US Department of State Daily Briefing #46 Thursday, 3/26/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: Mar, 26 19923/26/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, Subsaharan Africa, Caribbean Country: Iraq, Israel, USSR (former), Iran, Zaire, Congo, Angola, Russia, Haiti, Turkey, Syria Subject: Military Affairs, Mideast Peace Process, Travel, State Department, Development/Relief Aid, Nuclear Nonproliferation, Regional/Civil Unrest, Trade/Economics 12:19 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I don't have anything. I'll be happy to try to answer any of your questions. Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes, Barry.

[Israel: US Policy on Meeting with Israeli Officials]

Q -- is there some sort of a policy, or at least an admonition, coming from the Secretary's office about who might have contacts with varying visiting Israeli officials? MS. TUTWILER: No. It's absolutely false. There's been a report -- if you're referring to the report concerning the Vice President of the United States -- it is 100 percent, categorically, absolutely false. Q I'm not even sure what the report specifically said. MS. TUTWILER: I am. Q In more general terms, I guess my question is, without, you know, making it necessarily a negative or a positive thing, is there some feeling in the building or some attempt in the building to have only counterparts meet? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q To not have health ministers meet with housing ministers, or whatever? MS. TUTWILER: There's no such policy. I am very familiar with this report this morning. The report specifically deals with a scheduling matter in the Vice President's office. You can check with his office. He meets with Israeli officials all the time. This was nothing more than a scheduling matter. It's just not true. And on the broad general policy of: "Is this some kind of directive from the State Department?" It just doesn't exist. Q I remember there was one case last year regarding the Housing Minister -- MS. TUTWILER: I remember that case.

[Iran: US Condemns Iranian Government's Death Decree of Rushdie]

Q Can we move right along from that. I'd like to ask about the Rushdie case again. MS. TUTWILER: You would? O.K. Q Yes. What do you say to criticisms that the United States is basically not standing up properly for freedom of speech and against state terrorism by refusing to have officials meet with Rushdie? And I note in this context the New York Times' editorial criticizing the "feeble response," in its words. MS. TUTWILER: I, obviously, don't agree with you, nor do I agree, to be honest with you, with the editorial. The United States Government has and continued to -- yesterday from this podium and from the White House podium -- state unequivocally what our policy has been since the first day that this death threat was issued. We have done that consistently. We took the occasion to do it again yesterday. Let me point out that a number of press reports yesterday said -- by unnamed officials -- that the Administration had pressured the Hill not to meet with Mr. Rushdie. It's interesting to note that today on the record many members of Congress are saying that that is not the case. It's interesting to note today what Mr. Rushdie's own -- what they call themselves -- handlers have said on the record. They had not understood this correctly, or maybe they misunderstood, that there is no request to meet us, as I said yesterday, to my knowledge, with the Administration, the Executive Branch. So I think that in fairness to this Administration that we have -- I would be happy again today to state what I stated yesterday: That we condemn unequivocally the death decree and call upon the Government of Iran to rescind both the death threat and the related bounty offers. No country that puts out such decrees can be accepted as part of the civilized community of nations. We have publicly reiterated this position, and the Government of Iran is well aware of our position.

[Zaire/Congo: Eviction of UN Missions for Not Paying Rent/ Expulsion of Diplomats]

Q Could I ask you about some evictions up at the U.N. for failure to pay rent? I understand Zaire and other countries may be involved. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. It's Zaire and the Congo. The Zaire Mission to the United Nations owes a significant sum -- it's over $400,000 -- to a New York realtor for back rent. The U.S. District Court ruled on Tuesday that the Zaireans should be evicted from the premises. Because, George, this is a matter before the courts, I am not going to -- and there's an appeal, it's my understanding, that's already in motion -- I am not going to be able to get into any detail with you on the court matter. I will be happy to ask the lawyers if they will make a further attempt to do so. But I should let you know that the United States and the U.N., in Kinshasa and in New York, have been pressing hard for months the Zaireans to get their financial house in order. The Zairean Mission acknowledges its debts, but has been unable to get money from Kinshasa to pay them. Finally, in the precedent-setting decision, the United States Government has given Zaire thirty days to pay its just debts in New York or face expulsion of two diplomats for an "abuse of privilege of residence" in the United States. The United States has also notified the Congo Mission to the U.N. that it must satisfy its debts in New York or we will expel two diplomats from the Congo Mission. I was unable to get for you this morning the size of the Congo Mission in New York, but the approximate size of the Zairean Mission is seven officers and ten support staff. So on our first quick look this morning, it's about 17 people. Q Does this 30-day deadline apply also to the Congo Mission? MS. TUTWILER: It's my understanding, yes. Q Those are the only two countries affected? MS. TUTWILER: It's the only two countries, you know, as of today. I mean, there may be others that may be getting in this kind of shape, but these are the only two.

[Angola: Reports of Human Rights Abuses by UNITA/ Disappearance of Two Officials]

Q Margaret, on Africa: Do you have anything on UNITA today -- the allegations of human rights abuses and disappearance of the top members? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, I do. Over the years, there have been persistent reports about human rights problems with UNITA. We have included this issue as part of our ongoing dialogue with UNITA officials. We welcome UNITA's apparent decision to begin to address these allegations in an open and public manner. At the same time, we are concerned that this issue not derail the ongoing implementation of the peace accords. The full implementation of the peace accords leading to a democratic election next September represents the best hope for all Angolans for peace, stability and economic recovery. We are confident that both UNITA and the Angolan Government have the capacity and the will to fulfill their commitments. Specifically, Connie, on these two individuals, we are not able to confirm independently that these two prominent and well-known UNITA officials have been killed.* However, recent reports about the deaths of these individuals appear increasingly credible. We have raised the issue of their welfare and whereabouts with UNITA regularly over the past six to eight months and have urged UNITA to address this question forthrightly. We call upon UNITA either to produce these individuals publicly or to provide a detailed explanation of the circumstances surrounding their reported disappearances. Q How will this affect U.S. relations with UNITA? MS. TUTWILER: I've just said that this is something that we have discussed over the years with UNITA -- human rights, etc. -- and that this is something that we have called for through diplomatic channels and publicly for their two individuals to be either shown publicly or for an explanation to be given. --------------------------- * Former UNITA representatives to the U.S. and Portugal, Tito Chingunji and Wilson dos Santos, respectively. ---------------------------

[Iran: More on Salman Rushdie]

Q Can I go back to Salman Rushdie? There was a report that Lee Hamilton, Congressman from Indiana, consulted with the State Department or called the State Department when the invitation was sent to him to meet with Salman Rushdie. Was there such a contact between Mr. Hamilton and the State Department on this issue? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have a Congressional list. We acknowledged yesterday that, as is routinely done in many, many instances and including in this one, Senators and Congressmen call the State Department to ask the State Department's views on a potential request they have. Sometimes they are saying, "We have heard that X, Y, Z is going to be in town. Is that indeed true or not?" I said yesterday that when asked by the Congressional offices, we gave our view. That is quite different, I said yesterday, from telling members not to do something, which I said we did not do. And many members have indeed -- reading the papers briefly this morning -- said on the record that wasn't the case.

[Former Soviet Union:Status of Nuclear Weapons Transfer from Ukraine to Russia]

Q Margaret, a question on Ukraine: A story in the Wall Street Journal today indicates that Ukraine has changed its policy toward continuing to ship Russian -- former Soviet Union nuclear materials back to Russia. Do you know if that change has taken place, in fact? Can you confirm that? And, secondly -- MS. TUTWILER: That shipments are now going? Q No, that a change has taken place and that the shipments have stopped; that Ukraine has decided not to continue shipping them there. MS. TUTWILER: They announced that on March 12 -- the President of Ukraine did. Remember? And he suggested this -- the president -- on March 12, the possibility of seeking to eliminate the remainder of the tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine at a facility to be built in Ukraine specifically for this purpose. The Defense Minister's statement of yesterday that the state had dropped plans to build a nuclear weapon dismantling facility suggests this possibility is no longer being considered. We have urged all parties concerned to meet the July 1 date for withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons to Russia for dismantling, but there has been no announcement that withdrawals have resumed. Q The thrust of the story was that Ukraine was going to keep them and not destroy them -- MS. TUTWILER: I understand that. Q -- so that they continue to be a nuclear power. MS. TUTWILER: I understand that. Q Do you know if that policy is now their operative policy? MS. TUTWILER: I have not seen the Ukraine Government publicly say anything other than they intend to make the July 1 deadline. We're all aware that after the March 20 meeting in Kiev that they were unable to come to agreement on a number of areas. They have all publicly said they're continuing to work this issue and others in the arms control area. We believe that they are. We are in contact with the Ukrainian Government about this, and I don't have anything definitive that I know that has changed their policy and their position on nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Q What's the status of the shipments right now? Are they shipping weapons to Russia, or have shipments stopped? MS. TUTWILER: As I've said, that there has been no announcement since March 12 that withdrawals have resumed. Q And do we know that independently, that withdrawals have not resumed? MS. TUTWILER: We are in very close contact with the Ukrainian Government. This is something that we watch, obviously, very closely -- not only in Ukraine, but in other areas -- and there's just been no announcement by the Ukrainian Government that those withdrawals have resumed. Q Could I follow that up? After the initial announcement that withdrawals were going to be suspended, the United States said again that it was in close contact, and that it had received assurances that the July deadline would be met. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Is that still the case? Do you still feel reassured that this July deadline will be met? MS. TUTWILER: Yes.

[Former Soviet Union: US Ambassadors]

Q Margaret, the President has not yet nominated, I understand, an Ambassador to Ukraine. MS. TUTWILER: Not publicly. Q No. MS. TUTWILER: There's one that's there, but he hasn't been publicly announced by the White House. Q An Ambassador is actually there? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q He's not there yet. MS. TUTWILER: No. There's one that's -- it's in the system, it's in the paperwork. It just hasn't been announced. Q I understand that. My question is who's in charge there at the moment, and how many diplomats does the United States have in Kiev? MS. TUTWILER: I think the last time I asked, somewhere between five and ten. We said when we opened all these missions -- as you know, we're the first of any country in the world to do so in all of these countries; we're now in 11 -- and by April 15, we'll be in all 12 -- this will be in Georgia. Our Charge, who was our Consular Officer there -- Mr. Gundersen -- was named the charge, and he is there on the ground actively working. Q And is it a matter of urgency to actually name the individual whose name has been -- MS. TUTWILER: Urgency? Q Yes. And to get him there -- to get the hearings done, to get him confirmed, and to get him out there. What's holding things up? MS. TUTWILER: Mr. Gundersen is a very capable senior Foreign Service Officer, Alan. The United States is represented there in the Ukraine. We have been, in fact, prior to the coup. We had a Consular Office there, which, I think, has three to five people. So I can't characterize it as "urgent" that you have a different individual with a different title. After all, the United States is there. Having said that, this Department has moved with lightning speed to get people recommended to the White House, White House approval, and get this paperwork, as you say, up to the Hill for the confirmation proceedings -- not only on the Ukraine but on all of these areas. Q Do you have a target date to get this particular one up to the Hill? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have a -- that's not how it works, to be honest with you. You don't give the White House a target date. The White House is working on the same assumptions that we are. We want to get these gentlemen and potentially women announced. They have to have their -- as you know, it is law -- an FBI full investigation. Those things take time. But, again, whether your Ambassador gets there or not, we are right now on the ground with Foreign Service Officers in 11 of the Republics. In approximately two and a half weeks, we will have United States' presence on the ground in the 12th and final one -- Georgia. We've had a number of missions, as you know, by Ambassador Salgo. We have identified space. We have now in many instances permanent Embassy space. As you know, many places they were operating on a temporary basis out of hotels. So I'm not sure that I think we could have, to be honest with you, moved any faster. Q Is anybody putting a hold on any of the names that you'd suggested to the Hill? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I've heard of. I haven't checked, but I haven't heard of a single hold. So that I'm totally, literally, correct with you, that they have not identified, Alan, for every one of these, who the State Department's recommendation to the White House will be. Over half have been. Q Are you waiting to do these as a package? MS. TUTWILER: No. We're really not. They're in clearance. Q You prefer to do them individually? MS. TUTWILER: I mean, they're going to handle them as they handle all Ambassadors to countries. I'm not aware of a package approach. I've never heard that. Different people are in different clearance processes right now -- just the normal routine steps you have to go through in order to have your papers sent forward from the White House to the Hill. Q Is part of what's holding it up the agrement of the U.S. Government to the Ambassadors from these new states? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware there's a hold-up. I mean, maybe you know something I don't know, but I'm not aware there's any kind of hold-up. There's not a hold on the Hill, that I know of. I'm not aware of a hold-up here. It's just -- look at what -- you know, rightly or wrongly, the amount of time it takes for a person who occupies my job or an Ambassador's job to get through the system with all of the various hundreds of things -- financial disclosure statements, FBI investigations, State Department security investigations. I mean, it's just, you know, a lot of paperwork. And I have said we're moving these through. Even choosing them -- there's a whole layer of steps you go through in choosing individuals for ambassadorial posts. We're moving, for the State Department, under normal routine times, at lightning speed.

[Former Soviet Union: Travel Advisories]

Q Margaret, one of the other things that the State Department has done with lightning speed after installing the Embassies in these places is issue a flurry of updated travel advisories -- MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q -- about virtually all of the former republics. MS. TUTWILER: That's right. Q Are those advisories in keeping with the Administration's desire to increase U.S. investment and business opportunities in these former republics -- republics of the former Soviet Union? MS. TUTWILER: What these advisories are are exactly what they are -- advisories. And, if you read them -- which we have thoroughly done, and it has gone through a vetting process here, as you can imagine -- that you will note that it is informative for either an American businessman or an American traveler. To know, for instance, Ralph -- you just went through a number of these with us -- the water situation, currency situations, electricity situations. There are, as we all acknowledge -- take Nagorno-Karabakh. There is a legitimate reason to warn Americans about that particular region. So there are specific little areas. But, having said that, I will tell you that also Deputy Secretary Eagleburger is right now conducting a review of the entire program of travel warnings, travel advisories, to make sure that we have the best possible system, which the object of is to warn Americans. And there is an active, right now, review of how -- the criteria used for whether it's a warning or an advisory, etc. So I take your question very well. It has already been anticipated by the Department. We are looking at it. But until you've finished your thorough review and don't have another system in place, we have an obligation to Americans who do call in -- the public -- to say, "Could you please tell us whether it's safe to go to so and so, or what is the situation in X, Y, Z country." So that's where we are. Q I guess the thrust of my question really was intended to sort of illustrate -- you keep talking about how quickly the U.S. has moved to represent itself in these places, but then virtually the first thing it does is put up yellow flags to stick with the caution thing, and they say, "Hey, don't come over here right now. You can't get medical care. You'll be a day away from U.S. Embassy assistance. There's no good food and water. There's problems with pickpocketing and theft and all that." MS. TUTWILER: We knew all that and we went. And we have an obligation -- Q Well, it's a little different for the U.S. Secretary of State when he goes -- MS. TUTWILER: All of you all asked many of those similar questions that American citizens will ask. And so versus taking 64 hours to call them back and figure it out -- Q I'm talking about the political and diplomatic impact of it, not -- MS. TUTWILER: I know exactly what you're talking about, and I think you're going to find that this building is going to move at lightning speed in this review process that Deputy Secretary Eagleburger is currently working on to look at this particular situation, so that we are ensured that our warnings -- when we put out warnings -- are very, very, you know, credible. I think, for instance, right now you have over 90 countries that have advisories that are currently up. So I don't think that commerce and tourism has come to a screeching halt because of these 90 advisories. So it's something that a number of individuals here, at very senior levels, are taking a very active look at. A A follow-up on that. You mentioned Nagorno-Karabakh. But the travel advisories issued yesterday don't include Azerbaijan or Armenia -- MS. TUTWILER: They're probably coming. I think only nine got out yesterday. Q There's no special reason for why those three were not included? MS. TUTWILER: I'd chalk it up to the bureaucracy. They're coming. Believe me. Q Little less than lightening speed, Margaret? [Laughter]. MS. TUTWILER: A little less than lightening. They'll be around the corner soon. Q If you have a ticket for Nagorno-Karabakh, hold off for a day or two until the advisory comes out. [Laughter]. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Wait for that advisory. Q Margaret, back to the Ambassador for one second. MS. TUTWILER: Which Ambassador? Where are we -- the Ukraine? Q Yes. Has the State Department and the White House -- you speak for the State Department -- consulted with Ukrainian-Americans in this appointment? MS. TUTWILER: Ukrainian-Americans? That's not normally how it's done. Q Americans of Ukrainian origin or descent? MS. TUTWILER: I can't speak to whether we have or have not. I'm not familiar that any ambassadorial appointments, to be honest with you, are vetted with particularly interested groups here in America. I don't know. I'm answering honestly, I don't know. If someone's done that, I don't know. I can't talk about the individual the White House has not yet announced. Q Nobody has mentioned his name? I haven't mentioned his name. MS. TUTWILER: That's right, and I appreciate that. The White House, I'm sure, is moving with lightening speed to get him announced, and I'm sure that Boyden's (Gray) office is moving fast. Q You're alarming some of us with all this talk of lightening speed. I don't know if we'll be able -- MS. TUTWILER: We're trying. Q -- to keep up with the pace of it. MS. TUTWILER: It's a big building. Q Can I go back on another area? MS. TUTWILER: Yes.

[Iraq: UN Inspectors Report Missiles Destruction]

Q Do you have any comment on the United Nations report that Iraq destroyed Scuds and other things? MS. TUTWILER: I have some new information, if I can find it. Wait a second. Yes. The U.N. Special Commission has announced that the ballistic missile team now in Iraq witnessed the start of the destruction of Iraq's ballistic missile and production facilities on March 25. The team verified the complete destruction of some of the nine items that the Iraqi authorities had refused to destroy during the previous inspection. Destruction and verification activities are scheduled to continue. Q If I can take you to another area, which is close by -- Q Can I just follow up on that question? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q You said some of the items on the list -- MS. TUTWILER: Some of the nine items. Q Some of the nine items. What's the status of that? Do we anticipate that the rest of them will be destroyed, or has there been a problem with the rest? Why was it only some of the items? Do you know? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. Maybe the U.N. Special Commission could tell you. I did say that our current information is that destruction and verification activities are scheduled to continue.

[Israel: Reported Transfer of US Patroit Technology/ US Team/Investigation]

Q Israeli paper said that the U.S. team -- investigation team -- finished its work of investigating -- MS. TUTWILER: Patriots? Q Yeah. MS. TUTWILER: I envision that that team will be back sometime this weekend. Q And Mr. Harrop, the U.S. Ambassador in Tel Aviv made several statements to Israeli newspapers, Israeli television, and this morning on ABC reflecting and possibly, if you might say, a thaw in the tension, or whatever, or retreat from the strident position which has been mutual between the United States and Israel in the last few weeks. Do you have anything to offer? It looks like there is some compromise coming out in the making. The Israelis might ask for an official apology from the United States. Do you have anything to add to -- MS. TUTWILER: I do not having anything official that the Israelis would ask the United States for an apology. I have briefly scanned this morning what the Ambassador had to say. I believe it's an interview on Israeli television. And I believe if you read it closely, you will see that it was in the first person of what his recommendations would be. As I've stated here before, our view on this is, the United States Government did not do this. Someone, we've characterized as an irresponsible leaker, did. That person is the person who owes an apology to us and to Israel. Q And if I might continue on this. Sherman Funk, who is the Inspector of the State Department, he was interviewed last week in one of the weekly newspapers here. He said almost, in a variable degree of statements, that there are serial numbers and other things of the report that he's planning to put out, or the State Department will put out. Can you address what Mr. Funk has said in public? MS. TUTWILER: No. I've heard that he gave such an interview. I haven't read it. We don't have any comment prior to the public release of this report, which I said yesterday. The latest word I have from Mr. Funk's office is that he was looking towards a release for the end of the month. In my mind, that's Tuesday, March 31. But in fairness to him, he has not specifically told me March 31, so I don't have a time yet for it to be released. Q How will the world know what the result of the Patriot team's investigation is? You seem to foreshadow it just now when you said that an individual in the Department owes an apology -- MS. TUTWILER: No, I didn't say the "Department." If I did, I didn't mean to. Q An individual in the government owes the United States Government and Israel an apology. Does that mean that the government has concluded, prior to the return of the team, that there was no truth to the report? MS. TUTWILER: No, that's not my intention. Q In what way does anyone owe anybody an apology? MS. TUTWILER: The question came at me, there have been reports -- or I believe he didn't use the word "reports." There are claims that the Israeli Government was seeking an official apology from the United States Government. I responded by saying, I have not officially seen that. I'm not aware of an official Israeli Government request for such an apology. However, our view of an apology, in light of what our Ambassador last night said on Israeli TV, which he was speaking in the first person, I stated what our views would be on an "apology." That's why I believe there is no Israeli Government request for a United States Government apology. The United States Government didn't do this. Q But the question still stands: You said somebody owed an apology. If someone -- if, in your view -- MS. TUTWILER: If you're going to go the apology route, which is what started all this line of questioning, it isn't the United States Government. We didn't do this, which we've said numbers of times. If anybody owes anybody an apology, when this is all concluded, in my mind, you'll never see one because we'll never know who leaked this -- either one person or several individuals; I have no earthly idea -- the leakers are the people who caused all of this who owe the apologies, in our view. Q The status of things now is that the United States Government does not know whether the allegations are true or false of that technology -- MS. TUTWILER: The team's not back. Q -- transfer, is that correct? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, the team is not back. Q So the United States Government doesn't know whether the allegations are true or false? MS. TUTWILER: The United States Government team has not returned. What I answered new today was the team is coming back -- Q That doesn't answer the question. MS. TUTWILER: How can I know their conclusions when they're still there working? Q As you frequently point out, there are plenty of methods of communication between the U.S. Government officials -- MS. TUTWILER: Right. But I'm not going to do this piecemeal. Sure. Have our experts been in touch -- keep in mind, this is a two-department, at least that I'm aware of, team; 17 people. Am I going to sit here and say that our experts have not been in contact with those experts? Of course, they have. But until the team returns with the team's conclusions or findings, or whatever they're going to call it, no, I'm not going to do anything piecemeal. Q Are you precluding the possibility that maybe the Israeli Government owes the United States an apology? MS. TUTWILER: I don't think the Israeli Government owes the United States Government an apology. Q If it's violating its contractual obligations, it would seem to. MS. TUTWILER: We're going to wait for the team to get back this weekend. I have said everyday, I think, from this podium for five days that at that time we will have something to say. I have said I do not know how this team report is coming back in here; if it's coming back in here classified, if it's coming back in here in written form, who it's going to in this Department -- I do not have the answer for you on what it is that we will be saying. I have said we are going to be saying something. My guess would be now, since we have an arrival time back here -- sometime this weekend -- probably Monday or Tuesday. But I don't know if they're getting back at midnight Sunday night. Q There have been a few reports lately in the American press saying that Israel's strategic value to the United States has diminished, mainly as a result of the end of the Cold War. What is your position about it? Is there, in fact, a diminishing of Israel's strategic value to the States? MS. TUTWILER: I answered that earlier this week. Our policy, our relationship, our friendship, etc., has not diminished with the Government of Israel. The President of the United States has articulated that, the Secretary of State has, I have, hundreds of officials in this government have. I've read various, to be honest with you, people's opinions that have been written. That's fine. It's a free country here. But we have stated over and over again what our relationship is with Israel. It has not changed. Q I'm not asking about the relationship, though. I'm asking about the strategic value? MS. TUTWILER: What? Q The strategic value. Has the strategic value diminished; not the relationship or the friendship? Only the strategic value of Israel. MS. TUTWILER: Our commitment to Israel and Israel's security has not changed. Q That doesn't answer the question, though. MS. TUTWILER: That's how I'm going to continue to answer it. Our relationship with Israel is built on many, many factors and it is, as you know, an unbelievably close, unshakeable relationship between two nations that is built on many, many factors. Q Margaret, how is the work going on a new -- MS. TUTWILER: How is the what? Q How is the work going on a new resolution against Libya? MS. TUTWILER: Libya? Q Is it near completion? MS. TUTWILER: Well, the President of the Security Council has indicated that the Council may vote on Friday, which is tomorrow. Q Does he have all the pieces in place now? All the sanctions, apart from the Libyan Airlines embargo? MS. TUTWILER: You know I'm kind of reluctant to do predictions. It's something that we are still working on. This is what the President of the Security Council has said. As you know, you've covered this a lot longer than I have. Sometimes U.N. deadlines slip. So I don't know if they'll, indeed, do this tomorrow or not. But it is something that we have not let go of. Contrary to reports earlier this week that somehow there was a stall or delay, we haven't been. Q I haven't heard of that. MS. TUTWILER: I have. Q Are you able to deal with a possible provision asking for the expulsion of Libyan diplomats all over the world? MS. TUTWILER: All over the world? Q Well, in various places. MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard that. Q On the same topic, Margaret. Can you comment on reports out of the World Court that Libya has offered now to turn those suspects over to the United Nations? MS. TUTWILER: I think there's one report this morning that I saw on a wire copy to that effect. To be honest with you, what is this? -- about the sixth or seventh various scenario we've seen over the last several weeks, many of which don't bear fruit. We don't put anymore credence in this one than the other ones.

[Turkey: Reported Turkish Air Strikes on PKK]

Q Margaret, can I follow up on your statement yesterday on the Kurds, the Turkish Kurds, and your condemnation of the PKK? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Your commendation of Turkey for its restraint: Are you still as delighted with Turkish restraint today as you were yesterday, given as they've now bombed targets in Iraq and there are reports that innocent Iraqi Kurds have been affected? MS. TUTWILER: Our policy hasn't changed since yesterday, Alan. This is not the first time, as you're aware, that there have been air strikes. I don't know what else you would like me to tell you. The policy just has not changed. It's my understanding that Turkish forces have entered northern Iraq over the past several months to pursue PKK guerrillas who have engaged in terrorist operations in southeastern Turkey. The Turks have also carried out air strikes against PKK camps in an effort to forestall future terrorist acts. We have consistently expressed our condemnation of terrorist groups like the PKK, and our hope that Turkish cross-border operations against them would be concluded quickly and avoid the death or injury of innocent civilians. Q Margaret, in other places when terrorist actions are followed by air strikes, you usually refer to it: "A regrettable cycle of violence." Would that be an apt characteristic in this case? MS. TUTWILER: If you want to put that characterization on it. The one that I'm most familiar with, where we use the "regrettable cycle of violence," to be honest with you, is in an area where this has gone on for decades. I'm not sure -- maybe it's the lack of knowledge on my part -- that air strikes and this type of thing have been going on for decades. Q Would it be accurate for us to say that -- since you said the policy hasn't changed since yesterday -- the U.S., today, still says that it welcomes the Turkish restraint, the words you used yesterday? MS. TUTWILER: You can go check the record. I don't believe those are the words that I have used. I'll be happy to -- Q Whatever words you used yesterday are still operative today; is that correct? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q About Turkey? MS. TUTWILER: The policy has not changed overnight. Q Margaret, the PKK is headquartered in the Bekaa Valley, which is under Syrian control. Have you raised their headquartering and the patronage that they receive -- MS. TUTWILER: I assume that we have. Q -- there with your friends in Damascus? MS. TUTWILER: I didn't ask this morning. Q In the same topic. Germany has suspended military aid to Turkey on the grounds that it's equipment was used in these operations, as fellow NATO member. Do you have any reaction to that? MS. TUTWILER: Do I have a reaction to it? No. Q Can I go back to Ambassador Harrop's statement? I was a little bit concerned or puzzled over the statement that the figure gave of U.S. aid to Israel -- I think he said -- at one time he said $4 billion and then he said $4.3 billion. How did he come out with this figure? I understand it's $3 billion a year. MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. Q And last but not least, the Israelis, according to reports today, said that they would like to ask the United States to give them a copy of the report of the investigative team? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen that. I do not know, as I've told you, how this will be concluded at the end. I don't know. Q Could you possibly look into that statement of Ambassador Harrop -- how did he come up with this figure? MS. TUTWILER: We'll take a look at it. Q A couple of other topics. Have you resolved the question of the timing and location of the next session of the Middle East peace talks yet? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q And have you -- does the Administration think that it should go forward with a separate bill requesting aid to the former Soviet Union -- of Congress -- at this time? MS. TUTWILER: I can't answer that for you at this time. Q How soon will that question be answerable? MS. TUTWILER: When the Secretary of State concludes his deliberations that he is working on, he's been working on all week, and when we have something to announce, we'll announce it. Q And what about the same sort of question regarding peacekeeping funding to the U.N.? MS. TUTWILER: The peacekeeping is tied up all in the same package. Q On Haiti, do you -- can you confirm that the -- Washington Post report this morning -- that the United States is against the use of any kind of military force, blockade or otherwise, in the current situation? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen that report this morning, but the President has addressed himself to that in the past. I would just -- I'm not aware of a change since the last time he enunicated our views on that. Q It's a State Department source. MS. TUTWILER: There are 8,000 people who work in this building. Q Has any U.S. diplomats discussed with their Syrian counterparts this apparent deal they're getting ready to strike with Iraq to transport oil out of that country? MS. TUTWILER: We have no information to substantiate the media reports that we saw this morning. We are looking into it. Part of that report, I believe, if you read the same one I did, said that they were considering opening two border posts with Iraq. We understand from Syrian officials that they're border with Iraq remains closed as it has been for many years. Q Have we discussed the situation now or in the past? MS. TUTWILER: Borders or oil? Q In the past, either borders or oil, with Syrian diplomats? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding is this border situation must somehow be garbled, because they've had closed for years. On the report of this oil, I don't know if it's been discussed in the past. Obviously, it was probably discussed when we were putting together the United Nations resolutions. Since then, I haven't had a reason to ask, so I don't know. But we saw this report this morning, and we're looking into it. Q Can we go back to Libya? MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry, I didn't -- this gentleman has been trying-- Q Back to the Ukraine -- MS. TUTWILER: Ukraine? Q -- nuclear weapons. (Inaudible) also reported today that the U.S. is starting to establish an international group -- a monitoring group -- to monitor the dismantling of the nuclear weapons on Russian soil. Is that idea floating here? MS. TUTWILER: There are a number of ideas that are being explored. I would refer you to public testimony this afternoon by Retired Major General William Burns who has just come back and concluded our delegation of experts that I believe numbered at one time 67 experts in eight different sub-groups. They were over there, I believe, two or three weeks. He has testimony this afternoon. Obviously, in any of the various areas and sub-groups that he is discussing various proposals, many things get raised. But I'm not aware of any decision along those lines. Q Go back to Libya, please? MS. TUTWILER: Libya? Q Yes. Regarding the sanctions which might be imposed tomorrow in Libya, has there been any thinking how to spare neighboring countries from the adverse effects of these sanctions -- countries like Egypt, like Tunisia, which are very friendly with the United States, which has also been trying to help the United States in this crisis? MS. TUTWILER: We are very sensitive to, should this resolution pass, not only neighbors but other countries where this will have a definite economic impact. I would say that in our conversations that the other countries, without naming them, are aware of our sensitivities and yet they are still telling us that they are supporting this resolution. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (Press briefing concluded at 12:58 p.m.)