US Department of State Daily Briefing #64: Tuesday, 4/28/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: Apr, 28 19924/28/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, Southeast Asia, South America Country: Israel, USSR (former), Serbia-Montenegro, Burma, Syria, Peru, Yemen, Afghanistan Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Development/Relief Aid, CSCE, State Department, United Nations, Human Rights, Travel, Terrorism 12:14 P.M (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I don't have anything. I'll be happy to try to take any questions that you have.

[Serbia and Montenegro: Conditions for US Recognition]

Q Margaret, what's the State Department going to do about a new country -- Serbia-Macedonia -- the new country of Serbia and Macedonia? Is the U.S. going to recognize the country? Q Not Macedonia. Q I am very sorry -- Serbia and Montenegro. MS. TUTWILER: That's okay, Barry. I don't have anything in addition for you today than what I said yesterday concerning that situation. Nothing has changed overnight. Q What do they have to do to get U.S. recognition? MS. TUTWILER: Well, I'll be happy to restate for you our policy of yesterday. Basically, as you remember, it was quite lengthy. It dealt with concerns that we, as others -- China is the only country I'm aware of that has recognized them overnight -- that they had to agree to certain basic principles, one of which, as you know, had to do with other's borders, etc. I don't have the literal, full text for you, Barry. But, literally, nothing has changed. Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: Wait one second. Let me see if I can do it for him. Yes, it's exactly what I said to you yesterday, if you want me to repeat, which I'll be happy to do. Q No, that's all right. MS. TUTWILER: It's okay, since I can't accurately spit it back out for you, I'll repeat it so that the record clearly shows that we have it. We and the EC continue to consult on a common approach. We are in the early stages of a dialogue with Serbia and Montenegro on our future relations. As we have explained to Serbia and Montenegro, the United States attitude about future relations with Serbia and Montenegro will be framed by their respect for the territorial integrity and internal cohesion of the other former Yugoslav republics and for the rights of minorities on Serbian and Montenegrin territory. We also look for their willingness to negotiate all related issues at the EC conference led by Lord Carrington on the basis of mutual agreement with the other former Yugoslav republics. We will give critical consideration to the role of Serbia and the current violence in Bosnia-Hercegovina as we review this question. Q Margaret, tomorrow, April 29, is the day which the Serbs have been quaking in their shoes about -- MS. TUTWILER: Alan. Q -- for two weeks, the day when they may be suspended from membership in CSCE. What is the U.S. intention in this regard? MS. TUTWILER: I've stated our intention previously. What I will not do is the specifics of how the United States -- if there is a vote tomorrow, the 29th -- how the United States will vote. I won't preview that for you other than you know, we are the ones that suggested -- I believe it was 10 days ago -- that the question of possible suspension for Serbia be considered. That is all we have said. That is still our view. But I am aware that we have had consultations throughout these last ten days. Those are continuing. Should there be a "vote" tomorrow, I'm not going to preview what the United States would or would not vote. Q But has Serbia done anything in the intervening two weeks since this was first mentioned to meet your concerns? MS. TUTWILER: There certainly has been some movement that the United States has recognized, but there are also, still, as we all know, JNA troops that are in Bosnia. It is my understanding today, like yesterday, that the Sarajevo airport is controlled by the JNA troops. My understanding is it's basically closed. Obviously, there is more that can be done. Q What do you mean "there's been some movement" that the United States notes? MS. TUTWILER: I'll get the literal specifics for you. There are experts who watch this every day. Q Does that mean there's movement that you hail? Does that mean there's movement that you don't think is positive? MS. TUTWILER: I was trying to say -- if I did not, I'll rephrase it. There has been, obviously, some lessening of some of the things that we had witnessed that Serbia or the JNA were doing. And I believe I said that obviously that's not enough. I've also said to Alan twice, "if there is a vote tomorrow on April 29." Q But you won't tell us what those things -- you can't tell us what those things are that you know? MS. TUTWILER: I'll be very happy to ask the people who watch this all day long -- that's their job -- what specifics. But a lot of them have been public. I just don't have them at my fingertips. Q We can't just go out and say there's been some movement. MS. TUTWILER: You have correspondents there that are reporting on the situation daily. Q No, no. If you're crediting them with things, you ought to be able to say what it is -- MS. TUTWILER: I should. Q I don't mean you, I mean the Department. MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. I should, and I apologize. I've tried also to cover you this morning and attend Foreign Minister Levy's meeting. I also went to the Pakistani meeting, and there's just so much I can do every morning. You have correspondents on the ground. They are keeping up with the situation every day. Q Is there any change in the status or the level or the number of U.S. representation in Belgrade -- diplomatic representation in Belgrade in the past week or so? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I know of. Q And aside from your decision this week to refer to it as Serbia-Montenegro, I presume then the U.S. Ambassador there is now accredited to Serbia-Montenegro? MS. TUTWILER: I doubt it. I doubt they've legally had the time to go through the legal processes that you would go through to accredit -- for instance, have we sent agrement? I would strongly doubt it, especially since, as you know, we have not -- as of today, they are calling themselves, it's my understanding, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. That's a new name. We haven't yet acknowledged or recognized that name. So I doubt very seriously that Ambassador Zimmerman has been spending any time on this particular issue. It is something that, obviously, will have to be addressed, but it's probably not something he's spending time on right now. Q Margaret, Boutros Ghali, I believe, met the French Foreign Minister today and came out saying that he was in favor of sending peacekeepers to Bosnia, but that the United Nations needed financial help if it was going to take that on. Do you have any reaction to that? MS. TUTWILER: No, because we've only seen one press report of it. It's obviously something that we're trying to get verification of -- the press report. It is something we have not heard directly from the Secretary General's office on. We'll obviously be inquiring. If, indeed, this is his view, it is something that would be taken before the Security Council. Q Some of us are wondering what's behind the U.S. resistance or the U.S. -- what should I say? -- uncertainty of the validity of it. Is it because you have problems with Congress on getting them to finance this, or is it a policy? When Baker went on the Hill, they gave him a hard time over request for money for peace-makers. He spoke of how essential these missions are. Then this situation developed, and I don't know if -- I'm trying to figure out if the U.S. is not for it because it will cost money or because you have foreign policy reasons. MS. TUTWILER: It's quite simple. Q Is it the Congress or the foreign policy that you have in mind? MS. TUTWILER: It's quite simple, Barry. I'm asked a question about a press report. It's a press report -- Q No, no. I mean all week long. For two weeks you've been saying we want peacekeepers there. MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me. Can I finish? It's a press report that we have not seen, we've not verified with the Secretary General's office. Number two, our policy -- every time you've asked me over the last two weeks -- is that we and the United Nations and the rest of the United Nations members, that I'm aware of, have traditionally viewed a difference between peacekeepers and peace-makers. There are -- as you know, in Sarajevo -- that is the United Nations headquarters -- I believe there are over 100 observers. I believe that the Secretary General has over 1,000, if I'm correct, peacekeepers there; not peace-makers. If this is, indeed, factually true -- what we have only seen a press report on -- then, it is obviously something we will be discussing at the Security Council and the United States will be taking a view. The Secretary -- you're quite correct -- pointed out in two testimonies that I remember that we do support peacekeeping. In fact, it's an effort -- a manifestation of the difference of the world now. Some of the large sums of money, because of the United States' share -- percentage share of the U.N. budget that we are all having to come up with to pay for peacekeeping. So, I'm not aware that we've said we were not doing this at all, quite the contrary.

[Afghanistan: Update]

Q Another subject? On Afghanistan: Does the United States now recognize the new government in Kabul? MS. TUTWILER: Recognize the new government? I don't know that we're at that point of formally recognizing a new government. I know that -- it's my understanding that members of the interim council have entered Kabul and have set up an office in the Presidential Palace. According, again to press reports, there has been a formal transfer of power, and he made a radio and TV address to the nation. We welcome this development and hope the presence of the interim council will help stabilize the situation, lead to a lasting cease-fire and a political settlement. Fighting in Kabul has subsided, but is continuing in some areas at a low level. Resistance leaders from all factions are continuing to negotiate on the composition of a cabinet to take over the administration of Kabul and Afghanistan. The U.N. Secretary General's special representative for Afghanistan, Mr. Sevan, arrived back in Pakistan this evening. We understand that he intends to continue to assist with talks among Afghans and hopes to return to Kabul soon. Secretary Baker, just an hour ago, addressed our overall policy concerning this situation. It's a fair question, and it's a question that I will re-ask the Bureau if we are at the stage where we are taking a formal position on this. My guess would be, Carol, that the situation right now is still somewhat in flux. We are very supportive of anything that's being done by, so far, the majority of the factions that we know of, to have this a peaceful political transition. Q Well, Margaret, the question is usually phrased in situations like this, "Does the question of recognition arise?" Ordinarily speaking, when a government has just changed in a country, the United States does not go through the recognition agony all over again. Is this the legitimate successor government of that government which existed before, and does it control the territory? MS. TUTWILER: I believe it's a similar question along the lines that Carol just asked me. I have said that I am unaware that the United States Government, under any scenario that you pose, is at a point where a decision has been made concerning recognition. It's a little similar to the Yugoslavian situation and the question Ralph was asking. In Yugoslavia, our Ambassador and the people there on the ground are working very, very hard, very long hours, in a very difficult situation, on other things other than a legalistic recognition. In Kabul, we don't have anyone on the ground. But I know the people here in the building, who are involved in the Afghan account, are very busy, to my knowledge, not so much on recognition, but on doing everything that we can, in consultation with others, to make sure that what we care about is a peaceful, political transition. I said that I would look at Carol's question that's, in my view, very similar to yours, so I'll look at them together. Q Has there been success in your attempts to retrieve the Stingers? MS. TUTWILER: I hadn't asked in a couple of days. Q Could you ask, please? MS. TUTWILER: I'll look into it. Q Are American weapons involved in the fighting in Afghanistan? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't asked. I'll be happy to look into that for you, too. Q Do you know, Margaret, if the Pakistanis are cooperating in the U.S. efforts to get the Stingers back, and what form their cooperation is taking? MS. TUTWILER: That would probably fall into an intelligence matter, and something I probably would not be able to comment on, but I'll ask and take a look at it. Q Margaret, on another subject, there have been some developments in Burma. Have you been tracking those? Do you see them as encouraging at all? MS. TUTWILER: We commented on that yesterday, and we generally said that we viewed -- if you're speaking of the release of the 19 political prisoners -- we said that we viewed that as a step basically in the right direction; that there was a lot more to be done. As you know, by our estimates, we believe there are probably 2,000-plus political prisoners, and that we were very pleased that the Nobel Peace Prize winner -- who is under house arrest for many months, if not years -- has now been allowed to have her family visit her. That was the limit, that I'm aware of, of our characterization to date. Q Margaret, on the Middle East multilateral invitations that were delivered yesterday -- MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q You, in the answer that was posted later yesterday, were not able to say who was invited. MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. Q Can you at least say that the invitations to all five working groups went out? MS. TUTWILER: Definitely the invitations to all five working groups went out. It is correct -- and I was reminded yesterday -- as you know, prior to a number of different meetings, we have not in advance put out our total list of who was invited. But I can assure you that all five went out. I believe you had a question for me Friday about the arms control group, and that it was being held up. Nothing was held up, and all five invitations went out. Q Can you confirm that all five groups will take place in that same week -- I think the week beginning the 11th of May, or whatever it is. MS. TUTWILER: I can't remember the dates. I thought the dates were spread out through May. One was May 11, one was May 18 -- Q They're all in the same week, I think. MS. TUTWILER: No, that's not my understanding. Q Well, I mean the week -- O.K. The dates that were published -- MS. TUTWILER: In Moscow? Have those changed? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: I haven't checked it, but I'm not aware of a change, Alan. Q And one last one on this: Were the same people invited to all the working groups, or did some invitations go to some people for some working groups and others go to other countries of other working groups? MS. TUTWILER: That's the same question, I believe, you asked yesterday, and we want to refrain from answering who all was invited to each of the working groups until, it's my understanding -- as we did for the multilaterals in Moscow and other events that we have participated in -- until we actually have all acceptances. Q Is it still that case that Israel has not discussed with the United States its participation in certain of those regional talks? MS. TUTWILER: It's still the case that Israel -- the Israeli Government has not given us an official Israeli Government decision. It has never been the case that we have not had discussions with the Israeli Government since Moscow, either through our Embassy personnel that are there or from others that have gone -- experts here from the Department -- to Jerusalem and had meetings. So that is not an accurate characterization. Q Would it be accurate to say that the Israeli Government at this moment has not raised objections with the United States to the participation in any of the -- MS. TUTWILER: No, that would not be accurate. We have -- I have said, myself, out here that there's a difference of view concerning some of the participants of the working groups. That's well known. Q The distinction you're making is, the Israelis have not said they won't come? Is that what you saying? I mean, what's the distinction you're making -- MS. TUTWILER: There is a distinction in my mind. There's a distinction between an official response where it's a "yea" or "nay," "up" or "down," "yes" or "no." Q Are you requesting one? MS. TUTWILER: Well, at some point. I mean, for the one we're hosting everyone will have to say, "We'll either be there or we won't," if nothing more than for simple logistics. We have, as you know, security that we provide. We have rooms. We have office space. We have staff that are assigned. So, if for no other reason -- no differently than other places that host international meetings and want to know if the United States is going to attend, at what level, how many will be with them, when do you arrive, those types of things. Q Israel didn't answer. Mr. Levy, as it came through translation, and I didn't quite get what he was saying -- he was thanking Mr. Baker in some way for the multis. There's no solution -- there's no resolution of that participation problem, even after Levy's meeting with Baker, right? MS. TUTWILER: I left after 30 minutes into the meeting and tried to make your deadline of being here every day at 12 noon -- Q You came close. MS. TUTWILER: I tried. In the portion of the meeting that I was in, the multilaterals were discussed, and I left, to be honest with you, when they were continuing that discussion. When I came down here, I believe at five after 12:00, Secretary Baker and Foreign Minister Levy were still meeting. So I don't know if -- in the portion I wasn't in, if something was or was not resolved. This was not ever viewed, though, as a decision-making meeting by the Israelis or by us. Q Margaret, the Secretary said in that same venue that he did not believe that the Syrian announcement yesterday meant that Jews would be free to emigrate. MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. Q Is that correct that they will not -- they're not free to emigrate, just to travel and come back? MS. TUTWILER: That was what Secretary Baker just said to you, and I have read statements this morning on the wires from the Rabbi who attended the meeting with President Assad that that was his view also, and that he did not -- it's my understanding, and it could be not accurately reported -- did not raise emigration. We said yesterday that this was specifically -- we listed the specific things that this announcement covered, and we said what it did not cover. Q Do you know if the U.S. will monitor Syria's compliance? MS. TUTWILER: Monitor it? Q Well, keep check, keep tabs? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard anyone suggest monitoring it. I think that we would all know through various means whether it is or is not being fully implemented. We called yesterday for its full implementation. The Secretary again addressed himself to that this morning in a response to one of your questions. Q Margaret, to follow up on that, are there any assurances from the Syrians that if a Syrian Jew leaves and fails to return, that the new policy, nevertheless, will remain in effect? MS. TUTWILER: That's a hypothetical and speculative for me, Mark, and that's something that would best be addressed to the Syrian Government. Q Margaret, have the Ukraine and Kazakhstan asked the United States for security guarantees once their nuclear weapons are removed? MS. TUTWILER: For security guarantees? Q Yes. Some sort of promise from the United States that it would somehow defend them against Russia in case Russia -- MS. TUTWILER: Not that I have any knowledge of, but I'll be happy to inquire about that. I've never heard of that. Q The President of Ukraine had a press conference today and apparently made that remark, and there was an interview yesterday with the President of Kazakhstan who also made a similar statement. MS. TUTWILER: Let me just check on that for you with the people who are the most actively involved currently right now discussing other subjects with them and see if that has been raised or requested. I honestly hadn't heard of it. Q Regardless of whether or not they have requested it, has the United States suggested that as one possible -- MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard it that way either. Q -- something that the U.S. might propose on its own? MS. TUTWILER: I have never heard that either. Q O.K. Thank you. Q No, no. Q I want to ask on Peru. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q The Pentagon's report on the Peruvian attack on the C-130 makes it pretty clear that this effort was sustained over quite a long period of time and was quite deliberate. I wonder if there's any review of the nature of the protest that the government will make to the Peruvians or any protest you'll take on the ground? For example, recalling the Ambassador or anything like that? MS. TUTWILER: I really don't have anything additional to add to our statements yesterday; the Defense Department statement they put out last night. We are still in the process of conducting our own review, and we are not going to draw any final conclusions until our own review is over. Q Do you have any comment on the published report this morning that suggests the United States may have been at fault in this case? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Can you say whether the Justice Minister of Yemen is being treated in the U.S. hospital in Wiesbaden? He was shot a couple of days ago in Sanaa. MS. TUTWILER: Yes, he is. Q And can you say why he would be treated in an American military hospital? MS. TUTWILER: It's my understanding that this was a request that was made and, as a humanitarian gesture, the United States Government honored that request. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 12:34 p.m.)