US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #177, Wednesday, 11/27/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 1:52 PM, Washington, DC Date: Nov 27, 199111/27/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Southeast Asia, Caribbean, East Asia Country: Azerbaijan, Armenia, USSR (former), Israel, Lesotho, North Korea, Haiti, Iraq, Indonesia Subject: Arms Control, Mideast Peace Process, Terrorism, Regional/Civil Unrest, Nuclear Nonproliferation, United Nations, Military Affairs (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER:I have one housekeeping announcement. I'd just like to remind you that there will not be a State Department briefing this Friday. I have a statement I would like to make on Armenia and Azerbaijan and the situation there. The United States Government is deeply concerned by the current situation between the two republics and the possibility of further bloodshed. As the Secretary made clear in his five principles, our relations with individual republics will be guided by their support for democratic values and practices. These include a commitment to resolve inter-ethnic disputes through peaceful dispute mechanisms and respect for internationally recognized human rights principles. We have repeatedly condemned the continuing violence in the region and call for both governments to resolve this conflict through peaceful dialogue that represents the interests of all concerned. We have discussed this situation with both the Armenian and Azerbaijani Governments and with neighboring governments. The current situation was on the agenda in the discussions the Secretary had this week with the Foreign Minister of the the Russian Republic, and he has also discussed it this week with Foreign Minister Shevardnadze. The United States Government supports on-going mediation efforts between the parties. If you don't have any questions on that, I don't have any other statements, so I'll be happy to take your questions. Q Do you have anything further on the Middle East peace process, mainly from the Israelis and the Syrians, and, of course, the Palestinians? MS. TUTWILER: Have we heard anything more? Q Right. MS. TUTWILER: We do not have as of this briefing, which is five minutes of 2:00, we do not have an official response from the Israeli Government. We have been told that one is being transmitted to us, but I want to be clear that we have not yet received it. I have, however, seen the text of what is reported to be on the wires -- the official response. I have obviously seen any number of Israeli officials on the record saying what the response will say. Our response to that, should that be true -- I want to have this caveat -- is that we are delighted that the Israeli Government has accepted Washington, D.C., as a venue. It is our understanding that all parties have now accepted to hold the next round of bilateral talks in Washington, D.C. Some parties have proposed different dates for negotiations in Washington. Obviously, we want the negotiations to resume as soon as possible. We would be pleased with any time, any date, that the parties want to get together. As you know, we invited the parties to start negotiations on December 4. The Jordanians and Lebanese accepted our proposal, and so it would be inappropriate for us to unilaterally change it. We will have the negotiation facilities ready and open on December 4, and they will be available on dates after December 4. We ask those parties that have not already responded to let us know when they plan to arrive and to start the negotiations. Of course, we cannot accept conditions, which, as you all know, a number of parties have suggested, or the parties, in our opinion and the co-sponsors' opinion, would never sit down. As we have said all week repeatedly, it's important to remind everyone again that the important thing is that we put this procedural wrangling aside and get on with the serious business of direct bilateral negotiations between the parties. This is the process, after all, that the parties started at Madrid, and it is what they say they want and it's what we believe they want. Q So your position is essentially, "The door is open on December 4; we'll be here; come on down if and when you choose?" Q You won't be here, actually -- MS. TUTWILER: Who won't be here? Q -- because the U.S. isn't a party? The door is open; we'll give you the key to the door; right? We're a catalyst. We won't be there but if you want to come in and negotiate, it's all right with us? You'll be outside the door? MS. TUTWILER: As has always been the case, as you recall. Q With the Soviets next to you? MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q You're simply leaving it to the parties to show up if they wish to do so? MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry. Excuse me? Q You're simply leaving it to the parties to show up, if they wish to do so, on that date or any subsequent date? MS. TUTWILER: That is basically correct; yes. We believe that it is important to put procedural -- as we've described it -- wrangling aside. After all, this is a serious subject. It is something that these parties, for decades, have said -- many of them -- that they wanted; some have said they were interested in -- that they would like to have. After all, they all entered into this process after eight months, and I believe it was eight trips by the Secretary of State. We think that it is very important that we, to be candid, get on with it. We also have stated that in the co-sponsors' proposal, as you all know, we said December 4. Two parties accepted on that proposal. So it would be inappropriate, in our opinion, to unilaterally change that date. Q Margaret, you say all the parties have now responded. Have you gotten unconditional responses from the Syrians and the Palestinians? MS. TUTWILER: I did, Jim, say that we have, in our view, all parties -- or I'll put it this way: We know of no objections that any party has to Washington, D.C. You're quite correct that two parties have not yet publicly, officially, responded to either the city or to December 4. But as we have been saying all week, all types of expert conversations, naturally, are going back and forth from our Embassies and this building. So I have no reason to believe -- not pre-empting or speaking ahead of the other two parties -- I have no reason to believe that they have any problem with Washington, D.C., and it is not something that we are aware of if they do. Q You said some parties objected to the date. Was there more than one? MS. TUTWILER: There have been any number of suggestions, Saul, that I don't want to go into because the others have chosen, to date, not to make some of their suggestions public. Some have made some suggestions public. Some, not all. Some, not any. But there have been other dates that have been suggested. Q More explicitly, did Syria -- has Syria and the Palestinians suggested other dates? MS. TUTWILER: That's exactly what I'm not going to answer, as I just tried to say in response to your earlier question. I'm not going to say here what has been said to us privately, to date, by other parties. That's just not how we operate. Q Did they specific objections to December 4? MS. TUTWILER: I have said that other parties had other suggested dates. Q You said it would be inappropriate, in our opinion, to change that date. How do you propose to bridge the differences between the parties? You are the "honest broker" and the co-sponsor. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q How are you going to go about doing that? MS. TUTWILER: We will be working quietly in our diplomatic channels that you're very familiar with. We also would hope that the parties themselves, maybe, could engage on this subject. But it is something that obviously the United States will be working to try to resolve. Q So you are not discouraged; you are not upset with the fact that one of the parties has come in with not only saying that they don't want to do it until the ninth but they're saying they would like the different meetings to be split up with separation of a number of days between them? They want them in separate locations in this venue city? That's all just fine with the U.S.? MS. TUTWILER: I have said that -- and I'll express it again -- that we are delighted, as their government officials have said -- the one official response I've seen on the wires -- that Washington, D.C., is an acceptable venue. The other parts of this are obviously something that will be addressed and will be worked on. But I again point back, even the things that you have mentioned, that what is really, really important, and what we believe and have said continuously, that you need to keep the eye on the ball here and keep focused. What is important is a continuation of the talks that began -- what is it now? -- three and a half weeks ago in Madrid, that those talks continue. I also would point out, I am not aware of a single party that has said, either as an unnamed official, on background/on the record, that they don't want these talks. The Prime Minister was here just this past weekend -- Prime Minister Shamir -- saying this on American TV in two interviews that I'm aware of. So we believe that, as I stated. We think that this, too, will pass, and that they need to focus on what is important. Q You say it's important for them to talk. The Israelis say they want to talk for a couple of days, maybe, and only about procedure. Do you find any fault with the Israelis' refusal at this point to get into substance? MS. TUTWILER: What I have said is that the United States can be a catalyst. The United States is going to be an honest broker, as we have been. The United States cannot make anyone, whether it's this situation or others, discuss something if they are unwilling to discuss it. That is something that you would have to ask the Israeli Government, since you used that example. We cannot want these talks more than the parties themselves. We have continuously said that over the last eight months. We are here to help. We are engaged, as we have remained engaged for -- what is it? -- now nine months, and we will continue to help. But we have not changed our basic philosophy -- our operational attitude about this or how we are handling it. We simply cannot want this more than the parties. Q I understand. But in your original statement -- MS. TUTWILER: Wait, John. Q Just one quick follow-up. Your original statement spoke of being delighted -- MS. TUTWILER: We are. Q That -- well, all right -- that the Israelis are willing to come to Washington December 4. You're delighted even though they're willing to come to Washington and not talk about anything beyond procedure? You're still delighted? MS. TUTWILER: I said that you would have to ask the Israeli Government. Q Well, they say that; they say that. MS. TUTWILER: Ask the Israeli Government. If the parties want to choose what they're going to talk about, that is certainly in their purview and their right. We, as you know, have made suggestions. We have made our views known. You asked me about a number of them yesterday. But we cannot, nor are we pretending to or are we going to try to, to force individuals to discuss something they don't want to talk about. Come on. John Goshko had a question. Q Margaret, to use your phrase, assuming that the texts that are being put on the wires are correct, the Israeli Government is also asking -- and they appear to be asking the U.S. Government -- for a commitment that after a brief period of procedural talks, they want a commitment or a guarantee, depending on which translation you read, that the talks will then be moved to the Middle East. Are we prepared to give such a commitment or a guarantee? MS. TUTWILER: I'll respond to that the same way I have for the last two days -- that we are not in the business, as I have said, of negotiating conditions on a proposal. Q But aren't you negotiating conditions now -- the date? MS. TUTWILER: Not in our minds. Q Are you in the business of negotiating the date now? You say you're in discussions. You said before that you're now engaged in discussions. You are engaged on the issue. Are you not -- MS. TUTWILER: We have not received -- there has not been a discussion before this briefing. None. Q But aren't you engaged in discussions of conditions now which include the date? MS. TUTWILER: We said that we would work with the parties. If they can agree on a date, great. We have put out a proposal that we're all very familiar with. The two parties accepted that proposal. So we do not feel that we, as co-sponsors, could unilaterally change our proposal agenda. Q I understand that. Yesterday -- MS. TUTWILER: But we do not care if the parties themselves want to change the date and all parties agree. Q Yesterday, in talking about the Syrian and Palestinian questions, you said there was no reason for clarification, no reason for discussion because you were no longer negotiating conditions. Now, the Israelis are saying that they want a different date, and you're apparently prepared to talk about that. MS. TUTWILER: I think it would be really, to be quite honest with you, childish if you were not prepared to discuss a date. As we have pointed out, what is important in our minds -- and we believe in all serious people's minds in all of these parties -- is the substance. Q But it seems to me that you're backing away from an invitation that was issued in cooperation with the Soviet Union which decided on the date, December 4th? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know how you could assume that. I said that we will be open and ready, was the exact phrase I used, on December 4. So that's not a back-away, Saul. Q What happens if some are here on the 4th of December and Israel is not? What are you going to do then? Just stand there and say, "Well, gee, we don't know. Why don't you call" -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't have a crystal ball, and I'm not going to look into the future for you. We're going to take this a day at a time. You've asked me for a response to -- as I've said, we have not yet received our official response. So I gave you our initial response based on wire copy and on Israeli officials' comments. Q What buildings will be open on December 4? Q (Inaudible) opening the door December 4th? MS. TUTWILER: Is what? Q Is this an open-ended invitation, or the door will be open with no date or deadline for the parties to rejoin -- the 9th, the l0th? MS. TUTWILER: There was never a date at the backend. After all, how can we prejudge how long the parties want to meet? We can't do that. So these facilities are there and available. There's no cut-off date, that we say on December 16 at 12:00 noon, you must vacate. Absolutely not. Q So the door will remain open? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q (Inaudible) MS. TUTWILER: We haven't made that final determination yet. As I've said all week, John, that they are -- or what we've looked at, and are looking at, are U.S. Government buildings. Q Margaret, you just said, "We don't care if all the parties want to change the date and if all parties agree." Is the reverse of that true then, that you do care if some of the parties want to change the date if none of the parties agree? MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry, I didn't follow you. Q You're saying that you don't care if they all agree on the change of the date. Whay if they don't agree? Then what? MS. TUTWILER: Then they don't agree. Q Then what can you do as an honest broker? MS. TUTWILER: That's a question similar to what I just answered. I'm not a future reader. I'm not a palm reader. We are dealing with the "today" and the "now," and I am not in a position to answer speculative or hypothetical or what-if questions. I don't think it serves any useful purpose. Q Could you just clarify, Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes, John. Q -- the business of, when you say that you cannot accept conditions -- I believe was your phrase -- does that mean that you have rejected the Israeli conditions, as you know them, or you are willing to discuss those with the Israelis? MS. TUTWILER: What I am saying is what I have said all week along -- that we are not in the condition business. I have said that. I have pointed out, and I stated it again this morning. If you start down that road, John, where will it end? We made a proposal in good faith. This is a proposal that was discussed with all of the parties and negotiated over eight months -- not D.C. and December 4 -- but that the bilateral talks would begin -- as you all recall -- and the invitation is public; it's out there -- after the peace conference, wherever it was held, it was held. As you recall, several parties asked us to delay for two weeks, announcing the venue and the date of the continuation of those bilaterals. We did. We delayed. So we have done what we were obligated to do as co-sponsors. Q Do you see Israel's -- Q (Inaudible) MS. TUTWILER: I think some people did. Q Do you see Israel's response to you as a challenge to the United States' and Soviet Union's authority as co-sponsors? MS. TUTWILER: Absolutely not. Q Margaret, does this mean that you reject -- you haven't addressed that specific question. There is an Israeli request -- assuming once again that the text is correct -- for a commitment for a change of venue to the Middle East at a certain point. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Do you reject this Israeli request or do you consider it something you will discuss with them -- MS. TUTWILER: What I would do, John, is refer you to yesterday's briefing and the day before. We had two public statements on this, and I would refer you to the Secretary of State's public press conference in Madrid. Our policy has been, and will continue to be, that in the United States' view, at the appropriate time -- we do not know what that time would be -- we think that, yes, it makes sense to move to the region. We've stated that continuously. Q Right, and I have written it every time. But the point -- MS. TUTWILER: Then why are you asking me for -- Q I've also said each time there was no commitment stated by the Secretary of State or by the U.S. Government. You said, we favor doing this and see no reason why not. We're talking here about -- if that text is correct, they are seeking a commitment. My question is, does the U.S. Government intend to make such a commitment to Israel? MS. TUTWILER: The United States Government has expressed its views on moving these talks to the region, and we have done so publicly, and I've just done so again today. Q Are you encouraging the parties to agree on a later date than December 4th, or to agree on December 4th? MS. TUTWILER: To be perfectly candid and honest, no one's had a conversation yet this morning with the parties. We have been waiting, to be honest with you, for this official response. We don't yet have it. So our experts have not engaged with anybody this morning. Q Is it the view of the United States that you can try and get it done at a later date, since the Israelis say they're not going to be here on December 4th? MS. TUTWILER: Our view is that we would be pleased with any date, any time. Q And you're trying to encourage that sort of view among others, that there should be other dates than the ones that two of them agreed to? MS. TUTWILER: We haven't talked to any others yet. Q I know. But is that the position that you'll take? MS. TUTWILER: Others are being told what I have just told you. We are pleased with any date, any time. How do you know -- and I know I don't know -- that everybody wouldn't like December 10, December 18, December 4? We don't know. We put out a proposal, and we are going to be ready and open on the day that we suggested. Q The co-sponsors -- MS. TUTWILER: But we are saying we would be pleased with any time and date. Q The co-sponsors agreed, after much consultation, on December 4, and two countries -- and two of the parties have agreed on December 4 and I suspect the others had no real objection to December 4. Now one has an objection to December 4, and suddenly you seem to be taking the view that December 4 -- which was one of the conditions -- doesn't matter? MS. TUTWILER: I've really tried to explain this. Okay? In the big picture, does a date make a lot of difference? I've said no. I've said it's childish. I have said what is important here is the substance. The very people, and the people of the region, who most need these negotiations, who most need these talks, who have told us consistently over the last year, that this is what they want -- that what is important is to keep focused here, to keep your eye on the ball, and to continue what was begun in Madrid -- the bilateral talks. That is where everyone's emphasis and focus, in our opinion, should be. Having said that, Saul, I will repeat for you: We are not -- we do not feel it would be appropriate to unilaterally change our proposal that the co-sponsor and we made. We're just not. We're open on December 4. We will accept any date and any time. Q The focus would be on substance or, again, procedure, as if we are back in Madrid? MS. TUTWILER: The parties will determine what they will focus on. Q You started, I think, by saying the focus should be of substance. MS. TUTWILER: That is the United States' view. I think it's a lot of people's views. But I also said, sir, in the same breath, we do not pretend that we can dictate to anyone what they should or should not talk about. Q The parties were unable, in the course of three weeks that the U.S. and the Soviet Union -- MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q -- to settle on either a venue or a time -- a time for resuming the talks. Now, you say you're delighted that they've settled on a venue -- MS. TUTWILER: We are. Q -- but at the same time you say that there's no evidence from one party -- from one or two parties that they have, in fact, accepted that venue. But, in any case, you say that they've accepted the venue. What leads you to believe that they're going to be able to work out -- do you have any evidence to offer us that the parties are prepared to discuss even the subject of the date? MS. TUTWILER: I know that I'm not qualified in most subjects we deal with to do predictions. I am positive in this subject that none of us in here are able to predict what next, what happens. It would just be in my opinion irresponsible. I don't know. I have stated what our response is -- noting, again, we do not have the official Israeli response -- to what we have seen this morning that we are told is going to be the official Israeli response. That's the best I can do for today. Q We're not asking for a prediction. MS. TUTWILER: Well, kind of. Q They haven't -- no. They haven't even discussed the subject up to now -- to this very moment, as far as we know, the parties have not discussed venue and date. Is there something about your discussions with the parties that would lead you to the conclusion you reached today which was, "Well, if they can work out a date, that's great." Otherwise, I don't see that the thing has moved an inch forward. Q I would take you back down memory lane and tell you over those eight trips that we went to, there were many times a number of us, including many of you, questioned if we would ever have a peace conference, and we did. That was the first time in 43 years that Arabs sat down with Israel, across the table. On the day we were supposed to -- on the fourth day after the conference opened, the Israelis sat down, as they all did, and had their first bilateral talks. I can't say that I would have felt it was responsible two weeks before that or three weeks or three months to have predicted to you, yes, on October 30, this is going to happen. So we're going to work at it. I just can't do predictions for you. Q One thing you did do prior to that, as I recall, was to set a date. MS. TUTWILER: We did. Q And depend upon the people coming there with that date, rather than negotiate on the negotiations all over again, and that's what basically you said from the podium here for the last couple of days: that you don't want to start negotiating -- MS. TUTWILER: I didn't say today that I -- Q -- on the negotiations. MS. TUTWILER: I would beg to differ. I do not believe it's come out of my mouth today that we are negotiating our proposal. I believe I have said that our proposal -- it would be in appropriate in our opinion to unilaterally withdraw it and that we will be open and ready on December 4. Q Are you going to be talking to people about dates? MS. TUTWILER: Well, sure. Q Then what are you going to talk about? You're going to be talking about, in a sense, the date as a point of negotiating on when this is to be held, or do you plan to be open on the 4th, and those who wish to show, will show, and those who do not wish to show, won't show? MS. TUTWILER: I can't interpret for you what I'm saying, but I have said that we will be open on December 4. I have said, "Ready and open." I don't know how else to clearly state that. Q O.K. Does that mean you are putting the onus on the four parties that you expect to take part in this to be here on the 4th, or to have reached an agreement with their potential negotiating partners on an alternative date? MS. TUTWILER: The onus, in my opinion, John, has always, on all of these decisions, obviously been on the parties. We are here acting as a co-sponsor. We have worked very, very hard, as have many, many governments, and as the parties themselves have. So, of course, these are their decisions. Q Didn't you say just a couple of days ago -- I think it was Monday, but I'm not sure, and I don't have the transcript here -- something to the effect that, "If we hadn't set a deadline -- if in Jerusalem the U.S. and Soviet Union had not announced a date for the Madrid conference, you'd still be haggling over it or still be sitting here discussing when and where." And, if you did say that, which I think you did, why doesn't that same situation apply now? MS. TUTWILER: I started on my third item, I think I did today, was this statement, and I'll restate it for you. "Of course, we cannot accept conditions, which a number of parties have suggested, or the parties will never sit down together." That's exactly very similar to what I said on Monday. Q Well, but, no, I think on Monday you said something about having set -- announced the conference. MS. TUTWILER: We have set a date. I haven't retracted that date. The date is there. We're going to be ready and open. Q It's a soft date now. I mean, it's not a hard date. MS. TUTWILER: That's your interpretation. Q Margaret, just to make sure that we're clear on what you're saying you are going to do, do I understand it correctly that you have a date announced of December 4? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q You have other suggestions that have been made by some of the parties. You're now going to go back to the parties with an explanation of that situation, a list of those suggestions. I don't want to get too precise here, because I'm not -- you know, I don't want a denial of something that's too precise. But are you now going to go back to the other parties and say, "Here are some dates. Are there -- you know, check off the ones that would be convenient for your schedule that you don't have conflicts on." And that if some miracle occurs and they all say, "Date X would be fine," then that wouldn't be a unilateral change on your part. You'd be able to announce a new date. But, failing that, it's December 4. MS. TUTWILER: There have been no discussions, as I've said, with anyone -- Q Because that's what it sounds like you're going to do. MS. TUTWILER: I understand that. But what we're going to do is what I have stated what we're going to do when I was asked the question a number of times, "Are you all going to talk about this?" Of course. We're not going to have dead phone lines. "No, I'm sorry, we cannot speak." That is not how we've operated for nine months. It's not how we do operate. But we are going to do, as I've said, December 4, once the co-sponsors decide on the facility -- which I've said we have not yet decided on -- we're going to be open and ready. Now, this is a total hypothetical, which is very dangerous to do: If all the parties this afternoon at 3:15 called up and said, "Hey, gee whiz, we really like, you know, December 25," then would we say, "Oh, no, no, it's got to be the 4th. You can't possibly. . ." No. Of course not. Q In other words, you're going to be open from the 4th to the 25th, just standing there. (Laughter) MS. TUTWILER: I've never said a personal opinion from this podium, but I personally hope that we will not be open the 25th. Q Could we put our objection on the record then? MS. TUTWILER: I will double your objection to that. Yes. Q Can we move to another subject? MS. TUTWILER: It would be fine with me. Q No. Not yet. MS. TUTWILER: Go for it, John. Q I have a question -- Q Flog that horse. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. (Laughter) Q In response to my earlier questions about the moving of the venue to the Middle East, you said that the United States on two or three past occasions has stated its position about that. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Help me to understand what that position is fully. In stating that position in the past, did we give -- while saying we favored it, did we give a commitment that we would have it changed to the Middle East? MS. TUTWILER: I'm going to continue to state our policy on this as I enunciated it yesterday, on Monday, and I'll refer you to the public transcripts of what our view is -- our view -- concerning the parties agreeing to move. They could choose to move anywhere they want to choose to move to. We happen, as our own view, to think that at some point -- which we have never said what that point is -- that it does make sense to move to the region. That is how we have stated it, and to my knowledge how we'll continue to state it. Q Margaret, is an announcement or arrangements on the multilateral talks contingent on working out these bilaterals? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Has that been delayed as a result of current haggling? MS. TUTWILER: No. It has not. And we are working on that. The Secretary did some work on it, as a matter of fact, today, and we will continue working on it, but I have nothing to announce today. Q Margaret, Monday I asked you about -- Q Did he discuss it with Shevardnadze? MS. TUTWILER: He has discussed it with his co-sponsor. Yes. Q Can you tell us when the last discussion was between Baker and Shevardnadze? MS. TUTWILER: This morning. Q Did they discuss that subject today? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, they did. Q Margaret, Monday I asked about -- Q Can we follow up on the Shevardnadze conversation for just a second? Q Yes. Q Can you tell us anything further about what Baker talked about with Shevardnadze on the Middle East, first of all? MS. TUTWILER: No. They discussed the importance of the continuation of these bilaterals, and they discussed the ongoing discussion they're having concerning the multilaterals. Q Did Shevardnadze and Baker consult with one another on what you've said today about the response to the Israeli RSVP? MS. TUTWILER: Did he verbatim go over what I was going to say? No. Q That wasn't my question. MS. TUTWILER: Did he generally discuss bilaterals and the situation? Yes. Q Well, is it safe to say that the response you've given from the podium today is a response that represents the co-sponsors point of view -- MS. TUTWILER: In my opinion, yes. Q -- or does it represent the U.S. point of view? MS. TUTWILER: But you also would check with the other co-sponsor. But I know of no difference of opinion on this at all. Q Can you amplify or confirm what Valeriy Churkin told reporters today, which was that the Soviet Union was leaning away from hosting a multilateral because it was potentially too big a logistical problem? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen that. Q Do you care to comment on that? Q Can you comment on it anyway? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Can we go back to my question? I asked Monday about the concerns of the Palestinian delegation -- MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry. What? Q Monday I asked you about some of the concerns of the Palestinian delegation, that they will be received, and you addressed this issue. There was a concern about security for the Palestinian delegation when they come here to Washington, due to many factors, that they have no Embassy, that you said Monday. Is the United States Government or the State Department -- will the United States Government provide security for the Palestinian delegation here in Washington when they arrive? MS. TUTWILER: The co-sponsors will address that issue, as we did in Madrid, and I believe you will find from the Palestinian delegation that those concerns were met, and I have no reasons to believe that they will not be met here in Washington, D.C. Q So they will be offered -- MS. TUTWILER: It will be the same package that they received when they were -- basically that they received -- in Madrid. Q Could we now move to another subject? MS. TUTWILER: That would be wonderful. Q Libya. The statement from the White House, the British and the French Governments today. What happens now? Is there a deadline for action by Libya, and, if that deadline passes with no action, what then? MS. TUTWILER: As you know, the statement says and uses the phrase that, "We expect Libya to comply promptly and in full," and I will decline from giving a definition of what "promptly" means. It means "promptly." Q And what does the U.S. do if that does not happen? MS. TUTWILER: That's something that I'm not going to speculate on. This is something we feel strongly about. We've put this statement out today -- the British have, the French have -- and this is something that we take deadly seriously, that these are something that was a barbarous act that was committed against innocent people; and that we promptly want them to comply and in full. Q There have been some suggestions that the United States would like to see European countries in effect internationalize the sanctions which the U.S. already has against Libya. Would that please the United States Government? MS. TUTWILER: What I am not going to be able to do or at liberty to do is go into any type of options with you. All options are on the table, but we're not going to be able to discuss any specifics in the area of options. Q What does the U.S. consider to be proper or adequate or compensation, as stated in the U.S. -- MS. TUTWILER: That's something, as I understand, Ralph, from the lawyers this morning, that individuals themselves, as in the past, determine, that they make a file, and we will post for you an address where they can write this to, and that is up to the individuals. And that's how, it is my understanding, it has been done in previous cases. Q When you say that "all options are on the table," just for the record, does that include the military option? MS. TUTWILER: As you know, we never discuss military options. Q And also when the U.S. and Britain say that the Libyans should turn over the two suspects or accused -- the two accused -- to whom, and in what way do the U.S and Britain want Libya to turn them over? To the British, to the U.S., to some international body? MS. TUTWILER: It is my understanding -- and, Richard, correct me if I'm incorrect -- when he dealt with this before that if it is to the United States, we have said that the venue would be Washington, D.C., and if it's to the British, I believe they have said to London.* Q But, I mean, what -- the U.S. and Britain -- MS. TUTWILER: What's the mechanism? I don't have a literal mechanism. Q The U.S. and Britain agreed on this statement. MS. TUTWILER: If they wanted to do it or they choose to do it, I feel confident they can pick up a phone and let us know and figure it out, and that we would be right there to get these two people. Q Can you provide for us some clarification as to what U.S. policy is toward purchase of Libyan oil? As you know, when Ronald Reagan left office, he waived restrictions on the United States oil companies buying oil from Libyan companies. Can you tell us where that now stands and whether or not that is one of the apparent casualties? MS. TUTWILER: That gets me into the area of specifics, which I cannot address myself to today, of options. The first part of your question, I'm unaware that our policy has changed, but I'll be happy to check on that part of it for you. But I know the second part -- we're not going to go through a laundry list or a tick-tock or "Here are our options that we may or may not pick and choose from." * We subsequently determined the UK locale would be Edinburgh. Q If so, when you take a question, so that they don't answer the question that I don't care about, the question that I want to know is, how much oil are American oil companies buying from Libya? So we can get some sort of idea. And what are the stipulations on the purchase of that oil? MS. TUTWILER: O.K. Q Do you have something to say regarding the North Korean Foreign Ministry statement or four-point proposal to sign the Nuclear Safeguards agreement, please? MS. TUTWILER: To be honest with you, not a whole lot. We've just seen this, this morning. We are studying this announcement to determine if there is anything new in this announcement and new in their position. Our policy, as you know, and remains -- and Secretary Baker spoke at quite some length when he was in Asia recently about this -- is that it is our strong view that as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, North Korea is obligated to declare its nuclear facilities and accept full scope IAEA safeguards, including IAEA inspections of its nuclear activities without condition. Q Could you confirm the report that Peoples China rejected to have joint action of the U.N. Security Council to give some pressure to North Korea. MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry. I'm not familiar with that. Q This morning The Washington Post reported that the United States Government proposed to have some joint action of the U.N. Security Council to give some pressure to the North Korean nuclear development, and that China rejected the proposal of the U.S. Government. MS. TUTWILER: It's something I'm personally not aware of. It is a subject -- not the U.N. portion of your question -- but our concern, as we pointed out through all our stops in Asia, that it is our real concern of the situation with North Korea there on the peninsula. But a specific United Nations proposal -- I believe I'm hearing you right -- that we supposedly proposed that the Chinese rejected, I have no knowledge of that. Q Could you bring us up to date on Haiti? MS. TUTWILER: On Haiti, there really is not a lot to bring you up to date, except for one interesting fact. And again I'm going to use approximate numbers, because these numbers differ a little bit from yesterday's numbers, and the Coast Guard is trying to do, obviously, the best job they can on getting us accurate numbers. Today's numbers: The total number of Haitian boat people picked up since the coup is 5,180. Approximately 220 were picked up by the Coast Guard yesterday and early this morning. We have 4,170 who remain at either Guantanamo Bay or on board Coast Guard cutters. Those seeking or having a plausible claim to asylum is still the number 120. Yesterday evening, 66 of the 100 Haitians in Venezuela delivered signed statements to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration, stating their desire to return to Haiti as soon as possible. The UNHCR, the IOM and the Venezuelan Government will be meeting to review this situation and decide what to do with these 66 Haitians; and, as far as does this violate the United States Court order, that order did not cover the situation of Haitians who voluntarily decide to return to Haiti from third countries. Q Why did they change their minds? MS. TUTWILER: You'd have to ask them. But these are signed statements. Q Margaret, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has a new report on Kurdistan and Iraq that alleges that at least 600,000 Kurds have no shelter for this winter, that over 182,000 have been murdered, and mass graves are being uncovered in various parts of Kurdistan, and that Iraq is evading U.N. sanctions by exporting goods to Iran, Turkey and Jordan. Does the State Department have anything on this report at all? MS. TUTWILER: No. I'm not familiar at all with the report you've just read parts of to me. As you know, we stated -- I believe it was yesterday -- that we had continued to have concern about this area, that we continue to monitor it; that we continue to stress strongly all the sanctions stay in place, etc. But any of the subject matter -- the specifics that you've just recited to me -- I've never heard. Q Could it possibly be placed in the appropriate in-basket, so that when this report crosses somebody's desk, they might respond to it? MS. TUTWILER: I'll certainly take a look at it. Q Do you have any readout on a meeting yesterday here at the State Department between the two American journalists who witnessed the -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. I believe that you were asking me yesterday why no one from the State Department was meeting with these people, and I said I was unaware of it. And, as you know, the Assistant Secretary of the Bureau met with them, and that was, I believe, last evening; and he and members of his staff met with these two American journalists. The meeting was arranged by the Right Reverend Paul Moore, who's a former Episcopal Bishop of New York, and he also participated in the meeting. The journalists described their experience in East Timor on November 12. They substantially reiterated what they had said at their press conference on November 15. They cited reports that killings have continued in East Timor since November 12, and they urged that the United States take various actions with respect to the situation. Assistant Secretary Solomon said the United States condemns this incident -- as we have said publicly from this podium any number of times -- and will continue to press the Indonesian Government for a complete and thorough investigation, and that we've made this point repeatedly. Assistant Secretary Solomon also noted that the Government of Indonesia has appointed a national investigatory commission to look into the November 12 incident, and we will be closely watching the conduct and results of this investigation, as well as the situation in East Timor. Q Did you set a time frame for the commission to work on to the Indonesians? MS. TUTWILER: I don't believe that's normally how we operate. Q Can you tell us whether the Israeli Ambassador or whether the U.S. plans to discuss today with any Israeli diplomat here in Washington the subject of date and venue for the talks? MS. TUTWILER: I bet we probably will. My understanding is that the Israeli Ambassador will be delivering their official response here to the Department. I don't know since I've been down here if he's come over with it or if, indeed, he will be the person who delivers it or sends one of his staff. I just don't know. Q Would it be the intention of the U.S. for Baker to meet with the Ambassador to discuss it, or this does not need to be done at that level? MS. TUTWILER: The Ambassador has not suggested such a meeting that I'm aware of, and I'm not sure that the Secretary -- no one has mentioned that around him. Q (Multiple questions) MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry. What? Q If the Arabs agreed to December 9, will the United States also agree? MS. TUTWILER: Of course. I said that. I said, "Any date that everybody agrees to is perfectly fine with us." Q The co-sponsors will have to make a decision, I'd presume, within the next few days on where the door is going to be open. I mean, at what location in Washington -- MS. TUTWILER: You're right. Q -- the door is going to be open. I assume that's going to have to be made in consultation with the others, or it's going to be made by the co-sponsors? MS. TUTWILER: One, again I'd ask you to stroll back down memory lane and remember Madrid, and there was an enormous amount of time spent by the co-sponsors, other governments and the parties concerning location -- literal location. I have seen unnamed officials from several parties, stating their views on a literal room, a literal site, and I have said that the co-sponsors are still among themselves discussing this. Q Margaret, can you say whether there's been any discussion in the last few days and particularly today, now that the Israeli response has become public, of the tactic the U.S. used last week of issuing the invitations between the Baker meeting and the Bush meeting with Shamir? MS. TUTWILER: Has there been any what? Q Has there been any review of that tactic, as to whether that was appropriate or not? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q There have been no second thoughts about that at all? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q And just one more little technicality: Can you tell us -- would it be accurate to say that the delay of your briefing here today was to accommodate in hopes of receiving the Israeli -- the official Israeli decision, so you could deal with that on an official basis? MS. TUTWILER: That was part of the reason, and I had to wait until the White House got out their Libyan statement. I was brought up about, to be honest with you, 30 different pages of guidance just on Libya. I try to be here, as you know, every day at noon. I have about 37 subjects in this book today, many of which are important and many of which I got asked, and an enormous amount of time was spent this morning, and I was just unfortunately slow and was detained. But part of it, yes, was that, but not waiting for a response necessarily. Q That's just the text you're talking about. MS. TUTWILER: We had seen by noon, of what I remember, something that's on the wires that says, "This is the official response." It was definitely part of the reason. It was definitely not all the reason. Q I'm not trying to be facetious -- MS. TUTWILER: That's O.K. Q -- but all of that guidance on Libya to merely say that we're not going to discuss any options? MS. TUTWILER: There are -- which I certainly don't want to suggest to you -- any number of questions that you could have asked. We try to do a thorough job every morning. We try to come here, anticipating what you might ask. So we usually ask for more than is needed. Q But all the answers amounted to, "I'm not going to get into specifics" -- MS. TUTWILER: Not necessarily, no. I have a lot of history of different cases, that type of thing, should you have asked. But I'm so glad you didn't. (Laughter) Q Do you have a list of who Libya's main trading partners are? MS. TUTWILER: No. I did not think to ask that. (Laughter) Are we through? Q Can we get a readout of the Bartholomew-Obukhov meeting? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. I asked Reggie (Bartholomew) this morning. You may know they agreed to continue meeting today, so that's why we did not put out a readout yesterday afternoon. And, since they're still meeting, I don't have anything specific for you. I talked to him, and, when they conclude -- you know, if they conclude today -- sure, we'll try to put something out for you. Q On Libya, those 30 pages of guidance -- MS. TUTWILER: I exaggerated. It's not 30. Q They don't include any rundown on the oil embargo that Reagan proposed? MS. TUTWILER: I would like to be literal and say I exaggerated. It is 15. No. Their oil embargo is the same question John asked me. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 2:40 p.m.)