US Department of State Daily Briefing #76: Friday, 5/15/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: May, 14 19925/14/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, Southeast Asia, Subsaharan Africa, E/C Europe Country: Israel, USSR (former), Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, China, Afghanistan, Mozambique, South Africa, Iraq Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Development/Relief Aid, Cultural Exchange, Resource Management, Science/Technology, Arms Control, United Nations, Military Affairs, Regional/Civil Unrest, Travel, Democratization, Trade/Economics l2:07 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: Most of you know, but I'd like to officially announce Secretary Baker's trip. He will travel to London, England, and Lisbon, Portugal, on May 22nd through 24th. The Secretary will meet with Prime Minister John Major in London on Friday, May 22nd. This is something that he had discussed with the Foreign Secretary, and they both agreed that this would be a good time just to get together for consultations while the Secretary was en route to Lisbon. On Saturday he will travel on to Lisbon to attend the follow-on Coordinating Conference on assistance to the new independent states. He will return to Washington late Sunday evening. A sign-up sheet has been posted in the Press Office for those journalists wishing to travel with the Secretary. The sign-up sheet will be taken down at noon on Monday, May l8th. One thing I would like to do is an update on the situation in Yugoslavia and to let you know that Ambassador Zimmerman will be back in Washington this weekend. I don't want to get more specific than that. And we are going to request of him, when he returns, that he would please do a briefing for all of you; so I'll hopefully have something for you. Q (Inaudible) MS. TUTWILER: No; not that way, probably. We will be -- in fact, it's more than "not probably" -- we will be, hopefully, having something for you about that on Monday after I have an opportunity to speak with him.

[Former Yugoslavia: Update]

On Yugoslavia: Last night joint Serb/JNA forces shelled Sarajevo in a ferociously heavy attack. This set many buildings on fire; parts of Sarajevo are still burning today. And it's my understanding that there are elements there that control the water supply and they are not letting the water free to even put out these fires. Heavy Serbian shelling and fighting continues throughout the city, particularly near the airport. Serbian snipers continue random shooting. We have no figures on recent casualties in Sarajevo. We understand electricity is out in about one-third of the city. A substantial portion of the city is without water, including the center of the city and one hospital. Food supplies in Sarajevo 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 many neighborhoods. Elsewhere in Bosnia, sometimes intense fighting and shelling continues in several other towns, reportedly causing many thousands of additional displaced persons. We understand there is a fairly high level of fighting in northern Bosnia. And we have reports of increased Bosnian Muslim resistance to Serb forces in a few areas in eastern Bosnia. In recent days fighting also increased in Eastern Croatia, including Serbian and JNA attacks on several towns. We unreservedly condemn and deplore this further Serbian and JNA aggression. I had mentioned yesterday to you all an international convoy for humanitarian relief that is trying to get off the ground and to be organized. The only thing that has changed is the timing. I had told you they were aiming to leave sometime this weekend, specifically on Sunday. The tentative plan now is for the convoy of about 35 trucks to depart Zagreb on Tuesday. Again, that same convoy will make a number of stops en route to Sarajevo. The second convoy I mentioned yesterday, which is about a dozen trucks, is still planning to leave -- it's my understanding -- on Sunday, from Belgrade, on a similar stop-along-the-way route into Sarajevo. The United States' contribution to the convoy is about 40 metric tons of food; and obviously those people on the ground there from the various countries I mentioned yesterday, and the UNHCR international relief organizations, are trying to insure safe passage of these two convoys. That is the only update that I had concerning Yugoslavia. Q What's the remaining status of the U.S. diplomatic representation in Belgrade after Zimmerman departs? MS. TUTWILER: The Charge will then automatically become in charge -- the No. 2 man. Q No other drawdown of U.S. diplomatic personnel from Belgrade at this point? MS. TUTWILER: Not at this point, no. Q What kind of U.S. diplomatic activity is under way either in Belgrade or through the EC as the fighting and the destruction appears to escalate? What sort of efforts, other than just talking and wringing hands, is the U.S. trying to do? MS. TUTWILER: Other than talking, I don't have a specific for you today; and we are, obviously, staying in very close contact with the EC, with our allies. As you have seen, the EC has explored various proposals. The United States, at the same time, discussed those various proposals with members of the EC. But there's nothing really specific right now that I know of, other than a number of countries -- and that's why Ambassador Zimmerman did not come out on Tuesday -- are trying desperately to try to insure safe passage into Sarajevo for these two convoys. Q Is armed intervention being discussed at any level in any of these forums that you know of by the United States or by the EC? MS. TUTWILER: I can only speak for the United States, which I have knowledge of, and the answer is "No." Q Margaret, what about some sort of multi- national effort to guarantee the convoys? I gather you need Serbian acquiescence to send them on their way; but what about accompanying this with a warning to the Serbs, for instance, that they'll suffer consequences for any interference with the relief convoys? MS. TUTWILER: Well, what kind of consequences are you talking about? I mean I have stated any number of days -- if you're talking about United States force -- Q Well, I said more than that. MS. TUTWILER: -- I've said no. Well, I don't know what other nations or countries are thinking about or deciding. I can only speak for our own. I would point out also that today the United Nations peacekeepers that are there in Sarajevo, as of this briefing -- continue to check with the United Nations -- are still trapped and penned in. So I mean I don't know, to be honest with you, what makes an impression in this situation. And those are approximately 350 individuals, 200 of which the Secretary General in his report had said should leave -- a hundred of which were going to stay. They can't even get out. Q Margaret, by the way, whose convoy is this? This is a U.S. convoy? MS. TUTWILER: No, sir. It is a United Nations HCR predominantly, with support from about six nations that I named yesterday. Q I'm sorry. MS. TUTWILER: The United States is contributing to this. Q Thanks. Q Another area? Q One last question on the convoy, if I can. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Will representatives of these six nations be involved in actually delivering the supplies? MS. TUTWILER: Diplomatic personnel? Q Or whatever -- accompanying the trucks immediately. MS. TUTWILER: Not that I've heard of. Q Margaret, still staying on Europe. The British Secretary of State for Defense yesterday gave a speech in which he called for the Western European Union to become an important power -- a defense power -- within NATO. Does the United States feel that there's a role for the WEU in that sort of category? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know if I can be that specific for you, Jan. The Secretary of State has addressed this previously. Concerning the Defense Minister's speech yesterday, we see this speech as a positive contribution to the ongoing trans- Atlantic dialogue on the development of the European security and defense identity. The proposals in his speech appear fully in keeping with the framework for the development of the European identity agreed at the Rome NATO Summit and the Maastricht EC Summit. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our European partners on the development of a European security and defense identify that strengthens the Atlantic Alliance. Q Is it something that's likely to come up in the meeting between the Secretary and Mr. Major? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen an agenda yet. I couldn't prejudge that for you. Q O.K. Q Margaret, in another part of the Libyan statement that was not covered by your comments yesterday, they kind of proclaimed they are ready to provide the West -- or the United States of America -- with information about their cooperation with organizations, or terrorist organizations, in the past -- including those of the Irish [Republican] Army. Do you have any comment now on that? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not familiar with that part of the statement. I will be more than glad to have our experts take a look at that part. I'm just not familiar with it.

[Azerbaijan: State of Emergency]

Q Margaret, opposition forces in Azerbaijan have stormed the parliament there and are trying to depose the president, who was reinstated yesterday. Do you have any comment on the situation? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. The United States Government is deeply concerned about the political instability in Azerbaijan. We believe the most effective means of restoring stability is through free elections that will allow the Azerbaijani people to express their own political choices. We urge the Azerbaijani government to reschedule the presidential election as soon as possible. President Mutalibov has declared a state of emergency throughout Azerbaijan. The emergency includes the imposition of a curfew and a ban on public gatherings in Baku. Restrictions have been placed on the freedom of the press and other media. Entry and exit restrictions have been imposed in Baku. The U.S. Government urges the Azerbaijani government to lift these emergency provisions as soon as possible. Our Embassy in Baku has reported that the situation in Baku is tense and uncertain at this time. At l700 Baku time, the Embassy reported machinegun fire in the streets in the vicinity of the Presidential Palace. At ll:30 this morning, we talked to Embassy personnel in Baku; and that individual reported that there was a large demonstration on -- I believe the correct name is -- Parliament Square. Press reports say that there are approximately 30,000 people there. Our Embassy official thought it was a smaller number but said that, yes, a large crowd was gathered. And at ll:30, when we last talked to the Embassy, there were no more incidents, that we know of, of firing. Q Can I ask you about the United Nations, and more about the funding? Yesterday, when we got the figures -- can I ask if the State Department feels that the delay in contributing funds to the peacekeeping forces of the United Nations, in fact, jeopardizes the success of those forces? MS. TUTWILER: A United States delay? Q No. The fact that the United States delayed paying money to the United Nations actually jeopardizes the success of United Nations peacekeeping forces? MS. TUTWILER: I think that you've got an almost -- small amount of misinformation. Full funding for the U.N. has been requested in every budget submitted by President Bush and Congress has appropriated that amount. The President has also requested, and the Congress is funding, a plan to pay back our arrears over a period of five years. In 1990, including delayed payments for 1989, the United States paid a total of $302.6 million to the United Nations, nearly $70 million more than our 1990 assessment. In 1991, we paid a total of $301.3 million, nearly $30 million more than our assessment. Thus far, in 1992, we have paid $230 million for U.N. peacekeeping operations and are current for all of our peacekeeping assessments, with the exception of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon. Previous years' arrears are also being paid over a five-year period. Over the last two years, the United Nations has received payments amounting to 102 percent of the amounts assessed. In view of this, we would question whether or not the U.N.'s current financial situation can be considered critical. Q But Margaret, if you've paid up every year, how can you be in arrears? MS. TUTWILER: We have said that we are doing this, it's my understanding, under the Bush Administration, over a five-year period of what we have said we were going to do to get us out of arrears. We are in complete compliance on these two budget items, both on our normal assessments for our percentage of our U.N. share and on arrears. Q But how come you're in arrears? What items have put you in arrears? I don't understand. MS. TUTWILER: I'll get it for you. I'll get it for you. Q But this does not include the operation budget of last year and this year at the United Nations? You said about the United Nations peacekeeping forces -- are they? MS. TUTWILER: I'm obviously not the financial officer for the United States for our U.N. budget. I'll be happy to get more facts and figures for you, if you would like. Most recently, it's my understanding, in our own budget cycle, we asked for an amount for peacekeeping that is to be spread out over a longer amount of time. We got the portion that we are due for this year, so we are in compliance. If we do not get what the Congress fell short on of our request -- I believe our request was around $350 million; we got $250 million -- then, obviously, we would have to go back. But those are for future peacekeeping endeavors that might come up, it's my understanding. Q But you still owe money for the regular budget, I think? Q (Inaudible) MS. TUTWILER: We owe $500 million? This, which they gave me this morning, says that every year we have paid our percentage of our budget and we have paid our arrearages. I will go back to the experts and say there's a question about this. Q What says is that you've paid a certain payment on your arrears -- $70 million in one year, $30 million in another year; right? It doesn't say you've paid up your arrears? MS. TUTWILER: Right. We're doing that -- the big picture over five years. But for the years I listed. In two years -- in 1990 and '91 -- we paid more than was even our assessment. One year was $70 million more. One year was $30 million more. Q Right. But that's like saying, you know, I overdrew my bank account and now I'm paying all my debts and I'm paying a little bit toward the back payment. It doesn't absolve the arrears. MS. TUTWILER: Right. I'm not doubting that the United States has arrears. I'm also stating that President Bush, as I did yesterday, made this one of his priorities in this area when he was elected, and we have been diligent in trying to correct our arrearages at the United Nations. Q When you question whether the U.N. can have a cash crunch in view of the fact that it's received over one hundred percent of its assessment -- MS. TUTWILER: We do. Q -- is that from one hundred percent of the assessments which we owe it, or is that worldwide? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding is, that is worldwide, from this morning. That worldwide, what everybody owes, what everybody's dues are, etc., that they received payments amounting to 102 percent of the amounts assessed. You know there are individuals -- I'd leave it at individuals -- who say that there is a severe, severe, severe crisis. What we're saying, based on this data, is that for that year, over the last two years, if you have a 102 percent of the amounts assessed, that we do have a question which we work with the United Nations about whether there is a critical financial situation. Q Can we get a copy of that? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q Can I take you to the Middle East? You had a statement yesterday on Israeli radio or television by Mr. David Levy, attributed to Mr. Djerejian who met with an Israeli Embassy attache to explain the United States resupport of Resolution 194. The statements, according to Israeli media, says that the United States flees from Palestinian rights like fleeing from a disease. Could this be attributed to Mr. Djerejian saying this to the Israeli attache? Do you have any comment on this, or this is a campaign of disinformation? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen that comment, and I have not spoken with Mr. Djerejian concerning any such comment. Inasmuch as I would love to engage with you on this subject, just as I declined to do so yesterday with one of your colleagues, I'm going to decline to engage on this entire subject with you today. Q But, again, Mr. Shamir also said, in a political rally in Tel Aviv yesterday, addressing the United States -- and I quote -- "The United States knows how to correct its mistake about resupporting Resolution 194." Did you commit a mistake? My question is, did the United States commit a mistake by restating their position -- an earlier position? MS. TUTWILER: That falls right in that category of engaging on this subject, which I am going to continue to refuse to do. Q Well, perhaps you'd like to restate your support -- the U.S. support -- for Resolution 194, which you did here the other day? MS. TUTWILER: Because I'm not going to engage on this subject, I did not bring our statement concerning the subject that you're raising, because I have no intention of re-getting into that subject. We did it two days. Two days is all we're going to do. Q Just tell us, then, if you're statement on the subject stands -- MS. TUTWILER: Well, of course. Q -- as it appears in the record? MS. TUTWILER: Of course. Q So there's been no change? MS. TUTWILER: Got it! Now, you lead with those words. Okay? (Laughter) You get a lead out of that. Q The lead is, Tutwiler says U.S., of course, "still supports Resolution 194." MS. TUTWILER: That will probably be what it'll say. Q Let me turn your thoughts to a different part of the world. The Commonwealth has just concluded sort of a summit with six Presidents attending, I believe. MS. TUTWILER: Who has? Q The Commonwealth of -- MS. TUTWILER: CIS? Uh-huh, got it. Q The former Soviet Union. MS. TUTWILER: I understand now. I didn't hear you. Q They signed a security agreement -- a collective security agreement -- but Ukraine and Byelarus, the two nuclear powers, did not join in on that. Do you have any comment on this? MS. TUTWILER: I wasn't aware that they had finished their meeting. I am aware -- my information was that five Presidents did not attend; and I'm not aware of any statement or communique they have come out with. Concerning overall, the Commonwealth meeting, many people have asked me over the last several days, what is our opinion of X president going or not going, etc.? The United States would like to see continuing cooperation among the new states of the former USSR, but the extent of that cooperation is up to those nations to determine. And how the new independent states pursue cooperative policies is also for them to determine. But competition and conflict over military issues, political issues, or economic issues will serve no one's interest and only prevent these states from moving forward with their overriding imperative of building democracy and free markets. Q In Lisbon, is Secretary Baker scheduled to discuss about the START protocol with his counterparts? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, he will be. Q Do you have any update on that situation? MS. TUTWILER: No. He is continuing to work it. I don't believe that he has had any personal phone calls in the last several days. I'm almost positive he has not. The experts have been working it between our capital and the various capitals, but there's nothing to report. They're continuing to work on it. Q Would you anticipate any kind of a -- I would imagine there might be bilaterals between the Secretary and any number of people in Lisbon -- MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q -- perhaps including the four nuclear republics of the former Soviet Union. Would you anticipate any kind of a joint meeting of all four of those republics -- representatives of those republics and Secretary Baker? MS. TUTWILER: That could well happen. Q What would the purpose of that be? MS. TUTWILER: They decide to have a meeting. Q Okay. Can I ask -- MS. TUTWILER: If they have a reason to get together, Ralph, then, sure, they could have a meeting. Right now that is not scheduled, but I don't want to be cute by half and mislead. Of course, that is something that has been thought of and is one of the options that we look at. Q Can I ask about another subject? What is the status of the nomination of Jock Covey to be Assistant Secretary of State for the new South Asian Bureau of the State Department? MS. TUTWILER: Number one, I'm going to refrain from answering it. Has the White House announced this? I can't remember. I don't want to get ahead of the White House. Q I think they had, but I'm -- MS. TUTWILER: That's what I thought. I thought that Jock had already gone up and testified, but maybe I'm wrong. Q I don't think so. MS. TUTWILER: We've got a number of people -- a lot -- that are either getting out of our system. As you know, we've passed the end of the three years where a number of both political and career appointments are changing. I just don't keep up with it. I don't know particularly where his is in the train. There are a lot of them. Some are still here, it's my understanding -- going through the system here. Some are still going through the White House system. Some have been confirmed. But I know there are a lot between now and when, as you know, in a political season, whichever party is -- they stop at some point confirming people. So I know there are a number we're trying to get done. Where, particularly, his is, I don't know. I can find out for you from the Congressional office. Q As far as you know, there's no change in that? That's still in train for him? MS. TUTWILER: Oh, yes. Q Apropos of that subject, do you have anything to say at this point yet about the future of Assistant Secretary of State Clarke? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Margaret, the other day the United Nations Secretary General expressed his support for the idea of a kind of rapid deployment force for the United Nations peacekeeping within each of the big powers, like France. Do you have any comment on that? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not familiar with that. This is something he said when he was here on his visit? Q Yes, during his lecture at the CSIS the day before yesterday. MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with those remarks, and I'll be happy to take a look at it. I'm sure that our mission in New York is familiar with it. I'm just not. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. Have a nice weekend. Goodbye. (Press briefing concluded at 12:30 p.m.)