US Department of State Daily Briefing #55: Monday, 4/13/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: Apr, 13 19924/13/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, E/C Europe, South America, Southeast Asia, East Asia Country: Israel, USSR (former), Russia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Serbia-Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Peru, Pakistan, Japan, Iran, North Korea Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Development/Relief Aid, Regional/Civil Unrest l2:02 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Former Yugoslavia: US Concern over Serbian Government's Treatment of Ethnic Albanians]

MS. TUTWILER: I have two quick statements: One concerning Serbian human rights abuses in Kosovo, and the second is just to give you a brief update on what all went on last week concerning aid to the former Soviet Union. This statement I am about to read is [part of] a much lengthier statement that we are going to post immediately after the briefing, which I would refer you to. The United States remains deeply concerned about the situation of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. In our estimation, the Serbian government's actions in Kosovo represent one of the worst human rights problems in Europe. That government continues to engage in oppressive activities which include: wide-scale arbitrary arrests, politically motivated job dismissals, and the routine excessive use of force against ethnic Albanians. Discrimination against Albanians extends to every area of life, including provisions of medical care and services. We have made our concerns very clear to all levels of the Serbian government, including the President himself.

[Former Soviet Union: US Team to Visit Kiev /US Airlift of Siberian Children for Medical Aid/US Assistance for Blown Oil Well in Uzbekistan]

On an update on the Soviet Union, I have a -- former Soviet Union -- a very lengthy statement. I will not read all of it to you, but it contains a lot of detailed information. The first: The United States is sending a small high level team to Kiev to discuss the full range of political, economic and security issues in our relations, and to help prepare for President Kravchuk's visit to Washington on May 6th. The team is leaving this afternoon and will return to Washington on Wednesday. The State Department is being represented by Ambassador Dennis Ross. The U.S. Government and the people of Alaska arranged an emergency airlift this weekend of two children from Serbia who were badly burned while playing in a garage -- it is my understanding -- around some gasoline. Q Where? Q You mean Siberia, don't you? MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry, yes, thanks. Thanks, Alan. Yes, Siberia. Sorry. Upon hearing of the incident through our Embassy in Moscow, the citizens of Alaska arranged a commercial air ambulance evacuation from Siberia to Alaska on April ll. The U.S. Air Force flew the two children to Texas the same day after the Secretary of the Army gave approval for treatment at Brooke Medical Center in San Antonio. The two children are reported to be seriously ill but stable. This is the first United States Government-facilitated medical evacuation from a state of the former Soviet Union to the United States. I believe that we, for two weeks running, have told you about the oil situation -- it's basically an oil well blow-out, it's my understanding -- in Uzbekistan. The United States Government has now moved quickly to transport civilian personnel and equipment to the Government of Uzbekistan to cap this oil well. Within 24 hours of notification last week, the U.S. Air Force had positioned aircraft at Ellington Air Force Base in Texas to load equipment and personnel. You asked last week which company. The company's name is Cudd -- C-U-D-D -- Pressure Control Company, the U.S. contractor designated by Uzbekistan. The first C-l4l aircraft departed Texas Saturday and up to six planes may be used. Transportation costs for this and for the medical evacuation of the children are being paid for out of the DOD [budget] under the Dire Emergency Supplemental Funds. The Environmental Protection Agency is providing a quick response team to assist the Uzbeki Government in analyzing the environmental impact and formulating a recovery plan. Over this past weekend, Project Hope flew badly needed pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to Kaliningrad, Russia, as part of the President's humanitarian and medical initiative. This shipment weighing l3 tons and valued at $350,000 will be divided for use in five hospitals. Last week, as I think we had already told you, Ambassador Armitage was in Moscow. He signed an agreement with his Russian counterpart to facilitate all aspects of humanitarian and technical assistance. And the rest of it, as I said, is a much longer statement about some activities that USIA is doing.

[Peru: OAS Foriegn Minister Meeting]

Q Margaret, can you tell us -- if there are no questions -- will Mr. Baker make a speech at the OAS today? Will he -- when will this be? Does he plan to stay there for any length of time, and listen to the debate? What's the arrangement? MS. TUTWILER: The drill is going to be, Barry, that, yes, he is planning on speaking. It's my understanding that the OAS convened a Foreign Ministers meeting this morning at l0:00 a.m. The Secretary originally had thought that he would be speaking at ll:00. I now do not have a speaking time for you. As you are aware, there was a credentialing issue this morning, and Bernie Aronson is over there and that's not yet resolved. So he is still planning on speaking. I just don't have a time for you. Q Will he listen? Will he stay and hear the debate, or will be make his speech and come back to State? MS. TUTWILER: I have no idea. I haven't asked. I don't know, nor did we this morning, when I spoke with Bernie, much about exactly how the dynamics of the meeting was going to go. We know there was a credentialing argument which the Secretary addressed [in response] to, I believe, Ralph's question out on the sidewalk, and we know, or we believe, or expect, that the OAS will produce a resolution. But we do not know what the resolution's content will say yet.

[Bosnia: US Statement on Situation]

Q Can we go back to Serbia? You read us a statement about what they are doing in Kosovo, but in Bosnia, Serbian irregulars are also -- it seems with the backing of the federal army, or what's left of it -- stirring up considerable trouble. Do you have any reaction to what's happening in Bosnia? MS. TUTWILER: We have a long statement, Alan, on basically what's going on in Bosnia. Yesterday, after three days of talks with Bosnian leaders and the leaders of Bosnia's three major nationalities -- Moslems, Serbs and Croats -- the EC Ambassador helped broker a new cease-fire agreement. That agreement, which also calls for EC monitored demobilization of paramilitary groups entered into effect last night. We understand that there is nevertheless sporadic fighting today in several areas of Bosnia. All parties in Bosnia should comply immediately and fully with the cease-fire commitments and remain engaged in the EC-sponsored talks. The Yugoslav military presence in Bosnia should also cease its activities. We also expect the Serbian leadership in Belgrade, as well as the Croatian leadership in Zagreb, to prevent any action from their respective territories which would destabilize Bosnia. Over the past several weeks, Serbian paramilitary forces from Serbia increasingly have made armed incursions into Bosnia. Most recently, against Zvornik on the Serbian-Bosnian border. Serbian paramilitary forces in Bosnia could not operate without the support of the Serbian Government and the JNA. We strongly condemn these paramilitary forces for their role in provoking violence and carrying out armed attacks. These attacks which have caused death and injury to many non-combatants and triggered large refugee flows are clearly aimed at destabilizing Bosnia. We hold Serbian civilian and military authorities in Belgrade accountable for these aggressive acts. On Friday, Ambassador Zimmerman protested these acts in the strongest possible terms to the President. Q Is that what the United States was worried was going to happen -- MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q -- back in January when the United States, shall we say, held back or withheld its decision to recognize? MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. Q In what way did the U.S. decision to recognize last week contribute to an easing of the situation, or -- I guess I still don't understand the difference between what happened -- or didn't happen -- in January and what's happening now. MS. TUTWILER: In January, had they had their referendum yet, Ralph? I believe they had not. Q They hadn't, but in terms of the situation on the ground, recognition does not seem to have eased the push for fighting among these -- MS. TUTWILER: For some, that's true. And it's a concern to us, and we also are -- correct me if I am wrong -- but I believe when this first surfaced that they had not had a referendum that we and the international community and the EC judged to have been a free and fair referendum, and I cannot remember the percentage of people who supported their independence. And as you know, we met -- I think it was in March or in February at -- the Secretary attended an EC Ministerial meeting where the EC said on April 6th they were going to be looking at this. We said -- or the Secretary said, at that time, the United States would be probably following close behind them. We did. Q Margaret, is there any thought given to -- you have now condemned Serbia in very strong terms on two separate issues. Is there any thought being given to coordinated action against Serbia which could try to force them to stop doing what they are doing? MS. TUTWILER: Nothing new that I know of. As you know, we have had a number of statements from this podium over the last year, strongly condemning in the past Serbia. We have strongly condemned the JNA. It is something that we all -- and most of the international community -- are deeply concerned about. But I don't have anything additional today that I'm aware of, or a meeting that has been called, or something additional that is going on. Q Could I go back to Peru for just a moment, please? MS. TUTWILER: Peru?

[Peru: US Policy and Related Subjects]

Q Yes. Polls consistently show that President Fujimori has great popular support for what he has done in dispensing with the constitution. Does the United States have any thoughts or comment on the fact that public support for his action remains so high at a time when he's being condemned in the OAS? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know what the OAS will do this afternoon, John, but I know that the United States spoke out most recently in the form of our President at his press conference on Friday, expressing our views concerning democracy and that democracy must not be thrown out. The Secretary of State addressed that very issue this morning, I believe, to a question that Ralph posed to him. So our principles of democracy are well stated by the President and the Secretary of State. We are at the same time very well aware of polling -- that I have heard; I have not seen -- that has been done in Peru since basically this coup last weekend. So, yes, I'm aware of the two situations. Q Do you have any idea -- any thoughts -- on the disparity, the fact that people there seem to support the coup while it's being condemned by the United States? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know how to square the circle for you. I'm aware of the -- I've heard about polls that suggest this, but I'm also very well aware of our policy towards overthrows or coups or subverting democracy, and that is the United States' view of exactly what happened. As you will recall, there were a number of legislators, as I recall, that were either put under house arrest or arrested. As of today, it's my understanding, my update is that most of those have ended their house arrest. A number of journalists were arrested. A number of publications, freedom of the press, were stopped, halted. Last Thursday, I believe, there was one radio station that was still working. Most of that has been put back into place. I don't know of any journalists today that still remain under detention. So, I mean, a lot of fundamentals that we as a nation have subscribed to for over 200 years were subverted, and you simply cannot support that. Q I take it, though, from what the Secretary said today there are things that he would like -- other things he would like to see reversed -- can you give us any specific actions that he would have -- MS. TUTWILER: In his speech? Q -- the military leaders -- no, no. In his remarks in the lobby. You know, you don't sacrifice democracy for the sake of fighting these Maoist leftists, although I think he calls -- "security problems" he called it. Are there any steps that the U.S. would like -- specific steps, can you tell us, that you would have the military government take right now? Can you give us any particulars? MS. TUTWILER: Nothing new. I can't, to be honest with you, because he was still working on it, get into the specifics of the Secretary's intervention at the OAS this afternoon, I assume. As you know, when this happened, we have called for the restoration of full constitutional democracy in Peru, including release of those detained, most of which it is my understanding today have been; full respect for human rights; immediate restoration of a free and independent press and civil liberties; and immediate restoration of independent legislative and judicial branches of government. And we said last week -- and it's still true today -- we believe this should be done immediately. Q Well, is the Secretary or is any member of the Administration likely to ask for or recommend any specific action by the OAS? MS. TUTWILER: I can't preview for you at this podium what the Secretary -- number one, what the Secretary will be addressing, and, two, what they'll decide. I don't know what the other ministers are coming with. Bernie [Aronson] has been over there all morning. Q Without giving away his speech, is there action that the United States would like the OAS to take? MS. TUTWILER: If there were, that would come in the Secretary of State's speech, in my mind. And also, I'm not over there. Bernie and his people have been over there basically all morning, it is my understanding. I just don't know, because I'm standing here, what's developing over there. We expect that the OAS will have a resolution. I don't know what will be in that. I don't know what other countries are coming with instructions from their capitals on what to propose or what will happen. I just don't know. Q Can you give us any idea of the American thinking? You know, there's some -- MS. TUTWILER: No. I'd love to. Q The Los Angeles Times -- no -- about the considerations. The Los Angeles Times, for instance, had a story Sunday that suggests that the Sendero Luminoso would relish the United States sharply condemning the government. It would give them a rallying point. It would give them a cause, you know, to maintain their subversion and their guerrilla tactics. Is this in the thinking here too that maybe there should be a time to not crack down on the Peruvian Government and not sharply define the opposition that soon? MS. TUTWILER: What I'm going to be unable to do is preview for you what the Secretary of State is either going to say or what he is going over to discuss with his colleagues, the foreign ministers from these countries. It would be great if I were at liberty to do that for you. I'm just simply not. I would remind you, though, on the counter-narcotics part, when this happened, we suspended all of our aid -- pulling up out of my memory, I believe it included $19.5 million worth of counter-narcotics assistance and another, I think, 24.5. That has not been firmly decided yet. It's still under review by the United States Government. Q On that front, what's the status of U.S. Government personnel involved in the counter-narcotics operations in Peru? Are they being withdrawn? MS. TUTWILER: That's something, for security reasons, I cannot discuss. Q Margaret, one of the things that the OAS is discussing -- I guess right now -- is whether Fujimori still is, in effect, the legitimate embodiment of the government and the democracy in Peru, and I gather another claimant for that legitimacy has stepped forward. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Does the United States take any position on -- at this point whether Fujimori still is the legitimate President of Peru? MS. TUTWILER: The United States Government continues to recognize President Fujimori as the elected President of Peru. The Secretary also answered this question this morning, Jim, out on the sidewalk and had a more expansive answer concerning the credentialing issue which is going on over there, the gist of which -- I refer you to his transcript -- was this is an OAS matter, as it rightly is. They do their own credentialing. And that, I believe, taking liberty -- I've only read briefly what he said -- that basically the OAS, it's our understanding, is listening to both men this morning, and the OAS will decide this. Q And the United States will follow whatever lead the OAS takes? MS. TUTWILER: To my knowledge. Q And will the United States also follow whatever lead the OAS takes on the issue of sanctions? MS. TUTWILER: I can't answer that for you. That's going to be -- that's the purpose of a meeting -- not sanctions -- but a purpose of the meeting is to discuss this situation. I don't know what will come out of that. Q Iran -- the elections? I'm sorry. Is that something that is cause for cheer? MS. TUTWILER: We don't have a lot on that, Barry. It's my understanding that these elections go on for weeks, and that right now the speculation that's been in the press has been based on a small percentage of actual voting that has gone on. Q What are your reactions to the developments in Moscow over the weekend and the pressures that Mr. Yeltsin is being put under, and to what extent could that affect the U.S. aid program? MS. TUTWILER: General Scowcroft addressed the bottom part of your question yesterday. It's been longstanding United States policy on this -- we've said almost in every speech or remarks -- that our ability to assist with aid, etc., obviously is prefaced on their moving and continuing to move in the reform area. It is my understanding that their congress has voted to require that President Yeltsin form a new government within three months and seek the parliament's approval of its composition. This will include the naming of a new Prime Minister, a post currently held, as you know, by President Yeltsin. According to press reports I've seen just this morning, President Yeltsin's cabinet has submitted a letter of resignation, but President Yeltsin has asked his ministers to continue working through the end of this parliament session when he will decide whether to accept those resignations. We would view with concern any steps which could lead to a weakening of Russia's commitment to economic reform. President Yeltsin has made very clear his strong commitment to continuing economic reform. Q Does that complicate the U.S. participation in the $24 billion aid package for -- MS. TUTWILER: Today? Q Do the events in Moscow complicate the U.S. Government's attempts to put forward its part of the $24 billion aid package for Russia? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of. The only event that I know of is the Prime Ministership changing -- possibly changing, and the cabinet this morning, it's my understanding, saying -- they've been saying, as you know, all weekend and last week that they were going to resign. It's my understanding now they have actually submitted a letter of resignation, but President Yeltsin has not accepted it and has asked them to continue working. I believe this meeting is still going on right now. Q What about last week's announcements by Yeltsin of some steps that some people would consider to be weakening his resolve toward reform, to borrow your phrase? Is the U.S. already concerned with his promises to re-think some aspects of his reform program, particularly on prices that he announced early last week? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I know of, as of this morning. I'm sure, Ralph, that people here, as in Moscow, will continue to do analysis and to see what finally comes out. As I recall, I think this meeting was originally supposed to be a 10-day meeting. They've extended it, it's my understanding, twice and they're continuing to meet. It's further my understanding that some things they have voted on, they have then voted to rescind, so I can't make a concrete statement this morning. But right now, I'm not aware of an alarming concern here in our country. Q Still on the former Soviet Union, the Defense Minister of Ukraine is in the United States at this point. Is there anything new from the Government of Ukraine regarding the transfer of nuclear warheads from Ukraine to Russia for dismantlement? MS. TUTWILER: As you know, the four Foreign Ministers had a meeting, I believe it was Saturday, in -- I can't remember. Do you remember, Barry? Was it Moscow or Kiev? They met on Saturday. I can't remember either. Foreign Minister Kozyrev called Secretary Baker after that meeting and gave him a debrief of it. I have announced that Dennis Ross is representing the State Department on this mission that he's going on. Paul Wolfowitz will be representing the Defense Department, and Ed Hewitt will be representing the White House. This is one of the things that, obviously, they will discuss while they're there. Q Is it fair to say you haven't received any new information on that score yet? Nothing the U.S. has heard since Saturday's meeting has changed the situation with regard to the U.S.? MS. TUTWILER: We're still working the issue.

[Pakistan: Commercial Arms Licenses Issued by Department/ Inspector General Reviewing US Exports]

Q Margaret, on Pakistan: Could you sort of walk us through the rationale for continuing to sell aircraft, spare parts? And, as a follow up, is the Inspector General looking into that now? MS. TUTWILER: This will bore some of you who have been here because it's the exact same words that I use every time I'm asked about this. The State Department issued commercial military licenses valued at $107 million in the year following October 1990, when the Pressler Amendment went into effect. These licenses, which are valid for three years, were issued on a case-by-case basis only for items to support equipment already in the Pakistan inventory. We do not yet know how much of this $107 million has actually be shipped. I would note that this figure is a significant decrease from the $231 million and $176 million in licenses issued in the previous two years. As far as the Inspector General investigating, at the request of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the Inspector General is reviewing some aspects of U.S. military exports to Pakistan. This review will not be completed for several months. We would like to note, however, that the Inspector General has not found any basis to object to the Department Legal Adviser's opinion that commercial military exports under the Pressler Amendment are legal. I would refer you to the Secretary of State's most recent testimony where he was asked this and was asked if we were living up to the spirit and letter of the law. He said absolutely we were, and went through a long, elaborate explanation in response to a question from a Senator. Q Margaret, Libya: The sanctions enter into effect in two day's time. Is there anything that you've heard from Qadhafi or from Tripoli that could lead that timetable to be altered? MS. TUTWILER: No, we have not. Ambassador Pelletreau is scheduled to meet with President Mubarak. But as of my briefing, he has not. There's nothing new that we know. The deadline is U.N. time -- which is New York Eastern Standard Time -- 11:59 p.m., Wednesday night. Q Do you have any information on how many Americans may still be there? MS. TUTWILER: There's no update on the number that we believe -- since we have no way of knowing -- is 500 to a 1,000. I believe last week I said that our protecting power, the Belgians, had heard or had information sought from approximately 131 Americans. I do know, however, that we have some reports that foreigners are leaving and that regularly-scheduled flights on some foreign airlines are fully booked up until April 15. Q Margaret, speaking of the Inspector General reminds me to ask you something. Forgive me if it has come up and I missed it. Some time ago, you took the question of why the name of the country referred to in the Inspector General's report was classified. I wonder what answer you found? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I haven't seen an answer. I'll check again. I really hadn't. Q Okay. The question was why, and is it under review. MS. TUTWILER: I remember that day very well. Q Has anything come in since Friday on the facts of the case of the execution of a Baha'i in Tehran? The State Department, Friday -- there was a Friday guidance. After four years, I guess, Iran has executed now a Baha'i -- MS. TUTWILER: Sorry, I don't remember. Q -- and the State Department said it wanted the facts. I don't know if it got the facts. MS. TUTWILER: Do you know Richard (Boucher)? Q That's okay. I can wait until later. There was a call for an accounting from Iran. I wonder if you got it yet? MS. TUTWILER: Sorry. I'm not familiar with that. We'll find out. Q Margaret, does the U.S. know yet where the next session of the Middle East bilateral peace talks will be held after the one that's to be held in Washington? MS. TUTWILER: We have a pretty good idea, but we're not announcing it. Q That's a bummer. MS. TUTWILER: I know. Q Why withhold the information? What's the purpose of doing that? If all the sides have agreed -- MS. TUTWILER: It's our prerogative. That's how they want to do it right now. Q But if all the sides have agreed, what's the point? MS. TUTWILER: I didn't question it. I just said, okay, that's fine, and I have never had it cross my lips since; so I don't know. Q You're sticking to your declaration that you will make an announcement before the next round begins? MS. TUTWILER: Before April 27. That's absolutely correct. Q And that announcement will be a public announcement? MS. TUTWILER: Public. Probably right here from this podium. Ralph, to be honest with you, I'm not even sure -- in fact, I am sure -- of anyone who is authorized to -- has even contacted the potential government of where this would be. So, it would be really out of line to announce something here if you have not even had a formal discussion with the government that has an agreeable city.

[Japan: Plutonium Transfer Plan/Discussion with US]

Q One question on the Japanese plutonium. IAEA, yesterday, expressed some concern about the Japanese plutonium import and urged the government not to store the plutonium in Japan. So what is the attitude toward that Japanese import of plutonium? MS. TUTWILER: Number one, I'm not aware of an IAEA statement of yesterday. I'm well aware of the Japanese-United States plutonium arrangements, and they as are follows, just to refresh your memory: Experts from the United States and the Japanese Governments have been working together informally since 1989 on development of a transportation plan for the return of plutonium from France to Japan. Retransfers of U.S.-origin plutonium are provided for in the 1988 U.S.-Japan agreement for cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The implementing arrangements under that agreement for cooperation specify the transportation and physical protection measures to be used for each shipment and require that for each shipment a plan to implement those measures "be prepared to assure adequate physical protection of the nuclear material to be transported." The Japanese Government is now preparing such a plan for the first shipment under the agreement, and in 1991 initiated formal consultations with the United States Government in accordance with the agreement. We, the United States Government, are satisfied with the plan and will continue to work with the Japanese to ensure its full implementation. Japan, it's my understanding, plans to make this first shipment some time this fall. Q So how do you understand the Asian countries concern about the Japanese import schedule of this huge amount of the plutonium? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know which Asian nation you're speaking of, sir. I've stated for you, there's been a long history here between the United States and Japan on this. I just went through some of that history for you. I've stated what our policy and beliefs are concerning this. I can't speak for either named or unnamed Asian nations' concerns that you're pointing out to me. Q Just one follow-up. I think that a similar understanding about the plutonium import with Japan, also there might be some similar understanding between the United States and Taiwan and other countries, or the Asian countries. So if the other Asian countries, like Taiwan or South Korea, want to import that kind of same plutonium, are you going to stick this same supporting of non-international policy to that kind of plutonium import? MS. TUTWILER: That would be totally speculative for me. I'm not that familiar with it. I'll be happy to ask the experts who do deal with this. I met with two of them this morning -- one gentleman who has worked many, many years in this -- and I'll be happy to see if he can answer your question for you.

[North Korea: Us Welcomes Ratification of IAEA Safeguards]

Q Speaking of plutonium, does the U.S. have any comment on the North Korean deposition of the agreement to abide by IAEA inspections? MS. TUTWILER: We were very pleased. I believe that happened last week. I believe it was on Wednesday or Thursday. Friday? It is our understanding that the DPRK representative in Vienna last Friday informed the IAEA Director of his country's ratification of the nuclear safeguards agreement. The IAEA has announced that this brings the safeguards agreement into force. And, as I said, the United States welcomes this step. Q Does this change anything about how the U.S. will deal with North Korea? Will it continue to do so secretly in Beijing, or will there be some upgrading of relations as a result of this step taken by North Korea? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard anyone talk about an upgrading of relations. And, as you know, we have the meetings that we hold in Beijing. I believe there have been 21* of those. We had, as I recall, a very public meeting by the Under Secretary of this Department in New York recently. Q Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 12:32 p.m.) *Note: There have been 22 meetings.