US Department of State Daily Briefing #65: Wednesday, 4/29/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: Apr, 29 19924/29/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, Caribbean, E/C Europe Country: Israel, USSR (former), Albania, Cuba, Afghanistan, Iraq Subject: Terrorism, State Department, Development/Relief Aid, CSCE, Mideast Peace Process, Trade/Economics, Regional/Civil Unrest 12:07 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I have one housekeeping matter and one statement. The statement's going to be on Albania. Housekeeping: Secretary Baker's testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, April 30, 1992, has been rescheduled again. The new time is 2:00 p.m. We had informed you all yesterday afternoon it was 1:00. It's now 2:00. The meeting will be held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The subject of the testimony, as you know, will be the Freedom Support Act. Q Why does it keep slipping? MS. TUTWILER: They keep changing it on us. I mean, it's the same day. Q They say you keep changing. MS. TUTWILER: Well, maybe it's a little of both. I didn't ask Janet [Mullins]. I thought that they wanted to change it. I don't know. Q Do you know how much time he has penciled in for them this time? Remember, last time when he had two hours, as he usually has, some of them thought that was a little short for all the questions they had. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. And as -- Q Is he planning to stay for the whole afternoon? MS. TUTWILER: As I recall, many times -- as I'm sure you observe, as I do -- many of them have very pressing, demanding schedules and are unable, themselves, to stay for the entire length of the Secretary's testimony. Q Well they drift in and out all the time. But when they have a question, they -- MS. TUTWILER: He stays the whole time. Q I know he can't drift in and out, but they kind of like to have him there when they have their questions to ask. I just wondered, is he going to give them the rest of the afternoon from 2:00 to -- MS. TUTWILER: He's probably going to. He usually stays. As you've observed every time he's had a previous engagement, including with the President, when they have requested, he has said, "Of course, I will stay." He has never left, that I've observed, in all the testimonies he's done without everyone at least having one round of questions, no matter what he has on his schedule. I don't envision him changing that practice tomorrow. Q Margaret, will the publication of the terrorism report be affected by the Secretary's testimony in any way? MS. TUTWILER: An honest answer is yes. And I don't know -- I discussed this with Janet [Mullins] this morning, I've been unable to get back to her this morning -- exactly when the terrorism report will be released. Q But you expect that it will be later than previously advertised because of the change in the Secretary's schedule. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Is that because the Secretary doesn't want to be questioned about the report? MS. TUTWILER: No. It's because we wouldn't want to force you all to have to try to cover two stories at once. And, since most of you will all be on the Hill, I would assume, covering the Secretary's testimony, we wouldn't want you to feel forced to be back down here reading a terrorism report that's released at the same exact time that the head of the Department is up testifying on a subject, to be quite honest, that's very important to us and the Administration at this time -- not that terrorism is not. Q That could be resolved by releasing the report today or tomorrow morning before the Secretary's testimony. MS. TUTWILER: Janet's never considered or discussed with the Hill, to my knowledge, releasing it today or tomorrow morning. It was always for Thursday afternoon, as I said yesterday. That is still the case, it is my understanding, but, yes -- I gave you an honest answer -- we are looking at -- I've discussed with Janet this morning -- the exact timing. Q If you would like the input of at least some of us on that thing, I think most of us would vote for putting it out as soon as you can rather than delaying it, so we can have it. MS. TUTWILER: I understand. Q Regardless of where the Secretary of State is, put it out. MS. TUTWILER: I understand. Q And since your justification is consideration for our needs, which we're most grateful for -- MS. TUTWILER: Thank you. Q -- I think on behalf of my organization and probably several others, that we'll be able to manage. We have, many of us, more than one person. MS. TUTWILER: I recognize some of you do. Q I'd like to second what my colleague from Britain says. MS. TUTWILER: We're going to take all of this into consideration in making our decision. And, as soon as it's been made, I will certainly let you know how it went. Q This, of course, has nothing to do with not wanting Secretary Baker to have to answer questions about the contents of that. MS. TUTWILER: I promise you it does not. Q O.K. MS. TUTWILER: It absolutely does not. To my knowledge, that I can recall, any time this report in our tenure here has been released, I can't really recall you all asking him a question about it. It has absolutely, positively, nothing to do with that. It's two State Department stories, to be honest, which you all know, stepping on top of each other. I'm obviously going to come down on the side of voting on the head of the Department versus a report. Q Hypothetically -- MS. TUTWILER: I'm one vote. I've got your vote now. We'll get Janet's, we'll get the Congress's, then we'll see where we come out. Q Margaret, it also has absolutely nothing to do with not wanting Syria to be branded as a terrorist state on the last day of the Middle East talks. No connection whatsoever. MS. TUTWILER: I think I have a pretty good track record here of being totally honest with you. I'm being honest. For whatever reason -- John says that he's heard that it's us -- I didn't know it was us; I was told it was the Hill -- testimony that was scheduled for 10:00 was changed to 1:00, and has now been changed to 2:00. To my knowledge, it has absolutely nothing to do with the terrorism report. I knew about the terrorism report, because you all have asked me, and I went and did the research. From my moccasins, in order to do my job and give my best advice to my principal, I personally will vote, "It is crazy, when you are on the Hill testifying, to be releasing down here a report." No matter what the report is about, it doesn't make sense. I would feel that way regardless of the report. I'm one vote. I've now heard your very valid concerns and wishes. Janet [Mullins] is right now -- this morning I discussed it with her -- she's talking to the Hill, and I just don't have an answer on it. But that's what motivated me. I started this. It is all me. Q How many votes does it take, and do they all have equal weight? (Laughter)

[Albania: US Assistance Update]

MS. TUTWILER: Oh, come on. I've got a statement on Albania. In a letter delivered by our Embassy today, Secretary Baker informed recently elected Albanian President Sali Berisha about plans to provide assistance for Albania. The United States intends to assist the Albanian Government by continuing to support the country's reform efforts. Since last August, we have committed approximately $28 million in assistance to Albania. About $26 million has already been delivered. Today, the United States is announcing a supplementary assistance package totaling approximately $35 million which will include: - A $23 million agricultural development program; - A $10 million Food for Progress program which would supplement the existing FY-92 food aid program of $17 million; - And, a $2 million technical assistance program, including $850,000 for a management training and economics education project. We have also recently engaged the new Albanian Government in discussions regarding requirements for a Jackson-Vanik waiver and negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement as preliminary steps to consider Most Favored Nation status for Albania and to facilitate U.S.-Albanian economic relations. In addition, the United States is strongly supporting assistance to Albania in several multinational fora, including the Group of 24, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The United States congratulates the citizens of Albania on their historic achievement and joins the international community in welcoming Albania to the family of democratic states. Q Margaret, sliding along the map of Europe just a little bit from Albania to what used to be called Yugoslavia, can you fill us in on the dramatic events in Helsinki that we've been waiting to hear about for so long? MS. TUTWILER: As you know, we, as part of a United States initiative, had asked for, and there is going on right now, a meeting of the CSCE at the official level. And right now I don't have anything to report on that meeting, Alan. They are and will be discussing the question of membership for Bosnia-Hercegovina. As you know, we asked for that to be done on an emergency basis. Normally membership is done, it is my understanding, at a Ministerial level, and that is under review right there right now. And I don't have anything for you concerning the question I think you're most interested in -- the question of Belgrade's participation in the CSCE. That is being discussed. Q Margaret, do you have any -- does the United States have any response to Cuba's request of the United Nations Security Council for extradition of two Cuban exiles whom Cuba accuses of blowing up a Cuban passenger plane in 1976? MS. TUTWILER: Not a whole lot, Ralph. Number one, we recognize that any country can request a meeting of the Security Council. Number two, I think it's fair to point out that Cuba's request is something that has happened -- an event that happened 15 years ago, and the specifics of this case, to be quite honest with you, I have to refer you to the Justice Department. They have all of the facts concerning this. We just simply don't. Q What's the relevance of how long ago it occurred? Does that mean you don't think it bears any resemblance to the U.S. request to extradite two Libyans who are accused of blowing up a passenger plane more recently? MS. TUTWILER: I'll let you draw your own conclusions. I just think that it's important to point out to the public, should they not be aware of this fact, that Cuba's request is factually 15 years after the fact. Q Do you think there's a statute of limitations on such requests? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know whether there is or is not. I started this by saying we recognize every nation has a right to bring things to the Security Council. I think in the -- Q Were they tardy? MS. TUTWILER: -- spirit of information, which is what this briefing is about, to our public, it is important when we're talking about a specific case, we think, to point out that this is something that happened 15 years ago. Q Does the U.S. have a position on whether these two individuals would be -- would fall under extradition proceedings? MS. TUTWILER: It's my understanding, to be honest with you -- and we tried to get information for you this morning -- this is something that has been handled for these many years, it's my understanding, at the Justice Department. The State Department, because it's not a foreign policy matter, Ralph, simply does not have a great deal of information. We couldn't find any this morning or pull it out for you concerning this specific case about these two individuals. It's at the Justice Department. Q Did the U.S. -- is there going to be a U.N. Security Council meeting on this subject? What -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I hadn't heard. Q What position will the U.S. take on the question of whether there should be a meeting to discuss this issue? MS. TUTWILER: Total hypothetical for me. I don't know. Q Margaret, on the Middle East talks, the various sides have been giving conflicting accounts of how things are going. Does the State Department have any overall impression of how things are going? MS. TUTWILER: Not one that we're going to be discussing at the briefing today. As you know, we've refrained, through the previous four rounds, of not discussing or not turning this podium into the official briefing for the parties in the discussions that are going on. Ambassador Djerejian met this morning with the heads of the various Israeli delegations that are here. He is scheduled throughout the afternoon to meet -- Q There is only one Israeli delegation here. MS. TUTWILER: But they're heads of all the different delegations. He met with Yosi [Ben-Aharon], he met with Elie [Rubinstein], he met with all the heads. He is going to be meeting with the heads of the other delegations that are here throughout the afternoon. Ambassador Ross does not have any scheduled meetings today, but as far as an overall characterization, no, we do not have one of this specific round. We're obviously pleased they're here. We encourage them to continue at their work at the negotiations. Q Has there now been official notification by the Israelis that they're planning to leave Thursday afternoon? MS. TUTWILER: No, there is not. To be candid with you, as we stated, I believe, yesterday, Foreign Minister Levy and Secretary Baker discussed this subject, as the Secretary said in his brief meeting with you all yesterday afternoon. The Secretary said, when asked the question: Did he receive an official Israeli response? He said he did not. This morning, in Ambassador Djerejian's meeting, the Israeli delegation did come in with a suggested approach on the Palestinian representation issue. Q Have we got crossed wires? MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry, Jim. Q The question was whether -- Q Whether there has now been official notification by the Israelis that they plan on leaving Thursday afternoon? MS. TUTWILER: Oh, I'm sorry. No, not that I know of. Q Now, go on with your answer on the multilateral talks. MS. TUTWILER: You want me to start all over or start where I was? Q No. You were doing fine. Q Basically, what's happened is this morning the Israelis have come back in with a suggested approach to the Palestinian representation issue. I cannot characterize it for you. It's something that Ambassador Djerejian received. The Secretary, as you know, has been at the White House all day, and Ambassador Djerejian has not had an opportunity to discuss this with the Secretary, which he will do, shortly after the Secretary's official lunch here today. Q Can you say a little more? Is this an approach that would make it possible for the Israelis to attend the talks? Is that what you mean? MS. TUTWILER: I can't characterize it. This is something that Foreign Minister Levy said to Secretary Baker yesterday: He would like to go back and have some further discussions with his government. I have to assume, with the delegates. They could answer this better than I. We were expecting them this morning, as he had told the Secretary, to come in with something. They did. We're characterizing it, as I believe they themselves will, as a suggested approach. Q Margaret, diplomats have been reporting that the invitations to the arms control session here in Washington did not go to the European states or the EC. Can you confirm that? MS. TUTWILER: No, because, as you know, I have refrained all week from, at this moment in time, getting into who all was specifically sent invitations. We said we would handle that as we have other meetings, and we would be glad to give it all out once it's all in. I asked this morning, because I saw on the wires, that some individuals are now saying whether they've accepted or not accepted. It is our view we're going to handle that the same way as we are who all we invited; but that all five invitations went out, including the one you're concerned about -- arms control. Yes, they did. Q Margaret, on a different subject. Can you tell us whether the Secretary sees any conflict of interest in Mr. Eagleburger's participation in the Administration's debate over CCC credits for Iraq in the late 1980s -- '88-'89? MS. TUTWILER: Number one, to my knowledge, I don't even know, because I haven't asked, if Larry [Eagleburger] and the Secretary have even discussed that subject, Ralph. I would like to point out that I am aware of stories that continue to be written concerning the Deputy Secretary and, I believe, it's BNL. One of the stories today, it's my understanding -- I did not read it thoroughly -- discusses the fact that cables go out, or went out under Deputy Secretary Eagleburger's name. Just so the record shows -- which all of you I know are familiar with, but maybe others who read this transcript are not -- whoever is Acting Secretary, whether it is the Deputy Secretary, the Under Secretary, it could be an Assistant Secretary, every cable that goes out of this building, 24 hours a day, during the time that that person is acting, goes out under the Acting's name. No one, I can assure you -- and I think that you would agree with me -- could possibly see, know about, read all cables during a 24-hour period that go out under the name of either the Secretary or the Acting. It's a State Department system that has existed, it's my understanding, for decades. So I wanted to make sure that that portion of the part concerning cables was out there. Concerning Deputy Secretary Eagleburger's association or affiliation or meetings or conversations concerning BNL, I would refer you back to his own confirmation hearings, which I think you're very familiar with. He produced for the committee in advance of and answered all questions. It was an extensive, normal confirmation hearing. There's really absolutely nothing new that we have to add to what he himself has already said publicly concerning his "involvement" with BNL. Q Has there been any discussion in the State Department, either in the Legal Department or perhaps even between Eagleburger and Baker over the question of appearance of conflict of interest? MS. TUTWILER: There can't be any appearance of conflict. Q President Bush often speaks of wanting to keep his Administration free of even the appearance of conflict of interest. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. But there can be no appearance of conflict if you have a gentleman's word in public that he has never worked for BNL on any matters related to BNL while he was previously employed with Kissinger ∧ Associates. There's also, in my opinion, a standard of fairness. If someone has testified -- if the relevant committee that confirms you -- and you all recall back during the transition -- went through and had a number of questions concerning Larry's previous employment, I have to assume that those staffs and those Senators were adequately satisfied or they would not have confirmed him. Q So it would be the Administration's point of view on this, that because Eagleburger claims not to have done any work for BNL during his employment with Kissinger Associates, the appearance of conflict of interest doesn't exist merely on the basis of his association with Kissinger? The fact that Kissinger was associated with BNL and that Eagleburger was associated with Kissinger, in the Administration's view, does not represent a conflict of interest or even the appearance of one; is that correct? MS. TUTWILER: If the gentleman in question who you're asking me about is the Deputy Secretary of State, three years ago -- more than three years ago -- answered all of these questions, either questions that the committee submitted to him and you submit answers in writing, or in testimony. I can't recall how long his confirmation hearing lasted. I just don't remember. But I do remember that at the time, during the transition period, I, myself, of my own knowledge, can recall some questions that were raised in the press concerning things that Kissinger ∧ Associates did. The Deputy Secretary of State has said publicly that he never worked for BNL, or any matters related to BNL. I personally have not read all of these articles. I don't know what other questions you're asking me. But I am very confident that I am answering the question that seems to me to be relevant; that if there was something that he had refused to answer or was declining to answer or had somehow ducked, you would be correct to continue to ask me to please get an answer or to answer this. He has. Q Just one more. Without regard to Eagleburger or any specific individual, I think I asked the other day -- and I think you said you would look into it -- the question of why the Administration -- we discussed the fact that the Administration had continued to argue for, or support, additional CCC credits for Iraq. But the question that remained unanswered was, why did the Administration do that immediately after learning, through its own government investigation, of the possible diversion of that food and money to the purchase of weapons by Iraq? MS. TUTWILER: And I'll answer it the same way we continue answering it, which is, the Secretary of State said, as we gave you the other day in public testimony, at the time in question the Administration was seeking, if possible, to improve relations with Iraq and thereby moderate Iraq's international conduct. This policy was embodied in a National Security decision directive that had been the subject of interagency discussions. That was the Secretary's answer in response to a question posed by Senator Leahy. Q You mean a directive provided for the use of -- for the trade-off of weapons? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't read the directive. I don't know what it says. Q Well, the question is about their behavior in taking this and turning it into weapons. MS. TUTWILER: I honestly -- Q And you say there was a directive. MS. TUTWILER: I'm going to do what I did the other day. Q So why are you quoting the directive if it doesn't deal with the question -- or does it? MS. TUTWILER: In my mind, I'm going to continue to do what I have done, which is to say, the Secretary of State has answered this question. This is the exact answer that he gave, and I have nothing further on the subject. Q Did the directive order the Secretary of State or other U.S. officials to advocate, or to attempt to improve relations, as you said, with Iraq in spite of the Administration's knowledge of the investigation about diversion? MS. TUTWILER: Number one -- Q Or were they not related, or did one not know about the other? MS. TUTWILER: Number one, I believe that National Security directives are classified; and number two, I'm positive I've never read it. So I will be more than glad -- the Secretary didn't go into, in his answer to Senator Leahy, the contents of the directive, other than the way he characterized it. I will be happy to see if the Department has a further elaboration after, of course, checking with the White House, concerning the contents of this National Security directive. Q I guess the bottom-line question is not so much what was the Administration's goal vis-a-vis Iraq at that time, which we've heard the Secretary speak about, including in the testimony you quoted. But our interest is in, why did the Administration pursue that policy as distinct from one that might have been pursued if it were aware of the possible diversion of funds? MS. TUTWILER: Right -- Q I hear you saying that you'll look into it. MS. TUTWILER: I think you were there yesterday afternoon. It might be helpful if you just re-ask the Secretary of State yourself. Q I'll try, at the next available opportunity. MS. TUTWILER: Okay. Q Do you have any response or reaction to the situation in Afghanistan, and how that appears to be settling out or not settling out? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. In Afghanistan, there appears to be some fighting that is still going on in Kabul, but at a lower level than over the weekend. Most areas of the city are under the authority of the new interim council. The situation concerning the formation of a new government remains, as we described it yesterday. It's a very fluid situation. The interim council has been formed to hold power temporarily in Kabul. We welcome this development. The temporary part of this, it's my understanding, was under the formula agreed to by the Mujahidin leaders on April 24. This would be a step toward formation of a new government. We wish the interim council well in its efforts to establish peace and stability through a transitional political process. We understand that the various parties continue their negotiations, and we are hopeful this process will lead to a broad-based government. I did correctly hear Jim Anderson's question of yesterday, even though I didn't today. You asked me concerning what is our policy on recognition. I had forgotten and not recalled that we never broke diplomatic relations with Afghanistan -- with Kabul. As you know, we did in 1989, and have since, restricted our dealings to solely administrative and consular matters. Concerning technically, which I believe is what you were asking me, recognition, I said yesterday it was a complicated matter. I checked with the lawyers. Indeed, it is. It is an extremely complicated issue. Generally, as you probably are well aware, we formally recognize countries. We recognize the state of Afghanistan. That has never been an issue since we never said we didn't recognize them. There is no international legal requirement to give formal recognition to any government. Whether to establish or continue diplomatic relations with a government is solely a policy decision. Q So then, in the formula that the State Department generally uses, the question of recognition does not arise under the present circumstances? MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Is it time for the U.S. to send diplomats back to Kabul now? MS. TUTWILER: That's something that we will continue to look at, Ralph, as we assess the situation there on the ground. Q So it's not time yet? MS. TUTWILER: It's something that we're going to continue to look at. Q Anything new on Peru? MS. TUTWILER: New on Peru? No. The investigation is continuing, and we don't have any conclusions or anything that's final. Q Thanks. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (Press briefing concluded at 12:32 p.m.)