US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #179, Tuesday, 12/3/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:20 PM, Washington, DC Date: Dec 3, 199112/3/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia Country: USSR (former), Haiti, Lebanon, Togo, Greece Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Terrorism, Democratization, Media/Telecommunications, Regional/Civil Unrest, Travel, Development/Relief Aid, Immigration, Refugees (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I have a number of things I'd like to do this morning. Some I'll characterize in the form of statements; some in the form of announcements; and some as housekeeping matters. I would ask you just to please bear with me. Each, in its own right, obviously, we think is important or we wouldn't be doing it. On Togo: The United States is deeply disturbed by recent events in Togo. Togo had been on the promising path to democracy. We strongly condemn the attack on Prime Minister Koffigoh's office/residence by elements of Togo's armed forces. We call for the Prime Minister's immediate release and demand that President Eyadema take firm action to undo this morning's action and put Togo's democratic process back on track. A political, not military, solution is required to resolve Togo's current crisis. Failure to restore democratic procedures, processes and individual citizen rights will have a strongly adverse effect on U.S.-Togo bilateral relations. Finally, we expect all Togolese authorities to ensure the continued security of United States citizens and diplomatic installations in Togo. We have approximately -- in case anyone was going to ask me -- 600 American citizens in Togo. The U.S. Government employees number about 40, plus their 50 dependents. As far as our 1992 aid, that is at $13 million. My next subject -- this is something based on a number of your questions. This is on my own -- especially you -- where is Jim? Yesterday, I felt that maybe I was not doing an accurate job of enunciating clearly -- concerning Haiti -- when you kept asking me about these reports of fear and intimidation. I would like to take a moment -- having spent time yesterday with experts here and ourselves -- so that we clearly, hopefully, enunicate for you the concerns that I get continuously asked, which are very valid questions. So in that spirit, I would like to clarify both United States immigration law and United States policy toward Haitians seeking to enter the United States. Clearly, there has been violence in Haiti and clearly among many Haitians there is a fear of violence. No one is denying that. Our Embassy's assessment is that most of the violence occurred in the days immediately following the September 30 coup, as we have repeatedly stated. Since that time, our Embassy has received reports of sporadic incidents of violence but we have not been able to verify the facts. However, U.S. immigration law, as established by the Congress, says clearly that for persons to be admitted to the United States as refugees, they have to establish a well-founded -- and I will want to repeat it -- a well-founded fear that if they return to their country, they will be persecuted as an individual for any of the following reasons: Race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. To determine whether Haitian boat people meet this legal standard, the INS has 15 teams on Coast Guard cutters and at the Guantanamo Naval Base. Each team consists of a trained asylum officer and a Creole-speaking interpreter. Each Haitian is asked in individual, confidential interviews to explain in detail why they left Haiti, if they fear returning, and if so, to explain why they, in particular, believe they would be harmed if they were to return. Three thousand four hundred and fifty-five of these interviews have taken place so far. As a result, 197 Haitians have been found to have plausible asylum claims -- that's a number for you today -- and 161 of these are in the United States, which is the number, I believe, I gave you yesterday. The law does not say that if any citizen is able to flee a country that is experiencing instability or violence, he or she automatically is admitted into the United States as a refugee. If the law did say that, then there are literally dozens of countries around the world -- many of them much larger than Haiti -- that have repressive governments which subject their citizens to violence and all of those citizens would have to be admitted to the United States as refugees. Migration from Haiti did not begin with the current political crisis. People have been trying to leave Haiti and get to the United States for years. In the seven months when President Aristide served as President -- from February to September of this year -- 1,351 Haitians tried to leave on boats and were interdicted by the Coast Guard. This was the period of greatest hope for the Haitian people and the least political violence. That seems to indicate that many Haitians leave for economic reasons, just as they do from poor countries all over this hemisphere and all over the world. I would also remind you, as we did earlier this week, that of the 100 Haitians that were given temporary safe haven in Venezuela, 66 signed a statement saying they wanted to return to Haiti, and up to 71 are expected to return to Haiti today. If these people had left because of a well-founded fear of persecution as individuals, we would ask why are they choosing to return? As far as new numbers on Haiti today, I do not have any new numbers. The numbers are those that I gave you yesterday, and there were no Haitians that were rescued by the Coast Guard yesterday. Q Is the violence politically motivated? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know that I'm in a position to tell you if the violence is motivated or not motivated. As we've pointed out, and as I said yesterday in response to Jim's questions, we keep getting asked about these press reports that there is all this violence. Jim is correct, as he pointed out, that our Embassy is there in a drawdown position and operating with less people. But our Embassy personnel do not have any facts to back this up. We are not only relying on our reduced personnel, we are relying on the Catholic relief organizations, the International Red Cross, any number of humanitarian organizations that are there on the ground in Haiti. Q For the longest of time, the State Department's position was that the huge majority of these Haitians were leaving for economic reasons. Now, you're saying that there's violence directed at these Haitians, and you're not any more saying that they're running away because they're looking for a better job. So the next line is whether the State Department has reached the point where it's ready to say whether these people are the victims of political persecution? MS. TUTWILER: Well, for one, I can't buy into your characterization of the statement that I just made. I did address myself to economic refugees. I did address myself to the facts on the ground concerning violence. So I unfortunately have to decline to totally agree with your characterization. There's been no change in United States policy today. I felt that -- because I continue to get these questions -- I would give a stab at, another attempt at maybe doing a better job for you in articulating what the United States policy is. But, more importantly, what is the United States law -- immigration law that governs this. Q Margaret, I understand your interpretation of law and I understand your motives. There's another country with a lot of boat people. And in order to prevent deaths at sea, and out of humane grounds, the United States and Vietnam set up an orderly departure program. Has the United States looked into the possibility of setting up such a program with Haiti so that people who do have -- whether it conforms to U.S. law or not -- have a well-founded fear of violence could leave without risking drowning? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of anyone who has looked into that, Jim, but I will be happy to ask if specifically we have. As you know, Richard (Boucher) has, in my absence, previously given you the differences between the Vietnam case and between the Cuban case, and I'm unaware of any change since we've enunciated that. Q Margaret, the other question sort of left over from yesterday's briefing was the question of 50 percent killed at sea, and I wonder if you had a chance to talk to the experts about that? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, we did. In fact, we, I believe, posted an answer last night for you from the Coast Guard. Basically, as I said -- I believe it was Alan who was asking me yesterday -- it is our understanding, after talking to the Coast Guard, that this is an estimate. This is an estimate that no one is claiming that you have to have locked in concrete. To be perfectly honest, whether it's one percent, which would be 60 people -- which is a lot of people, a lot of death -- or it's 50 percent, it is believed that there are capsized boats. There are boats that are not found. There are boats that are on the high seas. This is based on experts who, after all, work in these seas. I don't. But, no, no one is holding to 50 percent do or die, but there are percentages of people that we believe that are drowning, that we don't find and we don't see and can't help. Q Could you tell us how the efforts to restart repatriation are going? MS. TUTWILER: As you know, the court hearing -- it's my understanding -- was last night in Miami. I believe the court has said publicly that they expect a ruling later today. Q Margaret, what is the status of U.S. efforts to get other countries in the region to participate and offering at least some temporary shelter, and so on, for the boat people leaving Haiti? MS. TUTWILER: I believe that we are still pursuing that, but I do not have any new countries to announce other than the ones that have already taken people. Q What's the problem there? Are Latin American countries not economically capable or politically willing to take on this burden? MS. TUTWILER: I really don't know, Ralph. I think it would be best that those countries that we have said that we have been in conversations with best answer what their policies are concerning this than me doing it here. Q Do you know if any of them have told the United States that one of the reasons that they're not taking in more Haitians is that they don't see the United States taking in more? Is that the -- MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of. When you say "the United States not taking them in," as you know, these other nations were asked for temporary safe havens. We now, I believe, have 3,000 in temporary safe havens in Guantanamo. Q In Guantanamo. Right. MS. TUTWILER: Right. My next item -- and this is an announcement. Secretary Baker has today instructed the Department to press actively to accomplish the nullification of Zionism as racism determination in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 by December 17, the end of the current General Assembly session. As President Bush indicated in September to the U.N. General Assembly, to equate Zionism with the intolerable scent of racism is to twist history. By repealing this resolution unconditionally, the United Nations will enhance its credibility and serve the cause of peace. The President and the Secretary place the highest importance on achieving the nullification of this odious determination. We continue to urge all countries to look to the U.N.'s future by actively supporting this repeal effort. As many of you know -- because you've asked any number of times -- since September 23, the Secretary of State and other officials here at the Department have been working actively and quietly on this issue. Q (Inaudible) you said you would not press for -- I take this announcement to mean you were going to press for a vote in the U.N. General Assembly. Do you have reasonable expectation of that vote succeeding? MS. TUTWILER: I don't ever do expectations on any matter, especially those containing votes. I am stating that we have now set a date -- December 17. We are publicly saying that we are pursuing, as the President said on September 23, the repeal and nullification of this. Q What's the reason for -- up to now, you said you were working actively and quietly to accomplish the same goal. What is the reason, in your view, now for setting this public deadline? Is it because the quiet efforts didn't work, or as Alan -- MS. TUTWILER: No. Q -- suggested is because the quiet efforts are close to success? MS. TUTWILER: No, it's neither. We are interested in repeal of this. We have chosen our own form of strategy. The President publicly announced this on September 23. We have been working very actively and quietly. Some have questioned whether we have been doing that. We have been doing it. In our view and in our judgment, it is time today to make this announcement. You should know that when Prime Minister Shamir was here two weeks ago, the Secretary of State told the Prime Minister that we would be working to get this done in this session that ends December 17. We have known for two weeks that this is what our plan was. It was our view that whatever we felt needed to be in place and the quiet diplomatic work that needed to be done has been done. We are now publicly in a full-court press -- public to get this done by December 17. Q Specifically, what quiet diplomatic work did you do? MS. TUTWILER: What do you mean specifically? Q I mean, what sort of work was this? What activities were -- MS. TUTWILER: The type of work that all diplomats do when they quietly pursue their diplomatic agendas. I'm going to refrain, obviously, from going through what conversations, what specific diplomats our diplomats have had conversations with. Q Would the State Department hope that the Arabs, now engage in one way or another in the peace process, vote for nullification as a confidence-building measure? MS. TUTWILER: We hope and think that all people who are members of the United Nations should vote for repeal and nullification of this. Q Are you specifically urging, though, as a confidence-building measure, such a vote? MS. TUTWILER: We have been urging everyone, Saul, to support this. The President, I think, made a very eloquent case for this in his speech to the United Nations on September 23. Q So there's a link between this and the peace process? MS. TUTWILER: No, this is not linked to the current peace process. Q Margaret, you've always said -- and everyone has agreed -- that it would be a disaster to move to a vote on this if the vote were to fail. It would be worse than not doing anything about it. So can we presume that you have reason to believe that this will succeed? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware that I've ever said, or that I recall the Secretary of State ever saying, that it would be a disaster. I am not going to engage in vote predictions on this subject or any others. We, obviously, Alan, have been working very hard on this since September 23. We believe that this is the time to make such a public statement. We have set a deadline, which is December 17, and we are going to give it the United States of America's best effort. Q Why have -- let me try again. Why not urge these countries to vote for repeal and nullification as a confidence-building measure? MS. TUTWILER: Because these two issues aren't linked. The President said that this has been wrong since 1975, and it continued to be wrong and it is wrong today. Q You said that some people have questioned whether the U.S. was actively doing -- engaged in efforts to get this repealed? MS. TUTWILER: Some unnamed people have. Q Right. You made reference to some unnamed people. But we've heard public complaints from Israeli officials about the lack of U.S. efforts to do that. Yet, you say this is not linked to the current peace process. You announced that Baker told Shamir a couple of weeks ago that the U.S. would be doing this. What's the purpose of making this announcement today? Why not do it two weeks ago when you told the Israelis? MS. TUTWILER: I said that two weeks ago, the Secretary of State discussed with the Prime Minister that "We, sir, believe that we are going to be in a position to try to do this December 17." He did not say, I am confident that on -- what's today's date? -- I don't even know -- December 3 is the day Margaret is going to be sent to the podium and she's going to announce it on December 3. We have told him what our view was at that point in time. As it turns out, our view did not change, but it could be that I could be out here on Friday or Monday. The people who are working this issue believe that this was an appropriate time to make this announcement because of our judgment of the work that we have been doing since September 23. My next announcement: Secretary Baker spoke this morning with Foreign Minister Shevardnadze. Right now, in their capital and in our capital, we will be making the following announcement. The Soviet Union and the United States, as co-sponsors of the process launched in Madrid, have agreed to convene a meeting at the level of Ministers in Moscow on January 28-29, 1992, for the purpose of organizing multilateral negotiations on issues of regional concern. The co-sponsors hope for the widest possible participation from among the parties in the region and other interested parties, believing that the multilateral negotiations can serve as a positive influence on and complement to the critical bilateral negotiations aimed at achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement. In the period ahead, the co-sponsors will consult with a wide range of parties to help ensure that the negotiations get off to a productive start. Q Margaret, the United States had hoped and, in fact, had invited the parties to the Madrid conference on the basis that the multilateral talks would occur within a few weeks. I think the figure was two weeks, but I'm not sure of that. MS. TUTWILER: Two weeks. That's correct. Q What has caused the decision to wait until the end of January to convene the multilateral talks? MS. TUTWILER: As you know, we had a requested two-week discussion period among the parties. We then said, because of our Asian trip, that we were at fault for an additional week delay. As you know, we are getting into, to be honest, a holiday season for any number of people. I don't know of many takers who are interested in spending their holidays in multilateral talks. As you know, we have -- including yourselves, I'm sure. So this was what was worked out with the Ministers' calendar and our calendar, and the decision was made and those are the dates. Q Margaret, have the invitations gone out, and is there a deadline for reply? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q To both questions? MS. TUTWILER: To both. There is no invitation that has gone out. There was obviously prior consultation with any number of parties, and there is no invitation that's gone out right now. We are making this announcement. My counterpart is making it in Moscow at the same time. That's the information that you've all been wanting. I thought you would be ecstatic to have the information. You've got it now. Q Every other time you have announced a meeting, you have also followed it with some sort of substantive piece of paper to the potential participants outlining for them some of what you hope is going to be done. Are you going to do that to the participants here? MS. TUTWILER: We might. We're doing this, to be honest with you, one step at a time. I can't imagine that between now, December 3, and January 28 that there will not be correspondence, there will not be communication between all the parties in the region, to all the interested people who have told us over the last many months that they, too, are interested in attending these multilateral talks. As you know, some have said they're not interested. So, yes, that's all going to go on. Q Have you proposed an agenda for this international conference? MS. TUTWILER: For the multilateral talks? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: No, I have not. Q Who exactly is going to pay for this, since Shevardnadze does not have a budget and doesn't have a Foreign Ministry except that which is provided by Boris Yeltsin? Who's paying? MS. TUTWILER: Just as the bilateral talks are not the cost factor that the Madrid peace conference was, for the reasons I have expressed -- we will be working with our co-sponsor on what it is -- the facilities, etc. -- whether there will or will not be an international press center, which was the single, largest cost in Madrid. So I can't answer those types of questions for you right this second. But we don't have any concerns over that. Q Has the Administration attempted to persuade Syria to drop its objections to attending? And, if so -- MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of. Q You haven't asked them? Let me ask you something else -- MS. TUTWILER: Could I finish my last little item -- Q Oh, I'm sorry, I thought that was it. MS. TUTWILER: The questions that I have been asked continuously -- Q You're not going to go on to multilaterals? MS. TUTWILER: Oh, it's multilaterals. I'm sorry. I had one other thing. Q I forget exactly your answer to Ralph, but there's no question, this is a delayed conference from the original plan. The original plan was two weeks after October 30. MS. TUTWILER: That's right. So are the bilaterals. Q So if everything is delayed, I guess I'm having a problem understanding why the Israeli request for a five-day delay was considered off the wall and yet you're putting off a conference here for about six weeks. Aren't they equally important things that you want to tackle? MS. TUTWILER: They aren't related, Barry. I've explained why the co-sponsors have, after acceding -- if you want to go down this trail again, which I really would rather refrain from doing -- to a number of parties' requests, including the Israelis, we did, as you recall, wait for two weeks for the parties -- Q Three weeks. MS. TUTWILER: -- to try to work it out themselves. Then, if you will recall, we had a specific Israeli request not to announce this on November 19. Ambassador Shoval specifically asked us to delay until Prime Minister Shamir arrived here on Thursday and could meet with Secretary of State Baker which, of course, you know we acceded to. After that meeting, then we did, indeed, issue the proposal. Because in our view -- and maybe we're mistaken -- the parties were unable to agree on a time and a venue. Q Margaret, could you go down the list of the countries which you would like to see show up? MS. TUTWILER: No, I'd rather leave it as our policy and views have been -- that this, in our view, should be an inclusive rather than exclusive meeting. We have just said that we hoped to have the widest possible participation, not only from those parties in the region, but from others who are outside of the region. A number of others have expressed an interest in this, either to the Soviet Union or to the United States. Q For example, at Madrid, the GCC countries and the Maghreb countries came represented by a single person. Would you expect to see those countries individually represented in Moscow? MS. TUTWILER: I would probably steer you toward that this will be a representation by individual countries, but don't hold me to that. That is the current thinking, but this is December 3. I don't want to be held to a standard. If some group wants to say, we want to come as X, are we going to say no? There's not a firm and fast rule on this, Jim, but we are encouraging parties -- countries -- to come to this. Q I just want to ask one more about that. If you're inclusive, are countries that don't have current diplomatic relations with the United States going to be welcome to come to this? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know which countries you're talking about. Q Iraq, for example? Q Libya? MS. TUTWILER: I would doubt it. Q No, no. The Secretary, I think, said in Algeria that Libya -- that everybody is welcome to come if they come with the right intentions. I think he did say Libya is welcome. Maybe that was before you lined them up with Pan Am 103. MS. TUTWILER: That was an interpretation, as I recall, that was put on what he said at that press conference, as I recall. I will be happy to -- this is one of the things, I'm sure, that will be looked at, and I'll be happy to take your question. Q Margaret, did I understand you correctly -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes, Doyle. Q Did I understand you correctly, when you responded to Barry, that the United States has not actively attempted to persuade Syria to sign onto this meeting? And is there any particular reason why you have not? MS. TUTWILER: No -- if I misunderstood Barry's question -- I thought you meant today. You know full well that we have spent hours -- Secretary Baker has in any number of meetings with President Assad, and they have, as they refer to it, a "disagreement" over the substance of whether you should or should not have these, if the bilaterals were still going on. I am sorry if I misunderstood Barry's question. Absolutely, we have made our views known, in any number of meetings with President Assad and other officials there, expressing our view, and there's just an honest disagreement. Q And even since the last visit to Dasmascus? MS. TUTWILER: At Secretary Baker's level? Q Yeah. Well, he can't do it if he's not there. MS. TUTWILER: Well, in Madrid, he tried -- Q In Madrid. Okay. MS. TUTWILER: -- as you know, for two and a half hours. Q The point being, that you lay this on even while trying to get the Syrians to go and they're still saying, no; and I guess that's the answer. MS. TUTWILER: We still view -- yes, we still view that -- Q I'm glad he asked because -- MS. TUTWILER: -- it is very, very important. But we also acknowledge, as you all know, there is a disagreement between our view of this and the Syrian view. That hasn't changed, to my knowledge. Q Have you gone back to the Syrians -- MS. TUTWILER: Today? Q -- in the past -- well, in the past week or just recently before making this announcement? Is this something you tried to get cleared up one more time? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I have any personal knowledge of. Q While discussing the location of the multilateral talks, did the Secretary and Mr. Shevardnadze discuss the location of the bilateral for tomorrow? Can you tell us where? MS. TUTWILER: That was my next housekeeping matter, if you'd like me to go to that. Q On the "Why Moscow?" question, in all seriousness, is there no concern at the State Department that by the end of January there might not be a Moscow? What were the factors that led you to pick Moscow in a time when -- MS. TUTWILER: Just like, Johanna, we refused to play the city game concerning Madrid -- Why Madrid? -- I'm not going to play "Why Moscow." We think it makes perfect sense to us. As you have all read -- it's been speculated for weeks in the press that that's, indeed, where it was going to be. I've just confirmed that it is Moscow. Q (Inaudible). MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q On the multilaterals, has any Arab country that previously expressed an inclination to go to these talks told you that they will not -- that they're pulling out? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I have any knowledge of. Q If the bilateral talks don't stay on course, though, do you think that the countries that have committed themselves to attending the multilaterals will still attend them? MS. TUTWILER: That's really hypothetical for me. I don't want to speculate. I don't have any way of knowing. That's what? -- seven or six weeks, as Barry says, away. I don't know. That's a long time. Q What, if anything, would you say to the -- MS. TUTWILER: I have one more thing. This is concerning many questions concerning tomorrow's activities. We are proposing -- the co-sponsors are proposing that we will be open on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. There are going to be three sites in a United States Government facility complex. I am not going to do those today. The reason is, we did not in Madrid. In Madrid, we gave the parties the opportunity to see the facilities prior to announcing it publicly, and we're going to operate under the same rules here. After -- this afternoon -- many of them have advance staffs here, as you know. I believe two of the delegations have already arrived here early this morning. After having an opportunity themselves to see the facility, then I will post for you all the literal sites. The other thing that I've been asked all day yesterday and most of this morning is, "Are we going to allow you all to film or photograph or write in these sites?" The answer is no. We are not going to play the empty chair game. We think that is below the belt, and we're not going to participate in that, just as we did not in Madrid. The same rules will apply here -- that we have say-so over as co-sponsors, as did in Madrid. Our sidewalks are open. They are free. You can do whatever you want. As far as stakeouts, that's your call, and it's the call of the participants on what they say or do not say to you. Q Could we be clear, please, on the business about three sites? What you're doing is you're opening the door for business to the three parts of the negotiations; right? MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q All three? Which means you're rejecting, formally now, Israel's request for staggering these negotiations; correct? MS. TUTWILER: I am not aware, Barry, that -- are we talking times now, clocks? Q No, I'm sorry. Maybe I'm putting my question poorly. You are setting up to have Israel negotiate with Syria; for Israel to negotiate with Lebanon; and for Israel to negotiate with the joint Palestinian-Jordanian? MS. TUTWILER: As they did in Madrid. Q These are what you mean by "three sites" -- three sets of negotiations? MS. TUTWILER: Three sites. Q Israel, I thought, asked if these could be spaced out -- staggered somewhat -- so that they didn't have to deal on all three fronts simultaneously. The question is, doesn't this mean that the U.S. says no to that? MS. TUTWILER: This is our proposal of Wednesday, at 10:00 a.m. I am personally not aware that starting times have been raised to the level that you're suggesting. I am aware that I have seen it by various individuals. If that is the case, I'm sure it will well be raised. I just personally cannot tell you, as you're saying, that you are pre-opting, etc., etc. I just don't know that yet. Q Will there be any formality, any action, any activity in which the co-sponsors will bang the proceeding to -- MS. TUTWILER: No. We're not in the room. Q You open the door, and it's up -- the U.S. will not be present is what you're saying? MS. TUTWILER: The United States will be, under the rules, as you know, that we all agreed to -- the United States and the Soviet Union are only present in the outside perimeters; only when both parties agree, do the United States and the Soviet Union enter the room. We were never in any room in Madrid, because we were never asked in any room, which is the rule. So we will not be in any rooms tomorrow. Q I thought it was up to the parties themselves -- MS. TUTWILER: That's what I just said, I thought. Q I thought it was up to the parties themselves to determine whether or not the press comes in to take a photograph -- MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. Q -- not the U.S. MS. TUTWILER: That is correct, concerning when the parties are in the room. What we are not playing, as we did not in Madrid -- if you'll recall the first morning in Madrid -- we did not play the "empty chair" syndrome when two Israeli delegations arrived outside of the site where, because of our busted signal, and we could not get their staffs -- we were still negotiating at that point, if you remember -- and the Arab delegations were not there. We did not allow all the press outside to go inside with the Israeli delegations and sit at an empty chair, empty table, empty room. Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: So we did do that in Madrid -- wait a minute -- so in Madrid, once the two parties were at a site, some of the parties decided to allow press in. Some parties decided no photo ops at all. Some parties decided among themselves, "You may have a reporter." Some parties decided, "No, you may not have a reporter, just photos." That's exactly how we're going to do it this time. Q Margaret, when you say -- Q If the Israelis had chosen to attend tomorrow, would you have allowed a photo op? MS. TUTWILER: That decision is always going to be the parties' decision -- the parties, as they did in Madrid. And, if you'll recall, some of them decided, "We don't want a photo op inside our meeting room," and so there wasn't one. But all of them could not, just as we cannot here, say, "You all are not free to be outside of the site on the sidewalk." It's the exact same rule. Q The idea, Margaret, is that both parties have to be inside the room before a decision is made to let the press in. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. We are not -- Q If only one party is in the room, then we can't go in, and that's a decision that the co-sponsors or the United States is making? MS. TUTWILER: When what? Q If both parties are in the room, they can make the decision -- MS. TUTWILER: They do make the decision. Q -- as to whether to admit the press. If only one party is in the room and another has not shown up, then it's the United States, in effect, that is making the decision. Is that true? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. We are not going to play, in our view, below-the-belt games. We didn't in Madrid, and we're not here. Q Well, you are not going to play it, but who is to prevent -- Q Can I take a filing break? Q Who is to prevent the participants from walking in there with their own video cameras? Are you going to shake them down and not allow them to -- MS. TUTWILER: I haven't ever anticipated -- it's not the norm for a delegate to come with a video camera. Q I bet you're going to see some of that tomorrow. MS. TUTWILER: Well, maybe we are, and I'll deal with that tomorrow. But I'm not interested nor, I believe, is our co-sponsor, the Soviet Union, or many people, interested in games here. And again -- we have now been out here how long -- I don't know how long on this -- we still have to keep focused on the fact that this is serious. This is not a game. This is not filming empty chairs. This is not about -- Barry's asking me about times on a clock. This is about something that is important to the people in the region, to these parties, to the world in many respects. That is what I think, and many people think, is critically important, that we stay focused and get behind all of this procedural wrangling. Q Margaret, are the Israelis among the advance parties who are looking at the sites today? MS. TUTWILER: I'll let the Israeli Embassy answer that question. I have heard both ways, so I can say I honestly don't know. I just called the Israeli Embassy. Q Margaret, a couple of the delegations -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me. I've heard, Saul, that they have advance staff here that would be interested in seeing these sites -- I don't know if that's true or not -- or if they have signed up with our personnel who will be doing this, as we did in Madrid. I just don't know. Q Was the significance of whether or not to have a photo op important enough so that this was settled personally by the Secretary or discussed personally between the Secretary and Foreign Minister Shevardnadze, or was it settled at a working level, or was it set unilaterally by the U.S.? MS. TUTWILER: A photo op was not discussed with Minister Shevardnadze. Minister Shevardnadze, I'm sure, is aware from his experts of how this was all handled in Madrid. He has told the Secretary he's had a thorough debrief by his experts of how Madrid was handled. So, no, the Secretary of State and Minister Shevardnadze did not discuss a photo op. Q Was it discussed at a working level or was it a unilateral U.S. decision, drawing on the precedent set in Madrid? MS. TUTWILER: We decided to handle it exactly as we did in Madrid, in full cooperation, as in Madrid, with our counterpart, the Soviet Union, and that's how we're handling it. Q Margaret, have the Israelis told you point-blank they're not coming tomorrow? MS. TUTWILER: The Israelis, as I answered yesterday, had a cabinet meeting on Sunday, and I personally am unaware of any difference in their position than the position that was enunciated earlier in their cabinet meeting. Q Is Netanyahu coming this afternoon to the State Department, and who's he seeing, and what's the purpose of his visit? Do you know? MS. TUTWILER: The purpose of his visit, you'd have to ask him. My understanding, from the Israelis Embassy -- and again check with them -- is that this is not related and connected to the talks, but again ask them. And he comes here, as you know, quite often, and he will be meeting here -- I think it's this afternoon or tomorrow -- with Ambassador Ross and Ambassador Djerejian. Q Margaret, some of the other delegations are in town. Are any of them -- MS. TUTWILER: Two, is my understanding. Q Are they coming to the State Department, any of their representatives, this afternoon? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I know of, but I'll ask for you. Q What happens Thursday? Will you open the doors again and Friday and Saturday and Sunday and Monday? MS. TUTWILER: We said this has never had an end to it. It's for the parties themselves to determine how long they want the facilities. I believe one day last week someone asked me, would we have them open on Christmas Day, and I, on my own said, "I hope that a lot of State Department employees were not going to be asked to be working on Christmas Day, but, if they were, they were." Q No, no. That's not -- my question is, should the Israelis make good on their pledge to boycott Wednesday's talks, do you just fold up the tent and re-open on Monday, or do we go through the charade every day between Wednesday and Monday? MS. TUTWILER: I can't answer that for you, Johanna. I don't know, for instance, what the parties who have arrived here are planning to do tomorrow. We have said consistently, every day, that our proposal called for December 4. We thought it was inappropriate to unilaterally change that after two parties had already accepted in good faith. Now four have. I don't know what they're going to do. You would have to maybe check with them. The other two delegations, it's my understanding, arrived this afternoon. But we have said that, "Yes, we are open and ready for business on December 4." And in our original proposal we never had -- still don't -- when is this suppose to stop? Is it February? Is it December 26? There never has been. So, yes, every day the facilities will be open and ready, I assume, until all the parties say, you know, "Adios. We don't need this facility anymore." Q Margaret, has the United States been given a response by the Israeli Government to its invitation for December 4? MS. TUTWILER: I'm so tired, Ralph, and have so many facts in my head -- after the first cabinet meeting, which was -- help me. When was that one? Q Sunday morning. MS. TUTWILER: No. That's the second one. Q Wednesday. MS. TUTWILER: Wednesday? Q Last week. Yes. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Last Wednesday. I am not aware after that meeting -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- Ambassador Shoval came here -- wasn't it that afternoon? Q Right. MS. TUTWILER: Met here, delivered the official Israeli response -- Q And there's been nothing -- MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of anything since then. Q So as far as the U.S. is concerned at this point, your plan is to open the door tomorrow, but you're not expecting negotiations to take place between Arabs and Israelis tomorrow. Is that correct? Let's put it this way: Is there any reason for you to expect negotiations between Arabs and Israelis to take place tomorrow in accordance with the U.S. invitation? MS. TUTWILER: The only thing that I'm going to answer, that I'm positive of, is that tomorrow, as we said we were, at 10:00 a.m. -- which I've now said -- the United States in cooperation with its co-sponsor will have the facilities we said we would ready and open. I personally do not know if the delegations that have arrived are going to come to this site. I don't know. I don't know. I can't answer these questions. Q Margaret, are you encouraging the various Arab delegations to stick around through December 9, when Israel has said it will turn up? MS. TUTWILER: I answered that yesterday. We aren't, obviously, encouraging them to pop into town on the 4th, leave the 5th. This is an expense. These are serious talks. These people are here. I can't envision that anyone needs to be encouraged, to be honest with you, to stay to engage in serious talks. So I'm not sure that it's even been necessary to encourage -- do you see what I'm saying? Q Well, that's exactly my question. MS. TUTWILER: And I don't have a view that they're leaving on Thursday. Q Whether it's necessary or not, have you told them that you think it would be a good thing for them to stick around and not to disappear on the 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware that anyone has felt it was necessary to do that, Doyle, to be honest with you. Q Well, let me turn it around then. Have you gotten any kind of communication from any of them that they will fulfill the expectation you seem to be laying out here that they will stick around and wait for the Israelis to show up? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have for you each and every one of these four -- well, three delegations or entities that are here. Q I'll take any one. MS. TUTWILER: I don't have it for you. I really don't. And I would strongly suggest that, seriously, two of them arrived early this morning -- the Palestinian/Jordanians. The Lebanese and Syrians, it's my understanding, are arriving this afternoon. I would ask them what their intentions are. But this is, again, something that we continue to say, that this is really serious, this is important. And so if you want a United States' view, whatever day -- we said it the other day -- the parties can agree to -- because this is so important -- get to it, get with it. This has got to get, in our view -- and, of course, we can't dictate to anyone -- beyond these procedural wranglings. So we said the other day: Yes, on the one hand, we are keeping our proposal; we have an obligation to. But, on the other hand, if all the parties can agree they can all get together, great. We would be ecstatic. That would be wonderful. But they have not been able to. Q Margaret, have you issued visas to members of the PLO who are serving as advisers to the delegations? MS. TUTWILER: How do we issue them? Q Have you? MS. TUTWILER: Have we? What is your literal question? Q Have you issued visas to members of the PLO who are serving as advisers to the Palestinian delegation? MS. TUTWILER: I can't answer for what they are serving as. We have issued visas under our normal, standard practices, as we have said we were going to do. We have not changed any policy at all. And the reason we have done this is that we think that by sticking to our standard visa policy and not departing from it, we believe we enhance the prospect for peace. Some may criticize that from one direction; for instance, Arabs who would like to see a more expansive visa policy. And others may criticize it from another direction; for instance, Israelis, who would like to see a more restrictive visa policy. We have, indeed, been criticized by both. The important point in our view is to remember that the United States said it would not depart from its standard visa policy, and indeed it has not. Many visas, as I've said yesterday, were requested of us and many were not granted, as I said yesterday. A principal issue, as you know, that is examined in deciding whether to grant a waiver in cases of this nature is whether or not the individual person has a history of involvement in terrorism. You all should know that since 1989 out of about 140 applications, about 120 visas have been granted. And I want to make it very clear that we have said all week -- and I will say it again today -- we would not change our standard visa policy, and we have not. We granted these visas because it is consistent with our standard practice, which is the same reason that we declined to issue the other visas. Q Margaret, when you say he's not departed from the standard policy -- MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q -- does that mean the U.S. -- the Secretary of State has not had to exercise his waiver? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. I mean, yes, he did. Q He did exercise a waiver. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Can you tell us the grounds -- health problems, death in the family? MS. TUTWILER: Under the same grounds -- and I'll read it again today as I have every day -- that under Section 212a(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. Q Can you be any more specific about the number -- either the number or the individuals for whom waivers were extended by the Secretary of State? MS. TUTWILER: No. I declined to do that yesterday. We don't think it's productive. I acknowledged yesterday that there had been a number of suggestions, and that we had declined a number, and we're not going to do the number game. I'd also like to point out, as I pointed out yesterday, that the Palestinian delegation accepted the United States' proposal last Wednesday afternoon -- I believe it was around 5:35 -- unconditionally. There have been no deals here. There have been no conditions. There has been nothing other than our standard, routine policy. Q In view of the fact that the policy on granting of visas is based on the issue of an individual's alleged involvement in terrorism, doesn't the U.S. public have a right to know the names of and have the ability to determine for itself what it thinks is the background of the individuals for whom Baker has granted a waiver? MS. TUTWILER: Well, sure. I believe, as we did in Madrid, once we had all the data collected, we made available and put out to the press, all of the members of all the delegations. These individuals -- so that we're very, very clear here -- are not members of the delegation, nor are they delegates. Q My question was not related to the members of the delegation. My question was, since the U.S. policy to grant waivers depends on an individual's background vis-a-vis terrorism, doesn't the U.S. public have a right to know which individuals the Secretary of State feels it's okay to grant a visa to and has given a waiver to? Shouldn't that list be public to the United States -- members of the U.S. public? MS. TUTWILER: To my knowledge, there's no hang-up about making it public, but let me just check it out for you. Q Margaret, are you concerned that by going ahead with the opening of the talks tomorrow over Israel's objections, that you'll be helping to create an unpleasant climate that could hurt progress in the talks once they actually get started? MS. TUTWILER: We certainly hope not. Q Are you concerned that you're alienating Israeli officials, angering them to the point where they don't see the U.S. role anymore as the honest broker, as Baker has described it? MS. TUTWILER: I don't think, Owen, anyone who looks at this could characterize the United States' role as anything but an honest broker. This is not easy. You all have been out here every day with me for the last ten days. We have been spending hours on things such as dates and sites, and the United States is maintaining an honest broker mode and will continue to do so. Q Margaret, could you just answer us on what the United States' policy is towards the creation of a Palestinian state? MS. TUTWILER: I will refer you to any number of times the President of the United States and the Secretary of State and we have enunciated that, and I don't know what useful purposes it will serve today. I'll just refer you to the record. It's all out there. Q Margaret, B. B. Netanyahu is quoted today in one of the Israeli papers saying that there was an agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians to meet in Greece and that the U.S. Administration actually blocked it and insisted that all bilaterals will take place in one site. Can you comment? MS. TUTWILER: I saw one Israeli report that said that B. B. Netanyahu is reported to be coming to Washington to say what you've just asked me. So I'm not going to answer your question, having not seen that, indeed, Mr. Netanyahu, has said such a thing. Q Can I just ask another question about the visas? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q According to the Financial Times today, there were two PLO people who were granted U.S. visas -- Mr. Akram Henieh, a journalist; and Mr. Taysir Arouri of the Palestinian Communist Party. Could you confirm or deny that or maybe take the question and let us know whether -- MS. TUTWILER: I said -- for Ralph's question, I said, let me look into it. I don't think there's any problem. Again, you have to be clear -- and I understand you don't have to be as clear as I'm going to be -- these individuals are not, never have been, never were intended to be, are not part of a Palestinian delegation. And that is a -- Q Right. MS. TUTWILER: -- very, very important substantive point. Q But they are coming here for these talks. MS. TUTWILER: People come here all the time. Q And they are with the PLO. MS. TUTWILER: I just told you, since l989 we have granted out of -- what did I say? -- l40 applications, approximately l20. But that is quite different from saying that they are coming as part of a delegation. They are not. They are not members of this delegation. Israel has not been asked, and will not be asked, to see these people and to sit with these people. They will not be given access to the site for the negotiations. We will not be talking to them as the United States, because, as you know, we do not have a dialogue with the PLO. Q Can I can follow up on this? I understand that Dr. Nabil Shaath has been awarded visas in the past. Does it mean that he will be awarded a visa this time? MS. TUTWILER: Is this the gentleman that John asked me about yesterday? Q Yes, it's him. Yes. MS. TUTWILER: I answered yesterday that I had heard that this gentleman was asking for a visa and that I was unaware that he had literally asked for a visa, and that's the same position I'm in today. Q Margaret, back for a second to a phrase you used earlier about "the empty chair game." MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q You said the U.S. didn't want to play that game, and you implied -- but I don't think actually said -- that you didn't think anybody else involved in the process ought to be. You said they ought to get involved in the substance of the issues -- MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q -- not playing for the procedural wranglings. Would you consider it, or are you discussing with the parties the question of not playing the empty chair game after, let's say, four days go by and the Arabs say, "Well, we've been here for four days. I guess it's time to go home." Have you discussed that with them, in view of the fact that that would be an empty chair game that might be be played? MS. TUTWILER: Discussed it with the Arabs? Q That's right. MS. TUTWILER: No. I'm not aware of any discussions, but don't hold me to a standard. We have embassies full of United States officials. I can't tell you -- and don't want to be accountable to and never do want to put myself in the position of saying that no one has ever had such a conversation. I don't know what hundreds of people talk to other people about. I'm unaware of any conversation along those lines or of anyone that I deal with here that has had any conversation like that. Q I suppose, just to follow up, I'm simply asking whether you've encouraged both sides to stop or not to do the political and public relations posturing that we saw in Madrid and instead get down to business. Have you encouraged them along those lines? MS. TUTWILER: Absolutely. And I think that one forum and way that we've been doing it is from this podium every day for the last l0 days. Q But I mean -- MS. TUTWILER: We've also been doing it privately. We have been doing it in every way that we can, because we sincerely, genuinely believe there is something important here to discuss. Q Did you know, incidentally, and have you any comment on the fact that Mr. Netanyahu, according to the Israeli Embassy, is going to be available through the next five days in New York for television interviews -- MS. TUTWILER: My -- Q -- and that the Arabs are opening a press center tomorrow at a Washington hotel and the Israelis are also having press conferences and doing all of this? Are you aware of that, and do you have any comment on that? MS. TUTWILER: It's the first I've heard about the second part of your question, but it doesn't surprise me. After all, I believe that we registered 5,8l3 journalists in Madrid. This is a subject that I don't need to tell you is of enormous interest to many places in the world. So if there are press centers opening around town, I just haven't heard about that. As far as Mr. Netanyahu, I believe when he changed jobs, that his new title -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- is something like media adviser to the Prime Minister. And I may be wrong. Q No. MS. TUTWILER: So it would make perfect sense to me that if he's here, he would be working with members of the press. Q Margaret, can I come back to the multilateral talks for just one more question? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Did the U.S. and Soviet Union, when they discussed delaying the multilateral talks until the end of January, feel that it would give the bilateral talks more time to show some results beyond what you call "procedural wrangling"? MS. TUTWILER: Part of what, Ralph, entered into this, obviously, is now that -- which we've all publicly stated -- the bilaterals were delayed for various reasons that I don't need to restate -- you're obviously pushing yourself further into a holiday season. That's not the only concern, but it's a legitimate one. And, obviously, with Minister Shevardnadze just coming back into his foreign ministry, with the things -- as Johanna points out -- that he has going on in his country, it just worked out this way. I'll be candid for you, to even this degree, if you wanted to look at the first week in January -- this was a selfish concern of mine and a genuine concern of many people here -- I don't want to ask staff, who have worked their brains out for the last three months, to give up their vacation and to go to Moscow and spend their Christmas away from their family putting together a multilateral to meet a date for the first week in January. I thought that was unreasonable, and so did everybody else. Q Can I just follow up for a second, please? One more on the multilaterals. What, if any, effect does the announcement of the schedule for the multilaterals have on the schedule of Israeli-U.S. bilateral discussions on loan guarantees, which are set to take place in January -- set to begin in January? Is there any effect? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I have ever heard. Q So the U.S. would not -- well, the U.S. would not say that "Now that we've had the delay of the beginning of the multilateral talks until the end of January, would it be a good idea to delay further the discussion -- the beginning of discussion on the loan guarantees?" MS. TUTWILER: The United States is on the record of saying there will be no further delays, and I know of no linkage at all between the multilateral talks and the l20-day delay issue. I've never heard the two linked. I don't know what the linkage would be. Q Do you know when the l20 days ends? MS. TUTWILER: No. I believe it's -- I've never had anyone pinpoint a date, and we've always said the first of the year in January. But no one's ever said a literal date that I personally have knowledge of. Q Does it give you any indication that if the bilateral talks raise some hopes for a settlement, Assad -- as far as he's concerned -- would be ready to join the multilateral talks? MS. TUTWILER: I'll let President Assad speak for himself. He has spoken many -- Q Well, has he given you any indication, I want to know? MS. TUTWILER: He has spoken any number of times on the record concerning this subject and has made his views concerning it quite clear. Q Margaret, he's just eeked out a narrow victory in the latest poll. MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry. What? Q He's just eeked out a narrow victory in the latest elections there. I think there were 396 "no" votes out of 7 million cast. Do you think that might bolster his confidence as far as going to the multilateral? Q Somebody said they came from the prison district. Q In the course of the last few days, the trickle of American hostages leaving Lebanon has begun to be a flood and the hostage-holders are now saying that tomorrow Terry Anderson, the final American hostage, is going to be released. Do you have any comment on that -- No. l -- and comment on the repeated comments by the hostage-holders and the Iranians that a deal has been worked involving the countries that have hostages to win their freedom? MS. TUTWILER: I'm unaware of any deal whatsoever. The only thing that I am aware of is that President Bush has said, since he was inaugurated, that we are not making any deals concerning hostages; and I have never, ever heard of anyone in this Administration suggesting that we should be making deals. So I have no knowledge of that whatsoever. Q So you're saying the United States, for its part, denies publicly that it has been engaged in any negotiations or deals -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q -- for the freeing of these hostages; yes? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Have you encouraged anybody else to make a deal or to take any actions that might result in the release of American hostages? MS. TUTWILER: Again, this gets me back into speaking -- it's a big government -- for the entire United States Government. I cannot be held to that standard. I, of my own personal knowledge, have never encountered, read, heard, seen anything that I would tell you is a deal, a negotiation. We simply have had a policy that we do not do such a thing. Q Well, that might -- no. MS. TUTWILER: But if there is some, Jim -- as you know, it has happened in various Administrations -- if there is someone that is out here operating on their own, I don't know a thing about it. Q Right. But operating for the U.S. Government -- has anybody in the U.S. Government, to your knowledge, encouraged other governments to take actions that might conceivably result in the release of American hostages? MS. TUTWILER: We have publicly encouraged anyone who has influence over the hostage-holders to use that influence for their immediate, unconditional, safe release. We have publicly done that hundreds of times of anyone who has influence. Q Specifically, Israel -- has the United States Government encouraged Israel to release any Arab prisoners that it holds in order to facilitate the release of American hostages? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I have knowledge of. And if you will go back and check on any time we have spoken to this, we have said as our policy that we think hostage-holding, by whoever is doing it, is wrong -- that it is a practice that should cease. And the President has said that, and the Secretary of State has said it. We have all said it. So we think that hostage-holding, hostage-taking, is just wrong -- flat-out wrong. Q Margaret, why do we think that the hostage era is now coming to an end? Is there a sort of unified view here in the State Department as to why this period is ending? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of a unified view. A number of people, John, obviously have given this thought and have speculated about it; but, also, I don't want to be premature here. All the hostages are not released, and it would be irresponsible for me to start writing now that "It's all over." It's not all over, and we are not going to give up our efforts. They are public efforts so that everyone should be released unconditionally, safely, be returned to their families. And I think that it would just not be a responsible thing to start saying, "Here is why this happened." It's not all over yet. Q Margaret, on the multilaterals again -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q -- has Iran shown any desire to attend these negotiations; and, if they do, will you be sending them invitations? MS. TUTWILER: I said I wasn't going to go into today a country list of who all would be there. I'm not aware of the Iranian view concerning multilaterals. I'm sure at some point we will be able to answer those questions for you. I just don't know today what their view is about it. Q Just back to the hostages for just a second. A moment ago you said, you know, "The U.S. is not going to give up its efforts." Are you able to point to any U.S. Government effort which you believe has had an effect in recent weeks on the releases of hostages that have occurred in recent weeks -- or is it the efforts of others? MS. TUTWILER: I believe that President Bush's efforts started when he took office, and he has had a consistent view and a consistent policy on hostage-taking. And it has been consistent throughout. He has never wavered from it; he has never changed from it. I don't know, Ralph, what's in the minds of these people who have held people. I'm not in a position to say why they ever took them, why they've kept them, and why they're now letting them free. I would certainly hope that the remaining hostages are freed as soon as possible and under safe conditions for those individuals. Q Would you say that the -- did the U.S.-Iranian agreement in the last week or so on the claims, military claims, have any effect, in your opinion, on the release of hostages? MS. TUTWILER: As you know, those tracks are totally separate tracks. The U.S. Government individuals that operate at the tribunal are authorized and never do discuss political matters. They discuss strictly legal and technical matters. So I can't tell you if in someone's mind elsewhere, that they connect them. I know that we don't, and I know what is not discussed at those talks and has not been for the last three years. Q But the U.S. made a commitment at some time in the foggy past to accelerate the process as much as possible at The Hague, did it not? And that acceleration coincidentally appears to be coughing out these interesting monetary agreements right at the time that the hostages are being coughed up. MS. TUTWILER: That is your deduction, and that's your analytical work, which you're certainly entitled to do. I'm not going to stand here and correct you or argue with you. I am not going to stand here, though, and speculate with you on why. We are absolutely delighted; we are grateful as a nation for those that have helped, that have lent their influence to let the hostages that have come out, come out so far. We are hopeful that the same parties will continue to use their influence, as we read that they are, to let the remaining hostages finally be free and reunited with their families. Q In your opinion, is the coincidence of events that John just mentioned nothing more than a coincidence? MS. TUTWILER: I'm just not going to stand here today and speculate with you all on why hostages are being released. We hope that the remaining ones, as I said to John, are. But I'm not going to speculate with you. I'm just not going to do it. You all have read -- we all know any number of speculative reasons, and I don't have for you a crystal clear reason, and I'm not sure that anyone in our government or other governments has for anyone why literally, precisely, this decision has been made. But I do know that everyone in our government and in other governments around the world is delighted that it has been, and that we are grateful that those people who have influence have used it in this positive fashion. Q Margaret, yesterday on Ukraine, Marlin Fitzwater, when asked if the impending recognition of Ukraine might set a precedent for the recognition of Russia, Marlin said that the State Department had done a sort of republic by republic wrap -- analysis along the lines of which republics have asked for independence, might be granted recognition or that there might be some conditions which might lead to the granting of recognition. Since the Secretary is apparently going to see Yeltsin when he is overseas, might there be consideration of granting recognition to Russia, and what might be the criteria for the granting of recognition to other of the republics that have declared independence? MS. TUTWILER: Well, as you know, yesterday we did not grant formal diplomatic recognition to the Ukraine. We began a process, and we explained quite elaborately in the White House statement what we were doing. So I cannot speculate with you. Yes, I would envision that while in Moscow the Secretary of State will meet a number of individuals, one of whom we would certainly hope to meet with -- we will request meeting with -- President Yeltsin. The same criteria -- to use your word -- we call them "considerations" -- that were laid out in Secretary of State Baker's five principles in his September 4 press conference here, we have built upon a little bit yesterday in the White House statement that was made concerning the situation in the Ukraine. And those will be the same principles that will guide us throughout this major transformation that is taking place in the Soviet Union. Q But that seems to indicate, then, that it really is up to these individual republics. If they ask for recognition, if they seek recognition, and abide by those principles, then they may gain at least the beginning of a process of recognition by the United States. Is that what you're saying? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (The briefing concluded at 1:28 p.m.)