US Department of State Daily Briefing #83: Wednesday, 5/27/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: May, 27 19925/27/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, E/C Europe, Caribbean Country: Israel, USSR (former), China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Georgia, Haiti, Philippines, Vietnam, Iraq Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Development/Relief Aid, Arms Control, Trade/Economics, Military Affairs, Regional/Civil Unrest, Terrorism, Democratization, POW/MIA Issues, Refugees, Immigration 12:27 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHEWISE NOTED)

[Arms Control: Five-Power Meeting on Arms Transfers and Proliferation at Department May 28-29]

MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to say something about a five-power meeting on Arms Transfers and Proliferation, and then I'd be glad to take your questions. Representatives of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States will meet in the Department tomorrow, May 28, and on May 29, to discuss further measures on restraint of transfers of conventional arms and weapons of mass destruction-related technology. The discussions follow meetings held in Paris last July 8-9, in London last October 17-19, and an experts' preparatory meeting in Washington last February. As announced after the February meeting, the upcoming session will discuss draft proposals for information exchange modalities, and guidelines for exports of dual use items that could contribute to weapons of mass destruction. The meeting will be chaired by Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs Reginald Bartholomew, and the U.S. delegation will be led by Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs Richard A. Clarke. We expect to have additional information for you after the talks conclude. Q In other words, you'll have some sort of a briefing or readout at the end? MR. BOUCHER: Some sort of a briefing or readout; yes. And with that, I'd be glad to take your questions -- on that or anything else.

[Former Yugoslavia: Situation Update]

Q Let's try and see how the State Department, today, feels about the various measures and various arenas being taken to punish the Serbs. Are you happy with the script? Is it going well enough? Do you have any hang-ups there that bother you? MR. BOUCHER: Any hang-ups, huh? Not a question I've dealt with before. Q Are the French being pesky again? MR. BOUCHER: Let's just look, first of all, at the situation. There has been no improvement in the situation in Sarajevo. The situation in the city is terrible. Europe has not seen such cruelty and suffering since 1945. I would reiterate that we consider Serbia and its allies in the so-called "Yugoslav" military to bear overwhelming responsibility for this appalling tragedy. We had heavy shelling by Serbian forces that resumed yesterday shortly after the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev. There was a shell that hit a bread line in the center of the city, killing 20 and injuring 70. In addition, there was another attack yesterday that destroyed the top three floors of a maternity hospital. Elsewhere in Bosnia, Serbian shelling and fighting in several towns continues. As far as further measures that might be considered against Serbia, we're considering our next steps. We're in close consultation with other governments up at the United Nations. We're also in close touch with the European Community. Contrary to some of the press reports I've seen, our understanding is that the European Community has not reached any decisions on sanctions or other measures, and that EC Ambassadors in Brussels are meeting today to continue their consultations. Q And the U.N., Richard? MS. TUTWILER: The U.N. -- more or less, as I said yesterday, we're working closely with other Security Council members to obtain the most effective possible sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter. Q Let me pursue with you a bit -- just one quick, and then I'll drop it. The next steps, you said the U.S. -- the understanding of those of us who were on the trip with the Secretary was that the U.S. had announced, on the trip, additional steps on top of what had been done before and that it was a case now of the United States sort of holding -- staying put -- and waiting for the others to move forward. Are you suggesting that the United States, irrespective even of what the others might do, might impose additional unilateral sanctions? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I don't think I'm in a position at this point to predict exactly how things will work out. It will depend on how quickly we move with others and how quickly things move at the United Nations. We said last week that we were willing to consider concrete measures alone or in concert with others. We've taken some steps alone. We're also discussing steps we can take in consultation and in coordination with others, but I don't want to limit the options for what might transpire. Q Is the U.S. willing to contribute troops to a U.N. force if that becomes an option further down the line? MR. BOUCHER: That would be hypothetical, and I'd refer you to the Secretary's comments over the weekend where he answered the question by saying that would be hypothetical. Q He also left the door open by not ruling it out. MR. BOUCHER: Bill, I'll just stick with what the Secretary said over the course of the weekend. He was asked this question in a variety of ways a variety of times. He repeated his views many times, and I'll stick with what he said. Q But unless I misread the transcript, he suggested that at some point in the future it might have to be considered? MR. BOUCHER: He said it was a hypothetical question, and we'll deal with it if it comes up. Q So are you satisfied with the brisk pace that the EC has now set in moving forward with their own set of sanctions? MR. BOUCHER: John, I don't want to characterize the pace that the EC has set. As the Secretary made clear over the weekend, we intend to push forcefully for further measures in the United Nations. We intend to work with other governments. We think that the time for excuses and procrastinations is gone and that we need to move forward. We're doing that, and we think others are as well. Q Richard, the Yugoslav-Montenegro Federation -- whatever you want -- the Yugoslav successor state that you don't recognize -- says that the Serbian militia in Bosnia are not under the control -- they're not answerable to the central government; that whatever they're doing, they're doing on their own. Is that something -- is that an argument the U.S. finds any credit with? MR. BOUCHER: That argument has been made before. It's something that we've dealt with from this podium. We have said, as I said again today, that we think that the Serbian forces and the so-called "Yugoslav" military bear the overwhelming responsibility for the violence and that they are in a position to bring it under control, and their actions speak louder than words. They haven't done that. Q Does anybody else bear any -- again, we're back -- you know, last week, it was just the Serbians. And now "overwhelming." Are there other parties that bear some responsibility? Or is that just kind of -- MR. BOUCHER: I think we've made clear all along, Barry, that there were a number of different parties and factions involved in the fighting. Our view is that the Serbian forces bear the overwhelming responsibility for this and are in a position to bring the fighting to an end should they choose to do so. Q Richard, could I ask you to rehearse once again the reasons why the United States doesn't find it in its national interest to intervene in the conflict in what used to be Yugoslavia? It was for oil, presumably, in the Persian Gulf, and yet here we have the greatest security threat in Europe causing, as you just said, the greatest suffering since 1945 and it is not in the U.S. national interest to take an active intervention? MR. BOUCHER: Bill, first of all, I don't agree with your characterizations of the Persian Gulf. But second of all, I'm not going to rehearse this for you once again because I haven't rehearsed it myself. But the point has been made, I think, many times by us and by the Secretary that we were not considering a unilateral use of force in this set of circumstances. As you know, we have devoted a lot of effort to seeing to the humanitarian needs of people, to try to get food in. We had some flights into Sarajevo earlier -- was it this month or late last month? -- that we did get in. We've devoted a lot of effort since then to supplying food and trying to support the efforts of the United Nations and others to take care of the humanitarian needs of people there. We've also consistently supported the efforts of the European Community and the United Nations to provide an avenue for a political settlement, and we've done what we can to urge the parties, encourage the parties, and force the parties towards that goal. Q But if I may, why is this not in the national security interest of the United States, as has been stated from that lectern? MR. BOUCHER: Again, Bill, I'll stick with what the Secretary said over the weekend: That before we discuss issues of military force, we should take the full set of political, diplomatic, and economic remedies that are available. Q How quickly would those sanctions that you're talking about in these many fora would have an effect on the bloodshed that's taking place in Sarajevo? MR. BOUCHER: That's not something that I can easily speculate on. Because any sanctions -- they have to have an effect on the people that perpetuating the bloodshed. Certainly, the steps that we've taken and that we're prepared to take with others in the future are designed to have that kind of effect. But ultimately you're asking me to speculate on how bloodthirsty people really are. Q Do you have any indication -- Q (Inaudible) being considered. When we take a look again at the situation on the ground, I think it's been two weeks already that the food situation has been described as desperately short. The Bosnian Foreign Minister, already a couple of weeks ago, was saying that mass starvation was looming within days. Last week, you were talking about some hunger-related deaths apparently. How acute is the hunger/starvation problem? And parallel to that, what efforts are still being made as far as getting relief supplies in? MR. BOUCHER: The Secretary spoke over the weekend. He cited some of the specific reports that we were getting. I described the situation again today as terrible. The airport has not been reopened despite pledges that were made by Serbian forces to that effect. The resumption of relief convoys or flights remains impossible as a result of the Serbian siege on the city, and that has not been lifted. So that's the situation. Q I guess what I'm asking is, how long can they be on the verge of starvation? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what to say about that, Howard. There were -- I think there were people out trying to buy bread. Evidently, it's something available to them. I don't have a specific characterization today of the food availability, but the fact is that the situation was bad. It continues to get worse, and we see it as terrible. But at this point there appears to be no way to get flights or convoys into the city. Q Richard, when the Secretary listed all the awful things that have happened, when he spoke of hunger-related deaths -- and that's the first time we've heard of hunger-related, as he attributed it to reports. That was a couple of days ago. Apparently, the U.S. didn't have information on its own that people are actually starving. Some of the other atrocities, you know, the U.S. can verify. So I just wonder, if you can't do it at the briefing, can the U.S. now say on its own that people are dying of starvation? And, secondly, if you did this yesterday, please drop it. But the sanctions announced, of course, involved actions and I wonder if you have any of those tiny facts to fill out the picture? In other words, how many diplomats have been withdrawn? Are those consulates actually closed now? You know, the implementation of the U.S. sanctions -- if there's some way to just fill in those little blanks. They take a few days to implement, obviously. MR. BOUCHER: Okay. On number one, on what what is the food situation and the humanitarian situation inside Sarajevo, particularly as regarding the hunger-related deaths, I will see if we have any further information from our own sources that we can provide for you, or perhaps the United Nations has been able to provide some more definitive information on some of that. As far as the implementation of the specific measures that the Secretary announced in London -- I think we put up some taken questions yesterday -- that said we've given them until May 31 to close the consulates and withdraw their people. We defined exactly what the military-to-military contacts were. Q Do you have, number one, any new numbers on the number of people you now consider homeless -- that are on the road, to one extent or another? And, secondly, do you have a report on Kozyrev's mission to Sarajevo? Any success of any kind that the U.S. knows of? MR. BOUCHER: On the refugee and displaced persons numbers, I don't have anything for you, but I think I saw some new U.N. numbers not too long ago. I'll try to get those for you. It was over -- it was like 1.2 million overall; and I forget -- 600,000 or 700,000 displaced out of Bosnia -- or in Bosnia. But I'll double-check those numbers for you and get you those. As far as Kozyrev's visit, he went to visit with various parties in Yugoslavia, or the former Yugoslavia. People made pledges to him as they've made pledges publicly and elsewhere. Unfortunately, they haven't kept those pledges. We certainly welcome his efforts and believe that any effort to try to settle down the situation and the fighting is welcomed. But, in the end, things have to be done to make sure that people on the ground stop it. Q Do you happen to know if the Secretary has been back on the phone with him on that subject and/or START -- post-START? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I know of. Q Richard, you said earlier that the time for excuses has passed. Do you know -- MR. BOUCHER: It was a paraphrase of what the Secretary has been saying over the weekend. Q I'm not challenging on it. Do you know when the Security Council is planning to meet on this? And what is the United States doing to push the Security Council to put this -- you know, to speed up its consideration of this? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a specific timetable at this point for you on Security Council action. We've been meeting with a variety of other members in New York to talk to them, to urge people to move forward swiftly; and, as the Secretary said over the weekend, to push for effective measures. Q Do you have any inkling that it might come this week? MR. BOUCHER: I just don't have any timetable. As I said, we're pushing things forward to have effective measures as soon as possible, but I don't know exactly when that will be. Q Richard, yesterday, you mentioned that you were talking to the allies about elements of a resolution that you would be pushing through the Security Council. Could you be more precise and give us some elements of it? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid I can't. Q But that's not Article VII. It's a separate resolution? MR. BOUCHER: No. This is Chapter 7 of the resolution. Q Oh, Chapter 7. MR. BOUCHER: He's asking, what are the elements. Chapter 7 is generally mandatory sanctions, and therefore he's asking me what those sanctions might be. At this point, we're still discussing it with other governments, and I'm not in a position to give you a list. Q You can provide -- let me start again. In the Gulf situation, you needed a collateral resolution to authorize the use of force. You didn't just use Chapter 7. Is there any work on an additional resolution at this point going on? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not familiar enough with the legal status of Chapter 7 and exactly what it can and cannot entail. So at this point, we're working on a resolution under Chapter 7 that would have sanctions in it. Q Another area? MR. BOUCHER: Sure. Q Do you have anything new on the situation in south Lebanon? MR. BOUCHER: As we said yesterday, since the latest escalation of violence in southern Lebanon, we've been in touch with the Israeli, Lebanese, and Syrian Governments, reiterating the need to exercise maximum restraint. Q Are you in touch with somehow with the Hizballah representative or other militias? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I'm aware of. I don't think we're in any position to have direct meetings with those people. We have publicly called on all those who have influence over Hizballah to try to urge them to stop the violence as well. Q Richard, what does it mean when the U.S. asks -- it's obvious when you ask the Israelis and you ask, you know, the belligerents themselves to show restraint -- you mean, you know, stop hitting each other. But when you ask the Syrians for restraint, what is it that you think the Syrians should be doing less of? You haven't asked them to get out of the Bekaa Valley in the last couple or three years, so I just wondered when you ask restraint from the Syrians, how would that be manifested? How would they be showing restraint in U.S. terms? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I don't think I can single out the message to any given party. This is the message that we're giving to all the parties, and that's to do whatever they can, to use whatever influence they can to restrain the parties that are fighting and to see the violence reduced and ended. Q On Georgia: The Secretary left Georgia, and, when he left Georgia, there were reports of renewed fighting. Do you have some sort of a situationer on what's going on in Tbilisi after the Secretary left? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid I don't, Barry. Q Because there are a lot of wild rumors. Q Richard -- MR. BOUCHER: Ralph. Q Back on Haiti: I understand there were a far larger number of people picked up overnight last night. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q Does the U.S. draw any conclusions about that for its policy? MR. BOUCHER: I don't draw any conclusions, Ralph, but I'm happy to give you the numbers. As we spoke about yesterday, there were 38 picked up by the Coast Guard on May 25 and they were repatriated yesterday. There were a further 339 Haitians picked up yesterday. We understand that one cutter with about 270 Haitians returned this morning to Port-au-Prince. Embassy Consular officers are informing them of the in-country refugee processing program. Some have expressed an interest in the program. I don't have a number for you on that. There's a second cutter with some 60 Haitians aboard that will arrive later in the day today. And in addition to those people who are being returned under the new policy, there are people being repatriated to Haiti from Guantanamo. These are people who were interviewed in Guantanamo and were found not to have a plausible claim. There were 510 repatriated on May 25 and a further 505 that are being repatriated today. Q There are reports from Florida that -- well, let me ask it this way: Has the United States been in -- is the United States policy on repatriation being conducted in full consultation and coordination with the U.S.-recognized President of Haiti, Mr. Aristide? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what precise contacts we've had with him, Ralph. I don't know. I'd have to check. Q There are reports that Mr. Aristide isn't particularly happy with the latest twist in the U.S. policy on repatriation -- the one announced on Sunday. Do you have any comment on criticism that comes from him about this? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't, Ralph. I haven't seen those reports. I haven't seen anything that he's said. I'll try to check on it and see what sort of consultations and contacts we've had with him recently. Q And on a related matter, is the U.S. ready yet to comply with the OAS call for regulations that restrict trade with countries that violate -- shipping trade with countries that violate the embargo against Haiti? MR. BOUCHER: The OAS resolution -- let me get that correctly-- Q As distinct from my incorrect interpretation, by all means. MR. BOUCHER: That's exactly right, Ralph. The resolution called for member states to deny port facilities to vessels that violate the embargo. They also establish a mechanism to make violations of the embargo public and said that the OAS will do more to urge countries violating the embargo to comply with it. And as far as that goes, when I last checked yesterday, we were in the process of doing the -- implementing regulations for that first part about ships, and I'm not aware that we've finalized that or announced them yet, but that was in train. Q But the U.S. does not currently deny port facilities to ships that trade with Haiti, does it? Or does it? MR. BOUCHER: There was one seizure of a vessel a couple of weeks ago in New York -- a vessel that had, I think, directly violated the embargo by shipping something from the United States. As far as I'm aware, that's been the status of the embargo and the regulations heretofore. And with the new OAS resolution, when we issue the implementing regulations, that would mean that other ships that violate the embargo from whatever source could be denied port facilities in the United States. Q And do you know if -- or can you say whether Secretary Baker raised this particular issue with Mr. Andriessen when they met this morning, since the EC is widely considered by the United States anyway to be among the organizations that doesn't -- that continues to trade with the Haitian Government? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. Those discussions with the EC today were set up at the last U.S.-E.C. summit, I think, as an effort to make another push on the Uruguay Round. So I'm not sure if the Secretary raised it. I would note that the OAS Secretary General who's currently in Chile attending an EC-Rio group meeting will also put forth the OAS resolutions and urge other parties to comply with the embargo. Q Could I please ask you to take the question of whether Baker -- whether the subject came up with Baker in the EC meeting this morning? MR. BOUCHER: I'll see if I can find out. Q Richard, would the thousand or so Haitians you said were taken from Guantanamo back to Haiti -- is that the first time that we've taken Haitians from Guantanamo? MR. BOUCHER: No. That's been going on for as long as we've had Guantanamo -- people that are interviewed there that are screened out, that are found not to have a plausible claim, are then repatriated to Haiti from Guantanamo. Q Yes. But now that they have space, does that mean they're going to put more of the people they pick up back in Guantanamo? It's not crowded anymore, right? MR. BOUCHER: You can -- I think probably the Defense Department can give you the latest -- well, I may have the latest numbers on Guantanamo. Q No. The question really is, now that there are vacancies at Guantanamo -- (laughter) -- will any of the Haitians picked up by the Coast Guard be taken to Guantanamo for processing rather than returned directly to Haiti, a policy which was put in place because, it was said, there was no more room in the inn? MR. BOUCHER: I understand the question, Bill. Q And there ain't going to be no answer, Bill. (Laughter) MR. BOUCHER: I don't even have -- well, there are 11,630 Haitians ashore at Guantanamo, just for your information. Q The capacity is said to be 12,500. MR. BOUCHER: It would be speculative on my part to try to say whether or not we'll bring more people to Guantanamo. I can't do that for you at this point. Q But not taking them in was supposed to have an effect at home, that fewer would start out, would set out, on the notion that there would be no point to it. MR. BOUCHER: Our hope all along, Barry, and the message that we've been trying to get across to people, is that it's extraordinarily dangerous to put to sea in boats, and we would hope that people would not do that. That's why we've been picking people up at sea. That's why we've tried to offer the facility for in-country processing at Port-au-Prince for people who believe they have a well-founded fear of persecution. Q Well, are fewer starting out, or have you answered that already? Do we know yet? MR. BOUCHER: I can't draw any conclusion from the numbers at this point. Q Will the new rules on the -- those that violate the embargo -- apply solely to the specific offending ships, or will they be directed against the shipping line? MR. BOUCHER: Mark, the rendition I have is the way it's put in the OAS resolution. As for how the specific regulations will be worded to implement that, I think we'll have to wait for the specific regulations. Q And on the processing, can Haitians show up at the U.S. mission in Port-au-Prince, or do they have to make reservations by telephone in advance? MR. BOUCHER: No advance reservation is necessary, Mark. Haitians who drop in or call are provided with information on how to apply for refugee status. Once their preliminary questionnaires are received, then arrangements are made to interview the applicants if they appear to have a claim to refugee status. Q May I just return to Yugoslavia for a moment? You said in the end things have to be done to make sure people on the ground stop it. Can you elaborate on that? What sort of things have to be done to have people stop it? MR. BOUCHER: The basis of what we're trying to do is, as I said, to take care of humanitarian needs as best we can. That, of course, has been impeded by the security situation and the shelling and the firing. That's something that's got to stop. It's been impeded by the fact that the airport is still not open. That's something that's got to be changed. We've tried to offer an avenue -- the EC has, the United Nations has -- for people to resolve these political differences peacefully. There has not been full cooperation with that process, and the basic facts are the fighting continues, the shelling continues -- the shelling continues of innocent people standing in breadlines and maternity hospitals -- and that's the kind of stuff that's got to stop. Q So it's not an invitation to peacemaking that you're talking about? MR. BOUCHER: If you're going back to the question of the insertion of military forces, that's something we've addressed before. No. I'm not saying anything new on that. Q Back on Haiti again for just a second. Just because of the fluidity of the U.S. policy in recent days, it might be a good idea for us to ask you, today is it still the policy of the United States Government that people are not being taken to Guantanamo Bay, because Guantanamo Bay is full? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, today it is still the policy and the practice of the United States Government to pick people up at sea and to return them to Port-au-Prince directly. Q Regardless of -- Q But the rationale for that was publicly stated. Is that still the rationale? MR. BOUCHER: The situation essentially remains the same. The numbers go up and down, but that is the policy and the practice, yes. Q Richard, on a related matter, is the United States still attempting to find another country or countries willing to take Haitians? MR. BOUCHER: We continue to approach a number of countries that might play a role in addressing the plight of the boat people. At this point I'm not able to go into the details of those discussions. Q (Inaudible) -- taken role? MR. BOUCHER: It might play "a" role in addressing the plight of the boat people. I'm not able to go further on that at this point. Q Richard, a different subject. Is the United States in a position now to make some comment about the election in the Philippines? Do you feel it was free and fair, and do you think that they have a new President? MR. BOUCHER: The comment that we had before, I think, is that the election was the most peaceful that we'd seen in the Philippines. As you know, they've been going through the process of tallying the ballots. I think the Congress started to meet on May 25 to go through the final tally and certify it. I'm not aware that the final results are in at this point. Q But even though Miriam Santiago has made some claims about fraud, you think that the decision, as it appears, is that Ramos is the victor or will be the victor? Well, I mean, that -- MR. BOUCHER: Let's wait until the official results are announced by the Philippine side. They're still in the process of tallying ballots and certifying the election. They also have mechanisms to address the issue of fraud. I'm told that those can go on concurrently, but it's really for them to address. Q Richard, on another subject: Does the State Department take any position the issue of counterfeiting? (Laughter) Q Are you for it? MR. BOUCHER: You've got a question here, Jim? Q Yeah. Does the State Department have any policy on counterfeiting other national currencies? MR. BOUCHER: If you're asking me about reports that are appearing in the newspapers this morning, which even indirectly you appear to be asking me about, I'll just say that we don't comment on allegations like that. Q Richard, do you have -- Q Wait a minute. Can we follow that? Do you have any rationale for not commenting on those allegations? They were raised in communications with the United Nations, for example, earlier this month -- not just in The New York Times. MR. BOUCHER: The allegations have been raised before. I believe there were stories about things like this in March. As I understand the allegations, they are over some sort of alleged intelligence activity, and we don't comment on things like that. Q Does the United States Government take steps in general to prevent the counterfeiting of U.S. dollars any place in the world? Is that a matter of concern to the U.S. if counterfeiting operations were found elsewhere? MR. BOUCHER: I believe that the Secret Service and the Treasury Department have a responsibility for counterfeiting, and I'd invite you to inquire there. Q Thank you. Q Wait, wait, wait. Q I'm sorry.

[Vietnam: Five-Point Agreement of POW/MIA Cooperation]

Q Do you have anything on the meeting yesterday between Mr. Kanter and the Vietnamese Vice Foreign Minister? MR. BOUCHER: Yes, I do. Vietnam requested a meeting with a senior Department official while Vice Minister Co was in the area for a conference about Vietnam at George Mason University. Mr. Kanter took the opportunity to review the status of efforts to resolve the POW/MIA issue, to implement the U.N. peace settlement in Cambodia and other issues. He noted in particular the crucial importance of achieving the fullest possible accounting of our POW/MIAs to the pace and scope of normalization. The Vice Minister reaffirmed Vietnam's commitment to implementing the five-point agreement on POW/MIA cooperation that was reached during Assistant Secretary Solomon's March 4-5 visit to Hanoi, as well as the U.N. peace settlement for Cambodia. He also expressed the hope that the normalization process would proceed rapidly, and that the U.S. would support Vietnam's integration into the Southeast Asian region. Mr. Kanter responded that we looked forward to normalizing relations with Vietnam step by step as our outstanding concerns, notably the POW/MIA issue, were resolved. Q Richard, coming back to a previous topic for just a minute, one of the other aspects of that Times piece that is unrelated to counterfeiting is that it alleges that the United States is leading a destabilization effort in which Iran, among other nations, is also taking part. Can you say whether the United States is cooperating with the Government of Iran in a coalition or any kind of cooperative effort to destabilize the Government of Saddam Husayn? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, as I read the article -- and maybe I didn't read it as carefully as you -- it seemed all to be based on allegations of purported intelligence activity, and, therefore, I'd just -- there's nothing in there that I believe I can comment on. Q Richard, do you have any comment on the confessions in recent days to the effect that the Soviet Union for many years was supporting international terrorism, including terrorism directed at Americans? MR. BOUCHER: As you know, George, this information that's being revealed in Russia is not terribly surprising. We have long stated our views that the former Soviet Union was involved in activities, such as the training and support of terrorists, particularly groups in the Middle East. I think we've made that clear in a series of statements and reports over the years. I would say that under President Gorbachev, the situation began to improve somewhat, and under the -- in terms of our contacts with the current Russian Government, that we believe we've had very good cooperation with them against terrorism. Q What about the specific group -- was it PF -- MR. BOUCHER: I think it was (inaudible) Palestinian groups. That was among many that the former Soviet Union trained and supported in the past. Q Do you have any comment on Boris Yeltsin's decision to become a lame duck? (Laughter) MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. Q Richard, you still don't have any assessment of the effects of the sanctions against Libya? There was supposed to be a report on May 15 by the Secretary General? Is there anything about that? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if anything was released from the United Nations. That's where the Sanctions Committee was going to review the implementation of sanctions. Q Are you waiting for the report? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I haven't checked recently to find out. But the -- Q (Inaudible) MR. BOUCHER: Well, I'd suggest you first of all check with the United Nations to find out if there was anything publicly released there, and, yes, I will check and see if we have a copy here. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 12:59 p.m.)