US Department of State Daily Briefing #49: Tuesday, 3/31/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Mar, 31 19923/31/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, East Asia, E/C Europe, Europe, Subsaharan Africa Country: Iraq, Israel, USSR (former), Zaire, Libya, China, Croatia, Serbia-Montenegro, Turkey, Germany, Spain Subject: Military Affairs, Mideast Peace Process, Development/Relief Aid, Regional/Civil Unrest, State Department, Human Rights, Terrorism, Arms Control 12:29 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Middle East Peace Process: Multilateral Talks]

MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm sorry for the delay in the start. At the beginning, I thought I would answer one of your questions from yesterday and give you a little more information. We were asked yesterday about the dates for the Arms Control and Security Working Group under the multilateral peace talks. In checking into it, we found that we think we're in a position to tell you when we expect the other meetings to be as well. So I'm going to run down the list for you, first, with the proviso that other than the Arms Control and Security Group, the other meetings will hosted by other nations and it will be up them to put out the final details and schedule. We expect them to do that. This provides some more definition to what was decided in January in Moscow. Our consultations with the others have produced the following tentative schedule. The working group on arms control and regional security is scheduled to meet here in Washington from May 11-13. The working group on economic development will meet in Brussels from May 11-13. The working group on refugees will meet in Ottawa from May 13-15. The working group on water will meet in Vienna from May 12-14. The working group on the environment will meet in Tokyo the week of May 18. Letters have not yet been sent out, as far as I know, on these specific events. So we will withhold, I think, further details on that until the time approaches. We also -- we expect there to be a steering group meeting scheduled in Lisbon in late May or early June. Q There are two questions that come with that kind of announcement. First is: Do you have expectations that the Palestinians and Syrians will drop -- and Lebanon -- will end their boycott of multilateral discussions? And, secondly: Did you follow through on what was said in Moscow that you would set new terms for attendance? You wouldn't be bound by the terms of the bilateral negotiations as it was put in its last form: that Palestinians from outside the territories, etc., in Jerusalem, could come to the refugees thing, the economic thing, and some others, is the way it was put at that point. MR. BOUCHER: The terms for participation -- the view of the United States -- remains the view that the Secretary expressed in Moscow. As I said, the letters have not gone out on these specific meetings. We're still six weeks away, so I'm not going to be able to provide you with any more detail on the actual representation and participation. Q Still, would you try to vamp a few words whether, by loosening the terms, you hope to seduce the Palestinians and the Syrians to drop their boycott? The Lebanese, of course, would trail along if the Syrians -- MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I will not try to "vamp" a few words on that. I'm sorry. The terms for participation, as the views of the United States Government, remain the views that the Secretary expressed in Moscow, and I can get those for you. Q No, I have them. Q I know you said the letters haven't gone out yet. Is there anything you can say about the scope of the invitees. It's obviously beyond the core group that's participating in the bilaterals. Is it beyond the group that was, for example, invited to the Moscow session? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think there's much more I can say at this point that provides any more definition to it. You're aware of the wide range of participants that were there in Moscow. And the fact that the meetings were open to others to participate is appropriate. So we'll just have to get closer to the time and see who is -- Q Can you say whether the U.S. has received any requests or suggestions from nations that may not have participated in Moscow that now have said, "Hey, don't forget to send us a letter when the time comes." MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I could say that at this point. Q At what level will these discussions be? MR. BOUCHER: More or less along the lines of that second day in Moscow. The sub-ministerial people and some experts were there on the second day when the working groups actually met in Moscow. It would be more or less along the same lines this time. Q I'm afraid I didn't follow your answer to Ralph. Are the same people who were invited to Moscow -- whether or not they attended or not -- still eligible to be invited to these meetings? I assume they are. MR. BOUCHER: Of course, Barry. But what more -- Ralph's question, I thought, was what other participants -- Q What you might add on. MR. BOUCHER: -- do you expect? At this point, I'm not in a position to do that. That will have to be worked out as the time approaches.

[Libya: Update on Developments/UN Vote on Sanctions]

Q Can we move onto Libya? There are suggestions that the Libyans are no longer allowing foreigners to leave the country. MR. BOUCHER: The British Government has reported that some foreigners are experiencing difficulties in obtaining exit visas from the Libyan authorities. At this point, we have no reports of Americans experiencing such difficulties. We would remind Americans in Libya that the U.S. passports are not valid for travel to Libya and that they should depart. Of course, we would view with concern any moves by Libya to impede the free travel of foreign workers. We've talked to the British Government and to others, and we'll be consulting further with other governments regarding the situation. Q Did any Americans attempt to leave? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I don't have that kind of detail for you at this point. As you know, we don't have a post there so it's difficult for us to track. But based on the information available to us, we're not aware that Americans have encountered difficulties. Q I know but that's a huge -- if nobody applied, of course, they wouldn't have experienced difficulties. MR. BOUCHER: Well, that's right, Barry. I'm afraid I can't -- Q I'm sorry, it doesn't give us a notion of how the Libyans are treating Americans these days. MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think you do have reports from other governments -- the British Government, in particular -- that their people and some other foreigners have encountered difficulties. We don't yet have any reports like that about Americans. I would expect that some Americans have tried to leave, although I'm not in a position to give you any numbers. Q Richard, since your estimates last week of 500 to 1,000 Americans, do you have any more information on the numbers or the nature of the people who were there? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. Q Can you review the law on passports? The United States does give waivers to some people to be there; is that correct? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. It's in the travel advisory. I don't have it handy with me, but there are some specific categories of people, including journalists, who can get waivers -- and for humanitarian cases. I'm not aware -- I think those waivers have actually been few and far between, and the vast majority of the five hundred to a thousand Americans who would be in Libya would not be there with any sort of passport waiver or any sort of valid passport, in our view. Q Richard, I wonder if -- Q Was there any communication between the U.S. and the Libyan Government on this subject in recent days? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I've heard of, Ralph. Q Richard, would you address the remarks made by the Libyan Ambassador this morning which suggest that this resolution has been set up as a prelude for attacks -- military attacks -- against Libyan cities? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid I didn't see the remarks by the Libyan Ambassador. Is this at the U.N. session that's currently going on now? Q In a (inaudible) sense, could you address the question of whether or not it is the intent of this resolution to make it possible for the United States to launch military strikes against Libya? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure that Ambassador Pickering will be addressing remarks made at the U.N. Security Council in his remarks up there. The U.N. Security Council has continued -- is meeting now and is continuing to meet on the subject. I think the only thing I would say about the intent of the resolution is that the intent of the resolution is to address the means by which Libya has supported terrorism and carried out attacks such as the one on Pan Am 103. Q But you wouldn't deny that this resolution would provide at least some kind of a legal framework for an attack if you should decide to launch one? MR. BOUCHER: The resolution is intended to gain Libyan compliance with the terms of the previous resolution on the subject -- Resolution 731. And, as I said, it's intended, in its sanctions, to address the means by which Libya has carried out its terrorist activities. Q Is this not the day to get at least the conclusions of the Patriot mission team? MR. BOUCHER: No, it's not the day, Barry. Q Does that mean tomorrow might be the day? Q One more on Libya. MR. BOUCHER: One more on Libya. Q Would you comment on the column by Mr. Rosenthal of the New York Times suggesting that Libya was not the only one involved in the terrorist attack on Pan Am 103? MR. BOUCHER: We don't really comment on columnists. I'd remind you that's a subject we have addressed in the past, and we've described, I think, very clearly the evidence that was developed during the course of the investigation -- the possibilities that others were involved; the fact that the evidence increasingly pointed directly towards Libya; how we reached those conclusions, and we've always said that if anybody has other information, we'll be happy to have it so we can look into it. Q Richard, I think the last time around you gave absolution -- not you; maybe even the Secretary -- gave absolution to Syria, which had been suspected for a long time? MR. BOUCHER: We said that the evidence in this case had pointed to Libya and that there was no evidence that Syria had been involved in this particular attack. Q Richard, can you comment on Qadhafi's offer to meet with President Bush in Washington? MR. BOUCHER: I think the White House has probably addressed it already. But we just basically see that whatever it is, it's a sort of third-hand news report by the time I saw it this morning. But any such proposal, I think, would just have to be seen as another attempt to delay the process and would not contribute in any meaningful way to Libya's compliance with the U.N. Security Council resolutions. Q So they made no offer to -- literally, no offer to the U.S. Government to do that? MR. BOUCHER: All I've seen is the press report. Q Richard, do you have anything -- MR. BOUCHER: Barrie asked about the Patriot first. Q No, actually, this is before the Patriot, if I may. Still on Libya. I understand the resolution does talk about tangible evidence to indicate that they are giving up support for terrorism. I was wondering if you had anything there that might give us a sense of what that would have to be, in terms of their compliance with the resolution? MR. BOUCHER: Again, I think it's better -- right now, as the U.N. Security Council is discussing this for the specific terms of this resolution to be discussed -- Q I think they've agreed they're just about to vote on it. But anyway -- MR. BOUCHER: They had not voted at the time I came down here. I think that's better discussed by our people at the U.N. in New York. Q I thought of one more thing to ask on Libya. I forget who stands in for the U.S. in Libya. But has the U.S. asked them to do anything on behalf of Americans, based on the British problem, for instance? MR. BOUCHER: The Belgians are our protecting power in Libya. At this point, I really don't have anything further on them.

[China: Human Rights/US Inquiry into Goods Produced by Prison Labor]

Q Richard, there are reports that three protesters were beaten outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Do you have anything? MR. BOUCHER: George, there have been two incidents that I'm aware of that took place on separate days. These were in early March. Guards of the People's Armed Police, which is the organization that mans boxes and stations in front of diplomatic establishments in Beijing, took two Chinese citizens, on separate days, into their guard box. The guards used considerable force with the Chinese people, and the persons entering the U.S. Embassy Chancery heard screams from within the guard box. The Chinese citizens were taken off in the custody of other People's Police guards. We've raised these incidents with Chinese officials. We've stressed that we consider the use of force -- whatever the reason, in this case -- to have been excessive and that we believe that we were owed an explanation by the Chinese authorities. To date, we've received no information which would shed light on the intentions of the two Chinese citizens, nor from the Chinese authorities on the reasons for the harsh treatment that was meted out by the Chinese guards. We'll continue to pursue a response from the Chinese authorities. Q Has the U.S. requested the guard protection at the Embassy in Beijing? MR. BOUCHER: I'd have to check on that, Ralph. It has always been there. Q In some countries -- MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure we ever requested it at some point in the past. Q Do we have the option to refuse? MR. BOUCHER: It's not on our premises. It's outside the gate, essentially, on Chinese turf. So I'm not sure the question has ever arisen of our requesting it, but I'll check. Q There are some places where -- notably, the former Soviet Union -- where the United States used to complain from time to time about diplomatic security personnel outside U.S. Embassies preventing citizens of the country from coming to visit the U.S. Embassy. Has that been a problem -- aside from these two incidents that you mentioned in Beijing recently? It was for a while, for example, after the Tiananmen Square massacre. MR. BOUCHER: I'm told that certainly in the case of attacks like this that they are not common; that we don't know of many incidents like this. These are the only two that I had a report on today. I'd have to check if there have been other sort of general interference. As you know, our view is generally the only that you expressed. We expect protection from host countries for our embassies, in terms of the security, but we don't want people to interfere with legitimate visitors and people that we may have business with. Q Are you saying that two Chinese citizens, on each of these two occasions, were subjected to these attacks? MR. BOUCHER: No. I think it's two people on separate days. So one each. Q One each? MR. BOUCHER: One each on each occasion. Q Were they protesters? MR. BOUCHER: We don't really know. We don't have any reason to believe that they were seeking visas or assistance like that because this was at the Chancery, in front of the main embassy compound and not in front of the compound which houses the consular section. But we really don't have any more information on what their intentions were. Q And these were both separate days in early March? MR. BOUCHER: That's right.

[Israel: IG Report on Report Transfer of US Patriot Technology]

Q You were going to talk about Patriots and IG reports? MR. BOUCHER: Barrie was asking me where we stand on the Patriot report. Yesterday, as Margaret said he would, the Deputy Secretary met with Sandy Martel, the head of the team. We expect that the Deputy Secretary will receive the final written report today for review, and he will then send it on to the Secretary. As Margaret said yesterday, after we've looked at the report, we will have something to say, but that will be later this week. Q And how about the IG report? MR. BOUCHER: The IG report: Late yesterday, the Inspector General's audit of the defense trade controls function was sent to Deputy Secretary Eagleburger. Sometime today we expect the Deputy Secretary will send it on to the Secretary for the Secretary's information. We expect that the Inspector General will shortly arrange for copies to be sent to the Hill. Perhaps that will be tomorrow. And shortly after it goes to the Hill, we expect to release the public portion. We just put it out in the Press Office the way we do with other reports that we send up to the Congress. Of course, we've said that at that point, after the public portion is public, we'll be prepared to answer your questions on that portion. Q Richard, there are reports -- sorry -- from Yugoslavia that Secretary Baker is proposing some sort of summit between the Croatian and Serbian leaders. Can you comment on that? MR. BOUCHER: We heard those reports and had some time to check around. We have not made any such proposal. As you know, we've strongly supported the efforts of the European community and Lord Carrington and the U.N. Secretary General and Cyrus Vance to make arrangements to work on a political settlement to the disputes there, and we continue to support those efforts. Q Richard, do you have anything to confirm reports of Iraqi military attacks on Kurdish areas? MR. BOUCHER: The situation in northern Iraq is as follows: Iraqi forces have reinforced their positions in the vicinity of Kirkuk and Mosul over the past few weeks. They've also shelled Kurdish positions around the Aski Kalak Bridge. We have no confirmation of Iraqi violations of the no fly zone. We're actively pursuing reports of continuing Iraqi military and economic repression against the people in northern Iraq. As you know, United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 prohibits repressive actions by the Iraqi Government against its citizens. At this point, we characterize the situation as one of continued troop movements and skirmishing between Iraqi forces and the Kurds. I wouldn't characterize it at this point as a major offensive. We understand from the U.N. that they have moved some 400 Kurdish-Iraqi citizens from around the area of that specific bridge. There was a figure, I think, in the press of some 40,000, but that's off the mark. Q (Inaudible) moved the 400 away from the area of the bridge; is that what you -- MR. BOUCHER: Away from the area of the bridge where the shelling was occurring. Q They moved them into the area within Iraqi control or into the -- did they move them north or south? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure they moved -- Q Richard. MR. BOUCHER: -- them north. Q North. MR. BOUCHER: In the same kind of circumstances that they're currently in. This is -- Q You said "reinforced." You know, there was at least one report of -- I don't now what -- four or five divisions. Do you have any notion of the proportions of this reinforcement? Is it massive or -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any characterization of it at this point, Barry. Q Richard, you said there had been no confirmation of reports of violations of the no fly zone. Do you mean that the United States and its allies have checked that out and don't have any violations, or you don't have the information that enables you to decide whether there have been any violations or not? In other words, should we rely on reports from the ground to look at that? MR. BOUCHER: Well, I mean, to the extent that reports from the ground may be more detailed and more up to date, you can rely on the reports from the ground. But from particularly our forces and our people in the area, I would say that we have no confirmed reports of Iraqi violations of the no fly zone. And that's particularly, as you know, the area above the 36th parallel where there should be -- that's off-limits to Iraqi planes and helicopters. And then separate from that or within that northern area, there's also the security zone, which is the zone right closer to the border. It's a smaller area formed by the triangle of the towns of Zakho, Dohuk and Amadiyah. That's where no Iraqi forces may enter. Q And there are no violations of that either, you're saying? MR. BOUCHER: That's right. Q And do you have any characterization, if you will, of the amount of flying that's going on? Are they coming right up to the 36th [parallel] and backing off, or is there just not a lot of air activity there or -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any characterization of that, no. Q Richard, is there insufficient evidence at this point to conclude that a violation of the cease-fire terms has occurred? MR. BOUCHER: I think what I would say is that we have no documented instances of Iraqi military forces violating either the security zone or the no fly zone. Q Do you have reports of that that you're attempting to confirm? MR. BOUCHER: We have people in the area who follow these things very closely, and we continue to follow these things closely. I think I'd just put it more in that direction than what you're saying at this point. We've looked at the situation. We have no documented instances of where there have been violations of either the no fly zone or of the security area. That we are, of course, concerned about any Iraqi actions against its own citizens, concerns that we have expressed in the past on our own and which are expressed in U.N. Security Council 688; and, therefore, it's something that we watch carefully, and we keep under continuing close scrutiny. Q And the shelling that's occurred doesn't fit the definition of repression? MR. BOUCHER: I don't want to minimize the importance of the shelling, and certainly for the people who live in the area who may have been dislocated or even hurt because of this shelling, it's certainly tragic and serious. In terms of sort of a massive offensive by the Iraqis, no, I wouldn't say that. Q And these are all conventional types of shelling? You have no reports of chemical weapons? MR. BOUCHER: As far as I know, yes.

[Turkey: Review of Situation with the Kurds]

Q On the subject of Kurds, does the State Department take any view about the Turkish attacks on Kurdish settlements in their areas? MR. BOUCHER: We've discussed this situation before, Jim. Let me try to do two or three things to sort of review it and try to separate out the general situation as regards Kurds and their rights versus the PKK, which we see as a terrorist organization which needs to be countered. I'd say our views on human rights in Turkey are thoroughly documented in this year's Human Rights Report. If you look at that report, you'll see that we've encouraged the Turkish Government to continue its efforts to improve its human rights record and to ensure that all of its citizens are treated with respect. We've told the Turks that the fight against terrorism cannot be allowed to abrogate its responsibilities to protect the human rights of all its citizens. Prime Minister Demirel has made it clear that improving human rights practices in Turkey is a high priority for his government. Over the past year, some restrictions on Kurdish political and cultural expression have been lifted, and we look forward to further progress in the future. I'd contrast that with the activities of the PKK. Some months ago, the PKK announced that it intended to launch a major campaign against the Turkish state around the time of the Kurdish New Year celebrations. Turkish authorities increased the number of security forces in the southeast in anticipation of violent incidents and carried out pre-emptive measures, including raids on suspected PKK bases in northern Iraq. We regret that, in fact, violence did occur. We believe the PKK must be held responsible for its acts. Q "Pre-emptive measures" means bombing raids, doesn't it? MR. BOUCHER: Bombing raids into -- Q O.K. I just didn't know if that was something other than that. Q Have you all given any discussion to whether these air strikes are legitimate national defense? MR. BOUCHER: I've just given you our view of the situation. I don't really have any further characterization at this point. I'm not sure that we're required to make a formal determination like that, but this is our view of the situation -- that they were responding to the threat from a terrorist group. Q Coming back for just a second to the Kurds and the Iraqis, in some parts of the world you comment when efforts to hold elections are somehow interfered with. Does the U.S. think that the Iraqi actions at this time are in any way targeted at indications that the Kurds may be trying to hold elections in late April? MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't heard those two things linked, and that's about as much as I can say, I guess.

[Zaire: Review of US Policy]

Q Richard, on Africa, there was a story that Zaireans blame the United States for their problems because of the Mobutu -- our support for Mobutu. Do you have any comment on that? MR. BOUCHER: There are a number of things going on in Zaire right now, and I think the best thing is maybe to review what U.S. policy is. We've strongly supported the reconvening of the National Conference. President Mobutu has now announced that that will reconvene on April 6, and we, obviously, welcome that announcement. What's important to us now is that the conference be allowed to conclude concrete steps leading to a national dialogue, formation of an acceptable transition government, a new constitution and free and fair elections. There has been -- I think you've seen reports as I have -- some reports of anti-American sentiment. I think we have tried to make the views of the United States Government known and to make them very clear. We've supported a transition to democracy and free elections. We've supported the need to change the -- put the economy firmly in the hands of the democratically-elected government, an independent government. We think that President Mobutu's mismanagement of the economy has been a major source of Zaire's current troubles, and so we have supported steps that would lead them out of those troubles by moving towards a democratically-elected and independent government that can manage the economy the way it should be. Q Richard, back on Iraq just for a second, have you said whether the United States wants to maintain the security zone after it expires in a couple of months? Has a decision been made on that? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware of any statements that we've made on that at this point, Mark. It's a couple of months away now. Q Any more on Zaire that you wanted to contribute? MR. BOUCHER: Do you have any other questions on Zaire? Q Actually, I want to go to UNITA. Anything new on the UNITA situation today? Have you had any reply? MR. BOUCHER: No. There hasn't been a reply. Q Back on Zaire, wasn't there a meeting involving Assistant Secretary Cohen and the Belgians and the French on the question of Zaire recently? If so, do you have anything on that meeting? MR. BOUCHER: How recently? There was one a couple of days ago, right? Q Two days ago, three days ago. MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check on that. I don't have anything on that specific meeting. Q Coming back for just a second to the Inspector General's report, has the Secretary indicated whether -- has the Secretary indicated before receiving the Inspector General's report whether he intends to review the operations of the office that handles technology transfers upon receiving it and intends to set up any kind of review to see whether it needs to be reorganized, or anything of that sort? Has he shown any interest in this subject prior to receiving the report? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, the Secretary -- yes, he's showed interest in this subject. Yes, he's aware of the process, and he understands the progress of the report. The Inspector General's report, as they generally are, will come to him for his information. The Inspector General, in the preparation of reports like this, usually comes up with some recommendations about improvements that might be made or changes that might be made, and then it's incumbent upon the Bureau itself where it's responsible for the area that the recommendation concerns or for others in the Department to see if they can make those changes, if they can make those improvements. So that's generally the process with an Inspector General's report, and I think it would be premature to say exactly how that process will work until we've seen the results of the -- Q Could we find out whether the recommendations would be in the public report, or are they going to be classified as well? MR. BOUCHER: We'll just have to see, Barrie. Q All of what you said is certainly true, of course, but that was also true the last time this office was reviewed by the Inspector General, which was at the beginning of the Bush-Baker Administration. And one would assume that after that process had completed, that recommendations would have been implemented, and that things would have been fixed up. I guess I ask the question, because it looks -- at least to me any way, at this point before receiving the report -- as though the process didn't work the last time and required another review and another set of recommendations. MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I think it's very premature to jump to a conclusion like that, certainly, since we're a day or two away of actually seeing what results and recommendations the Inspector General might have come up with. But it would be unfair to jump to that sort of conclusion at this point. I'm sure the Inspector General, in doing this audit, has looked at the previous recommendations that he might have made, and we may or may not see something on how they've been carried out. Q On another subject: It appears that the exodus of Haitians has surged again. Do you have any recent numbers or -- MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't, Jim. I don't have any new numbers.

[Former Soviet Union: US Aid Package]

Q And can you tell us anything about Secretary Baker's or this Department's consultation with members of Congress on the subject of the Administration's aid to the former Soviet Union package? MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't at this point, Ralph. I don't have anything different to say. I don't have anything different to say than what Margaret said yesterday. Q So is it accurate, then, today to say that Baker has not been involved in any consultations on this package as Margaret said yesterday? MR. BOUCHER: I think what Margaret said yesterday is that he's, obviously, had discussions. He hasn't had any formal meetings or consultations on this particular thing. Q That's still operative? MR. BOUCHER: That's still operative. Yes.

[Germany: Possible Extradition of Polish Officials]

Q Richard, do you have anything on possible extradition of some Polish Government officials who were arrested trying to sell arms to the Iraqis? I think they're being held in Germany. MR. BOUCHER: It sounds interesting, but, no, I don't. I'll have to look into it. Q Richard, I just wanted to clarify something on multilaterals. You have nothing to say on whether Palestinians from the Diaspora could join the talks on refugees? MR. BOUCHER: On the question of "could," the question of "could" was addressed in Moscow by the Secretary, and he gave our policy on the participation of Palestinians from the Diaspora. That remains the operative policy. I'm not in a position at this point to tell you how it will work out -- whether they actually will or not. Q Is there any relationship that -- what's the status of the International Court case on Libya at this point? Is it under advisement? I just don't know. I'm sorry. MR. BOUCHER: I believe they concluded the oral arguments with the -- on Saturday; that the Court would be expected to issue some sort of preliminary indication or decision within a few weeks, and that a final decision could take as long as a year.

[Spain: Impact of Arrests of ETA Terrorists on Olympic Games]

Q Richard, the French police arrested Sunday the leader of the ETA, the Basque guerrilla organization. The Government of Spain is saying that this arrest diminishes the threat of a possible terrorist attack during the Olympics in Barcelona and also during the World Exhibition in Seville. Do you agree with this assessment, and in which way is the U.S. Government cooperating with the Government of Spain regarding the terrorist threat to the Olympics and the Exhibition? MR. BOUCHER: That's something I'll have to look into. I haven't seen any U.S. Government assessment at this point of the situation. I mean, obviously, we support the efforts that they've made in fighting against terrorism. Q Put it in the category of "pre-emptive measures." MR. BOUCHER: Well, it sounds like an arrest to me, but we'll look at it and find a proper word. Q Richard, is the Inspector General going to possibly be available to us? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, my understanding is that he has -- you know, that we'll make copies of the report available, and then we'll answer questions on the public portion. Q Richard, on the CR, is the Secretary involved in any consultations on that subject today? Is he going to be on the Hill by any chance? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if he's going to be on the Hill. I didn't look at his schedule to see that. He's had some discussions of the continuing resolution, and we've continued to have meetings and discussions of it with people on the Hill at staff level and through our Bureau of Legislative Affairs. Q I mean, how hard is the State Department pushing to try to get this legislation through? MR. BOUCHER: Well, you know from the Secretary's testimony that we have some important legislative priorities. We have some important things that we believe we need to be able to do. Obviously, we're interested in seeing continuing funding for our foreign aid programs and seeing funding for many of the important new responsibilities that we have. We've been in discussions with the Hill on the continuing resolution. This date has been out there for a long time. We've had various discussions. Q Have you been able to rally Republican support behind it, though? MR. BOUCHER: I don't want to attempt to count any votes or describe support. A lot of that's going on on the Hill, and I'll just have to see how it works out. Q What would happen if the continuing resolution were not passed? Would that mean an automatic cut-off of AID funds? MR. BOUCHER: Oh, that's hypothetical at this point, Jim. I don't know the details of how exactly to describe it. Q Well, put it in non-hypothetical terms: Are AID funds dependent on passage of a continuing resolution? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know exactly what categories and accounts this continuing resolution covers. I know generally it's a continuing resolution for foreign aid programs. I assume that that includes AID, but I don't know exactly. You'd have to look at the language in the text. Q One more just on the IG -- MR. BOUCHER: I'll see if we have it, if I can get that. Q Just on the IG once again: From the point of view of its relationship -- that office's relationship to the Public Affairs Bureau in the State Department, I presume that if the Inspector General wanted to make himself available, he is independently able to make that decision. The Public Affairs Bureau of the State Department doesn't make those decisions for the Inspector General, does it? MR. BOUCHER: The Inspector General is independent. Yes. Q So you really can't speak to the question of whether the Inspector General will be available or not. MR. BOUCHER: I've described the -- obviously, in all these things where we're talking about the Inspector General's report and his activities, that's information that comes to us from the Inspector General, and he's kind enough to inform us of what we can say and what his views are. If you want to call him up, go ahead and do so. He's independent. At this point our plan is that we will provide you with copies of his report, and that we'll try to answer your questions on the public portion. Q And this podium would be available to him if he chose to use it, would it not? Or would it be denied to him? Would he have to find some place else to talk about it if he wished to do so? MR. BOUCHER: He can have the podium if he wants it, Ralph. Q The State Department issues invitation for the IG -- MR. BOUCHER: No. That's not what I said. [Laughter] Q One last question: Do you have anything on the resignations of Ambassador Black or Ambassador Zappala in Spain? MR. BOUCHER: Nope. Q Richard, regarding the Ambassador of Spain, they're saying that journalist Richard Capen is going to be -- the President is intending to name Richard Capen who works for the Miami Herald and the UPI as new Ambassador to Spain. MR. BOUCHER: I wasn't aware that there were any reports about this, so I have to start off by saying I'm totally unfamiliar with the situation. Any appointments and nominations of new Ambassadors would come out of the White House and not from here. And if any Ambassadors have anything to say on their intentions, then we try to make that available from here. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:05 p.m.)