US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #182, Thursday, 12/6/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:08 PM, Washington, DC Date: Dec 6, 199112/6/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, E/C Europe Country: USSR (former), Haiti, Lebanon, Yugoslavia (former), Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Israel, Libya, Tunisia, Latvia, Syria, Iraq Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Terrorism, Democratization, State Department, Immigration, Refugees, United Nations, Military Affairs, Trade/Economics (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I have a statement I'd like to make on Yugoslavia. The cease-fire is not being observed. There have been extensive violations. Heavy shelling by Yugoslav military forces was reported throughout eastern Croatia, as well as south as Zagreb and around Dubrovnik. There are reports that Sisek, Zadar, Osijek and Dubrovnik were hit hard. Fourteen people were reported killed in Osijek overnight. EC monitors in Croatia have launched a formal protest with the Yugoslav military in regard to these attacks. These continuing attacks against non-military targets and civilian urban centers are reprehensible. The continuing use of aggressive force and intimidation against Croatia and Bosnia by the Serbian leadership and its allies in Montenegro and by the Yugoslav military represent the greatest obstacle to a peaceful settlement. We urge all parties to fully comply with the cease- fire agreed to on November 23 and to commit themselves to genuine negotiations. They should seize the opportunity to stop this senseless carnage and take hold of the way forward offered by negotiations. Today we are going to implement U.S. sanctions on Yugoslavia in support of efforts to end the fighting and to obtain a political settlement. These sanctions terminate GSP benefits, U.S. assistance programs and the bilateral textile visa agreement. We'll post a statement later giving you all the details of these steps and a fact sheet that accompanies it and U.S. assistance to alleviate the suffering of innocent victims in the fighting. Our sanctions apply to all of the country. And should you ask, I would be glad to tell you that trade with the United States prior to the conflict represented five percent of all Yugoslav trade. In l990, U.S. imports were $776 million; $280 million of this came under the GSP program. Between January and September of this year, U.S. exports dropped by 23 percent and U.S. imports fell by l3 percent. Q Margaret, would you, if you can, go into the thinking of why the sanctions are being applied to the entire country instead of selectively? Because, obviously, the Department has made a judgment here as to who's at fault primarily for the carnage. I think other countries -- aren't they? -- try to be more selective in making sure they just hit the Serbians and -- MS. TUTWILER: Others are, Barry, but I would also remind you that the President said that we were going to fully look at the sanction issue on November 9, when he was in the Netherlands. We have; we said we've been studying it, as you know. And that's why I just pointed out we have -- five percent of our trade is with Yugoslavia. The Secretary of State said when we went to Yugoslavia many months ago, when you talk about an economic input -- a realistic economic input that the United States has -- he acknowledged that it was not that great. Q It is impossible to -- Q Can I just go back to that? You said earlier -- MS. TUTWILER: A fact? Yes. Q -- that five percent of Yugoslavia's trade is with the U.S. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Is it five percent of U.S. -- and now you just said five percent of U.S. trade was -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me. Q -- with Yugoslavia. Which would be the right one? MS. TUTWILER: Prior to the conflict represented five percent of all Yugoslav trade. Q It was smaller, I think. O.K. Q I'm sorry. Just again on the sanctions, is it a mechanical problem? MS. TUTWILER: No, I don't believe it's a mechanical problem. This is the way the United States is choosing to do this. It applies to the entire country. Q And how about recognition? Germany, I think -- Austria, perhaps -- are moving to recognize Croatia. Is the U.S. not about to do something like that? What's the thinking on recognition? MS. TUTWILER: I will be happy to restate for you, as I did yesterday -- Q No, no. MS. TUTWILER: -- for Alan, our policy. It's well known. I'm not aware -- you mentioned two countries that have formally said that this is what they're going to do. We have read, just as you have read -- and we have had any number of conversations concerning this subject -- but our policy has not changed. Q I was just wondering -- the last thing -- I was just wondering if the U.S. was going to move in concert with the Europeans, and the Germans seem to have taken charge of Europe -- taken the leading position so far as Yugoslavia is concerned. No consultation, no notion of moving in a coordinated way so far as recognition, so far as sanctions? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of. Q What's that first item on that list of specific measures? MS. TUTWILER: Of the sanctions? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: I believe it was GSP, Jim. Q And what is that? Q Generalized System of Preferences. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you, Bill. Q Yes, but what does it mean? MS. TUTWILER: What I'll do for you, Jim, as I said, is we have a very detailed fact sheet for you that will lay every bit of this out as part of our trading arrangements. We have GSP with, I believe, many numbers of countries. Q Is it another way of saying MFN? MS. TUTWILER: No, I don't think so. No. Q Has this been discussed with Cyrus Vance? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know if someone has had a personal conversation with him or not. He is well aware of the President's public statements on November 9 in the Netherlands. I am sure that this information has been gotten to his office or to the people who are helping him, this morning, but I can't tell you that we personally spoke to him before we made this announcement. They knew it was coming. We've said we have been studying it, and this is what the United States can do. Q At the time the President made his statement in The Netherlands, the EC had sanctions against all six Yugoslav republics. They've since lifted them against all but Serbia and Montenegro. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q I take it their -- you know, can you be a little more specific as to why the United States decided to break with the EC on this issue? MS. TUTWILER: I would just tell you that at this point the United States' announcement today of our sanctions apply to the whole country. I'm not going to characterize it as a break with the EC. Q Margaret, just on this recognition issue, I take it from your statement that the United States opposes recognition of Croatia or Slovenia under present circumstances. Are you urging other countries not to do this because you feel that it would widen or worsen the civil war? MS. TUTWILER: The United States feels, and has felt for a long time, that what is needed is peaceful negotiations, not continued force -- we used the word this morning, "carnage." And we have said that under peaceful conditions that we would be willing -- and I said this yesterday -- to recognize whatever the people of Yugoslavia choose under peaceful conditions, not through force. Q But I'm talking about today's conditions. The Chancellor of Germany has said in the last week that he intends to recognize the independence of Slovenia by Christmas, and yesterday his office came out with an official statement saying that Germany intends to recognize the independence of Croatia by Christmas. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q The United States, presumably, would regard those as regrettable steps and not conducive to solving this crisis. Am I correct in that supposition? MS. TUTWILER: That is your supposition. I'm not aware that the United States has ever expressed itself that way at all. The United States has continuously expressed itself by saying that, in regard to the future of Yugoslavia and its republics, we have made clear that we are prepared to accept any outcome that is chosen peacefully, democratically and through a process of negotiation. Q So today you are not prepared to recognize those republics? MS. TUTWILER: Today we are prepared to accept any outcome that is chosen peacefully, democratically and through a process of negotiation. That was our view yesterday; that has been our view for many, many weeks here. Q If the Croatians and Slovenians decide to come to a peaceful decision to go their separate ways, like Ukraine, for instance, will the Administration expeditiously recognize them? MS. TUTWILER: That would be something that I will leave up to a Presidential decision, Barry, and not speculate with you today, on what the President, under the hypothetical conditions you just expressed, would decide. Q Margaret, do these sanctions that the U.S. is imposing today extend to other countries who trade with Yugoslavia? In other words, will the U.S. prevent shipments of goods and perhaps services to other countries if they will subsequently find their way to Yugoslavia? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard that expressed, Ralph. I'll be happy to ask the experts and the technical people if it applies to that. I just don't know. Q When the fact sheet is put out, if it could answer the question whether -- MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q -- it includes a secondary. MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Is that all? Are we through? Q Can we ask about the Middle East? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, Mary. Q On the peace talks issue, you talked about the cable that got the parties here, or some of the parties here, not being an invitation, being -- MS. TUTWILER: It's a proposal. Q -- being proposals. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q But in that proposal, the Secretary of State said, "I invite you to Washington on December 4th to begin negotiations." Why is that considered a proposal and not an invitation? MS. TUTWILER: One, Mary, I haven't memorized the cable language, and I haven't even looked at it in the last two weeks. Maybe you are more familiar with it than I am, but I know you are very familiar with the actual letter of invitation to Madrid. As we have said many times, every comma and every sentence was negotiated out over eight months. This proposal by the co-sponsors -- it was not "the Secretary of State," it was "the co-sponsors are proposing" -- is exactly as we had expressed it. Since the parties were unable -- as they had requested -- to agree upon a date and a venue themselves, the co-sponsors, as was well-known, put out there a proposal. This was our proposal. Q Margaret, the Israelis have said that the Secretary of State did not consult with them on this invitation and they have said that he did consult with them on -- or that the United States did consult with them on the invitation to attend the talks in Moscow. That's not an unnamed Israeli official. That's Benjamin Netanyahu, in a public statement said those two things. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Is that true? Did the United States not consult with the Israelis on the invitation to come here, and did they consult with the Israelis on the invitation that they later accepted to go to Moscow? MS. TUTWILER: I don't think, Mary, that it serves any useful purpose to say who said what. I have done at least three or four hours on the record, going through step-by-step, the question that you have just asked me. And I really will refrain from re-engaging in it all over again today, a week later. Q Margaret, to your knowledge, is there an agreement to resume these talks here next week? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I know of. Q Are there any contacts today? MS. TUTWILER: On specific meetings, there are any number of experts here, I am sure, who are talking to other governments and individuals. As a literal meeting, the last time I checked before I came to the podium, I don't have a meeting to announce. Q Are the Israelis free to repeat the empty chair pantomime in reverse on Monday? MS. TUTWILER: The rules on Monday will be the same rules as they were last Wednesday. We are not going to be a party to filming empty chairs in rooms. We will not be doing that on Monday nor on Thursday or Friday or any day. Q But as a matter of practical consideration, how do both sides know that they are free to come next Monday or Tuesday or whenever? Are they exchanging messages through the United States? MS. TUTWILER: They already know that they are free to come any day that they choose. Everybody knows that. Q Are they exchanging messages through the United States Government? MS. TUTWILER: The United States Government, as Secretary of State Baker said yesterday afternoon, will continue to do what we can to bridge the differences here. Q So they are exchanging messages through the United States Government? MS. TUTWILER: We have been having discussions for the last many, many weeks. Those discussions continue. Q Margaret, have you proposed a meeting in which the Israelis experts/officials, or the Arab experts/officials, whatever, sit down together with U.S. officials to sort this out instead of somebody acting as postman between them? Have you proposed a meeting, a three-way meeting? MS. TUTWILER: There have been any number of ideas and suggestions that have been floated. There have even been new ones this morning. But there is nothing that I think is served by going through publicly every single suggestion and idea, every single phone conversation. It doesn't get you where you want to go, which is where we want to get, and we believe the parties want to get, and that is to sit down and have these talks resumed. Q Could you clarify that, Margaret? Is it the U.S. position -- MS. TUTWILER: Where are you? Q Back here. MS. TUTWILER: Sorry. Q Is it the U.S. position that we, that the U.S. Government is saying to the parties, "We are out of the proposal business. We proposed December 4th --" MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q "-- and as a result the United States is not going to propose any more days." Or are you now engaged in a dialogue with the parties and saying, "If the two of you will agree, we are ready to propose a third date?" Are we out of the proposal business? MS. TUTWILER: We are out of the proposal business. Our proposal is open-ended and, as we have said, there is not a matching book end, where we said we will only make these facilities available for three days or seventeen days or seventy-three years, or whatever it may be. We just said that we will be open and ready for business on December 4th. So we have never had a cut-off point where we took the facilities away. Q Right, but it was in the interest of the United States to propose a date, because the sides could not agree, after Madrid -- MS. TUTWILER: Correct. That's right. Q It was clearly in the interests of the United States Government to propose a date. It proposed December 4th. The parties still could not agree on that. They are clearly still looking for someone to propose an alternative. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Why is it not now in the interests of the United States to propose an alternative? MS. TUTWILER: Because, Tom, we have said that we also weren't receiving conditions, and we were not going to unilaterally change our proposal, that when we started this exercise, two parties very rapidly -- I believe one that very afternoon, several hours later -- accepted based on that original proposal. Now we have four parties that have accepted the proposal, and I would argue with you that we have five. The Israeli Government sent a letter from Prime Minister Shamir through Ambassador Shoval last Friday, accepting the proposal. They have a different date, and they have explained their reasons for the date, et cetera. I have said -- and Secretary Baker said yesterday -- that the United States will continue to work to bridge the differences, and work as a facilitator to try to get the parties together. But that is very different than saying that the United States, is and the Soviet Union, considering changing the proposal. We are not. Q Margaret, it seems to me that -- I am finding this a bit hard to believe. I mean, if I was having a dinner party and I wanted my good friend, Barry Schweid and my other good friend, Margaret Tutwiler, to come (laughter), and I said, "Let's have it on Friday," and Barry said, "Fine," but you said, "Sorry, I can't make it on Friday, how about next Tuesday?" Wouldn't it be a bit naive of me to say to Barry, "Okay, you come on Friday, and we'll let the food get cold until Margaret is ready to come next Tuesday." (Laughter) I mean, what is so holy about this proposal? December the 4th is in the past already. It is history. Why can't you just fix another date for these -- I know you -- MS. TUTWILER: Because, Alan, once you go down that road, once you open that door, where does it end? This, right now, in your words, says this seems a little silly. Q It could be. MS. TUTWILER: I will refrain from characterizing what our view is of this. But, on the serious side, once you start down that road, it will never end, and you will never, ever, in our opinion, and the co-sponsor's opinion, cut it off. So, you cannot pick and choose what things you want to change. This is not, as one of our good Israeli friends says, a fruit salad, where you pick what you want. We think that it is very important to maintain the integrity of the co-sponsors' proposal, that people accepted unconditionally. And I told you yesterday -- and I have no reason not to believe so differently today -- that we have no reason to believe that the parties themselves do not want a resumption of these talks, that they recognize and are serious about these talks, and we have no reason to believe that this difficulty will not be worked out. Q Are you open for business tomorrow and Sunday? MS. TUTWILER: The State Department is open 24 hours a day -- Q I mean, for this business? MS. TUTWILER: -- 365 days a year. Obviously, we are not going to ask employees to come down and sit in front of a room if the parties have told us, as they have today -- and they did yesterday -- "We won't be here." But the building is open. The building is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days out of the year. Q Wait a minute. They told you that they wouldn't be here Saturday and Sunday? MS. TUTWILER: No, I haven't asked that question. I know they told us yesterday and they weren't. My understanding is that they will not be today. I have not asked about Saturday and Sunday. But what I'm saying -- so we're straight -- is the facilities are open. Q Wait a minute. The question is whether -- maybe we can get an answer by the end of the day -- will the State Department make its facilities available to them Saturday? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q Sunday? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q And Monday? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. I answered all this yesterday. Q Now, the Palestinians say Monday is an anniversary of the Intifada. MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. Q But you're open if they want to come in? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. I answered this yesterday. Same answer today. Tom. Q To your knowledge, are the parties engaged in a direct dialogue with one another to resolve this problem? Or are they only talking to the United States and the United States is then acting as a mailman? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware if they are engaged. I have no personal knowledge of it. It is not just the United States, it is my understanding, that the parties are discussing this with. The Soviet Union is our co-sponsor, and there are other interested parties, who have governments here in this town, and I believe conversations are going on with those governments also. Q They're not talking to one another, as -- MS. TUTWILER: To my knowledge, but ask them. If they're having conversations and they want to maintain those privately, that's their prerogative. I know of none that the parties have informed us of, or that they have publicly informed you of. Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes, Jim. Q -- speaking of the co-sponsor, what was the point of the visit this morning by the Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister to Mr. Djerejian? MS. TUTWILER: Predominantly, to discuss the future planning for the multilaterals that we announced we're hosting in January in Moscow. Q Will he be the Soviet point man during -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. You might ask the Soviet Embassy. I just don't know. He came here today to discuss this. I don't know if he's going to be their designated point man for this. Q But there's no change in procedure or planning -- MS. TUTWILER: None. Q -- as far as the bilaterals are concerned? MS. TUTWILER: Bilaterals? Q Yeah. MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Do you have anything to say about the multilaterals? Anything you can say further about the multilaterals at this point? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Margaret, I have three items -- Q If the bilaterals begin on Monday or Tuesday, or anytime next week, do you expect them to immediately go into substantive matters, or will the first talks be on procedure? MS. TUTWILER: You would have to ask the parties. Q What does the United States want? MS. TUTWILER: The United States wants -- whenever the parties themselves determine that they're going to -- the United States believes these are serious, important talks. Q Margaret, would you please tell us, are you -- you had said that what you wanted to create here was a process whereby there were direct bilateral negotiations between Israel, the Arab states and the Palestinians? MS. TUTWILER: It's what the parties themselves, Mary, said they wanted to do. Q Right. That's not happening. Are you disappointed that these parties are not speaking to each other? That you can't even get them to speak to each other about a possible date to show up here next week? MS. TUTWILER: We expressed our disappointment last week and we expressed it earlier this week. That's out there. Q Is it a continuing source of frustration for you, Margaret? MS. TUTWILER: This is something we're actively working on, Mary. Q (Inaudible) trying to get three follow-ups. There are reports on Israeli radio that the lower level officials might meet on Saturday night after Shabbas. Is that -- do you have anything on that? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard that yet. Q Would you care to look into that, or do you refer us back to the parties? That some of the Israelis and some of the Arabs will get together -- MS. TUTWILER: I would suggest that you do, as we have been doing everyday -- maybe you might want to check it out with the parties. They all have offices set up here. I am not going to be, as I've said, the spokesman for every single person that's here or these groups. I'm not going to do it, so check with them. Q I've got three things. But they're not scheduled to meet here, though? MS. TUTWILER: I know of no such meeting here on Saturday. Q Wait a minute. I had three -- MS. TUTWILER: She has three questions she says. Q I've been trying so hard to -- do you know whether any issues of substance have been discussed at all by anyone, or has it all been procedure in this entire two or three weeks? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know of any meetings, Connie, that have taken place. Q Third question: Have -- Q How about the U.S. -- in the talks with the U.S.? MS. TUTWILER: Are you asking me, "Has the United States had any substantive conversations? Q On lower-level officials, yes? Or one-on-one or the groups here? When these groups come in, do you just talk procedure with them and venue -- MS. TUTWILER: I would say it's a combination of procedure and substance. Q So there is some? Q When you talk about bridging the gaps -- MS. TUTWILER: She has a third question, I think, Ralph. Q -- are you talking about -- MS. TUTWILER: Ralph, I think she has a third question. Q Let him finish this line. MS. TUTWILER: What? I thought you had a third question. Q Okay, well, did we ever settle the question of expenses? Who's paying the expenses for all this? Is the U.S. paying the expenses for all these delegations? MS. TUTWILER: No. The United States -- the co-sponsors did not pay the expenses in Madrid. It's the same formula used in Madrid. Q When you talk about bridging the gaps, are you talking about bridging the gaps on the question of beginning bilateral negotiations, or are you talking about bridging gaps on substantive issues? MS. TUTWILER: I would refer you to Secretary Baker's public testimony where he has stated many, many times that we are here to help, to facilitate, to bridge potential gaps. He has not categorized them as to whether they're substantive or procedural. We happen to think that this is an important process, and we believe the parties do. We believe most of the world does, and we've said that a hundred times. We're here to help. Q Margaret, that -- MS. TUTWILER: If the parties want our help. Q The U.S. invitation not only said December 4, it said in Washington. You've made it, obviously, very clear that the date cannot be reset. What about the location? Must they meet in Washington? MS. TUTWILER: That would be changing our proposal. Q So you will not change your proposal that they meet in -- even though you sent out that little flare early on that at some point down the road there might be some validity to meeting in the region -- which, of course, is what the Israelis want to do -- this is not the time. If there are to be talks, as far as the U.S. would set the time and place, those talks must be in Washington? MS. TUTWILER: We have said three things: One, we were not in a receiver mode for new conditions on our proposal; (2) we're not changing our proposal; (3) we said in the same breath, if the parties themselves want to agree upon a time and a place, we would be delighted. It would be terrific. Q That's unlikely that the Syrians would agree -- MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. Q -- to meet in Israel. MS. TUTWILER: So, we -- Q It was also unlikely that the Israelis -- MS. TUTWILER: I was going to finish -- wait one second. Our fourth point, which we have said, is that the United States' view is that at some time, as you accurately state, these talks should move to the region. That is our view. But we have not stated at what point in time. Q Can I try on something different, just for a minute? There's a report in Time Magazine Abu Nidal slipped into the country earlier this year and had surgery in Boston. Does the State Department know anything about this? MS. TUTWILER: I don't. Q The other thing is, what is the status of Operation Provide Comfort? It's due to come to an end within the next two or three days. Do you have anything on that? MS. TUTWILER: I'll check for you. Q Could you check? And a third -- a totally unrelated question: The Latvian Ambassador, who is coming to present credentials -- MS. TUTWILER: Who? Q The Latvian, this afternoon. Is he the first of the Baltic Ambassadors to do so? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know, Jan. I'll find out for you. Q Margaret, do you have any reaction to the decision by all the Arab states, including Egypt, to vote against the repeal of the Zionism equals racism resolution? MS. TUTWILER: I've read one report of that this morning. I was unable to confirm for you that that is actually, indeed, what happened. I will tell you, again, as we stated -- I believe it was earlier this week when we made our announcement -- how important we think this is, the repeal of this. The President stated it in his speech at the United Nations, and we are actively working as hard as we can to have this repealed. Q In fact, you're working so hard that you're canvassing and tallying votes. MS. TUTWILER: I'm not going -- Q Well, you are, because it says so -- MS. TUTWILER: Thank you. Q -- in the U.N. No, I'm saying -- I don't think on this case you can rely on reports to tell us what the Arabs are telling you about Zionism and racism. I think the U.S. is in contact with almost all the countries of the U.N. MS. TUTWILER: Of course we are. Q So, please, can you tell us today -- you know, if not now, by the end of the day -- if the Arabs have told you, including Egypt which signed a peace treaty, whether they still think Zionism and racism are equivalent? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Margaret, something about the procedural and substantive issues: At least can you say the dividing lines between the two are clear to you and to both sides? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not sure exactly what your question is. Q The dividing lines between what is procedural and what is substantive -- MS. TUTWILER: What's important to us -- Q -- in the talks are clear? MS. TUTWILER: You know, I don't know how often I can say this or how many days I can continue to say the same thing. What is important to us -- but we cannot feel that it is more important to us than it is to the parties -- is get to talks. It's quite simple. It's quite clear. Q Margaret, several members of the Palestinian delegation are meeting with Jimmy Carter today. Are you aware of any private efforts, like by the former President, to help the Mideast peace talks to go back on track? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of any private efforts. I think that our position has been that anyone, any country, that can help in this important area, we would welcome. Q Margaret, have the co-sponsors pledged to be a driving force behind the peace process, and does that still apply? MS. TUTWILER: The co-sponsors have pledged, and I'll refer you -- just yesterday afternoon -- to Secretary Baker's response to this question, to do what we can to help bridge the differences, to be a catalyst, to work at this, and that is what we have done in good faith, and, as Prime Minister Shamir himself asked, as an honest broker. We will continue to do that as long as the parties want us and continue to tell us they want us to help. Q Have the words "driving force" been used in communication with the parties and -- MS. TUTWILER: That particular phrase, Mark, I haven't heard, but there are so many conversations going on that it would be literally humanly impossible for me to keep up with all of them. Q But you wouldn't use that term now to -- MS. TUTWILER: You can use really any term that you want. The United States is here as long as the parties want us to be, which they continuously say they do, to help. Q Margaret, has the United States sent a congratulatory telegram to President Assad on his re-election? MS. TUTWILER: I forgot to ask yesterday, Alan. I won't forget today. Q I won't forget either. Q Anything new on Haiti? MS. TUTWILER: Not a lot, Norm. There were no Haitians that were picked up yesterday, so that leaves our total again today at 6,420. Two hundred and twelve have been found to have a plausible claim to asylum and have been flown to the United States -- so the total of plausible claim to asylum now is at 445. The UNHCR office in Honduras has advised us that 35 Haitians presently in temporary safe haven facilities in Honduras have asked to be repatriated to Haiti. Q Margaret, the State Department yesterday issued a very strong statement on Somalia. Do you have an update on the situation there? MS. TUTWILER: No, I don't. Q Margaret, could I ask you to broaden Jan's question about Abu Nidal, a couple of other things? Does the U.S. still consider him a terrorist? Where does the U.S. believe he is now based, and has he traveled to allied countries such as the United Kingdom? Just add that to -- MS. TUTWILER: I'll be happy to put that in Jan's category. Q That's what I mean. MS. TUTWILER: I will. Q Margaret, has the United States still reviewing the idea of taking Syria off the list of terrorist nations -- nations supporting terrorism? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware, sir, that that is under review by the United States Government. Q Was it under review? MS. TUTWILER: Was it requested yesterday? Q Didn't the Syrians ask? MS. TUTWILER: Yesterday? Q Or the day before. MS. TUTWILER: If they have, I don't know. Q And they didn't ask Djerejian to be taken off the list? MS. TUTWILER: Barry, if they have, I don't know. Q No, I'm sorry. MS. TUTWILER: I cannot possibly be up on every single conversation -- Q I think it's a live issue is what I mean. MS. TUTWILER: -- that's going on. Q Margaret, do you have anything on Cambodia? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Do you have anything on Burma? Or do you have anything on the report of 200,000 Kurdish refugees on the move? MS. TUTWILER: I'm aware that there are currently, it's my understanding, in northern Iraq -- I believe the U.N. numbers are 500,000, and that there are 200,000 new Kurdish refugees that are moving into that area. The United Nations people there on the ground tell us that they believe that they can handle this situation. It is something that is of concern to us, and something that we are obviously watching closely. Q One on that area. What is the status of U.N. sanctions versus Iraq? Does the U.S. have any fear that the U.N. might repeal those or rescind those? MS. TUTWILER: Might do what? Q Sanctions. MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard anybody suggesting that they're getting ready to repeal them. As you know, Iraq has not complied with all of them to begin with. Q It was under discussion this morning at the U.N., but -- MS. TUTWILER: Repealing them? Q I thought that was under discussion. MS. TUTWILER: I don't know, Ralph. Maybe you're right. I don't know. Q Do you have any more on Iraq's nuclear development, that ABC -- U.N. report yesterday? MS. TUTWILER: No, I don't. Q Could we have a wrap-up weekend type question? MS. TUTWILER: O.K. Q Could you tell us what the Secretary of State's involvement has been this week in the Mideast thing? I mean, has he talked literally to any of the -- he's talked to Shevardnadze -- but did he talk to any of the principals? Has he been getting reports from Djerejian and Dennis Ross, etc.? Could you give us some notions? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q As we try to wrap up this week, you know, there's a lot to write about. MS. TUTWILER: I guess so. We could start it all over again on Monday. Q No. It would be a short story. MS. TUTWILER: Barry, he has obviously been kept informed by his staff and the experts. He has not met nor spoken, to my knowledge, with any of the various parties that have been here in town. That's being handled at the expert level. Q Has he made phone calls to any -- to Mr. Shamir or to Mr. Levy or to anybody? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Mr. Assad? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Does he plan to be involved at all over the weekend? Q Will he be on television? MS. TUTWILER: As a matter of fact, he has accepted doing a Sunday show on the CBS network. Q Well, we'll get his words that way. Q Margaret, do you have any comment on the Tunisian proposal for a European-Arab joint committee to look at your indictment against the two Libyans with the Pan Am affair? MS. TUTWILER: Do I have any what? What was the first part? Q Any comments on the proposal by Tunisia? MS. TUTWILER: Basically the same as we did yesterday, that we what we want to see is action, not words. Q Margaret, do you have any comment on these press reports that the State Department is reviewing Felix Bloch's pension and may restore it? MS. TUTWILER: The Legal Adviser's office and other appropriate bureaus are reviewing the pension issue. This decision will be made by a senior Department official. There is no time limit on when this decision has to be made. And under the Privacy Act, I really cannot say much more beyond that. Q Margaret, do you have any reaction to the fact that the Japanese parliament will not now be issuing a statement of regret about the attack on Pearl Harbor? MS. TUTWILER: President Bush has addressed himself to that question, most recently I believe yesterday, and I believe that he is en route to Pearl Harbor to represent our country there. So I will leave any kind of comments concerning Pearl Harbor to the President. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (The briefing concluded at 12:40 p.m.)