US Department of State Daily Briefing #95: Friday, 6/19/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Jun, 19 19926/19/92 Category: Briefings Region: E/C Europe, MidEast/North Africa, Caribbean, Europe, East Asia Country: Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, China, Mexico, Iraq, Haiti, Israel Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, POW/MIA Issues, Security Assistance and Sales, Arms Control, United Nations, Human Rights, Trade/Economics, Immigration, Refugees, State Department, Narcotics 12:47 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm sorry I'm a little late today, but I don't have any statements or announcements. I'd be glad to take your questions. Q Richard, there's a couple of names that keep coming up with regard to the possibility of missing Americans, and specifically in Pechora. I thought I'd try the names and then see if they mean anything to the State Department. If you can't deal with it now, maybe somebody could look into it. There's a David Markin, and this art group talks about a First Lieutenant David Martin. We're just trying to find out here and elsewhere in the Government if those names ring a bell with Government officials as possibly being Americans who might conceivably have been or are in a labor camp. MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I don't have any names for you. I've seen some of these articles that you're referring to that have different names, and I think most of them discuss difficulties of transliteration and such things. I don't know exactly what the situation is with regard to names. The information that our team went out to Pechora to check out, as Margaret said yesterday, reports that an American POW from the Korean War had been held at a prison camp near there. That's what we went out to check out. At this point I'm not in a position to give you any further detail on what those reports might have been. We do know now that the team has returned to Moscow. They did not find any evidence of the presence of Americans at Pechora. They'll be gathering their information and putting together a full report for us, and we may have more to say once that's been done and we have their report back here. Q They're due to come home then? This is it? MR. BOUCHER: No. The team that went out, I think -- Q They went to several camps. MR. BOUCHER: -- they have gone out to Pechora with their Russian colleagues, and they have now returned to Moscow -- maybe an hour ago -- and they'll be preparing a report for us and for Ambassador Toon, who's due there over the weekend for more discussions with General Volkogonov on Monday. The people who went out to Pechora were people, I think, from our Embassy in Moscow -- the people who had been working there on the work of this Joint Commission. Q Richard, does the State Department have any reaction to the threat by Israel to arrest three of the most prominent Palestinians because they met publicly with Yasser Arafat? MR. BOUCHER: I have one specific thing to say on the general issue, and I'll say that and I will not respond to individual's statements or threats or other angles that you may want to ask me about. For approximately five weeks we've purposely avoided commenting on many issues related to the Middle East, including some that are very important. While I intend to stick to our position of not getting into a discussion of such issues, I will make one brief comment. We've repeatedly stated that the PLO is not part of the peace process that we have helped construct, and we were troubled by the meeting and we have conveyed our concerns to the Palestinians. Q Does the fact of the meeting indicate that the PLO is somehow part of the peace process to the United States Government? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I'm not in a position to interpret this any further. That's the only comment I have to make at this point. Q It's your own exception to the rule. This would be like the second or third, I think, exception that the State Department made. MR. BOUCHER: All right. I remember there was an exception once with something that involved American citizens. I haven't counted the total number, but for 5 weeks we've purposely avoided commenting, and this is the extent of what I have to say today. Q Did you express any concern to the Israelis as well? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, John, this is the extent of what I'm going to say. Q Can you give us any indication of improvements in the Middle East situation as a result of the five-week embargo? MR. BOUCHER: Norm, I don't have anything to say on questions like that either. Q Richard, speaking narrowly to the thing you are able to comment on -- and very, very strictly to that point -- from the very beginning these Palestinians who have been negotiating have not only made a point that they get their signals and get their clearances -- and, as they call it, sometimes a green light for what they do -- from Yasser Arafat and the PLO -- but they even, you know, speak as if they are an extension in some respects of the PLO. Surely the State Department isn't surprised that there's contact between these folks and the PLO, and the State Department's view has always been: "We know about that," and people go on background and say, but, you know, they have to go through some sort of a performance of that, but basically we're dealing with Palestinians from the territories. So why are you concerned this time that the PLO is staking out a visible role than what they've been doing from the very outset? They want to be considered part of the -- and, for all I know, they may very well be part of the game; and you may very well know -- the State Department -- they're part of the game. So why this sort of -- I don't know what -- sort of shyness or just alarm that the PLO has got some connection to the Middle East? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, that was a very interesting discussion. I thank you for the opportunity (laughter) to take a sip of a glass of water. Q (inaudible). MR. BOUCHER: You're asking me, basically: "Why did we say this? Why did we make the exception?" Q Well, what's different this time, I'm asking you. MR. BOUCHER: What I'm telling you is this is what I've had to say on this, and that's all I'm going to say for the moment. Q Was this contact different from others? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to try to analyze anything for you, Barry. Q With the troubles -- you said the U.S. is troubled. What is it that troubles you? MR. BOUCHER: I have nothing more to say than what I've just said, Ralph. Sorry. Q Richard, can you take all of our questions on the Middle East from the preceding five weeks and maybe release the answers Tuesday night after the Israeli elections? (Laughter) MR. BOUCHER: Howard, I think you asked Margaret, you know, what the date was that we would start commenting again on some of these things; and she told you that we would when we decided to. We've decided to say something today. And if we decide to answer all your questions in the last five weeks, I'm sure that we'll do that when we decide to do it as well. Q I think before Ralph gave her that opportunity to make that response she had indicated earlier that she would comment after the Israeli elections. MR. BOUCHER: What she said on May l8th was "Because this historic negotiating process is underway -- and particularly in the midst of a heated political campaign in Israel -- henceforth I am just not going to respond to every comment or question on the peace process or the Arab-Israeli conflict." So -- Q Well, that's exactly one, and I don't see any historic negotiations going on right now. I don't even see any unhistoric negotiations. Will Secretary of State Baker -- when he makes his second television appearance in the last few days on Sunday on the Brinkley show -- will he, if he's asked about the Middle East, will he deal with it the way we poor print people are responded to by saying he won't have anything to say? Will he hold up a sign saying, "No comment" (laughter), or will he respond -- which is what I figure he will do? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I haven't held up a sign that says, "No comment." Q Margaret has. MR. BOUCHER: No. Q She has ruled out any comment on the Middle East which pulls out of the public discourse, you know, about one-third of the diplomacy in this building. MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I don't think it has pulled it out of the public discourse. Certainly I've seen plenty of public discourse by you and others on the subject. We have, as Margaret said, not been commenting on these things. She said we would not, and we've stuck by that. Q But we'll write whether or not we get comments. I mean the stories are going to come out -- MR. BOUCHER: I'm pleased to hear that. Q -- but we would appreciate the input of the State Department, and sometimes actually here instead of just on television. MR. BOUCHER: I appreciate that, Barry. Q Does the United States consider the meeting to have been a provocation as Israeli Prime Minister Shamir referred to it? MR. BOUCHER: I'm no going to characterize it, Ralph. Q Richard, on another deal -- Q New subject. Can I ask you -- MR. BOUCHER: Sure. Q -- about the letter from the State Department to the United Nations which opposes the Secretary General's call for a standing peace-enforcement force of armed men? Can you tell us the State Department's reaction to the Secretary General's report and why you're opposed to it? MR. BOUCHER: The state of play on this, Jan, is that this is something that the Secretary General has been working on for many months; and we certainly welcome the prompt completion of the Secretary General's report. We just received it yesterday. We'll be studying the report closely, and we'll certainly take his recommendations under advisement. As for the substantive issues involved, certainly we and other members of the Security Council have expressed our views to the Secretary General about the issues involved, and now he's put out what his recommendations are. As I said, we'll study them seriously. Q Well, wouldn't the creation of a peace- keeping force, such as he has envisioned, actually go against the Charter of the United Nations itself? MR. BOUCHER: Jan, we just got our copy of the report yesterday. I don't want to try to characterize what he's envisioned or try to offer comments like that on it. Q What about your response -- because you have responded. What can you tell us about that? MR. BOUCHER: We've been part of the process. He's consulted with us and and other governments throughout this process when we've expressed our views. Now he's come out with his report and his recommendations, and we'll look at those and then we'll have that -- a response to that. Q The reports are that you've already responded to it are therefore premature, incorrect, that you're aware of? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware of any specific U.S. response at this point to something that we were given yesterday. Q A former briefing -- MR. BOUCHER: During the course of this process we provided our views, as I'm sure other governments did as well. I'm sure he consulted with a lot of governments. Q On a related subject, Richard, how do you feel about the Western European Union's offer to provide peacekeeping troops for use in trouble spots around the world? MR. BOUCHER: I guess you must be dealing with a wire report that I haven't seen yet. The West European Union was having a meeting to discuss that. I think our general views on the Western European Union and NATO and all these issues have been expressed before. Q Yes. MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't seen this exact -- if that's a result from the meeting. Q This quotes German diplomats as saying, "The agreement would allow the troops who enter conflicts in which NATO either cannot or will not get involved, such as the fighting in Yugoslavia." Has the United States had any input into this decision-making process? MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check for you, John. Q If I can come along with it, I think, just for a second, Richard. Many times the United States takes the opportunity to express its full support for the U.N. Secretary General's handling of situations such as Yugoslavia, Iraq -- just to name a couple -- but there are many, many more. In this situation, is it fair for us to draw the conclusion from what you've said that the United States is not expressing its full support for the U.S. Secretary General's handling of this particular issue? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I don't think every time we mention something involving the United Nations we again express our full support for the U.N. Secretary General. Many times when we get a report on something as important as the issue of United Nations' peacekeeping, we take upon ourselves the right to look at it and study it seriously since we value the efforts that have been made to put it together. Q In that the U.S. feels that it has not had an opportunity to study this issue thoroughly and review what we got from the Secretary General? MR. BOUCHER: He's finished his report, and he put it out yesterday. We're going to take a good look at it. I'm not going to jump out here l2 or 24 hours after the Secretary General completes a major effort that we welcome and that he's put a lot of work into and start characterizing things as against the U.N. Charter, say, "This is good; that's bad." I can't do that for you. Q Richard, we're all sort of talking around the fact that the United States has had considerable input into the creation of the report you're referring to and has made its views known to the Secretary General and others at the United Nations. Are you -- MR. BOUCHER: It doesn't necessarily mean that we can instantly analyze his final product for you at a press briefing the next day. I'm sorry. Q Can you tell us what the U.S. view was of the proceedings as the report was being prepared? MR. BOUCHER: That's not information I have for you. I'm sorry. Q Richard, what you're saying is that the objections that were raised while this report was in preparation no longer stand; is that right? MR. BOUCHER: No; I'm not saying that either, Mark. I'm saying that we consulted with him during the course of preparing this report -- as I'm sure he consulted with many other countries. O.K. Now he's completed his report, and he has a final report that we've just gotten. We'll take a look at it and we'll provide our views. Q Richard -- MR. BOUCHER: That's all I'm saying. Q -- can we go to another subject? Q Possibly. Q (inaudible) the standing forces put forth by President Mitterrand -- have you been in touch with France on this and let France know your views or opposition or support of the idea? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know, Jan.

[Russia: Russian-US Agreements Signed at Summit]

Q Could I ask you about the summit fall- out? One, maybe two, agreements -- or the contents thereof -- are now surfacing. I refer specifically, of course, to the construction claims, the bugging of the Embassy. We're okay on that now; that story's out. Are there any other agreements that haven't been revealed, disclosed, in the sense of full exposure? If you have agreements with the Russians, can you tell the public about them, please? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I don't know if you went to the signing ceremonies at the White House. I watched that one on TV. And then, of course, we had people upstairs -- anybody who wanted to attend the signing ceremony that was held here. Q We had titles but (inaudible) MR. BOUCHER: And we gave you the list of the things that happened that you could have witnessed as you were there. Now, which ones are you interested in at this point? Q Well, let's back up. What was given out were the titles -- the names of the -- MR. BOUCHER: And there were fact sheets on many -- Q -- but not the substance of the -- MR. BOUCHER: -- if not all of them. Q Well, it's the one -- it's the (inaudible). MR. BOUCHER: O.K. What do you want to know? Q How can I know what the Government -- how can I know to ask what the Government has withheld? MR. BOUCHER: O.K. Barry -- Q Just -- you could be just -- MR. BOUCHER: -- if you had a list of what was signed, okay? As I remember it, there were fact sheets for every item on that list of things signed over here -- Q Except the (inaudible). MR. BOUCHER: Except for four. Q Okay. MR. BOUCHER: Okay? I don't think we did a separate fact sheet on the trade agreements, and that was already covered by the White House Trade Agreement Fact Sheet that covered that there. And we did an exchange of notes -- Q O.K. MR. BOUCHER: -- that merely implemented that. I think the same applied to the OPIC Agreement, if my memory is correct. The IMET Agreement I'd be happy to explain to you, if you'd like that, and I'd be happy to explain the Embassy properties issue if you'd like that. Take your pick. Q Where do we start? Q Well -- Q By the way, where is that now? Will fact sheets be made public on both of those? Q That would save you time. MR. BOUCHER: At this point, rather than create a special fact sheet, I thought I'd just explain them to you if you want me to. Q Well, we'd like to hear you explain that, but we'd also like to know why the U.S. Government chooses not to put out a fact sheet on the Embassy exchange that has been a very controversial issue for 20 years. MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, let me explain the issue to you -- Q Please. MR. BOUCHER: -- and if you want me to type it this afternoon, I will personally type it in fact sheet format for your reading pleasure. Okay?
US Embassy Property Issue
Okay. The Embassy property issue: The Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed on June l5th by Secretary Baker and Foreign Minister Kozyrev, was based on our proposal for a settlement of our mutual property problems. We're pleased to have concluded this agreement which resolves some long-standing issues and which will put both the United States and Russia in a position to conduct a new expanding relationship well into the future. We believe that this settlement would be very advantageous for us. We would gain control of a vital piece of land in Moscow which would connect our present Chancery with our new complex, giving us a contiguous property block. We would also get a long-term lease to our present Chancery at a very favorable rate. We also now have the right to build our new facility anywhere on our property with Americans only, under completely secure and controlled conditions. The significant value of these concessions more than covers the construction defects in our building. The Memorandum of Understanding incorporated five agreements, including an agreement on the conditions of construction for our new Chancery building in Moscow, an agreement on the conditions of construction for future building, a long-term lease on our present Chancery building in Moscow, an exchange of leases on plots of land in Washington and Moscow, and an agreement on the resolution of financial claims connected with the construction of our new Embassy complexes. It also states that the United States shall undertake "best efforts" to allow the Russian Federation to use the administrative buildings of the Mt. Alto complex for the use of the Russian Federation and also of the other countries of the former Soviet Union. Now, Congressional approval will be required, and we've already begun consultations with Congressional leaders on this issue. As Margaret said yesterday, we wanted to conduct those consultations and talk to the people in the Congress before we were in a position to discuss this extensively in public. That's the reason why you didn't get a fact sheet on this yesterday. Q Richard, regarding security at what will be the new -- the new, new -- U.S. Embassy -- MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q -- okay MR. BOUCHER: The new secure building. Q The new secure building. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q Do you have -- you remember the problem -- one of the problems -- one of the complaints, concerns -- was that the workers were under the direction of the Soviet Government and therefore they merrily went along planting listening devices without the U.S. being able to stop them. Is there a different arrangement this time? I realize we're in a new era and all, but security -- we've maintained security against friends as well as antagonists. Will there be a different arrangement? Will the U.S. have closer surveillance of the work than it did last time? MR. BOUCHER: Barry -- yes, I got your question. Q Okay. MR. BOUCHER: The construction agreement -- and there were essentially two constructions agreements -- one that allows for construction of a new Chancery, and one that allows for construction of any future things that might come down. So these are arrangements for the construction of future buildings. These give us the right to build our new facility anywhere on our property, with Americans only, under completely secure and controlled conditions. Q What's the price tag for that new building? MR. BOUCHER: For the -- Q Chancery. MR. BOUCHER: The new Chancery? It's currently in the design phase, so I don't have a price tag for you at this point. Q It will run 40 million, isn't it? MR. BOUCHER: Let me double-check that. There was a budget. I think we got some money from Congress last year. I don't remember if that was design or construction money. Q Richard, not to nitpick, but let me ask this without making it into a theory. Can the Russians move into Mt. Alto before the U.S. is ready to move in, do you know, or are we still sticking to a strict quid pro quo? MR. BOUCHER: One of the things that we're doing under this exchange is to say that we will pledge our best efforts to try to get the changes necessary to allow them to move into Mt. Alto, and for that, specifically, legislative action is required. I can't specify a vehicle for you at this point, but we have had a number of discussions with interested members. Q Richard, how quickly do you think you can start building this new secure facility in Moscow? MR. BOUCHER: I tried to get an estimate of that and I just couldn't. My people tell us that we're just in the design stage now. One of the elements that's involved in this is the acquisition for us of a lease on new property in Moscow that's between the existing Embassy building that we're using now and the new Embassy complex. Q Apart from that -- MR. BOUCHER: Also, that joins our two properties in Moscow now. So that also opens the prospect of changing the design based on that new configuration. Q Are you talking about property that's different from the property that you just negotiated as part of this MOU with the Russians? MR. BOUCHER: Yeah -- no, I'm talking about property -- part of this MOU. Okay. There are essentially three elements for us in this that we think are advantageous. First of all, we get the right to do construction our way -- securely, safely, completely the way we want to. Second of all, there's a property swap where the Soviets -- the Russians, excuse me -- get a small parcel of land in Washington that connects two of their existing buildings, and we get a somewhat larger piece of land in Moscow that connects our existing Embassy building with the new office building complex so that we then have one contiguous piece of land on which to build. Q And in return for this, Richard -- Q And you're getting a better rate. MR. BOUCHER: And, third, we get a long-term lease on the existing Embassy building, and we get a good rate. Q And in return we give up some $30 million in claims against the Russians; is that right? MR. BOUCHER: The way the money works out is that if we had pursued the claims over the defects in construction, those would have been valued at approximately $29 million, I think it is, versus what we think the advantage of the lease rate that we're getting; and the property that we're getting in Moscow, we think that's valued conservatively at about $45 [million]. Q And we still bear the cost of tearing down what's called the new embassy? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, we're not planning to tear it down. We're evaluating how to use it as an unclassified facility. Q What is the very favorable rate you spoke of? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have the exact lease rate, Ralph. I'm sorry. Q Can you take that question? MR. BOUCHER: I'll see if we can give it to you. Q The Russians are going to get an adjacent piece of property at Mount Alto; is that correct? MR. BOUCHER: They get a piece of property that is one-third of an acre, and it's between an apartment building that they now own and Mount Alto. Q What are they going to use that for? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. You can ask them, Mark. It's what they wanted -- Q Are there any ideas that -- I mean, any options that you can tell us about to use the old "new" U.S. Embassy for? Any schools, or what -- off non-classified office space? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I want to speculate at this point, Barry, other than to say that we are in a new relationship, and we're going to have an expanding relationship there. Especially, as you know, in our overall relationship, things like commercial facilities and help for businessmen and travel back and forth and help for Americans, a lot of those activities which, in most embassies, are conducted in unclassified space will naturally grow. In light of those expected needs -- expected needs for more unclassified space than we might have anticipated in the past -- we'll be looking at how we can use that facility as an unclassified space. Q Is it too early to ask if an oil corporation is given space in that building to pursue profit in Russia -- that that oil corporation will pay rent to the U.S. Government? Or is it likely to be a freebie? MR. BOUCHER: I would say that's hypothetical, speculative, and there's probably some rules about it somewhere but I don't know what they are. Q I wonder if Mr. Strauss -- Q A fast-food franchise open on the grounds? Q What can you tell us about arrangements that will be made to secure construction materials for use in building the new facility? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, I can't tell you what the specific arrangements might be. I can just tell you that the importance of this agreement on construction arrangements to us is that we have the right to take whatever steps we think are necessary to have construction only by Americans, and to do our construction in a secure manner. Q The last time that the construction materials issue came up was when the Russians poured the concrete someplace else outside of the site and the concrete turned out to have things poured into it. MR. BOUCHER: We're all aware of the history of this, Ralph. The reason this arrangement is important is because we have the right to do construction our way. When the design is completed, the construction will be designed -- the whole process will be designed so that it's secure. Q You said the Russians were getting about a third of an acre and the United States slightly more. Can you say how much the U.S. -- MR. BOUCHER: Slightly over one acre. I forget the exact number. Q Richard, security considerations were raised in the past about the Mount Alto site. Does the State Department have any updated view of what the problems there are involved than the Soviets being able to beam down on this building and others? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything on that for you, Mark. Q Do you have that second agreement? MR. BOUCHER: You wanted to know about the military training. Q If it's not too obscure, yeah. MR. BOUCHER: It's not. We talk about these things all the time. Q (Inaudible) familiar with IMET? MR. BOUCHER: I'll try not to call it "IMET." The U.S. and Russia have exchanged diplomatic notes putting into effect an agreement on International Military Education and Training. Through the program, we hope to foster greater understanding of the principles of civilian control of the military and to expose Russian defense professionals to the United States concepts of defense management and resource allocation. The U.S. will provide Russia with up to $175,000 worth of military training during the remainder of Fiscal Year '92. Russian students will attend the Army and Air Force War Colleges and Command ∧ General Staff Colleges during the upcoming academic year. Russian students will also attend the Defense Resource Management College. In the future, we hope to expand the program with Russia to provide training to a broader variety of Russian students, including civilians working in defense-related areas. Q Is it all in this direction? Will any of the citizen-soldiers go to Russia to show them how -- MR. BOUCHER: This program, Barry, is one that puts together -- that provides some money for basic military training for international military students to come to the United States. Q (Inaudible) called "international," indeed. It involves other countries? MR. BOUCHER: It's a program that exists throughout the world. Q Oh, it exists. MR. BOUCHER: We've done this with many, many countries. Q When you say "students," Richard, do you mean officers who come here and enroll in the war colleges and then become students there, or students -- MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. Q So they're military officers? MR. BOUCHER: They're military people who come to study. Q Richard, do you have any idea how many people will be involved under this amount of money? Can you get it? MR. BOUCHER: I don't at this point, Carol. I'm sorry. Q Part of the training -- part of education and military training is often exercises. Is there any provision for joint U.S.-Russian military exercises? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware that that's ever part of this training program. This is academic-course type training. Q Is that subject part of any of the agreements signed by the United States and Russia during the course of this summit? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think it's specifically referred to, Ralph. Not that I'm aware of. I can't promise that I've read every single document. Q We obviously haven't. MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure you have read the Charter from front to back -- Q Carefully. MR. BOUCHER: -- for the words. Q Will any of these Russian students have access to classified information, or be required to have security clearances in order to take these courses? MR. BOUCHER: I am not aware that that's ever a part of this program. Q And, finally, was there any discussion at all about any type of joint efforts between the U.S. and the Russians on drug interdiction efforts to stem the flow of drugs coming into either country by using joint military operations? MR. BOUCHER: I haven't heard any discussion of that. But since most of the discussions were with the White House, you might check over there. Q Another subject. MR. BOUCHER: Okay. John had another one. Q China and the United States have reached a preliminary agreement on prohibiting trade in goods made in prison labor camps there. Can you tell us anything about it? MR. BOUCHER: We've had some people out in Beijing recently negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding on prison labor exports. As you know, this is a subject that's been discussed in the past at high-level meetings. I think Secretary Baker specifically pressed for this MOU the last time he was out there. The people that we've had out there have worked out a text which has now been referred back to Washington and to, I guess, the leadership in China for final approval. Q What does it say? MR. BOUCHER: We're not going to go into the details of it until we've decided whether this text actually gets final approval here, and if it actually works for us. The basic provisions of it were that there wouldn't be exports to the United States from prison-type factories, and that we would make arrangements for visits to be conducted to various prisons and other facilities like that in China. Q Did we not have such an agreement before? MR. BOUCHER: No. Q Are you saying that on-site inspection is permitted? MR. BOUCHER: I am not going to try to describe it any other than I have at this point, George. The agreement will be looked at. If it gets final approval, then it will be signed and we'll talk about it or give you a fact sheet at that point. Q Richard, on a different topic? MR. BOUCHER: They are in such demand these days. Q It's not for Congressional review first, or whatever? Q There's been some diplomatic activity between the United States and Mexico, to say the least, in the last four or five days. There was a case a couple of days ago where the Mexican police crossed the U.S. border of Arizona and arrested a Mexican there. And last Saturday -- or yesterday, the Mexican Government sent you a letter of protest relating to an incident last Saturday in which they claim a border patrol agent and an Arizona sheriff went down into Sonora and arrested a man who jumped bail near Tucson. Have you all responded to their letter of protest? Have you sent a letter of protest, protesting the Mexican agents crossing our border? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not familiar with what you say about Mexican agents crossing our border. That's something I'll have to look into. There was an incident last Saturday where a Mexican citizen was taken across the border from Mexico and arrested in the United States. The Mexican Government delivered a note to our Embassy yesterday protesting this incident. We'll be investigating the incident as we do all such incidents. At this point, I don't have anymore details for you. Q How does this square with the U.S. promise to Mexico not to do that anymore? MR. BOUCHER: John, the facts of the matter at this time are unclear. It's not clear, first of all, to us that there was any U.S. Government involvement in this at this point. But, as I said, we will be investigating and getting back to them. Q To the Embassy or to -- the Mexican Government said it delivered it to the State Department. MR. BOUCHER: What I am told is the Mexican Government delivered a note to our Embassy yesterday. Q In Mexico City? MR. BOUCHER: Protesting the incident; yes. Q Wait a minute, Richard. What you're saying there is, it's not clear if there's any U.S. Government involvement. You mean, possibly it's just state government involvement, or there may not be any U.S. involvement? Which of those things are you saying here? MR. BOUCHER: I hesitate to get into this in more detail because we promised we will look into it in detail and get back to them. Preliminary information is that it may have been bail bondsmen going to pick somebody up. Q It raises the question of whether the U.S. Supreme Court -- Q (Inaudible). MR. BOUCHER: No, private. Q Private. It raises the question, though, of whether the U.S. Supreme Court ruling and the Bush Administration's handling of it sends appropriate signals not only to the Mexicans but also to maybe even private U.S. businesses about what's okay and what isn't okay. MR. BOUCHER: First, Ralph, this incident that I'm talking about occurred last Saturday before the Supreme Court's ruling on Monday. I wouldn't draw any conclusions about any relationship at this point. Second of all, how the courts would interpret a question like this if it turns out to be private individuals, I don't know. Q That's true. But the U.S. Government could certainly clarify the situation by making its position absolutely crystal clear about how it approaches cross-border arrests, and I don't think that's been done -- MR. BOUCHER: I think we did that very clearly in the case after the Supreme Court decision. Q The Mexican Government is specifically asking for the extradition of the two U.S. -- the sheriff and the border agent. Have we at least expressed to them they better not try to do the same kind of thing we did with the man we kidnapped? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, Sid, we've received the note from the Mexican Embassy. I'm not aware that we've responded at this point. Q Richard, yesterday -- last night -- Mr. Baker was asked on MacNeil/Lehrer if there will be another round of arms cuts. He spoke of how busy the U.S. would be, and Russia, in carrying out START and the new agreement; that he didn't see anything during the five/six years. If you don't have it there, I wonder if you could find out for us -- is there any mechanism -- will there be any negotiations -- is there anything that will be left, any structure? You know, the point has been made -- he's made it a couple of times now: They've gotten away from the Geneva-40-guys-around-the-table; now you do it out of your pocket. You know, Foreign Minister to Foreign Minister. But is there any mechanism -- will there be any active negotiations to follow up these cuts with further cuts? Or is it simply all quiet? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, the Secretary, again, expressed his view on that, our view on that, last night about negotiating further cuts. There certainly are many arms control mechanisms involved in compliance with existing treaties and implementing the START agreement when ratified and the further agreement when that's ratified as well. So there will be many arms control groups and discussions between the United States and Russia involved in implementing these things. Q I'm talking about -- MR. BOUCHER: As far as the prospect of negotiating further reductions, I don't have anything more to say than what the Secretary said last night. Q Wait a minute. Maybe the question was put badly. What he said last night is, he didn't think there would be agreements worked out in the next five or six years because everybody would be too busy implementing the current agreements. I'm asking a question that wasn't asked last night: Whether there will be any negotiations for further agreements going on? Is there any format, any mechanism? I know there's a mechanism to implement the treaties. Will there be U.S. and Russians sitting down someplace, like they used to in Geneva, endlessly -- Vienna, etc. -- and talk about going down further now that these two countries are on such good terms? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I haven't asked him that question quite so precisely. I think what you're saying is, "Are we going to negotiate for five or six years even though we don't plan on reaching agreements?" One of the things that the Secretary -- Q I'm asking if you're shutting down -- MR. BOUCHER: Well, that came close to it. One of the things that the Secretary also pointed out last night was this most recent round of cuts was very significant and was reached in a very short period of time through discussions by Presidents and Foreign Ministers. I am sure that Presidents and Foreign Ministers will continue to discuss arms-related issues. At this point, I don't think the Secretary is forecasting discussions of another round of reductions for several years. Q I know Presidents and Foreign -- I'm asking if negotiators, per se -- not Presidents and Foreign Ministers, who turn themselves into negotiators and did very well this time -- I'm asking if there will be any -- even threshold -- is the United -- this is not a totally ridiculous question, because a lot of people, including Mr. Yeltsin, Senator Biden, etc., think that this is an opportune time -- as busy as you'll be, taking these weapons off launchers -- these people think that it's a marvelous time to move down from still a whole lot of earth-destroying nuclear weapons while you're such good pals. I'm asking -- Baker says he doesn't foresee an agreement coming out in the next five -- I'm asking if you're just going to close down the negotiating operation for five or six years and do nothing about proceeding for further cuts -- toward further cuts? Like NEA, it has a lid on. MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I can't predict five or six years. There will be plenty of arms control discussions in various groups and at various levels between the United States and Russia. I think we can read the Secretary's answer last night to say that he would not expect those to be discussions aimed at reaching agreements on further reductions. We've just concluded agreements that involve the destruction of thousands and thousands of nuclear warheads, bringing us down to levels which I think surprised quite a few people. We've pledged to do that over a period of time, that we will try to shorten if we can. That was also clear from what was said at the summit. That's what we'll be working on. Q Richard, actually, Barry's line of questioning sort of opens up another question, and that is: Given the fact that there's this new group created that's being headed by Dennis Ross to look at -- MR. BOUCHER: Defenses. Q -- defenses, what does that mean to the Defense and Space Negotiating Team that's been operating out of Geneva? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know the answer to that. Q Could you find out? MR. BOUCHER: I'll see if I can find out. Q There's a report from Baghdad today that includes motion pictures of fighter aircraft dropping something flaming into agricultural fields in Iraq. There are complaints from the Iraqi Government that U.S. aircraft have deliberately set aflame agricultural products in Iraq. Is the United States burning the fields in Iraq and depriving Iraqis of agriculture they can develop for themselves? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I have not seen these pictures that you're talking about, and I don't know that anyone has analyzed them to find out what they are, if they are anything at all. But the idea that we're fire-bombing Iraq, burning up Iraq's fields is absolutely ludicrous. The President stated many times that our problem is not with the Iraqi people and we're not directing efforts against the Iraqi people. Q It's not possible that the United States might be causing fires in Iraqi fields? You spoke of fire-bombing. That might not necessarily be -- MR. BOUCHER: I have no idea what -- Iraq has made charges, I think, on a regular basis against the United States; letters to the United Nations and elsewhere. Recently, they made a charge that we were somehow intentionally dropping bombs or incendiary devices to burn their fields. That kind of charge is ludicrous.

[Former Yugoslavia: Situation Update]

Q Richard, has the U.S. got an assessment of the performance of the United Nations in Sarajevo? Are you supportive of their efforts? Do you feel they've done the best job they possibly can? Or do you feel that they're not very good, as is reported in the Washington Post? MR. BOUCHER: As is reported -- sourced unnamed officials in the Washington Post? Q It is sourced to Europeans, and says that the United States State Department's patience with the United Nations operation is beginning to fray? MR. BOUCHER: Well, Jan, let me put it simply: General MacKenzie and his team are out there under very difficult conditions. They're making strenuous and courageous efforts to try to set up the humanitarian relief route that we have wanted, that others have wanted. The Secretary and we have said repeatedly that we support these United Nations efforts and intend to continue to support them. Q Do you still anticipate that the airport is to be opened on Sunday? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we ever said we anticipated that. Q I think the U.N. has said that. MR. BOUCHER: The situation now is that there has been an outbreak of more fighting; that there is very intense fighting near the airport, and I'd be glad to give you the whole rundown if you would like. Serbs are continuing their attacks on Sarajevo while talking about cooperation with U.N. efforts to reopen the airport. Such actions, as we said yesterday, earn them only stronger condemnation and isolation from the international community. Last night and today, Serbian forces have continued shelling and infantry assaults on Sarajevo. Fighting is now very heavy in the outlying districts near the airport and, clearly, the cease-fire is not holding. Serbian forces are focusing their assault against Dobrinja, another district adjacent to the airport where 30,000 residents have been cut off from the rest of Sarajevo by Serbian forces for about 10 weeks. People in Dobrinja are seeking shelter in stairwells and basements since they have no routes to escape the district. Serbian forces now occupy a district directly across from the airport, and several sources report that many local residents are now missing. Serbian forces continue to control Sarajevo airport, which remains closed. Fighting near the airport today forced U.N. officers to turn back from a scheduled further deployment there. I believe you've seen the reports that indicate the United Nations already have some people there. However, the United Nations talks to reopen the airport are scheduled to continue today. For details on that, I'll have to refer you to the United Nations. Q In a battle (inaudible) accountable you're missing, in a sense, of being carted off and sent elsewhere, has been happening? Is that sort of like dead, wounded, and missing? Or do you mean "missing" like maybe relocated forcibly, or do you know? MR. BOUCHER: I think at this point we don't know. Q Richard, just to follow my earlier question, then. Would you then dispute or negate the statement that says that Washington is angry with the United Nations for the way it's carrying out its operations in Sarajevo? MR. BOUCHER: Jan, I don't want to break my rule about not jumping up and down every time an unnamed official characterizes our views one way or the other. I've characterized our views here. We are strongly in support of the U.N. effort. We see their efforts as being brave and courageous on the ground, and we'll do everything we can to support them. Q The United Nations are saying, and your counterpart said quite openly yesterday that they have " a public relations headache" in Sarajevo. They're getting a lot of comments. MR. BOUCHER: If you want to ask him what he meant, you can ask him. Q Just for a reality check, what is the current, up to the minute U.S. position on use of force to reopen the airport outside Sarajevo? MR. BOUCHER: Our position has not changed, Ralph. Q Yesterday, Margaret was asked about the dumping of chemical weapons in the Baltic Sea by the Germans following World War II. Did you all -- MR. BOUCHER: I gave you an answer yesterday afternoon, I think. Did we get it up? Q It came out late. Q And the use of force has not changed since the last time it was publicly stated; is that correct? Or are you suggesting it may have changed privately and we don't know about that, but it hasn't changed since it changed privately? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, the Secretary, last night, read our position on the use of possible military assets used in support of the United Nations. He stated again and we stated it very clearly that that is envisioned by the United Nations as part of their efforts after a cease-fire. I have just publicly repeated again today our support for the efforts of the United Nations to achieve that cease-fire and get the airport open to humanitarian relief. Q Can I ask a question or two on Haiti just quickly? Yesterday, I was asking about reports from shippers in the Florida area -- Miami, particularly -- that they were unable to get even humanitarian shipments of aid to Haiti, partly because harbors are blocked up in Miami by shippers who are waiting for U.S. approvals under the new embargo. Can you give any comment on those delays, or the inhibitions on humanitarian shipments to Haiti? MR. BOUCHER: I think we gave you an answer to that yesterday afternoon as well. Q I'd like to hear you say it, if I could. Do you have anything to say about the delays caused by the United States Government to shippers who are trying to get humanitarian assistance to Haiti? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I would say that we have made many efforts to permit the shipment of humanitarian goods to Haiti; that we have provided a great deal of assistance -- of food and medical assistance ourselves; that we think we have set in place expeditious procedures for the clearance of humanitarian goods for Haiti. And if there's some problem that you're reporting to me about those procedures, I think you'd probably have to check with the Custom Service to find out what the delays might be. Q Does the U.S. think it ought to do anything to eliminate any of those, if there are such bottlenecks to humanitarian assistance? MR. BOUCHER: I would say, Ralph, that we think that we put in place procedures that should let it go expeditiously. And if there are any problems with that, I'm sure that the agencies involved will want to do what they can to eliminate those. Q I was going to ask you what a lobster lunch costs in the Executive Dining Room. The story about taxpayers paying for executives in the government, although they weren't pointing to the State Department. MR. BOUCHER: I don't know who they're talking about. We pay for our lunches here. Q Well, executive -- nothing that you or I could get into -- the Executive Dining -- MR. BOUCHER: The Eighth Floor, when I eat up there, I pay. When the Secretary eats up there with his staff, they pay. Q Does he pay more than $4.75 for a lobster lunch? MR. BOUCHER: I've never seen lobster up there, Barry -- either alive or dead. Q Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 1:35 p.m.)