US Department of State Daily Briefing #84: Thursday, 5/28/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: May, 28 19925/28/92 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, Southeast Asia, Caribbean, E/C Europe Country: Israel, USSR (former), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Lebanon, Haiti, Thailand Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Development/Relief Aid, EC, Trade/Economics, Human Rights, Refugees, Immigration, Regional/Civil Unrest 12:31 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I don't have any statements or announcements, so I'd be glad to take your questions. Q Richard, what is the U.S. position on the possibility of armed convoys to get relief through in the battle areas of what used to be Yugoslavia? Does the U.S. have a position on that? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything new on the general area of military force for you, Barry, so I really don't have anything specific on that. Q Well, I bet you have a reaction to the EC, do you? MR. BOUCHER: On the EC. Let me first -- well, let me try to explain what we understand the EC is doing. Q Yes. It's (inaudible) so far.

[Former Yugoslavia: US Suport for EC Embargo]

MR. BOUCHER: Yesterday a senior EC group decided to recommend a trade embargo against Serbia and Montenegro. The embargo includes trade in commercial products. We understand that services and oil are excluded. We also understand that the decision must still be ratified by the EC foreign ministers before it takes effect. Final approval may come as early as Monday. I'd refer you to the EC, obviously, for details on that process. We strongly support this EC action which reflects the close identity of U.S. and EC views on the Bosnian crisis. Serbian civilian and military authorities by their aggressive and repressive policies have clearly condemned themselves to growing political and economic isolation from the international community. Q (Multiple questions) Q Does the U.S. wish it had included an oil embargo? MR. BOUCHER: These decisions are for the EC to make, and I'll leave them to make their decisions. I can lay out for you what I haven't done for a couple of days, and that's to tell you what we're looking at at the United Nations. Q What a good idea. MR. BOUCHER: We continue to work closely with other Security Council members at the United Nations. We're going for comprehensive economic sanctions against Syria -- Q Syria? MR. BOUCHER: Excuse me. Start again. (Laughter) We're going for comprehensive economic sanctions against Serbia, including a trade embargo, an oil embargo, a break on all air links with Serbia, and a freeze of all Yugoslav assets abroad. We would like to see a vote as soon as possible. Q Richard, there are a couple of EC members and there are other countries that buy a lot of -- buy oil from Yugoslavia -- sell oil -- trade in oil with Yugoslavia. Would the United States buy the oil that cannot be sold under an embargo? Would they make up the losses to Romania or Greece -- MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware of any proposals to that effect, Barry. Q Richard, do you think that it in any way weakens your position with the Security Council and your efforts there for these comprehensive sanctions that the EC has not talked about an oil embargo? Does that have any impact on you? MR. BOUCHER: Mary, I'm just going on the basis of preliminary reporting and then what I've seen in press reports. But I think the EC did have some discussion of the oil embargo, and the idea of doing it through the United Nations. So I would leave it to the EC to explain their positions on that, but I will say that this is what we would like to see. Q Do you have any sense -- can you give us any sense of the level of support you're getting for comprehensive sanctions, and are you looking at by the end of the week? MR. BOUCHER: We'd like to see it as quickly as possible. I'm not in a position to predict exactly when we might see a vote. We are pushing out there. We're discussing it with other members, and, no, I don't feel comfortable trying to characterize their views at this point. Q If an oil embargo is not included, does that weaken a resolution in some way? Does it -- as some Europeans don't want an oil embargo included. MR. BOUCHER: John, I don't want to speculate at this point. This is -- we are working for a comprehensive set of economic sanctions that bring the point home clearly to Serbia that they're going to face isolation, that they're going to have to pay if they continue with such behavior as they have been. These are the things that we think ought to be included, we think they're appropriate, and that's what we're pressing for. Q Whatever happened -- Q Are you talking to the Chinese? The Chinese Government made clear that it was against -- it was opposed to a sanction -- a U.N. sanction to Serbia. MR. BOUCHER: I haven't seen the Chinese statement. I would just say that we're consulting with other members up in New York. I don't have a list of them for you. Q What happened to the U.S. theme of allowing the Europeans to make the recommendations on this, and the U.S. supporting them strongly? It looks like the U.S. is now asking the Europeans to do something they, clearly by vote of the EC's recommendations, are not prepared to do. MR. BOUCHER: Again, I'll leave it to the EC to explain their position. I'm not going to try to characterize it the way you have as to what they're prepared and not prepared to do. We have felt that these sanctions are necessary. We said last week that we were prepared to take measures either alone or in concert with others to make clear that the humanitarian situation in Yugoslavia needed to be changed. Q But why does the U.S. think now that the U.S. agenda of sanctions ought to be the one that's the right one rather than the European agenda of sanctions -- or European agenda of activities with regard to Yugoslavia? MR. BOUCHER: I think, Ralph, I'd just -- I can't contrast them for you. The way I've seen the results of discussions at the European Community, I think bear out what I said earlier that there is a close identity of views between the U.S. and the EC. We've been talking to them directly in capitals, and we're also in touch with EC members in New York to discuss the sanctions there, and we'd like to move together. Q Would you characterize the measures that you described as having been recommended by the EC senior group as being a comprehensive series of economic sanctions, the way you described the U.S. resolution -- proposed resolution? MR. BOUCHER: You know, again, Ralph, there are some measures which countries may take alone, there are some measures which countries or groups like the EC may take, and there are other measures that we think can and should be appropriate for the United Nations to take under Chapter 7. I'll leave it to others to explain their positions on that. You're aware of what we've done alone. You're aware of some things that we've done, going far back into this crisis in coordination with other governments, and you're now aware of what we're looking for out of the United Nations Security Council. Q I was trying to get where the "close identity" is, but you don't want to discuss that, or what's the "close identity"? Is there a close identity on oil, for example? Is there a close identity on freezing of Yugoslav assets around the world? Is there a close identity on voting as soon as possible? MR. BOUCHER: I leave it to the EC to explain their measures, and I think when you analyze what we're seeking, what we've done and what they've done, you'll see a close identity of views on what we're doing here. Q Richard, in our discussions at the United Nations, how have we proposed getting humanitarian assistance into Yugoslavia, into Sarajevo? MR. BOUCHER: It's been a constant topic of discussion between us and the UNHCR, people on the ground out there, with other governments. It's the chief concern that we have right now. Q And how are we going to implement -- address our concerns? How are we going to do it? MR. BOUCHER: Well, we've been providing relief and assistance. You're aware the EC has also made some new contributions to that effect, and we'll continue to contribute to the humanitarian needs of people there. At this point -- Q (Multiple questions) MR. BOUCHER: Can I finish? O.K. At this point the convoys are not getting through. The big convoys that were planned were cancelled, and the mini-convoys have stopped as well. We have -- given that situation -- we have decided that we have to undertake a series of measures to try to pressure the people that are fighting to stop, and to allow for things like the airport to open and for convoys to get through. That remains our chief goal right now. Q But, Richard, do you -- I mean, do you have -- even if you managed to get these sanctions by the end of the week, you were talking about people starving, about incidents of people dying of hunger. I mean, in all the experience you've had with economic sanctions on various countries -- and Iraq springs to mind instantly -- the impact of sanctions does not take hold in a few days. Do you think that you can just wait until these sanctions take hold for there eventually to be convoys allowed through? That means you're ruling out any other kind of immediate action to get these convoys through? MR. BOUCHER: Mary, I don't think it's necessarily a question of waiting. I mean, first of all, we've discussed in the past the political effect, the shock value, the political effect, of imposing sanctions, particularly United Nations sanctions on a country. Maybe that effect might occur in this case. Maybe it might not. It doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do. It is the right thing to do, and we want to do it. We, UNHCR and other people on the ground are also working to try to make arrangements for convoys, but at this point they don't seem possible because of the security situation. Q Richard, what's the value of the frozen assets? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a figure for you now. I'm sorry. Q Do you have an estimate or something? I mean, if you're talking about it, you must have some parameters as to what the figure is, and what kind of an impact it would have. MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry, Carol. I don't have a figure to provide for you. Q Could you take that question? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a figure to provide for you, John. I'm sorry. Q Richard, do you have anything new on the situation on the ground? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. As before, there's sporadic Serbian shelling, sniper fire and fighting that continue in Sarajevo. We understand that yesterday's Serbian shelling of civilians waiting for bread resulted in at least 20 deaths and over 100 injuries. We abhor such disregard for human life. We also have reports that there was shelling on two hospitals in Sarajevo in recent days. I think you're aware of the attack on the maternity hospital that destroyed the hospital's upper three floors, including the area where babies are kept. And we understand that four of the babies subsequently died because of the lack of facilities for them. Our reports also indicate that the food situation in Sarajevo is grave. Sarajevo still has wheat with which to bake bread, and one bakery is still operating, but we have reports that there's no milk, no dairy products, no fruit. Some residents of Sarajevo cultivate small vegetable gardens, but there is not much else, and even for what is available, distribution is often impossible. Some neighborhoods have been cut off for two months, we understand. The Bosnian Government is the one that's reporting that some people are now dying of starvation. Those most at risk are children and the elderly, particularly in those districts which have been cut off for an extended period. We have no reason to doubt those reports. Serbian forces continue to control Sarajevo Airport, and that airport remains closed. Q Richard, did you hear in the wake of your comments yesterday -- I'm thinking particularly of your comment saying that the Serbians were overwhelmingly responsible -- did you hear directly or indirectly from Milosevic or his -- or anyone who would speak for him? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I haven't checked. I'll have to check and see. Q Milosevic said last night in an interview that his forces were not responsible for the mortar, and that his forces were not responsible for the attacks on the hospital either. Do you buy either of those characterizations or denials? MR. BOUCHER: Our understanding of the situation is that it was Serbian forces that conducted the attacks and that were responsible for it. I think the pattern of what's happened there sort of bears out that interpretation. Q But there's no dialogue going on that you know about. MR. BOUCHER: No. I don't think I would say that. I mean, I think we've continued to keep in touch with all the parties out there. I'm not aware whether Milosevic has contacted us in the last 24 hours [if that] was the question you were asking me. Q Richard, getting back to my question, because I don't really feel like you answered it -- MR. BOUCHER: I'll try, Mary. Q On -- I mean, you've now just said it in black and white -- people are starving to death in Sarajevo. I mean, do you see -- are you ruling out the international community doing anything directly -- directly, not imposing economic sanctions -- anything directly to get convoys through, or are you saying that the international community is prepared to let these people starve while they wait for sanctions to have some kind of shock effect, political effect or real effect on the Serbs? MR. BOUCHER: Mary, I guess what I'm saying is I'm not sure you've correctly characterized the choices that are out here. How this situation will evolve, I don't think you can predict that it's either this or it's that. I'm not going to say we're ruling out doing something. At this point I think we just have to say that we're doing what we can in terms of political and economic and diplomatic measures to try to make it clear to the Serbs that they should change their behavior; that they can't continue this way without paying some costs; that we think that a change in Serbian behavior would make it possible for the convoys to go in; that there are people on the ground who are also looking for opportunities and ways of getting supplies in there; and that we'll continue to do what we can and look for options. But at this point I'm not going to predict any particular course of action in terms of what you're proposing, nor am I going to rule it out. Q But, Richard, as you're very fond of telling us from the podium, you don't engage in hypotheticals, a change in Serbian behavior is clearly a hypothetical at this point. Starvation is clearly a real fact on the ground. So you're dealing with once situation that's happening right before our very eyes -- these people are starving to death. You say it yourself. What you're hoping for is a hypothetical change in Serbian conduct at some point. Has the United States had conversations with its allies about how many people they're prepared to see starve before they do something else directly to stop the starvation? MR. BOUCHER: Mary, that's a terribly gruesome scenario that you're painting there. I do not think that we've had any such conversations. That kind of conversation is obviously totally inappropriate. The point is that we have been taking a whole series of measures, and we'll continue to take measures as necessary to try to open up this situation and make it possible to get the relief supplies in there. You're aware of the fact that, you know, several weeks ago when the situation started to worsen there, we immediately flew in six airplanes full of stuff while we could. We've devoted our efforts right now -- our diplomatic efforts, our economic sanctions, our political efforts -- towards trying to get the humanitarian situation resolved or trying to get convoys in there, trying to get the airport open. And that's what we will continue to work on with all the options that we can find. Q Why are we focusing on convoys when we have a massive airlift capability? Why not just drop the food? Why have we ruled that out? I mean, they don't need the airport. There's plenty of countries near -- friendly countries standing by. MR. BOUCHER: Sid, I think you asked a question like that a couple of weeks ago, and we just said we didn't see it as a practical or effective way of getting this stuff to the people who really need it. Q Why? I mean, it's a lot more effective than not getting anything in. MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a long explanation of why every single thing that you might propose has not been done. I know the question was asked, and we looked at it, and we just felt it was really not a practical way of getting it to people who needed it. Q Another area? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q With the escalation in south Lebanon, do you find any new steps to go ahead and try to intervene somehow? MR. BOUCHER: Well, let me tell you what the situation is and just tell you that we continue to be in touch with the governments there. We continue to urge them to exercise maximum restraint. We've been in touch in recent days with the Israeli Government, the Syrian Government, and the Lebanese Government. Recent reports are of continued military activity in southern Lebanon. There was an Israeli soldier killed, two others wounded, in an ambush in the security zone late on May 27. There are also reports that the IDF shelled a number of villages in the lower Bekaa. I think our views on the violence in southern Lebanon are well known, and we continue to be in touch with the Israeli, Lebanese and Syrian Governments to urge maximum restraint. Q Richard, is that the reason for the visit here today by the Israeli Ambassador? MR. BOUCHER: The visit here today by the Israeli Ambassador -- he was going to see Under Secretary Kanter. I understand that's been rescheduled for Monday morning, I think it is. It was at his request. I don't have any real -- I don't know exactly what he wanted to talk about. Q Are you expressing your concerns for the possibility of confrontation between Syria and Israel? MR. BOUCHER: We're expressing our concern about the escalation and the violence, the possibility for confrontation between any of the parties who have military forces in the area, and we're urging people to exercise restraint and try to avoid such confrontations. Q So you see this as a possibility? MR. BOUCHER: Whenever you have violence and you have attacks from all sides, there's always the possibility of other people getting involved.

[Haiti: Update/Refugee Facility/ Condemnation of Killing of George Izmery]

Q Richard, on another area -- on Haiti. If you could give us an update on -- if there's been anymore boat people picked up and returned? And, also, the other day you were talking about an option that people in the countryside have of writing a letter explaining why they think they should be considered for political asylum and getting that to the Embassy. It has been pointed out by human rights organizations that the illiteracy rate in Haiti is 80 percent, and also that there are no addresses in the countryside for the Embassy to write back to these people. Has this been brought to the attention of the Embassy personnel? Do you have any realistic prospects that an illiterate peasant in the countryside can compose an essay on why he should be granted political asylum and that the Embassy would be able to track him down via a non-existent postal service and non-existent addresses once he did? MR. BOUCHER: Mary, I will check for you on the exact situation in Haiti. I know when I was in Africa many years ago, where the illiteracy rates were higher, there were post offices, there were contacts, and at virtually every post office there was a scribe there who took information from illiterate people and wrote it down. So I expect that people in Haiti have ways of communicating, and that our embassy knows about them and that our embassy is doing whatever they can to help people communicate with the embassy. Q Richard, do you have anything on -- MR. BOUCHER: Do you want the numbers or not? Q Yes. MR. BOUCHER: Let's see. Yesterday, we said that there were 339 that were picked up. Two hundred and seventy-two of these were returned yesterday to Port-au-Prince. The remainder will be returned shortly -- oh, sorry, that was 339 on May 26. That's Tuesday. There were 612 Haitians picked up yesterday, and they will be returned directly to Haiti. Embassy Consular officers met the first two cutters of the direct returnees and informed the Haitians aboard of the availability of in-country refugee processing. I think we told you that 17 of the first 38 that were returned on Tuesday and then 32 from the second group of 272 that were returned yesterday went to the Embassy directly to have preliminary interviews and talked about the possibility of in-country processing for refugee status. According to our Embassy reports, there's been an increase in the number of inquiries about the program over the last few days. There were 135 phone calls requesting information received on May 26, and we continue to receive those kinds of phone calls. The applications have been received from some 300 individuals, to date. And then, finally, on other repatriations, we are also continuing to repatriate people from Guantanamo who have been found not to have a plausible claim. That is continuing. There were 252 of those people who were repatriated yesterday. That brings to 15,232 the number of people repatriated from Guantanamo. Q Could you give us the status of those available spaces at Guantanamo? MR. BOUCHER: There are now 11,300 Haitians ashore at Guantanamo. Q So what's the policy that we -- MR. BOUCHER: The policy -- I know I was asked yesterday about overcrowding and available beds at Guantanamo. I think what I'd have to do is point out that if you look at the White House statement on Sunday, overcrowding at Guantanamo was not the only reason that was given. We made the decision to phase out the facility at Guantanamo because it was increasingly clear that it was acting as a magnet and causing more Haitians to get on boats in the hopes of getting there. Many Haitians told us that directly, and many Haitians came through Guantanamo several times. So as a result, we have moved to a system where Haitians who have a well-founded fear of persecution should go to the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, and we've publicized that service extensively. Q So you're saying that you will take no more people into the facility at Guantanamo? MR. BOUCHER: I'm describing the reasons for the current policy, and the current policy is not to take people to Guantanamo. Q Richard, isn't the current policy, in fact, to phase Guantanamo out in the next month or two and completely shut down the operation there? MR. BOUCHER: I used the phrase "phase-out." I don't want to speculate on exactly how soon and how long that will happen or how exactly it will happen. I don't want to preclude further options. Q I don't have all the numbers of the pickups for each day in front me, and probably you don't either. But would you say that the expansion from 38 to 600 -- I forgot what it was today -- 672 or something -- 612 yesterday, does that indicate that the magnet theory is -- does it bear out the magnet theory that you just expressed? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I think it's too soon to draw conclusions from the numbers. We'll have to see how things go. I think you're aware of the reports from Haiti that many of these boats are in preparation for quite some time. People plunk money down, build a boat, may have decided to go anyway. It's only over time that we'll get some further assessment of the numbers. Q Richard, do you have anything to say about the increased political violence in Haiti, with people being killed by the paramilitary forces? MR. BOUCHER: We are concerned about the increase in violent incidents in recent days in Haiti. We condemn this violence, and we call on all Haitians to work to restore democracy so that an atmosphere of calm and the rule of law can be restored. In particular, we condemn the killing of George Izmery, brother of a prominent political supporter of President Aristide, and then the detention of Evans Paul, the Mayor of Port-au-Prince. I do want to underscore in this context that Haitians who have a reason to fear persecution are able to apply for asylum at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince. That service was established in February so that people with a well-founded fear of persecution, for reasons such as their political activities or affiliations, would have a means of seeking asylum without leaving Haiti. The incident at the airport with Evans Paul, we had an Embassy officer who was accompanying him to the airport. There were Canadian and French diplomats also present. Mr. Paul was detained and then he was released 90 minutes later. After that, our Ambassador was in touch with Haitian authorities to express our concern at the Mayor's detention. He was assured that Mr. Paul would be permitted to leave Haiti if he so desires. Q Does the Department have a response to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees' letter to Mr. Eagleburger? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a written response at this point. I'm sure we'll examine the letter and provide her the courtesy of a direct reply. But I'd just say, in general, that we, too, are concerned about the plight of Haitian boat people. The United States has rescued over 35,000 Haitians. We're admitting 9,000 of these people to pursue asylum claims in the United States. No other country has done that. We've also set up a facility to process asylum claims at our Embassy in Haiti, and that service exists only in three other countries. We welcome the U.N. High Commissioner's statement that UNHCR will make urgent efforts to enlist the help of other countries in responding to the situation, and she will have our full support in that. Q Any progress on that front? MR. BOUCHER: Nothing to report, no. Q Besides the 35,000 that you referred to just now, has the U.S. Government rescued -- I'll use that word for lack of a better one at the moment -- any other Haitian citizens who did not set out in a boat for Florida? Has it plucked out of Haiti any, maybe political people that the U.S. would like to see -- MR. BOUCHER: Right as I was coming down here in the elevator somebody told me that a certain network had a report to that effect, but I haven't had time to check it out. Q Can you take that question? MR. BOUCHER: I'll see if there's anything we can say on it, yes. Q Richard, on the embargo, can you tell us about this apparent relaxation -- MR. BOUCHER: Excuse me? Q -- having to do with seeds, fertilizer, and so forth, for farmers in Haiti? MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't heard about anything new, Warren. I'll have to check. There is, as you know, in the OAS resolution, humanitarian exceptions. I don't know. I'm not aware of anything with seeds and fertilizers. Q Also, about any kind of moves under foot to strengthen the sanctions or get more people, or more countries involved in observing the sanctions and enforcing the sanctions? MR. BOUCHER: Not really more than what we talked about yesterday; no. Q Nothing new? Q Richard, back to the Middle East, if I may. Do you have any comment on the reports that the Likud Government of Israel is rushing to establish new settlements on the Arab territories before the time for elections? MR. BOUCHER: Our views on settlements are well known. No, I don't have anything new to say. Q Do you have any report you care to make on this morning's convening of the arms control session among the five powers? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything new to say at this point, Ralph. They're meeting. I think I explained the purposes of the meetings yesterday. They'll be meeting today and tomorrow, and we'll try to do some kind of briefing for you afterwards. Q Will the participants perhaps make themselves available for some kind of a joint question session to explain whatever actions they decide to take? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I'll ask. I hadn't heard of any such plan. Q Richard, do you have anything on the GATT meeting? MR. BOUCHER: But I'll check. Q It seemed like they might be eager to discuss their achievements, if any? MR. BOUCHER: Perhaps. Q Do you have anything on the GATT meetings? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. It's one of the most important issues of our time. If you guys don't pay attention to it, Mary will. We felt that the talks yesterday made some progress, although a number of difficult issues remain. As you know, the recently announced reforms in the EC's Common Agricultural Policy are internal changes, not Uruguay Round positions. So we made a number of suggestions on ways the EC might now make agricultural commitments in the Uruguay Round to help bring it to a successful conclusion. The EC also proposed some ideas. The Europeans indicated that they would take our suggestions back and study them, and we will, of course, consider their ideas as well. USTR also had a meeting wih the EC delegation on non-agricultural issues. We expect the dialogue will continue although we did not set a date for future discussions. As we've said before, we believe it is important to complete a market-opening Uruguay Round soon. Q Is the United States making any concessions to match or even begin to match the agricultural concessions the French and Germans have made? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, as I just said, the reforms in the EC's Common Agricultural Policy are internal changes, not Uruguay Round positions. We made suggestions to them on how they might make agricultural commitments in the Uruguay Round. They also proposed some ideas, and we've agreed to look at each other's ideas. Q Let me try my question anyhow. Apparently, you think they should be made more formally -- these reported concessions -- which were a breakthrough. And the next shoe, presumably, in negotiations would be for the recipient to make some sort of a gesture. The United States is one of the recipients of these concessions. So I'm just asking if the United States is thinking of doing anything in the way of -- anything conciliatory to bring this Uruguay Round to conclusion? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I'll stick with what I said. I think it's a clear enough explanation. We see the EC steps. You've characterized them as concessions in the Uruguay Round. I have characterized them as internal changes in their Common Agricultural Policy, and we look forward to seeing them make commitments on that basis in the Uruguay Round. We've provided some ideas; they've provided some ideas, and we're trying to move forward. Q If asked, do you have anything further to say on the subject of counterfeit currency appearing in Iraq and a possible U.S. role in that? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. Q Back to the Mideast: Do you have anything on the ad hoc meeting group on multilaterals? Are there new meetings set as a result of their meeting in Lisbon? MR. BOUCHER: I didn't bring it with me. I'll get it for you. I think Ed Djerejian talked to the press in Lisbon. They announced the locations of the next rounds of the multilateral groups. I can put up a list of that, and I think the meetings are expected to take place in the fall. Q Richard, is counterfeiting classified as a covert activity, without saying, of course, whether the U.S. is engaged or encouraging it? And if it is, would Congress have to be notified if such dirty tricks were being engaged in by the United States Government? MR. BOUCHER: I have no idea, Barry. I think those are -- Q Is that hypothetic? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't think they're hypothetical. Q There's a category of things that if you do, you've got to let people in Congress -- MR. BOUCHER: They're the kind of covert activities that require Congressional notification or intelligence matters, and you know that we don't talk about those here. So I think you probably ought to address yourself to agencies that might be involved. Q We ought to check on the Hill; is that it? MR. BOUCHER: You can go check anywhere you want to, Bill, but I'm not going to start discussing intelligence from here. Q Is this a similar situation to the one that existed for almost a decade with U.S. activities with regard to the Mujahidin in Afghanistan that became an open secret that the United States Government wouldn't comment on publicly but was widely known? Q Say yes. (Laughter) MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I don't know. I don't comment at all. I don't know about these things. Q Richard, yesterday, you characterized this as -- Q Do you want to know? MR. BOUCHER: I just hear what I see in the press -- see what I hear in the press. Q Richard, yesterday, you characterized this as within the jurisdiction of the Secret Service and maybe the -- MR. BOUCHER: You're asking me if counterfeiting is a crime, and I think -- Q -- (inaudible) and today it's intelligence. Is there no difference? MR. BOUCHER: No. Let's not go through what we went through yesterday. If Ralph wants to ask, or you want to ask if counterfeiting is a crime and how it's prosecuted in the United States, I'll refer you to the U.S. agencies that handle counterfeiting as a crime in the United States of America. Counterfeiting of U.S. currency, I think, was the immediate question yesterday. If you want to ask about allegations that there are certain intelligence activities going on, I'm afraid those are questions that I can't answer for you here. Q Does the U.S. have an interest, though, in preventing counterfeiting activities from taking place elsewhere in the world so that false currencies don't find their way, for example, into the United States? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I think, as far as I know, there are agencies in the U.S. Government responsible for U.S. currency. There are agencies in the U.S. Government responsible for intelligence matters, and neither of them are standing at this podium right now. Q Do you have anything on the situation in -- any update on the situation in Thailand? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. Briefly, as I understand it, they're in the process of forming a new government. The Parliament has met once on the constitutional changes that have proposed, and they're expected to meet again. I think it's next week, or in about a week or so. I think there's a wire report out now that there's been a new proposal for a Prime Minister, but at this point I believe they're in the process of trying to form a new government. Q One more on Yugoslavia. Repeatedly, over the last few days and weeks, the United States has said it has no intention of using U.S. -- inserting U.S. force in Yugoslavia. Is that still the case? You may use the formulation -- whatever the formulation has been. Is that still the case today? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. It's what Secretary Baker is saying all weekend: We have no plans to use unilateral U.S. force. And the way we said it last week, as a bilateral matter, we have no intention of using U.S. forces. Q Okay. And that's still the case -- that the U.S. has no intention of using U.S. forces in the Yugoslavia situation? Q Have they started (inaudible). You said that you knew of no proposals for purchase of oil from Greece, Romania, whatever -- Britain -- who would lose markets if they joined in an international embargo. Because according to reports, the British, who would lose out -- and are also resisting it -- indeed, would have such a mechanism and maybe that would swing them along. You know of no such -- I didn't ask about an American proposal. Is the United States discussing any such operation? The U.S. is in the lead in this thing -- in the sanctions thing. MR. BOUCHER: I'll check and see, Barry, if there's anything about buying oil from people who might lose out. Q Okay. Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 1:06 p.m.)