US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #184, Tuesday, 12/10/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:21 PM, Washington, DC Date: Dec 10, 199112/10/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, Southeast Asia, E/C Europe Country: USSR (former), Haiti, Lebanon, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Turkey, Iran, Burma Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Terrorism, Democratization, Human Rights, Trade/Economics (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: One thing we're working on for you all, as we have in the past, is trying to pipe in Secretary Baker's speech on Thursday from Princeton University. We do not yet have that worked out technically, but we're trying. I think most of you, I hope -- Saul, I put out a correction yesterday afternoon. I had misinformation that the Byelorussian Foreign Minister was coming from New York. That was just an honest, human mistake; someone had the wrong information. And it is the U.N. Permanent Rep of Byelorussia. He's meeting with Ambassador Dennis Ross, and that's at 2 p.m. It is our understanding that he is simply relaying to Ambassador Ross for us a copy of the communique. If there's something else to it, I'll be happy to, you know, inform you later today. Q Margaret, there are unprecedented demonstrations in Burma. Amnesty International says the government is trying to destroy the opposition. The Nobel Prize was accepted in absentia. Do you have anything to tell us whether the State Department or the Ambassador are doing anything on the human rights front in that country? MS. TUTWILER: You surprised us all, Barry. [Laughter] I'll be honest! We once again welcome the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. We condemn her continued house arrest and the refusal of Burma's military regime to allow her to travel to Oslo and return to her own country. As you know, Barry, we do not have an Ambassador in Burma; we have a Charge. And we have resorted to sending diplomatic notes to the Burmese Government because the Burmese authorities have not granted our request for our Charge to have any appointments, claiming they are too busy. Q Let me ask you a question about the Middle East peace talks which are going on in this building. MS. TUTWILER: All right. [Laughter] Q The U.S. is not involved! Q Right. There seems to be a hitch between the joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation and Israeli delegation. We understand that some of the delegates are having coffee in the hall while their chief delegates are trying to decide whether to meet in one room or two separate rooms. The idea of separate meetings was proposed by the Palestinians to accentuate their separateness -- their independence and individuality. Is the United States prepared to step in and perhaps mediate in this, or is it too early? MS. TUTWILER: The United States is delighted that that these talks have resumed today here in Washington, in the State Department complex, at three separate sites. As I said yesterday, I am well aware of this issue, and it is an issue that the parties are working out themselves. The particular parties that you mentioned -- it is my understanding, as of coming to this podium -- are still engaged in conversations. And I would have to refer you to them for what it is they are or are not discussing. We're not going to do a daily debrief. It is my understanding that at 1:30 -- then correct me and check with their delegations if this has changed -- there is a Palestinian press conference at the Grand Hotel. It's my understanding at 2:30 there's a Jordanian press conference at the Grand Hotel. It is my understanding at 3 p.m. there's an Israeli press conference at the Willard Hotel. But, again, please check with all of these -- Q We have Madison. Q Madison. MS. TUTWILER: This says Willard. Q They said they'll hang out at the Madison. MS. TUTWILER: O.K. Q The Willard is totally out. MS. TUTWILER: Another factual mistake. [Laughter] It's my understanding -- Bill, you were nodding your head -- that the Israeli-Lebanese delegations have left. It is my understanding they said to members of the press that they would be returning here today at 3 p.m. Q Mrs. Ashrawi is apparently back at the hotel as well, according to the reports. MS. TUTWILER: Mrs. Ashrawi is not a delegate. Q Right. Q Margaret, with events in the Soviet Union, how much time can the Secretary and the senior aides continue to devote to the Middle East, especially when the delegates, at least some of the delegates, can't even agree what room to meet in? Is his attention going to be turned away? MS. TUTWILER: His attention, as you know, throughout the last 2 weeks has been in the form of getting debriefs from his senior experts. After all, these bilateral talks are being held at the expert level, not at the ministerial level. And the Secretary, I think -- you be the judge of this; but I certainly would ascribe to -- throughout his almost 3-year tenure he has been very capable of handling more than one issue at any given time. And that is what his portfolio consists of at any given time. So there isn't any problem. Q Margaret, has the Secretary been in contact with any Soviet or republic officials? MS. TUTWILER: No, he has not. Q He has not telephoned with Gorbachev or Shevardnadze or any of the foreign ministers of the republics? MS. TUTWILER: No, he has not. Q Margaret, that raises the question -- and excuse me, but can I just quickly follow up? I think one of the new union leaders said the foreign ministry has been dissolved -- there is no foreign ministry; there is no Soviet Union. MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard that this morning. I was aware -- I believe it was last Sunday, wasn't it? -- that President Yeltsin, when the Soviet -- and I cannot remember the correct name of the bank -- said that they were insolvent. I believe President Yeltsin stepped in -- this was about l0 days ago -- and said that the Russian Republic would be funding ministries. I thought at that time it included the new Soviet Foreign Ministry/Trade Ministry -- which was the new title, it's my understanding, given when Shevardnadze came back. If there's something, Barry, that happened this morning, I just apologize. I'm unaware of it. Q I was wondering, apart from the fact that they talked almost all the time -- very often -- and had a good relationship, and given the situation -- the rapid change going on in the Soviet Union -- I guess some of us are wondering why the Secretary isn't talking to Mr. Shevardnadze, if there is a reason, or maybe it's just one of those things. But, you know, if you can tell us at some point whether the U.S. thinks there's still a Soviet Foreign Ministry to deal with, and if you could possibly say why these two old friends aren't talking these days, it would help. MS. TUTWILER: I believe that Minister Shevardnadze has been back in the Foreign Ministry -- what is it, about 2-1/2 weeks? -- and I believe the Secretary has spoken at least four times I'm positive of, maybe five or six times. Q But not since the takeover? MS. TUTWILER: What takeover are you referring to? Q Let's call it the "union," the common -- the grouping of these three republics to try to take over, or usurp, or dislodge the central government. So we're wondering if the U.S. is in touch with the central government -- the Secretary of State to Foreign Ministers. MS. TUTWILER: The United States is definitely in touch. As we said, our No. 2 official, Jim Collins, is there. He is sending any number of reporting cables to the Secretary. Our other officials here are talking to other officials at the Soviet Government -- the Soviet Embassy, I mean. So there's any number of ways that we are communicating, that we are following this. And, to be honest with you, the issue just has not raised itself. Q Margaret, can you give us some indication of contacts with people at the republic level -- the three members of the new commonwealth, obviously -- but, also, has there been any contact at any level of the U.S. Government with officials of Kazakhstan, which seems to be the -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes, there has, and -- Q -- moving power out? MS. TUTWILER: -- the answer to all your question are "Yes." And those contacts have been ongoing before the events of Sunday. We have been cultivating, as you know, and working with the republics in strengthening our relationships with the republics over the last year-and-a-half. Those contacts haven't stopped with the events of Sunday. Q But has there been any talk, for instance, with the Kazakhs concerning the developments of the last 48 hours? MS. TUTWILER: Embassy personnel in Moscow have been in contact with their counterparts in Kazakhstan. Q Margaret, Mr. Vitaliy Churkin said today in an interview on American television -- he described the action by the three Slavic republics as "illegal," that what had happened was an illegal action -- which seems to be very much the position of Mr. Gorbachev also. Do you have any reaction to that? Is the United States passing any judgment at all on the legality or illegality, and do you have anything to say about the upcoming meeting of the Congress of Deputies on Thursday that's supposed to -- MS. TUTWILER: Is that now on? The last thing I saw is that wasn't on. Q Vitaliy says it's on. Maybe it's not. MS. TUTWILER: I would refer you to the Soviets. I don't know. Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: Let me answer her question, please. I believe the legality -- one, I haven't seen what Vitaliy said this morning. And, two, I believe the legality question is the l922 Union Treaty, which created what became known as the "USSR." It was signed by Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, and the Caucasus republics. At that time, those were Moldavia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. And you were correct in assuming that it is not our place -- the United States' place -- to comment or interpret the constitutionality of Soviet laws. As we said yesterday, and we will say again today, this is something that is appropriately for the Soviet peoples themselves to work out among themselves -- which they are doing. Q What is your assessment of, first of all, the state of political play between the center and the new commonwealth, if you have such a thing? And what is your assessment, in light of additional information, on food shortages which appears to be pouring in from your Ambassador, from the CIA Director testifying today? What is your assessment of those two areas? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have an on-the-spot assessment for you on the humanitarian side. It is something that you know that we have been -- we and others -- very concerned about; that we are watching very closely. The Secretary said part of his mission to the Soviet Union, which begins on Sunday, is to get a first-hand assessment, analysis there on the ground of what is needed. As you know, we have basically -- and I won't break it all down for you -- given in various different fora a little over $4 billion worth of assistance. Part of what he will be ascertaining while there is what, if anything, is needed; where is it needed, etc. So I don't have something other than it is something we're all aware of and continuing to watch. What was the first part of your question? I can't remember. Q Assessment of the overall political play between the center and the commonwealth. You have no assessment as to where that stands, as far as the U.S. Government is concerned? Or you're just watching and waiting? MS. TUTWILER: We're doing more than watching and waiting. But watching and waiting is really an appropriate role. We have said what we are concerned about. We said yesterday that, to date, this rapid transformation is proceeding in a peaceful manner. There is dialogue that is going on. We are very -- as we said yesterday, we were encouraged by the principles and positions that were taken in this commonwealth statement of Sunday. I'm not going to, because it would be highly inappropriate, to give you an analysis of our views of what is going on there in a very rapidly changing, fluctuating situation. Q Do you have any further comment on -- since Gorbachev came out and spoke yesterday after your comments? Do you have any further U.S. position on the status of the commonwealth and whether the U.S. will deal with it as an entity? MS. TUTWILER: No. Our policy is the same today as it was yesterday. 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 them to work out. Q Margaret, as far as you're concerned, is the multilateral talks -- other multilateral talks -- scheduled for late January in Moscow still on? Or could they move to Minsk, or wherever? [Laughter] MS. TUTWILER: As far as we know, they are still on for Moscow. No one has told us anything different. Q Can I go back to the issue of the delegates and the Palestinians and the Jordanians and Israelis? In the invitation that the United States sent to the Palestinians to join these peace talks, it was sent separately from the invitation to the Jordanians. Based on this, the Palestinians insist on having separate talks with the Israelis. Does the State Department share this opinion or share the thought? MS. TUTWILER: The terms of reference in the invitation have not changed. Everyone signed up to those terms of reference. As you know, the terms of reference were a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. We have said, whatever the parties want to work out among themselves is their business. It is my understanding -- and check with them -- that those conversations could be going on this morning. But, again, check with them. Q Margaret, can I just follow on that? Q How many rooms have you made available to the Palestinian-Jordanian delegation? And is there any truth to what we are hearing, that you have locked the doors until they can work out their differences? MS. TUTWILER: The United States, as a co-sponsor, provided three sites with three separate entrances to one facility complex. Within each one of those sites -- each one of them -- there are any number of rooms. I don't have a room count for you. But, as you know, we have to have staff offices, we have to have rooms for the U.S.-Soviet delegates. So each site contains, within a site, rooms. Q Margaret, if I could just follow back to his question about the multilaterals and the terms of reference. What are the terms of reference for the joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation? As this is a Foreign Minister level meeting, are they are being invited as the joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation? And, if so, is the Jordanian Foreign Minister supposed to be representing them? Who is being invited from the Palestinians at the Foreign Minister level for the multilaterals? MS. TUTWILER: I believe they will handle it probably the same way they did in Madrid, but I would refer that question to the Palestinian delegation. Q Margaret, [inaudible] invitations, so who are you inviting? MS. TUTWILER: We did in Madrid, also; and the Jordanian Foreign Minister was in Madrid. Q Margaret, can you please explain to us -- give us a little bit of detail? You've always said that the U.S. and the Soviet Union would be outside the room if anybody needed them? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Are you physically outside -- MS. TUTWILER: No, no. Outside the room -- to only come in the room if both parties asked them in the room. Q Do you have diplomats from both countries physically standing outside the door of each site? Or where are they and who are they? At what level do you have diplomats? MS. TUTWILER: I'll post a list of names for you for the United States representatives. I don't have the list of the Soviet representatives. My understanding is, they are there. This is at an expert level, and I cannot address myself -- because I haven't physically gone to each site this morning to: "Are they standing in the hall? Are they in their space that is part of the site where they are?" I don't know, but they're there. Q Margaret, earlier you said the talks, in your opinion, were going on as scheduled. MS. TUTWILER: As scheduled. Q In the case of the Palestinian-Jordanian-Israeli talks, have they gone on under the terms of reference? Is there a delegation meeting taking place? Has a delegation meeting taken place? MS. TUTWILER: Whether there's a delegation meeting or not, Ralph, this is for these parties to determine. Each has determined how they wanted to handle it this morning. What we were delighted with is that, in our opinion, the parties have resumed their engagement that they left in Madrid. Q And can you tell us whether the lobby of the State Department was one of the sites that the U.S. had designated for the Palestinians? MS. TUTWILER: The lobby? Q Yes, the public area where the public phone is down there outside the elevators where -- MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of. But if any delegates choose to go somewhere else -- if they'd like to -- we will certainly try to facilitate that wish. Q Even they can go out to the coffee shop, or something like that -- MS. TUTWILER: Do whatever they want. Q -- out of the building, if -- MS. TUTWILER: We will certainly -- we are here to try to facilitate them. Q I was going to ask you this question yesterday. Do you have any deadline for these facilities to be open timewise? MS. TUTWILER: Remember, we've done this a number of times. I've said, when the proposal was issued for December 4, we have never had a cut-off point -- a closing book-end is how I've continuously referred to this. We will have these facilities open and ready, as we did on December 4. There is no closing of the facilities. Q Margaret, are you aware of any United States Government direct contact with either Gorbachev or Shevardnadze since Sunday afternoon? MS. TUTWILER: Am I? I can't speak for the White House. They're traveling today, and I didn't speak to Marlin [Fitzwater] this morning. I can speak for the Secretary of State. I am not aware of any conversation that he has had with Minister Shevardnadze, with President Gorbachev, with President Yeltsin, with any of the officials I was earlier asked about. Q I'm a little bit baffled as to why -- MS. TUTWILER: Why? Q Because on previous occasions, that were far less momentous than this, Baker and Shevardnadze have found a way to communicate. And during the coup, as I recall, the Secretary sought to get hold of the then-Foreign Minister. MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. Q I'm amazed that it hasn't come up -- that the issue has not come up -- that perhaps -- MS. TUTWILER: It obviously has not. Also, during that same August period, Minister Shevardnadze felt that it would be useful to call the Secretary in Wyoming. Neither man, right now -- they are very secure in their relationship. They're very secure with each other's knowledge of what the other one's views and policies, as they represent their governments, are. It has just not been an issue at all. Secretary Baker is well aware of the fact, as is Minister Shevardnadze -- they just spoke. I can't remember what day it was -- last Friday -- they're both going to be seeing each other this Sunday evening. This is something that, rightly so we have said, is for the peoples of the Soviet Union to work out among themselves. Our policy has not changed since September 4. Our Ambassador was there on the ground. He's now here. Our Number Two man is in charge. Our policies haven't changed. So there has not been, to be honest with you, Mark, a need to have to call. What is it we're supposed to call and explain? Re-explain our policy that hasn't changed? Mr. Shevardnadze, I'm sure, is a very busy man now. I don't think Secretary Baker is just going to call up and say, could we just kind of chit-chat about this. He'll see him on Sunday. Should a need arise between now and Sunday for either of them to call each other, of course, they would. Q Will the Secretary still see President Gorbachev while he's -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q He will? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q What day is that scheduled for? MS. TUTWILER: Monday. Excuse me, Mark -- as is, it's my understanding, a number of republic leaders are continuing to see and talk with and seeing President Gorbachev. Why wouldn't we? Q Margaret, you seemed to suggest yesterday that the trip might be extended to involve other republics. Do you have anything new on that? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have anything to announce today; no. Q Margaret, on the legality question, I think I understand -- MS. TUTWILER: Wait. Where are we now? Q The question of the legality of the union. The U.S. is reserving judgment is what you're saying. Yesterday, before it became a big issue -- and we didn't think to ask you about the constitutionality of the move -- I recall you talking about these three leaders as being elected. I thought -- MS. TUTWILER: I said I thought two of them were. Q Well, anyhow, you were beginning to lay the -- build a case that they were acting with public -- acting in a democratic fashion in doing what they're doing, or what they did. But the bottom line -- is it correct? -- is that the U.S. Government takes no position on whether the formation of the union was constitutional or not -- legal or not? Is that correct? MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. Q Margaret, yesterday you spoke at length about the American concern over nuclear weapons control. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q But you did not -- you weren't asked any questions about conventional weapons. My question -- my series of questions deals -- what is the concern of the United States vis-a-vis -- since we have an arms control regime for the Middle East, or proposed regime -- what is the position of the State Department over the control of exports from the Soviet Union of conventional arms, particularly into the Middle East region? Will this be a subject of discussion? What's the feelings of the United States Government? MS. TUTWILER: Obviously, we always have concerns on all issues concerning weapons, but a specific for you today on conventional weapons, no, I don't have something specifically for you. What we have been, as I think most people have been, the most concerned about is this massive amount of nuclear weapons that are there which, I would point out, I haven't seen to date a single republic leader, republic foreign minister, center leader not address themselves to the fact that they recognize their responsibility to the world and how the world is concerned about this subject. So I haven't seen anyone making any statements, to be quite honest with you, to date that are anything but in line with the principles that we have said that we felt were important to be guiding them in this time of transition. Q Do you have any idea who controls -- what apparatus of government controls exports from the Soviet Union now in these various -- MS. TUTWILER: No, I don't. A lot of these questions, as I said yesterday, not only do we not know, I would venture that many people there on the ground don't know. Q Margaret, apart from the fact of the export of nuclear weapons in the Soviet entities and where they're going, reports are rather persistent that Soviet experts in nuclear technology are now in countries like Iraq, Iran, and others. There was a report this morning along that line. What can you tell us about that? MS. TUTWILER: I've seen those reports. I'm not in a position to confirm them or deny them for you. Q Are you concerned about it? MS. TUTWILER: It's something that we're aware of that I am sure experts here are looking into, but it's something that I'm just not in a position to tell you anything about, other than that I've seen the same reports you're referring to. Q Is there any way by which the United States can take this up in international channels to prevent the export of technology, apart from the weapons themselves, through experts? MS. TUTWILER: I'll look into it for you. Q Margaret, on a housekeeping measure on the peace conference, can you tell us whether the parties have informed the U.S. if they will permit their photographs to be taken at sessions here in Washington? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding is that you all were informed this morning of the parties' desires, and I believe that we then informed the press. Correct me if I'm wrong. Q But the last information I had was that the parties had said, "No photo opportunity for the initial session, but that something might be scheduled later." MS. TUTWILER: Right. I'm not aware that they have given us something new to ask us, because you all ask us to translate, but we will get that information -- as soon as the parties give it to us -- to you, and I'm sure they, themselves, will be trying to get this information to you. Q Also, have the parties indicated to the United States how long they expect this session of talks to continue? MS. TUTWILER: No. Not that I know of, Ralph. Q Have they indicated how long they're going to stay? How long they wish to stay? MS. TUTWILER: No. I'd ask all those questions to the parties -- I've just mentioned three -- that are having press conferences, I was told, this afternoon, and maybe they, you know, could answer those questions themselves. Q Does the U.S. have a position whether they should stay here, and stay here and deal with substance? MS. TUTWILER: Our position has always been that we would certainly hope that they would be engaging in substance. That hasn't changed today. Q Here? MS. TUTWILER: But we have said that we cannot make anyone discuss anything that they do not want to discuss. Q Do you have a position on the issue of splitting the talks into two rooms -- the talks between the Israelis and the joint delegation? And, if so, have you asserted that position to the parties? MS. TUTWILER: I'll answer you the same way that I answered it yesterday, and that I answered it earlier today: The terms of reference to which the parties agreed to come to are quite clear. They agreed to those terms of reference. As a co-sponsor, in conjunction with our co-sponsor, we provided three sites. Within each one of those sites are any number of rooms -- staff rooms, expert rooms, etc. It is up to the parties themselves to determine how they want to use those rooms. Q Therefore, do you have a position concerning the interpretation of the agreement which was reached between the Isaraeli and the joint delegation in Madrid as of the way in which the talks will be conducted in the first session -- whether it will be in one joint delegation and one joint Arab group, or would it be divided into two? MS. TUTWILER: That's something that you should ask the parties involved. Q I'm asking if you have an interpretation of that. MS. TUTWILER: I have stated for you what our position is as a co-sponsor, and what our policy is, and that is how we are conducting ourselves and proceeding. Q Margaret, do you have anything on the report this morning that the Iraqis are benefiting from the widespread leakage -- MS. TUTWILER: Seepage? Q "Seepage," whatever word you want to use on the U.N. embargo. MS. TUTWILER: We believe, George, that there is seepage of imports via Turkey and Jordan by private businessmen. In neither case are these activities sanctioned by the Jordanian or Turkish Government. We are encouraged by the response and responsible measures taken by both governments. We do not believe that the seepage that does occur contributes in an appreciable way to Iraq's ability to reconstruct its infrastructure. Q Could you clarify your response to an earlier question regarding the scheduled end of the current round of -- MS. TUTWILER: The co-sponsors never put a time frame on when these should end. Q There are reports from Jerusalem that the Israeli Government may recall its delegation for so-called consultations as early as this Thursday. Would you have any view on it in the negative or positive? MS. TUTWILER: It's up to the Israeli delegation to determine. I would refer you to them. Q You wouldn't have any position on it? MS. TUTWILER: No. Why would we have a position on that? Q Margaret, I want to go back to my colleague's question about Moscow multilateral talks. MS. TUTWILER: O.K. Q Do you expect the subject of that site to be discussed during the Secretary's visit to Moscow? MS. TUTWILER: I would envision that that would come up, but I want to be quite honest, I can't envision that would be the number one issue on his agenda. There is an enormous transformation that is of a great deal of interest to not only our country and our citizens but many countries around the world. And I just have to be honest and say that certainly was never envisioned, is not the purpose of this trip. As you remember, this trip was put on when the President announced that the Secretary would be going to Ukraine after their referendum vote. And, I might add, that Ambassador Niles is returning to the United States this afternoon and will be giving the Secretary a debrief on his most recent visit there. But I cannot tell you, nor do I think anyone would assume, that that would be a number one priority of this trip. Q So if the possibility is there to be on his agenda, there must be a kind of preparation for this to be discussed in Moscow, in the State Department, as from now? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not sure what preparation the Secretary of State needs in order to discuss this subject with his counterparts in Moscow. Q Alternative -- MS. TUTWILER: He is, believe me, very, very well versed on this subject matter since he's dealt with it so intensively for the last 9 months. Q Margaret, was there any discussion about alternative sites for the talks? MS. TUTWILER: Has there been? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: No. Q A follow-up on the Iraq thing: You said that you don't think the seepage contributes in an appreciable way to reconstruction of the infrastructure. Does the U.S. think it contributes in an appreciable way to Iraq being able to continue to survive without accepting the humanitarian aid the U.N. has offered? MS. TUTWILER: I'm sure, Ralph, that it contributes to some of it. I don't have a percentage for you. This is the opinion of our best experts here concerning the amount of seepage. As you know, the United Kingdom in a humanitarian gesture recently -- I believe it was 3 weeks ago -- said that they were unfreezing, releasing, $120 million in unfrozen assets. I don't know how that money's being used. I would also remind you that we've pointed out any number of times that Saddam Hussein and those around him in his privileged group also are not allocating resources to benefit the people of the country of Iraq. Q That's what I was getting at: Do you think that this seepage contributes to keeping Saddam Hussein in power, aside from the question -- you said it doesn't help them reconstruct his infrastructure, but does it keep him in power? MS. TUTWILER: It probably helps keep him well-fed and well-clothed and some of those around him, but it's not helping the situation there on the ground concerning the Iraqi people. As we mentioned yesterday, he has his own set of embargoes, as you know, on the northern section of his country. It's not making things -- economic sanctions -- by any stretch of the imagination, humanitarian for the people who are in the northern part of his country. So I don't know where this seepage is going or who it's benefiting. Q Margaret, could you be a little more specific? If you guys know that there's seepage from Turkey and Jordan, that it's private businessmen, you probably have an idea of at least in general of whether it's weapons or food and medicine. Is Iraq getting weapons and a large amount of weapons via Turkey and Jordan -- MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of, Mary. Q -- or is this food and medicine? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding, I have no knowledge that it is weapons, but I'm not going to be standing here and held to a standard that some truck by some private businessman doesn't have army boots in it or radios or batteries. I can't be held to that standard. But overall this seepage -- and I don't have a percentage for you -- does not fall in that category. Q Is it basically food and medicine as far as you know? MS. TUTWILER: Generally speaking. Q Margaret, before the -- MS. TUTWILER: But I wouldn't write that it's totally exclusive to that. Some people could be requesting TVs. There could be other types of household items, those types of things. Q Before the outbreak of the fighting, but after the sanctions were imposed, there was evidence that Iraq was getting goods from Iran as well. Have you anything on that? MS. TUTWILER: I didn't look at that this morning. I'll be happy to look at it for you. Q Could you say anything about consultations with the Jordanians and the Turks? Are they trying to tighten controls to prevent the seepage? What has been the official reaction? I think you said it is not sanctioned by them -- MS. TUTWILER: It's not sanctioned. Q That I understand, but are they seeking to tighten controls to prevent that? Are you asking them to do so? MS. TUTWILER: We have constantly discussed this subject with both of them. We are very pleased and satisfied with their responses. I just said they don't sanction this. We've pointed out these are private businessmen and that we have been encouraged by the responsible measures that both governments are taking. I don't have those literal measures for you. I'll be happy to either refer you to their governments or see if I can get some more detail for you. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thanks, Barry. (The briefing concluded at 12:53 p.m.)