US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #175, Monday, 11/25/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12: PM, Washington, DC Date: Nov 25, 199111/25/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Caribbean, E/C Europe, Eurasia Country: USSR (former), Israel, Iran, Haiti, Yugoslavia (former), Croatia, Serbia-Montenegro, Libya Subject: Arms Control, Nuclear Nonproliferation, Mideast Peace Process, Immigration, Trade/Economics, Terrorism, United Nations (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I have two announcements I'd like to make. One, as I recall, Barry, you had asked me a number of times about the Reggie Bartholomew-Obukhov meetings. Those are taking place today and tomorrow here in Washington, D.C. These meetings are to discuss arms control and proliferation issues that were agreed upon at the July Summit between President Bush and President Gorbachev. In particular, we expect the teams will be discussing implementation and follow-up on the President's nuclear initiative and President Gorbachev's response. On the Middle East, we had, as you know, on Friday, an official acceptance from the Jordanians, and today we have an official acceptance from the Lebanese Government. Q That's all? MS. TUTWILER: That's all. I've seen, as I'm sure you have this morning on the wires, any number of responses from any number of individuals. But in our work over the weekend and in our conversations this morning with other parties, no one was in a position for me to say that was an official acceptance as of this time. Q Margaret, there are reports from Israel that they won't let you know by the end of today. What happens after the deadline runs out? MS. TUTWILER: Our deadline was a deadline merely for planning purposes. After all, this will not be quite as complicated as Madrid, but we do have an obligation to have facilities, to have security, to have people met at the airport, etc. So it was our best estimate -- a date that would help us do a good job of facilitating these delegates or negotiators when they come here. So if the deadline comes and goes, it comes and goes. Q One other question. Do you know -- do we know where it's going to be held yet? Has that been decided? MS. TUTWILER: We're still working on that. I said on Friday, I believe, Connie, that I would steer you toward a U.S. Government building. That's still the case. Q Is the U.S. Government just waiting for replies to come or actively pushing the other parties to reply? MS. TUTWILER: We cannot want bilateral talks to begin more than the parties. We have, I just said, been in touch over the weekend and this morning with various representatives of the Israelis, the Syrians, and -- who's the other one we haven't heard from? -- the Palestinians. It's up to them. Q Margaret, as you know, over the weekend, various Israeli officials have said that they feel insulted, slighted, treated badly because of the way the invitation was issued. Could you walk us through again the sequence of how the invitation was issued, and should they feel insulted? MS. TUTWILER: I would be glad to. I'll start by saying, myself, as I know others here are puzzled by this. It is a little mysterious to us because when I lay out the record for you, I don't understand, and I've only seen unnamed officials saying that they were insulted or somehow slighted. Prior to Madrid -- prior even to the conference -- in our discussions with the Israelis and with others, we outlined our views on how to overcome the problem of venue and of timing. We had further discussions in Madrid, which I think all of you here are aware of, and we acceded to Israeli requests and others to delay making a proposal on Washington in order to give them a chance to work out a solution with their negotiating partners. We said, as you all know -- it's part of the record -- that we would give the parties two weeks to try to work this out. As you all know, it became then three weeks, partly due to our fault -- we were traveling in Asia. We were, when we got back, we had a request made to us from the Israeli Government to please delay our response until after the Secretary had had any opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister, and we did so. We originally had intended to, with our co-sponsor, send these instructions to our Ambassadors on Tuesday, November 19, and we delayed until Thursday, November 21 when the Secretary had, as you all know, approximately a two-hour meeting with the Prime Minister. The vast amount of time of that was spent on Washington and timing. One other thing that I would like to point out is that -- if you want to really debate this -- is that having had a one-on-one, basically two-hour meeting with the Prime Minister of Israel, we, as a co-sponsor, felt we had an obligation to go ahead and inform the Arab parties involved that, yes, indeed, it is Washington. It is December 4. As I said, these instructions were sent to our Ambassadors to go to their capitals. After all, this capital was represented here by the Prime Minister and his top staff. Then, as you all know, the Prime Minister met with President Bush and it was not until the conclusion of that meeting that Marlin Fitzwater and myself came out last Friday with an official statement saying that, yes, indeed, the co-sponsors were proposing Washington, D.C. on December 4. Q Margaret, some of the Israelis are saying -- first of all, Prime Minister Shamir himself said it was inappropriate to make the announcement, or send out the invitations before his meeting with President Bush. So it wasn't just any anonymous sources. Second, I did hear from some anonymous sources the suggestion that Secretary Baker suggested to Prime Minister Shamir that the invitations would go out in the next couple of days, is what they suggest. He did tell Shamir that it would be Washington, but that the invitations were going to go out in the next couple of days. Is that what happened? MS. TUTWILER: I can only speak to that portion of the two-hour meeting that I was present in, which was the first hour. That phraseology was not used, to the best of my knowledge, by the Secretary of State. I cannot address myself to the next hour. But let me do one thing. What I think we're all losing sight of the fact here is what really should be the real issue. It should not, in my personal opinion, be a haggle over a site or timing. What is so important to these parties, to the process, is to get these bilateral talks going. That is what is somehow getting lost here in some of this traffic. I would also refer you to the Prime Minister's own interview on American TV yesterday. He, himself, says that he does not have a principled problem with this. He, himself, says -- and I refer you to his transcript -- how important it is and how very much Israel wants these talks to go forward. So I don't really think that there is a problem here. He expressed, on behalf of his government, what their views were and their intentions were. So I have every reason to believe that this will work itself out. Q Margaret, the Secretary told Mr. Shamir Thursday evening that Washington is the place? MS. TUTWILER: The Secretary told him for probably the fifth time on Thursday -- as I just mentioned -- he told him in Madrid; staffs had been in consultations in the three weeks that transpired; and on the last trip that he had to Israel, Washington was raised then. To go even further back in history, if you'd like, at one point, various Israeli Government officials had raised with American officials Washington as being the site of the conference and follow-on bilaterals. I have to say that -- and it is not the Prime Minister -- these unnamed Israeli officials are saying that their government was shocked, that their government was surprised. I just don't feel in all candor that the record supports that. It has not been some top secret that was kept from everyone. Q No, we realize that. If the Secretary knew from Mr. Shamir on Thursday evening that the Israelis still object to Washington and that the Prime Minister was going to take this appeal, let's call it, to the President the next morning -- and since you say the important thing really isn't the time or the place, the important thing is to get the negotiations going -- couldn't the Administration have waited, I suppose out of some sense of propriety, for the Prime Minister to talk to the President and then sent out the invitations? MS. TUTWILER: The Prime Minister, himself, called on Secretary Baker many months ago to be an honest broker in this process. Since the Secretary, at his level, met with the Prime Minister, who was here on a private visit, and spent two hours and said: As I told you in Madrid and as our staffs have discussed in the intervening three weeks, it is going to be the proposal of the co-sponsors -- Washington, D.C.; it is going to be December 4. He felt that he had an obligation -- I think it's a legitimate feeling -- to inform, at that moment in time -- after having had two hours of one-on-one consultations with the Prime Minister of one of the parties -- to inform the other Arab capitals, yes, indeed, a final decision has been made. We are going to propose Washington, December 4. I think that there is no quarrel with that. That is why I have said I have not seen that the Prime Minister himself is quarreling with that process. Q Does the Administration have any quarrel with the talks resuming December 4, but being confined, again, as the beginning of the Madrid talks were, to procedural issues; with the issue of where to really negotiate face-to-face held in abeyance for a while? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard that put forward yet. Q I think you will pretty soon. MS. TUTWILER: Well, maybe I will, but I haven't heard that. What I have heard is that the parties expressed a desire to get to what I would call, for lack of a better word, substance and to begin their negotiations -- their second round of negotiations. Q So you have no position on whether it would be good enough if the parties assembled in Washington on December 4, had a meeting or two on procedural issues, and considered moving the negotiations, or maybe staying; having open where to negotiate the real issues? MS. TUTWILER: I think it is has always been open to the parties. It was open over the last three and one-half weeks. The parties, among themselves, could not -- and came back to the sponsors -- could not come to an agreed-upon location. As I stated in my statement on Friday, the United States' view is that we want to make clear that our view is that over time there is no reason to exclude holding negotiations in the region. If these people, tomorrow afternoon or tonight, call up and say, "Hey, by the way, we'd like to meet in X," we'd say great, wonderful, fine, go meet there. But that's not the case right now. Q I wanted to ask you about Syria. As usual, we're asking about one of the parties. The other major party, there are no questions. There's no information about. There's no traffic about. Before we jump to that, can I be clear that the Secretary's invitation -- how should I put this? MS. TUTWILER: Proposal. Q The joint invitations were not phrased in a way that excluded only procedural talks in Washington? MS. TUTWILER: Let me be clear again, and I did try to be clear on this on Friday. The invitation to the Madrid peace conference was a document that was negotiated over seven months, line-by-line, word-by-word. As he says, every comma in there was negotiated. This second phase was a cable -- instructions sent to our Ambassadors. It is our proposal, which is what we said it was going to be. It is not a formal, negotiated, invitation document. These were instructions sent to our Ambassadors, in these cables: Go in to your governments with the following information. As detailed as, Barry, at this next phase, there will not be, for instance, a press center. Because we're anticipating using a United States Government building, there will be no credentialing. So, it was instructions -- Q But not so detailed that it said at this phase, we expect the talks to deal with substance and not procedure. That wasn't specified? MS. TUTWILER: I can't assume that people -- whether it is us or the parties -- are envisioning coming and talking about process or nothing. Why wouldn't you get engaged? Of course, we think that people should begin to get engaged. But that's up to them. Q You could see what's behind this. If Israel feels, for instance, that it has to accept -- but it still doesn't want to negotiate here -- it could, presumably, as a tactic, buy some time by coming here to talk about procedure, maybe holding an election, and substance will be delayed for some time? MS. TUTWILER: But let me also remind you that I'm not aware of anyone whose first choice was Madrid. I said on Friday that I think the universal opinion is -- on logistics, if you want, and procedure and atmosphere, etc. -- that Madrid, most people judged to have been very successful. I have said, and I'll say again, Washington, D.C. is no one's first choice. But we kept saying throughout this process, if you cannot come to agreement among yourselves -- which none of them did -- then we're going to propose something. It was not a big secret what we, in our view was, with the Soviet Union, we would be proposing as the bilateral site. Q An Israeli said this morning that you pledged in the five-page letter of invitation, which was handed to Mr. Levy, that they will not issue any visas to the PLO to enter Washington for the negotiations. What do you comment on that? MS. TUTWILER: I can't remember if that's in or out of the letter, to be honest with you. I don't remember if it's five pages of cable or not. But I do know that I stated on Friday, and I'll state again today, that our visa policy has not changed and it will not be altered. If you want a more thorough explanation of it: Our visa policy is contained under Section 212(a)3(b) of the 1990 Immigration Act, as amended: An alien who is an officer, official representative, or spokesman of the PLO, is legislatively deemed ineligible. The Secretary of State is vested by law with the discretion to recommend to the Attorney General that the prohibition against a particular PLO member be waived. Our policy has been and will continue to be to consider requests by members of the PLO for visas on a case-by-case basis. I would remind you all, because I reminded myself this morning, that numbers of instances exist. For instance, the U.N.; for instance, humanitarian. As you know, sometimes people get sick and we will waive it for a family member to visit a very sick family member; and sometimes for types of academic conferences. Q The second thing that I have, the Palestinian spokesman, Ms. Hanan Ashrawi, over the weekend on CNN, said that she requested from the United States administration that the Palestinian delegation will be treated with the same treatment that they received in Madrid from the standpoint of -- MS. TUTWILER: Of course they will. Q They are asking for this commitment from the United States. MS. TUTWILER: Of course, they would. After all, Hanan and Faisal and the doctor, and any number of Palestinian representatives, come to the United States all the time. They meet with our government officials. As you all know, they've had any number of meetings with Secretary of State Baker. Whether it's the Palestinian delegation or the Israeli delegation or the Syrians or Lebanese, of course, we will make all of them feel as welcome as we possibly can. That is why we had put a suggested response time on for today, in order to do many of the things that we were able to produce in nine working days in Madrid, under a terrific amount of, to be honest with you, confusion and pressure. We'll try to allow ourselves a few more days here to try to accommodate and make these delegations' facilities as best as we can do it. If we don't have a response, then, you know, it puts us behind. Q On the invitation with Shamir, do you know -- either were you in the meeting, or was this in the part of the meeting when you went there -- that at any point the Secretary said to Shamir, "Now that we've discussed this, I'm going to tell the Arab countries tonight?" MS. TUTWILER: In the part of the meeting that I was in, that phraseology, that idea, I do not recall. Q Well, maybe not the exact words, but was anything given to Shamir to let him know that those invitations were going to go out within the next few hours? MS. TUTWILER: If you hold me to "next few hours," I cannot say that that -- but let me also say there was no misimpression, certainly on my part, of these things were dropping and that we had -- his Ambassador, Ambassador Shoval, had requested through Dennis (Ross) that we delay on November 19, which had been our original intention -- which all parties had been told about -- to please delay until the Prime Minister had an opportunity to meet here in Washington, D.C., with Secretary of State Baker, and we did. Q To put it another way -- because I would really would like to nail this down -- there was no reason for Shamir to leave that meeting thinking that those invitations were not going to go out in the very near future? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not going to characterize what the Prime Minister's, of any country, impressions were or thoughts were after a meeting. I'm just not going to do that. Q How much of your decision was driven by the fact that secrets in the Israeli Government generally have a half life of about 39 seconds; and you knew that once you told Shamir of this, it would be in the Israeli papers the next morning anyway? MS. TUTWILER: But to be honest -- and we could all go look through Nexis -- Washington, D.C. -- just as certain Arab places have been continuously speculated about for the multilaterals -- had been out there a lot. What I'm saying is, prior to Madrid, the city of Washington, D.C. -- not December 4 -- but the city of Washington, D.C., had been raised at the Secretary of State level any number of times and at the experts level. What made it official was that -- we did delay from that Tuesday. We were already a week behind, as you all have pointed out because of our travel. I've taken credit for that. We wanted to get going. To be quite honest with you, many of you have said that had you not held to your October time frame and announced, as we did that afternoon in Jerusalem, invitations to the Madrid peace conference, we might be sitting here today debating about, "Why haven't you had your peace conference?" So at some point the co-sponsors have a judgment to make and an obligation to say, "Here it is. Here's our proposal. You all decide." Q Margaret, I have no quarrel with that. But we're talking about a matter of just a few hours before he met with the President of the United States to talk about the same thing. If he met with the President to talk about that issue, wasn't it sort of a meaningless conversation? MS. TUTWILER: I don't believe -- and you could certainly ask the Israeli Government -- that Prime Minister Shamir originally scheduled his meeting with the President of the United States, on his private visit, to discuss something over a bilateral venue issue. Because of the original time of that scheduling, Saul, I don't believe that that was something that was envisioned. Q I thought he told Baker, though, that he was going to take it to the President and discuss it with the President the following day. But then the invitations go out and, of course, they leak out through Mrs. Ashrawi so that the Prime Minister is then hearing about it as he goes to meet with the President. You can understand why that might be a little bit awkward. MS. TUTWILER: That's not exactly correct. All of you all have very interesting different bits and pieces of this. I will have to tell you that at the same time that we sent our Ambassadors in -- and cables -- to the other parties, they were also delivered in Jerusalem. I happen to know that the individuals in Jerusalem then called the staff that are here with the Prime Minister. So I would beg to differ with saying that the first time he knew that those cables had been sent out was hearing it on TV. His staff knew very well from informing him because we sent them all out simultaneously together. Q I don't mean that. But on his way to the White House, before meeting with the President, he had heard from his staff, as well as the Palestinians, perhaps, that it's already been done? MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q And yet he was going to talk to the President about this issue. MS. TUTWILER: All I'm saying is, I do not believe, myself, that this city comes as any great shock to any of the parties. As I stated, Marlin Fitzwater and I did not go out until the conclusion -- almost 2-1/2 hours after Prime Minister Shamir had met with President Bush. He had been on the sidewalk and talked -- or the driveway -- and talked to many of you all. Marlin and I then had a statement where we officially, on the record, acknowledged that the United States and the Soviet Union were proposing Washington, D.C., December 4. As I recall, I got out here about ten minutes after 12:00. Marlin went, as I recall, about ten minutes of 12:00. Q Margaret, on the other parties, could we ask about them? Have you heard nothing from Syria and the Palestinians, or have you heard something that says, yes, but? MS. TUTWILER: We heard different things, and we have been in contact all weekend and again this morning with our Ambassadors and with our Embassy personnel there. But I am not in a position to officially announce anything concerning the other three. Q Well, Israel, states a position in public often. Syria doesn't often. Did the Syrians or Palestinians tell the U.S. they have no problems with Washington, but there are other things they want settled? MS. TUTWILER: What I'd really rather do, Barry, is avoid characterizing what the others have told us. I have no official "no" and I have no official "yes," as of today from the other three parties. One of them could be coming in while I'm out here. I just don't have it for you here. Q There are two parties, no? Am I missing -- Lebanon said yes -- MS. TUTWILER: Palestinians. Q Lebanon said yes. Well, you're including Israel in the "three" party. As you look over this whole situation, what does the State Department or what does Mr. Baker think the prospects are of getting Mideast peace talks resumed? MS. TUTWILER: I will refrain from doing a prediction. He obviously thinks that -- and has worked very, very hard over the last 8 or 9 months -- but he thinks that we cannot sit here and beg or plead and say, please, please, continue on and have these bilateral meetings. Obviously, I think the world will be extremely disappointed. I think the parties in the region would obviously -- the vast majority of the publics -- I would envision would be disappointed. We can only can deal with what's real. And what's real, as of Monday, is that we have an official acceptance from the Jordanians and an official acceptance from the Lebanese. I would refer you to the Prime Minister's press conference, when he returned back to his own country -- what did he do yesterday? -- CBS -- a CBS interview. I have no reasons to believe -- but I can't pre-state what these other parties will do. I believe that they all genuinely want a process, want to have bilaterals, and want to continue. But it's up to them to say what their policy and positions are going to be. I just don't know. Q One last thing on Israel. He taped that program in advance on (inaudible). MS. TUTWILER: He did? I didn't know that. Q Yeah. He went back, but it was too late to have a Cabinet meeting on Sunday. He couldn't arrive in time for one. Wasn't the State Department aware of the fact that Israel would take decisions like this to a cabinet meeting and that a cabinet meeting couldn't be held in time on Sunday to respond by Monday? MS. TUTWILER: If the State Department was aware of it, if the State Department made a mistake, we made a mistake. But I said that November 25, which is Monday, was our request. It was not a demand. It's not a line drawn in the sand, in concrete. It is literally to help those people who are implementers, who have to do an enormous amount of work behind the scenes -- that all of the delegations in Madrid told us and others how much they appreciated it, how smooth running it was, etc., etc. It takes time. If that was an oversight by someone in the State Department, I apologize. Q Can we turn for just a moment to the invitations? You indicated that you didn't know whether the invitation to Israel was the five pages which -- MS. TUTWILER: I really don't know if it was five pages. Q -- was indicated by some folks, and that there was some specific details in there about no press center, so on and so forth. Were there other specific details in there on the substance which you have thus far not said anything about? MS. TUTWILER: I believe you asked me this on Friday. Q Gee, did I? Imagine that. MS. TUTWILER: I think you did. What I'll continue to do is, I'm not going to go into all of our diplomatic correspondence with places. But the United States has ideas and views for all of the parties on how to help -- as we have, in our opinion, all along and the Soviets -- to continue to encourage the parties to get engaged. They're nothing more than views and ideas, to be honest with you. Q Will there be any elaboration on -- Q Wait a minute. It sounds -- nothing more than views and ideas. It sounds to me like -- MS. TUTWILER: Suggestions. Q -- maybe the U.S. has laid down some substantive things in this -- MS. TUTWILER: That would be going too far in the other direction, John. There is -- predominantly this cable, as I said, is venue, timing, and logistical specifics. There are other suggestions and ideas that could be discussed/could not be discussed, but they are not laying anything down and it is not saying, to the degree I think that you think it might say, you must do this or we would strongly suggest you begin this, or here is your agenda. It's not like that. Q But you've said all along that at some point the U.S. would start offering bridging proposals, things that might help them narrow the gaps. Has this happened in this invitation? MS. TUTWILER: No, we're not there yet. Narrow the gap on what? We can't even get everybody to say yes to the city. Q Narrow the gap on the substance of the issues that separate Israel and Syria, that separate Israel and the Palestinians. You have laid down -- have you laid down some of the substantive thinking that you have about how to bridge the gaps between them? MS. TUTWILER: Experts meet and have met throughout this entire process -- it's not just one cable -- and those types of conversations, of course, go on between the experts involved in this region. But that that type of detail, to the extent I think you think is in there, it's not. But are people -- Americans, Soviets, others -- having conversations at an expert level? Yes, they have throughout this -- of things to think about, things to -- I've got to leave it more suggestive. Q So there's no discussion, for example, in the Israeli-Syrian set of cables about the Golan Heights and how they might come together or -- MS. TUTWILER: Oh, no. You're way too detailed. Q And no discussion about how to move into an interim settlement with the Palestinians and the Israelis? No -- MS. TUTWILER: In this particular cable? Q Right. MS. TUTWILER: Not that I recall. Q To make sure we don't misunderstand that -- MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q -- does this cable mention issues that they may want to take up? Is that what you're saying? MS. TUTWILER: I'm saying that this cable -- parts of it, the shortest part of it -- deals with United States' suggestions and United States' ideas that experts may want to engage in and talk about beforehand. That is all that I'm talking about. Q Is this one cable the same cable that went to everybody, or did the Syrians get a different cable, say, than the -- MS. TUTWILER: They're all predominantly the exact same cable. Q Was there an adjunct to this cable? Is this the only cable that went out concerning these talks? MS. TUTWILER: It's the only one to my knowledge, but I haven't asked. I don't know why you'd have to send another one, because this one was, as I've said, fairly detailed on venue and timing and specifics. So, if there's another one, I'm unaware of it. Q But there was no pre-set conditions or directions of the talks -- MS. TUTWILER: No. Q -- in the cable? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Can I get a copy of that thing -- MS. TUTWILER: Of the cable? (Laughter) Q Yes, yes. The cable. MS. TUTWILER: Yeah, right. Q We'll read it tomorrow morning anyway. The visa -- the answer to the visas, please. MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q Margaret, there were reports that Syria expressed kind of a wish to see the country taken off the list of states sponsoring terrorism before sending their delegation to Washington. Do you have any comment on these reports? MS. TUTWILER: I've read that. You know that that's something that has been raised previously, and it's not something that the United States is planning on doing. Q Is it fair to assume that both the Syrians and the Palestinians are seeking clarifications? There are messages coming back and forth. MS. TUTWILER: No. It's pretty clear: December 4, Washington, D.C. It will probably be a United States Government building, so you won't need credentialing. There won't be a press center. I mean, it's fairly clear. There's not much that's ambiguous in this. Q Margaret, have you made it clear -- has the State Department made it clear to Syria that there can be no preconditions for accepting December 4 in Washington? In other words -- MS. TUTWILER: I believe that's clear to everybody. Q -- can the Syrians say, "Yes, we'll go, but only if Israel's willing to give up the Golan Heights," or "Yes, we'll go if we can be sure that, this or that." MS. TUTWILER: I believe that there are no preconditions, Barry, to anyone. I mean, our invitation -- Q You're not permitting preconditions? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Well, I mean, the invitations may not say there are no preconditions, but is the State Department's position that the parties come and they cannot be guaranteed the outcome of the negotiation? MS. TUTWILER: Absolutely. That's been our policy and position from day one. These are all things to be negotiated, as the Secretary has said any number of times. Q Will we know about the place before Thanksgiving? MS. TUTWILER: Know about what place? Q The place where the peace talks will be held? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. Call your friends and colleagues. Ask them when they're going to say yes. Q Well, I understand that Mr. Abu Shafi said this morning in Damascus that the answer will be given today, and the Palestinians are -- MS. TUTWILER: That will be terrific. Q This was direct and -- MS. TUTWILER: I've read the same thing, but I didn't have it before the briefing. Q Will we get a little statement like we did on Jordan if anything comes in? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Absolutely. Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: Wait one second. Patrick. Q You've told us Israel itself proposed Washington, D.C., for the conference and follow-up talks. MS. TUTWILER: I said Israeli officials had suggested a long time ago the possibility. Q Yes, a long time ago. And now they're saying that Washington, D.C., for follow-up talks is not a good idea. Have they told you why they changed their mind? MS. TUTWILER: No. We didn't really get into it. It's just in re-thinking through -- since so many people are discussing this -- we were reminded that Washington, D.C., as a possible site months ago was indeed discussed by many Israeli officials. Q Margaret, so that you don't have to go through this time after time after time, is any thought being given on a permanent arrangement, on a permanent place, or a permanent arrangement? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q No. Just one place for -- other talks? Is that one of the things that would be on the agenda that's among the views and ideas? MS. TUTWILER: It is not something that I'm aware of that the United States and the Soviet Union are trying to broker, when you put that word "permanent" on there. It's difficult enough, as you've seen, (1) to get to a Madrid peace conference, and now to try to get to December 4 to bilaterals. So I'm not aware of anybody who's thinking along those lines. Q But wouldn't it be difficult to have any substantive talks -- substantive stuff on issues without -- as we talked about on Friday -- without some sort of support staff, without people from the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the experts on hand, without people -- translators, people putting down on paper -- MS. TUTWILER: They're all going to be there. Q -- all the things that are necessary to put down. There's an enormous amount of paper, as you know, generated in negotiations. MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. And only one of these parties, as you know, does not have a full-blown Embassy here. None of these Embassies are what I would call "miniscule." They have got professionals there. They have an enormous amount of talent and facilities to draw upon. Only one delegation does not. And what was the other part of your question? I can't remember. Q It sounds to me as if you're suggesting that what's looming here is the possibility of Washington, D.C., as the more or less permanent place for talks in the near future? MS. TUTWILER: We didn't ever say that. I don't know how you could assume that if my statement of Friday -- Q Because, as you say, everybody's already here except for one delegation. MS. TUTWILER: No, sir. I said on Friday -- and I will say for you again, and Marlin said it -- 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. That was our statement that we made Friday, and I've restated it again twice here today. That's the United States' view. Q Well, does the United States view this as a sort of continuously floating negotiation -- MS. TUTWILER: I hope not. Q -- for the next however many years are necessary; that there will never be a permanent location for these talks? MS. TUTWILER: How do I know? I mean, I can't do "nevers." Our responsibility as a co-sponsor is -- we had three phases, remember? Madrid, the peace conference. We did that. Now we are trying to launch -- the peace conference was -- the intended purpose, as stated in the letters of reference -- was to launch direct, bilateral negotiations. That's what we're trying to do. But have we ever said that, "and we will have an undying commitment that every single time someone wants to make a change, that we have to baby-sit this"? I'm not aware of that. What if the two parties meet next week and explode and say, "We're not going to meet again for nine months." Yes, we'd try to get them back there, but that's all we can do is try. Q I'm sorry. Perhaps you didn't understand the point of my question. MS. TUTWILER: I don't think I do. Q Do we envision that these talks will move around over time as the negotiations go on, or do we envision that there will be a permanent site for the talks, assuming that they go on for a year or two years or a generation? MS. TUTWILER: Maybe I'm not making myself clear here. I have said what the United States' view is. That at some time -- I don't know when that is, which in my mind is the opposite of permanent -- that we think that these talks should be moved to the region, for the very reasons I just stated. That doesn't mean they're going to ever move to the region. I don't know that on December 4 these talks are going to even begin. If they do begin, are they going to begin with all parties? I don't know. But I know what our view is. Now, I don't know when we determine, or the parties determine -- which is how it should be -- that it's the right time to move to the region. And where is the region? Where do they decide among themselves that's the region or not the region? All of this is just totally speculative and just guesswork right now. I don't know. What we're focused on and concentrating on is December 4. Q May we request, please, that we have regular scheduled briefings during this, or do we all have to do sidewalk things -- MS. TUTWILER: No ma'am. These are not our talks. We are simply the facilitator and the co-sponsor. Just as in Madrid the various parties determined how they would handle photo ops and statements afterwards, they will, throughout these bilateral talks, be making those determinations. So I would suggest that once you know that these are going to happen that you talk to their embassies here in town or when their delegations arrive. We will not be determining that. From this podium, we will not be doing a daily readout or a daily briefing. They are their meetings. Q Have the Israelis requested the United States to pledge to have the talks in the future moved to a different part in the region? MS. TUTWILER: The Israeli view on where these talks should be held is well-known, as are other people's views on where they think the talks should be held. Q Another subject, possibly? MS. TUTWILER: That would be great. Q You'll love this one: Iraq. MS. TUTWILER: Another easy one. Q Yeah. Another easy one. The Washington Post got excited today about the possibility that the Administration isn't thoroughly pleased with the results of this invasion, and that maybe some other things are going on. Let me just ask you basically, is there a review going on on U.S. policy toward Iraq and -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Yes? O.K. MS. TUTWILER: But, having said yes, our policies are always under review, and our policy on Iraq, yes, it goes under review, as it does on any number of places around the world. It would be ridiculous to think that it doesn't. The reason, obviously, that it's under review is to assure that it is being as effectively implemented as possible. Q Well, is the Administration pleased, satisfied, with the results of its war against -- MS. TUTWILER: Of their own review? Q No -- its war against Iraq? Have the goals been met, apart from the -- most specifically Saddam Hussein staying in power? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not positive that the review is completed. I would also refer you to last Wednesday's testimony where our Assistant Secretary Ed Djerejian spoke at length and in quite some detail about our policy. And, as you know, I'll restate parts of it: Our policy is that the Iraqi people deserve a new Iraqi leadership. We have made no secrets about that. You're familiar with all the many times the President has spoken to this. Saddam cannot be redeemed, and all possible sanctions must be maintained as long as he is in power. That is our standard policy. We are dedicated to a coordinated international effort to ensure Iraq complies with its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 687 and 688. Pressures include, or ongoing pressures: Diplomatic isolation, economic sanctions and support for the United Nations' efforts to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and its ability to produce them. Q Is this a new review or part of an on-going review? MS. TUTWILER: I think it's part of an on-going review. I mean, I didn't ask if it's new or -- Q I mean, when did it start? Do we know? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. Q Is it now the time to step up the pressure on Saddam Hussein? Is the government creeping toward a decision, or has a decision already been made to try and try a little harder to help the Iraqi people remove him from power? MS. TUTWILER: Our policy, as you know, has never been targeted at one individual. That has not changed. We have said that he is a pariah; that there will be no normalization of relations with the United States, and that it is for the Iraqi people themselves to determine. But the Iraqi people, in our opinion, are the very ones who are being hurt by the continuing leadership of Saddam Hussein, because of his isolation, the economic hardships, the embargo -- all of the things that we're all very familiar with. Q The Kurds are getting hurt a little bit, too. In this article there's some discussion of whether a judgment has been reached as to whether you anticipate -- the U.S. anticipates -- a new assault on the Kurds over the winter. Has the review gone to the point where you can tell us whether there is a judgment on that? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Is there a parallel review about U.S. policy toward Iran, given the signs of -- MS. TUTWILER: Iran? I haven't asked. I'll be happy to ask. Q Margaret, in the testimony, Mr. Djerejian said that the United States' position was that Saddam Hussein was in a more brittle position because of recent redeployment, if you like, of his family members into key ministries. That's not really very different from anything that he's been doing over the past couple of years, and that was offered up as the reasoning for saying that his position was deteriorating, and that his position was more brittle. Is there anything more on that, because it doesn't really make sense that -- he's only doing things that he's been doing before -- for you to say that this situation is getting worse. MS. TUTWILER: Well, Ed is the expert. He is the Assistant Secretary of this region, and I'm certainly not going to quarrel with his public testimony last Wednesday before the -- I believe it was the House Foreign Affairs Committee. So if you need a further elaboration of what he meant -- I haven't had an opportunity to read his entire testimony -- I'll be happy to refer your question to him. Q Margaret, there seems to be an internal inconsistency in what you say. You said the Iraqi people deserve a new leader. Saddam Hussein cannot be redeemed. And yet in your next statement you say U.S. policy is not aimed at a single person. MS. TUTWILER: It's not. Q It sounds to me like it is, in fact, aimed at removing him from power. MS. TUTWILER: There's not a U.N. resolution -- I think there were 12 of them originally -- that targets Saddam Hussein, the individual. The United States has clearly enunciated our policy over the last -- what is it -- more than a year now, saying that Saddam Hussein is not a United States' target. It wasn't why we built the coalition. In the same breath the President has said we would not weep buckets of tears if he is thrown out. He's a pariah. The United States will not do normal business as long as he's there. So, I mean, it is no secret, our views of Saddam Hussein. Q That's right. What I'm saying is that if you link the continued sanctions with his remaining in power, your policy is, in fact, linked or aimed at one person, one man. MS. TUTWILER: We have said -- as has the world and the international coalition, that I'm aware of -- that those sanctions are going to stay in place as long as Saddam Hussein is there. Q That's right. MS. TUTWILER: That's right. Q So it is, in fact, aimed at removing one man from power. MS. TUTWILER: Whether he stays there or not is for the Iraqi people to determine, but as long as he is there, his isolation, the economic sanctions, the U.N. monitors that are in there constantly under U.N. sanctions to destroy these weapons of mass destruction will continue. It's their call. Q But among the things that we're reviewing, if you're acknowledging that there is this on-going review, is how can we help the Iraqi people accomplish this fact -- that is, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein? MS. TUTWILER: That's your conclusion, not mine. Q I thought that's one of the things that was said to be under review when you were asked the question. MS. TUTWILER: I don't believe I stated it like that. Q Is it not under -- is that not part -- MS. TUTWILER: Our overall policy on Iraq is under review, but that is not something you should get highly, you know, excited about. We review things all the time, and I said it is to assure that our policies are having the greatest effect possible. Q No. But does it include the possibility of the United States -- the story is -- MS. TUTWILER: I know what the story is. Q -- that the United States is trying to work for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and then it goes on to say, to back this up, that this policy is the subject of a review that's going -- an interagency review that's now going on run by the White House. You acknowledged that there was such a review. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q I'm trying to find out whether the review includes such contingencies. MS. TUTWILER: Our policy is not directed, as we have said throughout this entire thing, at the removal of one person. But as long as that person is there, conditions in Iraq -- according to the United States and I don't know of another country that's changed their minds on this -- will be the total isolation, diplomatic isolation, all of these sanctions that are on that country, and this is something that, obviously, is hurting the Iraqi people. For instance, resolutions -- and I cannot off the top of my head remember their numbers; I think it's 706 and 712 -- he is yet to comply with where the U.N. has said he could sell $1.6 billion worth of oil to get needed food and medicine and humanitarian things for his country. He has yet to comply with that -- $900 million of it which would be food for his people. Q What I don't understand, Margaret, is why if that's all true -- MS. TUTWILER: It is true. Q -- why aren't we saying that it's going to be the policy of the United States to do whatever it can to get rid of this guy who we're suggesting is responsible for all of this. Instead what we're saying is, "He's not a target, but we want him to go." That's what I'm trying to find out. MS. TUTWILER: Let me remind you that it wasn't too long ago -- and I believe you were with us -- that this Administration was being accused, unjustly in my opinion, for the situation that existed with the Kurdish refugees. And so you can't have it both ways, to be perfectly honest. You cannot tell us, on the one hand, call people to rise up to arms -- when we did not do that -- and you create this situation with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing and people telling us that we had misled them. And we have clearly enunciated and stated our policy. Our policy is we will not do business with this man. But that is quite different from saying that we have targeted Saddam Hussein, and that Saddam Hussein is our goal and our policy. It's just quite different. And I don't think that it is fair, on the one hand, to ask us to say something differently that then is turned around on us, and you say, "But you encouraged these people to do this." Q Margaret, are you still opposed to Iraq being dismembered or put into three parts? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Margaret, let me approach it another way. Was this policy review prompted by the fact that Saddam Hussein has manage to hang onto power despite a war and sanctions, and now you're looking at other options? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know what prompted this policy review, but we do -- Q Why are you doing the review? MS. TUTWILER: Well, there are reviews all the time. Q Is it a routine review, you're saying? MS. TUTWILER: It's my understanding. I will be happy to -- I mean, people can ask for reviews of policies all the time. I mean, it's an internal, ongoing, working government function. So I don't know an event, if that's what you're asking for, that triggered this. It's exactly as I said, to take an assessment of where we are, to look at how effective the sanctions are being or are not being, or just to do an overall review. Q Margaret, did the U.S. Government come to a certain decision concerning what to do with the Libyans -- MS. TUTWILER: With the Libyans? Q -- because of their involvement in the 103 flight? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Are you still considering what to do? MS. TUTWILER: It's under review. Q And still in consultation with other governments or -- MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Intensive consultations. Q Margaret, could you give us a Haiti update, please? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. On numbers -- list of numbers first, if you'd like. The total number of Haitian boat people picked up since the coup, according to the information the Coast Guard gave us this morning, has now risen to 4,530. 1,637 Haitians have been picked up by the Coast Guard since Friday morning -- 439 on Friday, 383 on Saturday and 815 on Sunday. To date, 120 have been found to have a plausible claim to asylum and have been flown to the United States. I will not restate the numbers in Honduras and Venezuela. They remain the same. And the only other number you might like -- 2,394 are still on Coast Guard cutters, and my understanding is there are some 10 Coast Guard cutters. Q Do you have any comment on the talks in Cartagena? MS. TUTWILER: The talks. Yes. We regret that no agreement was reached at last weekend's talks between President Aristide and eight Haitian legislators. There were several face-to-face sessions lasting from late Friday until Sunday afternoon. These talks were serious and substantive, and we hope that they resume soon. We continue to believe that these negotiations are the way to solve Haiti's crisis, and the OAS is working on this and is reassessing the situation to decide what steps to recommend to OAS members next. Q Margaret, is the Administration worried that the failed talks with Aristide will prompt a new wave, an even stronger wave, of people fleeing the country? MS. TUTWILER: We certainly hope not. Q It seems like these numbers are rising rather dramatically, as if the announcement that we're going to send people back isn't having much of an effect. MS. TUTWILER: I don't know how to judge what effect it is or is not having. I don't know how many people are making that independent decision in Haiti not to get into these life-threatening vessels and go out to sea. Last Thursday, I believe, we only had 26 people, and one day last week we had 43. So I can't account for why over the weekend there was an increase -- obvious increase in the numbers. Q Are we concerned about this or -- MS. TUTWILER: Of course, we're concerned about this. We're very concerned about it, and we are doing everything in our power to try to point out to people the obvious dangers of taking out into the open sea. Q What plans are there to off-load people from these 10 cutters which are themselves now pretty overcrowded? MS. TUTWILER: They're operating in extremely difficult conditions, and I'm not aware, this morning, of any plans -- that I have with me or can tell you -- of off-loading. As I remember last week when we moved the -- I believe it's around 400 -- people who were in Guantanamo Bay to Honduras and Venezuela, we then off-loaded the equal number from Coast Guard cutters to Guantanamo Bay. I just don't know of another one this morning. Q One of the refugee advocacy groups is saying that returned boat people were questioned by the authorities, and those who said they were Aristide supporters were jailed. MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of that report. We'll look into it. Q Margaret, could you tell what is going to be discussed during today's meeting with Secretary Baker with Minister Kozyrev? MS. TUTWILER: No. I don't have that for you. I'm sure that they have a number of items to discuss, and I'll try to do a readout for you afterwards. But he's very much looking forward to meeting with the Foreign Minister and welcomes his visit. It's my understanding he's meeting with a number of Cabinet officers while he's here in Washington, D.C. Q Are writers included in that photo op, incidentally? MS. TUTWILER: No, they're not today. Q Has Mr. Cyrus Vance informed also the U.S. Government about his week-long talks in Yugoslavia and Geneva? MS. TUTWILER: We have been keeping in close contact through the United Nations. I don't know of a specific over this weekend. I know that we are encouraged by the announcement of yet another cease-fire, and that it's obviously something that we support. We support his efforts as we support the EC efforts. Q He said in Rome that in about a week U.N. troops might be deployed. Is the United States considering participation in that? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I've heard anything about. No. I'm aware of the U.N. peacekeeping proposal, but it's my understanding that what the United Nations has said -- and I believe former Secretary of State Vance -- is that you have to have a cease-fire before you send in United Nations peacekeeping troops. I don't believe that we're at that point. Q And who will decide if it's in effect or not? MS. TUTWILER: I think you'll be able -- I think that you can judge for yourself. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (The briefing concluded at 1:13 p.m.)