US Department of State Daily Briefing #88: Wednesday, 6/3/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Jun, 3 19926/3/92 Category: Briefings Region: E/C Europe, MidEast/North Africa, Europe, East Asia Country: Yugoslavia (former), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, USSR (former), Jordan, Ukraine, Denmark, Libya, China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, Security Assistance and Sales, EC, Trade/Economics, Human Rights 12:23 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: All right, ladies and gentlemen. Let me start at the beginning with a couple of announcements and housekeeping things. First of all, I'd like to introduce to you our new intern, Darren Spedale. He's the third of our summer interns, and he'll be working with you over the course of the summer. He's a senior at Duke University, majoring in public policy, English, film and video studies. He's from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Happy to have him with us. We hope his summer will be a happy and productive one, and hope you will help make it all worthwhile for him to come here and learn from you as well as us.

[Russia: Foreign Minister to Visit Secretary Next Week]

Second of all, the visit of Foreign Minister Kozyrev: I'm sure you've seen in the wires the Russian announcement. I want to confirm for you that Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev is coming here for discussions with Secretary Baker. The Secretary talked to him yesterday on the telephone -- in fact, talked to him twice on the telephone yesterday, and they agreed that he should come. He'll be coming for meetings starting on Monday, and the first meeting is 10:30 a.m. here at the State Department. Q How long will those meetings -- his visit -- continue? MR. BOUCHER: It's not -- I can't give you a fixed timetable of meetings. They've talked about the possibility of Monday and Tuesday. Q What's the reason for him to come here? MR. BOUCHER: Well, it's not unusual for Foreign Ministers -- the two Ministers to get together prior to a State visit. So I'd say that they'll use the time to prepare for the visit of President Yeltsin during the week of June 15. Q They just saw each other in Lisbon. MR. BOUCHER: That they did. I'm sure they'll discuss a whole range of issues this time as they did there. Q Any other issues -- just to reappear within the last week? MR. BOUCHER: They'll discuss a whole range of issues, and they'll discuss, in particular, the preparations for the visit of President Yeltsin? Q Will they be trying to narrow the gap on arms control? MR. BOUCHER: Arms control is always on the agenda. Q What about the aid package that doesn't seem to be anywhere near getting through Congress in time for Mr. Yeltsin's visit? Is that going to be on the agenda? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure they'll discuss our assistance programs, economic reforms, and questions like that. As I said, they'll have a wide-ranging agenda, and I don't want to say precisely how much time they'll spend on any one subject. Q Is there any nervousness in the Administration about what is going on right now in Russia, and maybe this is the reason why Kozyrev is summoned to Washington? MR. BOUCHER: I didn't say that Kozyrev had been "summoned" to Washington. I said the two Ministers have had conversations, and they agreed to get together again; that Minister Kozyrev was coming to Washington; that they will have discussions on a wide range of issues. I think those people who were on the trip to Lisbon know that they promised themselves in Lisbon to stay in touch. Q But, Richard, you didn't answer the substantive question which is, is the United States concerned or nervous about what's going on in Moscow in terms of economic reform? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any comment at this point on what's going on in Moscow. Q On a related question. The Ukrainian Government says that it's requesting a freeze of all Soviet assets in other countries until the republics decide how to divvy it all up. Has this Department received such a request? And how is it reacting? MR. BOUCHER: I had not heard of anything like that, Sonia, so I'd have to look into it. If we can go on, I'll give you the update on Yugoslavia, and then we take other questions.

[Former Yugoslavia: Update]

Last night, Serb forces again shelled Sarajevo. We understand from reports today that Serbian shelling and sporadic fighting continues in Sarajevo. Our reports indicate that the food situation in Sarajevo remains very grave. The situation is particularly difficult because distribution of available food is often difficult, uncertain, or impossible. In one suburb, Dobrinja, that has a population of about 30,000 people, they've been completely cut off for over 40 days. We have reports that in Dobrinja people are sick and some are dying. The privately organized convoy that was escorted by the United Nations, that was attacked yesterday, was, in fact, a convoy that was attempting to reach this area of Dobrinja. The convoy was organized by a Sarajevo relief organization called Children's Embassy. It was carrying five tons of food and relief supplies. Two U.N. vehicles accompanied the convoy into Dobrinja. Reports indicate that Serb irregular forces fired on the convoy, killing one driver and wounding another. The attackers then used anti-tank weapons to prevent a U.N. ambulance from coming to the scene, and they stole the emergency supplies. We're not aware of any other such convoys trying to go into Sarajevo today. Private relief organizations in Bosnia, however, continue to deliver small amounts of aid to Bosnian towns, often one carload at a time, when possible. There are also very sad reports this morning of a hospital van that was clearly marked with Red Cross markings that was attacked by Serbian irregular forces by machine guns and, according to the press reports, the hospital technician in the van and a 3-year old girl were killed. The United Nations Special Representative Thornberry is in Sarajevo today. He's discussing with the parties in Bosnia the U.N. Security Council's demand that all parties and others concerned create immediately the conditions for safe delivery of humanitarian relief. This includes the establishment of a security zone around Sarajevo and its airport. The airport itself continues to be in the hands of Serbian forces and continues to be closed. Elsewhere in Bosnia, we understand that Serbian shelling and sometimes severe fighting continues. We are disturbed by reports that Serbian air force planes have renewed bombing attacks against targets in Bosnia. We understand that in some areas, Bosnian and Croatian forces have mounted counter-offensives against Serbian forces. The situation in Dubrovnik is that the cease-fire in Dubrovnik is generally holding. This morning, Dubrovnik is quiet. Elsewhere in Croatia, the cease-fire is under stress from violations by both sides, but it's still generally holding. With that, I'd be glad to take your questions. Q Richard, is there anymore consideration being given to trying to drop food from the air -- do anything with any kind of airlift as in the Kurdish operation? MR. BOUCHER: Mary, at this point, the efforts are concentrated on trying to get the airport open. We've said before that the airport can be opened if the right decisions are made by the Serbian leadership to do that. Efforts are to get the airport open, to get convoys through. That's what the U.N. envoy is trying to work on at this point. Q Is there any sign that the sanctions are having any effect as of today? MR. BOUCHER: We think it's far too early, still, to make a useful judgment on their effect so far. We hope, of course, that the U.N. sanctions will achieve their intention, and that is to bring home to the Serbian regime the cost of its aggression. Since the announcement of sanctions, we have seen reports of increased panic buying of food and fuel. The reports indicate that the price of gasoline has doubled, that the Belgrade regime is preparing ration coupons for gasoline and eventually for basic food and other supplies; that the regime may freeze wages and prices, and that it may cease repayment of obligations to the IMF and World Bank. Although we expect sanctions will take some time to have a pronounced effect, we would note, as Margaret did yesterday, that the Serbian economy already suffers from hyper-inflation, severe unemployment, and rapidly declining productivity. Q Does anyone have a timeline on how long you think it might take for the sanctions to begin to have an effect? Or are we just going to judge this sort of day-by-day? MR. BOUCHER: John, it's hard to predict exactly when some goods or services may get tight. Certainly, the announcement of sanctions has had the effect of producing this panic buying that we've been reporting on, and the increases in prices and plans for rationing and other things. That certainly has a psychological effect on people. The political impact on the Serbian leadership is really something to be measured in terms of whether they increase their willingness to cooperate with the United Nations and others in getting humanitarian relief into the areas that need it. So that's something that we'll measure, as we see actions that do that. But for any given set of goods, I don't think you can measure exactly how long it will be before they have an economic effect. Q Richard, are you discouraged by the fact that it seems the initial reaction is to attack convoys and shoot up ambulances, in terms of trying to get humanitarian aid in. MR. BOUCHER: We've been outraged by the attacks on the convoys. You've seen attacks on clearly marked convoys with U.N. markings; you've seen attacks on ICRC convoys; you've seen attacks on hospital vans as well as on innocent people. That certainly has been a matter of outrage for us all along. We think the sanctions are an appropriate way of making it clear to the Serbian leadership that they can't support such kind of activity without paying a cost, and that's why the sanctions are the right thing to do. Q Richard, given the -- MR. BOUCHER: Certainly, we're -- you know, you don't just stop with sanctions. You keep your efforts up to try to get humanitarian supplies in there, and that's what the U.N. is doing and we're supporting that. Q Richard, given the initial response, which is to go ahead and attack another convoy and to keep ambulances from coming in and then to machine-gun another ambulance, would you say that the sanctions have not had the desired effect in terms of softening the Serbian Government's attitude toward humanitarian relief? MR. BOUCHER: Mary, I don't know what you're asking me to say. Either you're asking me to say that, "Oh, well, sanctions don't work so we shouldn't have done them," which is clearly not our view because we think they were the right thing to do and we think they're an important thing to do. Or you're asking me to say, "Well, sanctions are the only thing we were thinking of and now they haven't worked, so, geez, I don't know what to do." The fact is that sanctions are part of a series of measures that have been taken that increasingly isolates Serbia, that increasingly make it clear to the Serbian leadership that they have to pay a price, and that are coupled with measures, as well, that are being taken by the United Nations with our support and the support of many others to try to actually get humanitarian relief in there. After all, that remains the goal that we're all seeking with these measures. Q Richard, has anyone in the United States Government, or any Western government that we know of, begun to collect information aimed at a possible war crimes trial of the Serbian militias or the individuals responsible for shooting up convoys and preventing relief supplies getting to their destination? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know, John. I just don't know. Q Richard, when you say the airport isn't open, what exactly do you mean -- that the runways are mined, or there's artillery there? What do you mean? MR. BOUCHER: It means that the airport remains in the hands of people who refuse to open it for general traffic and, particularly, for humanitarian traffic; the same way the roads remain closed, for all practical purposes, to people who might want to bring humanitarian convoys through, because the people that are in military control of the roads are not letting people through. The airport has been opened to selected flights when they wanted to make it possible, I believe. Foreign Minister Kozyrev went through there. Cyrus Vance has been through that airport. So they can make it open for landings, if necessary. Q How does that work? Do you say, "We'd like to bring in some humanitarian flights; can we do it?" And they say, "No, we'll shoot you down." What's the interchange there with attempting to get their permission? MR. BOUCHER: I guess I would invite you to read the Secretary General's report to the Security Council where he discussed the difficulties that he has had with the assurances that he's been able to get in some cases and the need for more stable and secure situation there, if we really want to bring in humanitarian relief supplies. Q Can I go back to my question, please? At about this stage in the Kuwait crisis a year or so ago, you were beginning to collect information aimed at possible war crimes trials. Does the fact that you don't know about this indicate that it's not going on -- that is, the collection of this information -- and if it's not going on, why isn't it? Is that a judgment on the part of the United States, that what's taking place here does not constitute war crimes? MR. BOUCHER: John, the fact that I don't know reflects my personal ignorance of whether it is or is not going on. I don't know. I have no idea. Q Could you take the question? MR. BOUCHER: I'll look into it. I think there was an office in the Pentagon that does these things routinely. I'm not sure what the definitions are that they work with, but I'll see. I'll see if I can find out if there's anything going on. Q Richard, still on the humanitarian aid and the attempt to get the airport open, and so on. You said earlier that the U.N. is on the ground -- has a representative on the ground in Sarajevo who is trying to deal with this question of getting the airport open. And then you followed with a litany of instances of apparent decisions by Serbians in the former Yugoslavia to block humanitarian aid efforts. I'm not quite sure I understand what it is the U.S. and the U.N. expect to happen here. You said decisions could be made. Aren't the decisions being made, and they're being made in a way that obviously is not in agreement with the U.S. point of view. But those decisions are, in fact, being made, aren't they? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Different decisions can be made. The Serbian leadership has been contacted on flights in the past and has been able to make the airport open. There have been assurances given in the past that weren't adhered to. The U.N. is trying to work out arrangements that will actually work to get humanitarian relief in there in a stable and secure way. We are supporting them. The U.N. has sanctions that are designed to try to influence the behavior of the Serbian leadership to get them to make that possible. I'd just say that's the goal that we're all working towards. Part of it is the cost that one will have to pay if you don't allow this to happen and part of it is the active attempts to make arrangements. The Secretary General discussed this whole situation, I think, in a fair amount of depth in the report that was made available in the last couple days. They've been working on it under various parameters. Q Richard, I also remembered about this time in the Kuwait matter there was some talk of a use-of-force resolution in the United Nations. Is there any thought being given to such in this case? MR. BOUCHER: I didn't call it when John said it, but I don't accept an interpretation that "We're about this time in the Kuwait matter." There were, in the end, 20-some resolutions on Kuwait. I think the 11th or 12th was the use-of-force resolution; but I'm not going to get myself into doing comparisons. I don't think that's appropriate. Q Well, can you define a little bit what "exhaust diplomatic remedies" means? The Secretary has said several times that before we even entertain any discussion of military, he would want all diplomatic -- MR. BOUCHER: Political, diplomatic, and economic remedies to be -- Q At what point? Have we reached that point? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know how to answer that, Johanna, without trying to give you a list of things to come. We haven't changed our view of the use of military force. We haven't changed our view of the need for the sanctions to be implemented and imposed. We haven't changed our view that we continue to look at other measures in a political, economic, and diplomatic area to use when appropriate. Q I was going to ask whether there was any reassessment of the position on the use of military force in view of Croatia's request today for NATO troops to come in and save them from further suffering? MR. BOUCHER: I just saw that on the wires. But, no, there's been no change in our view of military force. Q But is it being considered? Is the -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if we have sort of formal request or not. I just saw it on the wires, but I do know that we haven't changed our view on military force. Q Richard, on the humanitarian negotiations, I'm still confused here. Are you saying -- what are you saying? Do the Serbs, in principle, say, "No convoys, and we will not open the airport?" And is that your understanding? You make it sound like the U.N. is there working out a formula even as we speak. Is it just a technical issue, or is there still opposition, in principle, that has not changed since the sanctions were imposed and the Serbian Government refuses, in principle, to allow these convoys or to open the airport? MR. BOUCHER: First of all, Mary, the Secretary General discussed this in quite a bit of detail in a report that I'd invite you to read. Second of all, we're aware of a broadcast of out -- I forget; a Serbian radio -- a broadcast reflecting supposedly the views of the Serbian leadership that instruct people to make convoys possible and airports open. But the fact is that actions speak louder than words. And in this case, the U.N. envoy has to work out, with a variety of people, practical arrangements that meet the standards necessary to get humanitarian relief supplies in there. He's dealing with a situation where the U.N. has had assurances in the past that haven't been followed; where, as we've pointed out everyday, there's a convoy with Red Cross markings or U.N. escorts that get machine-gunned. So it's not an easy job, and I don't want to say that we're about to have a magic formula. But he's working on it and he's trying to find arrangements that will meet the needs of getting humanitarian relief in there. In the meantime, we're doing what we can to get the proper people to support that and make it possible. Q Richard, are you certain that the Serbian leadership, in fact, has control over these irregular groups which have been ambushing the convoys? MR. BOUCHER: The facts are as follows, Jim: First of all, let me point out that both the CSCE and the U.N. Security Council have consistently demanded that Belgrade deal with the so-called "Yugoslav" army in Bosnia by either withdrawing it, disarming it, or demobilizing it or submitting it to the authority of the sovereign and legitimate government of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Belgrade chose instead to turn it over to extremist Bosnian-Serb leaders. The reality on the ground in Bosnia is that this is an independent state that is being ravaged by Serbian armed forces -- both army units and irregulars -- which were unleashed by Belgrade which are inspired, equipped, and continue to be supported by Belgrade. The leader of the so-called army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia, General Mladic, may exercise some tactical independence from Belgrade but so, too, may the various Serbian irregular units in Bosnia. Many of these were, in fact, infiltrated from Serbia. Mladic, however, was assigned to his post by Serbian President Milosevic and his allies in Belgrade and Montenegro, and the armed forces at his disposal were turned over to him by Belgrade. We, in the international community, will continue to hold the Serbian regime in Belgrade accountable for the military process which it set in motion and the actions of the Serbian armed forces in Bosnia. Q So you're saying that Milosevic is directly responsible for what the army is doing on the ground? MR. BOUCHER: I'm saying that the Serbian leadership in Belgrade turned over army units to the so-called Bosnian-Serbian forces; that they appointed the commander there, and that they continue to support these forces. Q But it does not necessarily follow that the Serbian leadership can turn this off; is that correct? MR. BOUCHER: John, I guess what I would point out is the facts. First of all, they continue to provide support to these forces. That is something they clearly could turn off. Second of all, that they have been able to intercede to provide safe passage for various envoys that have visited Sarajevo through the airport. And one can see if they can do that for individuals and visitors, they should be able to do that for humanitarian relief supplies as well. Q New subject? Q Could I ask one more question on this? Milosevic sent a letter on the 30th of May to both Yeltsin and Bush, suggesting a joint command, putting the General of the Serbo-Bosnian forces and apparently the Serbian army and the army of Bosnia itself under one command -- a unified command. Is that being taken seriously, and is that a subject for discussion with Kozyrev next Monday? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what happened to that letter. I think it was received shortly before the U.N. resolution was passed, and the U.N. resolution was passed that same day. I'll have to check and see if there has been any reply or anything happened to it. Q Richard, is there any U.S. consideration for another U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss possible other measures or where to go from here or to assess the effectiveness of the sanctions or anything like that? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, the U.N. Security Council has had several meetings on the subject of Yugoslavia. It's a subject that periodically gets discussed up there, and I'm sure that they will continue their usual efforts in monitoring the effects of the sanctions. I'm not aware of anything specific scheduled at this point, but I'm sure, you know, as they usually say up there, they remain seized with the issue, and they'll keep doing it. Q Does the U.S. think that a Foreign Minister's level meeting would be appropriate in this case? MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't heard any discussion of that --that point -- no. Q Richard, on a new subject, are the reports true that the United States cancelled planned military exercises with Jordan, because it was outraged by the leakage across the Jordanian-Iraqi border of more and more materials that are not allowed under the U.N. sanctions? MR. BOUCHER: You're referring to something that I vaguely heard was in a column this morning, and, since we don't do columnists, I didn't even read it. So I don't have anything for you on that at this point. Q O.K. Let me rephrase it, Richard. Is it true that the United States has cancelled planned military actions and in fact finds that Jordan is increasingly violating the U.N. sanctions against Iraq? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know, Mary. I'll have to look into it and see if there's anything we have on that. We've discussed the question of sanctions leakage before and said there has been some. I guess you're asking, "Are we increasingly concerned?" I'll have to look at that. Q Richard, do you have a comment on the vote in Denmark yesterday on the EC?

[EC: US Reaction to Danish Vote on EC]

MR. BOUCHER: I have something to say. You can probably guess, first of all, that we'll talk about two different aspects of this. First, the general one, and that's that the United States has been a firm supporter of European integration. The President and the Secretary have consistently expressed our support for a strong and united Europe. The second is the more specific one, and that's obviously how the Europeans go about that and what individual countries decide to do is a matter for them to decide on their own. Q The U.S. would have no objection to having populations vote on issues of significance such as this, would it? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, certainly not. But, I mean, how any individual country goes about it or what any individual country in the EC does is really a matter for them to decide as part of an ongoing process that's taking place in all these EC member states in different ways. So how it all works out -- Q The process seems to be changing, though. The process seems to sort of come and go. MR. BOUCHER: And that's something for those involved in the process to address. Q Do you think that the treaty should be renegotiated? I mean, is it the U.S. view that all of Europe or none should be a part of this union? MR. BOUCHER: Johanna, those kinds of questions are for Europeans to decide, not for us. Q Would an integrated Europe that you spoke about -- strong support for European integration -- include integration of, let's say, 11 countries, with one country not being part of that integration? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I'm not going to choose formulas or different ways for the EC to go about this. We all know what the vote was in Denmark, I'm sure the Europeans do as well, and I'll leave it to the Danes and their European friends to address what they want to do from here. I'm not going to speculate. Our general support has always been strong for European integration, but we've always left it to the Europeans to decide how they go about it. Q Does the vote indicate to the United States that the Europeans can't seem to get together in any sort of unified action, as illustrated by the fact that they don't know what to do about Yugoslavia, and does that concern the United States? MR. BOUCHER: John, I don't have any speculation like that at this point.

[Haiti: Update]

Q Do you have anything on Haiti, where a prospective new Prime Minister has been appointed? MR. BOUCHER: This relates to the nomination, I guess, of Marc Bazin as Haiti's Prime Minister by the de facto President and the de facto regime. We believe the solution to Haiti's crisis requires a return to democratic government. Two elements are essential: The naming of a Prime Minister by consensus and the return of President Aristide. This nomination is not the product of a consensus. Both the February 23 agreement, negotiated by Haitian political leaders under OAS auspices, and the so-called "Tripartite Agreement" signed last month in Port-au-Prince, call for the selection of a Prime Minister by consensus. In our view, that consensus must include the President who was elected with 67 percent of the vote. The OAS Foreign Ministers reiterated that position in their May 17 resolution. We voted for that resolution, and we continue to support it. Q Richard, do you have anything on Peru, and is it true that the United States has restored a certain amount of aid to Peru for combating drug trafficking? MR. BOUCHER: I saw a wire story two minutes before I walked out here that quoted unnamed officials as saying that. I didn't have a chance to check. I'll have to check, Mary. Q On another subject. Now that the -- Q Just to finish up on Haiti. In other words, the United States believes that there can be no democratic solution in the current crisis in Haiti without the return to power of President Aristide. Is that right? MR. BOUCHER: Jim, I just said that it requires a return to democratic government, and that is based on two essentials: One is the naming of a Prime Minister who enjoys consensus. That is not the case with this nomination. And the second is the return of President Aristide. Q To power? MR. BOUCHER: The return of President Aristide as President. Yes. Q Richard, now that the British and the Libyans agreed to have a meeting in Geneva to discuss the Lockerbie affair, where is the U.S. position? MR. BOUCHER: I wasn't -- I personally was not aware of this agreement between the British and the Libyans. I'd have to look into it. Q Would you take the question, please? MR. BOUCHER: I'll take the question. Q When you look into that, would you look into whether the Secretary and Foreign Minister Hurd or the Secretary and Prime Minister Major discussed that -- the potential of a British-Libyan meeting -- or the potential of any direct meetings with Libya to discuss this issue -- whether that was one of the things they talked about -- MR. BOUCHER: When they last met. Q When they last met. I think it was last week or the week before. MR. BOUCHER: O.K.

[China: Administration's MFN Package Sent to Hill/Update]

Q Also on China, if I could ask: The Administration sent up the MFN authorization late in the afternoon on a primary election day in the United States yesterday. Does the Administration think that it is time after three years to have any conditions imposed on trade with China as a result of China's behavior on human rights, arms control and other issues? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, the White House provided a lot of information, I believe yesterday, when they announced that they were sending the package up to the Hill. I believe, if you read that information, you will see that the Administration is looking for renewal of MFN -- a continuation of MFN for China without conditions that would be attached; that we continue to see conditions as simply a delay in the withdrawal of MFN. We think MFN is appropriate, and that withdrawal of MFN would only hurt American investors, businessmen, consumers, people in Hong Kong, people in the progressive sectors of China's economy. And, therefore, we think it should be continued. They also pointed out the many things that we have done in the trade area where we've had problems in terms of investigations, getting the intellectual property rights agreement which is, I think, widely supported by American business; the steps we've taken in the areas where we found violations of the textile agreements -- the Grand Jury indictment, I think it is, in the case of prison labor exports. So where we've had individual problems in the trade area, we have dealt with those with the tools that we have, and once you see the whole White House package, you'll see once again that they say that our direct engagement with the Chinese is, on the whole, a successful policy; that we use the tools that we have, and we've generated positive results without withdrawing MFN. Q Well, Richard, on the heels of that certification by the Administration, do you have anything to say on the third anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre? MR. BOUCHER: Certainly, John, our views of the tragedy in Tiananmen and what went on there have been amply expressed over the years by the United States Government. We continue to urge that people who were imprisoned for the expression of their political beliefs be released, and we have continued to try to improve the overall behavior of China in the area of human rights. Q And the Administration sees no irony of the linking of these two events? MR. BOUCHER: John, the linking of the two is not any linking of the two that occurs other than by virtue of a law we have that sets the -- Q Or the calendar. MR. BOUCHER: -- that sets the annual date for renewal of MFN as the beginning of June. That's where it was in the early 1980s when I was doing it for other countries back in the Economic Bureau. It's always been there just by virtue of law. Q Richard, do you have any comment on the legislation being introduced on both sides of Congress to impose a different sort of restriction on trade based on the entity of origin rather than on the country of origin? MR. BOUCHER: We've seen the press reports of it, but we haven't actually seen the legislation. We haven't had a chance to study it at this point. Q What is the U.S. (inaudible) fine-tuning the sanctions like that? MR. BOUCHER: There's nothing I can say about it in principle. I don't know what his principles are at this point. Q What's the current count on number of political prisoners held? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we've been able to give you a precise count of the number of political prisoners, Jim. We have talked about the numbers that we've had on our lists -- and I can't remember when it was -- it seems to me just a few weeks ago we answered for you what information we had on political prisoners in China. I'll be glad to get you that again. Q Specifically, there still are some pro-democracy people left over from three years ago who were arrested after the crushing of Tiananmen. Is that right? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. That's right. Q And at one time wasn't the U.S. Government assured by the Chinese that the political prisoners had in fact already been released or were soon to be released? Do you know what's happened to that assurance? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware of any sweeping assurance to that effect, Jim. I'd have to look back in history and see what the Chinese have said in the past. We have engaged the Chinese in a dialogue on human rights. As you know, we've presented them with lists of people who we were inquiring about. I think in a visit by Secretary Baker last year they told us that 133 people on those lists had in fact been released, and there have been some people released since then. But I'm not aware of any sweeping statement to the effect that all had been released, and certainly we have continued to urge the Chinese to release people who are in prison for the expression of their views. We continue to believe there are such people. Q Did the U.S. ever get an answer -- I may have missed this -- to the -- I'll call it a protest -- but to the raising of the issue of the Washington Post reporter or to the issue some months ago of the beating of several people in the guard boxes outside the U.S. Embassy? MR. BOUCHER: I think we've answered both those questions in recent weeks. I'll get that for you. Q Back on Yugoslavia for a minute: Some people in the sports world are upset that sanctions call for a boycott of Yugoslav athletes, and I just wondered in light of our experience over Afghanistan what the U.S. position is vis-a-vis sports boycotts. Do we think it's effective to change behavior? MR. BOUCHER: Johanna, that's in the U.N. resolution, right, if I remember correctly? Q I know it is. Yes. MR. BOUCHER: I mean, we voted for the U.N. resolution. We thought the pieces were appropriate. Q Well, so did France, and France says it doesn't support the athletic -- MR. BOUCHER: I haven't seen that statement. You can ask France what its position is. We supported the elements of the U.N. resolution. We said it was important in a variety of ways to make it clear to Serbia-Montenegro that they had to pay a cost for the kind of behavior that they were supporting in Bosnia in not letting humanitarian convoys through. There were a whole series of measures to make them pay the cost and to isolate them. That's just one of the measures to isolate them, so it's part of a package. Q So the answer is "Yes, we do think that -- MR. BOUCHER: The answer is we voted for it, we supported it, we wanted the stuff in there that's in there. Q To what extent has Baker been involved in recent days since Lisbon, let's say, in the Yugoslavia crisis? Has he been in touch with other Foreign Ministers on this subject or -- MR. BOUCHER: I'd have to check. I don't know of any specific conversations on the subject of Yugoslavia, but certainly it's a major issue that he's been dealing with over the course of the last several weeks. Q Richard, back to China for a question. Approximately seven journalists were detained briefly in Tiananmen Square this morning. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q Have you raised the issue with the Chinese? MR. BOUCHER: We have. Let me give you the rundown of the incident as we understand it. Some of you may have heard from your own people who were perhaps involved. About 1:30 p.m., Beijing time, on June 3, seven foreign journalists -- that is, three Japanese, two Canadians, one American and one German -- were detained by Chinese uniformed security agents on Tiananmen Square. This happened as the journalists sought to film a Chinese citizen unfurling a protest banner. Chinese security agents reportedly roughed up the journalists, including ABC correspondent Todd Carrel. The journalists were then taken to a nearby police station and released after being held for about three hours. Their videotape was confiscated, and the journalists were forced to sign a statement prepared by the Chinese describing the incident. As soon as our Embassy in Beijing heard of the incident, it immediately sought an explanation from the Chinese Foreign Ministry and public security officials, and we attempted to contact the detained American journalists. We will continue to pursue the matter with the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Q This has become sort of a standard procedure now for the Chinese to engage in some activity such as this, and the U.S. to seek an explanation or to go stand outside the house of someone to see what's going on inside. Is this sort of an established procedure under the Sino-American relationship; that this is how it's done? The Chinese do something, and then the U.S. asks for an explanation or -- it seems to be a pattern. MR. BOUCHER: Do you want us to stay home and fold our hands when Americans are in trouble? I mean, we've talked about the -- Q But that's not the only alternative, Richard. MR. BOUCHER: We've talked about difficulties that American journalists have faced and other foreign journalists have faced in China. We've repeatedly emphasized our support for their rights to work as normal journalists, as they do in other places in the world, and repeatedly stressed the need for freedom of the press. When American journalists have encountered these kinds of situations, we've gone immediately to try to do what we can to get them out of detention and to see that they're not hassled. Q Since you raise the issue of what's being done elsewhere in the world, the United States does have other alternatives, one of which we've been talking about a lot in this very briefing. Other things can be done to make countries know that their behavior is not acceptable to the United States. Are any of those -- MR. BOUCHER: I would say, Ralph, that we've taken a series of measures with the tools that we have, from missile sanctions to charges against the textile quotas to deal with problems that we've had with China in various areas, and we'll continue to do that. Q Is the U.S. considering taking this issue or issues of human rights in China, for example, to the U.N. Security Council for discussion? MR. BOUCHER: Issues of human rights in China, I believe, have been discussed in various international fora, and that continues. Q Has the U.S. -- is the U.S. suggesting taking it to the U.N. Security Council? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I'm aware of. No. Q Why not? That's not a tool? You said you use the tools you've have. That is a tool available. MR. BOUCHER: Well, we have in the world now, I think, the toughest set of sanctions against China. With only minor modifications, the steps that we took three years ago after the Tiananmen Square incident are still in effect. No other country maintains such sanctions. These are issues that we have raised and we have dealt with as part of the U.S.-China bilateral relationship, and that's the way we'll continue to deal with them.

[Saudi Arabia: US Transfers of Military Spare Parts/Support]

Q Richard, yesterday the Administration submitted to Congress a massive foreign military sales package for Saudi Arabia. Also last night Ambassador Djerejian said that one of our main foreign policy goals was to arm Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE. In light of those -- the confluence of those two things, are we preparing to sell any of those other five countries military equipment, and, if so, what? MR. BOUCHER: Sid, we go through a regular process with military sales that involves careful consultations with the Congress and appropriate notification and publicity of the sales when they happen. At this point I'm not in a position to forecast any particular sale to any country that we haven't notified the Congress or made public. I believe you probably have the list of equipment that is in the package that was sent to the Hill yesterday. And the Saudi arms sale -- let me just say a few things about it, and that's that a large proportion of military equipment in the Saudi inventory is of U.S. origin. To keep that operating properly, spare parts and contractor maintenance support services are a necessity. The expenditures and the provision of the articles and services in this package support U.S. systems the Saudis already have. Included are support equipment, services for the Saudi ordnance corps and some medevac helicopters and spare engines. The sale is consistent with restrained U.S. arms sales policy towards the region. It's fully consistent with the five-power guidelines for arms transfers that were agreed to in London, and there are no new systems being transferred. The sale could not in any way be considered destabilizing. Q Is this a U.S. financed sale or a direct cash purchase by the Saudis? MR. BOUCHER: I assume that was part of the Defense Department announcement. I don't think I have that here. Q (Inaudible) MR. BOUCHER: Yes. I'll check to make sure it was part of Defense's announcement or tell you precisely. It's described as a sale, so I assume that means Saudis financed but I'd have to check. Q Was this sale previewed at all for the Big Five during the meeting last week? If not under any requirement of that agreement, under the spirit of transparency that has been discussed in that forum? MR. BOUCHER: I really don't know, Ralph. I mean, this is a sale of -- not of significant new equipment, but rather a sale of spare parts, support services and other articles or equipment the Saudis already have. Q But the question is you just said that the sale -- MR. BOUCHER: It's not necessarily something that we would preview. Q You just said that the U.S. considers -- actually you didn't say the U.S. considered it. You said the sale could in no way be considered destabilizing. I presume you mean the -- MR. BOUCHER: The U.S. in no way considers the sale destabilizing. Q Right. MR. BOUCHER: We consider it fully consistent with the five-power guidelines and fully consistent with the restrained arms sale policy. Q And my question was whether the other four agreed with that, if the U.S. discussed it with them? MR. BOUCHER: I guess if you want the opinions of the other four, you can go ask the other four. I'll see if I can find out if this was discussed or mentioned at all during the course of last week's conversations. Q Thank you. MR. BOUCHER: Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:06 p.m.)