US Department of State Daily Briefing #4: Wednesday, 1/8/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: Jan, 8 19921/8/92 Category: Briefings Region: Eurasia, MidEast/North Africa, North America, Caribbean, East Asia Country: USSR (former), Armenia, Russia, Israel, United States, Japan, Cuba, Greece, Libya, North Korea, Haiti Subject: Nuclear Nonproliferation, Science/Technology, Development/Relief Aid, Mideast Peace Process, Refugees, United Nations, State Department, Terrorism, Immigration 12:12 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Former Soviet Union: Statement on Humanitarian Aid Shipped to Armenia]

MS. TUTWILER: I have one statement I'd like to make. It concerns a shipment of humanitarian aid to Armenia. As part of the international community's effort to provide humanitarian assistance to the former Soviet Union, one U.S. Air Force C-5A military aircraft will deliver 150,000 pounds of DoD excess food to Yerevan, Armenia, on Thursday, January 9. This is the third such mission to the former Soviet Union. As many of you remember, on December 20 and 22, two United States Air Force C-5As delivered similar relief to Moscow and St. Petersburg, respectively. The humanitarian cargo to be delivered to Armenian hospitals consists of excess bulk food rations which include a variety of staples such as bread, shortening, sugar, potatoes, rice, and tea, as well as entrees such as ham, beef, chicken, fruits, and vegetables. Someone from the United States Embassy in Moscow, together with State and Defense Department personnel on the aircraft, will assist in off-loading this cargo. The Diocese of the Armenian Church of America has worked with local officials to determine that the appropriate recipient institutions will be local hospitals, mostly children and maternity wards. Volunteers from the American-Armenian community will monitor the distribution in Armenia. These volunteers will be on vehicles which will transport the humanitarian cargo directly to the recipient institutions. Q Did you say that was going to Yerevan? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. I believe it's going to three other cities, John, that I can get for you, but the plane is going to the capital. But the distribution, I believe, includes three or four other cities in Armenia. Q And who are the institutions? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have a list of them for you. I'll see if I can get it for you. Q Hospitals or -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. I said predominantly mostly to children and maternity wards, and that is predominantly where, it's my understanding, this is all going to. Q Was this arrangement worked out between Mr. Baker and the visiting Foreign Minister yesterday? MS. TUTWILER: No. The Secretary mentioned to the Foreign Minister -- this has been in the works for quite a while -- and the Secretary mentioned to him that this would be going this week. Q Margaret, while we're in that same part of the world, can you confirm for the record that the Secretary intends to visit Armenia on his trip? MS. TUTWILER: No. As I saw what the Foreign Minister said yesterday to members of the press, as he was leaving, was that he hoped and he had expressed to the Secretary that the Secretary would be visiting Armenia. As the Secretary expressed to him in that meeting, he would very much like to visit Armenia; would hope to visit it soon. Q Do you have any update on the timing of the resumption of the Middle East peace talks? MS. TUTWILER: Not really. To be honest with you, there are so many various reports that are out there publicly from the various parties, I would refer you to them. What I can confirm is they've all confirmed; is they all have said publicly they intend to come to Washington, D.C. We have stayed in close contact with them over the last 24 hours, as we have been every day. But I don't think that it would be appropriate for me to announce their plans. Q Margaret, can I clarify something from the Security Council Resolution 726, the one that was just approved? MS. TUTWILER: And you're assuming I'm familiar with it, right? Thank you. Q That resolution has some language I've never seen before. It says that -- it refers to "occupied Palestinian territories." In fact, it refers to it twice. It says, "reaffirms the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to all the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem." Is it now the U.S. Government's position that the occupied territories are Palestinian territories? MS. TUTWILER: Our policy has not changed. As you know, we consider the occupied territories those since 1967, so I'm not aware of a change in our policy. I have not read this particular resolution. I'm sure that I should have. I have not. But I know of no United States change in policy. Q Margaret, the key point is the word "Palestinian." Q We voted for a resolution here which defines the "occupied territories" as "Palestinian" territories. MS. TUTWILER: If that is a new change, it is one I'm unaware of, and I'm not going to sit here and wing it with you. I am unaware, and I am sure that our experts would have caught -- not only here in Washington at the State Department but at our U.N. Mission -- would have caught, if there was something that was so egregious and so different from our United States' policy, our vote would have, in my estimation, been different. But I will check that word difference, which you're more of an expert than I am. You say it's different from any other resolution concerning this subject. I just don't have that at my fingertips. Q It's certainly being read that way in the area. MS. TUTWILER: It is honestly something that somehow did not get on my radar screen last night or all morning. So I just have not picked up on this, nor was it brought to my attention by any of the experts here or, to be honest, by our U.N. Mission. So I'll be happy to take your question and have the experts get, as soon as possible, immediately, back to you and clarify it for you. Q As you do that, I think one key point in taking the question is whether the U.S. believes there is such a thing as "Palestinian territories" -- the quote from the resolution. Does the U.S. vote for the resolution mean that the U.S. policy is that there is such a thing as "Palestinian territories"? Q Either we voted for a resolution that contradicts our long-stated policy, or we've changed policy. And my question is which have we done? Have we voted for a resolution that contradicts 25 years of American policy, or have we changed policy? If you could take that question. MS. TUTWILER: Or "Do we have a different interpretation" is a third option "than you do?" Q I don't see how you could have a different interpretation. [Laughter] MS. TUTWILER: We might be able to find a way. Q That will be interesting. [Laughter] MS. TUTWILER: It will be a free-for-all. Q [Multiple questions] Q Margaret, the Israeli Government and Mr. Arens himself said that they are going to continue through with the deportation regardless of the Security Council resolution. What will the position of the United States be in this regard? MS. TUTWILER: Our position will be the same as it was last Friday when we enunciated it. Our position on deportations is one that has been held for a long time, and we also enunciated our deportation views in the vote at the United Nations Security Council. So I don't know anything additional the United States is going to do. I think our views in this particular instance have been well known, and they've been well known for a long time. Q What's the U.S. view toward nations flouting U.N. resolutions? MS. TUTWILER: What do you mean? I don't get that. Q Toward nations willfully failing to abide by mandatory resolutions of the Security Council. MS. TUTWILER: Obviously, the United States supports the U.N. and believes that U.N. resolutions should be adhered to. But to begin with, I am not going to speculate with you. After all, you're telling me this is a report that the Defense Minister has said. All I know is I'm going to continue to say what our policy is. I don't think there's been any question about our speaking out on this, since I believe it came up last Friday. Q It's fair to say, though, isn't it, that the U.S. policy has always been to take very careful note of how nations vote in the U.N. and how nations respond to U.N. measures? For example, Iraq and so on. That's been a longstanding policy. There's no change in that, is there? MS. TUTWILER: No. But it's also -- just from common sense, there's no change in, over the history of the United Nations -- I'm not an expert in the U.N. -- that I am certain -- correct me, if I'm wrong -- that there are any number of resolutions that have been passed that nothing happens about. So I don't think that is that unusual. Q Margaret, could I go back to Jerusalem for a minute? My recollection is that the formulation of U.S. policy has always been in Jerusalem that the final status of Jerusalem is to be determined later. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q By the wording of this declaration in the U.N. Security Council resolution, is it not stating that, in fact, the status of Jerusalem is decided? MS. TUTWILER: Since I acknowledged up front to Mr. Friedman that I have not read the resolution, I knew nothing of this issue prior to coming here, nor has it been brought to my attention by anybody. And I have been around -- I was here, I think, until 9:00 last night -- a number of our senior Middle East experts. It's just something I'm not prepared to discuss with you. Q Could you find out, please -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. I said I'd ask. Q -- in your question if, in fact, the United States believes that the final status of Jerusalem is now determined? MS. TUTWILER: I know the United States' policy is the policy that you enunciated when you first posed your question to me. I'm unaware of any change in that whatsoever, and it was most recently articulated by the President, I believe, in Madrid and by the Secretary of State in Madrid. Q Margaret, could we ask you about the Secretary's actions in conjunction with the President's illness? When was he informed? What did he do? Did he brief the Vice President? MS. TUTWILER: No. He was at his residence this morning, and he was called some time between 6:20 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. by the Operations Center here at the State Department. Q And you say he did not brief the Vice President or -- MS. TUTWILER: Why would he be briefing the Vice President? I mean, he was being informed by his Department is my understanding from Marlin Fitzwater's briefing in Tokyo. Marlin said that Andy Card had called and briefed the Vice President, and I believe Marlin said in his press conference, at the same time Andy had called and briefed Chief of Staff Skinner. Q Did the State Department notify or inform or do anything with other nations to fill them in and make sure they were aware of the circumstances? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of. Q Margaret, on a slightly related point, The Post this morning spells out a pretty clear history of the Secretary of State keeping the Vice President at bay in foreign policy matters. I wondered if you could comment. Is that true? MS. TUTWILER: One, I would comment on it if I had read it. I have not had an opportunity, since I've been in, to read the article. I've read the previous three, usually when I get home at night, so I have not had a chance to read this one. And I also make it a policy not to comment on articles. I'm sure this is -- I'm just guessing -- Mr. Broder's and Mr. Woodward's hypothesis or their conjecture. I know that the Secretary of State works very closely in all of the matters that relate to foreign policy, where the Vice President, obviously, is a member of the National Security Council. So is the Secretary of State. You know of the involvement of the members of the President's team that he had involved during the Gulf war -- the Vice President and the Secretary of State. So I, not having read this -- I have to say that up front -- I would, obviously, not subscribe to how you're describing it to me, and I know the Secretary would not. Q Can you tell us if the Secretary has read it? MS. TUTWILER: I have no idea. I don't ask him every morning what he reads. Q This one would be one that he might be particularly interested in. MS. TUTWILER: He might. Q There are two specifics that might -- that I might ask you to take. It is alleged that Baker killed off proposed Quayle trips to the Soviet Union and to Germany at the time of reunification as not very helpful to foreign policy, and I wondered if you might ask. MS. TUTWILER: I'll ask, but I doubt that I'll get into it with you. I'll be honest. Q Margaret, can I go back to the West Bank? MS. TUTWILER: Can you go back where? Q West Bank. MS. TUTWILER: O.K. Q Israeli Chief of Staff suggested -- proposed yesterday to the Israeli Cabinet to expel an additional 1,200 Palestinians for a year and a half and then return them back to their communities if peace and quiet will prevail in the West Bank and Gaza. Do you have any comment, or do you want to take the question? MS. TUTWILER: No. I haven't seen nor heard anything about that. And, as you know, we have said throughout this process that we think that all parties -- everyone -- should not engage in things that distract from the big picture here which is, we believe, a genuine interest on all the parties of having a comprehensive settlement. But that's not confirming that I know anything about what you've just asked me. Q On the Middle East. Q Will you look into it, please? MS. TUTWILER: I'll see. Q On the Middle East, have you now been informed by all Arab parties that they will be coming later this week? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. And they have -- Q Including Syria. It's a change from yesterday. MS. TUTWILER: It's my understanding that they have publicly also, through their spokesmen or their ministries, told you all that. But why I'm refraining from saying that X says they're leaving here, Y says they're going to arrive there, it is very -- still a lot of changes are going on, and so that's why I think it's more prudent to let them answer when they're leaving, when they're arriving, when they want to begin the talks, resume the talks. And so we're going to try to handle it that way. Q Margaret, just for the record, was the Secretary directly involved in the resolution, 726? That is, he approved the final American language -- final American vote in favor of the resolution? MS. TUTWILER: To be honest with you -- are you asking me literally? Had he read every word of it? Q Did he read it? MS. TUTWILER: I have no idea. I would have to ask him. Was he, obviously, the policy director, as he is on all major United Nations votes, obviously, in coordination with the President. But whether he actually read this text, I just don't know. Q Would you include that in your taken questions? MS. TUTWILER: If he actually read the literal text? Sure -- Q Margaret, do you have any comment -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me -- but I would find it hard to believe -- as in many cases, this is not the only thing the Secretary of State does as you know. We have, I think, very respected professionals -- career professionals in the United Nations representing our country. We certainly have people that you're very familiar with that the Secretary has a great deal of confidence in in this area here. I would find it a stretch of the imagination that they had not read it. Q That's what makes the language all the more surprising. MS. TUTWILER: I bet. [Laughter] Q [Inaudible] sequence in a different way. How active was the U.S. delegation in the United Nations -- in the Security Council -- in drafting the resolution? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding is there wasn't a lot to be active about. My understanding is this was a draft resolution proposed by the President of the Security Council, and it's my understanding there were very few technical changes made to it. Q Margaret, the Cuban Government is reporting the arrest of three Miami exiles who allegedly were attempting counter-revolutionary activities. Do you have any comment? MS. TUTWILER: Not a lot. We saw those reports this morning, George. We've asked our Interests Section personnel in Havana to please check into it, but we're unable to confirm any of the reports that we've seen about it. Q Do you have anything to say about the neutrality laws forbidding people from the United States not to engage in such activities when it involves -- MS. TUTWILER: I can restate our policy. The United States' policy is to support peaceful, democratic change in Cuba. Under United States law, it is illegal for private individuals in the United States to launch military operations from U.S. territory against foreign countries. Clearly, if presented with accurate information about alleged violations of U.S. law in this area with regard to Cuba, U.S. law enforcement agencies would take the appropriate action. It is my understanding that such a case would be referred to the FBI. Q Margaret, do you have any comment on the conviction of Rashid? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Are you able to say anything more today -- Q Can you take the question? MS. TUTWILER: I'll be happy to take the question -- yes. Q Are you able to say anything more today about the countries who have agreed to come to the Aid to the Former Soviet Union Conference in Washington? MS. TUTWILER: No. That list, in my mind, Ralph, would be made public much closer to the conference. Today is January 8th; the conference begins the 22nd. Many of you had asked last night, and I can confirm that today there is a meeting taking place at the State Department of experts at a technical level. This is part of the preparation for the January 22-23 conference. These individuals -- there are about 40 to 60 of them -- will be dealing with the subjects I mentioned to you yesterday: food, medicine, energy, shelter, logistics, and technical assistance. Participants from the following countries or organizations are in this meeting today here at the State Department: Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, the Netherlands, Venezuela, Germany, Italy, the European Community,* NATO, and Portugal -- Portugal in its capacity as President of the European Community. A substantial portion of today will be spent with these people, breaking down into various working groups, to discuss preparations for this meeting. Q Could you tell us whether China has been invited to attend? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not going to do that. I'd rather put out the full list, once we have the full list; and then at that time I'll be happy to answer questions about why wasn't so-and-so invited, or were they, or what. Q Can you tell us whether Israel is being invited? MS. TUTWILER: It's the same question, just with a different country. *European Commission Q Margaret, who is coordinating for the United States? MS. TUTWILER: Overall, Larry Eagleburger. Remember, the President made an announcement. Q And he's coordinating this conference as well? MS. TUTWILER: Deputy Secretary Eagleburger is out ill today; and at today's conference, sitting in the United States chair, is the Under Secretary -- Arnie Kanter, but -- excuse me -- a number of State Department specialists and other, it's my understanding, government agencies from our government, just as other governments are represented in these working groups. Q Are there going to be high-level talks with North Korea later this month in New York? MS. TUTWILER: Nothing's changed on that from what I reported to you yesterday. That, as the National Security Adviser said on Sunday, is something that's under consideration, but nothing has been set. Q Margaret, back to the Middle East peace talks, are the Russian representatives still around as co-sponsor? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q They are in the building -- ready to take -- MS. TUTWILER: The building? Oh, I haven't asked that since I've gotten back. Since there are no meetings going on right now, I don't know. I'll be happy to ask. Q But they will be ready to -- MS. TUTWILER: I assume so. Q -- take questions or appeals from the different delegations and all this? MS. TUTWILER: I have no reason to believe that this round would be handled any differently than the last one, but I'll be happy to ask. Q A follow-up on that: Is it possible the talks could recommence tomorrow, or does Monday look more realistic? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen nor have I heard from any of our Embassy personnel from capitals that anyone has already left. So you'd have a time problem there on flights. I guess anything is possible, but I haven't heard anything that would lead me to steer you toward resumption tomorrow. Q Margaret, as you may know, USA Today is reporting today out of Moscow that nuclear scientists have been approached by the Libyans and offered $2,000 a month to work for Libya. I wondered if you had anything on that today. MS. TUTWILER: Not really. We've seen that report, and it is something that -- all of these reports -- and, as many of you are obviously familiar with, not only this report; there was one yesterday in the Los Angeles Times. There have been a number in December. This is a subject that is something that we take seriously. It is something that the Secretary, as I mentioned yesterday, raised in -- I think we visited five republics; specifically four, when he was last in the former Soviet Union in December. It is something that we are watching closely and that we will be following up on, for instance, with Kazakhstan -- the article that was, or report, in the Los Angeles Times yesterday. This is something that we have asked our Embassy in Moscow to follow up on. I will have to say that we as a government, standing here, do not have any evidence to substantiate any of these reports -- various reports that we are seeing. But we're taking them all seriously, and we look into all of them. Q On the other side of the coin, have you been in contact with Russian scientists or other Soviet scientists for jobs in the United States to -- MS. TUTWILER: For what? Q Getting jobs. MS. TUTWILER: If you remember, in Secretary Baker's December l2th speech, he had mentioned one avenue to pursue -- the possibility of, I believe that it was former Soviet Union scientists possibly working in some of our think tanks here in the United States. I have not followed up on that. I don't know where the experts are in pursuing that. Q Would you take that question up? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. I'll be happy to. Q Do you have anything new on Haiti -- how many people that they have out there? MS. TUTWILER: No. The numbers have again not changed overnight; and, as you know, we reported that no new Haitians had been picked up since December 30th. And there's no change overnight. Q Any news from Port-au-Prince about the status of that new proposed candidate for Prime Minister? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have anything on that, no. Q Our policy hasn't changed on refugees, however. If we find them we pick them up, is that correct? I mean the fact that none have been picked up in the past few days -- MS. TUTWILER: Oh, yes. Q -- does not represent a change in policy, correct? MS. TUTWILER: Absolutely not, because picking them up is the humanitarian effort that the United States is making. And, as you know, I believe it's the end of this month when the court has said that they would once again -- I believe this is the third appeal -- look at this. Q Margaret, any explanation as to why this exodus has essentially dried up? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q A success of U.S. policy? [Laughter] MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. But, if you will remember, back in December, I can remember on some days when we did have numbers. I'd have one day with l9 people and one day with 600. And at that time, we simply really didn't have an explanation for it. Hopefully, people did get the message -- which we thought was a humanitarian message -- and people did realize what risks they were taking in going out in these vessels out into the open ocean -- and that they stopped it. Q Margaret, can I just ask a general question about Baker's activities this week? You've indicated today that the Secretary may not necessarily have been intimately involved in the U.N. resolution matter. MS. TUTWILER: I said I just didn't -- I said I didn't know if he had literally -- Tom asked me had he - Q Read the resolution. MS. TUTWILER: -- literally read the resolution. Q He approved the policy, you said. MS. TUTWILER: When I answered it, I absolutely said he was involved in our vote. Q What is he engaged in this week? At least -- MS. TUTWILER: Yesterday he met with the Foreign Minister from the EC. He met with the Foreign Minister of Armenia. Today he dropped by the expert-level working group that's here working in preparation of this conference. He had a phone call this morning from the Russian Foreign Minister. He is doing any number of things, Ralph. He is putting in a full day. I believe the first night back -- the record will correct me if I'm wrong -- I think he was here until about 8:30. I mean he's working. Q Let me make it clear. I was not questioning whether he's putting in a full day. My question is: What issues is he focusing on? I have no doubt he's putting in a full day and then some. MS. TUTWILER: He's focusing on the multilaterals that are upcoming that he's co-hosting with the Russians. He is focusing on this Coordinating Conference, which is an enormous undertaking. He is focusing on future possible travel. He is focusing on any number of issues that come before him across the board throughout this Department, any number of decision memoranda. He has, as I said, spoken to the Russian Foreign Minister this morning. Q Can you tell us anything more about that conversation? MS. TUTWILER: Not really. They discussed their efforts in co-hosting the multilaterals in Moscow and some of the detail work. Q Has the Secretary spoken with his good friend Eduard Shevardnadze in the last 24 hours? MS. TUTWILER: In the last 24 hours? No. Q You said yesterday he hadn't spoken to him in the last couple of days, so I'm assuming that -- MS. TUTWILER: He hasn't spoken to him. Q How big of a share [inaudible] the United States is planning to take into financing and footing the bill for the multilateral talks in Moscow, they will be held the 28th of this month? MS. TUTWILER: The cost of this should not be as great as the cost for the Madrid conference. One of our largest expenses there was the international press center. I would have to check with the Russian Government, but I believe that they will probably be using the Novosti Press Center, which will be much less of a cost to them. I'm not, to be honest with you, sure, but I would anticipate that it would not be as great on either the host country, as it was on the Spanish Government, or on us as it was in Madrid. Q Will there be accreditation like in Madrid, or it will be like -- MS. TUTWILER: Will there be a what? Q Accreditation. You know, issuing credentials. MS. TUTWILER: I'm sure there will be some form of credentialing. Yes. Q Who will be issuing this? Here or the Russians will be? MS. TUTWILER: I'm sure that we will do it on-site, as we did in Madrid. Q Margaret, is Secretary Baker focusing on the multilateral talks in Moscow as a priority? You mentioned it first. MS. TUTWILER: It's just because it came first to my mind, when Ralph was asking me, you know, what is he focusing on, what's he doing now that he's come back. As a priority? Certainly. I mean, it is a major thing that our government is involved in this month. Q Just to follow up on the press center thing for just a second -- MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q You've mentioned several times over the last few months that the press center was a large cost. Do you mean to say that the press center was the -- was larger than any other cost? MS. TUTWILER: I've never said that. Q O.K. Is it possible, perhaps, to obtain some kind of a -- MS. TUTWILER: It was the second largest expenditure for Madrid. Q O.K. Maybe it was. MS. TUTWILER: There was one that was larger. Q Would it be possible, by any chance, to obtain some sort of a breakout of costs, such as facilities for the delegations -- MS. TUTWILER: Phones, Xeroxes, photograph equipment, building, rooms. I mean, it's just an expensive operation. Q Because the impression left is that somehow the press were responsible for running up the cost. MS. TUTWILER: That's your sensitivity. It's not my intention. Q I understand that. But we could dispel that sensitivity if we learned that -- if you combine the costs related to maintaining the delegations and security, and so on, it might turn out, for example -- MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q -- that those costs were much larger. MS. TUTWILER: Should there be any confusion in any of your minds, I have never intimated, I have never hinted, I have never insinuated, that the single largest cost for the Madrid [peace] conference was the press center. It was not. The largest single cost to the United States for our share of the Madrid peace conference was our portion of the international press center. It was larger than any other expenditure the United States Government made. The Spanish Government in Madrid, obviously, spent the vast bulk of money on security, as you point out, and on securing the building, on catering services for the delegates, etc. Q Margaret, was it a surprise for you for the press center to take all that money? MS. TUTWILER: You've got to be kidding. It was a delight. [Laughter] We wouldn't have done it without you. In fact, USIA said they had the largest credentialed press corps that they've ever had. As I recall, I believe the final number was 5,381, and it was, I think, an efficiently run press center, which many of you have told me, and we were delighted to do it. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 12:40 p.m.)