US Department of State Daily Briefing #2: Monday, 1/6/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Jan, 6 19921/6/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, E/C Europe, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Caribbean, Subsaharan Africa Country: Chad, Israel, Iraq, USSR (former), Russia, Georgia, Yugoslavia (former), Afghanistan, Vietnam, Haiti, United States Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Immigration, History, POW/MIA Issues, Democratization, Human Rights, United Nations, Refugees, Nuclear Nonproliferation 12:50 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I don't have any statements or announcements today, so I'd be glad to take your questions. George. Q Richard, can you give us -- MR. BOUCHER: Oh, Barry. Q I'm sorry. Can you go on, George. MR. BOUCHER: Either one. I don't care. Q Well, you won't be surprised if I ask you what the outlook is for Mideast negotiations beginning tomorrow, and could you also tell us how many PLO-ers, who normally would not be eligible for admittance to this country, have been given waivers so far? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, as far as the outlook for the peace talks, you know that when the parties left Washington a couple of weeks ago, there was an informal understanding that talks would resume this week, the week of January 6. Last week in our discussions with them to try to pin down the details, we proposed that talks resume in Washington on January 7. The facilities will be available for business beginning tomorrow on the same basis that they were in December. As I think many of you may know, the Israeli delegation has already arrived to resume the talks, and we are awaiting information on the travel plans of the Arab delegations. As far as visas go, I am aware of one -- well, I mean first of all, we've issued visas and we issue visas to Palestinians all the time. I think Margaret reported to you in December on the waiver process and told you, I think, that since 1989 there have been 120; and she described the various categories for which we issue those visas. So I'm not -- at any given point, I mean, I'd have to do new totals that I haven't done, so I don't know how to characterize individual applications or any group of applications. I'm aware of at least one recent application that's currently being reviewed. Q Will that one recent application involve somebody who -- by the way, I asked about PLO-ers, not Palestinians. MR. BOUCHER: Oh, that's true. Q I mean Palestinians who, because of their association with the PLO -- MR. BOUCHER: Who require a waiver. Q -- would not normally be eligible. You made two exceptions last time for -- but they're called "advisers," I believe -- and I wondered if you have added -- have you renewed those two exceptions, and have you now added a third one? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a list. I'm aware that we have a request for a visa from Nabil Shaath, and that his application is currently being reviewed. Q And if such a person -- this one in fact -- has an appointment to make a speech -- if a speech is set up for somebody who normally wouldn't be admittable, does that establish a rational basis, or does that make it possible to give him a waiver? Is that the reason for a waiver, that you have to make a speech? MR. BOUCHER: As I said, this is currently in process. It is currently being reviewed. Let's see how this particular one comes out. I think Margaret, when she reported on the various reasons for doing these waivers, talked about academic conferences being one of the reasons, among others. But I don't want to try to prejudge a particular case until we get it through the process. Q Just for the record, you say the facilities are being prepared. Are they the same facilities as in December -- here in this Department? MR. BOUCHER: It's my understanding that they are, yes. Q Can you give us an idea of the consultations at the United Nations on a resolution to condemn Israel for the deportations? MR. BOUCHER: The U.N. Security Council is considering a resolution condemning Israel's decision to deport Palestinians. The U.N. Security Council will meet this afternoon, we understand, to consider such a resolution, and a vote may occur today. We're talking to other members of the Council about a proposed resolution, in keeping with our own long-standing and oft-stated opposition to deportations. I'll also refer you to the statement we made last Friday concerning our position on deportations, and also expressed our condemnation on the rise in violence. Q So is our understanding correct that the United States will support such a resolution at the United Nations? MR. BOUCHER: As you know, we'd never say finally what we will support until we see it. But, yes, we will support a resolution if it is consistent with our views on the subject of deportations. Q Another question, if I may. There is a newspaper report in Israel that the United States is ready to resume a dialogue with the PLO. Can you comment on that? MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't seen that report, and I know of absolutely nothing new on the subject of a dialogue. We don't have one right now. Q Richard, would you describe the proposed resolution as a United States initiative? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I could do that. I think it's being discussed with other members of the Council. I'm not sure whose name will be on it in the end. Perhaps it will come out of the Council as a whole, so we'll see. Q Was the United States the first to broach the issue? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I know of. I don't know where it started. Q Richard, in the same part of the world, the London Times carried a report yesterday that before U.N. inspection teams got to Iraq, some ten tons of nuclear material was shipped to Algeria, and that Algerians are now helping Iraqis with their nuclear program. Can you comment on that? MR. BOUCHER: Well, we've heard such reports before, and we've not found any information to confirm them. However, I'd have to point out that we take all reports of Iraqi efforts to evade compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 seriously. We have urged all countries to be vigilant to potential Iraqi attempts to avoid compliance with U.N. resolutions. The international community continues to closely inspect and monitor Iraq, with the goal of eliminating any Iraqi capability to pursue weapons of mass destruction. We've discussed nuclear-related issues with the Government of Algeria, including cooperation with Iraq. Obviously, we expressed our concerns about any possible cooperation with Iraq, and the Algerians said that they had no nuclear cooperation with Iraq. So, as I said earlier, we have no information from the Algerians or elsewhere that would confirm such reports. Q Richard, can you tell us when the 120-day moratorium on discussion of the Israeli loan guarantees will conclude? MR. BOUCHER: No. Q Is this a moving 120 days, or is -- MR. BOUCHER: Norm, I don't think we ever set a precise date to it. We expressed our intentions at the time. I don't have any reason to believe those intentions have changed, but we've never put a precise date to it. Q What are your intentions? I mean, what are your intentions now, then? What do you plan to do in coming days or the next few weeks in terms of pursuing that issue? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any game plan for you at this point. Q Is there a moratorium on public discussion of this issue? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know anything new about it since we last discussed it many months ago. So, if you want an update, well, maybe we'll look for one for you, but there's nothing new to say at this point. Q I think everyone would like an update. Q Is the U.S. rationale for having the moratorium in the first place still operative? That is, has anything changed in the peace process which was the underpinning, if you will, for the request for the moratorium in the first place that would suggest to us that a change might be, you know, warranted in the policy? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I don't want to rehash everything that was said at the time, and the rationale was expressed in, I think, more detail than you just expressed it, at the time. As far as I know, our intentions to take this issue up have not changed. Q Richard, a follow-up -- the President's conferences downstairs -- no, they're upstairs meeting with Dennis Ross. Are they talking about the loan guarantee issue, or why are they here? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. You can ask them what they're talking about. Q O.K. MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. Q Richard, the rationale at the time -- can you tell us whether it was to get a conference held in Madrid or to get some progress towards peace in the Middle East? MR. BOUCHER: Norm, I'd just go back to the statements we made at the time. I don't want to try to say anything new here. Q Are any U.S. officials meeting today with members of either the Israeli or the Palestinian delegation to the talks? MR. BOUCHER: Ed Djerejian has a meeting scheduled today with the Israeli delegation members, and he also has a separate meeting with a member of the Palestinian delegation who remained in the United States. Q Is that Dr. Shafi? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q Can you tell us when those are? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have the times on those. Somebody said that Dr. Shafi had been seen already, so I presume that's occurred. Q Richard, what do you think about this disagreement between Ukraine and Russia about the Black Sea fleet? Doesn't it confront the U.S. policy for recognition -- MR. BOUCHER: Did you say "agreement" or "disagreement"? Q Disagreement. MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware that they've reached an agreement at this point. Q Disagreement. MR. BOUCHER: Oh, O.K. I thought you were making news on me. Well, control of the Black Sea fleet is one of the many issues still being negotiated among the states of the commonwealth. The states of the commonwealth have managed to reach amicable agreements in their negotiations related to other military issues up to now, and we think that they should be able to reach a mutually agreeable solution on this issue as well. Other than that, I'll leave it to the parties to decide. Q I presume that there are some nuclear weapons on these ships, so doesn't it confront the policy of recognition of the states? I mean, this U.S. policy of unified control -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what the status of nuclear weapons on the ships is, and that's certainly not something for me to announce from here. I don't have any details, really, on the current status of the fleet in any way. But, certainly, the issue of a single unified command for nuclear weapons is something that remains very important to us.

[Former Soviet Union: US Urges Peaceful Resolution in Georgia]

Q Richard, what is the United States position on the president of Georgia? Is it the position of the government that he ought to remain in office or -- MR. BOUCHER: Our position is that throughout the crisis we have made clear that we believe that full protection of human rights in Georgia is the key to ending tensions there and to ensuring stability. The U.S. Government continues to urge all parties to renounce the use of force and negotiate a peaceful settlement based on internationally recognized human rights principles. We hold both sides to this tragic dispute responsible for ending the violence and for taking all necessary steps to ensure the security and safety of all Georgians, including members of President Gamsakhurdia's government. The United States Government has stated clearly that we will engage in closer relations with new states in the former Soviet Union on the basis of the Secretary's five principles, and the U.S. Government will not engage in closer relations with any government in Georgia until it demonstrates its commitments to the five principles. Q Gamsakhurdia has now fled to Armenia, but before he left he asked for a United Nations supervised referendum on whether he should resign or not, and he does have some support in parts of the country. Would the United States support this request for a referendum on whether he should govern or not, supervised by the United Nations? MR. BOUCHER: I don't really have a U.S. position on that. The United States is -- I think I just said our opinion is not to take sides but is to say that any government that is there should adhere to the basic principles of human rights, and that these issues need to be settled peacefully, and that's been our consistent position. Q But doesn't the U.S. have a position on the deposition of a leader elected by democratic elections? MR. BOUCHER: Bill, our position -- Q Being deposed by force? MR. BOUCHER: -- all along on the Gamsakhurdia government has been concern about its behavior. It wasn't based on questioning his democratic credentials, but we questioned its behavior, especially in the human rights area after Gamsakhurdia's election. We certainly urge both sides to try to end this thing peacefully and settle this one based on the international principles that we have enunciated, and that others have enunciated, and that's what we've done. We're in touch with both the government and the opposition -- we've been in touch with them -- through their representatives in Moscow, and this is the view that we've been expressing. Q But here's a guy who was elected by a democratic process. I mean, is this the most we can say in support of him? MR. BOUCHER: John, as you know, we've had our concerns about this government. We have our concerns about how this situation has been going. We think both sides are responsible for the violence and for not settling it peacefully. So we've been in touch with both sides to urge them to try to settle these differences peacefully. Q But in Haiti the United States is calling for the restoration of President Aristide to power. I notice that you're not doing that here. MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to start making comparisons. Q But do you consider that Gamsakhurdia is still the President? Does the United States believe he is still the President of Georgia, living in exile, I guess, or, I mean what is the status of the government of -- MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, the status of the Government of Georgia is not for me to say. As you know, from the Secretary's speech in December and from the President's announcement on recognition on Christmas, this is not a government to which we'd extended a desire to have diplomatic relations at this time because of our questions about its human rights practices. That's certainly not changed with the present situation. So in terms of our choosing a government of Georgia, that's not something we do. We have urged the various sides to these disputes to respect human rights and to solve their differences peacefully, and that's our contribution to the situation. Q Your statements today, though, have made repeated references to the Gamsakhurdia government, and I guess a lot of us are wondering whether there is a Gamsakhurdia government, since he is not present in that country. MR. BOUCHER: I don't know whether the way we've tried to describe it -- but we do not question the election or the fact that he was a democratically-elected leader. As I said before, we questioned his behavior and the practices of that government after the election. Q So, Richard, I'm thinking of your principle of change coming about peacefully. The Government of Georgia is not changing peacefully -- is it? -- when a guy has to flee like this? MR. BOUCHER: No, it's not, Barry, and -- Q I mean, forget how he was elected. Putting that aside, how about the transition now to a new government? Isn't there a kind of a blip in the well-crafted, well-scripted, five principles that Mr. Baker, you know, tried to have all the former republics agree to? You can't like the development, can you? MR. BOUCHER: No, we don't. And I think I said that we have urged them to resolve this peacefully; that we've been in touch with them. We've monitored the situation. We've kept in touch with both sides through their representatives in Moscow and consistently urged both sides to stop the violence and resolve these issues peacefully, just as much as we've urged the government of President Gamsakhurdia to accept the five principles and basic principles of human rights. Q How is the U.S. remaining in touch with the Gamsakhurdia government? MR. BOUCHER: Through representatives in Moscow. Q He has representatives? MR. BOUCHER: Both sides have representatives in Moscow. Q Richard, there does seem to be a contradiction in your various principles. You support the results of freely elected governments but only so long as their behavior is acceptable? MR. BOUCHER: That's not the situation, Jim. Jim, we're dealing with a real situation here. We're dealing with a situation where we think both sides are responsible for the violence. Obviously, we don't recognize a government that comes to power through violence. That's not in accordance with the guidance of the five principles, and the kinds of principles that we hope to see respected. At the same time, we've urged both sides to stop the violence and to try to resolve this peacefully, and that remains our position. Q But as one of your principles, who is the recognized government in the Republic of Georgia now? MR. BOUCHER: As one of our principles that predates all this -- it goes way back to August and before -- we have not tried to settle these disputes or to decide for others who their governments are going to be. I think we've always said that's a matter for the people themselves to decide. So we don't have diplomatic relations with the government in Georgia for reasons that the Secretary and the President have explained in the past, and our position is that these disputes need to be settled peacefully, and that we would not expect to have closer relations with a government in Georgia until it is clear that they are respecting the five principles. Q Richard -- MR. BOUCHER: Pat. Q -- Japan's Prime Minister indicated today that his country is prepared to make trade concessions and allow U.S. cars to be sold in Japanese dealerships, buy more auto parts, that sort of thing. Do you have any reaction to that? MR. BOUCHER: My reaction is that the President is either in Japan or about to arrive there, and I'll leave it to him. Q Richard, do you have any more this week on the release of the Kennedy-Krushchev letters? MR. BOUCHER: We're putting together the final right now. I think we'll be able to do it for you this afternoon. I just want to make sure we had all our ducks in a row. Q You have the letters? MR. BOUCHER: We should have a statement, a list of the various letters that have been released previously and those being released now, and copies for you of the remaining letters that hadn't been released today. Q Can I go back to the Soviet Union, please? MR. BOUCHER: To where? Q Back to the former Soviet Union. The aid conference later this month here in Washington -- how do those preparations stand at this point? MR. BOUCHER: They're underway. I don't have any announcements for you or any details. Q Any idea how many RSVPs you've received? MR. BOUCHER: No. I don't have that. Q And will there representatives from all of the republics? Are they all being invited to send representatives? MR. BOUCHER: Again, I don't have any details for you at this point on when it will be and where it will be and who's going to be there. Q One other try, if I can. I gather that Prime Minister Major suggested last week that there might be a summit meeting of U.N. Security Council Permanent Members. Is the U.S. interested in pursuing that? What position, if any, have you relayed back? MR. BOUCHER: The position that I relayed on Friday, when I was asked that question here, was that I would leave that one for the White House, because it involves a meeting at the summit level. Q Could I follow on that question? The United Nations is considering a peacekeeping force of 10,000 troops to send to Yugoslavia, and France has today said that it would participate with more than 3,000 troops. Would the United States participate in a force like that? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I'm aware of. The current, operative question, I think, has been a report to the Secretary General by his emissary, Cyrus Vance. We expect the Council to discuss that report. One of the things in the report is that the Secretary General states that he plans to send up to 50 military liaison officers as a continuation of the good offices mission that's being led by Cyrus Vance. These people will be drawn from existing U.N. operations, and we have some observers with U.N. operations. But it's not clear at this point where any of those people would go on this liaison mission. As for the composition of the actual peacekeeping forces themselves, I'm not aware that the U.S. has been asked or intends to send anybody to that. Q Richard, has the United States been in touch with the -- I suppose he's the former King of Afghanistan -- or any of his leading lights? I understand his chief of staff is in Washington or has been, and there's been a lot of consultation with various leaders. MR. BOUCHER: This is who? This is Zahir Shah? Q Yes. MR. BOUCHER: We've met with him in the past. I don't know of anything recent. I'd have to check on it. Q There's been a lot of move about -- people talking to him about going back to Afghanistan, and I was wondering if the U.S. was in on any of this? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if we've talked to him recently. As you know, the U.N. Secretary General has an envoy that's been working on this and talking to all the parties, including us. Q Are you still planning to meet with -- or is someone at the State Department still planning to meet with the KGB officer Kalugin, and do you have any comment on his credibility, since the man he's quoting has denied saying it? MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't heard any new quotes from the person that he's talking about. We've met with Kalugin several times in recent days. We have not yet met with the interrogator, the alleged interrogator. We've made clear our desire to meet with him and continue our efforts to try to get such a meeting with the Embassy. Q Richard, the Argentine soccer star, Diego Maradona, who's facing charges of cocaine use in his home country, said in an interview that he wants to settle in Florida and has bought an apartment for that purpose. Would the United States be willing to grant him a visa? MR. BOUCHER: I have no idea, Alan, and that's not usually the type of thing that we comment on in advance. Q How about a waiver? (Laughter) MR. BOUCHER: If somebody applies, we deal with the case. Q If he makes a speech at an academic conference, would you -- (laughter) -- Q How about citizenship? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure he's covered by the same law, Barry. Q Going back to the Mideast, Israel has rejected the U.S. condemnation of the deportation of the Palestinians, saying this is not an issue for negotiation. Would that strengthen the U.S. resolve to back a really strong resolution at the U.N.? MR. BOUCHER: As I said, we're discussing a resolution now at the U.N. The United States will support a resolution that is consistent with our views. I expressed our views on Friday. They've been long-standing United States' views that we were opposed. We condemned deportations for the reasons that I expressed, and we also expressed concerns and condemned the rise in violence there. Q But since Friday when you expressed that, Israel has come out and said basically it rejects all you had to say. I wonder if you had a comeback? MR. BOUCHER: No. Our views are stated -- have been stated before. They're based on a long-standing position that the United States has taken that Israel is well aware of. We've supported and would support resolutions in the United Nations that are consistent with those views, and that's where we are now. There is no interplay between various statements. We have a position. We'll support resolutions that are consistent with that position on that basis. Q Richard, where do we stand on the Moscow Middle East peace conference -- Moscow portion of the Middle East peace process? MR. BOUCHER: The multilateral talks in Moscow? Q Yes. The multilateral. MR. BOUCHER: There's nothing new. Nothing changed. Q They're still scheduled and -- MR. BOUCHER: Still scheduled January 28-29 in Moscow. Q Can you tell us anything more about, less than three weeks away now, who's going to be coming, or who's been invited, or anything of that sort? MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't. Q Reggie on his way yet? MR. BOUCHER: Oh, Reggie's trip? Q It's about now, isn't it? MR. BOUCHER: Well, we're still talking to people about dates and agendas and things like that. We're talking to representatives in the four nuclear republics, which I have a list of somewhere. Q Do you mean an interlocutor forum? MR. BOUCHER: We're discussing dates, timing and agenda for a trip by U.S. nuclear experts with the Republics of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. It's not scheduled yet. As you know, during the Secretary's visits, the leaders of all four states expressed their interest in having such a visit. Q Richard, do the technicians get to go separately? I mean, you know, the nuts-and-bolts guy, to help them dismantle missiles? MR. BOUCHER: The whole scheduling of this -- the agenda, timing, dates, people -- is still being worked on. It's not set yet. Q Do you expect it to be this month? MR. BOUCHER: I think that's what we offered. At this point, since it's not settled, I can't tell you precisely when it will be. Q On Haiti, do you have an update that would indicate whether people were fleeing during the holiday season? Do you have any new numbers that would shed light on -- MR. BOUCHER: There haven't been any new Haitians picked up at sea by the Coast Guard since December 30. There were none over the weekend, according to information we got from the Coast Guard this morning. There are 77 Haitians being returned voluntarily to Haiti this morning from Guantanamo. This brings the total of voluntary returns to 493. There are an additional 78 of those who have been found to have plausible claim to asylum that are being flown from Guantanamo to the United States -- have been flown, I guess, already. That brings the total flown to the United States to pursue their claims to asylum to 391. On interviews, there are 8,168 who have been interviewed. Of these, 2,089 have been found to have a plausible claim to asylum. Q Are we going to start the repatriation soon? MR. BOUCHER: We're still following the court order. There is still a ban from the court on involuntary repatriations. We're complying with that ban. The court postponed a hearing on the case to allow time for clarification of the issues. Briefs were filed on December 31, but oral argument is not scheduled to be heard until January 22. Q Do you have anything on the negotiations over a Prime Minister -- there were reports that Renee Theodore has withdrawn, and that the talks are at an impasse? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything new on that. That's something, as you know, that the OAS is pursuing, and we certainly support their efforts. Q Richard, do you have any comment on the French declared intention to give military support to the Government of Chad, taking into consideration the fact that they are going to -- the French, I mean, are going to support the government that is being supported already by the Libyans? MR. BOUCHER: Let me get you something afterwards on the situation in Chad. I think we had something on Friday, but I don't remember. Q Richard, I'm not sure, since briefings have been infrequent over the last two weeks, whether there has been a State Department reaction to the election of a basically Islamic fundamentalist parliament in Algeria? MR. BOUCHER: If you remember, on Friday I sort of declined to comment at this point and said they have a second round scheduled, so we really don't know what the final makeup of the parliament will be. Q Richard, one more on the Middle East talks: In addition to having the facilities ready tomorrow, is the U.S. Government in contact with the various parties, urging them to, in fact, show up? MR. BOUCHER: Yes, certainly we are. I'll get the appropriate phrasing. We're urging all the parties to resume the talks, and we expect them to act in their own best interests by doing so. Q And how is this process being carried out? MR. BOUCHER: I know we have -- I think I reported to you on at least two meetings that Ed Djerejian is having here today. We're also in touch with the various parties through other channels, including our Embassies and Consulates. Q And have they been giving you any indication whether in fact they will show up? MR. BOUCHER: Well, as I said, the Israeli delegation has already arrived, and we're awaiting information on the travel plans of the Arab delegations. But, obviously, that's something you'll have to get from them. Q Have the Arab delegations imposed any conditions that they would like met before they show up? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what precisely you're asking about. If you're asking about the U.N. deportations resolution, as I said before, there are no conditions, no deals on that. We're supporting resolutions consistent with our policy. Q Richard, a lot of attention has been devoted to Soviet or ex-Soviet nuclear weapons. What about their civilian nuclear programs? After all, it was a civilian program that exploded in Ukraine in 1986. Is the United States concerned? Is it urging any action? Is it doing anything to ensure the safety of these parts which have now devolved to republics like Ukraine and Belarus? MR. BOUCHER: I don't really know, Alan. I guess I can't say. It's been something, obviously, of concern to them. I think in their Alma-Ata meetings, they addressed specifically the question of Chernobyl, and I know we in the past have, I think, had some contacts with them on the subject. But I'm not aware of any new proposals that we've made. Q Richard, can you elaborate on the Djerejian meeting with Dr. Shafi? Dr. Shafi came for the talks or just -- MR. BOUCHER: No. As I said, this was a member of the Palestinian delegation who remained in the United States after the last round, and, you know, he's here. We meet with these people all the time. He's here. We're meeting with him. Q Do you have any update on food shipments to the republics and concerns about the way it's being handled there? The Germans have said they will stop shipping food until they can be sure it's not going to be stolen at its source practically when it arrives? Is there anything you have on -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything on new shipments at this point. We did do an answer that I think we posted about a week ago, explaining how the process of distribution of the two flights that went into St. Petersburg and Moscow had gone, and we had people supervising that all the way through. So it looks like it went well. Q Anything else being planned? MR. BOUCHER: We said there was a possibility of further flights. I don't have any new details at this point -- specific plans at this point. Q Just a technical question on the peace conference -- peace process stuff. You said the facilities would be available tomorrow. I may have missed it, because I was not here for a couple of weeks. At what point did the facilities not become available? I mean, aren't they -- I thought when we left that they were available at any time. MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, this has never been a major issue for us, frankly. We said the parties said that they would resume talks. We welcomed that. We said that was a good thing. Obviously, we're not going to have people hanging around the hallways on days that we know they're not going to be here. We've always said that whatever the parties want to do and if we can facilitate it, we'll do that. When they left last round, they said they were leaving town. They said they intended to come back this week and have some talks, so we're making the facilities available when they want to use them. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:23 p.m.)