US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #169, Wednesday, 11/15/91

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: 12:53 PM, Washington, DC Date: Nov 15, 199111/15/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, E/C Europe, Eurasia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Caribbean Country: Libya, Syria, China, North Korea, Iran, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Haiti, USSR (former), Kazakhstan, El Salvador, Yugoslavia (former) Subject: Terrorism, Science/Technology, Trade/Economics, Military Affairs, POW/MIA Issues, Nuclear Nonproliferation, Regional/Civil Unrest, United Nations (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I don't have any new statements or announcements for you. I'd like to tell you that we're making available two new pieces of paper on the Pan Am 103 question. They're in the photocopier right now and will be available immediately after the briefing in the Press Office. One is a paper on the exploration of the PFLP-GC activities, and how the evidence led us away from that and towards Libya. The second is a longer paper than my statements of yesterday that describes the bombing itself and how it was arranged and carried out. George? Q Do you have anything more today about your consultations and other activities following the indictments? MR. BOUCHER: I can, I think, run through a couple of things here. First of all, you've seen the Libyan public statement, the official reaction, I guess, where they denied any involvement. Obviously, that means Libya's aware of the indictments from our public statements. We'll also be transmitting the indictments in diplomatic channels in the coming days. We haven't had any contact at this point, even indirectly. In terms of other governments, we're considering any number of international responses. The President has already raised this issue with some foreign leaders, and you've seen some like President Mitterrand speak himself about it. We'll be raising it with others in the very near future. Governments throughout the world have been briefed on the charges and the extensive evidence of Libyan Government culpability. As the White House said yesterday, and I think we said yesterday, no options have been ruled out. In addition to that, we've been keeping in close contact with the families, as we have done ever since the tragic bombing of Pan Am 103 in December of 1988. Yesterday as the Justice Department began its briefings, the Bureau of Consular Affairs began calling the Pan Am 103 families. Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Elizabeth Tamposi called the leadership of the two family organizations, Pan Am 103/Lockerbie, and the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103. Among those she talked to were Mr. Paul Hudson, President of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie; Ms. Aphrodite Tsairis, Chairwoman, Victims of Pan Am 103; and Bert Ammerman, the President of Victims of Pan Am 103. These are the people that Assistant Secretary Tamposi and other Bureau principals have met with many times since the bombing. Consular officers informed the rest of the families of the indictment, they answered questions, and they informed the families of the new developments. The Justice Department will be sending them a copy of the indictment, and our Bureau of Consular Affairs will be sending the families the White Papers and the other materials that we've also made available to you. Q Richard, are any of the consultations you're making with foreign governments being undertaken within the framework of the United Nations? MR. BOUCHER: At this point we've been contacting governments through capitals. Q Richard, the indictments don't address another subject which is involved in this Pan Am 103 business. Does the State Department think that any other governments or any other airlines were negligent in permitting the time bomb to get into the stream of international luggage? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure I can give you a definitive answer on that at this point, Jim. I think the Justice Department said that there were no indications of involvement of Pan Am employees, passengers, people like that, in this. As we've said, we've tracked down the evidence of culpability, and we've said it led to the Libyans, and we didn't have evidence of others. As far as your sort of asking a "lessons learned" from the way the bombing happened, over the last several years, obviously, we've done a lot to improve security -- airline security in particular -- and we've been fairly successful in that. Q Well, to take it beyond either governments or airlines, does the State Department see anything wrong with this Swiss firm building 20 electronic timers designed to explode and then selling them only to the Libyans? MR. BOUCHER: Obviously, we don't like it. Whether it's a violation of specific laws or something like that, that is something the Swiss would have to determine. Q Richard, did you say that you will be transmitting the indictments through diplomatic channels to Libya? Did I hear you say that? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. I think that's what I said. Q What channels are those? MR. BOUCHER: We have a protecting power. It's Belgium. Q So would you expect to transmit it both here and through the -- in other words, through the Libyan office here? Their protecting power here is -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't know exactly how it will be done. As I said, it will be done in coming days. Q Will that transmission include a request for extradition? MR. BOUCHER: As I think I said yesterday, we do not have a extradition treaty with Libya. That's a technical matter of fact. Libya, obviously, could expel the perpetrators and give them to us. Q Yeah. The fact that there's no treaty doesn't -- MR. BOUCHER: But the intention at this point is to transmit the indictments in diplomatic channels in the coming days. Whatever else might be transmitted, I'm not going to predict at this point. Q O.K. As I understand the law, the fact that there's no treaty does not at all prevent the United States from requesting extradition. MR. BOUCHER: I haven't looked into the law on that, Doyle. As I said, there's various means of turning over people or getting people for custody and trial. Q So as far as you know, there's been no decision on that, or there's been a decision that you can't tell us about? MR. BOUCHER: As far as I know, there's been no decision on what additional requests might be transmitted along with the indictment. Q Richard, I've been reading your booklet, which is admirable, and there's a lengthy list -- MR. BOUCHER: I'll pass that on to the authors. (Laughter) Q -- a lengthy list of atrocities in the back pages, a chronology of attacks all around the world, which the United States attributes to Libya or guerrillas that were trained or financed or otherwise backed by Libya, throughout the world in Karachi, in Costa Rica, in Barcelona, in which scores of people have been killed and hundreds have been wounded. I was a bit surprised at the magnitude. Were there any indictments on any of those cases? What has the United States been doing to protect its citizens and others against this stream of Libyan-backed actions? MR. BOUCHER: Alan, I don't know if there were specific indictments in all these incidents. As you know, with this particular case, it was thoroughly and carefully investigated, and we were able to reach an indictment that charges criminal responsibility, and that has been done. What we've been doing to protect our citizens has been a campaign for many years, working by ourselves, with other governments, etc., not only to improve security, but to crack down on state sponsors of terrorism. Q What about the -- since we're talking about Pan Am -- the attempted hijack of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan, in which 21 people were killed, including two Americans, and 120 were injured. Is that a serious incident? MR. BOUCHER: Alan, all these incidents are serious, especially the state sponsorship of terrorism we see as a very, very serious matter. Whether there are specific indictments in specific cases is not a question that I can answer for you here. That's something you might check with the Justice Department about. Q Has anything been done to bring the perpetrators of that or the people that backed them from the Libyan People's Bureau in Islamabad to justice? MR. BOUCHER: Again, Alan, whether there are specific indictments and the judicial process in a specific case is not something I can answer for you here. Q Richard, can you tell us whether the -- among the methods that the U.S. will use to transmit the indictments will be through the U.N. Ambassador -- Libyan U.N. Ambassador -- or is there some reason why you're not using the U.N.? I guess that's what I -- MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, at this point I'm not in a position to specify in any more detail. We have a protecting power that's in Libya -- that's Belgium -- and that's obviously one means that's available to us. But we'll do this when we decide how and when to do it. Q And is there any explanation you care to give as to why you've transmitted this document to many other governments, as you said you did yesterday, but have not done so to the Libyans yet, the one country that's most -- MR. BOUCHER: I guess I would only give you the explanation that I gave yesterday that we will transmit it. We see no particular urgency to that. They know what they've done. They're aware of what we've said publicly, and what we've been making available publicly. We are at the point now of making this information and evidence available to other governments, so that they can look at it and digest it. And we're talking to other governments about what steps we need to take. Q Do you see any particular urgency, to use your phrase, in developing a response -- the international response that you talked about yesterday? MR. BOUCHER: It's something that I said we were doing and Marlin has said we were doing, and we're working on it. Q But do you see any particular urgency in doing that? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to characterize it one way or the other. Q Richard, I'm not sure I understood correctly what you meant when you referred to the denial by the Libyan Government. You are not commenting in any way on that denial? MR. BOUCHER: Obviously, we don't think it has any grounds that one might think of believing. I mean, obviously, it's not something that we give too much credit to. Q The denial contains a kind of proposal for the World Court to look at the evidence you have, and things like that. You mean you don't have any comment? MR. BOUCHER: There's been a very thorough investigation of this by U.S. and United Kingdom authorities. A statement about further looks at it is really just an obvious attempt on the part of the Libyans to stall. We reject the idea. It's not a matter for international arbitration of some kind. Murder of U.S. citizens is properly a matter for the investigation and the adjudication by U.S. courts. Q Richard, I read the White Paper and like Alan was impressed by that list because it detailed, I think, more than two dozen incidents since 1986. Are you able to characterize Libya's involvement in terrorism -- I don't think you were asked this specifically yesterday -- since '86 as increasing, as unabated, as waning? Do you have any sort of an evaluation of the trend? MR. BOUCHER: We did talk about this somewhat yesterday, Doyle, and I don't have my information with me today, so it's an imperfect reconstruction. After the bombing in 1986, there was a period -- I don't remember, I don't know if I can characterize it as how long -- when Libyan direct sponsorship and involvement in acts seemed to have died down. But they never took the next steps. They never took the steps of kicking people out and closing training camps, stopping their financing. And over time since then, for example, they rebuilt some of their networks in Europe that have been closed down. And I think we characterized it yesterday as saying that there has been specific involvement in some terrorist acts and specific support in some terrorist acts. But, all along, Libya has maintained these training camps -- as I detailed some of the financing that's also in the booklet yesterday. Q So that, in other words, their direct involvement seems to have gone through a rather brief hiatus and then it's come back or -- MR. BOUCHER: It's come and gone. In some cases, you know, you have to allow for the fact that it often takes some time to establish evidence in these cases. It took three years in this case. So the fact that we have not specifically established evidence over the past year or so in other attacks is not necessarily an indication they haven't been involved. It may be an indication that the only lesson they learned was to try to hide it better. Q Given the list that the State Department has published regularly on Libya's involvement in terrorism, how would you characterize the U.S. Secretary of State's comment in 1986 that, "Qadhafi had been put back in his box." Was he in fact, by the bombing? MR. BOUCHER: I think our discussion here was that, for a period of time, that was probably true by the bombing and the closing down of the networks. But, as I said, he didn't take the next steps that would really stop his support for terrorism. And over time he rebuilt networks and kept in the business. Q And that's all still active today? MR. BOUCHER: As detailed in the paper and the statements I made yesterday, there's still -- we still see a continuing and consistent pattern of support for terrorism on the part of Libya. Q Richard, one more question about the book which identifies the current Foreign Minister of Libya, Ibrahim Bishari, as a key figure in the terrorists up until at least last year when he was head of External Intelligence. Does the State Department intend to grant him a routine visa on his visits, for example, to the United Nations? MR. BOUCHER: I mentioned him yesterday as well, Jim. I'm not aware that there's been such a request from him, but I'm sure it's something we'd want to look at very carefully. Q Could you take Doyle's question as to whether extradition will be sought at the time you transmit the indictment? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to, George, because, as I said yesterday, I'm not in a position to predict for you what our specific next steps might be. We're consulting with other governments on the next steps that we want to take in cooperation with the international community. When we have something to say, we'll say it. Q Well, you said as far as you knew, no decision had been made. So you opened or allowed for the possibility that a decision had been made that you didn't know about. So I just wanted to give you the opportunity to -- MR. BOUCHER: That may be true, but, if I find out, I'm probably not going to be in a position to tell you. Q Richard, yesterday you said, I think, categorically that the U.S. Government is not reconsidering the place of Syria on the list of states sponsoring terrorism. But did you receive any requests from the Syrian Government for their name to be omitted from the list? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I'll take it and see. That, again, may be a question you'd more properly address to the Syrian Government and what they're asking for. Q Do you have any comment today on the report in the New York Times, which alleges that the United States Department of State essentially sat on information about China transmitting nuclear technology to Algeria which helped Algeria build a nuclear facility under some question about what that facility would be used for? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, as you know from our usual practice here, we're not in a position to comment on specific reports or specific intelligence information. I can tell you that any information that bears on intelligence matters, which we might receive, is made available to the appropriate intelligence authorities. Q Was it made in -- was that done in 1988? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not in a position to comment on these specific reports or pieces of information. Q Well, but if you say it is made, then one could draw the conclusion that you're denying that it wasn't made available at that time. Would that be an inaccurate conclusion? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid that's as far as I can go, Ralph. Q Well, Richard, let me ask you, without reference to any piece of information, has Ambassador Kennedy followed that policy consistently, or does Ambassador Kennedy have a problem? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think Ambassador Kennedy has any problem. I'll put it that way. As you know, Ambassador Kennedy is our representative who goes to the IAEA meetings. He's expressed himself there. We've expressed ourselves here about these issues. Q Well, that story says that at an IAEA meeting, others got the impression that the United States was not particularly concerned about this transfer. MR. BOUCHER: I can't speak for others' impressions, Jim, but it's very clear to us, I think, that Ambassador Kennedy has represented the United States at those meetings; that we have, I think, voiced our concerns about various proliferation developments consistently and clearly here, and that he has done so at the IAEA as well. Q Richard, is there anything you'd care to comment on or criticize about the report as published? MR. BOUCHER: I don't see how I could try to do that without getting into questions about specific reports or intelligence information. Q You're making a deliberate choice to leave that report standing without commenting on it. MR. BOUCHER: I am not in a position to go into it, Ralph, one way or the other. I'm sorry that I'm constrained, but you know our usual standards here. Q I know that the standards are not always applied in every instance, so that's why we're asking those questions. Q On the same subject: Have you got any reaction to the report that India proposes to sell a nuclear reactor to Iran? And has the U.S. sent them a demarche either favoring or not favoring such a sale? MR. BOUCHER: We have been aware, from previous press reports, of discussions between India and Iran regarding possible supply by India of a research reactor to Iran. We understand that no final decisions have been made. Yes, we have raised this question with the Indian Government. We've spoken to the Indian Ambassador both yesterday and today. As you know from our previous statements, the United States has urged all nuclear-supplier countries, including India, to avoid any form of nuclear cooperation with Iran, even under safeguards, because there is not adequate evidence that Iran is genuinely committed to the exclusively peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Q Who spoke with the -- Q Richard, just to follow up -- MR. BOUCHER: You asked who spoke to the Indian Ambassador. The answer is Ed Djerejian. Q Richard, just to follow that up. Iran is a signatory to the NPT, and if India decides to have all the safeguards in the export, what are the problems that the U.S. has? Isn't it simply a sort of trading that goes on? MR. BOUCHER: There are research reactors around the world under safeguards. I think there are some 150 that are under IAEA safeguards around the world. The question of Iran is one that we've addressed before when reports have come up. What we've said is that while research reactors are not necessarily associated with nuclear weapons developments, there have been recent public statements by Iranian officials that call into question the sincerity of Iran's commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and raise the possibility that Iran might misuse civilian nuclear materials, equipment, and technology. It's for that reason that we believe that any assistance in developing Iran's nuclear infrastructure is not acceptable at this time. Q Just to follow that up, I believe Reggie Bartholomew is getting out into the region. Have you nailed down the dates when he is going to Islamabad and Delhi? And also, I'm sure this is going to become a priority item on his agenda, I believe? MR. BOUCHER: Exactly how his agenda will work out, I think I'll leave to him. I think we've expressed our views on this, and I will double-check and see if we have dates for his trip. Q Just to follow up. What is the general attitude towards IAEA? Do you think the safeguards of IAEA are inadequate in light of what happened in Iraq? Is that the reason you said this is not adequate? MR. BOUCHER: What I am saying here with regard to Iran is what we've said publicly before with regard to Iran, and that's that we doubt the sincerity of their commitments; that they have made statements, and that we have urged all potential suppliers not to contribute to Iran's nuclear activities at this point. As regards IAEA safeguards, generally, that is something we've addressed as well. We think they're important. We think the regime is useful, but we have also been supporting and working with other members of the IAEA to strengthen those efforts and the information that's available to the IAEA inspectors, for example. Q One follow-up on that, Richard. The U.S. has been pushing for regional rapproachement between India and Pakistan. Secretary Baker told that to the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers, and I think Arnold Kanter met with the Indian Ambassador and said the same thing. Will Reggie Bartholomew be taking that message and trying to get India to respond to the Pakistani proposal for a regional detente nuclear non-proliferation type of thing? MR. BOUCHER: Once again, as you know, that's something that we've discussed before. But I don't want to predict a precise agenda for the talks that Bartholomew may have. When I check on the dates, I'll see if we can give you anything more on the subjects that he'll be discussing. Q When can you post the dates, Richard? MR. BOUCHER: As soon as I have the information available. Q Can I come back to the Algerian reactor -- facility for a moment? Can you tell us whether the U.S. has raised that issue with the Government of China? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I believe that we have said in the past that we have when the reports appeared. As you know, the Secretary is currently in China and will be discussing proliferation issues on his agenda. Q Can you tell us when the United States first raised the issue with China? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have that information with me. I'll check and see if I can get you that. Q Could you, please? Thank you. Q Do you have any readouts on yesterday's meeting here between the Indonesian Ambassador and somebody in the Department in connection with Tuesday's massacre in East Timor? MR. BOUCHER: No, I didn't do one because I think we ran through and advanced the issues that we were going to raise. Q Do you have any further details coming from the mission of the American Embassy in Jakarta that is supposed to have gone to East Timor? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't have any further details at this point. Q I would like to have just two comments. Congressman Tony Hall, commenting on the massacres, says -- and these are his words -- "That Indonesia's illegal takeover of East Timor and Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait are situations with a certain parallel." Would the Department comment on this? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any further comment on that. Our views of East Timor, I think I stated for you the other day. Q One more comment, Richard. Yesterday, you said the military aid which, for this fiscal year, goes to $2.3 million, I think, to Indonesia is destined principally to further the aims of democracy. Does the record of the Jakarta government, over the past two years and this latest tragedy, does it make you consider whether these aims are being really pursued with success there, or will you re-evaluate the situation in light of the new information that's coming from the country? MR. BOUCHER: No, I said yesterday that we certainly did have concerns about the shootings there, and that we've raised these; we're raising these with the Indonesian Government. When it came to the question of the military training, I said that we believe the program should continue, that it was important to help with the professionalization of the Indonesian military forces. We felt that our training did contribute to greater democracy and respect for human rights on the part of the military. Q So you will not re-evaluate the situation? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, that's where we stand. Q Have you seen the text of the concurrent resolution introduced last night by Senator Pell and others? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I have, Jim. But I think the general question was addressed yesterday. I talked about the fact that we shared the concerns of Senator Pell, that we shared his condemnation of the incident. We have no problems with the sense of Congress resolution that expressed that condemnation. Q Richard, yesterday, the FMLN made an unprecedented cease-fire offer. Your reaction to that as well as the fact that President Christiani has not offered to accept that cease-fire? MR. BOUCHER: Our reaction is that we see it as a very positive step. We think that an end to the FMLN's offensive actions and attacks on the electric power system and other infrastructure can be important contributions to the achievement of a definitive peace. We hope both sides will continue to show flexibility so that they can clear away remaining issues in the negotiations, agree on an internationally monitored cease-fire, and move ahead to the task of reconstruction and national reconciliation. Both sides have shown a strong desire to reach a final accord by year's end, and we believe that goal can be achieved. My understanding is that President Christiani has welcomed the announcement; that he said it will contribute to reaching a definitive cease-fire, and he said that his armed forces would take corresponding measures when the FMLN's operations are suspended. Q In a follow-up, Congressman Moakley presented legislation yesterday that would greatly restrict future aid to El Salvador -- military aid as well as economic aid. Any reaction to that proposal? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any specific reaction at this point. Q Richard, also on Latin America: Does the Department have any observations about the sentencing today of its former Assistant Secretary for Latin America? MR. BOUCHER: No. Q Richard, another subject, if I may. Any update on the search for the alleged U.S. POW in Kazakhstan? MR. BOUCHER: No real update, Frank. Our Embassy in Moscow is pursuing it, trying to determine what further information it can develop. They've looked again at the article and found that some of the information is less definitive than it might first appear, particularly in translation. But they're pursuing this issue, and I don't think they've come to the point where they're dispatching someone to -- where someone has left for Kazakhstan yet. Q So no one has gone yet to -- MR. BOUCHER: No. As far as I know, at least from reporting last night, they have not yet sent somebody. They wanted to pursue it more in Moscow. Q That means you have doubts about the story? The fact that you haven't really dispatched anyone -- you've known about this case for a few days. MR. BOUCHER: No, it's still our intention to do that, and it's still their intention to do that. They wanted to pursue all the possible leads in Moscow and look at the situation carefully to make sure that they had as concrete information as possible before they went out there. Q Do you have any indications from any of their contacts in Moscow that there's anything more to this story than just what's published there? They certainly had an opportunity to talk with Soviet officials at this point. MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any definitive report at this point, Ralph. Q If you find someone, will you let us know? MR. BOUCHER: Sure. Q Maybe he'll pick up a phone and call somebody. MR. BOUCHER: If he's there, he could. Q The situation with the Haitian boat people, I think their numbers have now ballooned to over a thousand. Where are they and what's happening to them? MR. BOUCHER: It's at least close to a thousand. I think probably about that or more. The numbers I have are about 480 Haitians remain at Guantanamo. They're receiving temporary humanitarian assistance. There are about 500 on Coast Guard vessels at sea. We and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees continue to work urgently to find a solution to the problem. INS personnel on board the ships continue to conduct detailed interviews with the Haitians. We're doing this with a view toward taking in only those who qualify for asylum. Interviews conducted so far indicate that a very small percentage appear to qualify for asylum. Q Have you actually granted anyone asylum yet? MR. BOUCHER: I think these are initial interviews, and that we take in those who would qualify. I don't think there's been any transfers or formal grants at this point. Q Richard, back to Libya -- Q Can we stay on this for a second, please? Senator Mack of Florida has called on the INS to take these people in to the mainland -- the United States. What do you say to that? MR. BOUCHER: I'd say what I just said, that we continue to work the problem urgently, to find a solution to this problem. I'd say what I've said in the past days, that we're talking with other countries about finding arrangements so that they can take some of the people in; and I said what I said today, which is that our intentions are to take only those who would qualify for asylum. So far, the interviews indicate that only a very small percentage would qualify for that. Q Have any been returned to Haiti? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I know of, no. Q Do you have any idea when they will be returned -- those who don't qualify? MR. BOUCHER: Again, George, we're trying to deal with the problem on a regional basis. We're talking to other countries. I think we've said we're talking to other countries about taking some of these people in, at least temporarily. I don't have an arrangement yet. Q Can you confirm that in addition to Belize, Venezuela and Honduras also have agreed to accept some Haitians? MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't go into specific countries at this point. Q Richard, on the question of a World Court for this Libyan affair, today, you said that it's all out of the international jurisdiction. Yesterday, you were not ready to take it as a question among other options. You were not ready to talk about any options. Does this come as a result of the Libyan statement, denial statement, or a change of policy or a policy decision, or what? MR. BOUCHER: Yesterday, I think I was asked about going to the World Court, meaning the United States taking it to the World Court as part of a series of questions on what our intentions were and what we plan for our next steps, and I declined, I think fairly consistently yesterday, to go into our intentions on next steps. This morning we have a proposal, one might call it, from the Libyans that talks about their wanting to do that and we're rejecting it. Q Richard, on the Middle East, has the State Department seen the reports that the Israelis are thinking of prosecuting Hanan Ashrawi for contacts with the PLO? MR. BOUCHER: We've seen those reports, Jim. My understanding is that the Israeli police have advised the Attorney General that Hanan Ashrawi should stand trial for meeting with the PLO. We really don't have much more information than that. Q Do you think that's a constructive, helpful sign for the Middle East negotiations? MR. BOUCHER: Jim, it's obviously a matter of concern to us. We've just completed the historic opening of direct bilateral talks between Israel and its Arab neighbors. We think now it's in everyone's interest to create a climate that promotes negotiations and gives them a greater chance of succeeding. Q That doesn't answer quite the question, though. Do you think that the report that you referred to about the police advising the government to prosecute falls into the category of creating a climate that's conducive to peace? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, I said we had certain information. We don't have further information, and I'm not in a position to characterize it. Q You said, however, the report is a matter of -- you said the report is a matter of concern to you? MR. BOUCHER: Yes, the report, situation is obviously a matter of concern. Q Have you, or do you plan to convey that concern to the Government of Israel? MR. BOUCHER: We've been in touch with the Government of Israel. Q Richard, on the same thing: Hanan Ashrawi had a press conference and said this was one of the reasons that you couldn't have continuing talks either in Israel or in the Middle East because they were being harassed and telephones were being tapped and all that type of thing. Doesn't this give additional cause for some sort of neutral place like Williamsburg or some place for further talks? MR. BOUCHER: I have nothing new for you on the question of venue. Q Richard, on Libya, U.S.-Libyan relations are virtually nil for many years now. But what is the status of those American oil companies? Is it only their foreign subsidiaries that still operate there? Has there been any change in that status in the last few months? MR. BOUCHER: Chris, that's something that I think the Treasury Department can probably get to you since they administer the regulations. It's something that I thought about checking on and, frankly, I just forgot. Q One more question -- on Yugoslavia. Now that both the Croats and Serbs have agreed to Lord Carrington's proposal for a U.N. peacekeeping force there, is the U.S. going to leave this only up to the Europeans or is it going to offer specific help financially or by sending experts to the area? MR. BOUCHER: I think you may be a little bit ahead of the curve. My understanding is that consultations are continuing, for our part, with other governments on possible Security Council resolutions on Yugoslavia. We think it's premature to speculate as to the elements that will be in any such resolution. We consider it encouraging that all the parties in Yugoslavia have endorsed, in principle, the idea of a peacekeeping force, as you say, and Lord Carrington has reported. We want to emphasize, however, the consideration of any form of peacekeeping force is contingent on the acceptance of such a force and the observance of a general cease-fire by all parties in Yugoslavia. The EC countries and the Security Council have made this very clear, and we share that view wholeheartedly. Remember that President Bush said in The Hague on November 9th that we strongly support the EC's efforts in Yugoslavia. Q Richard, has a U.S. decision been made on whether to propose a venue and time for the next set of bilateral talks for the Middle East peace process? MR. BOUCHER: No. Q A decision has not been made? MR. BOUCHER: The decision has not been made to do so nor has a decision been made on what to propose if it comes down to our doing that. Q One more, if I could, please. You said in your consultations with everybody on the Libya thing -- can you be more specific about with whom you are consulting? For example, is the United States presenting the indictment and additional information to Arab nations in the Middle East? Is it doing so with NATO, with the EC, or any kinds of groups? Any way to be more specific about with whom that information is being shared? MR. BOUCHER: I believe virtually every country in the world. Q Except Libya so far? MR. BOUCHER: Except Libya so far. As I said, they seem to be aware of what we said. Q Haiti hasn't been told yet either? Q Iran included? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. (Press briefing concluded at 1:30 p.m.)