US Department of State Daily Briefing #3: Monday, 1/7/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: Jan, 7 19921/7/92 Category: Briefings Region: Eurasia, MidEast/North Africa, Caribbean, E/C Europe, East Asia Country: USSR (former), Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Armenia, Cuba, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Yugoslavia (former), Israel, Haiti, North Korea Subject: Nuclear Nonproliferation, Development/Relief Aid, Arms Control, Regional/Civil Unrest, Mideast Peace Process, State Department, Immigration, Trade/Economics, History 12:29 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: Happy New Year to everybody. I have one statement I'd like to start with today concerning the Coordinating Conference.

[Former Soviet Union: Statement on Aid Coordinating Conference]

The Coordinating Conference for assistance to the republics of the former Soviet Union will convene at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on January 22 and 23. As you know, this conference was proposed by the President and announced by Secretary Baker on December 12 in his Princeton University speech. As the Secretary said at that time, the purpose of the conference is to better divide our labor and responsibilities to help meet immediate and drastically increasing humanitarian needs in the republics. The Coordinating Conference will work toward helping the peoples of the republics help themselves to get through the winter and to ensure that together we take the right steps this winter, spring and summer to ensure a better situation next winter. The work will focus on critical short-term needs in the areas of food, medicine, energy, shelter, technical assistance and logistics. I will refrain today from saying or giving out a list of those who have accepted. We would rather do that when we are closer to the date and we have a total list of all acceptances. Q Do you have a ballpark figure, though, on how many, or is it going to be ten? MS. TUTWILER: I've seen one that's speculated in the press. It's not far off. I don't want to speculate on one, Jim, until we have all of the acceptances in. This is only, as you know, January 7. Most people have had a break or somewhat of a break, over the last two weeks. If you refer back to the Secretary's speech, he referred in the speech to international organizations would be invited and he mentioned the various broad groups of countries that would be invited. Those have all been invited. Q Is he inviting Foreign Ministers? MS. TUTWILER: It is at the Foreign Minister level; yes. Q According to that list, though, it could be as many as 60 countries? MS. TUTWILER: It could. Q Are you thinking in terms of that many? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not going to give you a number today. We're thinking of a large number. It is an inclusive conference, as the Secretary stated in his speech. It is not exclusive. There are any number of countries and international organizations, as he also has said, that are already doing things, as the United States has already been doing things. I would envision all those people would be here in addition to some who have maybe not yet done things. Q Margaret, could you provide at least the lending or the banking institutions that will be represented, if you can't provide the countries? And insofar as the countries, did the U.S. invite all countries that could be of some assistance to the Soviet Union, or did it use some other measuring device? MS. TUTWILER: We did not invite, for instance, all members of the United Nations. We did not invite countries that would not be in a position, Barry, to -- in our opinion and, quite frankly in talking to them, in theirs -- to contribute. So there are some that naturally would not be included in this. Q The reverse is true. You invited -- is that so? -- the reverse is true. You invited all countries -- I suppose third-world countries are not capable -- but you invited all -- MS. TUTWILER: We did not invite all countries of the world. Q No, no, but did you invite all countries that are capable of providing either brain power or resources or to be of assistance? Because not all countries really think they were invited, you see. MS. TUTWILER: All countries were not invited. That's true. Q I mean all countries that could be of help -- were they invited? MS. TUTWILER: Well, if there is a country out there that you're aware of -- you can speak to me afterwards -- that would like to participate that somehow we have inadvertently overlooked -- I'm really being serious -- I'm sure the Secretary and the people who are putting this together would like to know that information. Q There are small and large groups. Not all countries in these groups get along with each other. So I wondered if you were inviting countries that could be of help or whether there were some political considerations? MS. TUTWILER: The political consideration, Barry, here is that there is a situation that in our opinion -- and in most peoples' of the world -- it is in our national security interest and in the interest of the world that this drastic evolution that is going on in the Soviet Union proceed peacefully. There is a need, that everyone recognizes, that is there. Everyone has already been doing various and sundry things that I don't have a laundry list of -- as you are aware, of medicine, food, etc. This is an effort to coordinate, so that it is the most efficient use of our nation's and other nations' resources and abilities to get, in our view and in most people's view, emergency help to these various former republics of the Soviet Union. Q And the World Bank will be there? The -- MS. TUTWILER: I'm not going to go through the list of the entire international organizations. As you know, in December, NATO said that they expressed an interest in this. As you're aware, the EC has expressed an interest in this. All of that will be given to you -- the list of the various committees, the various co-chairmen, the various organizations, all the countries that are invited. We're just not in a position to do it for you today only because -- because of this break, we don't have a total list. So we don't want to go through everyday and do a partial list. We would rather give us a little bit more time, let more acceptances come in, and do it all as one big package. Q Let me clarify one last thing -- MS. TUTWILER: I'll try. Q When this was initially announced by the Secretary, he used the phrase, "This is not going to be a bidding contest." This is -- MS. TUTWILER: A pledging conference. Q A pledging conference. MS. TUTWILER: It's not. Q In fact, it's going to be a conference to coordinate, to facilitate. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Then, in Brussels, when the question was put, he did say that it was an opportunity for countries that haven't contributed to come forward. MS. TUTWILER: That's right. Q So is it both? It's a chance to coordinate and also a chance to raise more assistance? Or is it just to coordinate? MS. TUTWILER: It is a coordinating conference. As I stated a moment ago, there are a number of nations who had not yet participated. Those nations have expressed an interest in participating. I can't speak for what they will or will not do at the conclusion of this conference. If they offer some trucks or if they offer some medicine, do you call that pledging? We say that this is a coordinating conference. We acknowledge straight up that there are some countries that are included in this conference which, as of today to my knowledge -- or I should say before I left for vacation in December -- had not yet contributed, but have expressed to us or to the EC or to the various republics their interest in contributing. Q So how is this conference going to work? Are you going to have a bunch people sitting around doing speeches. Are you going to break into sub-groups? Are you going to break into -- MS. TUTWILER: I'd rather, if I could, not answer those types of questions today. We are still in the process of coordinating it with other participants who are coming. We are still working it out. But the subjects that I mentioned earlier -- food, medicine, shelter, energy, technical assistance and logistics -- will be some type of sub-working groups. There will be chairmen at a working-group level of those types of groups. Q Will there be any representation from the former Soviet Union? Any of the republics in any way, shape or form represented at this conference? MS. TUTWILER: That's something that is still under discussion. There's no final decision on that. Q Margaret, are all these countries expected to just pledge, to donate? Or is there a possibility of selling at some point their products? MS. TUTWILER: It's not pledging. This is not a pledging conference. It is a coordinating conference. For instance, as you know, the United States, in December, announced that we were going to allocate $400 million for the destruction of nuclear weapons in the former republics. Since the United States is going that, another country could say, "I have X pounds of butter. I will give butter." It could be that someone else was thinking -- another country -- of giving butter. The two of them talk at this conference and say, "Well, that's overkill on butter; we have extra salt." That's what I mean by coordinating. So each person -- Q It's either salt or butter -- MS. TUTWILER: Well, you act like you don't understand. There is a difference, and I'm trying to make it as simple as possible. It is literally to -- on a serious subject -- there is a need and we all know there is -- those of us who were just there know that there is -- that you are not duplicating, you are not wasting nations' resources; that people come together -- we know of no reluctance or non-interest of anyone to attend such a thing -- so that you can best utilize all of these resources from all of these many nations and international organizations that genuinely want to help. Why? Because we believe it's all in our best interest to help. Q The key is that they're giving. They're not selling? Everything will be donated -- pledged, donated, coordinated? But it's not a sales conference? MS. TUTWILER: No, Connie. It's a humanitarian worldwide effort. Q While we're on the conference, could we ask you about the British proposal? Q Wait a minute, Barry. Will it be a public conference? MS. TUTWILER: It will probably be handled, as many other conference are. I'm sure that opening remarks will be open to the press. I would assume, as in other conferences, that the main body and work of the meeting would not be. Q Will the U.S. serve as the chairman of the overall conference or merely as the host? MS. TUTWILER: The United States, overall, is the host. There are, I think I said, six different groups or areas or baskets that will be discussed. Various nations will be chairman and co-chairman of those, Ralph. Q I may have missed this. Did you say it would take place here at the State Department? MS. TUTWILER: The State Department. Q Is it something the United States would expect to sort of coordinate over the long term? I'm thinking of Eastern Europe where we let the EC take the lead, not just in one conference, but over the months and years, in coordinating aid to that region. Are we going to play that role here? MS. TUTWILER: I understand. One of the things that will be discussed at this first coordinating conference will be, "Should there be another such meeting? If so, who should host it? When should it be? How much time should elapse." So there's no answer today to those questions. Q Margaret, there's a proposal for another meeting of sorts by the British Prime Minister that the Security Council members hold a summit on the 30th? MS. TUTWILER: That's true. Q There was no response yesterday. Is there one today? MS. TUTWILER: No, there isn't. I will do what Richard did yesterday. Since this is a Head of State summit, it's my understanding of the U.K. invitation or suggestion, I would refer you to the White House. Q Margaret, while we're on meetings, there's a suggestion from Germany to hold an East-West Cooperation Council or meeting -- that's NATO plus the Soviet republics, as I understand it -- in Prague immediately after the CSCE at the end of the month. Have you taken note of that? Do you have any views? MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry, Alan, that's something that I'm not up to speed on, having been gone for two weeks. I haven't heard about that yet. Q Margaret, you mentioned the $400 million that the United States Government -- MS. TUTWILER: That's an example; right. Q Can I ask you about the Soviet nuclear situation? Is Reggie (Bartholomew) going over with expert level people to begin dismantling this month? MS. TUTWILER: Johanna, I don't have anything new for you on that subject to add to what Richard said yesterday. Those discussions are on-going. There are no decisions, and there's nothing to announce yet concerning when his mission would go or dates or times or where they would go. There's just nothing new today on that. Q Another follow-up. Is there any indication yet of any effort by Iran or Iraq or Libya to buy off some Soviet nuclear scientists? MS. TUTWILER: There's no concrete evidence that I have on that. As you know, this is a subject that was raised a number of times back in December. It's something that the United States would obviously be concerned about and something that we would watch closely. I know of no evidence or specifics of it. Q Is Georgia one of the former Soviet republics that would be targeted for aid for this conference? And, if so, where would it be directed -- to which government and to whom? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know, Saul, of any republics that would be excluded. This is, after all, a humanitarian effort. For instance, in December, the humanitarian aid that we took and that we supplied as a government was specifically targeted, as I recall, for burn hospitals, for childrens hospitals. We worked very closely with Project Hope. We will continue to work with organizations and our Embassy that are there on the ground to identify medical needs and food needs at specific locations. That's why I said one of the subject matters are sub-groups to be discussed is literally logistics. As you all will recall, in December, NATO expressed an interest -- many of the Defense Ministers and Foreign Ministers, and NATO as an institution -- in helping on the logistics. The actual delivery of these things is very complicated. As we are all aware, there is a concern over stealing. There is a concern over things that are earmarked for a certain hospital maybe not getting there or being sold, et cetera. So all of those types of details are things that are going to have to be very closely watched and coordinated and is something that has been of concern to us and, in all candor, with the officials that we met with in the various republics. Various republics have various needs. For instance, President Nazarbayebv said to us, when we were in Kazakhstan, specific things that he needed. Food was not one of them at that time. Other republics have other needs. So I have not heard anyone say, on a humanitarian basis, that anybody would be excluded. Q But the conference would be open, indeed, to representatives of the former Soviet republics? Indeed, they must be present to help you in coordinating these efforts. One recent example is tons of beef being held up in Moscow and ultimately diverted to another place because of bureaucratic red tape. MS. TUTWILER: I'm not sure that I necessarily agree with you that you have to have here high-level government officials at the Ministerial level to discuss the types of logistical details that will be handled at a level below the Minister, not only in their country but in our countries. So that is something that is simply not resolved yet. There are various views on it. It is not something that's a big contention at all. I'm not aware that any republics have expressed any strong desires of whether they are there or not. The only thing that I'm aware that they've expressed is a deep appreciation that the United States took this initiative and that so many people are willing and wanting to participate to help them. Q Is there a mechanism for this conference to learn about or know about what those -- you mentioned all these specific needs that are different in different republics. How will the Coordinating Conference know what one republic needs and another republic doesn't need if there's no representation? MS. TUTWILER: Much of that work is already known to us. There are conversations that have been going on for weeks, not only with our nation, but with other nations who are helping, on shelter and on different issues. So there is an enormous amount of information out there. That is another purpose for everyone bringing together at an experts level, and to present to the Ministers and to the world, here is what we believe is the best way to make the best united effort here. That information, Ralph, continues to come in. People here in this building and at our Embassy and other governments are all right now, in anticipation of this conference, continuing to collect information and to talk to the various people on the ground. Q Will the political situation in Georgia will have no effect on what aid you're going to -- the Coordinating Conference is going to give to Georgia? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I've ever heard of. This is a humanitarian effort. The children in Georgia, in our minds, are no different than the children in Russia. Q But I'm recalling that in Haiti when the President was deposed, we put out an embargo against Haiti which did incur some hardships. It imposed some hardships on the people. MS. TUTWILER: Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I remember that did not affect humanitarian assistance that was going into Haiti. Q Initially, it did. MS. TUTWILER: And then I believe it all went in. Right, George? Q Can I ask you about nuclear -- did the Secretary get -- I remember him saying there were pledges from all four nuclear republics, that they would join the Non-Proliferation Treaty. But I can't recall -- were there pledges, before they joined, they would not provide any nuclear material, technology or whatever to a country such as Iran? There are reports again now that -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't remember -- Q Kazakhstan may be providing nuclear equipment to Iran. MS. TUTWILER: I know the general subject was discussed, as you accurately point out that the Secretary said. On your question of a literal pledge, I'm not aware that he asked for literal pledges. The subject was discussed on his most recent trip. I am positive the subject will be discussed by him on his future trips. As you know, he's going to the former Soviet Union at the end of this month. You know that Reggie Bartholomew and his group of experts are trying to get their mission, which was announced in December, set. So I'm not aware of specifics, literal, but I am very aware of it, absolutely, this concern of ours and others was discussed. Q Do you know anything about these reports, and is there any substance to those reports? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have anything that I have for you that confirms them. As you all know, we are aware that Iran has been seeking to rebuild its military establishment which was decimated during the Iran-Iraq war. We are also aware that the former Soviet Union had been in the past a major arms supplier to Iran. It remains our firm view, as reflected in the President's Middle East Arms Control Initiative, that the interest of security and stability in the region are best served, not by building up huge arsenals, but rather by trying to control and reduce destabilizing arms flows. The President's initiative was launched in May of 1991. I could further state that the Iranian Government is well aware of our concerns about the proliferation of all kinds of arms, both conventional and weapons of mass destruction. Q But when you refer to the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union -- MS. TUTWILER: I said "former." Q I understand. But they never provided Iran with nuclear technology, did they? MS. TUTWILER: We're talking about -- it's my understanding from the article this morning -- or we are and what Secretary Baker raised -- was all arms -- the proliferation of both conventional and weapons of mass destruction. That is what he raised with the Russian leaders, and he raised with the republics that we visited. But something specific on Iran, I could not tell you that I know, of my knowledge, that Iran was specifically stated. Q Is the U.S. in touch with Kazakhstan about this now to clarify the situation and see if -- MS. TUTWILER: I haven't -- Q -- it's helping the Iranians with nuclear technology? MS. TUTWILER: I would have to assume that our Embassy is, but I can't tell you that I know for a fact that they are. Q Do we have an Embassy there now? MS. TUTWILER: Our Embassy in Moscow. Q Our Embassy in Moscow. MS. TUTWILER: Remember, until we set up shop in all these offices -- countries, former republics -- that that is how we are communicating. No different than how we're getting information with the situation in Georgia. Q Margaret, when you say -- MS. TUTWILER: We use the Embassy in Moscow. Q I'm sorry. When you say that the Iranian Government is well aware of our concerns, does that suggest a government-to-government communication, or do you mean from this podium or -- MS. TUTWILER: There are two things. As you know, we never discuss what we've discussed through our third party, the Swiss, so that is why they've answered the question this way. No, we have not dealt directly with the Iranian Government because, as you know, we do not. But I'm telling you, within the parameters of our policy and how we handle this, that they are aware of our concerns. Q And would you make that statement also for Iraq and Libya? MS. TUTWILER: Well, sure. I mean, number one, it's very public. The President has made a very public initiative, so that's all out there. And it's the same type of thing that is not news to them -- our concerns about proliferation in both of these areas and in the places you've mentioned. Q Has there been a recent communication problem using the third channel because of the political dispute the Swiss have had with Iran that I think resulted in the closing of the Swiss Embassy recently? MS. TUTWILER: I have no idea. It's something that I'm not aware of, and I'll be happy to ask. Q Can I go back to the $400 million for a minute on -- Q Margaret, could I get one more on this? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q Has any representation been made to the former Soviet republics that they should not start selling off weapons which are, after all, one of the few things they have that other people are willing to pay real money for? MS. TUTWILER: Right. That is what I just mentioned to Barry. That is one of the subjects that Secretary Baker in his discussions -- I believe in December we went to, what, five republics, as I recall. That was on his agenda in each of those republics that he did discuss, specifically with the four that have nuclear weapons. So, yes, we have discussed it at his level, and those discussions will continue at Embassy levels and when Reggie goes on his mission. Q It was a live idea at that time, according to a U.S. official who appeared in the back of the plane, that the U.S. might themselves purchase some of these weapons. Is that still a live idea? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know of any change in that idea. I have not asked since I returned. Q How is the $400 million going to be spent? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. Q I mean, is it going to be Government, or is it going to be private industry? MS. TUTWILER: It was allocated by our Congress. It's Government money. Q So the Government is going to set up the teams, and the Government is going to supervise it. It's not -- I mean, you've got $400 million. You've got nuclear weapons to dismantle. How is it going to happen? MS. TUTWILER: We have $400 million. That's Government money. Q Yes. How's it going to happen. MS. TUTWILER: Reggie [Bartholomew] is working on that right now. Various republics have various different needs. Various republics have various levels of sophistication on things they can do themselves. Other governments, when we get through with this Coordinating Conference, may be there helping us also. I don't have answers to all those questions yet. Q Does the U.S. have a position -- maybe it will become clear when the Secretary sees the Armenian Foreign Minister, but does the U.S. have a position on sanctuary or refuge or any form of protection in Armenia for the ousted Georgian leader? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of. My understanding is that he has sought safe haven there, and it is my understanding only from press reports that the Armenians have said that they are either considering or are going to give him safe haven. That's all I know from the Embassy this morning. Q This is going to become an "if" question, but if they do, would the U.S. object in any way? MS. TUTWILER: Object? I'm purely speculating, which I should not let my discipline down and do. I don't know why we would, but I will be happy to take your question. Q Speaking of that incident that Barry mentioned, is there any reason why reporters cannot accompany photographers to the photo opportunity with the Armenian and Secretary of State? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. He preferred today to have his meetings just strictly photo opportunities, and that was his call. Q The Armenian? MS. TUTWILER: The Secretary did. Q Oh, because the Armenian public relations people are kind of excited about this meeting, and they seem to want a little publicity. MS. TUTWILER: We are. It's a photo op. Q Photo op. MS. TUTWILER: Any amount of their photo -- cameras can come. Q We'll know they're there. We'll see pictures. Right? MS. TUTWILER: You'll see pictures. Q That really cuts out about 50 percent of journalism, doesn't it? MS. TUTWILER: It does. Q Can you comment on the fact that the Georgian -- Q Is it a small room? MS. TUTWILER: Tiny. Q Does the United States Government have any comment on the fact that the Georgian -- elected Georgian president is not present in Georgia and has had to seek refuge in Armenia? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not sure that I'd call it "seeking refuge." As I understood it yesterday, he left. Q The statement said "safe haven" a minute ago. MS. TUTWILER: That's what he's requested. Q Well, O.K. Whatever the phrase is. MS. TUTWILER: My understanding is that he left town. Q Does the U.S. Government have any comment on the fact that the elected president of Georgia has left town for another country? MS. TUTWILER: Not particularly. We are watching the situation closely. As Richard told you yesterday, we continue to talk, in Moscow, to Georgian officials that are in Moscow in opposition -- Georgian officials that are in Moscow. The situation remains confused and uncertain, and, no, we don't have any other further comments. Richard went into, at quite some length yesterday, our policy, referring back to the Secretary's five principles, the President's statement of December 24. It's a situation that we are closely watching, and something that we will continue to watch closely. Q Margaret, has the Secretary spoken with his friend Eduard Shevardnadze in the last day or two? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Would it be fair for us -- for reporters to point out that the United States Government is not calling for the restoration of the duly democratically-elected president of Georgia? MS. TUTWILER: The United States is closely watching this situation, and the United States acknowledges publicly that it is a very fluid, a very confused, and a very uncertain situation in the capital of the former Republic of Georgia. Q Can you confirm the report that -- since Richard made his statements yesterday on how we're keeping in touch -- that there was some more shooting down of the people who support the deposed president? Can you confirm that? MS. TUTWILER: All I have is that there continue to be reports of gunfire and armed clashes. I don't have anything more specific than that. As I believe you know, a military council, under the command of Mr. Kitovani, leader of the rebel national guard troops, and a military commander has assumed control of Georgia. The council has named an interim government under former Georgian Prime Minister Sigua. That's what our Embassy has told us this morning of the situation there. Q Well, I mean, there are eyewitness reports of shooting. AP and CNN report -- MS. TUTWILER: I just acknowledged that there are -- Q No, right now. I mean, the last hour. A big outbreak at the rail station in the last hour or so. MS. TUTWILER: Oh, I don't know about that. In the last hour, I don't know. But we acknowledged that there's gunfire and armed clashes there. Q Margaret, do you have any guidance on the Kennedy-Khrushchev letters? MS. TUTWILER: No. We released them all yesterday to you, and they're up to you to do your own interpretations. I don't have any guidance. Q Well, no. Could you take the question as to whether this Administration considers that President Kennedy committed himself not to invade Cuba in 1962, and does the Administration feel bound by that commitment now? MS. TUTWILER: I'll be happy to look into it for you. Q Margaret, on that, how is it that two of the documents you provided came from the former Soviet Embassy and could not be found in your own archives? How could that -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I'll be honest with you, Alan. This is not something I have spent any length of time on in the 24 hours I've been back on the job, and I'll be happy to take your question. Q Please take the question -- MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q -- of how it is that crucial documents at a time of great national tension could have just disappeared from the State Department and have to be sought from the Soviets? MS. TUTWILER: I will be more than happy to ask the archivist. Q Do you have anything on the reported shooting deaths of several of the EC observers in Yugoslavia in a helicopter incident this morning? MS. TUTWILER: This morning. Yes. Q Or this afternoon in Yugoslavia. MS. TUTWILER: We had just gotten that report prior to this briefing, and it is my understanding that according to EC officials, at 2:10 local time two EC helicopters came into contact with two Yugoslav National Army MiGs in Croatia. One MiG opened fire and destroyed one of the EC helicopters. Five people were believed to have been on board, and all of them are presumed dead. The other helicopter, it is our understanding, made an emergency landing. Our Consulate in Zagreb has been in contact with the EC monitors office, which has confirmed to us this tragedy. We condemn this blatant violation of the cease-fire and extend our condolences to the families of the pilot and the EC monitors who were on board. Q Margaret, on that for just a moment, what communications are you -- is this government having with the military council in warning them against further violence -- MS. TUTWILER: Where are you now? Q In Georgia. MS. TUTWILER: You're back to Georgia. Q Back to Georgia. MS. TUTWILER: Sorry. I would assume, since our Embassy is meeting in Moscow -- and has continued to -- with representatives of the Georgian government -- I don't know today, this morning, if those representatives now represent this military command. I just don't know that, Saul. Q It's just that this podium does not seem angry with the constant reports that the military council has not only deposed an elected president and sent him running, but that it continues to fire on people who elected him. You do not seem to say very much about it from this podium except that you don't like violence. MS. TUTWILER: Well, I think that's saying a lot -- Q But you're not saying anything to the people who have committed it. MS. TUTWILER: -- and I think that Richard said a lot yesterday about the human rights situation in the former republic, Georgia. I think that we have said today -- and I know that Richard said yesterday, and I believe on Friday -- that, of course, we condemn this violence. We believe that this situation, as in all other situations, should be resolved peacefully. You've just told me of an incident that I don't have any knowledge of, of some violence that went on at a railroad -- Q (Inaudible) MS. TUTWILER: I know. But I'm saying, obviously, we would condemn that. Innocent people, if this railroad incident has just happened, are getting hurt. It's horrible. Q Well, why is it that when the President of Haiti is overthrown by an armed military group, the United States condemns it and tries to get him restored to power, and yet when the elected president -- freely-elected president of a republic like Georgia is overthrown by an armed military group, the United States cannot find itself in its heart to say anything other than that it condemns violence? MS. TUTWILER: As you know, for the three years that we've been here -- and Richard did this yesterday -- we don't do comparisons, and I'm not going to start today. Each situation is not identical. In this situation, we are dealing with as we see it, and it is a different situation, and I'm just not going to be drawn into doing comparisons. We have expressed our views on this. We have stated our policy -- I can restate it for you today -- concerning our views on the former Republic of Georgia, concerning their human rights; concerning other situations; living up to the five principles, that we, our country, have adopted -- must be lived up to. As you know, this was not one of the countries on December 24 that the President of the United States said we were going to begin an immediate diplomatic relationship with. I would have to assume that there was reason. But that is quite different from saying that we are somehow idly standing by and -- not that you said that; I know you didn't -- and just watching this violence without caring. We have no U.S. officials in Georgia. We have not. We're doing the best we can with our Embassy personnel on the ground in Moscow, dealing both with the opposition, Georgians that are in Moscow, and the government. The only thing I cannot answer is Saul's question -- Does this new military command have representatives in Moscow yet? I just don't know. Q Well, the message that people out there in the world plotting coups in various republics and nations might get from this is that there are some coups that are okay, and there are some that are not. MS. TUTWILER: Well, I would disagree with your deduction there. The message I would get is that the United States cares a great deal about violence and innocent people getting in harm's way. The United States has very high, in my opinion, lofty standards, concerning what countries they do and do not do business with, and one of the fundamental principles of our country is human rights. And we have stated any number of times our deep concerns over human rights, prior to any of this violence, in the former republic named Georgia. Q (Inaudible)

[Middle East Peace Process: Resumption of Bilateral Negotiations]

MS. TUTWILER: Middle East? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: I'm sure that some of you all have been reading your wires this morning and have seen what various parties have said. I will remind you that when the parties left Washington a couple of weeks ago, there was an informal understanding that talks would resume this week, which was 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, as you know, on January 7. So far the Israeli delegation has arrived and is the only delegation that has arrived in Washington. It is disappointing that the other parties are not present to begin these important talks. We have seen press reports and understand that the Lebanese Foreign Minister has said this morning that Lebanon's delegation will be traveling within the next few days to Washington. We have seen press reports and understand that the Jordanians will be coming either on Wednesday or Thursday of this week. We are aware of press reports and understand that Palestinians will be here for the talks, but we are not aware of any formal announcement prior to my coming to this podium. We are not aware of any Syrian decision yet. We continue to urge the parties to resume negotiations at the earliest possible opportunity. The facilities here at the State Department that we provided in December we are providing now. We are ready and open for business. We believe that it is essential that all parties act in their own best interests by continuing the process of direct bilateral negotiations that, as you know, were launched in Madrid. It is only through the unique opportunity presented by this peace process that a comprehensive settlement between Israel and all of its Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians, can be reached. In our opinion, it is an opportunity that should not be missed. Q The Jordanians, by the way -- although it changes all the time -- are saying Thursday night or Friday, and the talks wouldn't resume until next week. The Administration, the catalyst that it is, is it time to set a date as -- you know, to set a firm date as I think you did once before when there was some foot-dragging? MS. TUTWILER: We're going to continue -- as we have, and we have again this morning -- talking to the various parties, both here in Washington, D.C., and in their capitals. And we have been working, as we did in December, vigorously to try to get this resolved and to get everybody here. We believe it's in their best interests, but, of course, that's their ultimate decision to decide. Q Do you want to highlight any of those meetings like Mr. Djerejian had -- what? -- he had the Israelis and the -- MS. TUTWILER: He hasn't had any since the two that Richard mentioned to you yesterday. I talked to him two or three times this morning. He has none scheduled today. Q Let me ask you why the Secretary -- why you would be in the dark -- Q (Inaudible) Q No. Let me just ask about the Syrians. I mean, you don't know -- is the U.S. in direct touch with the Syrian Government and simply saying, "Are you going to resume negotiations or not?" Does it ever get to that point? Others are saying, "We'll be here Thursday," "We'll be here Friday." As you stand there, you say you don't know what the Syrians intend to do -- MS. TUTWILER: That's right. Q -- and yet you're talking to people. Are you talking to the Syrians? MS. TUTWILER: And yesterday when Richard stood here, we didn't know that the Lebanese Foreign Minister this morning was going to make this announcement. After all, Barry, these are sovereign nations, and this is for them to announce, not me. Q Margaret, yesterday -- MS. TUTWILER: I told you what we know from Syria. Q Yesterday the U.N. hadn't acted on a resolution that the Administration was quite confident would break the stalemate, would get things going, remove the roadblock, whatever the cliche is. You had unanimous approval of a resolution condemning Israel, and part of the strategy was that once that's done with, that gives the Palestinians some face saving, and that everybody would scurry over here and resume the talks. It hasn't happened. So I'm asking you if the U.S. has asked Syria what its intentions are? MS. TUTWILER: Well, of course, Barry. Weren't we doing that in December? Q What's the answer? MS. TUTWILER: I just gave you the answer. The Syrians have not yet responded. Ask the Syrians. I am not here as the official spokesperson for other governments. That's not my job. I told you this morning, that yesterday the information was as Richard portrayed it. As of five minutes after one today, this is the information we have. At 3:30 this afternoon, maybe the Syrian Government is going to say something. I don't know. Q Margaret, to what extent has the Secretary, if any, been involved in weighing in and urging the nations -- these nations -- to resume the negotiations? MS. TUTWILER: To my knowledge, on his break he did not speak to anyone concerning this, and I know that he did not yesterday or prior to my coming to the podium. It's being handled at the experts level. Q Margaret, has the United States made a decision on the visa application of Nabil Shaath? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, we have, and the decision has been taken to grant a waiver. He has been, as you know -- and I believe Richard mentioned yesterday -- invited here to speak -- I do not, unfortunately, have the name of the group; I will try to get it for you -- to some group here in Washington, D.C. Q Does the State Department -- Q May I just follow up on that, please? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q That speech is a one-time event. What kind of a visa will he be given? How long will he be allowed to stay here? Will he be allowed to stay and advise the Palestinian delegation for the duration of these talks? MS. TUTWILER: I didn't ask. I'll be happy to ask -- it's an appropriate question -- how long this visa is for. I don't even know when his speech is. I will remind you that this visa was granted prior to -- and, as I stand here, we do not have a formal announcement from the Palestinians that they're even coming to Washington. Second of all, let me remind you that this gentleman, as many of you know, has been in the United States any number of times. This is not the first time he has been granted a waiver for a visa. And I will remind you, should there be any doubt, that the United States Government will not be talking with him and does not deal with him. As you know, we do not have a dialogue with the PLO. Q Extrapolating from your list of responses there, it would seem very unlikely that these talks would get going this week. Is that a logical deduction? MS. TUTWILER: I don't want to make a prediction, because I honestly can't tell you that I know. Q But -- MS. TUTWILER: We don't know. Q But just looking at that, the travel schedule and distances involved, it does not appear that it is likely that they will begin this week. Is that not right? MS. TUTWILER: You can make that prediction; I'm not willing to. The Lebanese have said "the next few days." I don't know what that means. Barry has just corrected me and said he understands the Jordanians have said Thursday or Friday. The State Department has said Wednesday or Thursday. So it would be, in my opinion, really irresponsible for me to make that type of prediction. Q Do you expect the talks to end by the 22nd, when things will get a little crowded in this building? MS. TUTWILER: Not necessarily. It's a big building. It covers two-and-a-half city blocks, and as I remember there are over two-and-a-half million square feet here. Q Margaret, I -- MS. TUTWILER: We have lots of conference rooms. Q On waivers, any give? Remember, there were two waivers the last time around. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Are those -- I don't know if they have to be renewed. Were they? MS. TUTWILER: I don't believe -- I don't even know if they've asked, so let me just stop -- Q All right. MS. TUTWILER: -- and leave it there. I don't even know if those two people have been asked this time. I have no idea. Q And when this -- I think he's chairman of the foreign relations committee or something, the Palestine National -- when he was here last year -- he's been here many times -- he was here, permitted to come to the United States to make speeches or were there other reasons? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't checked his record. I know that I have been told -- this came up in December, and many of you pointed out to me at that time that he had been in the United States any number of times. I will be happy to check when was the last time and what was the occasion. I just don't have it at my fingertips. Q The speech, by the way -- it's a conference from the l7th to the l9th -- MS. TUTWILER: I know. Q -- of the Arab-American Institute, and the people there say they invited him to speak three months ago before peace talks ever began. So -- MS. TUTWILER: I asked this morning. Unfortunatey, the Bureau did not have the information that you have. I didn't know where he's speaking or what the dates were. I asked. Q Margaret, are you able to say at this point -- Q Will the State Department -- Q -- one more on the Middle East, please -- are you able to say at this point what the Administration's plans are for raising the loan guarantee issue this month, as it has told Israel it would do? MS. TUTWILER: No. I would tell you that the -- I will say to you exactly what I said on October 2nd, when we issued a statement welcoming the Congress' affirmation of the President's request for a pause in considering Israel's desire for absorption assistance and stating at that time that we would try to work out acceptable terms and conditions for the loan guarantee when the Congress takes the matter up next year. As you know, Congress is not back yet, and I would steer you towards that we expect to take this issue up soon. Q On contacts between Palestinians and Israelis -- have you made any effort to resolve that deadlock between them regarding whether they're going to met in the lobby, or whether they're going to meet in a room or two rooms? MS. TUTWILER: I've been out for two weeks. I don't know what the experts have or haven't discussed. I know that both parties -- that I've seen publicly express -- expressed a desire to get beyond -- as I've seen them express it "the couch." I don't know whether the parties will work that out or not. It's up to them. Q The de facto military regime in Haiti -- today is the deadline for that military regime. The embargo seems to be weakening. Two oil tankers have managed to slip through the so-called "embargo." Last Friday, this podium stated that the Department would work with other OAS member states to try to prevent such happenings in the future -- in other words, to prevent other oil tankers from getting through. What, specifically, has the Department done at this time towards that end -- towards preventing this -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. Q -- in the future? MS. TUTWILER: I'll be happy to look into it for you. Q The Haitians -- MS. TUTWILER: All I know on Haiti today is that there's been no change in the figures; and Richard gave you quite extensive figures yesterday of the number of asylum cases, the number of refugees. He stated that there have been none that have been picked up since December 30th. The only new piece of information I have on Haiti today is that there were none that were picked up yesterday. Q Has it been determined how an oil tanker -- Colombian oil tanker -- MS. TUTWILER: I have no idea. Q -- managed to get through a Navy and Coast Guard blockade? MS. TUTWILER: I have no idea. It's the first I've heard of it. I'll be happy to look into it for you and see if somebody can get back to you. Q Margaret, do you have any reaction on North Korea's announcement that it will sign a nuclear inspections agreement with IAEA? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, we do. We welcome this promise of action by North Korea. However, North Korea must follow through on this promise by urgently bringing the agreement into force and accepting IAEA inspections of all its nuclear activities. Only when these steps are complete, and the North has implemented it undertakings consistent with the North-South denuclearization agreement concluded on December 3l, can the world begin to regain a measure of confidence in the prospect for settlement of nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula. Q And to follow up, do you know anything about a meeting between North Korean and American officials? MS. TUTWILER: As General Scowcroft stated -- I believe on a Sunday show, Barry -- that he -- Q I wasn't watching it. MS. TUTWILER: I wasn't either, but I heard he said it -- that we are considering a modest upgrade in our contacts with North Korea, and at this point there are no meetings that are set. Q Margaret, what the State Department has not explained is why it continues to have such confidence in the IAEA inspections when the object of Iraq was that they totally missed a huge multifaceted nuclear weapons program?. MS. TUTWILER: I don't know anyone that I'm aware of, Jim, that has not expressed confidence in this organization. I don't know anyone in the Coalition that has said the IAEA is not doing as thorough a job there in Iraq. I cannot tell you that they are not an organization made up of human beings, that they may have missed something, but that I'm not aware of any criticism in my Government -- or in other governments, to be quite honest with you -- or any suggestions at the U.N., that somehow they aren't doing their job and someone else should take it over. I just personally have never heard any talks along those lines, and all I've ever heard is that it's a very well-respected, well-run organization that a number of nations in the world look to to do this type of technical work. Q There are other opinions. MS. TUTWILER: I'm sure that's true. Q Margaret, where was the Secretary yesterday when the lights went out? Was he able to -- MS. TUTWILER: He was in his office. Q Does he have emergency power to call on? MS. TUTWILER: No, he doesn't; and, in fact, the only place on the Seventh Floor that I'm aware of that did -- there's some type of emergency generator in the Situation Room. He made a brief stop by there. And there were a few lights on in the outer halls. Where we are, it was literally pitch-black dark, and we all had flashlights. Q Are you aware of any -- apparently there are places in town where there was material on computers and material was lost -- sensitive material. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Did the State Department suffer any loss that you know of? MS. TUTWILER: If they have, I didn't think to ask Bob Pearson that this morning. Last night, we were concerned if people were in elevators. We were assured that everyone was not trapped in an elevator. I know that Security here at the building helped escort people down the stairs with flashlights, since it's -- what? -- an eight-story building. I haven't asked about sensitive equipment being -- information being lost. I don't know. Q You had the answer from the Syrians, but it got lost in the blackout? (Laughter) MS. TUTWILER: That could be true. (Laughter) Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at l:l5 p.m.)