US Department of State Daily Briefing #54: Wednesday, 4/8/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: Apr, 8 19924/8/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia Country: Israel, USSR (former), Moldova, Ukraine, Peru, Iran, India, Angola, Thailand, France, Iraq Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Development/Relief Aid, Arms Control, Nuclear Nonproliferation, Regional/Civil Unrest, Human Rights, Immigration, Military Affairs 12:05 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I have a housekeeping matter. I have a statement I'd like to read on Moldova. I was asked, I believe by you, John, yesterday -- and I know Terry -- a question concerning our overall view of the situation in Latin America. I obviously did not have at my fingertips a full explanation for you. I have now spent time with Bernie Aronson this morning, and do; and then I'll be happy to answer questions on, I'm sure, other subjects. Housekeeping: On Thursday, April 9, 1992, which is tomorrow, Secretary Baker will testify before the full Senate Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Senator Pell. The hearing will be held in Room 4l9 of the Dirksen Senate Office building and will begin at 10:00 a.m. The Secretary will testify on the Freedom Support Act. And, as you know, there will be no State Department briefing.

[Former Soviet Union: US Supports Cease-Fire in Moldova]

On Moldova: The Foreign Ministers of Moldova, Russia, Romania, and Ukraine concluded a meeting on April 6, calling for an immediate and comprehensive cease-fire in the Dniester region of Moldova. The United States strongly supports the cease-fire agreement and urges all parties to respect it. The Foreign Ministers' declaration calls for the disengagement of armed groups involved in the conflict along the Dniester river and the demilitarization of the area. It opposes military intervention by outside forces and bars the distribution of weapons to combatants and civilians in the area. The United States supports the appeal for a peaceful, political settlement of the conflict which will ensure the territorial integrity of Moldova, while enhancing the responsibility of local government authorities. Th United States urges a peaceful resolution of the conflict in accordance with CSCE principles. We welcome the creation of a commission of representatives of Moldova, Russia, Romania and Ukraine to monitor compliance with the cease-fire and the disbanding of armed groups. We will continue to watch events in the region closely.

[Latin America: US Efforts to Foster Democracy and Economic Growth]

On Latin America, generally, which I believe, John, addresses, hopefully, part of your question yesterday. As I said, I didn't have all the facts with me. When this Administration took office, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, and Chile were dictatorships. All have successfully moved toward democracy. The war in El Salvador has been ended through negotiations, as has the war in Nicaragua. For the first time in a decade, Latin America, as a whole, is growing economically. Net capital flows to the region are positive. Under the Brady plan and the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative, commercial or bilateral debt has been reduced or forgiven in Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guyana, and Chile. So we think the Administration's record is a very good one. Having said that, it is also true that democracy remains fragile and threatened in many parts of the hemisphere. That is why, in our view, it is very important for the United States to remain engaged in the hemisphere. Frankly, we are disappointed that Congress has been unable to be more supportive. We asked for $246 million in authority to forgive over $1 billion in debt in the hemisphere in the continuing resolution that just passed. Unfortunately, not a penny was provided. The President remains committed to a North American Free Trade Agreement. Negotiations continue. But, again, unfortunately, some in Congress do not support this effort. As for levels of aid, we would obviously like to do more in many parts of the world, including Latin America. Nevertheless, despite budget limits, we had allocated, as I stated yesterday, $275 million in aid for Peru for Fiscal Year 1992. The United States is feeding one out of every seven Peruvians today. We proposed, and the Congress passed, the Andean Trade Preference Initiative which would provide duty-free access for 15 percent of Peru's products. We still are optimistic about democracy in this hemisphere but recent events in Peru, as well as those in Haiti and Venezuela, demonstrate that democracy remains embattled. We must remain engaged, and we must work through the OAS and other means to defend democracy when it is threatened.

[Peru: Situation Update]

I would like to also give you an overall situation update in Peru, specifically, that we have for today. Some detainees have been released and have appeared on television and in the press. However, the Presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies and other political leaders remain under arrest. There are reports that some lawyers, who have represented Shining Path insurgents were taken into custody. We welcome the release yesterday of Mr. Gorriti, which followed Assistant Secretary Aronson's calls to the Foreign Minister, the Interior Minister, and the Defense Minister. There has been some movement to reduce restrictions on the press. Troops have been removed from media offices. Newspapers and magazines are publishing again, and one radio station remains off the air. The Peruvian Institute of Prisons has been dissolved. The army has taken control of the prisons. Some Shining Path leaders have been moved from prisons into a temporary holding facility in the Palace of Justice. There are reports that troops have gone into several prisons to conduct searches. These searches apparently took place without serious incident. Peru's Foreign Minister told the diplomatic corps in Lima that the government is planning a plebiscite in several weeks on the question of constitutional reform. He also said detainees will be released in the near future. I was asked yesterday about former President Garcia. I said yesterday that we did not know his whereabouts. We still do not today. Q Margaret, on another subject. MS. TUTWILER: Sure.

[PLO: Yasser Arafat's Downed Plane/US Role in Location]

Q Yasser Arafat: Can you tell us, please, what the PLO asked the State Department to do in finding Arafat, and what were you able to do and, I guess, what were you unable to do? MS. TUTWILER: Okay. Contrary to various press reports, we were not involved in any effort to help locate the plane. I have seen it reported in various reports that we used a weather satellite. That is not true. I have seen the reports that we used other types of satellites. That is not true. I have seen other reports that said we somehow did some kind of overflights or used aircraft. None of the above is true. No U.S. official had direct contact with the PLO nor with the Libyan Government. Late yesterday evening, Mrs. Hanan Ashrawi called Assistant Secretary Djerejian to inform us of the press report that the airplane carrying PLO Chairman Arafat and 11 other passengers had disappeared in southeast Libya. During the night, we were in touch with our embassies in Cairo and Tunis to ascertain the facts. We learned early this morning from Western diplomatic sources and from Hanan that the plane and Mr. Arafat had been found. Q Were we preparing to help them with satellites or reconnaissance aircraft, or whatever, -- MS. TUTWILER: No. Q -- when he was found? We weren't preparing to help them with -- MS. TUTWILER: Not that I have any knowledge of. I have done, to the best of my ability, a thorough check of this this morning in light of all these various reports. Q Jimmy Carter did not contact the White House? MS. TUTWILER: The White House has spoken to that this morning. President Carter, it's my understanding, called the Situation Room at the White House last night. It is my understanding, he did not request to speak with the President nor with General Scowcroft. I would refer you to the White House which, I believe this morning, has answered all those questions. Q Can I go back to Mrs. Ashrawi? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q She called and she said there's this news account that Arafat is missing. Did she ask the State Department to provide some assistance, or did she just ask Ed Djerejian to see what the facts are? MS. TUTWILER: She, it's my understanding, had a number of conversations with Ed, who I have spoken with this morning. When I've asked Ed that question, he has said there was no formal request by Hanan to him for any types of assistance. I will be honest with you and tell you my impressions -- and I obviously did not grill Ed on this this morning; it's no different, in many respects, than the press calls I was getting all night of, "Margaret, we've just heard," or, "Margaret, we've seen this report. What can you tell us?" I can tell you until the time I went to bed, the Operations Center here at the State Department had (1) a Reuters report, and (2) a FBIS report, and that's all that we had. Q I understand you didn't have a lot of information. Let me go back to what I'm asking you instead of whether -- she's not a reporter, so we're not talking about reporters. She has connections to the PLO, and that's one reason she can't, for instance, be on the negotiating team. She isn't eligible to be on one. Now, you've carefully said you had no formal request. MS. TUTWILER: We don't. Q And you said you didn't talk to the PLO? MS. TUTWILER: We did not. Q Did she make an informal request, a friendly request? Two people who know each other fairly well from all these months of negotiations -- did she say something like, "Ed, do you think the U.S. could do anything to try to help us find our leader?" MS. TUTWILER: I couldn't characterize the conversation in those terms, Barry, as you have just characterized it. I want to be fair. These are conversations with two people that I was not part of. If she had said, "Do you know anything?" That would be my first guess of the first conversation. I didn't ask Ed literally how many conversations he had. But he was quite, quite careful with me this morning, or certain, there was absolutely no formal request by Hanan. But that does not mean in any number of conversations -- did she ask, "Could you see if you could be of help." But I am freelancing there. Ask Hanan to answer that question by your colleagues who are there on the ground. Q We could also ask Ed, if he were available, but you have to, unfortunately, speak for everybody. So I have to ask you what she asked Ed. And the fact that you didn't ask Ed, you know -- MS. TUTWILER: I did ask Ed, and I answered you. Q No. I mean, you didn't ask him every question on our minds, obviously. How could you anticipate every question we were going to ask you. MS. TUTWILER: I know. I try. Q All right. Why were you unable to have any contacts with the PLO? What prevented that? Is this a humanitarian exception to -- MS. TUTWILER: Why would we have? Q I don't know. MS. TUTWILER: We have, as you know, no contacts with the PLO. Q That's the reason? I'm just wondering, what kept you -- MS. TUTWILER: The policy didn't change last night, as you know. We have no relationship with the PLO. Q I wanted to see if there's a humanitarian exception to it as there's a humanitarian exception to Iraq in certain ways and to other countries, and -- MS. TUTWILER: I just said we did nothing. Q Why? Because of the suspension of a dialogue? MS. TUTWILER: We did absolutely nothing. Q You didn't want to, or you had a -- MS. TUTWILER: Number one, were weren't asked, Barry. Q Okay. Q Number two, all of the reports that we did -- you know, weather satellites, all the things I just went through -- simply, unfortunately, are not true. To the best of my human knowledge, from every person I have checked with, we have had no contact. And to hypothesize with you and speculate and "what if's," I'm simply not going to do. Q To why you've had no contact? That's all I'm asking you. MS. TUTWILER: We had none. Q But why? Why? What prevents you from having contact if Arafat is presumed to be missing? MS. TUTWILER: Let me remind you, because maybe you have forgotten. But I don't think you've forgotten. Q I haven't forgotten. I want to hear you say why. MS. TUTWILER: I've said it; now this will be the second time. As you are, I think, very, very, very well aware, we have no relationship with the PLO. Q Margaret, this morning the PLO spokesman was on CNN thanking -- effusively thanking the United States for their help. What do you make of that? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know, because I haven't seen that interview. I watched an hour of CNN this morning, from 5:30 to 6:30. I did not see that. I don't know what he's talking about. Q Margaret, do you have a reaction, one way or the other, to the fact that Arafat has been found alive? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Not positive or negative? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Where did Hanan call from? Jerusalem? MS. TUTWILER: I didn't ask. I don't know. Q Is it possible that -- MS. TUTWILER: Maybe from her home -- Ramallah. I don't know. Q She's in Sweden. MS. TUTWILER: Oh. Jan knows where she is. Jan says she's in Sweden. Q Is it possible that U.S. satellite data might have been available to some other third party and then, through them, to eventually the PLO or somebody else? MS. TUTWILER: I guess anything is possible. I guess an American pilot could have been somewhere in the region and seen something. But I'm telling you, based on what I've seen as reported in the press, which would be straight, directed United States engagement of our satellites, whether weather or otherwise, of our aircraft, there is no such thing, to my knowledge, that exists in our Government. Q The Carter request apparently was passed to General Scowcroft at the White House. MS. TUTWILER: The White House really is better prepared to answer this than me. Q Was there any contact between General Scowcroft and the Secretary last night? MS. TUTWILER: The Secretary of State was not awakened last night about this subject at all. The Secretary, early in the evening, had the same information that I did. To be honest with you, the first thing was you all calling me on a Reuters reports -- I can't remember where it was out of -- saying that this, indeed, had happened. To my knowledge, when he went to bed -- at whatever time he went to bed -- that's the information that he had. Q Has he had any involvement at all today on this matter? MS. TUTWILER: None. There's nothing to be involved in. Q I'm just asking the question. Did the United States consult at all with Egypt on this subject? MS. TUTWILER: I said that Assistant Secretary Djerejian talked to our Embassy in Cairo and in Tunis to ascertain the facts. Q He talked to the U.S. Embassy there? MS. TUTWILER: The United States Embassy. Q Has the U.S. had any contact with the Egyptian Government on this subject? MS. TUTWILER: If our Embassy on the ground throughout the night talked to their colleagues in their respective government, I just don't know. I have no idea. It wouldn't be a wild guess to me that -- probably they did. They talk all the time, but I don't know. Q As relayed by President Carter, this was a humanitarian request. Can you give us the policy response to that? If you've got a humanitarian request to search for an official of the PLO, what, in United States policy, bars you from responding to that request? MS. TUTWILER: That was Barry's earlier question, just phrased a little bit differently from my view. I have said, I'm not going to speculate and hypothesize on "what if's." There could be a hundred of them. I'm simply just not going to do it. Q Well, Margaret, when the policy first began -- I don't know; maybe not when it first began. But as the policy used to be explained -- way back, years ago -- MS. TUTWILER: Which policy? Q The policy about contact and no contact with the PLO. There were occasions where there would be receptions and someone would stick his hand out and a U.S. official -- an Assistant Secretary of State, in one case stuck his hand out, shook his hand, and, indeed, and the question was: Is that contact? The answer was, "Well, you know, on social occasions or something, but we don't -- but what the U.S. doesn't have is substantive contact with the PLO," is the way it was said. MS. TUTWILER: When? Q I'm talking about 10-15 years ago. But the question is still before the House: Is there absolutely no exception to any contact with the PLO? Is there a humanitarian exception? Is there a social exception? What happens when you go to the same conference? MS. TUTWILER: That is a total, speculative, hypothetical question for me. You can just as well ask me -- Q A President of the United States didn't think it was hypothetical. He interceded and said, "Can you help find Mr. Arafat?" MS. TUTWILER: What I'm dealing with is the facts. You tell me something went on 15 years ago. I'm telling you -- Q I understand. I'm giving you an example. MS. TUTWILER: I'm telling you what went on last night, April 8, Wednesday, 1992. This is what this government did, which is nothing, last night. Now, if you're asking me a hypothetical on humanitarian, I'm going to have to deal with that when it's fact, when it's a specific. Am I going to stand here and say if 700 school children are caught in a fire, we're not going to help children? Q It's not 700 school children. MS. TUTWILER: Well, that's the same kind of speculative. Q It's not 700 school children. He's the head of the PLO. MS. TUTWILER: And I answered the question. Q It is a real fact. Mark and I and others are asking about real facts. MS. TUTWILER: And I've answered it. Q The real fact was, the man was missing. Now, that is a real situation. MS. TUTWILER: You got it. Q And a real former President of the United States called the U.S. Government, at a rather high level, and said, "In a humanitarian way, could you help try to find him?" Okay? Now, I'm asking you if -- we're asking you if U.S. policy permits the United States Government, in such humanitarian circumstances -- it's a very specific one; a man missing; a PLO official missing -- is the U.S. permitted to intercede and try to find the man? MS. TUTWILER: What I'm going to continue to say, because the only information that I have concerning President Carter's call -- this morning, it was being reported that President Carter talked to President Bush. When I came to work before 7:00, I called my colleagues at the White House. I said I'm going to be asked if this is true. I believe before 10:00 a.m., after a number of conversations, they called back and they said, "No, Margaret, he didn't talk to President Bush. He talked to the Situation Room." I'll be quite honest with you, I said, "Are you all going to answer all these questions, as you always do, concerning the White House and the President?" They said, "Yes, we will be." I said, "Great." So that's all I got into that. Mark is saying that President Carter -- has he had a press conference this morning? It's something I don't know. Q His office issued a statement. MS. TUTWILER: Okay. I haven't seen that statement. I apologize. Maybe my staff let me down or should have gotten it to me, or something. I can't keep up with all this. I don't know about a Presidential statement this morning, as wonderful as they all are. I just don't know. So I'm not answering what President Carter said to the Situation Room. I don't know. Q I'm asking you about -- MS. TUTWILER: You're asking me about President Carter saying it's a humanitarian deal. Q I'll ask you a question without President Carter. Under certain humanitarian circumstances, are U.S. officials -- MS. TUTWILER: I've got the answer. Q -- allowed to have contact with the PLO? It's a simple question. MS. TUTWILER: Under this circumstance, which is real -- which is what you and I are talking about -- I've told you what the United States Government did. I am not going to answer under future -- Q You won't tell us the policy. MS. TUTWILER: Barry, I am answering your question. I am saying -- what I'm not doing for you is -- what you want me to do is say in the future if there's a hypothetical, which you won't let me characterize -- or you could make one up, humanitarian effort -- Q I didn't ask you that. MS. TUTWILER: Obviously -- Q Does U.S. policy permit humanitarian assistance in behalf of a PLO official, period? It's simple. Is that U.S. policy or not? Is there an exception? MS. TUTWILER: What's the example. What's the humanitarian example? Q We had a real one last night. MS. TUTWILER: And I told you what we did. So maybe we didn't view it humanitarian -- Q I give up. Q I think what we're trying to ask is, did the United States do nothing because of policy or because of inefficiency? (Laughter) Q Is there such a policy at all? MS. TUTWILER: Number one, let's start again with the facts. There was no -- other than I cannot speak to President Carter. I am not aware from any other government, from Hanan Ashrawi's conversation, from any other transom that I am aware of, an official request for the United States Government -- what was it, a matter of 14 or 16 hours -- to do something. I have said, what was reported that we did, we didn't do. I have pointed out to Barry, which you all know -- we all know -- we have no relationship with the PLO. There are any number of times that airplanes go down, things happen, where the United States Government, Barry, is not the first person on the phone calling. For all I know -- and I hadn't done a lot of work on this -- there are, as I think you're aware, people who were doing things on the ground who represent other nations, it's my understanding. We woke up this morning shortly after the majority of us were up, it was resolved. That was it. Q Did the United States give any consideration last night to, without a request, voluntarily offering assistance to anyone? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I know of. Q It's not unprecedented, though, Margaret, because, I mean, it's not unprecedented. MS. TUTWILER: I only can deal with what we did in this incident. Q It's not unprecedented. It's happened before. I mean, Beirut, you turned to the PLO for help to get your people out. MS. TUTWILER: Fine, Jan. Q You helped them get out when they were in trouble. MS. TUTWILER: Fine. Q So you've done it before. So is there a policy to help them if they're in trouble? MS. TUTWILER: I will go up and literally ask, and I will almost bet the ranch that I'm going to come back with, "We do not answer speculative, hypothetical questions." Q But this isn't even a precedent, so it's not speculative. It's happened in the past. MS. TUTWILER: I will be more than happy to go ask the experts here in coordination with the White House where, as you know, policy is made, and I will be more than happy to ask this question. And I would, as I said, almost be willing to bet you the ranch it's going to come back, "We do not deal in speculative, hypotheticals in the future that have not happened." Q Why don't you ask them if they'll let you answer the hypothetical about whether we'd rescue 700 school children -- MS. TUTWILER: 700 school children that are burning, okay. Got to put that in there, if you remember. Q Would it be fair to say that we'd deal with this perhaps on a case-by-case basis? MS. TUTWILER: Fabulous! [Laughter] MS. TUTWILER: That's a great answer! Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you very much. Q John, are you on the record or -- MS. TUTWILER: That is a very, very, very artful answer to this. That's right. Thank you. Q But it's not an official answer. MS. TUTWILER: That's the official answer. Q That's not John's official answer. [Laughter]. MS. TUTWILER: I've got it now. Q (Multiple questions) Q Aside from the contact that the U.S. had with Hanan Ashrawi last night and this morning, did the U.S. have any contact with other Palestinians to discuss this issue? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I know anything about. Q Did she call back to say thank you for anything, by the way? MS. TUTWILER: To say thank you? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: She couldn't thank us for something that we didn't do. Q But that was -- I just asked you if she called back to say thank you. You did certain things. You tried to get any information you could from the Embassies. I just wondered if she found a reason to call back and say, "Thanks for your best efforts," or "Thank you for what you were able to do"? Q Did others thank you today? MS. TUTWILER: I'm aware -- Q Like we thank you at the end of the briefing. [Laughter] MS. TUTWILER: I know. Are you ready for it? Q Even if we have a blank page. Q Did others in the PLO thank you today? MS. TUTWILER: I honestly don't know. Q What do you think they're thanking you for? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. Q Margaret, can I ask you about the Black Sea Fleet conflict? MS. TUTWILER: Yes.

[Former Soviet Union: Ukraine and Russia Conflict]

Q What's the U.S. assessment of this dispute between Ukraine and Russia? Do you see it as becoming more and more ominous? Do you have any intention of trying to get involved? Have you been in touch with the parties about it? MS. TUTWILER: As far as any intention to be involved, not directly. As you know, the Secretary has said, whether it's this issue or others, we are not mediators, whether it's these two states or a host of them. I do not have a more current assessment than, to be honest with you, the one we overall gave yesterday. We're aware of the facts. It is something, as we've said before, that a conflict over this issue is in no one's interest and will only detract from the real need to push forward with necessary economic and political reform. We have urged in the past, and we are now, Russia and Ukraine to refrain from unilateral actions and to resolve this matter in a way that strengthens stability and the common interests of both states in pursuing responsible security policies. Reggie Bartholomew began testimony this morning, I believe at 10:00. It was on proliferation. I'm not sure -- he wasn't sure if he'd get a question on this or not. Maybe he had a little bit more to say on it, but there's nothing really specific right now. And as far as in touch with the parties, other than our Ambassadors on the ground talking to the foreign ministries, I'm not aware of anything going from here. Q We got some material yesterday from the Burns testimony which helped. But could you just say for the record on the two main areas if the U.S. is still confident that Ukraine will turn over its remaining tactical missiles by July 1, and whether they will submit the strategic weapons in time for dismantling under START which is to be by '94? MS. TUTWILER: We did put out a statement on this ourselves last night in addition to Mr. Burns' testimony -- and I don't have it with me, but the gist of which said, yes, it is still our understanding as recently as Secretary Cheney's meeting last week -- I believe it was in Brussels -- that everyone has assurances that they are still operating on the July 1, 1992 time frame. One of the questions that someone asked me yesterday was -- it might have been you, Barry -- did we have any kind of written assurances. I said my instincts were I didn't know of one, and last night when we checked with the experts, we did post the answer that said there is not a written assurance. Q Well, you know, I did a little looking around too outside the government -- MS. TUTWILER: You found one. Q No. No legal -- well, there's at least one legal authority who had a lot to do with the SALT treaties, and he reminded me that there are -- the agreements between Ukraine and Russia, for instance, are agreements between states. I was asking you what Baker was trying to hold him to, apart from the START treaty. So now we're getting into the, you know, esoteric. But evidently he's holding them to agreements among themselves. MS. TUTWILER: Well, they agreed, it is my understanding, in Alma-Ata to certain things. Q That's right. MS. TUTWILER: Those agreements that were reached in Alma-Ata continue to be what they tell us verbally -- most recently last week, Secretary Cheney -- of what their intentions are. Q But the issue (inaudible) international agreements, I was trying to say. Even though the U.S. isn't a party to them. MS. TUTWILER: Their Alma-Ata agreement? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: In legalese? Q That's what I'm hearing. MS. TUTWILER: I wouldn't feel comfortable answering. I don't personally know that. I'm sure you're correct, but let me ask the lawyers. Q I don't know. That's what this man said. MS. TUTWILER: Let me ask the lawyers if Alma-Ata is an international agreement. O.K? Q Because you can hold it to them if it is. MS. TUTWILER: I understand. I just don't know off the top of my head. Q Can I move to another area? Are the Iraqis moving surface-to-air missiles around, and are we going anything about it? MS. TUTWILER: Right. I saw one wire copy on this about eight minutes before I came to the podium. I don't have a lot for you. The wire copy I saw said that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Powell, I believe, is in London and was discussing this subject with Prime Minister Major. All I could tell you is that we're consulting with our coalition partners and the United Nations about the military situation in Iraq. Q The copy I saw said the State Department is preparing a demarche to be issued shortly -- MS. TUTWILER: You read it further down the story than I had a chance to with eight minutes to go. I literally just saw this. I'll try to get something after the briefing that's more forthcoming for you. Q Does that also include the SAM radar sites? Are you putting that in the same umbrella? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I literally glanced at one wire copy that was put in front of me before I came out here. I have one sentence of knowledge about this. Q But this is apparently a situation that's been going on for a number of weeks. MS. TUTWILER: It may well be, but I have not personally been on top of it or aware of it, and I'll be happy to look into it. Q Also on Iraq, do you have anything on their permitting the destruction of the nuclear assembly plant? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, on Al-Atheer. It's my understanding, Jim, that the destruction process will begin today. The team, the IAEA U.N. Special Commission team, is now in Iraq, and its main focus is that major parts of Al-Atheer must be destroyed. You know that we fully support the tough line taken by the IAEA with the Iraqi Government. Q And is that the remaining outstanding nuclear installation left in Iraq, or are there others that still bother the United States? MS. TUTWILER: This is a main one. I don't know if this is the end of the line. I'll have to ask for you.

[Nuclear Arms Tests: France Suspends Tests in South Pacific/ US Tests at Historic Low]

Q Margaret, on another topic, if you can please take it, if you don't have it. The French announced they're going to suspend nuclear testing in the South Pacific. Does the U.S. approve, and will that affect U.S. plans in any way? MS. TUTWILER: We're not going to comment on this French decision regarding the magnitude and timing of its testing program. The United States' nuclear test program, nonetheless, is determined by our own needs and not by the activities of other countries. Nuclear deterrence continues to play a vital role in United States national security strategy. We will continue to conduct tests as required. Those tests are critical to ensuring the reliability, safety, security and survivability of that deterrent. That said, the number of nuclear tests conducted by the United States has reached an historic low. The President's recent arms control initiatives will, as he said, reduce our nuclear stockpile by thousands of weapons, making it safer and more stable. This could perhaps have some impact on our need for nuclear testing. The Administration remains committed to a step-by-step process to further negotiations on nuclear testing. Q Two other questions: All the U.S. tests are in the United States, aren't they? They're in the mainland of the United States? MS. TUTWILER: I need to ask. Q Nevada. MS. TUTWILER: Barry thinks it's Nevada. Let me just ask. Q That's what I meant. But -- MS. TUTWILER: To my knowledge, yes. Q And did the French consult or inform the United States? MS. TUTWILER: We were informed about this shortly before they made the announcement.

[Iran: Department Approves Re-Export of Aircraft Engines/ Impact on US Relations]

Q Margaret, two quick questions, if I may: There are reports that the United States is approving licenses for the transfer of two A-300 Airbuses to Iran. Can you confirm that and say under what conditions those licenses are being issued? MS. TUTWILER: Certainly. The State Department has recommended that the Commerce Department approve the re-export sale to Iran of U.S. engines and other U.S.-controlled components for two Airbus A-300 planes. This decision was made within the case-by-case discretion allowed by our regulations when U.S.-controlled components are between 10 and 20 percent by value of a foreign manufactured item. Our decision was made on the facts of this particular case. It does not constitute a precedent and does not entail a change in our export controls for Iran. These export controls will remain in place as long as we have evidence of Iranian support for terrorism. The decision does take into account the interest of U.S. manufacturers to maintain their traditional supply arrangements. You also asked me what the regulations are of the United States Government. The licensing of export sales to Iran falls under the counter-terrorism foreign policy controls which are included in the Export Administration regulations administered by the Department of Commerce. Licenses are granted with the advice and concurrence of the Department of State. If you asked me if there had been any other such sales, the answer is a couple of previous sales of smaller commercial aircraft made in Britain and The Netherlands which included some U.S.-controlled components have been permitted in the past two years. Q Do they have military utility at all? MS. TUTWILER: Do they have what? Q Any military -- can they be used in any military way that you know of? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I know of. Q At what level of the State Department are these licenses approved? MS. TUTWILER: I have no idea. Q These are going as part of an airplane, not separately? There's an airplane that's going with U.S. parts, or is it U.S. parts going -- MS. TUTWILER: That's my understanding. Right. Q That it's an airplane -- a full airplane that contains U.S. parts, or is it actually an engine that's going separately? MS. TUTWILER: I believe it's an engine going separately. I don't think we sell airplanes to Iran. Q We don't sell them Airbuses, that's for sure. Q The Airbus 320 is a French plane which uses American components. MS. TUTWILER: Right. But I have it as an Airbus A-300. Q Yes. But that's a French airplane which uses American components. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q And I think what -- MS. TUTWILER: I thought it was U.S. engines, right? Q A GE engine. Yes. Q That's what I'm asking, whether we're giving -- MS. TUTWILER: An engine or an airplane? Q Airbus -- saying, O.K., you can send the plane with our engine, or are we saying we'll send our engine separately as a replacement part or something? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I'll find out if we're sending the engines direct. I don't think that's how it works. I think that it's part of an airplane. Q Margaret, also on sales to Iran, in the raid on the Mujahidin base, the Iranians apparently have managed to keep some 20 F-4s flying after all these years of blockage of American sales. Is the United States looking into where the Iranians are getting the spare parts to keep those F-4s flying? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know, Jim. I'll be happy to ask. Q Could you look into that, please? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Margaret, will this sale improve U.S. relations with Iran? MS. TUTWILER: [Laughter] Q That's a serious question. I mean, the President, you know, remember, in his Inaugural Address, I think -- MS. TUTWILER: That's right. Q -- said he was interested in improving -- MS. TUTWILER: This does not alter our policy which I just stated. Q No, I didn't ask you about your policy. Will the impact be to improve relations? MS. TUTWILER: In order to have improved relations, the President clearly enunciated our policy: Renounce state-sponsored terrorism, if you recall, from his State of the Union address. We've enunciated it many times, and there's one other component of it, and I'm sorry, it's just not popping out of my mind. Q Is this a gesture that is likely to enhance U.S. relations with Iran? Q (Inaudible) MS. TUTWILER: The hostages -- right. Q Is this the kind of gesture that could make relations between the two countries more pleasant? MS. TUTWILER: On the gesture part of the screen, Barry, nothing -- nothing -- has changed. Q This isn't a gesture? MS. TUTWILER: No. I've said that we've done this before. I've told you what it takes, and the President's been totally up front about it, totally told everybody. We've said -- I believe his words were he would authorize representatives of his government to meet with legitimate representatives of the Iranian Government, provided they do the following things. I believe that was in his State of the Union address. Nothing's changed. Nothing. Q It is not gesture. And also is this the result of the release of the hostages? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard anything like that. Q Margaret, one other question: The Indian Defense Minister is meeting with Arnie Kanter today. Do you have anything -- MS. TUTWILER: Is meeting with who? Q With Arnie Kanter today. Do you have anything on that? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Could you get a readout? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. I'll ask Arnie. Q Do you have anything on Manfred Woerner's illness? MS. TUTWILER: No. I heard about it this morning. I don't have anything.

[Angola: Deaths of UNITA Officials/Human Rights]

Q Margaret, did the Secretary receive an answer to his letter to Savimbi? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, he did. And I think, Patrick, that came in -- I can't remember -- was it Friday or Monday? Over the weekend maybe. I can't remember. But, yes, we did receive a response. The Savimbi response to the Secretary's letter confirms the death of the two UNITA officials and their families and attributes responsibility to UNITA's former Minister of Interior. Dr. Savimbi in a press conference yesterday or the day before yesterday in Luanda accepted -- and to use his phrase, these are quotes -- "moral responsibility as head of UNITA for actions taken in UNITA's name." As you know, we've said before we are deeply distressed by the confirmation of the deaths of the two UNITA officials and their families. We welcome UNITA's apparent willingness to address recent allegations in an open manner. We look forward to a full investigation and public disclosure of the facts and circumstances involved in this case and confirmation that those found responsible will be held accountable. Assistant Secretary Cohen will travel to Angola this weekend. He will reiterate these points to Dr. Savimbi and others early next week when he meets to discuss a wide range of issues related to the full implementation of the peace accords. Q Do you have the name of that former Minister of Interior? MS. TUTWILER: The former what? Q Minister of Interior who is actually responsible, according to Savimbi. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. And I'm not sure, Jim, of his -- it's a General -- of his correct pronunciation, so I'll give it to you afterwards. Q Is Secretary Cohen also going to South Africa on this trip or just Angola? MS. TUTWILER: To be honest with you, I don't know where all he's going. My understanding, it's more than Angola. It's a long scheduled trip, and I just don't have it yet of where all he's going. Q Margaret, on Thailand -- Q Margaret -- excuse me, Carol -- on this same thing: By saying you look forward to a full investigation, that means, doesn't it, that you don't accept Savimbi's explanation as being the final word on the matter? MS. TUTWILER: No, it means that, as in all cases, that we -- it's our policy, as you know, whether here or in other countries, we like to see full investigations. There, to my knowledge, has not been one. And, yes, in this case we would like a full -- to see a full investigation. Q Do you mean you don't think there is a credible account? MS. TUTWILER: I didn't say that. Q No. I'm just asking. Q Well, in his letter, does he say that -- Q Do you take this account as credible? Q -- a future investigation? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not sure that the letter addresses itself to that. Let me check on that fact. Q Do you have any reaction -- MS. TUTWILER: Carol had a question, I believe.

[Thailand: General Suchinda Slated To Be Prime Minister/ US Aid]

Q On Thailand. Now that General Suchinda's appointment apparently is official -- MS. TUTWILER: Almost. Q What's the U.S. assessment? MS. TUTWILER: Right. It's almost official. Two weeks ago we welcomed, as you know, the parliamentary elections that were held in Thailand on March 22 and the return to constitutional processes. We look forward to working productively with the new government. The choice of Prime Minister is up to the Thai people, and we respect that process. It is my understanding that he was selected in accordance with the Thai constitution. It is further my understanding that they do not have a new government until he appoints his cabinet, which is yet to be done. Q So even though he wasn't elected, you believe it was done within the constitution, and therefore he's somebody you can work with? MS. TUTWILER: The last part of your characterization is kind of your own. We definitely believe that this is done in accordance with the Thai constitution, and that the choice of the Prime Minister of the Thai people is up to the people, and we respect that. But just so we're clear, they almost have a new government, other than, and it's my understanding again of their regulations, that he still has to appoint his cabinet, and then it is, indeed, the new government. Q Does it not trouble you at all that this very same person who led the military coup is now going to be the head of the government, and does this now mean that the U.S. can resume its aid? MS. TUTWILER: We cannot resume aid or cannot make a determination until the new government has been formed, and that is under our laws, Section 513 of the Foreign Operations Act. Concerning the other question that you asked, we welcome the return to constitutional processes and the formation of a new government, and we have to -- or we are respecting the Thai people -- this is their process; this is their choice. Q Margaret, one last question on Peru: Have we made a decision whether to suspend counter-narcotics activities there or not? MS. TUTWILER: We put out a lot on that last night, and I believe John asked me yesterday -- I believe the figures I used were $19 million and 24.5. He asked me if that included DEA, and we said yes, it's all inclusive. And as far as the actual review, I'm not aware that that part has concluded. Q The review has not concluded? MS. TUTWILER: To my knowledge. Q Will the Secretary go to the Foreign Ministers' meeting on Monday? MS. TUTWILER: We haven't determined who's going to be representing the United States yet. There's no decision. Q Have you received any reaction from anywhere in Yugoslavia concerning recognition yesterday? MS. TUTWILER: Have we? I'm sure probably the European Bureau has. I just hadn't seen it. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thanks. (The briefing concluded at 12:46 p.m.)