US Department of State Daily Briefing #72: Monday, 5/11/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: May, 11 19925/11/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, E/C Europe Country: Israel, USSR (former), Swaziland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, India, Angola, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Thailand, France, North Korea Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Development/Relief Aid, Arms Control, Security Assistance and Sales, History, Trade/Economics, Regional/Civil Unrest, State Department 12:36 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. If I can, I'd like to start off with the highlights of the update on the assistance programs and relationships that we have with the New Independent States, and then I'll go on to make an announcement about the Russian-Indian rocket deal, and then I'll be glad to take your questions on any other subjects you might want to hear about.

[Former Soviet Union: Update on US Assistance]

Among the highlights that we note for last week and -- of course, we'll be giving you more information in a statement that we'll put out after the briefing -- are that during President Kravchuk's visit last week we signed a number of agreements that will be important to our relationship with Ukraine, including a trade agreement, Peace Corps program, Science and Technology Center, OPIC operation and matters relating to technical assistance and USIA's International Visitors Program. Last Friday, May 8, U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills signed a bilateral trade agreement with a representative from Kyrgystan. That agreement will provide for Most Favored Nation status for Kyrgystan once it's ratified by the Kyrgyz legislature. On the humanitarian aid side, there is an Air Force C-141 that departs today from Andrews for Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan. Aboard will be 30,000 pounds of infant formula and $1 million worth of excess Defense Department medical supplies. Technical assistance efforts have continued to move forward. We have sent advisers to several of the New Independent States to assist them in defense conversion, housing and energy efficiency, and again you'll have details on that and other topics that I've raised in the longer statement that will be available after the briefing.

[US Sanctions: Russian Rocket Engine Transfers to India/ US Law/MTCR Guidelines/Impact]

If there are no specific questions on that, let's talk about the rocket deal. For some time the United States and other member nations of the Missile Technology Control Regime have been involved in discussions, first with the former Soviet Government and now with the Russian Government, about the serious concerns we have with the transfer of the rocket engine technology from the Russian organization Glavkosmos to the Indian Space Research Organization. We've also been discussing our concerns directly with the Indian Government. The MTCR guidelines provide the international standard for such matters. The MTCR partners have concluded that the deal is inconsistent with those guidelines. That is why they have urged that this deal not go through. For its part, the United States in its own discussions with Russia and India has also made clear that U.S. law requires sanctions against entities engaged in activities that are inconsistent with MTCR guidelines. Since the facts are clear and since the parties to the transaction have declined to terminate those activities, the United States has imposed sanctions in accordance with our law. The sanctions are the following: -- First, a two-year ban on all U.S.-licensed exports to these two entities; that is, Glavkosmos and the Indian Space Research Organization; -- Second is a two-year ban on all imports to the United States from these entities; and -- Third is a two-year ban on U.S. Government contracts with these entities. We're continuing to pursue discussion of the issue with both governments. We have explained to both governments the termination of the Glavkosmos deal could permit us to consider a waiver of these sanctions. Our principal objective -- and it is one that is shared by all of our partners in the MTCR -- is to obtain the broadest possible international cooperation in curbing the dangerous proliferation of missile technology. We want to work with all countries in the effort. We want Russia and India to be important contributors to this effort, and we're going to continue to work along those lines with them and to urge that they respond to international concern by halting the Glavkosmos deal. Q Could we have a copy of that, please? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q (Multiple questions) MR. BOUCHER: Hold it. Slow down, slow down. Q Practically speaking, how exactly does this impact -- talk a little bit about the specifics of the impact. I mean, you seem to be directing these sanctions in a very narrow way to the two entities that were directly involved; not against the countries and not against any other agencies that might be affected with those countries. I mean, how many exports are there? How many imports are there? How many contracts have there been between the U.S. Government and these entities? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have those details for you, Carol. That's something I may be able to get. My guess is that the principal impact would be on licensed exports -- things that they might buy from us which require an export license either from the Department of Commerce or from the munitions list. Q Well, do you know, in fact, that there has been such commerce, say in the last two years? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid I just don't have any information on that. I'll have to try to get it for you. Q Richard, is it the view of the United States that it was Russian Government and Indian Government policy -- not confined to these particular agencies, but the actual governments themselves that led to this deal? MR. BOUCHER: That relates in part to the first half of Carol's question. Let me explain to you our law a little more and then try to deal with that. Under the law and our policy, we restrict U.S. support for firms and organizations which are engaging in trade which exceed the MTCR guidelines. We believe that the United States should not help organizations which are involved in missile sales that are inconsistent with the guidelines. The law provides for sanctions in any case where a non-MTCR country exports, attempts or conspires to export, or facilitates the export of any MTCR equipment or technology that contributes to the design, development or production of MTCR-class missiles in another non-MTCR country. And the sanctions must also be applied to end-users of such technology. In this case, the Russian transfer would contribute to the development of an MTCR-class system; that is, a system capable of carrying a 500-kilogram payload to a minimum distance of 300 kilometers. So what our law provides for is sanctions applied to firms and entities that are engaged in such transactions. Of course, we see it as within the power of governments by their policy and their action to prevent such deals and to prevent such trade that we feel is inconsistent with the guidelines, and that is why we have been discussing these with the governments involved. Q Richard, what would happen after two years? Do you have any deadline on these sanctions for how long they will be -- MR. BOUCHER: They are applied for two years. I guess we would have to see what the situation was then to see whether they remained necessary or appropriate, if there were any other transactions, you know, at the time, but that's pretty speculative. It's down the road. Certainly, our hope is that this transaction would be terminated, and that these firms wouldn't engage in any trade that's not consistent with the guidelines, and, therefore, we'd be in a position to waive these sanctions before the end of two years. Q So the sanctions could be lifted before the two-year period is up? MR. BOUCHER: If the transaction was terminated and there was no evidence that they were engaging in trade that's not consistent with the guidelines, yes. Q Did you inform the Russian Government about this decision? If so, when? MR. BOUCHER: Yes, we did, and all I know is it was before the announcement. Some time in the last few days. Q Does the Department believe -- Q (Inaudible) MR. BOUCHER: Hold it. Let's do one at a time. Q If both of these are government organizations and it is within the ability of the governments involved to influence the activities of these specific organizations, why then aren't the sanctions broader -- focused in a broader area, including military sales, which would really -- MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry, Jim. Any licensable U.S. exports to these entities is subject to the sanctions, and, therefore, there won't be any military sales to these entities. Q Right. To these entities. But to the Indian Defense Ministry, for example. The U.S. defense sales will not be affected, is that right? MR. BOUCHER: The way this deals -- our law and our policy deal with these kinds of situations, Jim, is to apply the sanctions to the entities who are involved in the transactions. That's the way we've applied them in this case. That's the way they've been applied in other cases. Q Does the law allow the sanctions to be applied to anything except this particular -- these particular entities? MR. BOUCHER: I haven't reread the law this morning, Mark, so I really don't know, you know, for sure exactly how it's worded beyond the paraphrase that I've given you here. I know that the law and the policy and the practice in previous cases have been to apply it to the firms that were involved. The law itself is Amendments to the Arms Export Control Act and the Export Administration Act that are enacted pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991. So we could all go look it up, I guess. Q What kind of monitoring facilities do you have in Moscow or elsewhere in the former Soviet Union to be absolutely sure that the ban is enforced; that it can't be circumvented? MR. BOUCHER: The ban is one on U.S. Government transactions involving these entities. Any U.S. exporter that wanted to export something to these entities that requires an export license would come to the government for an export license, and the ban is an announcement that you won't get it. Similarly, there won't be any U.S. Government contracts or U.S. imports from these entities, and that's something that Customs can monitor. So it's a ban on U.S. transactions, on our decision whether or not we support or engage in transactions with firms that we feel are violating very important international guidelines. Q Richard -- MR. BOUCHER: Let's move slowly here. Q I'm really puzzled. You come out here and you have a lot of detail about the nature of the law and how it applies to entities and all that, and yet you're not prepared to tell us exactly if this is really going to have an impact. It sounds like it may not have any impact at all, except just to sort of express U.S. displeasure in this case. MR. BOUCHER: Well, again, Carol, I apologize for not having tried to pull together numbers. Those are not necessarily numbers that are kept in the State Department, and I guess the people, including myself, who were working on this just didn't think of it. Q How about just an example? MR. BOUCHER: Well, the examples, in general terms, are the examples I gave you. If one of these entities wanted to buy a computer that required an export license from the Department of Commerce, it would not get it. If one of these entities wanted to buy an oscilloscope that was on one or the other lists, they would not get it. That's the kind of thing we're dealing with here. If one of these entities had an export to the United States -- something they wanted to sell to somebody in the United States -- that would not be permitted. So that's what the ban is. Q Richard, on the point of the exports, the United States has already signed a deal with Glavkosmos to import nuclear engines, and it's my understanding those engines haven't been shipped yet. Does that mean that deal is off? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry. I'll have to -- Q Do you "grandfather" -- MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry. I'll have to check on that and see. I'm not aware of that specific deal. Q Richard, does the Administration believe that this is the first time these two entities have traded in materials that are in violation of MTCR guidelines? MR. BOUCHER: I think it's the first time that we know about it, because our law is pretty clear that we have to apply sanctions when we're aware that these kinds of transactions are taking place. Q Richard, are these -- MR. BOUCHER: Let's go back there. Q Richard, I believe Reggie Bartholomew met the Indian Defense Minister when he came here a month ago and took up the issue of these rockets, and he was told that it was meant for a satellite for remote-sensing and telecommunications and all that. And Mr. Bartholomew is supposed to have said that he agrees this is not for military purposes, but it comes under the (inaudible) of MTCR, and we are forced to take action. Isn't that sticking to the letter of the law and ignoring the spirit of it? MR. BOUCHER: The letter of law, first of all, is quite clear. The international guidelines on this are quite clear. Neither the guidelines nor our the law make any distinction between the technology that is used in ballistic missiles and the technology for space-launched vehicles. The technology for both systems is virtually identical, and the key criterion is whether any rocket system -- be it a ballistic missile or a space-launched vehicle -- is capable of delivering a 500-kilogram payload to a minimum distance of 300 kilometers. We've dealt with this question -- I would say we've provided a previous answer to that effect from this podium or at least in a taken question about a week ago. Q A follow-up on that: Under these MTCR guidelines, isn't the United States and the other member countries basically saying, "If you don't have a space program, India, or any other country, now you can't develop one, because we'll impose sanctions on you. You can't have a space program." MR. BOUCHER: Well, Chris -- Q You can't have a launch capability. MR. BOUCHER: That's not what we've said, first of all. Q But isn't that the effect of it? MR. BOUCHER: I'll leave it to you to analyze the effect, Chris. The point that we're making is that we're very concerned and have been very concerned about the proliferation of missile technology in the world. You have to draw the line somewhere, and the somewhere has been drawn at the fact that we won't support, either by exporting our technology or dealing with organizations that want to trade in or develop missiles that go beyond a certain capability. Q Richard, has this imposition of sanctions been coordinated with other members of the MTCR? In other words, if the United States Government bans the export of an oscilloscope, is there anything to stop them from buying it from Germany or France? MR. BOUCHER: As far as I know, the sanctions result from U.S. law, and, therefore, I think the United States is doing it. I'll have to check and see if we know anything about what other partners might intend -- whether they do. Q Richard, could you try to get an answer to Carol's question about the practical impact, because until we get that answer, we don't know whether these are tame sanctions or burdensome sanctions for these entities. MR. BOUCHER: Well, George, I think the basic thing I would point out in response to that question is that you've certainly seen the reporting and you've been asking us for weeks because of the objections of the other parties who are on the opposite end of these sanctions. They have certainly felt that these were fairly important matters that they wanted to try to avoid or talk us out of -- not to the point of stopping the transaction. Q (Inaudible) -- what kind of sanctions they were going to be, though. I mean, they could have been sanctions against the entire country or against a whole bunch of other things, or whether it was -- you know, military sales? MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think they're pretty clear on what's required. We've explained that to them. Q What we really would like to know is whether or not these sanctions have any teeth. Otherwise, we don't have a story, and you've been standing here for nothing. MR. BOUCHER: Jan, I stand here for nothing a whole lot of times, so I'm glad to be here. Anybody got any other nothing questions, or can we go eat lunch. Oh, sorry, Ruth. Q I have a nothing question. I know it's not going to lead anywhere, but is there any chance of getting Dennis' [Ross] text for the opening? MR. BOUCHER: No. I understand he's probably speaking from notes, and we won't have those. Q That's all right. We'll take it afterwards. MR. BOUCHER: No, sorry. We won't have a text. Q Richard, I have a question on MTCR. The sanctions issue, are the other signatories to the MTCR -- are they bound to follow the U.S. lead, according to the agreement of MTCR or not? MR. BOUCHER: That's essentially the same question that Jim asked, and I'll just have to check and see if there's anything that either binds them or implies that they intend to do something like we're doing here. Q You said that you've been expressing this concern to the Russian officials about this possible deal with India for the last few months, even when the Soviet Union was still in existence. Did you at any point inform any of the American entities who were conducting negotiations with the Glavkosmos that that deal could be undermined if this deal with India goes through? MR. BOUCHER: You mean, in regard to the transaction that he raised earlier? Q Yes. MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check on that. I don't know. Connie. Q Just a quickie. Did you have anything new on the Angolan investigations? You know, Boren, last week, called for Baker's help in the investigations. MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything new here. I'll check and see if there's something. Q Could you look at it. And do you have anything to say on the Middle East talks? I know there's going to be a statement soon. MR. BOUCHER: You do? Q There is, downstairs. But if you have anything you can give us from up here, we'd love it. MR. BOUCHER: I'd be interested in finding out who's making the statement. I don't have any particular statement to make on the occasion. I would say that these are important talks, that we feel they are an integral part of the process. Margaret, I think, talked to you in some detail about how they would work. As you know, it's a working group meeting. It'll be conducted in seminar format. I'll go into a little more detail on the topics. There will be presentations and discussions on the methods and concept of arms control, the evolution of confidence and security-building process, the history of U.S.-Soviet Hotline Agreement, the Incidents at Sea and the Dangerous Military Activities Agreements. To provide participants with a practical look at what has been achieved in the past, they will visit the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, which is in our building, and the On-Site Inspection Agency, which is not. Q One other Middle East topic: I don't know if you have this yet, but there is a Palestinian report today about alleged Israeli army abuses in the territories. Do you have anything on that? MR. BOUCHER: No. I hadn't seen that. Q Again, if you could look into that. I'd be grateful. MR. BOUCHER: OK.

[Bosnia: Highlights of Deputy Secretary Eagleburger's Meeting With Foreign Minister Siladzic]

Q Richard, do you have a readout on Secretary Eagleburger's meeting this morning with the Bosnian Foreign Minister? MR. BOUCHER: If I can hit the highlights and then post the rest of it, I'd be glad to. At their meeting this morning, the Deputy Secretary underscored the U.S. support for the borders, territorial integrity and the legitimate government of Bosnia-Hercegovina. He expressed U.S. condemnation of the aggression carried out against Bosnia. They talked about the role that the United States has played in trying to urge the CSCE community to take strong action against the clear violations of CSCE principles by Serbian and "Yugoslav" military leaders, and he reiterated the U.S. view on the "agreements" that were supposedly reached by Bosnian Serb and Croat political leaders, that we oppose arrangements to which the legitimate Government of Bosnia-Hercegovina is not a party. Q Do you have any reaction to the EC decision to recall Ambassadors from Belgrade? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, George, I think the press reporting on that EC meeting is starting to come out. As far as I know, we haven't had a chance to talk to the EC ourselves. As you know, we wanted to discuss these issues very closely with them, and I'm sure we will. So I don't have any reaction at this point. Q As long as you're looking for things -- other questions on -- Q Can we stay on Bosnia? Q Yes, please. By all means. Q Is that the sum of U.S. -- I mean, Sarajevo seems like it's about to fall and you're talking about maybe kicking Serbia out of CSCE. Is that the full extent of what the U.S. is looking at? MR. BOUCHER: Johanna, what the U.S. is looking at is what we've been looking at, and that's to work closely with other countries, especially with the EC, to bring home the message, make clear that this kind of aggression is not acceptable. We've done that in support, first of all, of the EC peace talks which convened again last week but they really didn't make much progress. We've urged the meeting at the CSCE -- the Committee of Senior Officials. They were going to reconvene at 6:00 p.m. Helsinki time today but, at this point, we haven't heard whether or not they might be postponed until tomorrow. We understand that some delegations may be waiting for instructions. We have looked at this at a high level before. We have worked with the U.N. as well. The U.N. Secretary General just had an envoy out there. He's expected back very shortly, and he'll be reporting to the U.N. Security Council through the Secretary General as well. Q I guess -- from this podium, spokesmen for the United States have been talking for several weeks about CSCE action to expel Serbia. It doesn't seem to have stopped their guns. I guess the question is, do you think that's a good stick, or do you have anything better in your arsenal? MR. BOUCHER: Certainly, in terms of what it represents and in terms of what it means for the legitimacy of their representatives as being part of the democratic Europe that the CSCE represents, it's a measure that reflects that. We've spoken before that some people think that they, in declaring themselves a "Yugoslav" federation, have some desire to gain acceptance and legitimacy in the eyes of our Government and the governments of other people in Europe. So it certainly is a measure. Whether it's a measure sufficient to stop the fighting is something that we would have to see. We've been trying in any number of ways, both directly through our meetings with people, in terms of our recognition of those who have gone about this peacefully, and in terms of our condemnation of the fighting, in a variety of forum, to bring home that message -- that if the Serbs and Montenegrins want to be accepted as the Yugoslav state, their behavior and their sponsorship of aggression is going to have to change. In the end, whether that stops the fighting or not is just not something we can guess at or predict. Q Richard, the United States has previously followed the EC's lead on matters involving Yugoslavia. Is the withdrawal of the American Ambassador or reduction in Embassy personnel being considered at this point? MR. BOUCHER: Mark, at any given point, there are a number of options available. I can't, at this point, really speculate on how quickly or when we might move on any specific one. Q Richard, did the Bosnian Foreign Minister ask for any specific U.S. help? MR. BOUCHER: I only had the briefest of readouts of the meeting before I came down. It's something, I think, you'd have to ask him. Q Can you provide us with the -- if it is possible -- historical numbers for how many times the United States has imposed sanctions on entities related to the MTCR regime? MR. BOUCHER: I'd be glad to do that. Q I mean, is it a frequent occurrence? Is it -- MR. BOUCHER: These are recent amendments. These were in the Fiscal Year 1991 legislation. The one that I remember is the China-Pakistan deal. I'll see if we can get you any more on that. Q Richard, I understand that the Bosnian leadership has asked the U.N. for help. I mean, armed help. Is there any U.S. position on that? MR. BOUCHER: Our position has been stated before. The Secretary General has just had an envoy in the region, and he'll be getting back, or he may be back already. The Secretary General will report to the other members of the Security Council to discuss this issue of peacekeeping and any other observations from his trip there. But our position on the difference between peace-making and peacekeeping, I think, has been made clear before and that hasn't changed. Q Richard, do you have anything on Mr. Kanter's visit in Bangkok? MR. BOUCHER: Under Secretary Kanter arrived in Thailand on Saturday, May 9, and will depart on Wednesday, May 13. He had no official meetings on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, May 11, Mr. Kanter had lunch with opposition leaders, and he was scheduled to meet with the Commerce Minister. He's scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Suchinda on May 12. We don't yet have a full report on the substance of his discussions. Q On the Middle East, please. Has the State Department submitted a report on the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories to the Congress? And, if so, when are you going to make that public? MR. BOUCHER: We did submit a report that was requested by the House Appropriations Committee. It went up on Friday, May 1. The report was entitled "Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories." This was done specifically in response to a request by the Committee, and I'm afraid for further details or for any decisions on whether we can release it or not, we have to defer to the wishes of the Appropriations Committee. Q Do you have any reaction to any of the foreign policy pronouncements by Mikhail Gorbachev while he's touring the United States? How seriously, or how indifferently are you taking those? MR. BOUCHER: Boy, I'm in a box. I don't have a reaction, but I'm sure we're taking them seriously. The trip, I think, is a private trip. I'm sure that the analysts and the people here are very interested in what he says and have been paying attention to the speeches, but I don't have any reactions to them. Q So the State Department was paying any attention to what he has to say? MR. BOUCHER: Yes, we are paying attention to what he has to say. Q Do you have anything on what Mr. Baker and Mr. Dumas talked about this morning? MR. BOUCHER: They had a fairly lengthy meeting that I would characterize as one-on-one. I'm told it was worthwhile and useful, but that was about all the Secretary was able to tell us before he took off for the White House. But, as I said, the meeting was largely one-on-one. There was a very brief session with some other people, but it's not the kind of meeting that we usually have details about. They'll be, of course, continuing discussions with the President this afternoon. Q IAEA started to investigate and inspect the North Korean nuclear facility today. Do you have any comment on that matter? MR. BOUCHER: I don't believe they had a full-scale inspection going. I think the Director Hans Blix was -- Q Not full scale, but the Secretary General already visited North Korea today -- this morning -- and started to begin the inspection. MR. BOUCHER: Well, again, I would say that this is not a formal inspection and that there will have to be a series of formal inspections to verify and analyze the information that the North Koreans have provided to the IAEA. I think we said last week that we welcome that information. We welcome the fact that Director General Blix has been able to travel there and continue these discussions. But most of all, we look forward to the process of inspections going forward in a careful manner. Q Do you think that IAEA has reserved the right to execute so-called expeditious inspection? What do you think the possibility is -- whether the IAEA would do a challenging inspection this time? MR. BOUCHER: Again, that's something that the IAEA, I think, will have to answer. It's not a question for us. Q Coming back to that rocket issue. Do you think that your decision -- these sanctions against the Russian Federation entity will in any way undermine the forthcoming trip by Boris Yeltsin to the United States? Do you think it will be kind of a difficult backdrop for the visit? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I would put it that way. We have a whole host of issues to discuss with the Russian Government. This is an issue that we've discussed before with the Russian Government. We certainly look forward to their cooperation and the cooperation of other countries on the issues of missile proliferation and other proliferation in the world. But there are many important things that we're doing together that we'll continue to do together. Q Richard, I don't think you directly answered the question about whether, in the view of the United States, this deal was conducted for peaceful or non-peaceful purposes. Do you have anything to say on that? MR. BOUCHER: What I said basically, Mark, is, we're dealing with a class of technology that's virtually identical no matter what the purpose of it is. If you support entities that are engaging in that kind of trade, there's no way to draw the line between peaceful and non-peaceful purposes. So you have to draw the line on the basis of the technology involved. That's the way the international understandings on this work, and that's the way our law works in terms of applying sanctions. Q Richard, how long have you all known this deal was in the offing? MR. BOUCHER: It's been a subject of discussion for over a year actually, that I'm aware of, that there have been discussions between us and between MTCR partners with the various countries involved. Q That's my understanding, too, that India has actually made a large payment on this deal. That's what I'm told. Why are you waiting until now to tell them -- to send this message? MR. BOUCHER: I guess the answer would be that we tried at various levels and in various ways to talk them out of it and it doesn't look like we've succeeded. Q Richard, on that quickly. Did the United States offer any help in an alternative form of launching this communication satellite, so it would not require -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't know, Jim, if we did. I'd have to see. Q Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 1:06 p.m.)