with a government that has murdered 270 people aboard an airliner? MR. BOUCHER: In a general sense, Saul, do exactly what I said before. Q Well, I mean, would you like to see them -- would you like to see the rest of the world -- MR. BOUCHER: First of all, obviously, we want to pursue the judicial process and judicial justice generally. Second of all, I said we were talking to other countries about appropriate further steps that would punish Libya for its responsibility and would deter others who might want to do something like this. Q But you're not saying what specifically we might like to see these people do -- MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to specify those steps at this point. Q -- these countries do. MR. BOUCHER: We're going to talk about those and see what we can work out with the other countries. Patrick. Q Richard, American oil companies are still allowed to deal with Libya in the interest of national security, are they not? MR. BOUCHER: I haven't checked on that. I assume you can get that from the Treasury Department. It's under their regulations. Q I assume you'd like to see the Swiss company stop selling timing devices to Libya, right? MR. BOUCHER: Saul, you can make all kinds of assumptions at this point. When I have a catalogue of next steps or somebody else has a catalogue of next steps to announce, we'll just rush up here and tell you right away. Q There's one thing that is missing from this White Paper, and that is any report of any Libyan terrorist activity for the last 15 months. Now, if there hasn't been anything, to what does the United States attribute the sudden quiet on the part of Libya? The summer of 1990 is the last thing that's reported in this White Paper. MR. BOUCHER: It's somewhere in here. Q Page 9. Q On page 9 at the top. MR. BOUCHER: No. I'm not looking for the White Paper. I'm looking for the way to give you the better answer on that. Well, somewhere in here it instructs me to tell you that while we don't have any clear evidence of direct involvement by Libyan terrorist acts for about the past year, we have to remind you, first of all, that sometimes it takes many years, as it did in this case, to develop that kind of evidence. And, second of all, to point out what is in the booklet: Libya continues to operate training camps. It continues to offer financial support, and it continues to host a number of terrorist groups. Q New subject? MR. BOUCHER: O.K. Q Anything to update us on the Haitian refugee question? MR. BOUCHER: I think the Pentagon has gone through this somewhat already, and I'm sure you can get probably more up to date information from the Coast Guard on the exact status of the people. Yesterday afternoon about 480 Haitians were brought ashore from Coast Guard vessels to the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo to receive temporary humanitarian assistance in the form of medical care, food and lodging. There are over 200 Haitians, many of whom were picked up yesterday, on Coast Guard vessels at sea. We continue to work with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and a number of other countries to find a solution to this problem. INS personnel on board the ships continue to conduct detailed interviews with the Haitians. We are doing this with a view towards taking in those who would qualify for asylum. Q Are there any other countries besides Belize that have expressed an interest in keeping some? MR. BOUCHER: At this point I think Belize is the only one that I've seen a public statement from, and I'm not at this point in a position to name other countries who might be interested. Q I'd like to know what's the U.S. policy in relation to the sale of nuclear blasts by a Soviet private company called Chetek. That's published by The New York Times last week. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Something last week. We're in luck. The provision by nuclear weapons states to non-nuclear weapons states of potential benefits of peaceful nuclear explosions is explicitly controlled by Article V of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Such benefits are not freely available -- I think the article said something about to anyone with cash. Rather, the Treaty dictates stringent conditions and procedures that would have to be followed. The NPT prohibits the actual transfer of control of any nuclear explosive device to a non-nuclear weapons state. The USSR is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the U.S. Government is confident that it fully recognizes its obligations. The U.S. and the USSR are also parties to the Peaceful Nuclear Explosives Treaty which controls such explosions. For our part, the U.S. abandoned its own peaceful nuclear explosion program as uneconomic. However, the USSR has continued to explore applications for such explosions. I don't think I can comment on technical credibility of the idea that was in the report, but we would share some of the concerns expressed about political and environmental matters. It is, of course, essential that any nuclear cooperation with non-nuclear weapons states not contribute to nuclear proliferation, and it would have to follow, if such a thing were to occur, very, very closely these requirements that are stringently laid out in the treaties. Q We have learned -- just to Latin America alone -- that nationals of Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Cuba have made business contact with this Chetek Company in Moscow. Could you confirm that? MR. BOUCHER: No. I don't have any information on that. Q Richard, staying on the Soviet Union, do you have anything further on the hunt for the missing U.S. POW? The American Embassy in Moscow told the BBC this morning that they had not received any orders to send an officer to Kazakhstan, and that what you said yesterday wasn't true. MR. BOUCHER: My Embassy said that? (Laughter) Q Your Embassy in Moscow told us that. Yes. MR. BOUCHER: Do you have any names? Q (Laughter) I can get them for you, Richard. MR. BOUCHER: Let me run down at least what they tell us they are doing, and which I hope is more authoritative than what you're reporting, Jan. We've obviously been in touch with our Embassy in Moscow. First of all, we don't yet have any confirmation of the claims in the November 3 Kommersant article. The claims are being investigated fully by the Embassy. For the moment the Embassy is investigating this report in Moscow with Soviet authorities, and they expect to send an officer to Kazakhstan shortly. So that's exactly where they stand on this. Q Do you have anything more on this upcoming meeting here at the State Department with a team of Soviet officials? Could you tell us who they're going to be meeting with and what exactly they're going to be doing? MR. BOUCHER: O.K. The meeting next week will be in Washington on November 20 and 21. This will be the first meeting of the newly formed U.S.-Soviet working group on the future security agenda. The group was first proposed in a speech by Secretary Baker. The purpose of the working group will be to promote greater mutual understanding of the rapidly changing international security environment and of the security challenges each side will be facing in that environment. It will be an informal, future-oriented discussion group rather than a negotiating body dealing with operational matters. The U.S. delegation, which will include U.S. Government officials in the security area will be led by Dennis Ross, Director of the Department of State's Policy Planning Staff. The Soviet team will be led by Alexander Yakovlev, a member of President Gorbachev's Presidential Consultative Council. Q Richard, when you say "security issues," can you be any more specific at all about -- I mean, what -- as far as the United States is concerned, what's on the agenda? MR. BOUCHER: Mary, this is a broad-ranging group to discuss broad things like changes in the international environment. It's informal. It's future-oriented. It doesn't have a specific agenda that I'm aware of, of negotiating points or things that have to be worked out. Q Do you have an update on the situation of the massacre in -- MR. BOUCHER: Let's go over here. Q I'm sorry. I'm very sorry. Q Do you have an update on the results of the OAS mission to Haiti? MR. BOUCHER: The mission returned to Washington early this morning. They made an announcement yesterday in Port-au-Prince that I can detail with you. They will report to a closed session of the OAS Permanent Council this afternoon at 3:30. The mission consulted with a wide range of Haitians. They reached an agreement that was announced in Port-au-Prince last night. Briefly, the agreement provides for several things. It provides for talks to take place next week outside of Haiti between Haitian legislators and representatives of President Aristide's government, with the objective of reaching a solution to restore constitutional order. It provides for an OAS mission to assess the human rights situation in Haiti and for an OAS team to assess Haiti's humanitarian needs. We applaud the mission for its important accomplishment, and we would urge all parties to work constructively to resolve the current crisis. Q Also, does the U.S. have any direct contacts with Cedras, the coup leader? MR. BOUCHER: That's a question I'll have to look into. I'll have to check. Q Do you have anything on the effects of the embargo on Haiti? MR. BOUCHER: Not at this point. No. I think if you look at some of the statements that we have made, I think we've put up copies of statements by our Ambassador about the concerns that the embargo was having an effect. Q Has the coup leader signed off on this agreement that these talks take place next week? MR. BOUCHER: Who specifically signed off on it down there, I don't know. The OAS mission, as I said, did talk to a wide range of Haitians, both inside and outside the current regime, and this was the agreement that they reached. Q But if it's nobody inside the regime, it doesn't really -- MR. BOUCHER: I assume it is Chris, but I don't know who signed off on it. The agreement was that talks would take place between the Haitian legislators and representatives of Aristide's government. Q Has the U.S. offered its good offices to host those talks? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a location for you. The OAS would have to put that out, but I haven't heard of Washington as being mentioned. Q I didn't ask about Washington -- the U.S. MR. BOUCHER: Or the United States. I'm not aware that we have, Ralph, or that we've been asked. Q Would you update us on the massacre in East Timor? Do you have any figures at the moment? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any new figures. What we've seen is the Indonesian Government has announced its intention to launch an investigation into the tragic events in East Timor. We're gratified to see that announcement. We're making our very serious concern known to the Government of Indonesia in Jakarta and by calling in the Indonesian Ambassador here in Washington this afternoon. We're urging a prompt and complete investigation, followed by appropriate disciplining of those determined to have used excessive force. In addition, our Embassy in Jakarta is sending a team to East Timor early tomorrow to assess the situation. We believe that nothing that may have taken place could justify a military reaction of this magnitude, resulting in such a large loss of life by unarmed civilians. Q Who is the Ambassador meeting? MR. BOUCHER: Ambassador Ramly will be meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary Kenneth Quinn at 2:00 p.m. Q Richard, on another area -- Q No. Before you go to another area, do you have any readout on the meeting here yesterday of the Portuguese Ambassador in the State Department? MR. BOUCHER: No. Q And do you have any comment to the initiative by Senator Claiborne Pell on cutting aid -- military aid to Indonesia, in his words, as a credible response to this atrocity. That's what I think The New York Times said. MR. BOUCHER: First of all, we agree with Senator Pell's condemnation of the killings. We share his concern about the situation there, and we would agree with the sense of the Congress resolution expressing that condemnation. Our military assistance program in Fiscal Year 1992 is a request for $2.3 million. It's entirely for the training and education of Indonesian military personnel, and we think that a continued and well-focused military assistance program for Indonesia can contribute to the professionalization of the Indonesian military. And these kinds of programs expose the trainees to democratic ideas and humanitarian standards. Q Anything you'd care to tell us about the Middle East Peace bilateral, multilateral talks? MR. BOUCHER: Nothing new today. Q Any announcements you'd like to flood us with? MR. BOUCHER: Nothing new today. Q Your consultations haven't produced any results at this point? Is that -- MR. BOUCHER: I think the Secretary, when he talked about it, said, we'll give them a period of time, more or less on the order of two weeks. We haven't done anything new at this point. Q Richard, what prompted the decision to give Bulgaria MFN? MR. BOUCHER: I have something that I think is just taken from the White House announcement. The President signed the joint resolution, extending MFN tariff treatment to products of Bulgaria pursuant to our bilateral trade agreement. The President said, in part, "This resolution is a milestone in our rapidly evolving relations with Bulgaria. My signature on the resolution represents American support of the Bulgarian people's historic decision for democracy, a free-market economy, and the rule of law." Q How close are you to doing the same for Romania? MR. BOUCHER: I have nothing new on MFN for Romania. I think we expressed -- last week after Eagleburger met with Reverend Tokes -- I think some of our concerns about the situation in Romania and how that affected MFN. Q Richard, Martin Lee of Hong Kong was in town last week, and he's sort of requesting United States' help in getting democracy for Hong Kong, and he's also questioning why six million people from Hong Kong should be turned over to communist rule in 1997. He's sort of questioning the whole accord -- the British-Chinese accord. Is there any indication that Mr. Baker is going to bring this up with the Chinese, and that the United States will assist in the democratic minority politically in Hong Kong? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not familiar with all these statements, so there's really no way I can comment on them. As far as what the Secretary's going to raise in China, I'll leave that for him and the party. Q There's another Asian leader -- minority leader -- Mr. Sin Win of Burma. He's the leader of a coalition government in exile. He's the cousin of Aung San Suu Kyi, and he's in town today, and he's also asking for United States' help in getting help for the democratic forces in Burma against the military government there. Have you any comment on this or any -- MR. BOUCHER: Again, I didn't note that this gentleman was visiting. I'll try to check and see if we have any meetings scheduled with him. Q Two other tidbits, Richard. First of all, do you by any chance have the name of this alleged U.S. POW who exists in the Soviet Union? Was that published, or does the U.S. Government have it from talking with the Soviets? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if that was published or not, Ralph. I'll see if we have the full article that we could make available to you. Q And the second thing is I'm not sure if you already answered this -- Q In English. Q I'm sorry. Q The article in English, please. Q I'm not sure if you answered this question earlier or not: Among the nations the U.S. is consulting with on sharing information with on the Pan Am 103 indictment, is Libya among them? Is the United States going to in some way interlocute with Libya to either share the information or conduct a discussion about its terrorist role? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I think I told John a little while ago we've not communicated with the Libyan Government. I don't think there's any point in our telling them what they did. They know what they did. Q Well, just as a matter of course, wouldn't you simply through some third party ask the Libyans -- MR. BOUCHER: Again, what we may do in terms of next steps, directly or with other governments, I'm not going to try to explore with you at this point. At this point we have not communicated with the Libyan Government. Q Do we communicate with Libya through a third party? MR. BOUCHER: Belgium is our protecting power there. Q But the U.S. has not filed a protest through the Belgians with the Libyans or anything like that on the basis of -- MR. BOUCHER: We have not communicated with the Libyan Government. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:59 p.m.)