US Department of State Daily Briefing #58: Thursday, 4/16/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: Apr, 16 19924/16/92 Category: Briefings Region: E/C Europe, MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, Europe, South Asia, East Asia Country: Israel, USSR (former), Georgia, Russia, Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Croatia, Libya, South Korea, Turkey Subject: Development/Relief Aid, Regional/Civil Unrest, Nuclear Nonproliferation, Arms Control, Immigration, Trade/Economics, Military Affairs, Human Rights 12:00 NOON (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Former Soviet Union: Nuclear Weapons Transfers from Georgia to Russia/Related Arms Control Issues]

MS. TUTWILER: I have two things I'd like to do. The first concerns the Presidential mission that returned last night. As you recall, that consisted of Under Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Ed Hewitt at the White House, and Dennis Ross from the State Department. Their trip was very useful. They met with a wide cross-section of Ukrainian Government officials and other individuals and felt the discussions were very good and helped bring a basis to further promote strong bilateral ties. The mission is part of an ongoing dialogue and was organized, as you know, to help prepare for President Kravchuk's visit. On the subject of tactical nuclear weapons: I spoke about the agreement on procedures for the dismantling and destruction of tactical nuclear weapons yesterday which was due to be signed by Russia and Ukraine. During the visit, President Kravchuk told our team that he had signed the agreement, and he expected resumption of the withdrawal very, very soon. This morning, Foreign Minister Kozyrev spoke by phone with Secretary Baker about a number of subjects, and during that conversation the Foreign Minister relayed the news to Secretary Baker that President Yeltsin had signed the accord as well. The United States is very pleased to learn that this agreement has been signed by both Presidents. Our understanding is that transfers of tactical nuclear weapons from Ukraine to Russia will resume immediately. Both Ukraine and Russia have indicated that they believe that they can meet the July 1, 1992, deadline for those transfers to be completed, and we hope that deadline will be met. Q Do they have an arrangement now that would satisfy Ukraine about overseeing the destruction of the weapons, because, you know -- MS. TUTWILER: They must. Q Well, the agreement doesn't necessarily require destruction of the weapons. MS. TUTWILER: My understanding is that this is their agreement, obviously, Barry, and that both Presidents have now in the last 24 hours signed this. It must satisfy both of them. And it is my understanding this resolution does address what happens to these weapons when they get on the Russian territory. Q The other day when we asked the Secretary about this, he said if, you know, all parties wanted the U.S. participate, he'd be amenable -- probably amenable to that. Will the U.S. have any role in seeing -- overseeing the destruction? MS. TUTWILER: We haven't been asked, and so I'd refer you just to the response the Secretary gave the other day. Q Well, but does this agreement provide for any international supervision or international participation? MS. TUTWILER: Not to my knowledge, but I'll be honest with you, I am not at all totally familiar with all of the details and nuances of this agreement. After all, it's an agreement between them. I will see if an expert can answer that question for you. I know that I can't. Q O.K. I guess what I was trying to get at was Baker obviously talked with Kozyrev about it this morning, and your team has just gotten back from talking with Kravchuk about it, and you at this moment say the United States has not been asked to participate. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q I thought that perhaps in that series of discussions the United States had been briefed on how this process will work and whether other nations, if not the U.S., would -- MS. TUTWILER: The United States, it is my understanding, prior to these two meetings, was familiar at the expert level with the nuance and the details that are in this agreement that these two countries were working on. I just particularly am not -- what we were talking about yesterday and what I believe most of you have been interested in is the resumption of the tactical nuclear weapons, and I was very careful yesterday to say that, yes, they say they had agreed but had not signed. What I am saying now is both presidents have signed this, and both countries have said this resumption is going to begin immediately. Q Margaret, did they -- did Dennis [Ross] and the others discuss the START Treaty, and has there been any resolution to that? MS. TUTWILER: They did discuss it, and this is something -- another subject that the Secretary discussed again this morning with the Foreign Minister of Russia, and the Secretary is continuing to work the issue. Q Do you feel that you've made any progress? Are you any closer to resolution? MS. TUTWILER: I don't want to do predictions or characterizations at this moment. He is actively very involved in this at his level, himself, as we've said, evidenced by again this morning he is working on finding a way to resolve this, and I don't want to do predictions for you. Q Are there any plans for the Secretary to meet Kozyrev in the next couple of weeks? MS. TUTWILER: Anything is possible. There is nothing that is firm or definite. Q Can you tell us specifically now, if you know, why Ukraine did stop shipping them, what their concerns were, or what specifically they were -- MS. TUTWILER: I would really rather refer you to the Ukrainian Government for that. Q Has Baker been -- when you say he's been "working this issue," has he been in touch with the leaders of the other nuclear or former nuclear republics on the question of the START Treaty recently? MS. TUTWILER: Our experts have. He personally has not as of this briefing. Q O.K. So as far as his working on it is concerned, he's been dealing with it with Ukraine and with Russia? MS. TUTWILER: As far as, as of this briefing, his having a personal phone conversation -- which is what I referred to with the Foreign Minister of Russia -- as of this briefing, that's the only phone conversation that I know of -- if you want to stop the clock -- as of say the last several days. There are cables that can go from the Secretary of State, and the day doesn't end today at 12:05. He may well be intending, Ralph, to talk to others about this, and I just want to keep continuing to say -- which I know doesn't help you and is frustrating -- that he is actively working on this, as he has been for a number of days, really, over the last two weeks. Q Margaret, while you're looking into this, could you throw another question at the folks? There are none in Byelarus, but I don't know what the situation is in Kazakhstan now. Is there a problem there? Are the tacticals gone? Are they -- you know, are they shipping? Any problems? And what's the status? I mean, are they all gone or what? MS. TUTWILER: O.K. I'll ask. May I do Yugoslavia if we're through with this? Q Can I just finish this? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q Are discussions continuing on going beyond START -- you know, the proposals that were exchanged in February -- or is the Secretary and all the experts now concentrating on implementing START first? MS. TUTWILER: I would have to say that the bulk of his focus right this moment is on START, because, as you know, we have a legislative clock running here in the United States. But that doesn't mean that he has forgotten going beyond START. As you know, he was in Brussels and had -- I can't remember how long that conversation lasted, what was it, about four hours -- discussing those proposals. But right now, yes, trying to specifically and literally find a way so that we can begin our ratification process here on START. Q Since Brussels the issue has been not forgotten but put aside for the moment. MS. TUTWILER: That gets me into a problem and is an unfair characterization. That doesn't mean that the experts or that even he cannot at the same time be having these conversations. But because we have a calendar and a clock that's ticking on START ratification that they say is important to get done -- we've said is important to get done -- that is something that is immediate and a specific. The other is, of course, yes, he still discusses. Q Margaret, does Baker think that anyone other than Russia at this point needs to sign anything with the United States -- co-sign something with the United States -- MS. TUTWILER: That's a level of -- Q -- before the Administration sends the START Treaty up to Congress? MS. TUTWILER: That's a very legitimate question, but it goes to a level of detail that I'm just not at liberty to get into. Q Yugoslavia? MS. TUTWILER: May I do what?

[Yugoslavia: Civil Strife in Bosnia/Ceasefire/Update on Fighting/Other]

Q Yugoslavia. MS. TUTWILER: Are you talking about me? Q No, no. MS. TUTWILER: Yugoslavia. As you know, we are having extensive contacts with our allies regarding the crisis in Bosnia. The Secretary, as I mentioned, has talked personally to a number of his colleagues. We discussed the situation in Bosnia intensively yesterday in a priority -- as a priority item at the CSCE meeting in Helsinki. At that meeting, representatives of the participating states unanimously adopted a statement on the crisis in Yugoslavia and the situation in Bosnia in particular. We are very pleased with the results. This statement, written and adopted by the participants working very quickly, is an indication of the success that is possible through cooperative effort and demonstrates the beginning of a process and the willingness of the world community to begin isolating Serbia if it continues on its present course in Bosnia. The statement condemns the violence in the region, expresses support for the territorial integrity of Bosnia and for peace efforts there, including those of the EC and the U.N., and condemns those responsible for the violence -- in particular Serbia and the Yugoslav People's Army, JNA. The resolution warns that continued CSCE participation requires full respect for CSCE commitments. A meeting of the CSCE committee of senior officials has been scheduled for April 29 in Helsinki to review the situation in Bosnia. We believe the CSCE action puts those responsible for the violence in Bosnia on notice that they face real consequences, such as ostracism, by the international community if their campaign of aggression and destabilization continues. Overall on the update, militant Bosnian Serbs backed by the JNA say their aim is to take control of Sarajevo. Yesterday evening, Sarajevo was hit by tank fire. This morning there was sporadic sniper fire, apparently intended to prevent people from going to work. We also understand that Serbian forces have set up barricades within the city in an effort to partition it. Serbian forces outside of Sarajevo continue to maintain their blockade of the city. Food shortages there are becoming very serious. However, the airport is open at the present time. Low intensity fighting continues throughout much of Bosnia. Much of the fighting is concentrated in towns along the Drina River in Eastern Bosnia. We are also concerned about reports that Croatian paramilitary forces from Croatia continue to cross into Bosnia. All such efforts to destabilize Bosnia are totally unacceptable. Yesterday I spoke of our concern about the refugees who have been forced from their homes in Bosnia by the fighting there. We have more information for you today on this which shows the extent of the tragedy and which heightens our concern. We estimate that as many as 160,000 people have been made homeless by the fighting in Bosnia during the past ten days. Many of the refugees are women and children and most are fleeing on foot. At least 50,000 Croats have taken refuge in Croatia. Serbian attacks along Bosnia's eastern border have displaced thousands within Bosnia and prompted about 30,000 refugees to cross into Serbia, many seeking to join Muslim communities in the south. U.S. officials say that one town on the border with Serbia has become a ghost town. According to our Embassy, many people have also fled the town of Visegrad which is near the border with Serbia. Montenegro now hosts 15,000 refugees from the fighting in the areas of Bosnia near its border with Montenegro. Yesterday, 6,000 Bosnian refugees arrived in Slovenia. We, the United States, are working to provide emergency humanitarian relief on an urgent basis. We are going to airlift this aid over the coming days. We are planning to send two United States Air Force airplanes -- a C-5A* and a C-141 -- to Sarajevo with food and blankets. We are now discussing the timing and the security situation with our Embassy in Belgrade and Bosnian authorities. We are reviewing on an urgent basis other emergency humanitarian relief measures that we as a government can take. Q Margaret, Croatian regulars are attacking Bosnia? You've made some reference to Croatia. MS. TUTWILER: We've said that they are -- in many of our statements that they are a lesser problem in this particular situation, but they have also, as you know, been guilty of some violence, yes. *A total of three C-141s will probably be used due to limitations of the airport. Q Those are the folks you just recognized last week. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Are you planning any action at CSCE against Croatia? As you look back on it, was the breakup of Yugoslavia such a great idea after all? MS. TUTWILER: Well, I don't think, Barry, that we had a vote or a say so. I mean, that's for the people of the former Yugoslavia to decide. Q Well, eventually you came around to the European view that these break-aways should be recognized. I don't know if it changed the course of history, but you did go with the flow, and I wondered if, on reflection, the Administration thinks maybe things were better when there was one country called Yugoslavia. MS. TUTWILER: That is for the Yugoslavian people to decide. The Administration has never changed its policy concerning our policy, which was whatever the people decided should be done peacefully. Q Margaret, on part of your statement, you said you're pleased at the reaction. Have you seen the quite defiant statements issued this morning by the Serbian leadership, saying that they simply don't care whether in fact they're expelled from the CSCE? MS. TUTWILER: Serbian leadership in Belgrade? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: I have not seen that. Their representative was in Helsinki yesterday. It's my understanding, understandably, that he left the hall when the actual vote was taken, but I understand that he did come back after the vote, and the vote was unanimous. Q And are there any implications that go along with the expulsion from CSCE? In other words, do they lose anything other than prestige? MS. TUTWILER: Legitimacy, prestige. Those are things, as I answered you yesterday, that only they can determine. It's my understanding that this has never been done before. And again, so the record is correct, I am not saying this is indeed what is going to happen. That is not what we said yesterday or today. Q But what leads us to believe that they would care, particularly in light of today's statements? MS. TUTWILER: Well, again, I can't judge what motivates the leadership in Belgrade. Maybe they could answer that better for you. Jim says they've responded to this. Q I guess what I'm asking is, is this not a somewhat empty threat? "We'll read you out of CSCE if you don't stop killing people." MS. TUTWILER: Well, I'll answer the same way I answered Jim yesterday. Some nations care about legitimacy. Some nations want to be viewed as the successor to former states. That's the only leverage that -- I can tell you that many people must be of the opinion that nations do care. I've just said what we, the United States, are going to do concerning sending in two of these aircraft on an emergency basis on the humanitarian side. Many of you had asked me yesterday -- "This is all just empty talk. You're not doing anything." I told you today in -- what -- less than 24 hours, here is what we're doing. Q Margaret, the Center for Security Policy, which is a conservative think tank here in Washington, put out a release yesterday, describing the U.S. approach to this as "limp-wristed" and suggesting that Secretary Baker resign -- MS. TUTWILER: Really! Q -- his post. I'm not sure what you think about the Center for Security Policy -- MS. TUTWILER: I've never heard of it. Q -- but it is out there on the record. Does the United States plan -- MS. TUTWILER: For the Secretary to resign? Q -- any further and perhaps more stringent actions? Are you, for example, calling for a meeting of the NAC-C to consider military action? Would the United States be required to provide security for the C-5 and the C-141 that are going into Sarajevo if the airport is not secure at the time? MS. TUTWILER: As I said, the reason I could not today -- and we really -- some people here worked very hard on this yesterday afternoon and last night -- I cannot give you a specific time for touchdown for that very reason. We obviously are not going to send our people into a situation that we don't feel is safe or secure. But we are confident enough as of this briefing to announce that we indeed have identified these two airplanes that we indeed are saying we're going to send them. But, obviously, if they close the airport or the situation totally deteriorates, we would have to delay. I am not aware of this group that you've mentioned to me. What did you call it -- a think tank? I'm not aware of it, and, yes, you're correct, I obviously am not going to respond to something that I haven't seen. And I would say -- Q Frank Gaffney. Q And we'll give him your FAX number. Then you'll get it too. MS. TUTWILER: Great! That would be wonderful. Then I can come to the briefing informed. [Laughter] Q Margaret, a follow-up on the security of the aircraft on the aid delivery. I just want to make sure I understand this right. The U.S. for months declined to send humanitarian aid into Georgia, even after Tbilisi was quiet -- certainly quieter than Sarajevo is in the last couple of days -- because the U.S. felt the security situation was inadequate to guarantee the security of U.S. officials and U.S. personnel involved in the aid delivery. But in Sarajevo the U.S. thinks that even with the gunfire you reported and so on in the city, that it wants to announce aid flights there now? MS. TUTWILER: I don't normally do comparisons, but I believe it will refresh your memory, that at the time of Georgia, we had information that was very reliable through our sources that the airport was mined, and that we could not assure our pilots or the crews that those mines had been removed. And a judgment call, which I think was a very common sense one, was as long as your -- I'll say the word -- intelligence tells you that this airport has mines on it, you're certainly not going to land an airplane. We have no such information concerning the Sarajevo airport. Former Secretary Vance is there right now. He landed in an airplane. I've said the airport is open. Obviously, Ralph, if intelligence came in or reports that the airport has been mined, we would not land an airplane there. Q Margaret, you mentioned legitimacy and the fact that Serbia wants to be regarded as the heir to Yugoslavia and -- MS. TUTWILER: Well, I said "some countries." I did not say "this country." Q All right. But we know that Serbia wants to be regarded as the heir to Yugoslavia, and we know also that Serbia at the moment is de facto the heir to Yugoslavia. They occupy the Yugoslav Embassies around the world. They occupy Yugoslavia's U.N. seat. In CSCE itself, they don't sit there as Serbia. They sit there as Yugoslavia -- MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q -- to the best of my knowledge. MS. TUTWILER: You're right. Q Is it under consideration to deprive Serbia of these assets which are in fact Yugoslav assets? MS. TUTWILER: I have not, Alan, heard anyone discuss that. I don't know how this situation is going to evolve. As I said yesterday, what the United States and even the Foreign Minister of Bosnia said is the time for politics is not right now. People are dying as we're standing at this briefing. He used the phrase with the Secretary many times when he met with the Secretary and said, "Sir, all politics should be put aside. People we we speak are dying." And so I can't answer whether the leadership in Belgrade is going to halt this, is going to on a humanitarian basis stop this, talk your differences out in a peaceful way. We reported today, and I've seen in a number of your reports -- people on the record -- officials saying what they're trying to do is claim this territory -- I saw a phrase: "take this territory." There's a preferred way, if you're going to have differences, and it is a peaceful discussion versus the type of activity that we've been trying to describe, and that your colleagues are reporting every day that's going on there. Q Margaret -- Q Can I follow up on my question? I mean, with the greatest of respect, you described to us moves that you've done in the CSCE, which are political moves, to suspend Serbia or Yugoslavia actually within two weeks. And my question is, why don't you also -- is it under consideration to take similar moves in other bodies like the United Nations where they are sitting and talking -- MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. Q -- about similar political moves -- MS. TUTWILER: I understand. Q -- that you have described in CSCE. MS. TUTWILER: And you asked me that question yesterday, and I answered it by saying there is no recommendation at this point for that. There are any number of things -- Ralph mentioned one to me yesterday and someone else did -- that are all floating out there. But I don't know. Hopefully, it would be the case this afternoon this stops. Then you wouldn't have to go that route, Alan. And so I can't prejudge for you what's going to happen on the ground there and where we go from here. I can -- and I think it's been probably less than 48 hours since the Foreign Minister of Bosnia was here, and you heard him and many of you all did -- the United States Government, the CSCE, which I believe is composed now of 51 nations, have moved with -- my old phrase -- with lightning speed to try to alert the world community and bring attention to this humanitarian situation that is apparently ongoing there on the ground. Q When the Iraqis invaded Kuwait, though, the United States called for an immediate session of the Security Council and brought this up as an urgent matter before the Security Council. Why is there no such action here? MS. TUTWILER: All future options aren't precluded. Everything is open. But right now this is what we've done in the last 30-something hours -- what the United States unilaterally has done -- and what we have done as part of a 51-nation group that is meeting in Helsinki. Q Does that mean you are considering asking for an emergency session of the Security Council. MS. TUTWILER: No. I've answered that. It's Alan's question. There is no recommendation that I have any knowledge of as of this briefing for future, further what-ifs and steps. It doesn't say that they aren't going to be considered at some point, but I don't know at what point, or if you get to a point where they need to be. I can't -- it's too hypothetical and speculative for me. Q A follow-up on the technicality of the thing about the CSCE meeting. You said the vote was unanimous. MS. TUTWILER: For those members that were present. Q I had not followed that vote yesterday, so I may be in the dark on this, but for those members who were there, how many voted for it? Do you know? I mean, were there others who were not present, or was it 50 to one essentially? Fifty with one abstention. MS. TUTWILER: Under CSCE rules, it's my understanding, as you know -- I know they vote on consensus, but they have an exception for, Barry, when there is a resolution about a country who's a member. That country, obviously, does not have to be part of the consensus. I don't have how many people were actually there. I don't know that they weren't all there. I will be happy to find out for you. Q I guess it would be interesting to know, there's some question about how consensus is going to work in the CSCE. MS. TUTWILER: That's the current rule before this even came up. Q I know. But there's some question as to whether this will have any -- whether they'll be able to actually operate under consensus and how it's going to work. So I'd be interested to know whether others were not present, but I can look -- I can follow that up. MS. TUTWILER: And what the rules are if you aren't present. I don't know. Q Margaret, a quick point. MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me. Wait a minute. But, Ralph, I believe, at least when we do, we travel -- we have a permanent representative, and we travel with a big delegation. So I'm just guessing -- I would assume if their appointed person who's Mr. and Mrs. CSCE wasn't there, someone else can sit in the chair, just like they can for the United States. So I'll find out if there were empty literal delegations who, for whatever reasons, couldn't be at that meeting. I'll just find out for you. Q You were asked about this yesterday, but I'm going to try again. The statements that are put together here keep referring to Serbia. It sort of makes believe there's no Yugoslavia anymore. I realize Yugoslavia's fallen apart, but there is a Serbia. Montenegro remained in and maybe enclaves of the others who will remain in. Is there some point besides politics for the fact that you use Serbia to describe a country? Is the United States going to withdraw recognition of Yugoslavia? Will it simply call Yugoslavia "Serbia" from now on? I don't understand what's going on. I understand, you know, you have a rhetorical reason, but is there anything else behind all this? MS. TUTWILER: It's not only rhetorical, Barry. It's that Yugoslavia, as we all knew it, just does not technically, literally exist anymore. So I could interchange the terms, if you want, except that Serbia, as you know, and Montenegro, we have been told the route they want to go is to form a -- I believe it's called -- Q It's called Yugoslavia. MS. TUTWILER: No. But it's called a federal -- confederation, is, I think the term they're thinking about using. I don't know what they're going to choose to call themselves. Q (Inaudible) -- what the U.S. is aiming to say. Maybe you -- MS. TUTWILER: But Yugoslavia -- if you ask me point blank, "Does Yugoslavia exist," my answer to you point blank would be no, it doesn't. Q All right. Since you raise that, then you earlier talked about reports from the U.S. Embassy. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Those reports came from the U.S. Embassy where? MS. TUTWILER: The U.S. Embassy -- Q In what country? MS. TUTWILER: It's the same question, Ralph. Q I know. So I was trying to get the answer. Was it the U.S. Embassy in Serbia? MS. TUTWILER: The U.S. Embassy -- Yugoslavia as we all know it does not exist. It is common knowledge that our Ambassador and all Ambassadors are in a very fluid situation there. They were accredited to the former country of Yugoslavia. We have said, for instance, that we will, hopefully, be opening Embassies in the new country of Slovenia, the new country of Croatia, by this summer. So then you'll have Embassies in those two countries. Right now we think it's wiser to not get hung up on, to be honest with you, semantics; that it's very important to have Ambassador Zimmerman there on the ground. He is extremely helpful and extremely knowledgeable on all of these issues, as is his staff. They not only, as you know -- and have throughout this enormous change that's gone on in the former Yugoslavia -- they have been in contact with all of these countries -- new countries, and, to be quite honest with you, he right now is wearing many hats, if you want to describe it that way. For instance, when we were talking to the Bosnians, it is Ambassador Zimmerman and his staff. It's just a natural. So, it will all sort itself out, but it's really not what we're most focused on or concerned about right now. It works. Q So you will have access to the Serbian -- in view of the statements this government has issued in the last 24 or 48 hours, does Ambassador Zimmerman still have access to the highest levels of the former Yugoslavian Government? MS. TUTWILER: As far as I know. He met with the President -- what was it -- two days ago? I hadn't asked this morning, but -- Q (inaudible) U.S. statements -- MS. TUTWILER: He delivered one of our demarches, which was what, yesterday. So I'm not aware there's any problem.

[Afghanistan: Update]

Q Let me ask you about Afghanistan. MS. TUTWILER: Okay. Q Now that Najibullah has apparently surrendered power, does the U.S. remain concerned that the situation could deteriorate into anarchy and bloodshed? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, we do. I would refer you to our statement yesterday, which clearly pointed out that we call on all parties to support the United Nations efforts there. We called for all parties to do whatever they can to ensure that this is a peaceful transition. I can tell you that our latest information is that the situation on the ground is fluid, but regime control is rapidly collapsing. It appears that major population centers outside of Kabul are, for the most part, calm. In Kabul itself, resistance forces have moved closer to the city. We understand that armed Mujahidin are in Kabul, but we have no reports of fighting. We understand that President Najib has resigned and remains in Kabul. We know that there are countries where he could seek asylum, but we are not going into any details at this time. A council of senior regime military and militia leaders has been formed in Kabul. Its exact membership and the extent of its authority we just don't know at this moment. There are ongoing negotiations under U.N. auspices between resistance and regime forces and militias on establishing a new transition authority in Kabul. We understand that the U.N. Secretary General's Special Representative is in Kabul. He is working with all factions to try to arrange a peaceful resolution and agreed upon mechanisms for a transition process. His efforts continue to have our full and total support. We urge again today all factions to cooperate with the U.N. efforts. Q Why did this government embrace Najibullah for as long as it did? MS. TUTWILER: Which government? Q The United States. MS. TUTWILER: Embrace him? Q Yes, so to speak? MS. TUTWILER: That's a new one for me. We have, as you know, worked since January very closely with the Russian Government. We ended, as you know -- as they did, at the same time, I believe, effective January l -- all of our military assistance. We, as you know, welcomed the former Soviet Union's withdrawal of all of their arms and weapons and people. We have been working very hard and very closely with the United Nations to have a peaceful transition there, and our goal has been for peace for the Afghan people. Q So you are not glad -- you are not pleased that he left, resigned? MS. TUTWILER: What we are most interested in today -- Q I know what you are concerned about, but I mean -- MS. TUTWILER: That is what we are very concerned about. Q But what about the action he took? What does the U.S. think? I mean, that are things lately that the U.S. has been delighted about and other things that you have no position on. MS. TUTWILER: Right. As you know, we have stated publicly, many times, that in order, we felt, for this to be peacefully resolved and for the people to be able to have self-determination for themselves, Najibullah would, indeed, have to step aside. He has decided to do that. We have told you that. What we are most concerned about is, in this creation of -- I'm sure a lot of, on the ground there -- confusion and disruption, that this does not spin into what Bill was referring to as blood and violence, and for everyone to please -- all people, all factions -- to please handle this in a way the U.N. is suggesting, and they are on the ground for a peaceful transition. Q You don't think that you have waited too long to -- I mean, you don't think that you supported him for too long? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know where you keep saying we supported him. Q All right, not supported -- MS. TUTWILER: Thank you. Q But you waited a long time to be sure, as you say, that there was no violence. There are those who think the cord could have been cut sooner. MS. TUTWILER: Again, we have made no secret of our view that in order for this transition to go to its logical conclusion -- have free and fair elections, which is what we want; we want self-determination for the people of Afghanistan; we want a broad-based government at peace with its neighbors; we want the safe return of over 5 million refugees -- that Najibullah would have to step aside. Q Margaret, do you -- MS. TUTWILER: He made this decision either early this morning or whenever. That's his decision. Q You know there was a wire service report just before we came in here that he had now been arrested. Do you know whether he is under arrest or not? MS. TUTWILER: It's not my understanding before I came here, but we were not going to discuss -- I have not heard that. We were not going to discuss, for obvious security reasons, what information we do have concerning him. But I had not heard that. Q Margaret, can I ask you about something else unless -- Q No. I have a couple more on this. Isn't it -- there are other reports not attributable to the United States or anything, there are reports from Afghanistan that Najibullah is under the protection, shall we say, of the independent U.N. personnel there. Isn't that somewhat of a difficult situation for the U.N. to be in, if they are trying to broker an agreement among, what you described as an agreement among the factions, for them to be providing asylum, or I don't know how you would describe the protection, for this guy? MS. TUTWILER: I'm just really not going to be able to comment on the situation concerning Najibullah. Q Is it accurate to say that the United States now considers the situation to be that the U.N. is no longer negotiating between the Kabul government and the Mujahidin rebels, but is now negotiating among the factions of the rebel forces? Is that an accurate description? MS. TUTWILER: The U.N. -- I've said that the regime is rapidly collapsing. I'm assuming -- and I don't want to speak for the United Nations -- that they are one of the factions that is involved in moving this country toward peaceful transition. I'm not aware that they have, all of a sudden, not been discussing with members of the regime that are there. I mean, I believe that they are, and have been throughout, and will continue to discuss with all the parties, factions, whatever you want to call them, involved in Afghanistan in trying to move this towards a peaceful resolution. Q You've talked about -- many times you have mentioned today this business about moving toward peaceful resolution when you described the rebel forces being, armed rebel forces being in the capital. Is the United States asking the rebel forces to lay down their weapons and negotiate a solution here? MS. TUTWILER: We're asking everyone to use the utmost restraint, to let the U.N. work this out in a peaceful way. And whatever it takes for this to be handled peacefully is up for individuals and leaders to decide. Q You are asking them to stop fighting? MS. TUTWILER: Of course, we are. Fighting is violence. Fighting is death and that usually happens with guns. And we are asking everyone -- we said it yesterday, we are saying it today. I don't know who all is armed there. But people who are armed, please, in this situation where the leadership has just resigned, stepped down -- whether it is in Afghanistan or anywhere else -- you have an instant vacuum. You could have chaos. You can have confusion. Please do not resort to violence. That, in my mind, means guns. Killing people. Q Margaret, how do you expect the Mujahidin to take what you are saying seriously when this is the very moment -- MS. TUTWILER: Why not? Q -- that they have been armed and -- MS. TUTWILER: So does that give you an excuse to go kill people? Q --primed for by the United States? Armed and primed for -- MS. TUTWILER: Is that a reason to open fire and kill people? I mean, really. We have a U.N. system that -- Q But they are your freedom fighters. Not yours, more the Reagan Administration's, but this Reagan/Bush Administration, freedom fighters that you've been -- you are six months late -- I mean six years late -- not you, but I sort of blend the two administrations together. MS. TUTWILER: That's OK. Q I hope you won't object. MS. TUTWILER: I served in both. Q Right, and so did Mr. Baker, and so did Mr. Bush, and -- MS. TUTWILER: Right, right. Q -- and so did a lot of the people who make policy, and you know, six years ago, they were predicting the imminent collapse of Najibullah. MS. TUTWILER: I remember that. Q Now he's out -- MS. TUTWILER: You have never heard me say that in the three years and four months I have been here. Q No, that's true, I have not. There has been a marked change on Contra policy and Afghan policy, but these are your freedom fighters, and Sid's question is well taken. Why aren't you delighted that you have gotten rid of this Communist/Marxist dictator, whatever you called him all those years, and now you've got freedom fighters in there, some of them kind of fundamentalistly inclined, but you call them freedom fighters. I would think you would be kicking up your heels. MS. TUTWILER: You have a situation where, I've just explained, innocent people could -- you say why aren't we, you know, jumping up and down. Barry, why not be responsible, and why not say we strongly support whatever it takes to have this transition go peacefully. And that should apply, in my personal opinion, to everyone. And I think that all people would subscribe to that. Why go on a rampage and start, what, killing people because you are happy? I mean, come on.

[Libya: Reported Threats Against Americans]

Q Margaret, have you seen the rather angry remarks from the Libyans today threatening some -- vaguely threatening some kind of retaliation perhaps against Americans? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen that, and I -- Q Well, have you seen any of the statements and is the United States taking any special precautions about its installations or its citizens overseas? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware, number one, Jim, of a specific threat the Libyans or I don't know -- who is it? -- Qadhafi -- don't know. I'm not aware of a specific threat against Americans. Obviously, if we knew of such a threat and we took it as a credible, substantial threat, you know that we instantly, not only notify our posts, but at the same moment, we notify the public at large. I have heard of absolutely nothing along those lines. We'll take what you say, and I'm sure that people who listen to the briefing upstairs will see what it is -- try to find out what it is you've got that maybe we don't. But, of course, we would take it seriously, but I'm just not aware of one.

[South Korea: Status of US Troops]

Q Margaret, on another subject, the President of South Korea in an interview, said he would like -- it's an AP interview you may not have seen it -- it's not on the front page of the Post yet, but he does -- MS. TUTWILER: I read as much as I possibly can. Q Our foreign editor went there and saw him, and he said that -- MS. TUTWILER: Was he on background? Q I think he was on the record, but we didn't get the North Korean President yet. He said that he would like American troops - this doesn't surprise me -- to stay in South Korea, to stay in Korea even after unification. Do you happen to know if the U.S. has a position? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know, but I think that Secretary Cheney very recently spoke to this, and can I just refer you to his record? Q Sure, delighted to have you do it. MS. TUTWILER: I think he was on the record. Q Thank you. Q Margaret, a technical question: Are you briefing tomorrow? MS. TUTWILER: No, I won't be. Q Nobody? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Richard will be. Q Back to Libya: Yesterday, the background briefer was asked about how a country whose air space was getting ready to be invaded by Libyan planes -- MS. TUTWILER: How countries what? Q Countries where a Libyan plane was approaching their air space -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q What the ground rules would be, whether they would scramble jet fighters, were they free to shoot down, whatever. Has that been worked out, how countries should respond? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I honestly don't know. I have seen various reports and read internally of how various countries reacted yesterday to some Libyan flights that were attempting to land in their countries. In each one of those instances, I believe, that country, as a sovereign nation, decided to handle it differently. I don't know. I'll be happy to, you know, see if the Sanctions Committee or somebody is working on this, but I haven't heard. Q Well, they said they were going to establish ground rules yesterday in a four o'clock meeting. MS. TUTWILER: The gentleman that you are referring to is obviously much more familiar with the subject matter and in a much deeper level of detail than I am, and I'll be happy to see if he has something further for you. Q Margaret, on Libya, Sudan has said they won't observe the embargo. MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. Q Do you have a reaction? MS. TUTWILER: Not really. So has Iraq. Q Then, on another subject: I'd like to go back to Yugoslavia. You said that Croatian paramilitary forces are moving into Bosnia. Do you believe the Croatian government has control over those forces? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know whether they do or don't. I'll be happy to ask. But, certainly, if they have any influence over them -- and we have spoken in our statement two days ago about Croatia, but said to a lesser extent -- Q At the time, you were talking about Croatian nationalist leaders in Bosnia, not coming from Croatia, as far as I understood it. MS. TUTWILER: I'll be happy to ask somebody who is more familiar with the details than I am. Q Margaret, about Israel, where we haven't been for a couple of days. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Over the last two or three days, there have been at least two reports by Israeli human rights groups alleging major incidents of torture and human rights abuses by Israeli military or military and civilian guards in the occupied territories. Have you seen the reports, and do you have any comment on them? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen them, but we had one of these reports, I believe, several weeks ago, and I referred you to our annual human rights report where this subject is addressed. Q Still on a related subject: Has the Secretary considered yet how he is going to handle the question of whether he will continue to meet with Palestinians who met yesterday in Cairo with Yasser Arafat? MS. TUTWILER: He's going to have the same reaction that Prime Minister Shamir's spokesman had for you yesterday, which basically said it was irrelevant. Q So the U.S. is going to continue to say it has no dialogue with the PLO -- MS. TUTWILER: Of course, we don't. Q --because it considers the meetings to be irrelevant to whether there is a dialogue or not. MS. TUTWILER: We have the same reaction the Prime Minister did. We agree completely with -- Q But that is different. MS. TUTWILER: I'm going to answer it, if you will wait a second. Particularly, they pointed out in their statement, the importance of the peace process. We couldn't agree more. The PLO, as you well know, is not part of these negotiations and it is not relevant to us whom the Palestinians do or don't meet with. The PLO, furthermore, as you know, is not an intermediary. They don't have a role. They are not -- we don't have a dialogue with them. Q The question still is different though. I'm glad to hear your comment on the peace process, but the question is not about the peace process. The question is about the PLO's relationship with the United States. MS. TUTWILER: We don't have a relationship with them. Q Except through these people with whom Baker meets regularly -- MS. TUTWILER: That's your interpretation. We do not have a dialogue, a relationship with the PLO. Q Because they are not relevant to the United States, you said a moment ago. MS. TUTWILER: We said that our reaction to -- I believe your question is, these people who met yesterday -- our reaction is the same -- Q That's not my question. MS. TUTWILER: That's how I think you started. Q No, I was not asking for your reaction. I asked whether Baker had considered how he would deal with the situation of continuing to meet with people who met with Arafat yesterday. I didn't ask anything about the peace process. The question is about the US/PLO relationship. I think you answered the question when you said the PLO is not relevant to us. MS. TUTWILER: Let's have the record -- Q The record is there. MS. TUTWILER: -- the record correctly reflect -- I believe what you asked me was how was the Secretary going to act now that these people have said they had this meeting yesterday. And I believe I responded -- the record -- if it is incorrect, I want to correct it. I said our reaction is the same as the spokesman for the Prime Minister of Israel. This meeting -- which is what we are all talking about -- was irrelevant in our view, as it is with the Prime Minister of Israel. I further said, when you asked me, I believe, as you well know, we do not have a dialogue with the PLO. And I would further comment to you -- you, yourself, I believe, at one time asked me, "Isn't it true, Margaret, in Madrid, that there were just "hundreds of PLO there?" People meet with people, etc. We at the time said we are not schedulers. We do not control who people do and do not talk to. That's not any different in this instance, in my mind, than what has been going on. Q Would you describe the individuals with whom Baker meets regularly as not being representatives of the PLO? MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Margaret, thank you. Q Not yet. Q Yes, I have one question. The Turkish Minister of Interior is paying an official visit to Syria in face of the concern of Syrian support of the PKK terrorists. Do you have any comment on this visit and Syrian support for the PKK terrorists? MS. TUTWILER: We have answered the second part of your question a number of times, and your first one, I'm unaware of a visit of the Interior Minister of Turkey. I just don't know anything about it. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all and goodbye. (The briefing concluded at 12:45 p.m.)