US Department of State Daily Briefing #56: Tuesday, 4/14/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: Apr, 14 19924/14/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia Country: Israel, USSR (former), Iran, Ukraine, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Peru, Libya Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Development/Relief Aid, Democratization, Arms Control, OAS, Trade/Economics, Terrorism 12:27 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: Let's start with two things. One is my own initiative.

[Iran: Election Process]

Yesterday, I didn't feel like I had a very detailed or full answer for you in response -- I think it was John Dancy's question -- about the Iranian elections and why we weren't being more descriptive of our analysis of it. So I asked the Bureau this morning, because yesterday, as you recall, I said that this voting was going to go on for several weeks. I have a fuller explanation of why we're saying that and why we're not characterizing it right now. Initial results of the elections held last Friday are still coming in. This is the first stage of a lengthy electoral process. Only those candidates who win more than one third of the vote on the first ballot are considered to be elected at this time. All others will face run-off elections and this could take several weeks. The Iranian Government has said that it would like to complete the elections so that the new term of the Parliament can reconvene by May 28. Most of the 270-seat assembly may face run-off elections, but we cannot make more precise predictions at this time. But it just gives you a little bit more detail of why we're not saying the elections are over or calling them.

[Former Soviet Union: Ukraine Defense Minister's Meeting With Secretary and Transfer of Nuclear Weapons]

The other thing I'd like to go ahead and do is: The Secretary, as you know, had a meeting this morning with the Defense Minister of Ukraine. I was in the first 30 minutes of that and then I had to leave in order to prepare for this briefing. The meeting went on approximately 90 minutes. I've only had an opportunity to speak with the Secretary because the Venezuelan Foreign Minister was waiting for him in the outer office. To basically characterize it, he felt it was a very worthwhile meeting, a very good meeting. They discussed a wide range of subjects. For the portion that I was in, they basically were going over the economic reform and the importance of moving down the road of economic reform. As you all know -- some of you attended the photo op; I don't know if you've seen the transcript. The Secretary answered one of your colleague's questions as did the Defense Minister concerning their policy on tactical nuclear weapons and START. So I refer you to their own words on that. After I left, they did, apparently, discuss that at quite some length -- both of those subjects. The Secretary characterized it that we are hopeful that they will be able to work this out. As you know, their policy, as just stated by the Defense Minister this morning, has not changed. He said that to the Secretary. We've all acknowledged, as they do, there are differences among the four on how to work this out. The Secretary is hopeful that they're going to continue trying to work it out. Q What about the Black Sea Fleet? MS. TUTWILER: To be honest with you, that did not come up. I think I stayed for 40 minutes of this. I just did not have an opportunity to see him between meetings to get into that detail. I will ask. There were three other State Department personnel who attended the meeting. I will see -- if they have an opportunity, maybe we can write something more expansive for you. Q Margaret, the Ukrainian Defense Minister reiterated -- he said it many, many times. There's nothing new in what he said. He said they wanted an international inspection system to make sure the missiles they ship to Russia are destroyed. At this stage, having heard this for so many weeks now and the missiles not being shipped, can you answer some specific questions: What role is the United States playing in trying to arrange such a system? When might such a system take effect? And when would you expect Ukraine to resume the shipment of missiles to Russia? MS. TUTWILER: I can't answer all of your questions, Barry, but I can definitely answer one of them. The role of the United States, contrary to some reports, is not to be a mediator among the parties. We have said that many, many times. That was restated again today. But at the same time, the United States has said and is, in the person of the Secretary of State, trying to be of assistance or of help to find a way to resolve -- as we have said, they have some contentious issues among themselves. They remain. This morning, as I think you saw, the Defense Minister, when asked by one of your colleagues, "Are you planning on doing this by July?" I think it's July 1992 -- July 1. They all keep saying, yes. But yet we're aware that they still are -- they just most recently -- Saturday, I believe -- had an 8-hour meeting in Moscow. They were unable -- the Foreign Ministers -- to resolve these differences. They continue to meet and try to work it out. Q Alright. But the U.S. is on record, and has been for some time, as supporting some international system of monitoring. You want Ukraine -- MS. TUTWILER: In Ukraine? Q No, no. The U.S. supports Ukraine in wanting a broader system of inspecting the destruction of the missiles in Russia, to make sure what Ukraine ships in is, indeed, destroyed. That's Ukraine's pitch. It's been its pitch for a long time. The START treaty -- MS. TUTWILER: That's one pitch. There are a lot of proposals, as you know -- Q There are other issues, yes. MS. TUTWILER: -- in the Ukrainian Parliament. Q Yeah, but on the tactical missiles, that's the big hang-up. Now, you've got the START treaty on hold; you've got Baker's testimony for the START treaty on hold; this may affect the summit. We understand that you'd like to see it resolved. But it seems that this might be an appropriate time to finally ask you, what are you doing about it? MS. TUTWILER: What we're doing about it is that the Secretary of State, most recently, had a lengthy conversation -- I mentioned yesterday -- on Saturday with the Foreign Minister of Russia -- at the conclusion of an 8-hour meeting that they had. He spent close to two hours this morning with the Ukrainian Defense Minister. I announced yesterday a high-level mission that is in the Ukraine right now and said that one of the things they would be discussing were these two very issues. The Secretary has had -- I've lost count of how many phone conversations with the Foreign Minister of Russia. Since we last saw him, there have been any number of demarches, cables back-and-forth to our Ambassadors in these countries. I would characterize, even though it's not visible, the United States has been actively trying to help on this. We're well aware of the deadlines -- or the time frames, I should use -- that are facing us and that are approaching us. It's like similar situations. We can't want something more than others. We can't make something happen. We have no reasons to believe that they are not genuinely trying to work this out among themselves. We're hopeful that they will be able to. And whatever assistance that we can give -- and again I would stress, this is being worked at the senior level in this Department. The Secretary of State is very involved in this, and is trying. Q Margaret, do the Ukrainians have specific evidence that previous shipments were not destroyed or dismantled? MS. TUTWILER: That would best probably be asked of them. If that was mentioned today, it was not when I was in the room. Q Margaret, has Ukraine specifically asked the United States to be part of an international commission? And would the United States be willing to be part of such a commission? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of a specific request -- official request -- from the Ukrainian Government for the United States to do that. But let me just check our records. Okay? Q And what about the -- MS. TUTWILER: And one other thing, that I've briefly touched on with Barry. The Defense Minister went through with the Secretary of State -- which I assume is public -- that their parliament -- there is a whole gambit of ranges of proposals that are percolating around in their system. So they are also having to work this themselves -- internally and domestically themselves. Q But you said yourself that the Defense Minister stressed again today their point -- one of their main points -- and that is this international commission. What's your understanding of what they want? And would the United States be willing to do -- participate? MS. TUTWILER: And I'm not in a position to answer that for you today at this briefing. I only attended half of a meeting. This is not something that was, when I was in the room, addressed in detail. I'll be happy -- just like Bill's question -- to see if one or all of the other three State Department personnel could, after the briefing, help me. Q How long will it take, do you think, to get the START treaty rolling? MS. TUTWILER: It all wrapped up in this. I can't answer that. Q No, no. You want the treaty ratified. You want to have an event at the summit -- a signing; some celebration. Can you get it ratified -- MS. TUTWILER: I haven't checked with Presidential Scheduling. Maybe they have, but I haven't heard of that. Q But the United States is not exactly an innocent bystander. You have a treaty, a major, major arms control treaty. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q And one of the heirs to the Soviet Union says it needs certain things to -- also before it starts shipping its strategic missiles in for destruction. All right. We're trying to find out if the U.S. has any specifics other than to say we hope they work it out. All we're hearing is that you hope they work it out, and you'd like to see them work it out. MS. TUTWILER: I believe I've said more than that, in all fairness to myself. Q And you're involved in it in trying to get them to work it out. But we're looking at some plans, some action. MS. TUTWILER: What I acknowledge and understand you would like me to do is to be able to tell you the details of what the Secretary of State is cabling back and forth, having phone conversations about, and I simply cannot do that. That would flesh it out for you pretty well. I just simply cannot do that for you at this particular moment. He is working on it. It's like a number of other subjects where he's worked on it. He is availing himself of his prerogative to work this out or try to help privately through diplomatic means and channels. So I don't have a lot, at this briefing today, to give you that is specific. And without -- so I don't let it stand -- I'm not aware that I have heard of a celebration that is being planned for the meeting that is in June -- June 16-17. I'm not sure I'm familiar with that phraseology from the White House. And also one other tiny little point is, when President Bush and President Gorbachev initialed the START agreement in Moscow, there had been no coup. There was a Soviet Union. So you say we're an innocent bystander, a whole lot has changed and we're working with that change to try to get this done.

[Peru: US Policy on Restoration of Democracy/Aid and Secretary's Speech to OAS/Related Subjects]

Q Another subject? Q Peru? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q Margaret, I want to understand a little better what the policy is. Baker, yesterday, make a very tough speech in support of democracy. My question is this, really: How can we support the return to democracy, or the status quo, in Peru when it was precisely the status quo which got the country into the situation it's in now? I don't quite understand. Are we telling the Peruvians certain things -- that if you go back, we will increase our aid X, Y, and Z in these different areas? We will help you wrestle with these problems? Just to hear the Secretary's speech is to sort of hear, democracy is the only way you've got to restore the status quo. But the status quo was so clearly not working. MS. TUTWILER: I'm not sure that I would characterize "not working." They were a democracy. We, as you know, subscribe to those principles. I would also remind you that -- I believe it was a Sunday evening -- the Assistant Secretary of State for this region had just arrived in their capital with an entire interagency team to discuss the very things that do help the Peruvian people in the economic field, I believe in the counternarcotics field, in a whole basket of things Bernie (Aronson) was down there to discuss. That was aborted when this happened. So I don't think that is -- I would not characterize it as saying that we are saying "return to the status quo." If you look at our first statement 24 hours after Fujimori's announcement, he said that while President -- 24 hours after -- this isn't right. (Laughter) He said -- I got this really fast from Bernie. I apologize. He said that while President Fujimori inherited severe problems, any needed reform must be pursued within the constitutional framework. We are now in the third year of a $3.4 million program to help Peru reform its judicial system. We have another $5 million budgeted for judicial and police reform over the next five years, and a $500,000 program which has already trained judges and police officers in Peru. We are prepared to assist in other ways. We do not think that the status quo works either; quite the opposite. Our quarrel is not over the need for reform in Peru. It is over the way that President Fujimori has decided to carry it out. When Colombia carried out its far-reaching constitutional reforms, they began with a national referendum, not by arresting members of parliament, judicial officials, and journalists. As I believe we have said before -- I believe Mr. Aronson has on the record -- that we are prepared to resume substantial economic and security assistance. I touched on that with Bernie's mission Sunday night. Peru was close to receiving substantial duty-free treatment under the Andean Trade Preference Initiative. We are willing to accelerate that process -- we were at that time -- prepared to resume strong leadership in the support group to help Peru clear its arrears with financial institutions and resume new lending. If Congress provides the necessary funds, we would hope to be able to forgive most of Peru's bilateral debt in 1993 under the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative. Q But let me just follow that up, then. Are you giving any political advice to Fujimori in the sense that -- why don't you just hold a -- 70 percent of the people support you, according to the polls. Are you saying -- are you giving him any political advice on how to proceed? The aid is all well and good, but this guy had Maoist guerrillas on his doorstep in Lima. He knew the aid that was in the pipeline, too. He clearly calculated. Q And not just the United States had. Q Right. So he obviously calculated that it was not sufficient to address his problem. I mean, my question, is he giving him -- MS. TUTWILER: I'm not going to make that deduction as to why he did this. Q Well, O.K. But are you -- I mean, but he obviously did it because he knew the aid was coming, and it wasn't sufficient. I mean, I think that's a fair -- it's a legitimate deduction. We can quibble about it. But my question is really, are you giving him political advice? Are you saying, for instance, had you only held a referendum and gotten the approval of the people to take extraordinary measures to have a special constituent assembly, or whatever, to deal with the courts and the -- MS. TUTWILER: Not to my knowledge. As far as are we having suggestions along the lines of what you're suggesting to me, but are we having a political -- are we making our views known politically, I would characterize the OAS meeting yesterday as a political meeting at the Foreign Ministers' level. I would characterize the President's statements, the Secretary of State's statements, our statements from this podium about what is needed to restore -- Q Right. What I'm saying -- MS. TUTWILER: -- constitutionality as political statements. Q Yes. They're political statements, but they're statements of principle -- MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q -- in a situation where the principle as it was existing before this coup wasn't working. I mean, my question is to tell someone to -- MS. TUTWILER: But you can't throw your principle out. That's what Secretary Baker said in his speech yesterday. Q Right. But my -- MS. TUTWILER: You can't destroy democracy in order to save democracy. Q Right, but -- Q Margaret, has the Secretary called Fujimori? MS. TUTWILER: Has he? Has the Secretary? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: Not to my knowledge. Q Why not? MS. TUTWILER: I mean, I'm not aware that he calls heads of state all the time when there is a problem. I don't know if the President has spoken with him or not. To be honest with you, I'm not aware of a single head of state that the Secretary has spoken with in this particular crisis. I am very well aware -- for instance, he's right now meeting with the Foreign Minister of Venezuela. I believe he's meeting later this afternoon with the Foreign Minister of Mexico. He's had a number of meetings at his level. I just don't know -- I believe that yesterday Mr. Aronson met early in the morning over at the OAS building, I believe, with the Foreign Minister of Peru. Q Do you have an update on the aid situation to Peru? MS. TUTWILER: It's still under review. It hasn't been changed, and I don't have an answer. Ralph had asked me yesterday specifically about the counter-narcotics portion of our aid, and I said that was a very sensitive security matter that I could not discuss. But I can tell you today that the entire thing is under review. It's all suspended, but it is still under review. There are no decisions. Q It's also what? MS. TUTWILER: Under review. Q No. You said it's also -- MS. TUTWILER: It's suspended. As you know, we announced that in the first 24 hours, but I don't have anything additional to add, and the only place that I'm aware of, George, that I would, would be in the counter-narcotics area. Q Margaret, could you just clear that up? You said it's all under -- you originally said you couldn't -- MS. TUTWILER: All aid has been suspended. Q And you said it's all under review. That includes the counter-narcotics aid, is that correct? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. We have said that religiously every day out here. Remember, I gave you the figures? I believe it's $19.5 million, and I think you asked me, "Is there a separate budget for DEA," and I came back the next day and said, "No, there's not." But, as you know, counter-narcotics, in some instances, involves personnel and we are not discussing that. Q So that includes the humanitarian aid as well, which -- MS. TUTWILER: Humanitarian aid, we have never suspended that's going from voluntary humanitarian organizations to voluntary humanitarian associations. Q Non-governmental. MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry. What? Q Non-governmental. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Margaret, have we talked with any of the other -- of Peru's Western donors to try to encourage them to suspend and review aid with Peru as well, specifically Germany and Japan? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know specifically. I would find it hard to believe that Mr. Aronson or other experts or officials have not had conversations with the Japanese or with the Germans, but I don't know of a specific one that I can point to. Q Can we go to another subject? Q No. One more, please, on Peru. On this commission going to Peru, will there be an American representative on that? MS. TUTWILER: It is my understanding there will not be. The OAS announced who the delegation would be last night, and I checked this morning to see when they were leaving, and they don't have a time for me yet. We believe that it will be some time this week, but you'd have to check with the OAS. Q And what would the United States like this commission to come back with? MS. TUTWILER: The mandate that the resolution last night calls for it to, and I'll be happy to repeat it all for you here, but I don't think you want me to go through all that. Q Margaret, I just want to understand your earlier answer that -- MS. TUTWILER: I'll try. Q What you're saying is that the answer to Peru's problems is a return to democracy, and this aid and the use of this international aid -- both U.S. and other -- is that what you're saying? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not sure exactly what it is you're asking me. We have been very clear about what it is that we think that Peru needs to do. I believe the vote last night was 32 to zero with Peru abstaining. The resolution itself, I believe, tracks very closely to United States policy, of what we've enunciated. Q Right. And I'm asking you a philosophical question -- MS. TUTWILER: So wait a minute. Q I'm sorry. MS. TUTWILER: So that, to cut it all down, basically says yes, go back to the democracy road. With this event that happened last weekend -- I don't know what every country has done; I know what ours has done -- that cannot help. That can only exacerbate a situation that we ourselves have acknowledged is very severe. We have said he has very severe problems. Q Right. MS. TUTWILER: You asked me, and I've just told you, one of the benefits that you get in the economic basket when you restore it is the things that I listed. It would seem to me politically that what you are risking right now -- and you said that the President is having to weigh and calculate things -- his isolation in this hemisphere -- that's political. A number of other problems will only exacerbate the situation there for the people on the ground, the Peruvian people. So I think everybody's pretty clear about what it is, to date, at least 32 nations are saying is the road to follow. Q Yes. I guess what I don't understand is why returning to a status quo that simply was unworkable will now be workable, but -- Q Could we -- Q Go ahead. Q Could we go to another subject? Do you have a reaction to the resignation of the Russian cabinet, and will this affect American intentions to aid the former Soviet Union? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have anything to add to what I said yesterday. Q No, in fact, the situation has turned around a little bit, I think. It seems the latest reports are that there's some agreement, some compromise. I wondered if you -- MS. TUTWILER: That I hadn't heard this morning. Q I wondered if you'd caught up with that? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't caught with that. But I know that basically yesterday I said, as you know, from the very beginning we have said that our ability to assist the former republics, including Russia, is obviously on their ability and their actions to move toward reform -- market reform, economic reform, etc. I said, as I also recall, that, yes, we were concerned, but that -- this is my understanding -- that the cabinet had yesterday said they were going to resign, and I believe had a letter or something. President Yeltsin had said he was not going to accept it at this time; had asked them to continue working through this parliamentary session. It's my understanding this morning that that session is still going on. Q Margaret, Mr. Gates, who is given to predictions, had one in Detroit yesterday. MS. TUTWILER: He did? Q I wondered if the State Department associates itself this time with his prediction. MS. TUTWILER: I didn't see his prediction. Q He spoke in Detroit, and he said that he -- well, he seems to look pretty good today so far. He said Yeltsin and the economic reforms will survive. That despite all this cross-fire, he thought Yeltsin would make it, and I assume he's not just speaking as a man in the street, but it's based on some analysis; and that his reform program would survive. Is that the analysis here of the long-range chances of the program and the Russian leader, do you know? MS. TUTWILER: Number one, I haven't seen Mr. Gates' remarks -- what did you say -- yesterday in Detroit? Q In Detroit. It was an economic group meeting. MS. TUTWILER: I literally have not seen them, so I don't want to comment on something I have not seen. And I'm not aware that we here, to use your phrase, "do predictions." The President has obviously stated many times how courageous President Yeltsin is; that he has really taken some very bold steps in the economic area and other areas; how supportive we are of reformers and democrats, etc., etc. But I'm not aware that we have ever done a prediction. We and many others around the world in all spheres that I am aware of are doing everything that we can as we see that they continue to move down these roads to support the democrats and the reformers. Barrie. Q Margaret, there's a report out of Israel this morning that the United States promised the Saudi Arabians that it would not go ahead with loan guarantees for Israel if the Saudis could deliver Syria and Jordan to the Middle East peace talks. Reaction? MS. TUTWILER: I heard about that report when I got to work this morning. I have checked at the most senior level of this Department, and there is absolutely no truth to that story. Q What about Rome as a possible site for the follow-on Round Six? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not in a position today to announce the city or venue of where the sixth round will be. Q Margaret, can we go back to the NPR report for a minute, and maybe if it weren't phrased precisely the way NPR phrased it, there would be some element of truth to the report. In other words, you can break it down, so let me try to break it down. Did the U.S. give assurances to the Saudis that the U.S. would oppose loan guarantees to Israel? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I have any knowledge of, Barry, and what I'm not going to do is sit here and have you now formulate all the possibilities of questions that it could become. This is a story that I heard about this morning when I arrived here at 7:00 a.m. I've checked, I said, with the senior level. I'll be more forthcoming -- with the Secretary of State -- who is -- in the version of the report that I've got says that the Secretary of State did this. And I'm telling you that it's simply not true. Q Well, you know, I'm not bound by asking you precisely what the report said. The report brings to mind -- MS. TUTWILER: We could all just make up things here. Q -- the fact that the U.S. is adamantly opposed to Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Gaza and probably Jerusalem -- you call them "settlements" -- Jews living in Jerusalem as well. So this -- the report goes one step further and says that the U.S. told the Saudis that the loan guarantees will not be approved under any circumstances, which would make all the bartering -- MS. TUTWILER: Well, I'm telling you that's garbage. Q -- which would make all the bartering, you know, kind of a circus. MS. TUTWILER: I'm telling you it's garbage. Q Okay. Q Margaret, at some point during the negotiations leading up to Madrid -- MS. TUTWILER: Where are we? Q On the same issue. At some point leading up to the negotiations -- leading up to Madrid, some of the parties were informed that after Madrid, letters of agreement with each party would be exchanged so that one side would know what the other side had been told. Has that been done, and, if not, why not? MS. TUTWILER: If you remember, we changed our minds, and we told you about it at the time, as we told the parties. We had done, as I recall, thorough, verbal briefs of all the parties of what was contained in the other's letters of assurances. But a decision was made by the Secretary of State that we would not be actually exchanging the pieces of paper, which we have not done and hasn't happened. Q Do you know if loan guarantees -- do you remember if loan guarantees were mentioned in the letters of assurance in any way? MS. TUTWILER: Do I? Q I mean, was that -- at that point, was that something that belonged in the letters of reference? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not even sure it was on the agenda, to be honest with you. Q I meant letters of reference. Q Margaret, on the -- MS. TUTWILER: Assurances. Assurances I think they were called. Q Margaret, on the same subject, the multilateral leg of the talks -- are all of the working sessions still on track, still scheduled to take place at the times at which they were originally scheduled? MS. TUTWILER: To my knowledge. I haven't checked this week. To my knowledge they were at the end of last week. Yes. Q New subject: Margaret, do you have anything more to say than the Secretary did on Libya and the World Court ruling? MS. TUTWILER: Not a lot. He gave you our reaction. I could tell you, if you don't already have it, what the vote was, and exactly what it is that they did, if that's what you want. Q No, not really. MS. TUTWILER: O.K. Q What about what Libya is doing today? Do you have any reaction? Q Margaret, beyond that -- Q They suspended flights today. MS. TUTWILER: I think they had a total embargo, they call it -- a self-imposed embargo. Q Yes. I think they're trying to beat you to the punch or something. MS. TUTWILER: No. We have no reaction to their doing that. Q Well, today the United Nations is going to be reviewing what its reaction will be to the proposal that the people be sent to Malta -- the suspects be sent to Malta. Do you want to give us a sense of how you feel about that? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. It's the same as we have to all the other proposals that have been floated either through the press, unofficially or officially. It falls short. It does not meet the requirements of compliance, and Libya knows very well what it has to do in order to be in compliance. Q Is Malta neutral, as they say it is? MS. TUTWILER: Is it what? Q Wouldn't Malta be a neutral party? MS. TUTWILER: It's just not in the cards. I mean, it falls short. Whether it's Malta or anywhere else. I mean, you know they've had a hundred of these -- that's an exaggeration -- but a number of these proposals that have been floated throughout this, and I believe that this has been going on for over the last three months since the resolution passed. Q Also today, Margaret, Senator Kennedy has suggested that the United States should be prepared to step up the sanctions, including trying to get everyone on board to stop buying Libyan oil worldwide. Are we planning to ratchet this thing up once we get stage one established? MS. TUTWILER: This is stage two in my mind. This is the second resolution. I haven't, to be honest with you, heard anyone talking about potential next steps, so I can't freelance on that for you. Q Margaret, anything new since yesterday on either Americans or foreigners in Libya? MS. TUTWILER: No. The numbers are the same as I gave you about ten days ago. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (The briefing concluded at 12:55 p.m.)