US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #183, Monday, 12/9/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:18 PM, Washington, DC Date: Dec 9, 199112/9/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, Caribbean, Southeast Asia Country: USSR (former), Haiti, Lebanon, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Indonesia Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Terrorism, Democratization, Immigration, Refugees, Military Affairs (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I have one statement I'd like to make. Late last week, Secretary Baker had decided to give a speech in advance of his trip to the Soviet Union and the republics. He will be doing so. That address will be this Thursday, December 12, at Princeton University. The address will be to the University community and will take place at noon in the Richardson Auditorium of Alexander Hall on the Princeton campus. The subject will be, or the subject that he will speak to will be, "America and the Transformations Taking Place in the Post-Coup Soviet Union." For details concerning press coverage, contact Princeton University Communications Office, Mr. Justin Herman at (609) 258-5732. Q Will we get a copy here? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. To the best of my ability, we will try. If he wants to work on it that morning and in-flight, I'll do as we always do, and give you an embargoed, as-prepared text. Q And whether there is any Q and A? MS. TUTWILER: No. That's it from me. Q Margaret, the situation in the Soviet Union, I wonder if the State Department thought that the new union, if that's what it is, of the republics would lessen or exacerbate or have no impact on nationalistic and cultural and religious and other tensions in the Soviet Union? MS. TUTWILER: I don't think, Barry, that this morning I'm in a position to give you a definitive answer on that. After all, this was just announced yesterday. The Foreign Minister of Byelorussia has requested -- he's in New York -- to come down and meet with the Secretary tomorrow to bring him a copy of the communique. We have seen the communique, and we are very encouraged, to be honest with you, and pleased that the five principles that the Secretary enunicated on September 4 are incorporated within the communique, as we have seen it. Q Will you please amplify: How do you think the communique reflects U.S. policy? MS. TUTWILER: Well, if you want me to digest it for you -- you can do your own homework. Q What you find in it that in -- MS. TUTWILER: Well, let's go to -- Q -- conformity with your -- MS. TUTWILER: What I don't want to do is sit here and do for you -- I will re-give you the Secretary's five principles. I'm sure you have them. The communique addresses itself, in our minds, to Principle 3: Attempting to form democratic legal states. To Principle 1: Adherence to the goals and principles of the United Nations, the Helsinki Final Act, and other CSCE documents. Again, to Principle 4: The parties guarantee the rights and freedoms of all citizens, irrespective of nationality. Again, Principle 4: The parties take ethnic minorities on their territory under their protection. Principle 2: The parties respect each other's territorial integrity and involability of existing borders. Principle 5 again: The parties guarantee the fulfillment of international obligations that accrue to them from treaties or agreements by the former USSR. I could go on and on, but you can do your own work. Q No. That's exactly what I was looking for. MS. TUTWILER: Terrific. Q Is it still the Administration's position that Mikhail Gorbachev is the person to deal with and represents the Soviet Union, or whatever it's called now? MS. TUTWILER: Is it still our position that he is the President? Q That he is still the representative? MS. TUTWILER: To my knowledge -- I have just read on the wires -- I don't know if it's correct or not -- that President Gorbachev says that he is going to speak on Soviet TV. I believe that would make it 1:00 p.m. our time, Richard (Boucher)? -- 1:00 or 2:00. I don't know. I'm speaking prior to that, if that is, indeed, a true event. Your question is, basically, is President Gorbachev what? MS. TUTWILER: Previously, when there have been questions about whom this government should be dealing with, in terms of republics and the center, the answer has always been the center, no matter how much it has shrunk. Well, it now seems practically non-existent. But I'm asking whether that position has remained unchanged; whether for this Administration Mikhail Gorbachev is still the head of whatever unit is there now? MS. TUTWILER: One, I would not totally agree with your characterization of this Administration's policy. As you know, over the last year and a half, this Administration has publicly stated and has, through its actions, been meeting at the President's level, at the Secretary of State's and other levels, with any number of republic leaders. We have stated that for the last year and a half. Concerning President Gorbachev, you know and I know that just this morning President Yeltsin and other republic Presidents are meeting with him. I think you're aware that yesterday the Secretary of State said that the Soviet Union, as we have known it -- basically, is what he said -- no longer exists. He also has said -- and we have said since August -- that the Soviet Union is undergoing an incredible, radical transformation. It is obviously moving very, very quickly. Whether there will be some sort of central authority or coordinating mechanism, or a commonwealth of sovereign, independent republics, and what the functions will be, is for the Soviet citizens and people themselves to work out. Q Margaret, could you tell us if it's true that it's U.S. policy that the nuclear weapons that are in the republics must be returned to Russia? MS. TUTWILER: No. We have never said that, and I would refer you to Secretary Baker's press conference here in this room of September 4, where he laid out our policies on this. If you will read that transcript, you will find no where in the transcript that he said they should be returned. It's just erroneous. None of us have ever said that. The United States is not pushing for the transfer of nuclear weapons from non-Russian republics to Russia. Our chief concern is that nuclear weapons remain under safe and secure control and that nuclear weapons be eliminated in accordance both with the START Treaty and the nuclear initiatives of President Bush and President Gorbachev. These points apply to nuclear weapons in Russia, as well as in the other republics. We support a single, unified control over the nuclear weapons in the Soviet Union wherever they are. We do not want to see a proliferation of independent nuclear states. We note, with interest, the reference to a single, unified command in the statement made in announcing the commonwealth by the three in Minsk yesterday. Such control is important. As you know, we have been talking with the republics and will continue to talk with the republics about how best to assure the safety, security and efficient elimination of nuclear weapons, wherever they are, and how the United States might assist in this process. Of course, as Secretary Baker discussed this on his last trip to the Soviet Union, obviously, this will be discussed on this trip. Reggie Bartholomew, as you know, had a meeting here -- I believe it was about ten days ago -- with Mr. Obukhov. He had with him four republic representatives, and this subject was discussed there. It's my understanding that President Yeltsin discussed this also yesterday with President Bush. Q If I could follow up on that question -- if I could follow on the question for a minute? Could you specifically -- the press reports that appeared today that said that there's been an Administration policy decision that these nuclear weapons should go back to Russia -- those reports are wrong? And, second, are you saying that in principle the Administration has nothing against the desire of republics such as the Ukraine -- they've expressed a desire to destroy nuclear weapons or to deactivate them on the ground in the Ukraine And, in principle, the Administration is not opposed to that? MS. TUTWILER: Are we opposed to destroying nuclear weapons on the ground? Q Where they stand? MS. TUTWILER: No, we would not oppose that, Mary. Q You wouldn't? MS. TUTWILER: We would not. Q Did he talk to Nazarbayev today? MS. TUTWILER: Has the Secretary? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Has the Secretary spoken with any other Soviet officials today? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Margaret, I'm a little puzzled. On the one hand you say that you do not believe that the nuclear weapons must be returned to Russia -- to the Russian republic; right? MS. TUTWILER: We've said that consistently. Q Okay. MS. TUTWILER: Read September 4. Q But on the other hand you also say that you're against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. What happens if these -- MS. TUTWILER: -- against the proliferation of independent nuclear states -- we do not want to see. I would also remind you that any number of these republic leaders have said, on the record to your colleagues, that they are for a nuclear-free republic, state or whatever. You also have to be careful here -- that is what they have said. That is what they have been telling us privately. What we are interested in is what I've tried to express: the safety, security, and one single, unified command and control, which, as recently as yesterday, President Yeltsin discussed with President Bush. Their communique addresses itself to this. So, we continue to be told that that is the position, also, of the leaders there in the Soviet Union. Q How much does the United States want to assist the Soviet Union in dealing with the nuclear problem? When Baker goes there, is he going to be saying, "Hey, we'd like to send in nuclear disassemble teams; we'd like to send in teams to help you inventory your nuclear weapons? There's $400 million Congress has now appropriated. Does the Administration favor using that money to physically send American forces in to help? MS. TUTWILER: This is something that Reggie discussed in his meeting -- when he was here -- with Obukhov and the four leaders. It's something Secretary of State Baker will be discussing, and I do not have for you today a definitive answer. I'm well aware of the $400 million that Congress has allocated for the destruction of nuclear weapons. I just don't have an Administration point-blank answer for you on that today. Q Is it possibility that American forces could go in to help the different republics? First of all, provide a list of how many weapons there are -- the type -- and then to advise the republics on how to dismantle them? MS. TUTWILER: I would imagine, John, anything is possible; but if anyone is to that level of decision-making yet, I would have to answer you, they're not. It is something that we're all doing and taking day by day. There has been an incredible transformation. It is a very complex and complicated situation, as you know, and it is something that we are dealing with in what we believe to be a very responsible fashion, i.e., our principles that we enunicated on September 4 are all throughout this communique yesterday. Q You have said you are encouraged by the words that the three different republic chiefs said yesterday on the issue of their nuclear weapons. Without answers to questions such as, who is in charge of the military, which is not -- apparently, there is no clear answer to that today -- how can the words expressed by those three republic chiefs reflect or make you necessarily encouraged when it appears -- MS. TUTWILER: Because, John, you could have a totally different hypothetical situation on your hands. They could have said something quite different. They could have addressed themselves differently to minority rights; they could have addressed themselves differently to borders; they could have addressed themselves quite differently to the nuclear weapons in these two or three republics. So I don't think that it is -- since it is our policy -- and I'm not aware that anyone else in any other country has not embraced it -- to abide by international agreements of the former Soviet Union. To do all these things -- that's what we were encouraged to see in this communique. Q Are you still concerned about the direction events have taken with regard to nuclear weapons? You are encouraged by what they have said, but are you concerned, as events have unraveled over there, about the safety and security of the nuclear weapons? MS. TUTWILER: We are concerned that the transformation continue, as it has to date, in a peaceful manner. We are going to continue to say, as appropriately we should, that this is something for the Soviet people, the republics, to work out themselves. They should be determining their own new structures. But what you're asking me is -- instead of using your word of "concern" which has, in this context a certain connotation -- "Is this something that is foremost in our minds that we continue to have discussions at all levels on?" That is a concern, yes. But I have no reason -- it's not an alarmist concern, is what I'm trying to say. Do you see what I'm saying? We were pleased and encouraged that they addressed themselves -- these three republics that have these weapons -- yesterday in their own communique. President Yeltsin -- I said what he said to President Bush yesterday. Our overall concern, if you want to use that word, is a continuation -- and we have no reasons to believe it would not be -- of this peaceful, rapid, radical transformation that is going on -- as the Secretary said yesterday, the Soviet Union, as we all knew it, no longer exists. Q Margaret, just to follow up for just a second. You mentioned again the fact that the three republics -- the three leaders made this commitment yesterday in the document. One of the things that I think has us all a little bit confused about how the U.S. deals with the Soviet Union now is that Nazarbayev was not represented in that commitment. Maybe he will be. Maybe there's some discussions in that regard. But the point is, it's all very up in the air. So commitments made by somebody might not necessarily reflect the commitment of the unified military command, if there is one, or all of the republics that have the nuclear weapons. I think we're trying to figure out, why is the U.S. reassured by a commitment when it's unaware of what the unified command is or whether all of the places that have the nukes are, in fact, signed on to this thing? MS. TUTWILER: It's no different than, I believe, the way I've just tried to answer John McWethy. You deal with a fact; I'm dealing with a fact. We have a communique. Unless we have translated it incorrectly about what is in there, we found that there were certain positions and responsibilities that these three republic leaders took that we found encouraging. I don't have any other hypotheticals to deal with to show me that that is not a good faith document. Q Who do they represent? What does that represent? Does it represent the military? MS. TUTWILER: They represent their republics, Ralph. Q Does it represent the military -- the unified command? MS. TUTWILER: Two of those, as you know, have just been -- one was elected a year ago; one was just elected. They're elected leaders of their republics -- quite large republics. They have nuclear weapons in those republics. They have minorities in those republics. They have borders. We could be dealing, I guess is what you would like me to say, with a different situation. We're not. What we're dealing with is a document that, in our view -- and I gave the examples to Barry -- any numbers of places in this document that addresses itself to positions and responsibilities that we think are important and responsible positions to take. That is why we have said, on this document, that we were encouraged by what is contained within it -- the substance in the document. Q Does the U.S. believe that document speaks for the Soviet Union's military and speaks for the other republic that has a lot of nuclear weapons? MS. TUTWILER: I don't believe that the document claims to speak -- in fact, if you read the document, it quite clearly says that it is not speaking for the former Soviet Union. I am not aware of the decisions or non-decisions that were made at the conclusion of the meeting this morning with President Nazarbayev. Maybe you have that information. I don't yet. He was, it's my understanding, in Moscow this morning for a meeting with President Gorbachev and President Yeltsin. I just haven't seen an outcome of that. So I don't know if he is or is not. The communique that I have read in total says that this is open for any to join. So I don't know if, while I'm standing out here, other republics are joining. I just don't know. Q Is he planning with President Nazarbayev when he goes to Moscow? MS. TUTWILER: That is something that we have always looked into, and I have not -- as I always do when I announce the schedule, say it's open to change and to additions and deletions. It's something that we've always given very serious consideration to, and that consideration still exists actively today. Q Margaret, do you know -- do the specific elements of Gorbachev's arms control plan -- the one he issued in response to President Bush's arms control plan -- do those elements -- are they still intact? Are they still the operative guiding elements? Does the U.S. Government have reason to believe that they are still relevant? MS. TUTWILER: To the best of my knowledge, the communique of yesterday addresses itself to that also. I have just stated that that would be our desires, our wish. They said they wanted to abide by START, by all the international agreements; as this communique states, for this new commonwealth. So, again, it goes back kind of like to what Ralph says. I can only deal with facts. This is what it says. Q Of course, it wasn't a formal agreement or a treaty obligation. That was an initiative in response to an American initiative that was put forward by President Gorbachev. In the talks last week, for instance -- which included the republic representatives -- was that the understanding, the discussion, which was the basis of those specifics -- was still being the guiding principles for arms reduction? MS. TUTWILER: There are a lot of things, that I understand you would like answers to, that we do not have all the answers to. I would even argue, that the people there on the ground in Moscow don't have all the answers. I can only address myself to events that have happened. This communique does address itself to issues that have been of concern to the United States. Now, can I be held with my feet in concrete if something happens at 3:30 this afternoon that one of the republics, or two of the republics, or something happens, I just cannot. I only can respond to what we so far know -- which I have said many times here today -- a very rapidly, radically, changing transformation in a very complex situation. Q Margaret, about two hours before the commonwealth was announced, the Secretary, in a television interview, voiced very serious concerns about "another Yugoslavia" with nuclear weapons thrown in. From your comments today, I infer that some of his concern has been addressed. Is that correct? MS. TUTWILER: The evolution and, as he has said, devolution of power to the republics is something that is obviously of great concern to our country -- to the Secretary of State. Great concern. It is compounded, as he so aptly said yesterday, by the amount of nuclear weapons that are there. To date, there has been a peaceful transformation of this gigantic, complex situation. That is very comforting to us. You could have a very different situation, which was his point yesterday, i.e., Yugoslavia. These people -- and, again, I go back to the communique of yesterday -- they appear, by the facts, to be working out their own transformation as they should -- evolving, as they decide to, in a peaceful manner. That is important, not only to the United States, but I would envision the rest of the world and the peoples that are living there. So are we watching this closely? Are we staying on top of this? The Secretary of State is going to three of these republics; we announced that last week. He may be going to others. Yes, we are. That's the best way I know how to answer this. Q Margaret, did the communique address the issue of Mr. Gorbachev's co-hosting with President Bush the multilateral talks in Moscow next month? MS. TUTWILER: Not to my knowledge. Richard, (Boucher) do you remember reading if it addressed itself to the multilaterals? I don't think it does. Q Will the State Department, or the U.S. Government, be concerned that these talks might not take place? MS. TUTWILER: To be perfectly honest with you, it's something that no one, including myself, has even raised this morning. Q Margaret, does the U.S. recognize the creation of the confederation of independent states that was announced in the document you referred to here today? MS. TUTWILER: We don't, as far as I know, Ralph, not recognize it. If you're asking me, "Are we going to send an Ambassador to the commonwealth?" I have no answer for you on that. That is not something that's come up this morning or that our government has made a decision on. Q Has there been any discussion -- speaking of Ambassadors -- of granting their republics, or that confederation Ambassadorial status here in Washington? Has there been any discussion with them or with the Soviet central government on those issues? MS. TUTWILER: No. That's a very legitimate question. It's just that we have not addressed ourselves at this moment in time to those types of issues. Q What do you think about the significance of them wanting to move the capital from Moscow to Minsk? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding -- if you read the communique -- is it's the capital of the commonwealth. I do not believe it is the capital of the Russian republic. That's quite different than moving the capital of three republics to a new capital. That's my understanding of reading the communique. If I have an incorrect translation, then I'll correct it later this afternoon. Q Margaret, could you detail for us the kinds of consultations that are going on between the United States and its Western allies about this? The wire reports say that Great Britain is sending a high-level envoy and the EC is going to be sending a high-level envoy, and they said there's going to be -- there are consultations going on with the United States. Who has the Secretary spoken to, either yesterday or today, in terms -- MS. TUTWILER: One of his counterparts? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: To my knowledge, he has not. As you know, we sent last week -- and I believe he returns tonight -- the Assistant Secretary for this region, Tom Niles, to the Ukraine. I think he just went to the Ukraine. Right? Right. He's on his way back tonight. Ambassador Strauss is here. He met with the Secretary this morning. He had already planned to come back here. He has a number of business meetings and speeches that he had already pre-scheduled. He met with the Secretary this morning. The Secretary is, obviously, being kept up to date by our Number 2 man at the Embassy, Jim Collins, who obviously is in charge right now in the absence of Ambassador Strauss. So, I don't have a counterpart Foreign Minister that he has spoken to yesterday or today. Q Has he talked to Shevardnadze, for instance? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Margaret, can I try Ralph's question in a slightly different way? There is now a declaration of a new union of three republics in the Soviet Union, a new institution, a new body. Is the United States going to deal with that grouping -- a union -- in a diplomatic way as if it were a new body, a country of some kind? MS. TUTWILER: I'll answer you the same way I answered Ralph. Those are very legitimate, valid questions. I do not have answers for you. What has it been? -- 20 hours after this event happened. We are still waiting, to be honest with you, to get a full and totally translated text of the communique. I'm just not in a position today to say that we're sending an ambassador; they're opening a post on Connecticut Avenue. We're just not there yet. Q But that's how you would implement it. MS. TUTWILER: And to be honest with you, I'm not aware that they've even asked, Barry. Q Well, that was the other question. MS. TUTWILER: Not that I have any knowledge of. Q "Ambassador" means implementing. You fly-specked this communique to the extent that the State Department can isolate half a dozen examples that they find positive, that comports with the U.S. policy. But there's the larger question, something new has been created. The Secretary said even before it was created that the old Soviet Union was gone. So I guess I'm trying to find out, is the United States going to deal in a country-to-country way with this new union instead of with individual republics, or with the central authority? MS. TUTWILER: The United States is going to deal with whether it's a central authority, a coordinating organization, a commonwealth of Soviet independent republics. What those functions will be is for them to work out. Maybe the Foreign Minister from Byelorussia is coming down here tomorrow to ask us to set up shop. I think they've got a lot on their minds, Barry, and I don't think one of the things that's of an overriding concerning is whether the United States sends an Ambassador on Monday morning or that they say they're going to send an Ambassador. These men are dealing with very, very serious situations. I just am unaware that there has been any urgent call to our Embassy, any urgent cable, that the first thing everybody wanted to do Monday morning was get up and work out mechanics. It will have to be addressed at some point. Q I didn't ask you about -- excuse me, we'll drop it. But I didn't ask if it was urgent. I didn't ask you if you were sending an Ambassador Monday morning. MS. TUTWILER: You asked me about it this morning. Q I'm asking if there's a policy decision that this new grouping of three republics should be dealt with as an individual institution? That's all I'm asking. I didn't ask you if you sent somebody up to the Hill to be nominated to be the new Ambassador to whatever this three-headed thing is. MS. TUTWILER: And maybe we'll be making that decision tomorrow. Q I'm asking you if you're dealing with it, if you intend to deal with it as a union? MS. TUTWILER: Well, why wouldn't we? Q I don't know. MS. TUTWILER: They have, in a peaceful fashion -- we have said, this is all for these people to work out themselves. I have just restated for you what our policy is -- whether it's a loose confederation, whether it's a republic, whether it's a gigantic country, whatever it is. What we care about are the things that I have continuously mentioned. To date, this has been a very -- to date -- peaceful transformation. Q With this in mind, did you issue a travel warning or travel advisory to the Soviet Union due to the fact that there is uncertainty? MS. TUTWILER: No, not that I am personally aware of, no. Why? Are you aware of violence that's going on? I'm not. Q Well, you say peaceful -- you never know, because is what happened at the beginning -- MS. TUTWILER: We only issue travel advisories when there's a reason to. And a reason is, that there is some possibility of unsafe conditions or threats to Americans. I'm unaware of any condition that exists like that this morning. Q At the beginning in Yugoslavia, it started peaceful and then eruption. MS. TUTWILER: Then we issued a travel advisory. Q Have your conversations with Mr. Gorbachev -- and the White House said yesterday that President Bush spoke. Has the U.S. received any indication from the Gorbachev government that it supports the text of the communique established yesterday, or that -- MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of. I would imagine if it's true that President Gorbachev -- if it's true, as I read on the wires -- is speaking at 1:00 or 2:00 o'clock our time, that he will be addressing himself. Maybe there's some message that has come since I came downstairs. I just don't know. But prior to my coming here, I'm not aware of any. Q Margaret, you said you are opposing the proliferation of the nuclear weapons -- MS. TUTWILER: Nuclear-weapon states. Q I wonder if you would address yourself to the possibility that some of these nuclear weapons will find themselves in some other republics like Iraq or Libya that are now very interested in these weapons. MS. TUTWILER: That is a concern of ours. That is something we have addressed ourselves to -- we've said that before -- and that is why Reggie Bartholomew and the experts have had the meetings they've had; why the Secretary has brought this up in every meeting he has had and will continue bringing it up. Of course, it's a concern. Q Margaret, yesterday the Secretary said on "Face the Nation" that we should, as co-sponsors, be prepared to submit bridging proposals dealing with the meetings here between Israelis and the Arabs. The question is, do we still consider the Soviet Union as an entity as a co-sponsor, and, if there is a proposal to be submitted, who do we submit the idea to in the Soviet Union -- if there is a Soviet Union? MS. TUTWILER: We do believe that we, to date -- and again I have to be careful because so much is happening and changing so quickly and so rapidly -- that, yes, we have a co-sponsor. I just stated this morning if there was not, why would someone, please tell me, was President Yeltsin, President Nazarbayev, etc., flying in and meeting in Moscow with President Gorbachev? So I would ask the question back that if that doesn't exist anymore, I'm unaware of it. The Soviet Union, as we have known it, has, obviously, radically changed. Everyone knows that. Everyone acknowledges that. Have they been extremely helpful over the last nine months to the United States, to President Bush and Secretary Baker, in trying to get these parties to the table? You bet they were. Q How about the multilateral talks? Are they still scheduled in Moscow? MS. TUTWILER: I answered that earlier. Q On the question of the Israeli cabinet decision yesterday -- MS. TUTWILER: Wait. I'm sorry. What? Q On the question of the Israeli cabinet decision yesterday approving new settlements in Silwan outside of Jerusalem, is there any response by the Administration? MS. TUTWILER: This is an issue that we have been following closely. It has long been our policy that Jerusalem must remain undivided with its ultimate status to be decided through negotiations. We have called, as you know, on all sides to avoid unilateral acts that might exacerbate local tensions or make it more difficult to make progress in the peace process. All people in Jerusalem ought to uphold and promote harmony in the city by not acting in ways that would prejudice prospects for the peace process, and it is my understanding, as it has been since October, that this matter is in the Israeli court system. And this is my understanding, is that the Israeli Supreme Court is looking at this. Q Have you been successful in arranging a meeting between the Israelis and the Arabs before the talks start here tomorrow? MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry. What? Q Any success to arrange a meeting today between the Israelis and the Arabs before the talks start here tomorrow morning? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware that we are trying to arrange such a meeting. Q (Inaudible) -- setting up the meeting tomorrow morning? MS. TUTWILER: That's what all the parties say. Q Margaret, does the U.S. have any indication from the parties that they will -- MS. TUTWILER: The parties have told us what they've told you, that they'll be here on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. Q Do you know about the setting of the meeting tomorrow? MS. TUTWILER: What do you mean "the setting"? Q Who is meeting who in which rooms? MS. TUTWILER: We've posted all that last week. I don't remember literally the street addresses and which delegation enters through which street address. It's the same -- Q The Jordanian-Palestinian delegation -- will it meet -- will it be one delegation meeting with the Israelis or separately? MS. TUTWILER: As you know, under the terms of reference, it is a joint delegation, so they will be coming here as a joint delegation. And whatever the parties, concerning that meeting, work out among themselves or decide is their business. Q In one room? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, there always has been. Q Margaret, there is a dispute between the parties over this -- MS. TUTWILER: I know that. Q -- because the Israelis say they want to meet with them together, and the Palestinians and Jordanians say they want to meet separately. Have you been asked to mediate, and are you mediating on that issue? MS. TUTWILER: No, we have not been asked to mediate on that issue. We're aware of the parties' views on that issue, and, as I just stated, everyone agreed on the terms of reference. The terms of reference is a joint delegation. Once parties -- any of the parties -- are in their negotiating site, they can decide to discuss the weather, they can decide to discuss substance; that's up to them. Q Do you have two sites -- one for the Palestinians and one for the Jordanians? MS. TUTWILER: I just answered that, Mary. I just said we have one site. Q Can I go back to the issue of the 200 houses in Silwan, Margaret? You said something about the Supreme Court -- or the Israeli court is dealing with this. MS. TUTWILER: That's my understanding. Q But this is a cabinet decision. MS. TUTWILER: I'm aware of that. Q The act has been supported by a cabinet decision. MS. TUTWILER: I'm aware of that, and I am not an expert on the Israeli inter-governmental workings. But I am, at the same time, told that this is something that is in the Israeli court system and is being taken up -- or has been taken up with the Israeli Supreme Court. You will have to ask the Israelis. That's my information this morning from our Embassy. Q Do you consider the ruling itself to be harmful to what's happening now in Washington. MS. TUTWILER: I just answered that. Q What's the State Department concern or position about the Israeli plan to deport six Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza on the eve of these talks? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of an Israeli plan, as you say, to deport six individuals. Our position, as you know, on deportations -- not addressing myself to this one -- is well known. Our policy has not changed. Q Margaret, Mr. Djerejian cancelled a meeting with an Israeli delegation, and can you -- today, that was supposed to take place at 12:30 -- and can you, please -- because we've had a weekend and we also have half of today gone already -- can you please give us some notion of what interaction there is between the U.S. and the various parties now? Have they seen any of the Israelis since they've come in? MS. TUTWILER: It is my understanding, I believe, there are several meetings that are scheduled today. And, as we said last week, what we're not going to do is be held accountable to every single meeting that every expert is having. I will be happy after the briefing to check with Ambassador Djerejian's office and get you a number of examples of meetings, recognizing we are not going to put out daily everybody that he talks to or that Dan or Dennis or Bill or Aaron or anybody meets with. There have been any number of phone conversations all weekend. I know that Ed (Djerejian) was down here working on Saturday. I'm not aware if he had any meetings with people who were in town. I know that he and Dennis have a number of -- together and individually -- scheduled meetings throughout the day. Q Has there been any phone contact between Israelis and Arabs in advance of tomorrow's meeting? Any coordination whatsoever that you're aware of? MS. TUTWILER: You would have to ask those parties. I've said I'm going to refrain from answering those types of questions. Ask them. Q And if I tell you that the Israelis contacted the Jordanians, and they refuse to see the Israelis before tomorrow, what will be your comment? MS. TUTWILER: I'll refer you to the parties on what they are or are not doing, who they are or are not contacting, what phone conversations or meetings they are or are not having. I'm simply not going to do it. Q Would the United States like to see more interaction between the parties? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. That's what this is all about. Q: I see. Q Margaret, what actually happens tomorrow? Do these people come to a designated address, somebody meets them at the entrance to the building and say, "Room so and so is where you're to meet, room so and so is where you'll go," etc. And then what happens? MS. TUTWILER: They've already had their advance staff here. They had walk-throughs, all of them, last week. They're very well aware of the sites that were chosen. They have been at the sites. The drill will be the same as it was last week. Each of them, as you know, has a completely separate site, separate entrance, in the State Department complex. They will go to those. Some chose to speak to you all. Some didn't. And that will be what happens. Then when they get in the room, as you know, the United States nor the Soviet Union is in the room unless both parties ask us to be there. No one's asked us to be here, so they'll be on their own. Q: Will there be photo-ops in the room? Q Then how do they -- they get into this room, and the Arabs don't talk to the Israelis. The Israelis say, "Well, talk to us," and the Arabs just turn their backs. What happens? MS. TUTWILER: Well, sir, they managed pretty well in Madrid. And, as I recall, most of those meetings went five hours plus, so I'll just leave it to the parties to determine how they handle it here tomorrow. On John's question on photo ops, again, it will be the same rules that applied in Madrid. If the parties both tell us in advance of whatever site it is that, yes, they'd like you all to have a photo opportunity, then we will certainly get that information as soon as possible to you. If they say they do not, that's their call. It's their room. Q What if they have not told you in advance? MS. TUTWILER: To my knowledge, we have had preliminary discussions on this. We will be having, at the staff level, other discussions today, and we'll try to get the information, obviously, in a timely fashion to you. Q But you need both saying "yes." MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Just as we did in Madrid. Q Besides the issue of Silwan, there was another new settlement announced just a few days ago as well. Can you foresee -- if this pattern continues while the talks are attempting to move forward, can you foresee any circumstances in which the U.S. would take a position beyond the statement that the new settlements are not helpful to the peace process -- to go beyond that? MS. TUTWILER: That's too hypothetical for me and speculative. We've stated our policy -- we did last week -- on that particular settlement you're talking about. Q Margaret, there is a group of four Arab states -- or three Arab states and the PLO have been named by the Arab group at the United Nations to fight the United States' effort to nullify the resolution dealing with racism and Zionism. And also the group is apparently designated to fight the American effort to have the extradition of the two Libyans who are indicted in the Pan Am 103 tragedy. What are your feelings about that? MS. TUTWILER: Number one, I'm not aware of the creation of such a group. Number two, I would refer you to our statement last week and any number of times when we addressed ourselves to how vigorously and actively the United States Government is working to have this repealed, as I'm sure you're aware, by December 17. Just again this morning, as was on Friday, the Secretary had an update from Assistant Secretary John Bolton, and it is something that we are actively working on. Q Margaret, do you have an update on the situation in the mountains of northern Iraq, Kurdistan? How many new refugees are streaming to them? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding, Alan -- and I don't have a number, other than to give you an approximate -- is somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000. That's the same as it was on Friday. And this is a number that the United Nations -- and I'd have to refer you to them -- that they say that they can deal with and cope with. Yes, it is a concern to us. As it was expressed last week, the Deputy Assistant Secretary, David Mack, called in the Iraqi Interests Section representative to express our deep concern about the measures taken by the Iraqi Government in southern and northern Iraq. He charged that the Iraqi Government actions have caused the displacement of more than, as I said, 100,000 to 200,000 civilians from northern Iraq. As you know, the Iraqi Government has not lifted some economic restrictions that they have imposed on their own northern areas, and they continue to conduct operations against civilian centers in the marsh areas in the south. Iraq's policies of military and economic repression in the north and south clearly violate its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 688. And, as you recall, Resolution 688 calls on Iraq to facilitate access by international relief agencies to all parts of the country. Furthermore, as you know, they have not -- which they could and have within their power -- abided by resolutions or accepted Resolutions 706 and 712, which establish a mechanism for United Nations supervised distribution of humanitarian goods purchased with Iraqi oil exports. As you know, we are constantly watching this. We have been, and we will continue to be. And, as I said, the Deputy Assistant Secretary called in the Iraqi representative to express our deep concern. Q When did that happen, please? MS. TUTWILER: I think it was Friday, to tell you the truth, or was it this morning? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. MS. TUTWILER: I think it was Friday. I'm not sure. Q And it seems like that may be the first time in a long time -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I'll ask. Q -- that the U.S. has had that kind of contact with the Iraqi Government. Could you check on that? MS. TUTWILER: I'll ask. Sure. Q Margaret, are the restrictions that were imposed at the time of the crisis last spring, such as not flying above a certain line, still in force, so far as the United States is concerned? MS. TUTWILER: To my knowledge, yes. Q And no doubt you're aware that that refugee crisis unfolded at springtime. This is happening in the onset of winter. Is the United States ready to step in, should it have to, in a similar way as it did then, to help these people? MS. TUTWILER: That would be a question better addressed at the White House. As I said, the UNHCR, which is the lead organization there, has told us last week, over the weekend and again today, that this number of additional refugees is something that they believe they can handle. Q Just one more: Have you sent a congratulatory telegram to President Assad? MS. TUTWILER: I checked on that, and I couldn't find one. Q Did the U.S. discuss in the meeting between Mack and the Iraqi Charge or representative the question of the continuation of Operation Provide Comfort and the future of U.S. and other coalition military forces in the region? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I'll ask David [Mack]. I just don't know. Q Margaret, related to the hostages and their captors and those who held them before they were released after six or seven years, and the injuries inflicted on Steen and Cicippio, as we read about in the papers, is there anything being done in a practical way to bring about their captors to justice? And, in addition to this, what is the feeling here now about the demand that the Germans -- Germany holding two Arabs should be released before they will do anything about the release of the German captives? MS. TUTWILER: To the first part of your question, sir, the Secretary addressed that, I believe, again yesterday. On Friday the President has. Our policy has -- Q Anything more specific on that? MS. TUTWILER: No, sir. There are hostages that are still being held. I said last week that it is United States' law -- it's a violation of United States' law to take people. We have said that we are not going to comment further than stating what our law is, pointing out that we are still demanding the returns of Colonel Higgins and William Buckley, and that there are hostages that are still being held. So no one in the Administration has done futuristic types of answers. Q Margaret, can you do Haiti? MS. TUTWILER: Haiti? Yes. I have some new numbers for you. One hundred and ninety-nine Haitians were picked up on Friday. None were picked up on Saturday, and none were picked up Sunday, according to our Coast Guard numbers. The total number of Haitian boat people picked up since the coup now stands at approximately 6,620. According to the INS, 4,593 Haitians have been interviewed thus far. Of these, a total of 757 have been found to have a plausible claim to asylum. Two hundred and twelve of the 757 have already been flown to the United States to pursue their claim to asylum. The remainder will follow shortly. The rest of the overall numbers are basically, George, the same. The same from Venezuela, the same from Honduras, etc. Q Seven hundred and fifty-seven, as I recall, is quite a bit larger than the one we had last week. MS. TUTWILER: It is. That's correct. Q Does the U.S. believe now that that represents some kind of a trend or an indicator that perhaps there are many more people in Haiti who would have a legitimate claim to asylum, and that the persecution issue might be more widespread than the U.S. had earlier thought? MS. TUTWILER: I cannot explain for you either why a number of plausible asylum seekers is up, any more than I can explain to you why there were no boat people on Saturday or Sunday. So I cannot do that. Maybe the INS could help you. We have 15 professional expert teams that are there, that are going, and individually interviewing each and every person, and I don't have an explanation for you. Q But doesn't it mean as a judgment that they are potentially political refugees? That is the basis, isn't it? MS. TUTWILER: Right. A plausible claim to asylum. Q That's right. MS. TUTWILER: As an individual, right, under our immigration law. Q If you're up to 757, doesn't that begin to jog the Administration's position that these people are not fleeing from political persecution, but they're fleeing, as you said at the beginning, from economic hardship and, as you began to say last week, from some violence that's not particularly attributed to anything. MS. TUTWILER: And that does not change the United States' immigration law. We are operating under the law, and in these interviews there are now, as you rightly point out -- and I've just told you -- 757 individuals who have a plausible claim for asylum under our law. Q But that suggests a pattern. If you found 757 potential political asylum seekers, doesn't it -- MS. TUTWILER: It's been explained to me, Barry. I can't do this for you. Why on some days are there 500 people who they pick up, some days zero. I understand exactly that there is an increase in this number, but again I would refer you to the INS. Q Let me ask you on the nuclear -- as an afterthought on the nuclear thing and, if you said this, I apologize. MS. TUTWILER: That's O.K. Q But you're saying you want the nuclear weapons under one authority. Did you say whether that should be the central government's authority, or could it be the union, or could it be some other authority? MS. TUTWILER: Our policy has been, since September 4 -- and it was, I would argue, prior to September 4 -- one central, unified command. Q Right. But that central unified command, we all, and I'm sure you did, took to mean the Soviet Union -- MS. TUTWILER: That's right. Q -- which now doesn't have a chief of military, a chief of defense. Do you still want that power residing in what remains of Mr. Gorbachev's central government? MS. TUTWILER: That is, again, a question that I'm not in a position to answer today, other than, Barry, go to the communique yesterday. Go to what Marlin has said President Yeltsin said to President Gorbachev. What we are interested in is safety, obviously, of these thousands and thousands of nuclear weapons. That is what we have been interested in and will continue to be interested in. Q I understand that stories have been written for several days now. They weren't written off the wall. There were stories -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't know where they started. Q Well, they began with a -- but there's a senior official quoted in the first story, and I assume the reporter is legitimate. MS. TUTWILER: I don't know where it started. Q Well, I have a hunch where it started, and I have a hunch the stories are correct as well. And what these stories -- none of these stories dispute, of course -- in fact, they enhance the notion -- that there's concern about the fact that these nuclear weapons -- some 5,000 tactical weapons, for instance -- are in various republics. What the stories are saying is out of that concern the United States would like them all swept up and securely put under central control, and you're saying you don't want them swept up, and you're saying, "We've always wanted them under central command." It sounds as if nothing really has changed. MS. TUTWILER: I could not, because it's a Presidential determination, address myself to the $400 million. Do you think that the $400 million should be spent, if the President decides to do, on destroying them? I think the answer would be yes. So a lot of these questions we don't have yet. Now, are we insisting that, "No, you can't destroy this is Byelorussia. You have to move it over to Moscow." No. We're not. Q Excuse me. I didn't repeat it. It's a given that the U.S. wants as many weapons destroyed as possible. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q But talking about those that remain. You're disputing the reports that suggest that the Administration wants all these weapons brought together from the various republics and put under a central control. MS. TUTWILER: I am not aware that that has ever been this Administration's policy. Our policy has been one single unified command. I personally am not aware -- I know I have checked Secretary Baker's record, which was brought up to my attention yesterday. And, if you read the September 4 statement and the response to your Qs and As, you are not going to see in there that he called for "all weapons moved to the Russian Republic." It just wasn't there. Q No. This was supposed to be after September 4, because of the fractured -- MS. TUTWILER: Well, you're asking me to respond to some unnamed official. I don't know who this is. Q No, no. We're not asking -- well, Margaret, just so we're clear about this, the whole thrust of this story is that things are moving, as you say, rapidly and radically -- MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q And September 4 was several months ago. The notion is -- the reporting is that since then concern over the way these weapons are hanging out all over the Soviet Union has motivated the Administration to take a decision to, "Let's get them all together, if we can persuade the Soviets to do it." MS. TUTWILER: I am not aware -- and I have spoken to the most senior officials in this Department and Marlin did his briefing today -- I am not aware of anyone in this Administration that I have any knowledge of who has said this policy has changed, and all of these things we are now suggesting should be rounded up and shipped to the Russian Republic. I'm just simply unaware of that. The most senior person in this Department beneath the Secretary who handles arms control matters, Reggie Bartholomew -- I'll go on the record to tell you -- says it is simply not true. So I'm only as good as the experts, and Reggie is the most knowledgeable person on this, and he says it's just not true. Q Margaret, has the State Department looked into -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me -- that our policy has changed. Now, if someone evolves some grandiose plan three weeks from now, don't hold me to, "You said this wasn't your policy." I'm speaking as of today. Q Margaret, has the State Department been looking into the reports carried in the "Times" over the weekend that Israel sold U.S. weapons to Iran with U.S. permission? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of. The Secretary yesterday was asked what his personal knowledge was of this, as a former Chief of Staff at the White House, and I'd just refer you to his record. I'm not aware of anybody that's looking into it. Q The question is then, why is not the State Department looking into it? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I'll ask if somebody's looking into it. Q Margaret, our government has been most helpful in freeing Jews in the Soviet Union and Ethiopia. What is it doing about the 4,000 Jews held in dire captivity in Syria? Now that we have Syrian delegations here talking in peaceful terms -- MS. TUTWILER: This is something that the Secretary has raised on any number of occasions when he has been in Syria. Q You're talking about while he's been in Syria. That's been a long time ago. What about now? MS. TUTWILER: What about now? What do you mean? Q Are State Department officials taking this up with the delegation from Syria -- what about releasing these people? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I know of. The delegation from Syria is not here in a meeting with the United States. The delegation from Syria is here to meet with their Israeli colleagues. Q But they're on the spot. I mean, this is getting away from the subject. They're on the spot here. You can pick up a telephone and talk to them if you want to. MS. TUTWILER: Sir, maybe the Israeli colleagues will bring this up. I'm just telling you, they're not here negotiating with the United States in a normal bilateral meeting with the United States. They are here as part of a peace process. I've told you the Secretary of State has raised this. I am positive our Ambassador continues to raise this. But the Syrian delegation has not had a delegation meeting, that I'm aware of, with the United States to discuss bilateral issues. I'm just not aware of it. Q Margaret, there's one way back there. MS. TUTWILER: And then let's go. Q No, but there's someone back there who has been trying. MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry. Q Yes. I'd like to talk about the situation in East Timor. The Indonesian Government has said that the military was deliberately provoked to shoot, to fire on the mourners at the cemetery last month during a massacre there. My question is, what exactly is the U.S. Government doing in terms of being in contact with the commission that is allegedly investigating the massacre. That's number one. And, number two -- MS. TUTWILER: Let me do number one, O.K.? It's basically the same question I believe you asked me last week, and not a lot has changed on the United States' position which I will be happy to restate for you. As you have accurately stated, the Indonesian Government's investigation into the killings in East Timor continues. The interagency investigatory commission has visited East Timor and interviewed persons knowledgeable about what happened there. The United States has repeatedly condemned these tragic killings. At every opportunity here or in Jakarta, we continue to press the Indonesian Government for a complete and credible investigation by the interagency investigatory commission. This must include appropriate disciplinary action against those found responsible for the use of excessive force. As we have said before, the United States accepts Indonesia's incorporation of East Timor without maintaining that a valid act of self-determination has taken place. The United Nations General Assembly in 1983 instructed the Secretary General to resolve the East Timor issue. Our policy is to support the General Assembly's mandate, which continues in force, and the Secretary General's efforts. Q But the military has said they intend to wipe out those that they feel were responsible for deliberately provoking this action. Where does the U.S. stand with regard to that? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of a military statement like that. It's something I'd have to look into. Q On December the 4th, you actually said here that the Libyan commission of inquiry into the Pan Am accident didn't warrant your confidence because it was a Libyan commission investigating a Libyan affair. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Why this Indonesian commission investigating an Indonesian affair justifies your confidence, as you have expressed it so far? MS. TUTWILER: I don't believe that I expressed my confidence. I believe what I expressed was the facts as they are on the ground. I did express that the United States has continuously condemned these tragic killings. I have said, as I do in many countries, when a process is going on, I acknowledge the process that's going on. I said we will be watching it very closely, and we are. Q You don't actually express formally your confidence on the commission of inquiry at the moment. Did I read you correctly on what you said? MS. TUTWILER: What you read me correctly as saying is that the United States Government continues to press the Indonesian Government for a complete and credible investigation by the interagency investigatory commission. Q The ambience that surrounds this investigation, the composition of the commission, does it satisfy at the moment the United States? Are you at ease that the thing is being conducted properly, or do you have reservations, madam? MS. TUTWILER: I will continue, sir, to characterize our position on this matter, as I have. I've restated it again twice today. The United States has condemned these killings. The United States, I have just told you again, will continue to press the Indonesian Government. I don't know how much fuller I can be for you. This is our policy. Q The matter of the confidence or not that you have on what's happening there -- if you're satisfied with the way that things are going. The last time you addressed this was about ten days ago. Ever since, haven't you had any reports -- progress -- MS. TUTWILER: The investigation, sir, is continuing. It is no different -- there is a current investigation, for instance, you haven't asked me about in Mexico that is going on concerning those killings. I do not stand here and interject myself in the middle of investigations, whether it's Indonesia, whether it's El Salvador, whether it's Mexico, or wherever it's taking place. I'm acknowledging that this is going on. Q There were two Western journalists in the middle of that massacre in East Timor. Has the State Department contacted them for their account of the situation? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. If you had been here last week, you would have heard me respond by saying that the officials here at our government in the State Department had met with those two individuals. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thanks. (The briefing concluded at 1:15 p.m.)