US Department of State Daily Briefing #109: Monday, 7/27/92

Snyder Source: State Department Acting Deputy Spokesman Joseph Snyder Description: Washington, DC Date: Jul, 27 19927/27/92 Category: Briefings Region: Eurasia, MidEast/North Africa Country: USSR (former), Iraq Subject: Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, Mideast Peace Process, Nuclear Nonproliferation l2:45 P.M (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. SNYDER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to begin, if I could, with a couple of housekeeping items. First of all, it gives me great pleasure to introduce two new members of the Press Office staff. First is Julie Reside, our new Press Officer. Julie has been an employee of the State Department since l975; and she has served in various U.S. missions abroad, primarily in the Middle East but also in Japan and France. Before joining the Press Office she completed an assignment as Special Assistant in the Department's Bureau of Legislative Affairs. She's a graduate of Saddleback Community College in California. I would also like to introduce Julianne Shinnick, our new Press Assistant. Julianne's prior assignment was as Operations Assistant in the Executive Secretariat's Operations Center. She is a graduate from Binghamton University in New York, where she majored in political science.

[Former Soviet Union: Update on Assistance]

I'd like, since it's Monday, to do our update on relations with the New Independent States. In the area of humanitarian assistance, I have some cumulative figures on what Operation Provide Hope II has achieved to date. Over $l05 million worth of medicines and medical supplies, and $29 million worth of Department of Defense excess food stocks, have been delivered to 22 different cities in all l2 of the New Independent States. In addition, DOD has transported over $l2 million worth of privately donated food to the new states. Our monitors have detected no diversion of donated food and medicines. Deliveries have been targeted at hospitals, orphanages, and schools. In another area -- that is, of nuclear reactor safety -- Russian and Ukrainian nuclear industry officials met with senior staff from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week in Washington. These meetings are the first under a $25 million nuclear safety initiative which was announced by Secretary Baker in Lisbon. A six-member U.S. team will travel to Russia and Ukraine in early August to discuss the establishment of nuclear reactor safety training centers in those countries. As always, details on these and other initiatives can be -- you can pick them up in the Press Office after the briefing. I'll be happy to take your questions now.

[Iraq: Update]

Q Could you bring us up-to-date on the situation concerning Iraq, and could you tell us whether the Secretary's planning to meet with the President tonight on that subject? MR. SNYDER: Let me give you a little bit on this. I'm going to take off largely, as you could imagine, on what the President and others have been saying. The President has discussed this quite thoroughly. On the question of the Secretary meeting this afternoon, my understanding is "Yes," but I must say I didn't specifically check that. The President is due back late this afternoon, but the press has reported a meeting. I'll see what I can find out specifically. I did not ask that question. As the President said yesterday, "Iraq's belated announcement that it will allow the United Nations Special Commission to carry out an inspection of the Agriculture Ministry in Baghdad does not alter the fact that for some three weeks Saddam Husayn flagrantly violated Security Council Resolution 687. Nor does this announcement change the fact that Iraq deliberately and callously harassed and abused the U.N. Inspectors seeking to carry out that mandate." The President went on to say that while Saddam has bent to the will of the U.N., "The real test of his behavior will be in future U.N. inspections. Behavior along the lines we've just witnessed will not be tolerated." The Government of Iraq has intentionally refused to comply with its obligations under the U.N. Security Council resolutions. I'd like to run through those obligations, if I could. --Iraq has sought to conceal its weapons of mass destruction programs from the U.N. and the IAEA. --It has refused to participate in the work of the Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission. --It has refused to account for Kuwaiti citizens seized during the occupation. --It has refused to return stolen Kuwaiti property. --Iraq has refused to renew the Memorandum of Understanding with the U.N. and stepped up harassment of U.N. officials and humanitarian agencies operating in the country. --In flagrant violation of Resolution 688, Saddam has increased persecution of the Iraqi population, including recent use of jet fighters against the Shi'a and maintaining an economic blockade on the north. --The Government of Iraq has also refused to accept U.N. Security Council Resolution 706 and 7l2, which would allow for the sale of oil for food and medicine for the Iraqi people. Our goal remains full Iraqi compliance with all the requirements of the resolutions of the Security Council. I understand the Council is meeting this afternoon to begin its periodic review of Iraqi compliance with the requirements of the resolutions. This review is carried out every 60 days, pursuant to Resolution 687, to determine whether the necessary conditions exist for a lifting of the sanctions regime against Iraq. This will be the Council's fifth review. At each review thus far, Iraq has been determined to have failed to comply and the sanctions regime has been maintained. Clearly, Iraq is not in compliance with the requirements of the relevant Security Council resolutions as I've just outlined. Q Joe, there was a lot of talk about using all available options and no doors closed, et cetera, before the agreement on the Agriculture Ministry. Is there going to be any talk about some kind of action against Iraq as a result of these things that have already happened and were known to have happened yesterday, or are they going to have to engage in some new provocation before the crisis resumes? MR. SNYDER: Well, I think the President was very clear. We expect Iraq to fulfill all of its obligations, and I think it's also quite clear that all options remain open. Q But, Joe, what specifically is going to be done to make sure that Iraq adheres to the U.N. regime? MR. SNYDER: I understand there's a meeting this afternoon. That's going to be -- you know, precisely we'll be discussing that. Q But in the previous -- in the crisis that ended yesterday, there were ongoing negotiations between the U.N. Special Commission and the Iraqis. There seems to be no contact between the U.N. and the Iraqis on this whole host of other violations that you've alleged. How do you get this started? MR. SNYDER: Well, the U.N. is in pretty constant contact with Iraq on each one of these. I mean, there were discussions on the renewal of the MOU. The Boundary Commission was in touch with the Iraqis, urging them to join the work of the Commission. And all of those -- it's been more or less not necessarily continuous contact, but there has been contact between the U.N. and the Iraqis. And, I mean, the point is, and I think it's very clear, that the message the President was sending was we expect the Iraqis to comply with their obligations. Q Joe, does anybody expect that there's going to be anything found in this agricultural office now that it's been opened up or about to be opened up? MR. SNYDER: Well, let's see what happens when Dr. Ekeus and his team get in there. Q Is the fact that Americans aren't being allowed to enter the building O.K. with the State Department? MR. SNYDER: We support the work of Ambassador Ekeus. Q Joe, the answer that you put out Friday on fixed-wing aircraft was somewhat ambiguous. It's clear that they are not allowed to fly north of the 36th Parallel. But is the use of fixed-wing combat aircraft south of the parallel in violation of the cease-fire agreement? MR. SNYDER: The way the Iraqis are using their fixed-wing aircraft in the south right now is clearly a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 688, and that's what's important. Q And is this -- are these violations continuing, or were they -- are they now finished? Are they still flying? MR. SNYDER: I don't know. I didn't specifically ask, but my understanding is that this campaign continues in the south. I don't know -- I didn't ask the question specifically today, but it has been ongoing recently. Q Could you find out if the violations are current and continuing? MR. SNYDER: We'll check into it. Yes. Q Joe, in the same country, the Kurds, could you say why the Secretary is planning to meet with Kurdish leaders this week? There's been some suggestion that it might be political. (Laughter) MR. SNYDER: Well, the Kurdish leaders are all politicians. That's right. (Laughter) In that sense, yes, I'll agree with you. Q No. Not in that sense. MR. SNYDER: The delegation that he will be meeting with, the date and time have not been locked in yet. But he has agreed to meet with a delegation of Iraqi opposition. This delegation represents a broad range of Iraqi opposition groups. We strongly support the opposition's call for elections throughout Iraq, so that the Iraqi people can freely choose their representatives and a government that reflects the pluralistic nature of Iraqi society. We do meet regularly with representatives of the opposition, and this is part of that effort. Q But isn't this a ratcheting up of putting it to the Secretary of State's level? MR. SNYDER: The Secretary has not met with these folks before, as I understand it. Q Right. MR. SNYDER: This is the first time he's done that. You can put your own interpretation on it. Q I can? You don't mind if I do that? (Laughter) I mean, you have no rebuttal to this allegation that's out there that Baker is meeting with them in a political year for political reasons, and he would not have met with them otherwise. MR. SNYDER: I think that his meeting with them is a sign of the seriousness with which we take their cause. We support what they're doing. We support their efforts, and the Secretary of State meeting with them is one means of underlining that support. That's what's important. Q Joe, is he going to offer any sort of increased support -- financially or however? MR. SNYDER: Let's wait and see what happens at the meeting. I'm sure we'll be able to give you a rundown on what happens. Q Joe, are they going to be meeting with other agencies of the U.S. Government or other foreign embassies such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia while they're here? MR. SNYDER: I don't know. You might check with other agencies. Q Are they available for any discussions with us by any chance? Are their names available, for example? MR. SNYDER: I do have the names. I can give those to you. The delegation is expected to include Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan; Massoud Barzani, the Kurdish Democratic Party; Laith Kubba, who is a secular Shi'a intellectual; Mohammad Bahr Al-Aloom, who is a Shi'a religious figure; Salah Shaikhly, who is a secular Sunni nationalist; and Arif Abdul Razzak, former Prime Minister and air force commander, the leader of a failed coup in 1965. Q Joe, following on Johanna's question, earlier you voiced support for the deal worked out by Dr. Ekeus. But didn't the State Department say in recent days that it would not allow Iraq to dictate the composition of the inspection team, and hasn't Iraq effectively been able to dictate that composition? MR. SNYDER: Ambassador Ekeus discussed that yesterday when he made the announcement, and I think he answered that question quite adequately. The composition of the team was established by the U.N. -- by the Special Commission. Q On another subject, has there been any agreement on a date for the resumption of the Arab-Israeli talks? MR. SNYDER: I don't have anything to announce today regarding either the date or the site for the talks, other than to note that we expect them to resume in the latter part of August, as Deputy Secretary Eagleburger suggested yesterday. Q It's the latter part of August now? MR. SNYDER: Yes. Q Because Baker said the early part of August, didn't he? MR. SNYDER: I think if you look at the record, Secretary Baker didn't say specifically anything about -- Q He said early August. Q He said August 10. MR. SNYDER: Early August? O.K. I guess I didn't read the transcripts as completely as you did. In any case, we expect the talks to resume in the latter part of August. Q Do you have a date for Rabin's coming to this country? MR. SNYDER: I think you ought to check with the White House on that. Q Could I follow up on that, please, on the peace talks? MR. SNYDER: Sure. Q We have a statement here for July 19 from the Secretary of State, and he said, "We have agreement with respect to -- we have agreement now with respect to the bilaterals on a venue. That was a problem which held us up for some time." It was our understanding that before the parties left Washington the last time, everybody was in agreement that it would be other than, and the place was announced as Rome. My question is, when did it become a problem? Who requested a change of venue back to the United States? Did the United States ask the Israelis to accede to this? And at what level do you expect these discussions to take place? Would it be on the Foreign Minister's level? MR. SNYDER: As I said, we don't yet have any formal announcement on either the date or the site, so I'm not going to get into explaining why the talks will be held -- when and where they will be held. Q Did the United States ask the Israelis to change the venue from Rome? MR. SNYDER: I'm really not going to get into that. Q On Iraq again -- MR. SNYDER: Sure. Q The President yesterday indicated that he wants Iraqi compliance in a timely fashion. This has been going on for a very long time. Does the U.S. support some type of timetable or a date -- fixed date that Iraq should start complying? MR. SNYDER: The President, I think, was asked that question yesterday, and I'm not going to go beyond what he said. Q Thank you. MR. SNYDER: Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:00 o'clock)