US Department of State Daily Briefing #75: Thursday, 5/14/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: May, 14 19925/14/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia Country: Israel, USSR (former), Libya, Iran, Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Russia, India, Sudan, China, Pakistan Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Development/Relief Aid, Terrorism, Security Assistance and Sales Regional/Civil Unrest 12:28 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I don't have anything. I'll be happy to try to answer your questions.

[Libya: Announcement Renouncing Terrorism/US Reaction]

Q Margaret, can you give us the State Department's view of the latest Libyan statement about terrorism, whether you find it credible or different from other pledges? MS. TUTWILER: Not particularly. As you know, this is not the first time that we have heard Qadhafi make these types of statements. We've seen the statement as carried by the Libyan News Agency and reportedly contained in a letter from Libya's Foreign Minister to the United Nations Secretary General. The United Nations Security Council Resolutions 731 and 748 require Libya to demonstrate by concrete actions -- not mere words -- its renunciation of terrorism. We have seen no such demonstration. Indeed, we see evidence of Libya's continuing support for terrorism. Several terrorist groups train in Libya and receive financial, logistical, and political support from Libya. Some groups, such as the Abu Nidal organization, are headquartered in Libya and have extensive training sites and support facilities there. In February, a French judge issued arrest warrants for four Palestinian members of the Abu Nidal terrorist organization, believed now to be Libya, for the murder of passengers on board the Greek ferry in July 1988. I cite these as examples of actions that Libya has failed to take, not as a complete list. The fact is, Libya has failed to take the first step. Libya has also failed to meet any of the broader demands of United Nations Security Council Resolution 731 despite its reported acceptance. Libya's continuing actions in support of terrorists speak far louder than its empty assertions to the contrary. Q A couple of quickies. Has Libya, in any indirect way -- because there's no direct way -- told the United States this time anything along the lines that they've been saying publicly through the U.N. envoy -- excuse me -- as they've been saying through the U.N. envoy? Has there been any even indirect pledges made to the U.S.? MS. TUTWILER: About what? Q Well, of the Pan Am suspects, mostly. MS. TUTWILER: No. Q And these examples you give of what you call increased support for terrorism -- MS. TUTWILER: Not increased -- continuing. Q --I thought you said "increased;" but anyhow -- alright-- MS. TUTWILER: I said "continuing." Q --quite recent? You mention the February thing. MS. TUTWILER: That was February 1988.* Q Oh. Well, anything really lately that shows any step-up, or is it just sort of -- MS. TUTWILER: I didn't say "increased." I said "continuing support of," predominantly by -- as you know, this organization lives there; financial support, continuing to let them live in the country. Those were just examples. Not an inclusive list. The gist of what I -- the answer to your question, in short form, is, these are words. We want to see actions. Q One of the requirements in the sanctions is that they renounce terrorism? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Would that mean, to effectively renounce terrorism, is it the United States view that they would have to kick these people out of Libya? MS. TUTWILER: It's not a United States mandate. As you know, this is a United Nations Security Council resolution that was passed. I don't know, for instance -- my instincts are that it's not a specific laundry list of specific things that you must do on terrorism. But as we've said before, we would obviously know it when we see it, and mere words are not going to cut it. *Note: A French judge issued arrest warrants in February 1992. Q Margaret, do you know if the Libyans gave any other written matter to the U.N. envoy -- if there was any attempt beyond the letter to show that they were complying with the U.N. resolution? MS. TUTWILER: We don't even know -- we only have reports that they have tried to give a letter to the United Nations Secretary General. We don't even know that that is, indeed, true. We've seen one report of what his statements says on Libyan news. So we tried to get from the United Nations, if indeed they even have a letter. As of this briefing, we can't answer whether they do or do not. We only have a report of one. Q Well, still, do you want to get into details, or is that about it? In other words, the notion of people's committees and all. Do you want to respond to any of the specifics? I guess you haven't seen any specifics? MS. TUTWILER: We haven't seen it. Q Do you have any idea if the Abu Nidal group -- as an example you've already made -- is active in Libya or if they are just residents in Libya, not knowing where else to go? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know specifically what their activities are. I think you're well aware of our views, and many others of that organization. I'll be happy to ask the counter-terrorism experts here if they can give you an update on their activities. Q On this terrorism question, the other day there was some comment about the reports regarding the bombing of the Argentine Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires some time ago. You sort of updated on what the U.S. thinking was. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Subsequently -- and, in fact, I think it was the same day -- there were reported arrests of a number of people in South America. I think it was in Quito -- 5 Iranians and an Iraqi. Does that seem to have any connection with this embassy bombing or not? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not in a position to tell you whether it does or does not because I'm unaware of the five arrests that you've mentioned. I'll be happy to see if we have anything on that. I've never heard of it. Q Margaret, do you have any assessment on the impact of the embargo on Libya? Do you have any ideas of what's going on there in terms of the impact of the embargo on Libya? MS. TUTWILER: No. I'll be happy to see if I can get something for you. No, I don't. Q Margaret, anything on today's meeting between Mr. Eagleburger and Mr. Gligorov of Skopje? MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me? Q Anything on today's meeting between Mr. Eagleburger and Mr. Gligorov of Skopje -- the so-called republic of Macedonia? MS. TUTWILER: The Macedonian? That meeting, sir, was still going on with the Deputy Secretary when I came downstairs to begin the briefing. It is listed, as you saw, as the Deputy Secretary of State is meeting with that gentleman. It's my understanding that they know each other from Larry [Eagleburger's] tenure when he was our former Ambassador to Yugoslavia. The Secretary of State attended the Deputy Secretary's meeting and was there for -- it's my understanding -- a fair amount of time during the Deputy's meeting, but I don't have a readout from either gentleman. I'll see if we can get one from Larry's office for you whenever the meeting concludes.

[Former Yugoslavia: Update]

Q Do you have an update on Yugoslavia? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, I do. Yugoslavia and every other place in the world. Believe me. Yugoslavia: Last night, Sarajevo was relatively quiet. Today, however, there is very heavy fighting, particularly near the airport. We understand the United Nations Peacekeeping Force is pinned down in its headquarters by shelling from irregular forces. We are concerned about reports that Serb forces there have begun to remove non-Serbs in an ethnic "cleansing" operation. Joint Serbian forces continue to widen their control of the city in intensive street-to-street fighting. We understand that in Sarajevo food supplies are desperately short to non-existent. We are particularly concerned that small children have no access to milk or baby formula. The city has also run out of medical supplies. Delivery of remaining supplies is impossible in certain neighborhoods. Elsewhere, very heavy Serbian shelling and fighting continues in Mostar. Sometimes intense fighting and shelling continues in several other towns in Bosnia, reportedly causing many thousands of additional displaced persons. In recent days, fighting also increased in Eastern Croatia, including Serbian and JNA attacks on several towns. This latest cease-fire, in our personal opinion, has never taken hold. Concerning the convoy that I mentioned yesterday: As I mentioned, international humanitarian organizations are arranging for the delivery of approximately 600 metric tons of food to towns in Bosnia, including Sarajevo. The tentative schedule is for a convoy of about 35 trucks to depart Zagreb on Sunday. They will make a number of stops en route, making deliveries along the way. Another dozen trucks will be leaving Sunday for Belgrade on a similar schedule. In addition to international organizations, countries contributing to this effort include France, Germany, Italy, Norway, and the United States. The United States contribution is about 40 metric tons of food. This is DoD surplus that was located in Europe. The UNHCR is talking in Sarajevo with representatives of the three ethnic groups to arrange, or try to arrange, safe passage. In principle, they have reached agreement, but we understand that talks were recently broken off due to the heavy fighting. The convoy is still in the planning stage. The organizers intend for it to leave this weekend, but its departure depends upon the security situation. Ambassador Zimmermann is still in Belgrade. He is working, as we said yesterday, on an urgent basis, to provide the U.S. support to this relief operation which is being organized by these international organizations. Q You were asked yesterday whether we would consider a pallet drop of humanitarian aid; do you have an answer to that? MS. TUTWILER: We do not think that is the most effective way to get aid into Bosnia or into Sarajevo. Q Well, it's not getting in. So, short of that -- if you can't arrange safe passage for the convoy, what else do you have left? MS. TUTWILER: We'll deal with that, I guess, after the weekend. But right now, that is not the most effective way in our opinion or others of how to get aid in there. And this, to my knowledge, is the first major international convoy that has been attempted, and it is well over 40 trucks that are going to try. Hopefully, they will be able to reach the people. And, if not, I'm sure that the international organizations and the countries that are participating, and others that will be participating, will take a look at it if it fails. Q Margaret, you said the U.N. peacekeepers are pinned down. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Are they particularly targeted, do you know, or is it just the circumstances that are so chaotic they can't get out from under? These are the people that are supposed to move out, the bulk of them, anyhow. MS. TUTWILER: The bulk of them. It's my understanding, Barry -- Q (Inaudible) yesterday -- the bulk. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q The bulk. He's going to leave some people. MS. TUTWILER: It's about a hundred. Q They're pinned down? Are they the target of anybody, or the situation -- MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard -- Q -- is just a mess? MS. TUTWILER: This is purely speculation on my part. I haven't heard anyone say that they are a target. I believe they are just pinned down because of the deteriorating situation there, the chaos, and the heavy fighting. The bulk -- when you say "bulk," so that people know, the U.N. headquarters, as you know, has been operating in Sarajevo. They are planning, it's my understanding from the U.N., to leave approximately a hundred of their staff and observers there, and that means pulling out about 200. Q Margaret, what did you mean by "ethnic cleansing" operation? Do you have anymore details on that? MS. TUTWILER: I'd ask the people who are putting out that. That's their phrase. Q Whose quotes? MS. TUTWILER: That's why I used quotes. Q So it's their quotes? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q You have no other details on what's going on in that regard? MS. TUTWILER: No, I don't have any details of it. It is obviously -- well, I won't put an adjective on it. You do that. Q Margaret, did you say where these convoys are leaving from? Q Zagreb. Q They leave from Zagreb? MS. TUTWILER: Right. I think that's what I said. Q Done with Yugoslavia? MS. TUTWILER: Am I? Q On the U.N., a quick question: The Secretary General, at the Press Club yesterday, spoke of the U.N. being in its worst financial state ever and mentioned that the U.S. owes money. MS. TUTWILER: We do. Q And I wondered if you could bring us up to date as to whether the U.S. intends to make good and, you know, is there any particular problem? Are we holding -- is the U.S. holding back funds, or is it just a mechanical problem or what? MS. TUTWILER: I didn't bring it with me, Barry, and I don't stay on top of the U.N. budget, but -- Q Well, it's off the wall, I know, so -- MS. TUTWILER: It's not off the wall, but I just don't have the briefing at my fingertips. Q Yes. No, I mean, I didn't mean to throw figures at you. MS. TUTWILER: No problem. But I do know that in Secretary Baker's meeting with the Secretary General, the Secretary acknowledged -- and I cannot remember the figure -- it's $100-something million that we are in arrears, it's my understanding. He also pointed out that on peacekeeping the Administration had requested a level that the Congress reduced by -- I think it's over $100 million; that we would continue to try to work to get our share of -- our percentage of the United Nations budget that we are due for peacekeeping. And as far as overall, I know that in the Bush Administration one of the priorities of President Bush has continuously been to get us out of our arrearage situation at the United Nations. And I recall two payments that this Administration has made that were quite large. I just don't know on balance where we are right now, but I can get it for you. Q When Secretary Baker was before one of the committees -- I think it was the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the question of the funds for U.N. peacekeeping was raised by some of the members of Congress. And, as I recall, he agreed to look into the question of whether or not the U.S. share should be as large as it is of the total peacekeeping and get into this whole issue of how these shares are allocated. What has happened on that score? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I recall the same testimony that you do, and I believe his response was, "I'll take a look at that." I don't know where we are on it, and I'll check and see if the experts have come up with anything. I know that I am -- I believe that I would be aware of a decision, if one had been made, to change our percentages, and I have not heard of any conversations along those lines. Q Margaret, yesterday the Secretary had a phone conversation with Senator Jesse Helms. Would you be able to tell us who initiated that call, what was discussed, and why the Secretary is opposed to the so-called "Israel Enterprise Fund"? MS. TUTWILER: You know something that I don't know. I'm not aware that the Secretary of State spoke with Senator Helms yesterday, and I'll be happy to check with the Secretary's office or with our Congressional office to inquire about the phone call. Q He said it publicly. MS. TUTWILER: Who did? Q Senator Helms. MS. TUTWILER: I'm not doubting that a call took place, but I can't comment on something I know nothing about. Q Anything new on Cyprus with Boutros-Ghali and Secretary Baker? MS. TUTWILER: In the meeting that I attended yesterday, Cyprus was not discussed. I can't speak for the meeting over at the White House. I don't know. Q Anything new today, first of all, on the flap over law of return of the Palestinians, beyond what you said yesterday? MS. TUTWILER: No, Connie. Q And any further readout on the talks going on, and have you been able to convince them to give us some sort of briefing? These are the Middle East talks. MS. TUTWILER: I've worked on that. I know that different groups have chosen to handle it differently, and my understanding this morning is that the group here will not be doing a press conference at the conclusion of their meeting. And as far as any additional information that I have concerning yesterday's meeting, I really don't have a lot to add to it. I did check, since many of you asked me, "Are there indeed discussions going on?" The answer is, as I guessed yesterday, yes, indeed there are. And I have for you today's schedule, which I believe has concluded. I believe they were supposed to end at 12 noon today, and it was basically a wrap-up session today. Q And also there is another conference going on here today. Do you have any readout on that? MS. TUTWILER: There is? Q I don't know. The paper said something about a terrorism conference, but I think it might be these conferences. Is there a separate -- MS. TUTWILER: You know as much about it then as I do. Q Margaret, could I just follow up on Resolution 194? The United States in a sense has raised this issue to sort of a new prominence because of the inclusion of Palestinian exiles in a couple of the talks. And I just wonder, I'm looking at resolution 194. There are a lot of sort of specific and very nuanced positions that are included in that resolution. And in having the U.S. reaffirm its support for the resolution, does that include every aspect of the resolution, including the suggestion that Jerusalem be put under United Nations supervision, and that the -- sort of the area for inclusion of Palestinian -- in which the Palestinians could return would extend to quite a wide array of cities and towns? MS. TUTWILER: With all due respect, the United States did not raise this issue. The United States State Department Spokesperson, after three days of being asked for an answer, responded. And the United States is going to, today, in the form of that same Spokesperson decline from any further characterization, interpretation -- I have done none -- on terms and elements. I have absolutely zero to add to what I have said on Resolution 194, and what I have said on Resolution 237. Q Thank you, I guess. Q No, one more. Q Oh, I'm sorry. You're pretty slow, Don. Q Sorry. I didn't think it was that kind of pause. Yesterday at the Foreign Relations Committee, the State Department took the position that it did not object to an amendment which basically would cut off any aid to Russia if the deal between the Russian rocket organization -- whatever its name is -- and the Indian space technology group goes forward. This is quite a different position than the one previously enunciated by the Department in announcing its sanctions against these two organizations. Could you give us any indication of why the Administration or the Department feels that it's now appropriate to take a rather broad sanction -- that is to say, the cutoff of any aid to Russia -- because of this sale? MS. TUTWILER: If you're referring to Senator Biden's amendment -- Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: -- I think that maybe you're aware, maybe not, that it was agreed during yesterday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting that we will work with Senator Biden's staff to clarify the intent of his amendment in a way that is consistent with Administration objectives. And those meetings and conversations are going on right now, it's my understanding, at the staff level. Q Mr. Armitage said that there was no objection to the amendment in principle, but that there was some concern about the way it was worded. I mean -- MS. TUTWILER: Correct. And staff are, it's my understanding, as of this morning engaged in that exercise with Senator Biden's staff that will be consistent with Administration policy and will also satisfy Senator Biden. Q Well, my point is simply that the principle of the amendment -- what the amendment seeks to do is quite different from what the Administration announced in the sanctions last Monday. Your sanctions were targeted at a particular organization -- Glavkosmos, or whatever its name is -- MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. That's the correct name. Q Whereas Biden's sanctions go against the Government of Russia. Russia as a government would not be able to receive any funds under this aid program if the Biden Amendment is passed. MS. TUTWILER: And I guess what I'm saying is you can assume that we are aware of a difference in interpretation, and that we are -- because we are aware of this, Senator Biden agreed with us -- I don't know who -- I don't think it was Rich Armitage, probably Janet Mullins -- to [say]: "Yes, I agree with you, there is a difference, and we will work this out." And that is what is going on right now today. Q Margaret, can I follow up on that? Q What is the view of the State Department on Senator Helms' proposed or discussed amendment on the Israel Enterprise Fund, which was discussed at the hearing yesterday? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of it. I haven't seen the transcripts from the hearing. Q Could I follow up on that, and then again -- Q (Inaudible) -- rephrase the question. MS. TUTWILER: I can't comment on something that I'm just simply literally not familiar with. I didn't go to the hearing, I didn't see the hearing, and I haven't read a transcript this morning. So I literally don't know about it. Q Perhaps I'm a little thick -- MS. TUTWILER: That's O.K. [Laughter] Q But Armitage -- MS. TUTWILER: We all are. Q We love you anyway, Carol. [Laughter] MS. TUTWILER: This gets tricky. Q Armitage on "Worldnet" the other day, when he was asked the question about whether the U.S. would tie the rocket deal to aid, said no. And now even in considering this amendment, you seem to be changing that basic principle. I mean, you're talking about wording and everything, but the fact of the matter is if you're willing now to talk -- to work with the Senate on an amendment that ties the rocket deal to overall aid, then you're reversing what Armitage said the other day. MS. TUTWILER: That is not my understanding, but I'll be honest with you, I have not spent a great deal of time on this this morning. I'll be happy to get Janet in touch with both of you, if that would help. That's not my understanding. I am aware of what all I've been able to describe to you is that we are working at the staff level -- it is not at the Secretary and the Senator at this time; it's at the staff level -- on this language to make sure that it is in line with Administration policy plus United States law. The Glavkosmos case kicks in because of law. So I believe that they're working with words to make all of this in synch legally and, obviously, with Administration policy and taking into concern Senator Biden's concerns. And I really don't know any more in depth about it than that limited amount. Q Has there been any other development on this sanctions case? Have the Russians or the Indians or anybody done anything further that would carry the story further from the announcement that was made on Monday? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I know of. Q Thank you. Q Excuse me. One final thing: Margaret, the leader of the Islamic movement in the Sudan, Dr. Hassan Turabi, is in Washington on a private visit. Sources close to him are saying that he will be attempting to see some U.S. officials. Can you confirm that? Could you look into it? Do you have anything on it? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know whether he will or will not be attempting to see United States' officials. I just -- I don't know how I could possibly answer that. What I can do is see if he has indeed tried to see U.S. officials. I don't know. Q Well, Margaret, a little broader: There's a whole day's conference tomorrow on Islamic fundamentalism. MS. TUTWILER: Where is that? Here? Q It's here in Washington. I can't remember who sponsored it. Probably one of the -- MS. TUTWILER: The State Department? Q No, no, no. It's a "think tank" thing. Bob Oakley is -- Q (Multiple comments) MS. TUTWILER: I don't know everything that's going on in Washington. Q No, no. I know that. But I'm just saying if you want to embellish -- if you want to pursue an answer, there are a lot of folks in town. So the question -- MS. TUTWILER: There must be. Q -- are they just here to go to a "think tank," or will there be some interaction with the U.S. State Department. Q O.K. I'll try to figure it out. Q One quick question on rockets and missiles. There's a report that China has not gone ahead with a missile sale or missile technology transfer to Pakistan and Syria, in accordance with the promise made to the Secretary last November. Can you remark on that? MS. TUTWILER: I saw that piece at about 12:18 before I came down here, and I will be happy to take your question. I did not have an opportunity to track down the experts to look into it for myself. Q Don't worry about it. MS. TUTWILER: I know. Q It's only Barry's story. MS. TUTWILER: I know. (The briefing concluded at 12:52 p.m.)