US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #174, Wednesday, 11/22/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 11:58 PM, Washington, DC Date: Nov 22, 199111/22/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, E/C Europe, Caribbean, Southeast Asia, East Asia Country: China, Haiti, Indonesia, Israel, Egypt, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, USSR (former), Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia (former), Germany Subject: Immigration, Mideast Peace Process, Media/Telecommunications, Regional/Civil Unrest, Narcotics, Trade/Economics (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I have one housekeeping matter and two statements. The housekeeping matter is there will be no State Department briefing on Friday, November 29. The first statement -- and I don't see Mr. McWethy here -- he will be most pleased to know that effective immediately, correspondents from the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania may enter the press areas of the State Department on the same basis as their colleagues from the United States and other countries. This means that those Soviet, Bulgarian, Romanian, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian journalists who wish on a regular basis to attend the Daily Briefings or visit the Press Office can apply for a building pass. All of these journalists who enter on an infrequent basis will be able to come to the press areas of this building without escort. This decision has been made in light of the steps towards democratic reform which have been taken in these countries. All correspondents who wish to avail themselves of this opportunity should contact the State Department Press Office on or after Monday, November 25. As you know, we have already made these arrangements for correspondents from Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia and the former East Germany. Q Are there any reciprocal steps being taken by the Soviet Foreign Ministry? MS. TUTWILER: As you have so aptly pointed out to me, I believe that there is a different system -- and I can speak especially as your colleague, Mr. McWethy, used to ask -- in the Soviet Union. I can't speak for every one of these countries, so I don't know. This is what we've done. Q We'll rename this the "McWethy Briefing Room." (Laughter) MS. TUTWILER: But Jim Anderson started it when we first came here, so Jim gets the first part. On the Middle East: Today, after waiting three weeks for the parties directly involved in the Middle East peace talks to work out among themselves the question of venue for additional bilateral talks, we proposed that the parties meet here in Washington on December 4 for the next round. It is important to give the parties the chance to work this out, but it is even more important to resume the direct talks. We want to make clear the view of the United States that, over time, there is no reason to exclude holding negotiations in the region. Many successful talks have been held in the region in the past, and a regional venue would allow close proximity for the negotiators to consult with their respective political leaderships. Q Have you done more than -- whatever the verb you used -- have you actually, the U.S. and the Soviets, issued any sort of invitation, any notification? MS. TUTWILER: Last night we sent cables out from the State Department to all capitals, and our Ambassadors -- I haven't checked with every one of them this morning -- but the vast majority, have been in contact with their capitals. Q Margaret, how long are these talks envisaged lasting this time? MS. TUTWILER: It's up to the parties. Q And where is the actual venue? What's the physical site in Washington? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not in a position to announce the physical location today. Q (Inaudible) Q Can I then have -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. In Washington. Yes. Q I want a filing break at this point. MS. TUTWILER: You want a what? Q Filing break. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. I don't have a building. Q Will there be one location or three? (Journalists begin leaving the room) MS. TUTWILER: Can we stop now? Q Have any of the parties accepted? MS. TUTWILER: Not yet. Q Will it be one location or three? MS. TUTWILER: That's also something I'm not in a position to discuss today. Q When you say the United States sent -- had proposed the talks in Washington and sent cables out, has the Soviet Union issued a similar proposal? MS. TUTWILER: If I did not, I intended to say, "We proposed," indicating -- and the cables definitely do -- the Soviet Union and the United States. And I can't speak for the Soviet Union, but I assume that they -- whatever mechanism they're choosing -- are doing a similar thing, did a similar thing. As I mentioned the other day -- I don't think you were here -- that when Secretary Baker spoke with Foreign Minister Shevardnadze, I said they had discussed one item of business -- it was the Middle East -- and they had discussed this. Q Have they spoken again since that conversation? MS. TUTWILER: Not yet, but they well may today. Q What happens if one of the parties doesn't want to come here for these talks? MS. TUTWILER: It's their choice. We have always said that we cannot want this process or want peace more than the parties themselves, so that would be their choice. Obviously, it would be an unfortunate choice. It would obviously be very disappointing, not only to the co-sponsors but I think to many countries and peoples around the world. Q Well, if one of those parties, just for the sake of consideration, turns out to be Israel, then there wouldn't be any talks, would there? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Margaret, is there a time limit to RSVP on this? MS. TUTWILER: We would, obviously, expect and hope to have early responses, and I really don't want to get into the details of what everything that's contained in the cable says. But, obviously, we're going to need a response for everybody. Q Does the cable also deal with the other phase of the peace talks -- the multilateral phase at all? MS. TUTWILER: No. It does not. Q Have you made any progress on scheduling that -- MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Do you have any sense yet of how these talks are going to transpire over time as they become regularized? Will there be rounds of talks as there were in the CFE and the SALT, or START, negotiations that would then recess and resume a month or so later? MS. TUTWILER: That type of detail is not decided, and it is something that the experts here at the Department -- those types of things -- are being and have been discussed with the various parties, and there are no decisions in any of those areas. But it is something that, obviously, the parties themselves have to decide, and they have to start turning their attention to. But I'm not aware of any decisions. Q Margaret, the talks -- when the talks take place here in Washington, will they be held under the auspices of the United States and Soviet Union, or is the United States merely offering a physical space for the bilateral parties to conduct talks in whatever way they choose to do them? For example, would it be possible, let's say, for the Israelis and the Syrians to have meetings in their own Embassies here in Washington? Is that what you have in mind? Or do you have in mind that the U.S. and Soviet Union will somehow provide a place or some kind of auspices in which the... MS. TUTWILER: The United States and the Soviet Union will provide the facility. Now, if someone comes to us, Ralph, on totally hypothetical, and says, "We'd rather meet at the, you know, the National Arboretum." We're not going to say, "No, you can't." So, I mean, we feel an obligation to provide a facility or facilities, but that type of logistical decision, spot, has not been determined. We're still working on it. Q And can you say whether there's been any change in the U.S. and Soviet position on the U.S.-Soviet role in these bilateral talks for this round? In other words, did the proposal or invitation, or whatever you want to call it, suggest that the U.S. and Soviet Union would convene the talks or be in the talks at the beginning or anything like that? Any of that? MS. TUTWILER: No. None of the substance concerning that has changed. The United States and the Soviet Union will be outside the room. Should both parties agree and request, then the United States and the Soviet Union would come in the room. This is not at a ministerial level. This is at an expert level. Q Margaret, at the White House today, Prime Minister Shamir indicated that he had not yet agreed -- or there was no agreement between the United States and the Israelis on where to meet. One assumes that he had been pressing to the very end to have these talks somewhere other than here in Washington. Can you give us any detail on that? MS. TUTWILER: It's absolutely correct that he has not, as he said himself, agreed to this venue. But I would point out that Washington D.C. was no one's first choice. And, as you are all very well aware, that in Madrid at the conclusion of that conference and that first round of bilaterals, the United States said, as the Secretary said in his press conference, that the parties had requested two weeks to try to work it out among themselves. Should they not be able to, then the co-sponsors would propose a location. That's what we've done. And in fairness to the Prime Minister, we have not had any responses from anyone yet. These cables left the Department last night -- I'm taking a wild guess here -- about 8:00 or 8:30, and it's today now in those capitals, and so we are just now in touch with our Ambassadors who are in touch with those heads of state. Q Margaret, was there any direct or indirect conversation between the parties, among the parties, about exchanges of cables, exchanges of messages, in trying to work it out themselves? MS. TUTWILER: You'd have to ask the parties that. Q But do you know of any? MS. TUTWILER: I'd refer all those types of questions to the parties themselves. Q Do you have anything to say about the multilateral talks this morning? MS. TUTWILER: As of today, I really don't. It's something that we are still discussing and working on. I would envision that we would have something to say about that soon, but I don't have a definite date for you yet. Q Is there anything you can say about the makeup of the delegations that will come? Can we expect them to be the same delegation, or should we not necessarily expect them to be the same delegations? Is it a new ball game for these bilateral talks? MS. TUTWILER: They do not have to be the same individuals. Q Margaret, how have you worked... MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me. So because they do not have to be the same individuals, we do not -- since this just went out last night -- have lists or conversations yet on who will be in your delegations. Q I guess that's what I was getting at was whether there is going to be another process now, between now and December 4, of dealing with the makeup, for example, of the Palestinian delegation? MS. TUTWILER: Well those rules don't change, and the Palestinian/Jordanian delegation and the Palestinians specifically are well aware of that. Q Margaret, can I follow up on that? Q Will the United States supply visas for people who happen to be members of the PLO, perhaps as an advisory -- as advisers to the Palestinian delegation? MS. TUTWILER: No. As you know, the members of the PLO are not delegates, and they are not advisers. So I don't know of an instance of where the United States would give a visa -- there will be no credentialing for the bilaterals, as there will be no press center. Everyone will be on their own to do whatever they choose to do or not do, concerning speaking to members of the press. But, no, the rules haven't changed on who is going to be part of this delegation. Q No. But, as you are aware, in Madrid the PLO came in force to help advise the advisors and the delegation, and they were very much a part of what was going on there, and now you're saying they will not... MS. TUTWILER: I don't know which PLO you are talking about. I leave it up to individuals to say what organizations they are or are not in, and I am not aware, to use your phrase, that the PLO came in force to Madrid. Q So, in other words, you would grant a visa on a normal basis to anybody who is not a publicly avowed member of the PLO, even though there might be suspicions or hints or comments in the paper that in fact that was the case. MS. TUTWILER: I'm not sure -- that's not exactly true. I have a good idea of who I think you're thinking about, and I would only remind you that those individuals have been here, since we've been here, dozens of times at the State Department -- I can't speak to the former Administration -- and I'm not aware of any problem that has ever cropped up concerning those individuals. Q Then I believe there was a sort of another category in Madrid. There were people who were avowed members of the PLO who were there, and were sort of on the periphery of the conference. Those people, I assume, would, under the rules that you're talking about, would not be given a visa? MS. TUTWILER: They may well have been. But may I remind you that the Spanish Government has a PLO Embassy and relations with the PLO in Madrid. We do not. We do not have a dialogue with the PLO, as you know. That's been suspended. And I am not aware, to be honest with you, as far as in Madrid, as you remember, everything was credentialed, including access to the press center. I'm not aware at all of any PLO official or member that had a credential -- certainly not -- nor a press pass to the official press center. But I can't -- and Secretary Baker said many times it would be unrealistic to say that we can control anything that people are saying anywhere in the world or people's travels. Q Is the U.S. going to make any special -- feel the need to make any special arrangements by way of communication for each of the delegations to assure, for example, secure communication links between their capitals and Washington, since, for example, the Palestinian delegation doesn't have an Embassy here -- or not that I'm aware of anyway -- and for that matter even with regard to the Syrian -- well, for all of them. Any special arrangements being made? MS. TUTWILER: As you point out, there's only one of the delegations that does not have an Embassy here, nor do they have one in Madrid. And the Spanish Government and the United States and the Soviets did help them with certain things such as Xerox machines, faxes, phones, etc, but nothing in the secure area. So we are well aware that they do not have an Embassy here. I don't know, Ralph, and don't want to speak for them, should they choose to use the Jordanian Embassy. I just can't answer that for you. If they come to the co-sponsors and say, "Will you please help facilitate us as you did in Madrid, in our hotel," of course, we will. Q Margaret, on the multilateral, there would be a certain symmetry if in fact Moscow were chosen to be the place, would there not? MS. TUTWILER: There would be. Q And is that one of the considerations? MS. TUTWILER: There are a number of locations right now that are under consideration, and I just don't have an announcement that I'm in a position to make today, because it isn't decided. Q Do you have any idea at this point what all this is going to cost? MS. TUTWILER: Cost? Q Cost. MS. TUTWILER: This, probably as I mentioned to a number of you in Madrid, the largest single cost to the United States Government in Madrid was the press center. And, since we are not going to have a press center here, I would envision that our cost will be, obviously, substantially down. I haven't costed it out. People will be working out of their Embassies. As in Madrid, all delegations pay their own hotel bills. They pay their own transportation costs to get there, and they pay for their own -- in Madrid we did, the Spanish Government did, offer and supplied anyone, head of delegation, with an armored limousine, and we had a six-car package for their motorcades. Here we will not be doing that. Those were, obviously, as you remember, a head of state and foreign ministers, and these are going to be experts. So I would envision there will be very little cost at all associated with this. Q Margaret, in most negotiations, as it gets serious, they usually need secretariat support. They need all of the experts' support, all of those kind of things. Has any of that been thought of, set up, anybody has anticipated that? Usually that can only be done if the negotiations take place basically in one place or in one locale. I just wondered whether anybody has moved toward setting up such a support facility anywhere? MS. TUTWILER: A secretariat? No. And, as you know, in Madrid we did purposely, and it was a decision taken, did not have a secretariat. Now, I don't want to preclude that one negotiation group decides that they want to form a little secretariat -- for instance, in Madrid, we had sent out to the various parties the same information we gave ourselves: "If you want to bring certain documents, bring your own. There will be no executive secretariat." And our experts here did travel with our historical records that we felt we might need there or be needed to call upon to get. So I don't know what they will decide in these meetings December 4, if they all accept the joint proposal, or on down the road. I just don't know. Q Margaret, back to the dialogue for a minute, the -- MS. TUTWILER: The what? Q Back to the dialogue with the PLO. The PLO, as you know, has made a request to the United Nations to on-pass the request to the U.S. that the dialogue be reconstituted. Do you have any comment on that? MS. TUTWILER: No. Our conditions are well known. They have not changed today. Q Margaret, earlier you said, when you were talking about venue for these talks, that, over time, the United States saw no reason why the talks couldn't be held in the region. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q What consideration, if any, was given by the United States to holding this session of the talks in the region, and, if it was considered and obviously decided not to be held there, what was the reason the United States felt at this time that they couldn't or shouldn't be held in the region? MS. TUTWILER: The United States did, as it's done throughout over the last eight months, functioned with the Soviet Union as an honest broker. And we gave not only two weeks but three weeks to the parties to try to work it out among themselves. Various parties have very strongly held views, and the United States, as we said three weeks ago, would come up with, should we be required to, a proposal. In our minds, this is a fair and equitable proposal, and it's Washington. Q O.K. MS. TUTWILER: I'm not going to get into where everybody was. That's what I'm trying to avoid. Q Right. O.K. That's fine. It doesn't quite answer the question, though. The question is what reason does the United States have for not -- you said there would be no reason over time for not holding them in the region, what reason was there for not holding them in the region at this time? MS. TUTWILER: Because at this time, Ralph, we view that... Q Was it unacceptable to the parties or... MS. TUTWILER: We view at this time that the proposal that we have made, based on our knowledge of what everybody's position is, that they have told us, that they have told many of you, that this was the best, in our view, possible proposal for a venue at this time. Q If I could just follow that by asking a sort of followup to Saul's question: The Israelis have said that there have been no contacts between the Israeli Government and the Syrian Government since Madrid on the subject of venue. You've said that the United States has given the parties three weeks to work it out. Is there any evidence that you can point to that the parties have attempted to work it out? MS. TUTWILER: None that I am prepared to go into and that I'm prepared to discuss. That is more appropriately, should be and will continue to be -- those types of questions -- answered by the parties themselves. What I'm doing is I'm not steering you that they have. I answered Saul's question the same way I answered yours. I'm going to continue to basically not answer it and refer you to the parties for them to say whatever they want to say about what their governments are doing. It's not for me to do. Q I'm just trying to find out whether there was any kind of dialogue, even on this basic point, opened among the parties in these last three weeks, as far as you know. MS. TUTWILER: And I can hardly think of a more sensitive subject for me to be discussing on their behalf, and that's why I'm going to -- unfortunately, hopefully graciously -- continue to avoid answering that question for the parties in the region. Q But you still leave the impression by saying that the United States and Soviet Union gave them three weeks to work it out. MS. TUTWILER: To try to work it out. Q The impression is left there that somehow there was a process that, they just couldn't work it out. But most of us are left with the impression that not only couldn't they, but they made no attempt to. And that's a difference in tone about where the talks -- what prospects there might be for the talks themselves. MS. TUTWILER: I cannot do any better than what I'm doing. You have to draw your own conclusions. I have not commented whether they're correct or incorrect. I just feel, appropriately in my mind, that it would be totally irresponsible for me to say in diplomatic, private channels, "We have been told that X wouldn't talk to X, X did talk to X, X wouldn't answer so and so's phone." I'm not going to do that. I just am not going to do it. So I'm not trying to steer you anywhere. I'm trying to have a total blank page and have no view and no knowledge and no information on this subject at all. So I am not trying to steer you in any direction at all. Q Margaret, can I take it from your inability to discuss some of the logistics that such things as time and the precise location, whether they'll be consecutive meetings or simultaneous meetings, all of that is still undecided? MS. TUTWILER: Right. That has not, as of this briefing, it was not in our cable and it has not been discussed with the various parties. So when I say that we are still discussing it -- when John asked me if we had a literal site -- it's just that we aren't, to our thinking and our process and logistics, planning etc., yet to have something to say. Q (inaudible) have anything to do with these talks at all? MS. TUTWILER: Same rules as I stated a little while ago. He's always said that the Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, should a need arise -- and they view that it is a need -- that they will be available and willing to participate. Q A follow-up question: Is the United States inviting Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze to come to Washington for December 4 to be available outside the door? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q No? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Two hours ago the Prime Minister -- MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry. John said what? Q Can you give us a copy of the cable? MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me. Ralph, Secretary Baker is not planning, as I said earlier, to be in any of these venues either. Why would the Foreign Minister -- and if you'll recall -- Q The difference is that he's in Washington -- MS. TUTWILER: Well, there's a big difference in what he's got going on in his country and what we have going on in ours. Q -- and you did say he would be standing by, if necessary, so that's why I asked. MS. TUTWILER: If you want to hold us to that literal of a translation, they said that they would be called in should a need arise. If you go back and look at all the records, that the two Foreign Ministers -- at least mine speaking -- has said, "I would be willing to then go and physically go to the site." So I think that Foreign Minister Shevardnadze not only has a difficult situation in his country, he has just retaken on the job of the Foreign Ministry of that country. I think it is quite understandable that he has other things to do than to sit in an embassy in Washington on the chance that there's a problem and that he and Secretary Baker may go over and meet with some experts. It's never entered my mind that he would come and do this. Secretary Baker, for instance, is not holding his schedule totally free for the entire time that these delegations are in town on the off chance that they call him. Q There's a mystery here -- MS. TUTWILER: Wait, John McWethy had a question. Q Are you going to provide us with a copy of this cable? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Why not? MS. TUTWILER: Why would we? Q Why wouldn't you? Why is it classified? MS. TUTWILER: Because there's a lot more in it than just venue and timing. There are -- Q That's interesting. MS. TUTWILER: There are a lot of other parts that are in a classified -- I can't remember the classification, but I'm pretty sure it was a "Top Secret" cable. We're not about to. I've told you the venue and the timing. There's no way. Q How long is the invitation -- many pages? MS. TUTWILER: It's longer than two sentences. Q It's not, "Just come to Washington; we'll talk to you all at that time about where we're going to meet," so on and so forth? MS. TUTWILER: No. If they come to Washington, then they've already accepted the proposal. Q Margaret, there's a mystery here which is that two hours ago in the driveway of the White House the Prime Minister of Israel said that the discussions are continuing on the question of the venue. MS. TUTWILER: I read that. Q Apparently, the Prime Minister of Israel thought that there was more to talk about. But in this case, you come out and, in effect, pre-empt those discussions, do you not? MS. TUTWILER: Well, Jim, I read it and it was just one part of a -- about what? -- five or six-minute interview. I'm not sure if he meant discussions are continuing internally with his government, with his advisors. I really, honestly -- that's why I said I read that. I don't know what, indeed, the Prime Minister meant. Q He was asked twice, and I think the context was clear. Did he and the President agree on a venue? And Marlin said -- MS. TUTWILER: Marlin has addressed himself in his briefing this morning to the President's meetings with the Prime Minister. I believe -- I just heard a little bit of Marlin's briefing -- he said that they did discuss venue and timing. Secretary Baker, last night, in a 2-hour meeting with the Prime Minister, discussed venue and timing, among other things. But let me remind you also, and think back to before Madrid, I can remember many of you who were sitting in the King David Hotel when the Secretary of State announced Madrid. I couldn't tell you that Madrid was anyone's first choice just as I said a little while ago that Washington is not anybody's first choice. But I think that most people's analysis of the logistics, the planning, the support of Madrid give it a pretty high mark. I have no reason to believe that we cannot, in Washington, provide the same type of support. Q Margaret, was approximately the same cable sent to all the parties, or were there differences? And can you point out -- MS. TUTWILER: No, there are no differences. Q No difference? MS. TUTWILER: Don't hold me to a standard. If one says, "King so-and-so." There are obviously some differences but not major, substantive differences; no. Q Margaret, just for the record, did the invitations go to exactly the same parties as were present for the bilats in Madrid? MS. TUTWILER: They went to heads of government; and, as you know, in the Palestinian case, we delivered them to Faisal Husseini who, in turn, delivers them to all the delegations. I believe that's how that one went last night. I'm positive that the other ones went to our Ambassadors who, in turn, are to get in touch with their governments. Q But there are no additions or deletions in the roster of parties who will be present? MS. TUTWILER: Oh, no. Q To whom did you send the invitations? MS. TUTWILER: To whom? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: To the people who were in Madrid. Q So Egypt was invited? MS. TUTWILER: To my knowledge, probably not. I can't remember. No, because they don't have negotiations. They never have. Q I understand that. Would it be possible for you to tell us who received invitations? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Let's start with Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinians, Lebanon. Q The EC? MS. TUTWILER: They are a participant. They are not party to -- well, you know that. This is obvious. Q You can say it. We can't. You're the spokesperson for the U.S. Government. MS. TUTWILER: Well, I just said it for you, so we're all clear now? The participants have never been envisioned over eight months that they would be negotiating with the parties to the region, to the conflict. Q I'm sorry, I'm still unclear. Did invitations go the participants or are they simply free to show up if they want to? MS. TUTWILER: The participants have never been envisioned being a party to direct negotiations among the parties who have an interest in the conflict. Egypt is at peace with Israel. They do not have anything to negotiate that I personally am aware of. The EC does not have the problems that others in the area do -- obvious border problems, etc. -- with these parties. The direct bilateral negotiations have always been among the parties. Q If those participants, or some of them -- Egypt is one that stands out as a possibility but there are others -- would like to come, to be available if needed, is the United States offering them that opportunity? MS. TUTWILER: If they have an embassy here. They can talk to obviously anyone they want. But that they would be in the meeting room or have a separate bilateral with one of the parties, I've never heard anyone suggest. But are a lot of countries helping around the margins? Sure. You bet. Did they help in Madrid? Absolutely. Q Have you had any informal replies from anybody? We've got sort of an informal reply from the Israelis today. Have you had any informal replies from any of the parties to indicate their willingness to come? MS. TUTWILER: Not really. Our Ambassadors have been in contact with Ed Djerejian this morning. I can't characterize anything as a reply yet. Q Is there a reply date? Do they have to reply by a certain time? MS. TUTWILER: I answered that earlier by saying that, of course, we expect people to respond and I was not going to get into the details of everything in this cable. Q Can you offer us some kind of statement as to what you would expect the goals, let's say, of this session of bilaterals to be? MS. TUTWILER: The goals? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: No different than, to be honest with you, this entire process -- to get the parties in the region to talk, to communicate. They have, as you know, very, very intractable problems that they have had, and to begin to negotiate; ultimately, if you want a goal, to find peace in this region for the peoples who live there. Q In the case of the multilateral talks, the definition of the goal for the first session has been evolving to the point where it seems now that it's been called the planning session or an "arrangement-making" session, or an organizational meeting. MS. TUTWILER: Organizational. Q Would you characterize this set of bilateral talks an organizational meeting for the future of the bilateral or agenda-setting or -- MS. TUTWILER: I would be reluctant to characterize them again for the parties. It's their bilateral meetings; it's their negotiation. I think it would be best, if you want to put an adjective on it, they put their own adjectives on it. Ours is that the second round of bilateral talks is beginning December 4 in Washington. Q Could we move onto another subject? MS. TUTWILER: It would suit me. Q One more question on this. Can you identify the American experts? MS. TUTWILER: Can I identify the American team that will be the negotiators? Q Yeah. MS. TUTWILER: No, not today. Q Yesterday, in his speech in Baltimore, Prime Minister Shamir left -- MS. TUTWILER: Another subject? (Laughter) Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: Sorry. Q It's not the peace talks. -- left out a key phrase which referred to the territorial component as being a part of security in the Middle East. Did the Israelis give you any read on that, why that was left out? Was it inadvertent? Was it on purpose? Does it signal something? MS. TUTWILER: It is not something that was brought up in Secretary Baker's meeting with Prime Minister Shamir last night that I am aware of. The expanded meeting was for one hour that I was in, and then the Secretary met one-on-one for the next hour. So I can only address myself to that which I heard, and the Prime Minister's speech was never raised in that meeting by either the Israelis or the Americans. Q In the same speech, the Prime Minister said he was disappointed that Egypt -- Israel's only peace partner -- had opposed -- in fact, it played a major role in trying to block the nullification of Zionism as racism resolution, something that the President said ought to be nullified in his U.N. speech. Is the State Department aware of Egypt opposing that resolution? And since you want it nullified, what have you done about it? MS. TUTWILER: That is an issue that the Secretary has continued to have the experts work on. He has told you before that this is something that the United States is working towards and the United States is. And, yes, this subject was touched on by the Prime Minister and the Secretary last night in their meeting. The Secretary told the Prime Minister, basically, exactly what I've just told you. Q Well, what I'm looking to get from you is some statement of what the State Department thinks of Egypt's position and what the State Department may be doing, if it's doing anything at all, to persuade Egypt to adopt the U.S. position? MS. TUTWILER: The United States position on this has been articulated very loudly, Barry, both publicly and privately to all people. In fact, I can tell you that at almost every meeting the Secretary, that I can recall, has had over the last three weeks when we've been out on the road travelling with various parties, this has been discussed. We have refrained from saying specifically what steps the United States they are taking and how they're working this. Basically, it would fall, in my mind, under the category of quiet diplomacy, actively working it. What we're interested in is results. We're not interested in somehow saying, in response to a question, "Here is what we're literally doing," and somehow then not achieving our goal; and our goal is to have this, as you know, rescinded. Q I guess on the bilaterals again for a second. Did they discuss loan guarantees last night? MS. TUTWILER: Not in the hour portion of the meeting that I was in. Q The Prime Minister said it also didn't come up at the White House today. That's a little bit surprising given the high priority that the Prime Minister had put on that in the past. MS. TUTWILER: Well, as you know, we have all agreed that there would be a 120-day delay. I don't know if that's why he did or did not discuss it, and I can't speak to the President's meeting. Q Do know when the 120 days end? MS. TUTWILER: I think in January. Q It's very confusing how you count that. You think the end of January? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding, what I've always heard, is January. But I've never heard a date in January. Q I have one other question about the Palestinians which is, there's a wire report saying that a close aide to Yasser Arafat is suggesting that unless the dialogue is resumed that it would be difficult for the Palestinians to attend the bilateral talks. Do you have any reaction to that? MS. TUTWILER: Not particularly. Q Back to the U.N. Do you have any words for the Record on the apparent choice of Butros Ghali? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, I do. We are extremely pleased that the United Nations Security Council will recommend Butros Ghali to be the next Secretary General of the United Nations. Secretary Baker knows Butros Ghali well and sent him a message last night offering him his congratulations and suggesting that they get together as soon as possible. Q Was he the preferred U.S. choice? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding is that traditionally and historically the United States never -- nor does anyone else at the United Nations and the Security Council -- discuss their votes. But I would tell you that the United States has been, was throughout, and is very supportive of Butros Ghali. Q Can we get an update on Haiti? Are refugees still being intercepted? Are there new numbers on that? MS. TUTWILER: On Haiti, the new numbers -- I'm not going to go through all of them today because the only ones that are relevant that have changed are 47 Haitians were picked up by the Coast Guard yesterday. Remember, we had 53 people all week who had a plausible claim to asylum, I now have 69. Basically, all the other numbers that went to Honduras, that went to Venezuela, etc., all the same as yesterday. Q Are the refugees still being kept on the ships? Are they going to Guantanamo? Are the ships getting overloaded at this point? Is there a problem -- MS. TUTWILER: I did a lot of detail on this yesterday, and I have it for you; I'll give it to you after the briefing. I don't know about a ship unloading today. I know that one did yesterday. And off the top of my head I remember it was approximately three-hundred something refugees. Q Can you confirm the Cuban news agency report about the ones who died? MS. TUTWILER: I can tell you that yesterday, when these reports appeared, that the United States Coast Guard contacted the Cuban border guard to offer assistance. The Cubans confirmed that the boat went down and replied that they needed no assistance. Conditions at that time and through Wednesday were very hazardous in that part of the Caribbean. In our opinion, this tragedy underscores the danger that we have been discussing in recent days. We urge people in Haiti not to risk their lives at sea. In an interview on Voice of America, President Aristide himself has made the same warning. Yesterday morning, the Coast Guard once again saved lives when the Coast Guard Cutter Dallas picked up 47 people from a 27-foot boat with a cracked hull. Q Margaret, when people used to get shot trying to climb the Berlin Wall, the advice of the U.S. Government wasn't, hey, it's dangerous to try to get out of there; you ought to stay put. Doesn't the fact that people are prepared to put their lives at risk indicate that maybe they really do have fear for their lives in Haiti; that the regime is as oppressive as the Administration says it is? How do you keep considering these people economic refugees? MS. TUTWILER: Because we have no evidence to the contrary. We believe, as I stated yesterday, that it is non-humanitarian and irresponsible to send messages to people who, for whatever reasons, are getting out in boats, that have no lifejackets -- have, as this one did yesterday, a cracked hull -- why in the world would we be sending a signal, "Come on over?" It is insane. It's 600 miles of open sea. We've described how rough these seas are. Q But they seem to be desperate. Is there any consideration being given to perhaps some special conference of nations or something, as you address a Cambodian problem, as you address other problems? The United States apparently is not getting through simply by saying, "Hang in there, don't try to get into those rickety boats." Is there any other course of action the Administration can consider? MS. TUTWILER: The United States is working through the OAS, who I would suggest to you has the lead on this. I'm not aware of any dissension within the members of the OAS on the policy that is being pursued by all of these countries concerning this situation. As I pointed out -- I don't believe you were here yesterday -- we do not have any evidence to date from our embassy personnel or from other relief organizations that operate there in Haiti of any types of fear and persecution that you have mentioned. Q Margaret, just to follow up, do you accept as valid the Cuban news agency report? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have any reason to question that this boat went down. Q Margaret, I'm sorry to go back to the invitations again, but just one detail involving sequence. Did the State Department cable go out after the Baker-Shamir meeting concluded last night? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Do you have any news from the Indonesian Commission of Inquiry into the massacre in East Timor? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have any new news. Once again, as we have last week or the week before, we have strongly condemned this -- the excessive use of force. But I don't have any new news. Q Is the United States satisfied with the composition of the Commission of Inquiry appointed by the Indonesian Government? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding is that the European Parliament's condemnation of the November 12 shootings in East Timor reflects our own continuing serious concerns over these tragic events. Congress is also in the process of expressing its special concerns over what happened. The European Parliament's resolution is directed towards member governments of the European community. As you know, our policy is and continues to be the U.N. Secretary General has a mandate from the General Assembly to seek to resolve the East Timor issue. Q And about the Commission, do you -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't know a lot about the Commission, to be honest with you. I just don't know. Q Is the Department aware that the President or Chairman of this Commission is himself a military man? MS. TUTWILER: No, sir, I'm not, personally. But I'm sure that there are people here who are very closely watching this. I know that the Secretary himself last night saw a piece on one of our American networks and spoke with the Assistant Secretary for this region this morning on the phone. So I know that it has his personal attention, but I personally just do not know the details that you are asking me. Q And is the Department aware of the footage broadcast last night by CBS News? MS. TUTWILER: If that's the footage. I guess it was CBS that the Secretary saw. So, yes, he saw it himself. Q Do you have any comments to it? MS. TUTWILER: Obviously, it was gruesome, and we have said that we condemn this. Q Will it be part of the evidence of any investigation -- current investigation -- that you're conducting on the massacre? MS. TUTWILER: Sir, I simply don't know. Q Margaret, could I ask a question about China? There's an American businessman who has been active in helping get Chinese political prisoners freed. He says a labor leader and a student leader and some others are coming out, and he credits Secretary Baker in his recent visit. Can you confirm this or do you have any comment on it? MS. TUTWILER: I can't confirm the two individuals. I saw the same wire copy that you're reading from, but we do not have a confirmation from our Embassy yet. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (Press briefing concluded at 12:40 p.m.)