US Department of State Daily Briefing #102: Monday, 7/6/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: Jul, 6 19927/6/92 Category: Briefings Region: E/C Europe, MidEast/North Africa, Subsaharan Africa, Pacific Country: Yugoslavia (former), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Croatia, USSR (former), Iraq, China, New Zealand, South Africa, Mozambique Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, State Department, International Law, Human Rights 12:00 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I have a housekeeping matter, a CIS update, and then I would like to give you an update on Yugoslavia. Housekeeping: There will be no State Department briefing tomorrow or Wednesday. Tomorrow, Secretary Baker will be giving his normal press conference there in Munich as part of the summit, and on Wednesday, it is my understanding -- please check with the White House because I don't make Presidential announcements -- there is the traditional press conference on Wednesday from Munich. So, we will not be having one here those two days.

[Former Soviet Union: Assistance Update]

CIS update: Humanitarian relief flights continue. Over the past week, U.S. Air Force C-l4ls delivered over $2 million worth of privately donated drugs, medical supplies and infant formula to Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The Administration is launching today a partnership for children and families in the New Independent States. A major focus will be on children with disabilities. The types of disabilities are retarded children, chronically ill or those children who need surgery. Twenty senior judges and Justice Ministry officials from eleven of the new states are in Washington attending a three-week seminar on the United States judicial system. The State Department's Human Rights Bureau is co-sponsoring this seminar. As we do every week, we have further details on any of these programs in the Press Office.

[Former Yugoslavia: Update]

On Yugoslavia: Shelling and sniper fire by Serbian forces continue in Sarajevo. The levels are down since shortly before the relief flights began last week, with the shelling picking up during the night and subsiding during the day. Fighting continues in northern parts of Bosnia. There has been continued sporadic shelling against targets in the vicinity of the airport, but not against the airport itself. Relief planes have been landing throughout the weekend and relief workers have been able to get supplies from the airport into town for distribution. However, United Nations officials in Sarajevo remain very concerned about the situation. What we could pull together for you this morning concerning the overall relief situation is the following information: Throughout the first three days of the United Nations coordinated humanitarian assistance airlift to Sarajevo, the following supplies have been sent: 267.0 metric tons of adult food; 98.0 metric tons of baby food; 54.5 metric tons of adult medicine; and 5.0 metric tons of pediatric medicine. The United Nations hopes to have l2 to l6 flights daily carrying a total of l90 metric tons of food and medicine. It takes an average of 30 minutes to off-load the aircraft and another 60 minutes to bring the supplies to distribution centers in Sarajevo. As far as a breakdown of the United States' contributions, we have a rough estimate of all the metric tons of food that I gave you. I cannot be more precise. We just don't have that type of information. We think that probably of the adult food -- I said 267.9 metric tons -- approximately 46 metric tons were United States MREs. The United States has had a total of four flights. I don't have any additional flights to announce for you. As you understand, this system is -- it's a rotation pattern, and the people there on the ground with the United Nations determine the rotation. So we are in a rotation pattern. Yes, we will be doing additional flights when we are asked, but I don't have anything that I can announce right now. That's it. Q Do you have any -- MS. TUTWILER: I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I forgot one thing. Land convoys: UNHCR has planned four convoys for July 6th and four convoys for July 8th. Each convoy will consist of five trucks. Q Do you have anything on the new break-away state declared within the borders of Bosnia?

[Bosnia: Declaration of Croatian Canton]

MS. TUTWILER: Yes, I do. On July 3, a leader of the main Bosnian-Croat political party declared the formation of a Croatian "canton" within Bosnia, which would be called "Herceg-Bosnia," and have Mostar as its capital. We note that this declaration by Croatians in Bosnia was unilateral. The attitude of other Bosnian Croat leaders and that of the Bosnian Croat community toward the announcement is not clear at this point. The Bosnian President has rejected it. Like other evolving situations of this type, we, the United States, have stated some basic principles, and I will restate them again today. We will respect decisions that are made peacefully and democratically. Such decisions must be in accord with CSCE principles. There must be equal treatment of minorities and respect for fundamental human rights. The United States has consistently opposed any forcible changes in borders. These principles apply in this case as well. We repeat our basic policy: It is for the people of the area to resolve questions about their future peacefully and through negotiation. Q The question in this case, Margaret, is this helpful to the general situation to have one of the three contenders for the land declare unilaterally that they are going solo? Does this help the situation on the ground? MS. TUTWILER: Well, as you know, we are not trying to resolve the political situation on the ground. I'm not aware that I have any information that it is hampering the already difficult and dangerous humanitarian relief effort that is underway, that you know we are very supportive of and involved in. So, at this point, I can't connect the two for you. Q Also on Yugoslavia, have you seen the statement by the new Prime Minister of Serbia, Mr. Panic, asking for a l00-day period of forbearance against any further economic measures while he tries to straighten things out? MS. TUTWILER: I saw that briefly before I came to the briefing. I don't have any United States reaction for you. As you know, the senior officials have been meeting since last week in Helsinki prior to the head of state meeting this Thursday -- I believe is when it begins -- in Helsinki, and I don't want to venture what a United States policy or position would be concerning this. I believe it was a statement he made, Jim, that I saw just on the wires. So, I don't have an immediate reaction for you. Q Margaret, you talked about the UN being very concerned about the situation in -- presumably in Sarajevo and around the airport. Have you been discussing with the UN a point at which this concern would be translated into some kind of action to protect the ongoing airlift? MS. TUTWILER: If those conversations are going on, I'm not privy to them. I'm not aware of them. I know that over the weekend, just from press reports, that General MacKinsey, I believe, was rumored to have said that if the situation got so dangerous, he would obviously have to make a decision on whether to continue. But I'm not aware of conversations that may or may not be going on on the hypothetical of what do you do if General MacKinsey or whoever would determine on the ground that you had to cease this humanitarian airlift. I just can't answer that. Q Okay. What prompted your statement that the U.S. is very concerned about the situation? Is it General MacKinsey's statement, or are there some conversations that you are having with the UN, or what? MS. TUTWILER: What would prompt us is just a recognition of the fact that shelling is continuing. Sniper fire is continuing. Several United Nations workers have been very close to fire. You have all got colleagues who are reporting -- I read about one gentleman this morning who was fired at very close to where he was at the airport. So it is obviously not a, in some respects, very friendly atmosphere that the peacekeepers are in, trying to deliver to very needy people such basics as food. The shelling continues and sniper fire continues. So that's the only reason that I think, not only the United Nations stays concerned, but all of the countries who are participating in this effort. You don't want your people hurt while trying to help others. Q Margaret, you said the UN hopes to have l2 to l6 flights daily. I thought previously we were told the airport's capacity was for eight flights daily. Are you able to square that? MS. TUTWILER: No. This is not the correct address for that. I can't square it for you. I can only pass on the information that we are getting from our experts in Geneva and in New York. That's what I was told. Q On Mr. Panic, I heard him say today that he intended to remain a U.S. citizen, even after becoming Prime Minister. Will that be possible? MS. TUTWILER: I answered all of this, I believe it was last Thursday, and so I'd be happy to refer you to my own record. Yes, it is and we have many examples throughout our history of United States citizens who serve in foreign governments. I went through the legal terminology and exactly how this is done. Q Margaret, back to the Croatian enclave question, is it -- MS. TUTWILER: The canton? Q Yes, canton. Is it the Administration's understanding that this will be a nation to itself, or that it is going to link up with Croatia? MS. TUTWILER: We don't have an understanding. This is something that just happened over the weekend. You have seen it reported as everywhere from a "canton" to a "state." I don't have for you what the intentions are of the -- it's my understanding this was a political party that declared this. We don't even have right now what the views are of all the other Croatian leadership, and we certainly do have the view of the Bosnian leadership. Q Have we spoken with some of the Croatian leaders about this? MS. TUTWILER: I have no idea. I didn't ask. I'll be happy to ask that question. Q It just seems that the Administration is on top of this situation in Yugoslavia to such a degree that it would certainly have some sort of first blush opinion as to whether this is helpful to the process or hurtful, or whether we -- MS. TUTWILER: I did. I gave it to you. Q I didn't hear it. What was it? MS. TUTWILER: It was quite lengthy, and it pointed out that this was a unilateral step. It pointed out that the President of Bosnia rejects this. It pointed out our consistent policy -- and I named about five different things that are the basic principles that guide the United States concerning this type of thing. So, I felt that I did answer the question for you. Q So it doesn't meet our criteria -- the criteria you laid out? MS. TUTWILER: Well, I think that any -- you don't need me to do this for you -- but any forcible, unilateral act certainly does not meet the criteria that I think I just enunciated -- peaceful, negotiated, non-forceful. So, I mean, you have to do your own interpretation, but I can't see how you could get from "a" to "b" saying that it meets our basic principles of respect for minority rights and respect for not forcibly changing things, etc. I don't know how you can get there.

[Iraq: UN Inspection Team Denied Access in Baghdad]

Q Margaret, do you have any update on the situation with the U.N. team that's trying to gain access to -- what is it? -- the Ministry of Agriculture? MS. TUTWILER: I think it's Agriculture and -- what's the other name? Q Something else. I don't remember. MS. TUTWILER: It is. You're right. Let me get it. I can't remember which building it is. Irrigation. The current situation is that a U.N. Special Commission inspection team is currently being made to wait outside a government building in Baghdad where they have been denied access by the Iraqi authorities. The Security Council of the United Nations will consider this matter at 3:30 p.m. today. Once again, the Government of Iraq is refusing to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions. We deplore Iraq's failure to meet its obligations and emphasize that the Iraqi authorities must allow this inspection to proceed immediately. The Government of Iraq claims that building the team wishes to inspect houses the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. The United Nations Security Council resolutions clearly grant access to any location in Iraq which may contain information relating to weapons of mass destruction. The standoff began on Sunday morning Baghdad time. The leader of the team, Major Jansen, has reportedly left the site but six members of the United Nations Special Commission team 39, which is a combined chemical and biological weapon team, are watching the entrances to the building. Major Jansen and the other members of the team will continue with other parts of this inspection as the standoff continues. Q Related to that are series of charges that the British and American overflights of northern Iraq have been dropping flares or incendiaries? MS. TUTWILER: There was something about two weeks ago about wheat field burnings, and Richard answered that question at the time. I have nothing new; no new information on it. Basically, we dismissed it out of hand. Q Do you have anything on a New York Times report quoting an Administration official as saying the United States was involved in the abortive plot to overthrow Saddam? MS. TUTWILER: I don't discuss intelligence matters. Concerning those reports, I would say that something appears to have happened in Iraq, but we are not sure what. What I can say is that Saddam and his regime are unpopular and periodically there are reports of coup attempts which do not surprise us. Nor would we be surprised if he reacted to real or rumored threats with characteristic brutality. Q How do you see the formation of a Kurdish government in northern Iraq? You know, it was announced two days ago that eventually they will put together a government -- the Kurdish government -- in northern Iraq. Do you see that as a development -- MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of such an announcement. There was an announcement made of -- Q By the Kurds. MS. TUTWILER: -- a formation of a new government? Q Or for a Kurdish government? MS. TUTWILER: I'll have to check with the experts. I haven't heard of such a thing. Q Margaret, when you said that something appears to have happened in Iraq -- and that was in response to a question about the coup -- do you think there was, in fact, an attempted coup? MS. TUTWILER: I just can't go any further than the specific phraseology that I've chosen this morning. Q Is the United States in any way involved in any of these activities? MS. TUTWILER: I don't discuss any kind of intelligence matters. Q Have they been stepped up? Q Is it a policy matter rather than an intelligence matter? MS. TUTWILER: That is how I'm going to continue to answer this question. I do not discuss any types of United States intelligence matters concerning Iraq. Q In saying something appears to have happened, are you guiding us toward the possibility of an aborted coup attempt or the arrests that also have been reported? MS. TUTWILER: I wish that I could be more helpful than I'm in the position to be. I'm on a very short leash on this subject and a very specific script, and I am not going to get off of the script. I really only have one sentence to say concerning a New York Times article -- is what I thought you were asking me about -- about a possible coup against Saddam Husayn in Iraq. I don't have anything else that I can flesh out for you or talk about. Q Do you have anything on reported intensified security at the American Embassy in Amman? MS. TUTWILER: No, I haven't heard of that. Q That was in the same New York Times article. MS. TUTWILER: I haven't, unfortunately, read the article. Q What about the other New York Times report that the Administration -- MS. TUTWILER: I probably haven't read that one either. I read a lot this morning. Q I'm trying -- is sitting on -- MS. TUTWILER: What is this? Q That the Administration is sitting on reports about war crimes by the Iraqis during the Persian Gulf -- during the invasion and during the war? MS. TUTWILER: I heard about this report, also. What I can tell you concerning war crimes is how I recall this, which is that we answered any number of times throughout the war what our position was on war crimes. At the conclusion of the war, if you recall, the United Nations Security Council debated this for quite some time. In their final resolution, that I remember was about 14 pages long, they did not have in there pursuing war crimes. My understanding is the United States Government -- the Defense Department is the depository of any types of information that come our way, that we collect, etc. But, as I recall -- pulling up out my memory -- the United Nations itself, when they laid out all of these resolutions, did not keep in the suggestion of war crimes that at the time was not a United States suggestion. I can't remember whose it was. Q Well, the question is, why not release this report of the information that the Pentagon has compiled from various sources? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know the legalities of this. That, I did not look into. I'll have to find out. The Defense Department, it's my understanding, is the depository of all types of information like this, whether it's Iraq or other situations. I don't know what the legalities are of making it public. I just will have to check -- or maybe DoD can answer that. I don't know. Q That's what I was going to ask. Is the Defense Department where we should go to ask those kinds of questions? MS. TUTWILER: I guess, since they're the depository of it, but I'll be happy to ask here also. Q The point is that there's no policy review here about the U.N.'s decision not to pursue war crimes? MS. TUTWILER: No, not that I have any knowledge of. As I recall, throughout the war, as I said, we were very careful -- and Secretary Baker has answered this himself a number of times, and President Bush -- as I recall how they answered it is that if you have a war crimes policy that you're pursuing, I believe that it requires doing certain things that this Administration was not interested in doing. I believe that we were very clear -- because I know I got asked it a number of times myself -- what our views were about war crimes. I do not recall that the United States was the one at the Security Council who suggested that it should be in this final resolution. I just can't remember who did. Once it was not part of the United Nations resolution, it went away as far as I know. Q Margaret, do you have an update on the effectiveness of sanctions against Iraq? How do we assess that as of today? MS. TUTWILER: No, I don't. I'll be happy to ask somebody. We haven't done that in weeks, so I'd have to ask. Q Any progress with the Jordanians in terms of their compliance with the embargo and the fact that they should secure their border a little bit more? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have anything new on that subject, no. Q Margaret, do you have anything on the news that the Chinese are about to try a former senior government official related to the events in Tiananmen Square? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. We have seen repeated reports that the Chinese intend to try Bao Tong. We are concerned that Mr. Bao receive a fair trial. We have raised his care on a number of occasions with the Chinese, and have made very clear to them our belief that when Mr. Bao is tried, international observers should be allowed to attend the proceedings. We will continue to press the Chinese for information about this case. Q Have they yielded on the question of international observers, as far as you know? MS. TUTWILER: Not to my knowledge, no. Q Did you hear anything here, Margaret, that you can tell us about -- about whether they're making progress toward a trade agreement at the Economic Summit? MS. TUTWILER: I don't answer Economic Summit questions here. They're answering those in Munich. Q Two other topics: I finally get to ask a New Zealand question. Prime Minister Bolger responded to President Bush's actions last week about the nuclear situation and said now the way could be open for American ships. Do you have any response to that? MS. TUTWILER: Number one, Connie, I wasn't aware that President Bush had sent the -- is it the Prime Minister? -- a letter, so I -- Q It wasn't a letter; it was the President's comments in his news conference Thursday. MS. TUTWILER: I, unfortunately, missed those specific comments. I'll be happy to look at the transcript, but I think the White House would be the place to answer it. Q If you could get some follow-up on Bolger's statements, though, I'd be grateful. And also -- MS. TUTWILER: Okay. I'll look at it. Q -- can we shift now to South Africa, the crisis in South Africa? Do you have any comments on the breakdown of talks, the rejection by the ANC, the threat of strikes -- the general situation? MS. TUTWILER: I really don't have anything new. Secretary Baker answered this a number of times last week for us. Our policy remains, that we think it's very important that the talks resume. We will do whatever we can to encourage both or all parties to resume those talks, and we hope that the talks get going again and very soon. Q Secretary Baker said that the President had communicated with both de Klerk and Mandela and that both had responded positively to his offers. MS. TUTWILER: He did. Q Has it moved beyond that stage? Have we counter-offered something positive? MS. TUTWILER: No. I believe it's right where it is when Secretary Baker made these comments. I think they were on Wednesday. I don't think anything has moved over the weekend. Q Do you mind asking them for some more guidance, because they're really -- MS. TUTWILER: I did this morning. Q Because there were a lot of events over the weekend, though -- MS. TUTWILER: There was -- as you rightly point out -- there was an offer made by President de Klerk, which you obviously are very familiar with. There is a response that's being awaited from the ANC. So I did check this morning on the update of the situation in South Africa. There isn't any more to tell you today, and our overall policy has not changed since the Secretary enunicated it in his briefing on July 1. Q The ANC has rejected it. MS. TUTWILER: My understanding is the ANC responded that it could not return to talks unless the government abandoned its assistance on a minority veto and took action to end violence. So they are still, Connie, obviously, in the process of a lot of back and forth. We don't have anything additional for you this afternoon. Q Also on southern Africa: Have you seen the report that there may be a breakthrough in the talks in Zimbabwe about a settlement in Mozambique? MS. TUTWILER: No, I haven't seen that particular report this morning. Q And on Mozambique, the Secretary saw President Chissano -- Thursday, was it? I guess the 2nd of July. MS. TUTWILER: I think it was Thursday. Friday was a Federal holiday. Q Did you ever do a readout on that? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know if we did nor didn't. Joe (Snyder) says we did. Q Could we have that, too? MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me? Q Could we get that after the briefing? Would that be possible? MS. TUTWILER: (TO STAFF) Did we post it on Thursday, do you remember? I think it's in there. But if not, we'll get it for you. Q Any date for the next round of the peace talks? MS. TUTWILER: Right. Good try. Q Any reaction to Rabin's proposal that Israeli voters would have to give their seal of approval to anything that came out of the peace talks? MS. TUTWILER: That's also a very nice try. We are maintaining this week, as we did last week, our very careful discipline on saying absolutely nothing concerning the situation until they have had an opportunity and their government is formed. Q Take the question for next Monday, or -- MS. TUTWILER: Probably not. You'll probably reask me next Monday. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (Press briefing concluded at 12:25 p.m.)