US Department of State Daily Briefing #23: Wednesday, 2/12/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Feb, 12 19922/12/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Caribbean, South Asia, South America Country: Libya, Israel, Pakistan, Haiti, Peru, Albania, Iraq Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Terrorism, United Nations, Cultural Exchange, State Department, Regional/Civil Unrest 12:41 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Sorry I'm a little late today. I don't have any announcements or statements, so I'd be glad to take your questions.

[Libya: Non-Compliance with UN Resolutions]

Q Do you have anything new on Libya today? The Libyans are saying they're cooperating with the U.N. resolution, and there are also reports that Libya's armed forces are preparing for a possible attack. MR. BOUCHER: Let me deal with each of those questions separately, if I can. I think you're probably aware that the Secretary General circulated a report in New York on his conversations up there. For our part, we think it's clear that Libya is seeking to confuse the issue and remains unwilling to comply in any meaningful way with the resolution adopted by the Council on January 21. Libya has not turned over promptly the persons accused of the bombings for trial. Libya has not disclosed all it knows of the crimes. Libya has not paid appropriate compensation, and Libya has not taken concrete action to end its support for terrorism. We'll be consulting with other members of the Security Council about next steps. There are some reports this morning, as George referred to, about military movements within Libya. As with the situation we had yesterday in regard to Iraq, I'm afraid I'm not in a position to comment on reports that are alleged to have come from intelligence sources. As we've said before, Libya is well aware of the demands made by the U.S., the United Kingdom and France on November 27 and endorsed by the Security Council Resolution 731. We fully expect Libya to comply with those demands. If Libya fails to comply, as we've said before, we consider all options open. Q There are reports that these people are not dead. They haven't been executed. Do you have anything on that? MR. BOUCHER: There was a report like that yesterday. I've seen various people -- a Libyan and I think a lawyer -- quoted in wire reports to say that those reports were not correct. As we've said yesterday, we have no information to confirm the reports. As for why they might be coming out now, I'd suggest you'd have to ask the Libyan Government about that. Q Are you interested to ask of the Libyans to show the two accused? MR. BOUCHER: We're interested in seeing these people appear in the courts for a fair trial. Q Richard, would we like for the Libyans to think that we're going to attack -- be it as it may whether we will or not -- but would we like for them to believe that? MR. BOUCHER: Carl, I'm not here in order to like the Libyans to believe something. I'm here to tell you what the facts are, and these are the facts. Q Is that a fact? MR. BOUCHER: The facts are what I said. Q Richard, do you have any response to comments attributed to Yasser Arafat, saying that it was the Jews' fault that Habash was hounded out of France, and that he would retaliate against them? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any particular response to Yasser Arafat. Remarks like this are clearly outrageous. Comments like this can only be described as disparaging and obnoxious. Q Do you think that this could affect the peace process? MR. BOUCHER: It has no relationship to the peace process. Racist and hateful rhetoric have no place in the peace process. Q About the peace process --

[Pakistan: Violence in Kashmir]

Q Do you have anything on the Kashmir situation? MR. BOUCHER: The reporting that we have indicates that a group of marchers from Pakistan has been blocked in their attempt to reach the line of control. Between three and six people have reportedly been shot in a confrontation with police at a barricade, but we have no confirmation of those numbers. As of this morning, our official reporting said the Indian side was quiet, but I've just seen some press reports that may indicate some confrontations there. We support the efforts that Pakistan and India are making to control the situation and avoid confrontation although we regret the loss of life resulting from this incident. We continue to believe that the problem of Kashmir must be resolved through negotiations, not through confrontation. Q The peace process: You put out the statement today about where you suggested the 24th of February for resumption of the bilaterals, but you haven't heard from everybody yet. Can you tell us who you've heard from and who you haven't heard from? MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't, John. Q Why not? You've done that in the past. MR. BOUCHER: I'll leave it for them to describe their views. I'm not in a position to do that right now. I'm sorry. Q Have you heard from almost everybody? MR. BOUCHER: I don't want to try to characterize it, Bill.

[Haiti: Legal Status of Repatriation]

Q I understand the Supreme Court has given you until Friday to respond to the allegations that Haitians are being tortured and other such things. Is your response to the court going to be what you read us the other day or do you have some additional information? MR. BOUCHER: Our response to the court is going to be what the Justice Department says on our behalf in the court, and I'll have to leave it to them to make the response. As far as I understand the situation, there is no current bar on repatriations and we are proceeding with the repatriations. I can give you some new numbers, if you're interested. Today, there are 513 Haitians that are due to be repatriated from Guantanamo. This will bring the total of Haitians repatriated since the coup to 2,650. Further repatriations are expected to take place tomorrow and Friday. As for pickups, there are no new pickups. That leaves the total number of Haitians picked up since the coup at 15,419, and the number of boats interdicted in the 11 days since the Supreme Court decision is 8 boats with a total of 389 people.

[Peru: Bomb Damages Residence of US Ambassador]

Q On Peru. Last night, there was an attack on the residence of the U.S. Ambassador in which two people were killed. Do you have any comments or observations? MR. BOUCHER: There was a bomb that's estimated to contain from 40 to 50 kilograms of dynamite that exploded yesterday evening at 6:50 p.m. outside the wall of the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Lima. Three Peruvian policemen were killed; two more were injured. The bomb destroyed over 30 feet of the residence wall and severely damaged windows, window frames, and property inside the residence. No one inside the residence was injured. Ambassador and Mrs. Quainton were away from the residence at the time. The bomb had also damaged windows in a building across the street from the residence which houses the British and Israeli Embassies and private businesses. No person or group has taken responsibility for this bombing. We deplore this violent attack and extend our condolences to the families of the innocent Peruvians who were killed. Q Richard, in Algeria, there was firing heard not far from the American Embassy. Do you have any comment on that? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't have any particular comment on that. We've been following the reports closely and keep the situation there under review.

[Iraq: Reported Fighting in South]

Q Richard, do you have any independent confirmation of fighting in the south of Iraq? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything with me today. I'm trying to think -- didn't we -- I think we said something about such fighting a week or so ago. I'll double-check and see if there's anything new. Q Do you think the reports today are new fighting or would it be -- MR. BOUCHER: I haven't seen the reports today. I'll have to check. Q Richard, do you have a reaction to the new Russian proposals for arms control made in Geneva by Mr. Kozyrev today? MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to leave any reaction to Russian proposals to the Secretary who is headed that way. Q Thank you. MR. BOUCHER: Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 12:49 p.m.)