US Department of State Daily Briefing #9: Wednesday, 1/15/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Jan, 15 19921/15/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, E/C Europe, East Asia, Caribbean Country: Cuba, Haiti, Algeria, North Korea, Yugoslavia (former), Slovenia, Croatia, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Russia, Iraq Subject: Development/Relief Aid, Mideast Peace Process, Arms Control, State Department, EC, Immigration 12:46 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Iraq: Announcement of Additional US Aid for Northern Iraq]

MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Let me start off with a couple of things. First of all, to say that we'll put up a statement with more details later, but it's a statement to announce our pledge of an additional $36 million to the extension of humanitarian programs in northern Iraq. This comes in response to a United Nations appeal for $145 million. The appeal was issued on January 8, and there was a conference recently in Geneva where we told them we'd be putting up another $36 million for these programs in northern Iraq. And the longer statement I'll give you later. It gives the breakdown of where it's going and what it will be used for.

[Former Soviet Union: Bartholomew Mission Arrives in Moscow]

There's been a lot of interest in Secretary Bartholomew's travel. I'll try to update you as best as I can, and I think there's been some interest in the Secretary's meetings with the various delegations to the peace talks. I'll give you an update on that as well. On Bartholomew: Under Secretary Bartholomew and his interagency party arrived in Moscow this morning after a delay due to mechanical difficulties with the party's airplane. Q Here? MR. BOUCHER: Here. No. It was here. It was before they left. They left about five hours late, I think. So when they got there they went right to work. A small interagency group met for a two-and-a-half hour working lunch with Russian counterparts. The host was the Russian Federation First Deputy Foreign Minister -- [Shelyov-Kovedayev] -- the First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation. I'll give you the name later. The other Russian participants were from the Foreign Ministry and from the General Staff. Talks resumed late in the afternoon with larger interagency groups on both sides. Russian participants came from the Foreign Ministry, the General Staff and the Ministry of Atomic Power. There are further talks planned in Moscow, including a meeting with Foreign Minister Kozyrev. Under Secretary Bartholomew and his team also plan to visit Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Byelarus on this trip. That is not necessarily the order in which he will visit these places. The travel schedule is not yet final. It will be finalized by the group in Moscow, so we'll keep you posted as the trip proceeds. Q Will the Embassy in Moscow staff keep the press advised in Moscow of that itinerary or -- MR. BOUCHER: I expect they will. Q If queried, will they be able to release that information? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure if there are answers, we'll be happy to give them to people who ask either here or in Moscow. Q When are you going to do something about this aging fleet of planes which keeps breaking down? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry, Alan. Do you have a -- oh, you mean these airplanes? [Laughter] I'm afraid that's a question for the Air Force. Q Richard, can you tell us, the last round of talks that happened here with Bartholomew included representatives from the various republics who have strategic nuclear weapons. You didn't mention any of those representatives taking part in the talks in Moscow. Are they only going to be holding separate talks with the republics, and there's not going to be any one forum that brings together both the elements of the Russian Government and military and the republics? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know that yet. So far, you know, they got there, and they met. They went immediately into meetings and lunches. They met with Russian Federation representatives. The Russian Federation was represented in the last round of talks in Washington. I'm not sure if it's the same people -- the Foreign Ministry, General Staff people and Ministry of Atomic Power people. Whether there will be other sort of more collective meetings with various republics, I don't know. Q Would you be concerned if there weren't collective meetings? I mean, in concern with your central command and control -- MR. BOUCHER: Let him work out his schedule. He's going to work out his schedule in conjunction with his host to in the most effective manner possible discuss these issues with his counterparts over there. Q Richard, you wouldn't have anything on substance of the meetings? MR. BOUCHER: Just that they -- the issues they took up initially were nuclear dismantling and the treaty obligations. Q I mean, is it like they walked in and the Russians said, "What took you so long. When can you dismantle?" Or do you have a sense of it? MR. BOUCHER: No, Johanna. I wasn't there. I don't have that kind of sense. Q Do you know if the U.S. delegation offered the Russian Federation a blueprint or whatever you might want to call it -- an outline of how the Administration plans to -- proposes to spend the $400 million on the issue of nuclear dismantlement? MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't heard anything like that, Ralph, although again I don't have a detailed substantive readout of the discussions. Do you want me to go on with the meetings the Secretary's had with the heads of the delegations? Q I want the Russian guy's name again. [Laughter] MR. BOUCHER: I apologize to this gentleman whose name I should have learned to pronounce better. Shelyov-Kovedayev is as close as I can come. Q May I ask one more on the Soviet Union? MR. BOUCHER: Sure. Q Do you have anything on the progress of establishing diplomatic relations with the former Soviet republics? I believe there are now six of them. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. There were six that we'd wanted to establish formal diplomatic relations with at this time. We had heard from Russia, Ukraine, Byelarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia when I last checked. I haven't checked recently on Kyrgystan. O.K. The Secretary's meetings -- Q Maybe that could be a taken question -- what's the status of those -- MR. BOUCHER: I'll check and see if there's something new on that. And, as you all know, since we have expressed a desire to have this relationship, once they respond to us, we consider that that constitutes having a formal diplomatic relationship with them. Secretary Baker met with the head of the Syrian delegation at 5:15 p.m. last night. At 6:15 p.m., he met with the head of the Lebanese delegation. This morning at 8:00 a.m., he met with the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation heads -- Q What does that mean -- Jordanian-Palestinian? MR. BOUCHER: --and with the -- and then later he met with the Israeli delegation heads. I don't think I have the right time for that one. Q I thought the Jordanian delegation is one delegation with one head. MR. BOUCHER: I said he met with the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation heads. Q Heads. You've got an "s" at the end. What do you mean? A Jordanian and a Palestinian? Q A joint delegation. MR. BOUCHER: He met -- I forget what the exact language that we use in these cases is, Barry. I seem to remember from Madrid that the more precise formulation was something like the head of the Palestinian side of the joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, and the head of the Jordanian side of the joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. That's what he did. Q Can you speak louder, or is the system dead, like your airplane? MR. BOUCHER: It could be my turning my head. I'll try to talk louder for you, Connie. Q Thank you. MR. BOUCHER: The genesis of these meetings is that in December and again during this round, various parties had expressed an interest in meeting with Secretary Baker. Our experts recommended to him yesterday afternoon that this would be a good time to see all the parties. The Secretary thought it would be appropriate to meet with them and to hear firsthand where they are in the process. In fact, that is the way the meetings went. Having held the meetings, the Secretary felt that they were worthwhile, and he did indeed hear their firsthand reports on where they are. Q Well, Richard, Dr. Ashrawi says the talks are deadlocked; that they will not proceed on to discuss any other agenda items until the question of Israeli settlements is addressed and until Israel ceases settlement activity; and further said that there needs to be strict intervention by the co-sponsors. Did that come up in the talks? Did they ask the Secretary to intervene in the talks to bridge this gap? What's the status of the talks at the moment? Are they in the United States' view deadlocked? MR. BOUCHER: The status of the talks is that they have still had meetings. I think each of the delegations again has press conferences scheduled this afternoon, and each of the delegations will -- Q A press conference is not a meeting. MR. BOUCHER: Excuse me, John, if I can finish my sentence. -- and, as in the past, I'm not going to try to characterize for the parties what their views are on where they stand. They have done so and will continue to do so for you. In the meeting with the Secretary, each of the delegations briefed the Secretary on the progress of the talks. The Secretary reiterated the commitment of the United States to remain actively engaged in the process. He urged that all sides continue to work on resolving procedural issues that arise and to continue to work on the substance of the issues. The Secretary did not make any United States proposals. That wasn't the purpose of the meetings, and that wasn't anything that happened. He did offer some comments privately to each delegation on various ideas and suggestions and views that are in play. As we've done in the past, we won't comment on the further details of that. Q Well, Dr. Ashrawi says that her account is -- it's almost word for word yours. It's almost as if the two of you prepared a joint statement. MR. BOUCHER: Maybe we're both telling the truth. Q But she goes on to say, "He is sure that they are willing to take an active role on issues of substance." Did the Secretary tell this joint Palestinian-Jordanian -- whatever, delegation head -- that he's prepared to come down on one side or another on issues? MR. BOUCHER: As I said, the Secretary reiterated his commitment to remain actively engaged in the process. Q Well, talking to them is not "actively engaged." She says that he is prepared to take an active role on the issues, which to me means he's prepared to say, "Here's how the U.S. feels about this issue. Here's how we feel about that issue." Maybe actively, energetically. Is the Secretary going to abandon -- the U.S. has been on the sidelines for about two days. You know, not doing much and letting the people grope their way to their first ever negotiations, for instance. Is this about to change? Will the U.S. now take positions on issues and inject those positions into the negotiations? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, the U.S. role remains what it has always been. It has not changed. We're actively involved with the parties. We're actively encouraging progress. We're actively encouraging discussions of substance. We have expressed our views on various issues in the past. As I've said quite up front to you when various ideas and suggestions have been discussed -- for example, today with the Secretary, and Margaret's reported in the past as well. We've offered our views as well. At the same time, the Secretary didn't make any U.S. proposals this morning. Q Richard, does the United States consider the talks to be deadlocked? MR. BOUCHER: I have not characterized the talks that way, John. Q Has the United States expressed a view in this current near-deadlock, it certainly is, on settlements? Has the United States said anything to the parties, "I would wish the settlements issue would be dealt with now"? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, first of all, I don't know. I don't think we're inclined to go into that much detailed discussions. I think you know our views on settlements. Those views have not changed. Q Will there be further meetings today between any of the sides? MR. BOUCHER: I didn't get an updated schedule as I came in. [TO STAFF] Cynthia, do you know if they have more schedules? I don't know. We'll find out. Q One more question, please. Do you know if the Israelis are planning to return home this afternoon? MR. BOUCHER: We haven't been formally notified or notified by the Israelis of their exact plans, but that is certainly something you can ask them. Q Richard, did the Secretary urge either the Israelis or the Syrians to stay past today? MR. BOUCHER: As I said, in a general sense he urged all the sides to continue their work -- to continue their work to overcome procedural problems, to continue their work on substance. He did not specifically tell them the schedule that they should keep. Q Did the question of venue come up at all during the talks? MR. BOUCHER: I think that was discussed, among other subjects. Yes. Q What's the distinction you make between making suggestions on various topics and making -- offering private ideas, and the distinction between that and making proposals? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think there's any distinction between that, Ralph. We are frequently asked here whether -- when two sides are not able to agree on something, we have put forth a U.S. bridging proposal, or something like that. I'm merely saying that we hadn't done that, although certainly we've discussed, you know, the state of play and the ideas with the different parties. Q So offering a private idea is not the same as offering a proposal? I mean, is that the distinction you're making? MR. BOUCHER: It's the same distinction we've drawn at times in the past when we've had meetings, when, you know, the two sides appeared not to agree on something; that we haven't withdrawn ourselves from all discussion of it, but we haven't said, "This is what you ought to do. This is the U.S. proposal to bridge your problem." Q Did the Secretary propose a time and place for the next series of meetings? MR. BOUCHER: No. As I said, he expressed our desire to see the talks continue, but we did not try to dictate any sort of schedule for them. Q Did he suggest? MR. BOUCHER: He said that we hoped that they would work out any differences they have on these issues. Q But he offered no U.S. ideas on time and place? MR. BOUCHER: No. He didn't make U.S. proposals of that sort. Q Continue can mean "continue this round," or it could mean, paren, "to be continued," close parenthesis. MR. BOUCHER: "Continue" means "continue the process." He did not attempt to dictate any specific schedule of meetings for them. He expressed the hope that they would work that out. Q So that doesn't mean he said, "Don't recess." "Continue" means "keep talking, but you don't have to talk Thursday and Friday," right? MR. BOUCHER: He didn't tell them when to get together next. Q Did it come up in the Palestinian-Jordanian delegation of whether the U.S. and Russia had attempted to deliver the Palestinian delegation an invitation to the multilateral talks last night? MR. BOUCHER: The subject of the multilaterals was discussed, but I don't think anything like Jerusalem came up. Q The Baker meeting, we're talking about. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. In the Baker meeting. Q What about the instance of the report? Margaret said that the invitations were sent out last night. Was the invitation to the Palestinians delivered as previous invitations have been, to Faisal Husseini in East Jerusalem, and did he decline to accept that invitation? MR. BOUCHER: O.K. I don't know who it was in East Jerusalem, but let me step back a bit and as well answer one of the questions we had yesterday about whether this was an invitation that we could provide for you. This was not an invitation that was a document that was done -- it was not a document like the letter of invitation that we put out that was issued before in Madrid. It was an instruction to our embassies and overseas diplomatic posts to contact the various parties to orally invite them, the way they were invited -- for example, the way the proposal went out on the bilateral talks in December. So it was a cable of instruction and, as in December, we're not going to be able to provide you with a copy of that cable. Yes, our Consulate General in Jerusalem went to carry out those instructions and was -- the invitation was not accepted there. Q What do you mean precisely, "the invitation was not accepted"? Did they slam -- MR. BOUCHER: Let me continue. Q Sorry. MR. BOUCHER: I don't know the exact circumstances, and I'm going to leave it to the Palestinians to explain whether that constitutes a rejection of the invitation or if they just did not accept it there. This morning at the State Department, Deputy Assistant Secretary Kurtzer met with Palestinian representatives here at the State Department. He extended the same oral invitation. The Palestinian representatives expressed their views on the representation issue, as they have in other meetings and as they have in the past, and at the end of that meeting they were considering the invitation. So that's where we stand right now. Q Can I reprise my question from yesterday? This invitation was to a joint delegation. Margaret said she was almost sure that that was the case; that she was going to check. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. The view of the co-sponsors is that the terms of reference that were used for Madrid, the terms of reference that were used for the bilateral, should be the terms of reference and should be used in Moscow as well. Q Do you know who it was in East Jerusalem, who she spoke to? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. Q Richard, whether or not the Israelis stick around tomorrow, are you going to open -- is the State Department going to be open for business for these talks? MR. BOUCHER: Well, as in the past -- Q Over the weekend and next week? MR. BOUCHER: If we find out from them that they're not having any meetings, I think we'll let the people back in their offices, and we won't stand outside in the cold, nor do I expect you to do that either. Q As of now, do you -- MR. BOUCHER: But as in the past, our practice has been if the sides tell us they want to have a meeting, we're here to provide the facilities. Q Richard, just to close the loop, the ground rules provide that all sides -- both sides have to invite the co-sponsors to actually enter the room, if that is to be the case. Was that done by either side this morning? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I've heard of. No. Q Do you know about the delegation heads coming back around 11:15 for a meeting? Was that with Mr. Djerejian, or what? Wasn't there another meeting, or did they meet among themselves? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think so. The only -- they're the ones that the Secretary had this morning. Q Yes. And then you had the bilateral. MR. BOUCHER: Then there was the meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary Kurtzer with some of the Palestinian representatives. Those are the only ones I've heard about. Q You don't know of Djerejian meeting with Abu Shafi and -- MR. BOUCHER: I'll check and see if Djerejian had any other meetings, but not that I've heard of. Q Just a follow-up on the Palestinian-Kurtzer meeting. Did Kurtzer meet with -- when you say "some of the Palestinian representatives," were they members of the delegations that have been negotiating with the Israelis, or were they other Palestinians who are in Washington at this time and are associated with those delegations? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know the exact guest list. I suppose it was some of both. As you know, we meet with various different Palestinians. Q Hanan Ashrawi was in the building today. With whom did she meet -- and so was Sari Nusseibeh. Was that the Kurtzer meeting, or was that yet another -- perhaps a different round of meetings? MR. BOUCHER: I'll leave it to them to describe their attendance at the meeting. Q Richard, can you tell us, do you think that this conference in Moscow will go ahead and take place, even if the Palestinians don't come, and how do you view the possibility that they're not coming? MR. BOUCHER: Mary, that's not something -- that's what we call a hypothetical, really. At this point we'll continue to discuss the issue with them. As I said, they've expressed their views on the representation question before. I'm sure they'll share them with you as well or have already. We expect to continue discussing these issues. The co-sponsors and many others believe that the issues to be discussed at the multilateral talks in Moscow are very important. They're important for the process, they're important for the people there in the region, and they're important for peace. So we'll continue to discuss it, and we'll hope to have them there. Q Since these invitations were made just orally, do you have a pretty good idea now of who's coming, and were you rejected by anybody? What kind of response did you get? I assume Syria is still out of it. Did the other expected guests shake their heads and say, "We'll be there?" MR. BOUCHER: Barry, we're not in a position to start putting out reactions, lists, or otherwise indicate the attendance until we get closer to the conference. I think Margaret indicated that yesterday. Q You're dealing with the -- you're talking about the Palestinians now, aren't we? MR. BOUCHER: It was one specific issue, she talked, that came up; and we're discussing it, yes. Q Richard, what is your instruction to your diplomats in Jerusalem? Are they going to attempt to deliver this invitation again, or do you have an idea? As you said, you're not sure whether they couldn't accept it at that point in time and that place. Perhaps there are other issues. What are you communicating to your diplomats? Are you telling them to try to reschedule an appointment, to deliver the invitation? MR. BOUCHER: Frank, I hadn't heard of any new instructions. As I said, at the point we're at now, we've had a discussion here in Washington with Palestinian representatives. We've expressed our interest in seeing them at the conference. They've expressed their views on representation questions, and we'll continue to discuss these things with the Palestinians. Q Do you have a rundown on who actually met today? Did the Israelis meet the Lebanese as planned? Did the Israelis meet the Syrians as planned? Was there an Israeli-Jordanian or Israeli-Palestinian meeting? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry, Jan, I didn't get that rundown. Q Since you're the host -- as one of the sponsors this time -- the host, too -- the U.S. is -- aren't the Israelis obliged to let the U.S. Government know when they're going home? You've got to shut off the coffee. MR. BOUCHER: I think in the past the parties have kept us informed of what their plans are. So, at this point I don't have any -- I'm not aware that we've received any official word from them. I think even if we had, Barry, it's not for me to say when someone else is going home. I'm sure that you'll be asking them that later today and they'll tell you. Q We ask these questions -- believe it or not, we ask it of all the parties, but we figure the U.S. is sort of a player, a catalyst, so to speak. Since you're the host, I wonder if the U.S. felt somewhat snubbed or you just think it's normal that one of the main negotiating groups here may or may not leave tonight and you guys sort of don't know? It's hard to believe. MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure -- Q Or is it a secret, classified perhaps? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, we've not been informed officially of the Israeli travel plans. I don't take that as a snub. I just take that as a fact. I told you that if we had been informed, I probably wouldn't be telling you from here. At the same time, I'm sure they'll tell us what their plans are and what their expectations are before they leave. Q Richard, since the objection of the Palestinians is the fact that the people that are here represent only the West Bank and Gaza and don't represent the diaspora among the Palestinians. Is it the view of the co-sponsors that the same people that attended in Madrid and here must attend in Moscow and that they can't add people from Tunis and other places? MR. BOUCHER: As I said, our view is that the terms of reference that were used for Madrid and the terms of reference that were used for the bilaterals should be used in Moscow. Q It means no one from East Jerusalem and no one from other areas? MR. BOUCHER: I'll just stick with what we said. Q Is there any change -- I'm sorry, go ahead. Q Barry, just one little minor thing. You described the event in Jerusalem last night a certain way. You said they did not accept it there. You described the event this morning in Washington a slightly different way. It wasn't clear to me, from what you described about the Washington event, as to whether the Palestinians with whom Kurtzer met accepted it here. MR. BOUCHER: As I said, Ralph, as that meeting ended, they were considering our invitation. Q Did they accept it to consider it, or did they say, "Well, we'll think about accepting" -- or are they considering accepting it? MR. BOUCHER: My understanding is they're considering the invitation.

[Former Yugoslavia: Recognition of Croatia/Slovenia by EC]

Q Do you have anything new to say today about Croatia, Slovenia, and all of that? Any change from yesterday now that there's been some formal action? MR. BOUCHER: On the question of recognition, you're probably aware as I am that the Portuguese Presidency has announced that all EC members will recognize Croatia and Slovenia. We understand their governments will decide for themselves how best to address the Yugoslav situation. As far as the U.S. view, I can repeat, I think, at some greater length what it has been in the past. Q But no change -- MR. BOUCHER: We see that the U.S. and EC share the same objectives in Yugoslavia to stop the fighting to bring about a peaceful settlement. We continue to support the efforts of various envoys to achieve peace. We believe that full observance of the ceasefire and cooperation with the U.N. is at a critical opportunity now. We're prepared to accept any outcome that's achieved peacefully, democratically, and through negotiations. Q (Multiple questions) Q There's another sentence usually in the formulation which -- MR. BOUCHER: If everybody wants the long version, here we go. Q No, no, I want to hear -- MR. BOUCHER: The U.S. and the EC have the same objectives in Yugoslavia. That is, to help stop the fighting and bring about a peaceful settlement based on CSCE principles. We will continue to support both EC and U.N. efforts to promote a peaceful settlement of the Yugoslav crisis. We believe that full observance of the ceasefire and cooperation with the U.N. effort is a crucial opportunity to move forward with genuine dialogue and a political settlement in the context of the EC conference. We have made it clear from the start that we will accept any outcome of this process which is arrived at peacefully, democratically, and through negotiation. Any settlement must include strong protections for the rights of all national groups and all republics. We've also made it clear that we are firmly opposed to any attempt to change the borders of Yugoslav republics by force or intimidation. The primary consideration for us is to do everything possible to bring an end to the fighting and the suffering that the fighting has inflicted. We continue to urge the Serbian and the Yugoslav military leadership and the Croatian leadership to cooperate with U.N. efforts led by the Secretary General's envoy, Cyrus Vance, and with the EC Conference chaired by Lord Carrington. Q But doesn't the recognition of two new countries change the borders of Yugoslavia? MR. BOUCHER: Again, we have supported the efforts to reach a peaceful settlement, to have these issues settled peacefully. As you know, we don't recognize forcible changes in internal or external borders. We would expect that part of an overall settlement would be things like borders, and that is what we have been supporting. That is what the EC has been supporting. Q Yeah, but there are two new countries on the map today because they're two countries that are now recognized by Europe that weren't there yesterday and they are there today. Doesn't that change the borders? MR. BOUCHER: Alan, I can speak for U.S. policy. I'm not going to draw that sort of implication out of what the EC is doing. Q Does the U.S. accept the borders to have been changed by force or intimidation? Does the U.S. consider the borders of Yugoslavia to have been changed by force or intimidation at this point? MR. BOUCHER: It's such a theoretical question, Ralph, I don't know how to answer it. I guess the answer is -- Q Germany and the EC -- MR. BOUCHER: We have not at this point recognized any further subdivisions or any changes in those borders. So, I guess in the U.S. view we have not made any decisions that would imply that there's been a change in borders. Q So, you say there are no new borders? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, I don't -- at this point, I better check with the lawyers. (Laughter) Q Richard, can you tell us -- Q Do you disagree with the EC, then? Has the U.S. communicated with the EC and with the individual members who have recognized new countries in what was formerly Yugoslavia? And has the U.S. communicated with those allies and friends about its disagreement on the existence of new countries, or anything like that, or borders? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, when we get into these recognition questions, I think, frankly, you guys make a bigger issue of them than we do. We are dealing with the situation there. We are dealing with the parties in Yugoslavia, I said, to encourage a peaceful settlement, to encourage the continuation of the ceasefire, to encourage cooperation and support for the efforts of Cyrus Vance and Lord Carrington to bring about a peaceful settlement to this crisis. We are united, I think, with the European Community countries and many other countries around the world in supporting and encouraging those efforts. We have not taken the same steps as they have on the question of recognition, but I think there's no doubt in our minds that we are all supporting the efforts to bring about an overall settlement. We see the developments and the evolution of policy in that context. Q Richard, you're saying you are dealing with the situation there. My question is, how do you deal with the situation there? There is no Federal presidency, there is no Federal Assembly, there is no Federal government. You say there are no changes in the borders. So, in the U.S. Government's view, who is representing a Yugoslovia, if there is one? MR. BOUCHER: Again, this is an issue, I think, that you all seem to make more of an issue of than we do. We have expressed our views on what has happened to the Federal institutions in Yugoslavia. At the same time, we have also said that our Ambassador there continues to deal with officials in various republics and various parts of government in the military to express the United States view and to support these efforts towards peace. Q Aren't you taking sides in this conflict by stating that position? Because as far as the world is concerned, the only people who still maintain that there is a Yugoslavia are the Serbs, the Montenegrans, and you? MR. BOUCHER: Alan, I haven't done any precise census on this. Again, we don't sit in our offices and fret about accreditation questions all day long. Our Ambassadors, whether it's in Moscow with the changes that we've seen there or in Belgrade with the changes that we're seeing there, continue to work with various people throughout the country in various positions to urge them to bring about a peaceful settlement. Q With the greatest of respect, it's not journalists kind of blowing off an issue about whether a country exists or not. And with the greatest of respect, there's a difference between your position in Russia where you recognize a certain reality and your position in Yugoslavia where you don't. MR. BOUCHER: Without engaging you in comparisons, since we never do that, I would only say that we deal with the realities at hand. Q Are you suggesting that the existence or non-existence of entities called Croatia and Slovenia is a trivial matter that's being blown up by journalists? MR. BOUCHER: No, I'm not, Alan, and I didn't say that. I just didn't say that. Saul. Q Richard, speaking of realities at hand, it appears that there's a mounting ground swell of support for the elected government of Georgia. With regard to Georgia, what is our policy on support for elected governments? Have we changed at all? Do we have any idea that anything is changing there since a lot of people seem to support the elected government? MR. BOUCHER: I think we've explained our position on the situation there before. I don't have anything new, no. Q In talking to North Korea, is there anything newer than yesterday? MR. BOUCHER: No. We thought yesterday was going to be the very, very near future; that we could talk to you about this. I'd probably have to take out one of the "verys" today based on the information we had yesterday. It's not the same as today. But in the near future, we hope to be able to talk to you about this. I think we've said in the past, we're considering a meeting. Q I'm sorry, I couldn't hear that question either. But have you talked about the Iraqi nuclear admissions yesterday at the U.N.? Do you have any comments on those? MR. BOUCHER: The centrifuges? Q Yes. MR. BOUCHER: I think Margaret talked at some length yesterday about that. Q You have nothing else beyond that today? MR. BOUCHER: Nothing particularly, no. Q Going back to Yugoslavia, if I may. In light of the European recognition, is the United States at least examining its options and studying the feasibility of recognizing at least Slovenia, which appears to meet conditions laid out by Secretary of State Baker vis-a-vis the Russian republics -- democracy, human rights, and so forth? You could make an argument about Serbia, a lack of full protection for minorities and so forth. But Slovenia appears to meet that criteria. MR. BOUCHER: Frank, you're aware of the process that the European Community went through before reaching their decisions. We've been in close touch with the European Community. We continue to be in close touch with them. At this point, our policy is the way I've stated it today, and that's where I'm going to stand. Q Any further adjustments in U.S. policy on Algeria at this point? Q Evolution. Q Evolution -- yeah, that's good, Barry. MR. BOUCHER: Do you want to know what's going on there, Ralph -- where we stand? Q We'd be interested in knowing what the U.S. -- how the U.S. is dealing with the government in Algeria and whether the U.S. considers there to be a government in Algeria. MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, as you know, we recognize states rather than particular governmental institutions. We conduct business with governments. In Algeria, I think, we put up an answer yesterday to say that our Ambassador continues to meet with government officials. We continue -- we will, of course, continue to meet with people from across the political spectrum in Algeria and continue to deal with government institutions, as we have business with them. Q Does the U.S. think that the continuing management of the government by the military is appropriate under the Algerian constitution? MR. BOUCHER: As Margaret said yesterday, we are not going to interject ourselves in the debate that's going on in Algeria over questions of the constitution. It's an issue for them, not us, to sort out. The day-to-day government appears to remain in the hands of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. We'll continue to work with them. As we've said before, we hope a way can be found as soon as possible to resume progress towards implementation of democratic reforms. In the meantime, we urge all parties to remain calm and to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Q On Haiti? Q May I just come back shortly to Yugoslavia? Because you say you do not recognize the independent republics because you do not recognize forcefully changed borders. So, in my understanding, there are no borders forcefully changed up to now? MR. BOUCHER: I did not say that. Q May I complete my question? My question is, why don't you recognize the -- MR. BOUCHER: Again, I just gave you a lengthy explanation of the U.S. view of the situation there. We have not changed our policy on recognition. We have not asked to have diplomatic relations with any new governments or new states there. That remains U.S. policy. The U.S. objectives and goals and the situation in Yugoslavia are what I just stated. Q Any progress on Haiti or a lack of progress? MR. BOUCHER: In terms of the political situation there? Q Yes, and the OAS attempts to -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't have an update. I haven't had one recently. I'll try to get one for you.

[Cuba: Families of US Residents Under Death Sentence/ US Reaction to Sentence/Appeal for Reduction/FBI Investigation]

Q Do you have something today on the Cuba issue? On Cuba? MR. BOUCHER: Which Cuba issue? The three people there? Q Yes. MR. BOUCHER: I think I have two things to report for you. Yesterday afternoon two officials of the Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian officials met with family members of two of the three individuals who are in jail in Cuba. The family members asked that every effort be made to prevent the carrying out of the death sentence imposed on these individuals. Department officials stated that our view of the verdict was that it was reached in haste and that the sentence was disproportionate to the alleged crime. We pointed out that the Cuban Government has not provided access to the details of the investigation nor the trial. Family members were told that the Department was contacting the Cuban Government that same day -- that is, yesterday -- to ask it, on a humanitarian basis, to show leniency and not carry out the death sentence. To do that yesterday, we called in the Acting Principle Officer of the Cuban Interest Section in Washington to ask that the death sentences against the three Cuban exiles be commuted. We expressed the hope that the Cuban Supreme Court would show leniency regarding the severe sentences on appeal. The principal officer of our Interest Section in Havana has raised our concerns and intends to review the issue with the Cuban Government again today. Q Just a technical one. Who in Cuba -- who was it in Cuba that raised the concerns? MR. BOUCHER: The principal officer of our Interest Section. Q And he met with somebody yesterday? MR. BOUCHER: He raised our concerns with the Cuban Government. I don't know exactly who it was. I assume it was the Foreign Ministry. Q Did you call someone here? MR. BOUCHER: We called in the Acting Principal Officer of the Cuban Interest Section in Washington. Q Who is that protecting power? MR. BOUCHER: I don't remember. Q And who's yours there? MR. BOUCHER: Ours is Switzerland down there. It may be Switzerland up here for them. Q Do you have any views of these paramilitary groups who undergo military training in Florida with a view to destabilizing and one day overthrowing the Cuban Government to which these three individuals appear to have belonged? MR. BOUCHER: As I think Margaret has said recently to you, that the U.S. law makes it against our law to launch an attack from U.S. soil against a foreign government. The FBI has opened an investigation into the facts of this matter, and they're looking at those things. Q So if it transpires that these individuals came from the United States, underwent military or paramilitary or crypto-military training in the United States and then engaged in these acts, they would have broken U.S. law? MR. BOUCHER: Again, let me say there was no U.S. Government involvement in this incident. The FBI is investigating possible violation of the Neutrality Act. And as for definitions of exactly what constitutes a violation, I'll leave that to Justice. Q You mentioned -- I think I just lost track of -- U.S. officials met with the family members of two of those in Cuba. Were the representations that were made both here in Washington and in Havana made on behalf of all three? Or is there some reason why a third person is -- MR. BOUCHER: No, on behalf of all three. I'm not sure whether the third wasn't here -- Q Okay. I just didn't know if somehow there was some distinction between them. MR. BOUCHER: The representations and our desire to see the death sentence commuted, that was made on behalf of all three. And, as I said, we did that both here in Washington and yesterday in Havana. Q Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 1:27 p.m.)