US Department of State Daily Briefing #43: Monday, 3/23/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: Mar, 23 19923/23/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, E/C Europe, Southeast Asia, Central America Country: Iraq, Israel, USSR (former), Georgia, Albania, El Salvador, Thailand, Haiti Subject: Military Affairs, Mideast Peace Process, Development/Relief Aid, Arms Control, CSCE, United Nations, Security Assistance and Sales, Nuclear Nonproliferation, Trade/Economics, Terrorism, International Organizations 12:10 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Former Soviet Union: US Aid Update]

MS. TUTWILER: Remember, last Monday, I had said that every Monday we were going to try to give you an update on where we are concerning various and sundry things that Ambassador Armitage is coordinating for us on behalf of our country to the former Soviet Union? I'd like to go through some additional things today. Last Monday, I mentioned to you all the 22,000 tons of DoD excess food and medicine. Refinements are nearly complete on the NATO logistics plan to move this 22,000 tons by surface means. Ambassador Armitage's office is coordinating the movement phase this week with the United States European Command Headquarters in Germany. Then the shipments will be delivered to all 12 republics, including Georgia. Two: Fifty-eight seavans of excess medical consumables located in California are being prepared for shipment to Vladivostok. This includes sutures, surgical gloves, bandages, syringes, needles. Three: We have approved a C5A flight of processed milk from Utah to Armenia, and the air shipments of 80 tons of medicines, medical supplies, and equipment to Kiev for the children of Chernobyl Organization. Other flights for various private voluntary organizations are being arranged for supplies in Indiana, Washington State, and Lacrosse, Wisconsin this week. Four: The Fund for Democracy has shipped 56 seavans of supplies that are enroute to their final destinations. Of that number, 24 are presently at sea. Five: The American Red Cross has received a United States AID grant to develop its supply distribution system throughout the CIS. Inside the CIS, the first 6 months will concentrate on Central Asian republics and selected Russian cities -- Central Siberia and the Ural Mountain region. Six: CARE has been appointed to monitor DoD and USDA agricultural deliveries and provide food security surveillance throughout the CIS. Seven: Comprehensive report of immunization survey is expected by the end of March. Additional health care personnel have joined the team in Alma-Ata, Bishkek, and Tashkent. Ambassador Armitage has authorized ten flights of vaccines once the needs are validated. Eight: All team after-action reports from Operation Provide Hope are being sent to selected Congressional committees, to donor country embassies in Washington, and to private voluntary organizations. These reports will be made available to you -- the media -- once the initial distribution is carried out. Nine: Three energy working group missions will visit major cities in all 12 republics this week and next. Missions will hear views on energy needs and will outline possible projects which might be productive in a short amount of time. Ten: European community in Brussels -- the EC -- is conducting a technical assistance working group meeting this week, March 24-25. The purpose of this meeting is to plan for the Lisbon Conference in May for those nations which attended the January Coordinating Conference here in January. On grain, our latest figures are as follows: Of our $3.75 billion in grain credit guarantees, $3.5 billion has been committed and $3.3 billion worth of grain has been shipped. Of our $165 million in food aid grants, a $144 million has been committed. A total of 83 to 85 thousand tons of grain will be provided under this program. Twenty-four thousand tons have already left the United States. The rest will be shipped by the end of April. Several planeloads have already been delivered in the former Soviet Union. A total of 200 tons will have been delivered by air by the end of this week. The first trains carrying this grain are due to arrive in Armenia today. That's my update. I don't have any other announcements. Q Margaret, the shipment that you mentioned to Georgia, that will be the first shipment to Georgia; is that correct? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q And you've now ascertained that the situation is secure enough so that this is possible? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. They're hoping -- Rich (Armitage) -- I talked to this morning -- does not have a date specific. Hopefully, he will get this done this week. He has, as you know, on instructions from Secretary Baker, been continuing to review the particular security consideration that we had. That appears to have corrected itself. My understanding is, this first shipment will include both food and medicine. Q Margaret, in the briefing back in January, Ambassador Armitage said that one of the concerns about shipping this material overland was security for the material. What's being done to make sure that this doesn't get hijacked or ripped off in some other way, as it goes overland? MS. TUTWILER: That's a very good question that I'll be happy to ask the Ambassador. I didn't think to ask him this morning. As you noticed in one of the announcements I made, several people -- Government people -- are contracting like CARE and the American Red Cross to help set up supply distribution and to monitor how this is done. I don't know if it includes that also, but I'll check. Q Margaret, on Georgia, the EC decided today to recognize the Georgian republic. Germany, France, and the U.K. have already done so. MS. TUTWILER: So did we, on December 25, I believe. Didn't the President recognize it at that time, or was it later? I know the United States has recognized Georgia. It was either in the original December 25, when we recognized all 12. That's when it was. Q I stand corrected. Are you planning to establish diplomatic relations as the EC decided to today? MS. TUTWILER: There is no final decision on that. As you know, Secretary Baker has spoken at length about this, and our policy has not changed since the last time we were in Moscow, I believe, and you all were asking these questions. It's something that he continues to have reviewed at the expert level and for recommendations to be sent forward to him. I have not seen a change yet. Q Margaret, as you know, the CR for the foreign aid runs out in another week. What strategy, or what are you doing in terms of either a further CR or other initiatives, both for aid generally and for getting the aid you need for the CIS? MS. TUTWILER: This is something that I don't have a lot to give you, as we didn't last week. It's still being discussed internally. At a staff level, there have been informal conversations with members of the Hill and with their staffs, and there just simply are no answers for you that I have today. Q Will you have one this week before the expiration -- MS. TUTWILER: When we have one, we'll tell you about it. But it's something -- honestly, I'm not making light of it -- the Department is very engaged in, obviously. It's important to us. The Secretary has spent a fair amount of time on this personally last week. I don't know if he has a meeting scheduled on it today. I haven't seen one. He spent a great deal of time last week -- all of the time that I'm aware of -- in internal meetings in our Department with the various factions that come into play. He has said, as I said last week -- or he has had informal conversations, himself, as we had said, over these many, many weeks, knowing that this could indeed be one of the possibilities of an outcome. It happens to be one, but he has not had any formal meetings as of this briefing with any members of the Hill. Q Margaret, what's your assessment of the CIS meeting this weekend? Are you concerned that they failed to make real progress on their military and economic differences? MS. TUTWILER: It's something, Carol, that we think is, or our assessment is, as concerning START, particularly, they were inconclusive on START -- in relation to START. We are in the process now; we have had some personal briefings. As you know, the President said yesterday in his press conference he had spoken with the President of Ukraine. We had staff there who were in the city, who have had personal debriefs, and we are continuing to assess it, to be honest with you, in all four capitals. Q Do you still think that you can get START ratified this year? MS. TUTWILER: We want to move forward with ratification as quickly as possible, including formal testimony. However, we also want to work out, as quickly as we can, this problem of how the four new states will implement the treaty. That's something that we have been working on at the Secretary's level and other levels, and we will continue to do so. Q Given what happened this weekend, how are you going to do that, and what's your (inaudible) strategy? MS. TUTWILER: What's our next step and mechanisms? That was the subject of a meeting that was held this morning. There were no conclusive decisions reached at that meeting with the Secretary and his top advisors. One of the first things we're all doing is -- various people: Reggie Bartholomew, the Under Secretary, etc. -- is getting a full report, which was just starting to come in today on exactly what we know that transpired. We do know that, as I said, it was inconclusive -- the summit -- in relation to START. We're trying to find out more of what exactly has transpired and assess it and then decide where do you go from there. Q Margaret, has any of the $400 million set aside for helping the Soviets with containment and destruction of their nuclear weapons -- has any of that been spent or have you determined in any way what it's going to be spent on? MS. TUTWILER: The $25 million, we have determined for the Science Center, as you know. I don't know if they have begun spending any of the $375 million that were left. Let me ask somebody, okay? Because I think I heard last week -- I want to be careful here -- I think I had heard that some of those funds had been spent, but let me just check myself, please. Q Margaret, did you see the story in the L.A. Times alleging that three years ago the Administration ignored evidence that the U.S. aid program for Iraq was riddled with bribery and that food intended for hungry Iraqis may have been traded for weapons? MS. TUTWILER: No. I'm sure I should have seen it but I haven't. I heard about one on Friday, but I didn't find time, unfortunately, to read that one. I'm not aware of today's. Q Who is leading the U.S. delegation to Helsinki to the CSCE meeting tomorrow? MS. TUTWILER: The Deputy Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger. Q What's the reason the Secretary himself isn't going? MS. TUTWILER: The Secretary said a number of weeks ago that due to the pressing business here that he was not sure whether he would, indeed, be able to attend. As it turns out, he was unable to attend and he sent the second ranking person of this Department, the Deputy. Q Margaret, back to Iraq. There are reports that Syria is now helping Iraq circumvent the U.N. embargo. Anything on that? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen those reports. I'll be happy to take a look at it, but I hadn't heard that.

[Albania: US Reaction to Elections]

Q Do you have any reaction to the election in Albania? MS. TUTWILER: Albania? Yes. We don't have -- I know I've seen some press reports that have more detail than we have. But our Embassy has not given us yet all of the final assessments and the detail. As you know, the Democratic Party claimed victory. Based on their own estimates, the Democrats believe they have won in excess of 70 percent of the vote. We understand that the voter turnout was heavy. We also understand that there were no serious incidents or violence; and that we, the United States, are encouraged that Albania's next government will accelerate the process of democratic and market reforms. I can tell you that as far as observers that were there, the International Republican Institute organized an observer delegation. The US/CSCE Commission, which you know is our Congressional arm, and the CSCE office for democratic institutions and human rights also observed the elections. Our Ambassador there, and his staff at the Embassy, also went out and covered many polling places around the country. Q Are you pleased that the Socialists appear to have gone down to a humiliating defeat? MS. TUTWILER: We're pleased, based on results that we've seen attributed by Democratic Party factions, that it appears that they are going to continue on their road to democracy and free-market reform.

[Israel: Status of US Relations]

Q Margaret, Israel: Anything new on the declining state of Israeli-American relations? Is the State Department reassessing, or is the Administration reassessing its attitude towards Israel? MS. TUTWILER: No, Connie. Q Any updates you can give on Israeli-American relations? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know that an update is necessary. U.S.-Israeli relations remain as strong as they always have been. There is no change in that. There is no change in the fundamental underlying policy, and, as you know, there is, among good friends, any number of times, disagreements. And friends can agree to disagree agreeably. Q And any report yet from the group checking the Patriot missiles? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Do you still expect to hear this week a report from the group that's over there on the Patriot missile, and can you give us an update on it? MS. TUTWILER: And how will we make it known to you? Q What? MS. TUTWILER: And how will we make it known to you? One, Saul, we said last week that we thought they'd just be there a few days, and we didn't know when they were going to return. My understanding is that they are there today, and I honestly don't know when they're coming back. And I've asked the question that I believe you are asking me which is, how will we impart to you all the findings of their mission, and I don't have an answer for you. Q You still expect to, however. That is, when -- MS. TUTWILER: Share it with you or share it internally? Q Share it with us. MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware that we have said that we would share that finding with you. We said we would share the public portion of the general audit with you -- not the classified annex. Q No, no. This is something different. You said on the I.G., that you would not share -- MS. TUTWILER: No. The public portion we are. Q The public portion. No. I'm talking about the Patriot -- MS. TUTWILER: The Patriot missile? Q -- the Patriot group. MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware that I've said this. Maybe someone else has said that we would make public all their findings. I'm not aware of making that statement. Q Margaret, one more follow-up -- Q I thought you said from this podium that we would learn what their conclusions are. I think you said that two days running. I was asked about that, and I was told you had said it the previous day when I was absent. So I just want to make sure now -- MS. TUTWILER: Well, let's check the record, because I, obviously, can have a memory failure. I don't remember saying that there was a decision that a mission report would be made public. I have asked that question. I know of my own knowledge that there is no decision on how we're going to handle when the mission gets back. So I, obviously, will stand to be corrected. You and I could both go look at the record when we finish. If I've said it, I was obviously in error, because I know there is no such decision. Q There is no such plan yet -- MS. TUTWILER: There is no plan -- Q -- to let us know what the conclusions of their study and the charges leveled against Israel or -- MS. TUTWILER: There is no plan that I'm aware of for this team to come back and simultaneously brief the media/public at the same time that they are briefing the Secretary or the Deputy. After the Deputy and the Secretary are briefed, what, if anything, will be said publicly, I don't know. I can't envision saying nothing, but it will probably not be -- to be perfectly honest -- as much as you would like, because my guess will be this is going to be a highly classified mission and a highly classified report. Q I'm just thinking, to know whether we're going to get the conclusions -- MS. TUTWILER: I understand. I've asked. Q -- whether there is truth to these allegations that have been floating around about Israel. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Margaret, could you tell us when the I.G.'s report is going to be released? Do you have a date yet? MS. TUTWILER: No, because I haven't checked. When we first started this, I said in about two weeks, which would, in my mind, when this started about a week ago, but I'm guessing, maybe the end of this week. But let me ask, because at that time we didn't say definitely. We said that the report might be ready, the public portion, in two weeks, and I think two weeks is the end of this week. So let me just ask them. Q Margaret, would you take a request to have the Inspector General give us a briefing such as Mr. Schifter gave us on the human rights? Since the Inspector General has given an interview, we would like to have a crack at him too. MS. TUTWILER: I saw that he'd given an interview, and I don't know the answer to him giving a briefing prior to a draft document, to my knowledge, unless it went this weekend, and I just -- it's an oversight on my part. I forgot to ask. Q After the publication of the unclassified -- MS. TUTWILER: Oh, after. Sure. I'll ask.

[Thailand: Conditions of US Aid]

Q Will foreign aid to Thailand be unfrozen now that they've held elections? MS. TUTWILER: I do have that, and I can't remember what I learned this morning, so wait a second. Aid: The answer is that we hope to be able to resume assistance with formation of this new government. Section 513 states that assistance may be resumed following a determination that a democratically elected government has taken place. Q Have you now made that determination yet? MS. TUTWILER: No. I believe the elections just happened yesterday on March 22. Q Margaret, do you have a reaction to Iraq's apparent willingness now to make full, final and complete disclosure of their weapons program? For example, do you believe that they are genuinely prepared to do this, or are you skeptical about it? MS. TUTWILER: I would probably put myself down in the skeptical column. Q Can you give us any more details? Can you elaborate a bit further on that? MS. TUTWILER: I would just -- no. Because I'm not sure what is known publicly and what is not, to be honest with you. But I would say that they don't exactly have a steady pattern of follow-through on things that they say they're going to do. This is being, obviously, worked at the IAEA. It is being worked by the U.N. Special Commission, and all of us certainly hope that they do promptly do what they've said they're going to do. They have agreed to resolutions. They have sent letters saying they're going to do these things. Tariq Aziz was just here saying they were going to do them, so we'll see. Q As a follow-up question, has the Special Commission heard back yet from the team that went over, arriving, I believe, on Saturday? MS. TUTWILER: Heard back yet? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: I'm not sure that they've heard back, but you may know that -- I believe it was over the weekend that the Iraqis sent a letter to the Special Commission. I don't have the details of that letter. You'd have to ask them. But there is why I put myself in the skeptical column. Here's another letter after a team arrives and after Tariq Aziz says all these things at the United Nations; then we have another letter that goes. Q Margaret, there was a story over the weekend that the Administration is considering stepping up pressure on Haiti now that the parliament has failed to ratify the proposed agreement to restore democracy. Do you have anything? MS. TUTWILER: I think this falls, George, into trying to have a more effective embargo, and it's my understanding that the OAS is actively looking at ways to make the embargo against Haiti more effective. And I don't know what actions they may take, obviously, along with the United States or not. And in accordance with the agreement signed last month in Washington, the OAS embargo will remain in place until the agreements are ratified; that Prime Minister-designate Theodore is confirmed, and a national consensus government is in place. So that's all I'm aware of that they're currently looking at. Q Margaret, I'm just checking to see if there's anything new on the next round of peace talks -- Arab-Israeli peace talks, and whether you've received yet any suggestions about possible new sites from the Arabs as well as the Israelis? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't checked in a while, Saul, to be honest with you. I know that there is a lot of back and forth right now on a fifth round on venue and timing, and I'm not aware that there is total agreement on that. I'll be happy, though, to check with Ed Djerejian. Q Margaret, what was the nature of that other Iraqi letter, and what do we expect Iraq to do by this Thursday -- the deadline? MS. TUTWILER: There is no deadline, Connie, as I said last week. It was erroneously reported that there was a Security Council deadline of either March 26 in one report and March 29 in another. I said both were not valid. There is no deadline. And as far as the letter, you'd have to ask the U.N. Special Commission. It was sent to them.

[Libya: UN Resolution]

Q Margaret, Chinese officials have said they oppose sanctions on Libya. How does that affect the U.S.-British- French efforts to get a resolution through, and what's your feeling about this hearing that's going to be held at the International Court of Justice? MS. TUTWILER: The United Nations Security Council members are currently consulting on a text of a resolution concerning the Libyan bombings of Pan Am 103 and UTA 772. The resolution would be intended to secure compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 731. As you know, we don't believe that Libya has complied; Libya knows well what they have to do. And right now that's what the state of play is. I'm aware of various Security Council members' views on this second resolution. It's something we're working on. It's my understanding there is no formal meeting, and I believe even no informal meeting today, and people are just working the issue in New York and obviously capitals. As far as the ICJ case, we had announced previously -- I think on March 20 -- that the United States will appear in a preliminary hearing in the International Court of Justice on March 26. This hearing will center on the Libyan request for provisional measures. It's our belief, however, that the resolution is under the United Nations Security Council, not under the International Court of Justice. And under the U.N. Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The Council has already adopted Resolution 731, calling upon Libya to renounce terrorism and to turn over the Libyan officials charged with the Pan Am 103 bombing. Libya's suit cannot interfere with the Council's independent responsibility and authority to deal with threats to international peace and security, including Libyan support for terrorism. Q Are you going to hold off on a vote on the sanctions resolution in New York until this hearing is finished? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard that mentioned, and may I make one other statement of why the United States is going to this court. The United States is appearing to explain why the Court should deny the Libyan request, and I believe we're being represented by our legal counsel, Mr. Williamson. Q Do you have any reaction along these lines to the Arab League vote opposing sanctions against Libya? MS. TUTWILER: The Arab League's statement does not change the facts of our position on Libya.

[El Salvador: US Denies Visa to Joaquin Villalobos]

Q Margaret, on El Salvador, there's a report that an FMLN Commander, Joaquin Villalobos, has been denied a visa to come here for a World Bank meeting. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. That is something that did indeed happen, and the Secretary and others here this morning have asked to have another look at this matter. So I don't have an answer for you other than to confirm yes, that indeed went on, and that we're taking another look at the matter. Q On what grounds was he denied a visa and at what level, since the Secretary wants to take another look? MS. TUTWILER: Since I knew that we're taking another look at this, I don't have all that detail for you. I'll be happy to get it for you. I know the visa was denied. Q But it was not the Secretary's decision. MS. TUTWILER: No. He didn't even know about it. He learned about it this morning. Q Oh, and he wants a review of the decision. MS. TUTWILER: He's asked the Department not to review the decision but to take a look at it. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (The briefing concluded at 12:36 p.m.)