US Department of State Daily Briefing #20: Friday, 2/7/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Feb, 7 19922/7/92 Category: Briefings Region: Eurasia, South Asia, South America, East Asia, E/C Europe, Central America, MidEast/North Africa Country: USSR (former), Russia, Pakistan, Israel, Iraq, Venezuela, China, Albania, Haiti, North Korea, Panama, Poland, Kuwait Subject: State Department, Regional/Civil Unrest, Mideast Peace Process, Development/Relief Aid, Nuclear Nonproliferation, Immigration, Refugees, International Organizations, Arms Control 12:35 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Announcement: Project Hope Flight Departs Washington Tomorrow/Operation Provide Hope Begins Monday from Germany]

MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Before I take your questions, I'd like to mention one thing. We'll put up a more detailed statement, as we have sometimes in the past. There's another Project Hope flight going to go tomorrow from Washington-Dulles Airport to Yakutsk, and it will stop in Fairbanks, Alaska along the way. As usual, the details of what's on board this flight and how the contributions were received are in this statement. As you know, this is different from Operation Provide Hope, which are the flights that will start on Monday out of Germany. This particular medical flight that goes tomorrow, the items will be distributed to six hospitals in Yakutsk, including two childrens hospitals. You'll get more details on that from this statement. Q Will U.S. personnel accompany that flight to the hospital, or accompany the material to the hospital? MR. BOUCHER: This particular one? My understanding is that Provide Hope -- Project Hope -- let me not get them confused -- Project Hope personnel will be on site in Yakutsk to oversee the distribution, storage and dispensation of supplies. They also intend, apparently, to make follow-up visits. Q Do you know when or how one might obtain a more detailed description of what will be airlifted? Now, again, not to Project Hope but Provide Hope? MR. BOUCHER: On the airlifts -- the Provide Hope airlifts -- I think Margaret said that we would expect to make that available in Frankfurt. Q In Frankfurt -- MR. BOUCHER: In Rhein-Main, when the flights start. And, of course, we'll have it back here as well. Q Will the Secretary get to see the first takeoff, or will they begin before he actually gets there? MR. BOUCHER: Those sort of details and schedules and flight lists, I just don't have for you at this point. Q Richard, there are some reports out of Lisbon, and statements from the EC President, that suggest that, in fact, this is not just going to be a U.S. airlift anymore but that some of the allies are sort of getting in on the act. Is this a joint effort or is it still seen as a U.S. airlift? MR. BOUCHER: I think if you look back at what the Secretary said when he announced it -- and the fact sheet that we put together at that point -- was that the Secretary told the other countries who were here about our plans and had invited them to participate, both in terms of their own flights, their own shipments, and anybody that wanted to provide material that we could transport for them, that that would be welcome as well. And, indeed, that is the way it's turning out. I don't have with me any specific information on the other countries' efforts. We certainly expect to talk in more detail about our efforts, and I'm sure others will as well. Q Richard, do you know if the Secretary will carry on his plane, as he did in December, any supplies -- medicines or otherwise? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know, Barry. Q Can you tell us anything about the trip next week, and can you give us a little more detail on the stops? MR. BOUCHER: No. Q When will that become available? MR. BOUCHER: It will become available as soon it's pinned down and just as soon as it's known. Q It's Friday already. MR. BOUCHER: It's Friday today, I know. The people who are working on the trip know it as well, and I'm glad I'm not one of them. It's a difficult trip to put together. They are still working on the stops. I think when Margaret announced it on Monday, she said that everything she was saying was tentative and subject to change, and that certainly is proving true. Q People on the ground in Moscow are being told on background a lot of detail? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what people on the ground in Moscow are being told. I have no idea what sort of schedule they might have or when they might have gotten it, but I would suspect that since changes continue to be made -- and there are many things in the schedule that are not pinned down -- that anything that anyone has been told in Moscow in previous days -- yesterday, or probably even this morning -- is probably by now wrong. Q Romanian radio is saying he's coming to Moldavia? MR. BOUCHER: Again, this schedule is still being worked on. Margaret mentioned some of the places that he was going. There's a possibility of other places as well. We don't have them pinned down, and we can't announce them yet. Q Well, let me try on policy. Maybe there's a way to ask you a question even if you aren't providing the details. Should he decide to go to Azerbaijan, what lesson should we take from that, considering their questionable human rights record and suggestions on the Hill, particularly from Congressman Owens yesterday, that maybe we should stiff arm that republic until they treat the Armenians a little better. Is going to a place like that -- what? -- like to going to China to engage them? Is it a sign of -- what does it mean? Why would he go to a place that treats people poorly? MR. BOUCHER: Well, Barry, first, let me note that I won't entertain a question that's obviously hypothetical at this point. When we put out the schedule, and you know what stops there are, I'm sure you'll be in a position to ask the Secretary why he's going to particular places. I would note, however, that the Secretary did address a similar question yesterday in his testimony. He stressed the importance of talking to people. Q Richard, one more on the airlift for just a second. Can you say at this point whether the order of magnitude that has been announced by the United States -- the 54 flights and other details that were in the fact sheet -- is that still the order of magnitude or are you suggesting that enough other countries and contributions have been made that the order of magnitude has been changed -- that it would be double, triple, or 20 times the size of the airlift that the U.S. announced originally last month? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any way of inserting some new factor in it. As far as the U.S. plans, the order of magnitude, in general terms, remains the same as it was when we first talked about it. As I said, we'll expect to get details on the U.S. efforts then. But I do expect to see other countries making efforts of their own that I'm sure they'll be quite willing to talk about. Q There are more and more reports from different sources talking about delaying the date for bilateral talks -- Middle East peace talks -- to the 24th of February. Do you have anything on that? MR. BOUCHER: The Secretary mentioned yesterday that he hoped to see the parties get together again later in the month of February. I'll just have to leave it at that for the moment. I'm not aware that there has been any date agreed to by the parties. Q Richard, there's a report out of Israel -- MR. BOUCHER: Howard has something. Q Just a follow up, which probably won't go anywhere. But the European effort includes actual planes and flights or just cargo? Can you generally get into that aspect of it? MR. BOUCHER: Howard, it's something that I've seen mention of. I haven't seen what they themselves might have announced already, and I just haven't pulled together the details. Q Back to the peace process. Q Prime Minister Shamir is quoted this morning, in an Israeli newspaper, as saying that he won't necessarily stick to every little nuance of the Camp David agreement; that time has passed and things have changed. Does this provoke any response? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any particular response for you at this point, no. Q But you would expect him normally to adhere to the principles of the Camp David agreement, wouldn't you? MR. BOUCHER: Bill, rather than just jump right out on this, that's something I think I'd better get you a better crafted answer on. Q Now that the Pakistan Foreign Minister has confirmed that Pakistan has got nuclear materials (inaudible) to make nuclear bombs, where do you go from here? What do you propose to do about it? MR. BOUCHER: As you know, we have -- the President has not certified that Pakistan does not possess a nuclear device. That's what's called for in the Pressler Amendment. The issue remains under discussion between the United States and the Pakistani Government. It was one of the many subjects that Administration officials discussed with the Foreign Secretary earlier this week. Q Another stab at the Secretary's trip: On the first appearance on the Hill -- I think it was Wednesday -- the Secretary said that by the end of his trip he would have visited all the newly independent republics. Did he misspeak? MR. BOUCHER: Jan, I'm not in a position to go into the schedule at this point. I'm very sorry. Q He did say it. Q Can you stipulate that for the record, Richard? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have in front of me the Secretary's testimony, and I would certainly want to check exactly what he said. The Secretary's trip is still being worked on. We have found out things about people's schedules. It may mean that we might add some other stops. So, at this point, I just don't have a final schedule for you. These things are being worked, and obviously I can't announce it until we've talked to the people that we're going to visit and agree on what exactly we're going to do. Q Richard, back on Pakistan for a moment. According to the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, in this interview, he said that Pakistan has an unassembled set of parts that would make up one bomb. Does that coincide with the U.S. assessment of what Pakistan has? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid I'm not in a position to tell you exactly what we do or do not know about the status of Pakistan's nuclear programs. Q Could you tell us anything about the implications of this development? MR. BOUCHER: The implications are what we have been doing all along. The President has not been able to certify that Pakistan does not have a nuclear device. That would be the certification required. The issue has been under discussion for some time. We continue to pursue that issue with the Pakistani Government, and we've had more discussions in the past few days. Q I don't even hear a statement of concern from the State Department. A double negative doesn't make a positive except in bad grammar. Does Pakistan have the bomb? Is the State Department worried about the implications for India and for other countries in the region? Is this the Muslim Bomb? Is this a bomb that can threaten India? Surely the Pakistanis are telling the State Department something, unless they're just saying, no, this is all not so. The President can't certify. Every year the President can't certify. We know that. MR. BOUCHER: No, that's not true. Q Ever since Senator Pressler has been on the job, you've been unable to give Pakistan what you want to give them. You're restrained by Congress. MR. BOUCHER: That's not true, Barry. Q But what are you folks think about it -- the State Department? MR. BOUCHER: What we think about it is that we have -- Q Not you -- simply the State Department? MR. BOUCHER: We have frequently, repeatedly, and I think very forcefully, expressed our concerned about non-proliferation. We have raised these concerns specifically with many other governments. We've raised them specifically with governments in the region. We have been actively pursuing, with the Pakistani Government, this question of the Pressler Amendment. It is something that we continue to pursue. I know you have been actively asking us repeatedly exactly what we know, and we have repeatedly declined to do so. We're just not in a position to do so. Q In a sense, we're picking you up on your cue, because this Administration makes a fetish of its concern for proliferation, particularly in the Middle East. It seems that as Pakistan moves ahead with this program, we really don't hear a lot. We simply -- we don't have a confirmation from the U.S. Government as to what Pakistan might be doing. And, indeed, now we have an expression of concern. MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I think you might understand why we can't confirm information that we might or might not have on this program. It's a very sensitive matter. It's an issue that remains under discussion. We have pursued not only the issues of the Pressler Amendment but we've also actively pursued a framework for non-proliferation cooperation in the region. We've proposed a Five Power meeting on non-proliferation in the region that would involve the Russians, the Chinese, the United States, India and Pakistan. We're pursuing that idea as well. Q Has India changed its position on such a meeting? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, you have to ask different governments about their own positions. Q Did the Pakistani Foreign Minister give the United States any new assurances this week in the discussions, or was it -- well, let's leave it there? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not in a position to go into the details of those discussions. We gave you as much of a readout as we can. It's an issue that we continue to discuss -- that we have under active consideration. Q Richard, to go back to your regional approach, or your attempt to try to deal with it on a multilateral basis, have you gotten anywhere with it? You said we should go and ask individual governments. If the United States is leading this effort, is there anything you can tell us about your success? MR. BOUCHER: No specific claim of success at this point except that it's a subject that we have raised with people, that they have been willing to discuss with us, and that we've continued to discuss with them. Q But so far you haven't been able to get agreement on a meeting? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any announcements like that. Q Do you believe that the Chinese have ended their program of nuclear cooperation with the Pakistani Government? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think that's anything that we've tried to address from here, Jim. I'm sorry. Q Well, I'm asking you to address it now? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid I'm not in a position to. Q Richard, does this admission by Pakistan really take it now beyond the certification process? Because in the sense that you cannot undevelop a nuclear explosive, and once you say you have developed one and you only have to assemble it, it would seem to me to disqualify them in perpetuity from U.S. assistance? MR. BOUCHER: Chris, I'm afraid that's not a question I'm able to answer at this point. That would get into details of the discussions that we're having. We're continuing our discussions, and I have to leave it there. Q Let me just ask this: Once they say, yes, we have a bomb, why do you have to worry about the annual certification, or whatever, since they've done your work for you and they've said they have one? So why do you have to go through that whole process? MR. BOUCHER: It's a process that's required by law. It's a process that we've begun; that we've had discussions with them. It's a process that we hope to continue our discussions and resolve. Q Do you anticipate U.S. assistance to Pakistan in the future? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, that depends on the outcome of the discussions. As you know, assistance remains suspended pending a certification. Q Did Pakistan request renewal of U.S. assistance? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I just don't know. Q There are reports today that CIA Director Gates is on his way to the Middle East with -- Q Can we finish up on Pakistan, please? MR. BOUCHER: Okay. Let's finish up on Pakistan. Q A technical question: This U.S. assistance proposal for Pakistan -- X hundred million -- does that sit in an escrow account, or does that become available, then, for use for other purposes? MR. BOUCHER: I didn't check on what is in the '93 budget. I take it that you're referring to the -- what else might be in the '93 budget? Q And in the current year, too? MR. BOUCHER: I think we gave a rundown of what happened to current-year money, at least, as much as we could. Money, as I understand it, sort of remains in an account with a sort of notation on it until it's allocated either for the specific country or reallocated somewhere else. Q But it doesn't carry over? In other words, the '92 money will not be available to Pakistan in '93 even should they one day be certifiable? MR. BOUCHER: It's something I would have to check. Q Still about Pakistan: Is this only relevant to Pakistan, or is this relevant to all countries that the United States gives aid to -- that the President has to certify that they don't have nuclear devices? MR. BOUCHER: I haven't read the amendment recently. I think it's just Pakistan, but I would have to double-check and see how exactly it's worded. Q It was stated by Secretary Gates that the United States is now allowing commercial sales of munitions and spare parts to Pakistan. The question I want to ask you is, are the commercial sales in the public domain, or can you get details of it, or is it classified? MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to see if I can get you any details of those. Q Is it possible for you to find out and let me know? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. If we have something, we'll have it in the Press Office for you. Q Here's something -- MR. BOUCHER: Can I go back to the gentleman that wanted to ask about -- Q Is there any reaction to those reports that have Gates on his way to the Middle East to perhaps looking for new ways to destabilize Saddam Hussein? MR. BOUCHER: The CIA put out a statement. I'm not sure if you've seen it yet. We can give you a copy of it afterwards. Basically, they said it's a long-planned trip. He's meeting with some of his foreign counterparts to exchange views on intelligence-related matters of mutual concern. It wasn't undertaken at the request of the White House, as reported in the media. Q What is the thinking now about the need to go beyond the sanctions that we have in place now? Is there any thought being given to that? Or is there a necessity seen for that at this point? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I can predict the future. I would repeat, however, that we have stressed -- the President has stressed, the Secretary has stressed -- the importance of maintaining the sanctions, the importance of maintaining the inspection regime and carrying out in full the requirements of the U.N. resolutions. Q Is there now a change in policy? Are you now willing to discuss intelligence matters from the podium, as you just did? MR. BOUCHER: I'm willing to read you copies of CIA statements and provide them to you, Jim. Let's not draw any great conclusions out of that. Q Can I approach this from a different view, perhaps? Yesterday, Secretary Baker bluntly warned Iraq to surrender its weapons of mass destruction, and he also threatened unspecified action. Can you elaborate on that -- what he had in mind? MR. BOUCHER: No. Q Here's something easy. Evidently, there's been exchanges involving the Secretary -- go ahead. I'm sorry. Q Can you say whether Gates, on this mission, or others who may be traveling with him, will engage in discussions with representatives of the Kurds, for example, in the region or perhaps out of the region? Will they engage with representatives of the Shi'ites in southern Iraq as well? MR. BOUCHER: I just really have to stick to the CIA statement. I don't know if that's a question they'll be able to answer for you. My understanding, based on their explanation, is he will meet with his foreign counterparts on official business. Q The question is, is the U.S. continuing, then, to engage with the two groups I mentioned in other ways, leaving Gates aside for a moment if you're going to stick to the CIA statement on his mission? MR. BOUCHER: You know that we've had a whole series of meetings and discussions here with Iraqi opposition figures. I haven't gotten any recent updates, but I expect that those continue. Q You think those are continuing? MR. BOUCHER: I can check and see if we have had any recently. Q Do you have an assessment at this point of the status of the Kurds, for example? Are they in a position to assert their human rights and their civil rights in northern Iraq at this time? MR. BOUCHER: I doubt if I could say that anybody in Iraq is in a position to enjoy their human rights and their civil rights. We've spoken in the past about the situation with the Kurds, the pressure that Saddam Hussein's regime has brought against them, the efforts of the international community to assist them through the winter, additional shelter and housing that were being provided, I think, about November/December. As far as I'm aware, that situation remains basically unchanged. Q Richard, is there a new diplomatic -- I'm sure you address this; it's not an intelligence matter -- but is there a new diplomatic push, a new emphasis on trying to change the Iraqi leadership? MR. BOUCHER: I think, Frank, that I would just say that we have, all along, made no secret of our views of the regime. The President has very frequently stated that we could have an entirely different and new relationship with the Iraqi people with a different Iraqi regime, and that we thought Saddam Hussein was a real problem. Q The CIA statement pointedly says that Director Gates was not undertaking his mission at the request of the White House. Was he undertaking his mission at the request of the State Department? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I'm aware of. They describe it as a trip of his official business that he had planned for some time. We were certainly aware of the trip. The Secretary talked to him before he left. Q So the Secretary is not getting out ahead of the President on this? Q Richard, will the State Department -- I'm sorry, Ralph. Q Does the U.S. feel that Iraq's level of compliance at this point with either the sanctions or the destruction and inspection regime in place by the U.N.? MR. BOUCHER: I think you've seen recent reports where, for example, Iraq was saying that it would not attend the second round of discussions on its compliance with the oil for food resolution -- 706, 712 -- the resolution that provides the mechanism for food to be brought in -- food and other necessary supplies to be brought in to vulnerable groups in Iraq. You've seen that Iraq, as I think said recently, that they didn't want to carry out the later parts of the inspection resolutions. We have frequently stressed ourselves the necessity of continuing the inspections. In fact, the inspections do continue. There was a chemical and biological weapons team that was just in Iraq. There's a nuclear team that's there now. The Secretary, the President, and others have stressed the importance of continuing this strict and careful process of inspections. Q Richard, on something else -- can I just try this. Q There are reports coming out in Venezuela, after the attempted coup down there, indicate that there was considerable public support for the military. Can you confirm any of that? And do you feel that the government is stronger or weaker as a result of that? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to do a political analysis of foreign opinion in support for specific governments. I think we and other governments around the hemisphere and, indeed, around the world expressed our very strong support for democracy in Venezuela, for President Perez. I think that's been made abundantly clear. Q Richard, is China's answer to the Secretary's inquiries about political prisoners classified? We cannot get in Beijing. We were referred to the State Department. Evidently -- not evidently -- they have responded by categorizing the people they're holding. We've had general statements that they claim they don't hold political prisoners; they just hold criminals. Can we get from the State Department this response on their human rights stand? MR. BOUCHER: I'll see if there's any way I can characterize the Chinese response. Q Specifically, do you have the response from the Chinese on prison labor products? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, I don't have anything new to announce on that. On prison labor? Q Yes. MR. BOUCHER: Sorry, I don't have anything new on prison labor. I just haven't checked. Q Because according to the Secretary they sent a letter which was received a couple of days ago. MR. BOUCHER: Barry wants, "Do we have anything new on prisoners?" You want, "Do we have anything new on prison labor?" And Ralph wants -- Q What the Secretary said was that the Chinese had sent a letter on the Missile Technology Control Regime. Has the analysis of that response been completed? And the Secretary indicated a couple of days ago that if it was satisfactory, certain things would happen. Is it satisfactory? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, I don't have anything new to announce on that. Q Richard, there's criticism in Albania of American interference on behalf of the democratic party, of all parties, in that country, and do you have any comment on these allegations? MR. BOUCHER: I would just say that Albania is expected to hold legislative elections in mid-March. I understand a date hasn't been set. The U.S. Government and its diplomatic representatives will not participate in the campaign or take any partisan stance regarding parties or candidates. As in all cases, these are matters for the Albanian people to decide. We are concerned that the campaign and the voting in Albania be completely free and fair and meet all the CSCE standards. We've made this clear to Albanian officials. We'll continue to monitor the election campaign, and the unfolding of the democratic process in that country. Q I think there are allegations that American diplomats appeared at campaign rallies of the democratic party. MR. BOUCHER: There was a U.S. Embassy official who did attend a democratic party rally in his capacity as a diplomatic observer. That's what we do throughout the world. Like diplomats of other countries in Albania, we would expect to continue to observe rallies and other events held by the various political parties in Albania. Q So he attended and did nothing else? MR. BOUCHER: He attended, and he said a few words in support of democracy is what I understand. Q Ah ha. MR. BOUCHER: We always support democracy. Q Do you have any concerns about the elections in Romania on Sunday? They're holding important elections, their first since '89. MR. BOUCHER: It's not something I had specifically addressed or prepared on, but certainly we believe that all these elections should be free and fair. Q But are you concerned about the possibility that they might not be? MR. BOUCHER: Again, I think we'll have to let the elections happen. I didn't express any -- in the Albanian case, I didn't say they might not be -- I said we were concerned that they do be free and fair, and I think I would say that about any of these cases.

[Haiti: Repatriation Issue]

Q Where does Haitian repatriation stand? MR. BOUCHER: Start with the numbers? Q Well, tell us what's happening? Q And I have a follow-up. MR. BOUCHER: Everything. O.K. There were 508 Haitians -- 250 on one cutter and 258 on another -- who were repatriated from Guantanamo to Haiti yesterday. With the 381 that were repatriated on February 3, this brings the total since the coup repatriated to 1,427. Q That doesn't add up to 1,427. MR. BOUCHER: No, there were others that were repatriated before, right at the beginning. Yesterday's repatriations were orderly. The returnees were able to leave the port without difficulties. They were transported in Red Cross buses to the nearby bus station. The Embassy officials, Haitian Red Cross and OAS official and, I'm told, many members of the press were present. Q I have two questions on that subject: One, does the United States track what happens to these people when they go back? And, secondly, does the United States believe that the Haitian Government has the resources to reabsorb these people? MR. BOUCHER: We monitor the situation with these people through a variety of mechanisms, and I can -- Q Go ahead. MR. BOUCHER: -- give you a rundown on what the combination is. Embassy staff will continue to observe the arrivals of the returned Haitians at the port. The Embassy will be augmented by two officers whose primary responsibility will be to monitor the repatriations. These and other Embassy staff will make trips to other regions of the country where they will be able to monitor the general situation and to look into specific reports, if any, concerning the treatment of returnees. The returnees are also met by the Haitian Red Cross which provides them with a small cash grant to assist with transportation to their homes. There is also an extensive network in Haiti of humanitarian assistance and development organizations. Personnel from these agencies are in regular contact and communication with the Embassy, and they're in a position to report if they learn of any incidents anywhere in the country. We also understand that the International Federal of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies through its assistance programs throughout Haiti will have the opportunity to check on the welfare of the returnees. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent is a coordinating body of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent movements based in Switzerland. It's made up of national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, including the American Red Cross and the Haitian Red Cross. And I would add to that that the OAS has agreed to monitor the repatriation process and is developing a mechanism to do so. As I noted, OAS had a person at the port yesterday. Q Do you have anything on the Haitian Government's role? Are they contributing resources? What are they doing -- MR. BOUCHER: In terms of resources and assistance to the people who are returning, we deal -- or the Haitian Red Cross is the one that does that. I understand that the Haitian Government has had some discussions with the Haitian Red Cross about the need for support for these people. We have previously contributed to the Haitian Red Cross and, should we see a need for additional assistance, I'm sure we would consider that. Q Do you have an early analysis of what's happened? How they're being treated? Q Has the Haitian Government demanded cash from the United States? MR. BOUCHER: That's two things. Q Is it timely to ask you if you've updated your analysis of whether they're subjected to persecution? Are they simply taken back? I mean, here they are on television, saying they don't want to go back, they're going to get killed. MR. BOUCHER: As I believe the Secretary said again yesterday, we have no evidence that people were persecuted for having been sent back. We've said before that there are occasional allegations and stories that our Embassy and others tried to check these out, but to date we haven't had any that do check out. I've described to you an extensive monitoring network of our own people -- our Embassy to be augmented by two people specifically to do this task -- that we will continue to follow up on any of these reports, which indeed would be of serious concern if they were to prove true. Q What about -- State Department spokesman said that the U.S. was "working with Haitian authorities" on the repatriation of these refugees. What form does that take? The U.S. Government hates the Haitian authorities at the moment, and the U.S. has its president over here and wants him to back and stuff. I mean, how do you "work with"? What does that mean? MR. BOUCHER: We discuss practical and logistical arrangements for these returns with the people who are responsible for them in the de facto -- or the regime that's currently in control of the area. That doesn't imply any change of recognition or any acceptance of the government. Q Do those discussions involve any discussions of -- does the U.S. reassert its point of view that the president ought to be restored to power and so on? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure they're very, very aware of the point of view of the United States Government. I'm not sure that we reassert it every time we open our mouth, but I'm sure they're extremely familiar with what our views are based on the frequent comments by the President, the Secretary, our Embassy and even sometimes from this podium. Q Richard, has the Haiti regime asked the United States for $30.00 per head for returning Haitians, or some similar figure? MR. BOUCHER: They had talked about a -- let me see what I've got on this. They had talked, I think, to our people and as well the Haitian authorities have talked to the Red Cross about the amount of money required by the Haitian Red Cross to assist those repatriated to return to their homes. The Haitian Red Cross currently provides a cash grant of approximately $15.00 U.S. per person. As I said before, should the U.S. receive a request for additional funding from the Haitian Red Cross to assist the returnees, we will consider it at that time. Q What happened to these administrative difficulties that caused you to hold up the repatriation -- late Tuesday I think it was? MR. BOUCHER: As we said, we've discussed logistics -- logistical issues, practical arrangements, with the people who are there. For our part, the Coast Guard plans to repatriate Haitians as quickly as possible, taking into account safety and humanitarian considerations, as well as the absorptive ability of the receiving agencies in Haiti. The Haitian authorities had expressed some concern about the logistics and pace of the return and about their ability to receive so many people at once. However, immigration procedures were markedly more streamlined and faster yesterday. The repatriation yesterday, I'm told, was quite orderly. The next repatriation of approximately 200 is expected to take place tomorrow. Q So that, at the current rate, is about 500 a day, is all they can handle? MR. BOUCHER: We'll have to see what the rate is once it gets to be more steady and regular. Q Richard, have you seen the reports that North Korea may not consent to early inspections of its nuclear facilities? MR. BOUCHER: I've seen some reports like that, George. I think you're probably quite familiar with the U.S. position on this. As you know, we had a meeting with the North Koreans on January 22. We reiterated to them that we wanted to see prompt and full implementation by North Korea of an IAEA safeguards agreement, and of the agreement signed between the North and the South on a non-nuclear Korea. Under Secretary Kanter testified on this subject yesterday, and you're probably familiar with the Secretary's comments yesterday that say we've told them that just signing the agreement is not going to be enough as far as we're concerned. Q He told his testimony that not later than -- U.S. is expecting North Korea will ratify the safeguards agreement not later than February 19. Do you give any definite date to North Korea, or you get some assurance that they are going to ratify the agreement until that time? MR. BOUCHER: Who said February 19th? I hadn't seen that anywhere. Q Mr. Kanter yesterday. MR. BOUCHER: He did? He's much more knowledgeable than I am on this subject. Q He hopes -- he said that he hoped that -- MR. BOUCHER: I'd refer you back to him. I'm afraid I can't expand on that. Q Can I ask you a question about the loan guarantee issue? Is the examination of the loan guarantee request nearing its end? Is the United States in a position today to tell the Israeli Ambassador what the situation is -- whether it's going to be a yes, no, what conditions? MR. BOUCHER: Frank, as I remember it, the Israeli Ambassador, when he left the building last time, told you all that he expected to consult with his government and get back to us. As you know, we've begun what the Secretary has called quiet discussions of the issue with the Israeli Ambassador. He said yesterday he was going to talk to the Ambassador again this afternoon, and they'll continue to discuss the issue quietly. Q So you do not anticipate an announcement? MR. BOUCHER: It depends on them. If they decide we have something to say, we'll say it. Q Is the United States going to give Israel the terms and conditions for these housing loan guarantees today? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, as you know, from Margaret's readout of the last meeting, she said that we had -- there was some back and forth discussion. It turned into more than just listening. The Secretary described yesterday our attitude towards it. He also said that he thought the Congressmen would understand if he didn't go into the details in advance of his discussions with the Israeli Government, and I'm sure you'll understand why I don't do the same. Q Richard, a new issue: In Panama, President Endara is denouncing an assassination plot against him. Is the United States concerned about the stability of his government there in Panama? MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't seen that, Mike. It's something I'd have to check on -- that particular statement. Q Could you look into my question, please? MR. BOUCHER: Sure. Sonia. Q This afternoon the Under Secretary is meeting with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister. Can you tell us anything about why, and can we get a readout later? MR. BOUCHER: Well, the first thing I can tell you is I think we got the gentleman's title wrong in our public schedule, for which I apologize. I'm told his correct title is now Ambassador at Large. Ambassador Petrovsky is in Washington on private business. He's making a courtesy call on the Deputy Secretary this afternoon. I wouldn't expect to do a readout of that. Q Could I ask a question on Venezuela again? In the days following the coup, most parties in the country have pointed to the IMF shock therapy measures as one of the precipitating causes for these events. Lech Walesa has made similar statements this week regarding the implementation of those policies with the Jeffrey Sachs' version of them in Poland. My question would be, is the U.S. Government re-evaluating its support for these measures? If not, what level of catastrophe would be require before such a re-evaluation would take place? And, finally, can you point to a country to show to either Poland or Venezuela or anyone else where these measures have actually produced stability or a rise in living standard of the population? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid I'm not an expert on the IMF. You might check with the Treasury Department which I think represents us on the board there. Certainly, we think that economic reforms are most necessary in many, many countries. They're very difficult but necessary steps that have to be taken, and we have a lot of confidence in general in the IMF, and I'm sure there are many examples of successful programs. It's just that I don't have any in my head right now.

[Former Soviet Union: Assistance Update]

Q One more on aid to the former Soviet Union. There have been a number of reports recently of -- not related to the airlift, but related to longer-term shipments of assistance from the U.S., of aid being stuck in various and sundry places in the U.S. with no place to go -- at ports, at railroad depots, and so on. Is the State Department in its role as coordinator of aid to the former Soviet Union doing anything to coordinate the domestic operations to make sure it gets there and gets there in a timely fashion? MR. BOUCHER: As you know, there are a lot of people involved in this effort, and it is being coordinated at the State Department, with Deputy Secretary Eagleburger doing it. So certainly one of our concerns is that things move, and that they get to the people who need them. A lot has moved. I can give you something of a rundown so far, and this is in advance of the flights that will start on Monday. We've made available $3.75 billion in CCC food credit guarantees for the purchase of food by the New Independent States. About $3.1 billion has already been used to buy and to ship over 20 million tons of food. In addition, the Department of Defense excess food stocks have been delivered by U.S. military aircraft to Moscow and St. Petersburg in December; to Yerevan in January. These are three shipments that were valued at $600,000. They consisted of 225 tons of food. Since February 1991, we've delivered over $30 million -- its retail value -- of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to the former Soviet Union, including earlier shipments to the Baltics. Shipments of medical assistance have reached 50 to 60 medical facilities in 30 different cities in the former Soviet Union and the Baltics. Other items worth noting are: That while the separately funded technical assistance program for the former Soviet Union that will amount to more $700 million is just beginning, since October of 1989 we've had several U.S. Government agencies involved in providing training and advice in their respective areas of expertise. There have been several hundred people who have gone on visits and exchanges and technical assistance programs generally. Some of the highlights I remember from last year were three agriculture missions and an energy roundtable. And then in addition to that, we're on the ground setting up the deliveries that will start next week in Operation Provide Hope. So I think it's a fairly long list. Q How much of the 20 million tons of food that you referred to in the CCC credits have actually shipped? MR. BOUCHER: Twenty million tons is the amount that has been bought and shipped. That's $3.1 billion out of $3.75 total guarantees. Q $3.1 billion is to pay for the entire 20 million tons? There's no slippage in either of those two figures? They're a match? Does $3.1 billion pay for 20 million tons which has been shipped, or is there more that hasn't been shipped? MR. BOUCHER: I don't quite understand the question, Bill. Q You say it's been bought and shipped. The question is, is it getting there? Can you say that 20 million tons of food have arrived in the former Soviet Union as a result of that $3.1 billion use? MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check on that. Your question is basically are some of these ships still on the high seas. Q Well, on the high seas, or on the docks, or on pallets at some place at depots, and so on, in the U.S. or en route in European cities, and so on? MR. BOUCHER: I'll try to double-check on that. Q I guess the question is what has been received in the Soviet Union? MR. BOUCHER: I'll double-check on that. Q Would you exclude on the docks? I mean, you know, this came after the Post story -- it came up at the hearing. MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I'm sorry. I don't know the location of exact ships and grains and bags, and things like that. Q I understand that. But doesn't "shipped" mean that it left the United States? Does "ship" mean -- MR. BOUCHER: In the rundown that I got is that $3.1 billion has already been used to buy and ship over 20 million tons of food. Q That doesn't actually mean it's out of town. MR. BOUCHER: I'll try to double-check. You might check with Agriculture as well, whether they have statistics on the amount that is on the high seas versus the amount that has actually arrived. Q Richard, from what I understood, the reports actually referred to the $165 million that the President had announced at the end of last year, and that the food from that had not moved. The Secretary's response was that he was aware that there have been delays, but that things were being done to move this forward. Some of the PVOs who are involved in this say that they still haven't shipped. I spoke to them on the phone, and they said that the stuff is still waiting on the docks; that stuff hasn't moved out of Houston, and it hasn't moved out of New Orleans, and it's waiting to go. MR. BOUCHER: Again, Jan, I don't want to draw myself -- and, if I started it, I'm sorry -- but I don't want to draw myself into trying to identify each particular ship and shipment and everything like that. The point I was trying to make is that there are pieces of the program which are starting. There are pieces of the program that we would like to move faster, but there are many pieces of the program that have already moved. Q I think our concern is that you're very eager to specify how much has been allocated and spent to do this. We're interested in finding out how much has been received and -- MR. BOUCHER: I know, Ralph. The point is that, you know, we've got 20 million tons that are at least shipping, and I'll try to get you more precisely whether that means left the docks, arrived, on the high seas -- if we can break it down that way. We've got flights that have gone in of foods. We've got flights that have gone in of medical supplies. We've got teams that have been out there on technical assistance. We're trying to take some credit for what we've actually done. Q It's not just a question, I think, being raised by the press. President Yeltsin made comments after he left the United States about a week and a half or so ago, and some of us are also trying to draw comparisons with the deployment efforts that were engaged in during the Gulf War which were able to move large amounts of equipment and supplies in very, very short order -- quick order -- to targeted areas. And we're just trying to find out with this stuff. That's all. MR. BOUCHER: I'm trying to tell you what's happening with this stuff, and I'm trying to tell you this is part of a larger program that will continue. We'll move it as fast, as efficiently as possible, and I think frankly the airlift that's starting on Monday is awful impressive. Q On another subject, Richard, did the State Department authorize the release of the cable by Ambassador Gnehm, in which he -- I'm sure you know the cable -- in which he asserts that the atrocity stories are accurate. He defends the testimony of Kuwait's Ambassador. This town was papered yesterday with this cable, and I wondered if the people who are interested in getting this cable out had the State Department's permission? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, nobody that I have talked to about this has authorized the release of that cable at this point. It's something that we'd have to look at. I can give you a rundown of what our Embassy has been able to find out in the months since they have been back. Q Don't bother, Richard. Q No. We all have it. Q It was given to us by a public relations company -- the cable itself. Q I wondered if the government was involved in auto-leaking. You know, self-serving leaks. MR. BOUCHER: Auto-leaking? Q Yes. MR. BOUCHER: Certainly not myself. Not anyone in the Public Affairs Bureau and not anyone else that I have talked to. Q Was there anything concerning -- Q I don't think you did it. I'm just wondering how Gnehm's stout defense of the Kuwaiti regime managed to end up in a PR firm and managed to end up on all our desks? We didn't even have to ask for it. [Laughter] MR. BOUCHER: I don't know, Barry. Nobody faxed it to me. I had to get my copy the usual way. Q I'll give you a copy. Q Richard, though, I mean, is there any concern at the highest levels of this Department that cables, which the State Department repeatedly says are unavailable and classified and are diplomatic communications that can never be seen by the public, suddenly is just in abundance? I mean, is there any effort to try to find out who in this building might have made that available? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know, Carol. You know, this particular cable is -- well, I don't think I can address this particular cable, in fact, because I don't know how it got out, and I don't know who it was that was faxing it all around town. We do occasionally declassify cables. We share information with people on the Hill. We share them with some of the human rights organizations that we cooperate with carefully. So I don't know how this got out. Q Can you tell us -- Q There's no concern about this particular release? I mean, have you -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't want to say there's no concern about it, but I don't want to try to start a witch hunt. Q Did the Ambassador provide the cable to the PR firm? I mean, I know the answer, but could you ask -- could you take the question -- MR. BOUCHER: I haven't heard that. I've never heard that before. Q -- and find out if the Ambassador provided this PR firm with his cable and, you know, with an additional statement regarding, number one, the alleged atrocities; and, number two, this incredible defense of the Kuwaiti royal family and its heroism? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, it doesn't sound like you've actually read the cable -- Q I've read it. MR. BOUCHER: -- if you have a copy of it. Q I've read it. The letter embellishes his letter to Lantos, but that's separate. But the cable does try to take issue with human rights groups who have questioned that incubators were whatever -- and it also attacks the media for what is called distorting the testimony, and mostly defends the Ambassador's daughter as having been in Kuwait at the time. It doesn't say she saw any of these things; it's just that she was in-country. MR. BOUCHER: Barry, again, I don't think you've read the cable. I can give you a rundown of what our Embassy has been able to find out. I don't think that cable or anything else I've seen specifically says that we confirmed those specific allegations that the Ambassador's daughter relayed to the -- in her testimony. It does say that they have talked to a variety of people; that they have talked to firsthand witnesses of such things as burials of babies. They've gotten firsthand accounts of instances where, under the orders of the Iraqi occupation authorities, life supporting equipment was turned off and babies died. And that these are horrible and tragic things that did occur, and that we do believe that there were incidents like this. Q I mean, nobody's questioning whether this happened. It was horrible. But we're questioning the public relations adventures of the Ambassador in Kuwait. MR. BOUCHER: I don't know how the public relations firm might have gotten the cable and might have decided to fax it to all of you. If you know where you got it from, you might ask them. You asked me a specific question: Did our Ambassador in Kuwait provide copies? I will try to find out the answer. Q Richard, can you give us a rundown on the status of the new embassies in the former Soviet Union? How many people are at what locations, and what sort of property is being acquired or not? In some cases, it seems to be just hotel rooms being leased. In other cases, they might be separate buildings. Can we get some information on what's going on there? MR. BOUCHER: I'll see if I can get you some sort of rundown. I believe it's sort of four or five people in each location. I'll have to double-check to see that they're all there at this point. As far as I know, the only areas where we have property -- Moscow, obviously, and Kiev where we have a Consulate -- that the others are working temporarily out of hotels. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:28 p.m.)