US Department of State Daily Briefing #115 Monday, 8/10/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Aug, 10 19928/10/92 Category: Briefings Region: E/C Europe, MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia Country: Yugoslavia (former), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, USSR (former), Iraq, China, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Tajikistan Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, Human Rights, CSCE, State Department, Nuclear Nonproliferation, Trade/Economics, International Organizations 12:47 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Former Soviet Union: New Independent States Updates]

MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. If I can, at the beginning, I'll start out with two brief mentions of items from our update on assistance to the New Independent States, and then I'll give you the update on all the efforts we're making with regard to Yugoslavia, ICRC access and U.N. resolutions. On significant events in the New Independent States for the week ending today, let me just note four humanitarian assistance flights aboard U.S. cargo aircraft were completed during the last week. Medicines and medical supplies worth $10.3 million were collected by Project Hope, Massachusetts Hospital Association, Texas Children's Hospital and the United Armenian Fund. The flights went to Moscow, Kiev, Tyumen, Russia; and Yerevan. And as far as technical assistance goes, a nuclear safety team from State, AID and the Department of Energy departed on August 1 for Russia and Ukraine to discuss nuclear reactor safety initiatives that were announced at the May Coordinating Conference in Lisbon. And, of course, we'll have more details on all those things available for you in the written statement that we usually put out on Monday.

[Former Yugoslavia: Updates on Specific US Initiatives]

Opening of Detention Centers for ICRC Inspection]
Now, if I can, I'd like to run down the areas that we mentioned last week that we were going to make proposals and take initiatives in, and try to update you on each of them. The most important, of course, is gaining access by the International Red Cross to places of detention inside Bosnia and elsewhere related to the fighting in the former Yugoslavia. ICRC President Sommaruga has received a letter from the Bosnian Serbs confirming access to all Serb-controlled facilities. The letter did not suggest that the Serbs were prepared to turn over the facilities to the ICRC. But the Bosnian Serbs claim that they will make it possible for the ICRC to visit Omarska, one of the camps where abuses have been reported, and that this includes providing security for the ICRC delegates. Bosnia's Serbian leadership admits to controlling 12 facilities, and the ICRC is working to visit all 12 of those. We continue to insist that all parties in the Bosnian conflict must open all detention centers to ICRC inspection and, of course, to end human rights abuses that may be occurring there.
[U.N. Human Rights Commission]
On the U.N. Human Rights Commission: The call by the U.S. Government for a special session of the U.N. Human Rights Commission has won support from more than the required majority of the Commission's 53 members. In fact, at least 35 members have formally indicated their support for the U.S. initiative. This special session to consider the human rights situation in the former Yugoslavia will be held this Thursday and Friday, August 13 and 14, in Geneva. This is the first time that the U.N. Human Rights Commission members have approved invoking the special session mechanism, and the United States intends to press the Commission to take early concrete action to deal with the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in that region. The U.S. delegation will be headed by International Organization Affairs Bureau Assistant Secretary John Bolton. And, of course, Morris Abram, the Ambassador who is U.S. Permanent Representative to U.N. Organizations in Geneva, and Ambassador J. Kenneth Blackwell, the U.S. representative to the Commission, will also be part of our delegation.
[CSCE Meetings]
On CSCE meetings: There were basically three issues for the CSCE. The first one was telescoping what is called the human dimension mechanism so that we can get a CSCE rapporteur out there. On Friday, we submitted a formal request for an emergency meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials. This request was submitted to the Czechoslovak Chairman-in-Office of the CSCE. We continue to press for a meeting as soon as possible. Our Ambassador to the CSCE has been consulting with the Czechoslovaks today on this issue. At this point we don't have a time for this meeting, but we've also instructed all of our Embassies in CSCE countries to support the request in capitals. We think that sending a rapporteur mission to the area should be among the subjects discussed at that meeting. There was the question of the CSCE fact-finding in neighboring, adjacent parts of the former Yugoslavia. There was a Swede-led CSCE fact-finding team that has spent the last week in Belgrade, Kosovo, Sandjak and Vojvodina. They expect to report to the CSCE during about the middle of this week. And at the Committee of Senior Officials meeting, which we've asked to be scheduled as soon as possible, we would also expect to discuss their mission and we would ask for a regular CSCE presence in the former Yugoslavia in these areas, as proposed by our President. And then the other question that we would expect to see discussed at the CSCE meeting would be the question of neighboring countries, and this is one of the items that we want to see on the agenda of the CSCE Committee of Senior Officials meeting as soon as we can get it. I'd also note in that regard that the EC has been also looking at this issue, and the United Kingdom, as the EC President, has approached neighboring countries but awaits agreement from the parties. We're remaining in close touch with the United Kingdom on this as well. And, as you know from what we've said, the U.K. -- the United States also believes that monitors should be placed in Macedonia. On tightening the sanctions enforcement, particularly with regard to monitors in Romania, our Embassy in Bucharest is working with the Government of Romania to support them, in organizing a meeting of interested participants in Brussels as soon as possible.
[Diplomatic relations}
Diplomatic relations: We're moving ahead immediately to establish full diplomatic relations with the three states that we announced -- Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina. Over the weekend, the President sent letters proposing the establishment of full diplomatic relations. We instructed our posts to transmit the letters as soon as possible. Relations will become effective with each state upon its acceptance of our proposal. Included in our letters were expressions of the importance of respect for human rights principles and, in the case of Croatia and Bosnia, we've reaffirmed the importance we we attach to ensuring access by international organizations to detention centers. We've not yet received responses, but we expect to see responses fairly quickly.
[NATO]
At NATO: NATO authorities have been meeting in various NATO committees to discuss how best to support the efforts of the U.N. Secretary General and others. We've also had discussions at NATO with the NAC-C partners who are interested and who may be able to assist in some way. NATO authorities are reviewing options and they're planning for what NATO might do to assist in ensuring that humanitarian assistance gets to those in need. And, finally, at the United Nations: The United States and EC members of the Security Council have reached agreement on the proposed text of a resolution authorizing all necessary means to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance. We've discussed the resolution with other members as well. The actual text will be presented to the other two permanent members of the Security Council, to the Secretary General, and to other members of the Security Council during the course of today. We expect, also, to be able to move forward rapidly with the war crimes resolution. That text is -- we have proposed a draft text, and we're working on that with the EC members of the Council. And that's the update. I'd be glad to take your questions. Q Any idea when the ICRC might have access to the camps in Bosnia? MR. BOUCHER: No. I've checked. We don't have that information -- you know that they've received this expression from the Bosnian Serbs -- the willingness to make the arrangements for the visits -- and they're working on that, but you'll have to find out from them exactly when those visits can take place. Obviously, our opinion would be that they should happen as soon as it's possible. Q Now that you have an agreement on the wording of that U.N. resolution, could you tell us for the record here what you mean by "all necessary means" to deliver the humanitarian assistance? MR. BOUCHER: That is something that is being looked at, is being discussed among governments. It's being looked at in places like NATO where they're planning and reviewing options for what they might do to support the U.N.'s effort. And, no, I don't have much more detail to provide for you today than, for example, the President did over the weekend. Q Richard, at this point does the State Department feel that the international community is responding to this situation as rapidly as it can? MR. BOUCHER: I would say in general, yes. I mean -- you know, I'm quite sure -- I'm not -- I don't want to say that everything is going as fast as is physically possible, because certainly that's the way we think most of these things should move. But, yes, everything is moving very swiftly. As I said, we have agreement with the EC, countries of the United Nations, on the next resolution and we think we can move very rapidly on the war crime resolution as well. We're doing everything within our power to get ICRC access -- international neutral access into all places of detention. So we think that many of those things are moving forward very rapidly. Q Richard, when do you expect the U.N. to vote on this use of force resolution? MR. BOUCHER: I can't give you a time for a vote at this point. As I said, it will depend on -- well, as I didn't say -- but it will depend on the reactions that we get from other members. We'll be going to the other members of the Council, including the two permanent members and to the Secretary General, with the text today. So we'll see what the reaction is. Clearly, we would like to move this forward as fast as possible. Q This week? MR. BOUCHER: We would like to move it as fast as possible. Q You talked about consultations in NATO. You expect then that NATO would be the implementing arm for any military force under this resolution? MR. BOUCHER: No, not necessarily. NATO's looking at what it might do. As you know, there's a request, I think, from the Secretary General to the CSCE that was asking for NATO and the WEU to look at different things that might be possible, and the President has said that we would get NATO involved in looking at what NATO might do. So I don't want to claim that NATO would be an exclusive agent somehow, but certainly NATO has a lot of capabilities, as the President and the Secretary mentioned in the past. And we think it's appropriate that they look at what they might do. Q On that point, Richard, over the weekend Eagleburger said that the force that's being contemplated would not be either NATO or WEU. Would it -- would NATO then just be -- play a logistical role or what? MR. BOUCHER: I don't remember that from the Eagleburger's transcript of -- Q He was saying -- MR. BOUCHER: Whatever he said is right. I'd have to look it up. Q Yeah. O.K. (Laughter) Well, anyway, what is being envisioned -- a logistical role or what? MR. BOUCHER: Again, at this point the planning is going on. We're looking at it. The people at NATO are looking at it. I'm sure people in other governments are looking at it, and probably in other organizations as well. I don't propose today that I'm in a position to lay out for you in any more detail how exactly we would go about using all necessary means to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance. We're working hard on getting the U.N. resolution, and there is planning going on at the same time. But I'm not in a position to spell out all the details, and, as you know, this question was asked of the President several times over the last few days, and I'll just have to limit it to the level that he put it at there. Q Richard, could you give us any sense of what would trigger the use of "all possible measures"? I mean, are you satisfied, for example, that sufficient amount of food and medicine is getting into Bosnia at the present time under the circumstances of the airport being opened (inaudible)? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have the whole U.N. resolution. I'm not sure that there is some specific trigger. I mean, the point is that we all believe that it's important that humanitarian assistance be provided; that we've been providing that; that we've been providing -- you know the U.S. flew some flights in there in April to get some humanitarian assistance into Sarajevo. We've been providing it along with other governments under the U.N. flights that have been going on. The point of the resolution is to say that this is very, very important and has to continue, and that we're willing to look at other necessary measures, if that's necessary, to ensure that the deliveries occur. Q Is what's getting in enough? MR. BOUCHER: Let me go in and tell you what the situation is with flights and with some of the convoys.
[Flights
On flights: The airlift resumed to Sarajevo on Saturday. There were 20 relief flights that delivered 235.6 metric tons of humanitarian goods. Four U.S. flights were included in that total, and they delivered 54.3 metric tons of goods. On August 9, which would have been Sunday, 21 flights delivered an estimated 271.2 metric tons of relief goods. The United States flew three flights delivering 41.5 metric tons. Today, the early reports indicate that the airlift is running smoothly, and as many as 24 flights may land by the day's end. Let me point out something else, which I note is relevant to your question, and that's the UNHCR has assessment teams that departed for the former Yugoslavia on August 8. These missions will perform a needs assessment in the sectors of health, food, nutrition, shelter and local and humanitarian program implementation capacity. The teams will visit Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia, and the assessments will result in an updated statement on financial and personnel requirements for humanitarian programs in the former Yugoslavia. So that will be a way of examining whether what is going in is enough, and where the other needs are that we might take care of. If I can just do convoys, I'd like to mention two convoys: UNHCR in Split reports that ten Swedish trucks carrying 90 to 100 metric tons should arrive today in Sarajevo. The trucks are carrying MREs, beans and wheat flour. An American Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance consultant is accompanying this convoy. It's expected to return to Split tomorrow. The next UNHCR convoy is scheduled for tomorrow. UNHCR expects to send ten to twelve trucks carrying about 60 metric tons from Split to about 30 miles west of Sarajevo. Q Richard, a couple of quickies on -- well, first on the use of force. In the U.S. view, this U.N. resolution -- would it restrict force, if necessary, to humanitarian assistance, or could force in the U.S. view be applied for other humanitarian reasons? One example that comes to mind, of course, is Governor Clinton has suggested the use of force to open the camps. That's not strictly delivering food, but it's certainly a humanitarian part of the picture. Is the U.S. view -- I'm repeating myself -- is the U.S. view that force should be restricted to -- or the threat of force should be restricted to deliveries of food and medicine, or are there are other humanitarian spheres where force might reasonably be applied, if necessary? MR. BOUCHER: I think if you look, Barry, at the way that we have described it over the past several days, that it was -- the resolution would enable the use of force, the use of all necessary means, to create the conditions so that humanitarian assistance can be delivered to those who need it. I think General Scowcroft and maybe, I think, Acting Secretary Eagleburger were asked about this over the weekend, and they said that it could involve a variety of measures that were necessary to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance. I would note that the resolution -- the text that we're now working with on this -- does refer specifically to detention centers or camps or places like that. Q Excuse me. Does or does not? MR. BOUCHER: It does. The resolution that we're working with now deals with the provision of humanitarian assistance into Bosnia, including to places of detention, if that's necessary. Q I had another quickie: The U.S. approves of, obviously, the resolution. You support it. MR. BOUCHER: It's the resolution we're working to -- It refers to camps, yes. Q All right. Now, there's a raging debate in Germany, and I wonder if the United States has a position on Germany -- you know, the use of German force. The Germans are taking a rather expansive view of their constitution now because of what they see as a nightmare, and -- MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware that we've taken a position on the use of German troops or whatever -- Q You are in NATO, but you don't -- the U.S. doesn't have a specific position on whether German forces could be used in Bosnia? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware that we've taken any position on something like that. Q If I could just clarify this, Richard. Are you suggesting that this resolution would, in fact, allow for the use of all necessary measures, including force, to actually drive up to a detention center and force your way in to make sure that they've got enough food and medicine, and to make sure that there aren't things going on there which are untoward? MR. BOUCHER: Barrie, at this point I don't want to get into hypothetical scenarios. The scenarios as we've discussed in terms of the delivery of assistance -- what people can do and what's the best way to do it -- is being studied by us, by NATO and by a variety of other people. The resolution has always had to do with the provision of humanitarian assistance, not just to the Sarajevo airport or to one specific way of land convoys, but rather in general throughout the area, and it includes a specific reference at this point to the camps. But what specifically needs to be done under that resolution, what the best thing is to do to carry it out, those will be the things that have to be determined by those involved over the course of the coming days. Q Richard, can you at least tell us exactly how this -- the camps are referred to, though? You say there's a specific reference. Can you give us the wording? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have the exact text with me now. Q Can you take that question and get us the wording? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure if I'll be able to give it to you before it's tabled up at the U.N., but I'll see. Q Is the U.S. widening its view of what constitutes humanitarian aid? Forgive me, you may have mentioned this before, but I thought you added "shelter" today. That was sort of a new concept to me, that the international community was going to begin to deliver not just food and medicine, but also make provisions for housing. MR. BOUCHER: Excuse me. I don't -- did I add shelter? Q You used the word "shelter." Q You said that the U.N. assessment teams were going to go over and look at needs, including health, food -- MR. BOUCHER: Well, I didn't tie those teams specifically to this resolution. I mean, this is certainly one of the things that -- the needs everywhere is something that they look at, but -- Q I guess it's a piece of the previous question. I mean, the question is, do we view this as a narrow or a wide resolution? Do we intend to use this peg of "humanitarian aid" to do some other things? MR. BOUCHER: Again, exactly what is going to be done under the resolution is not something I can define in any great detail for you here. It's a resolution which, as you know, ever since it's been discussed in early July when the President talked about it at the G-7 and the G-7 endorsed the concept of using all necessary means, was a resolution dealing pretty generally with the provision of humanitarian assistance. Now, there are going to be some other things specifically mentioned in the resolution. I mentioned today that the detention centers or the camps would be mentioned in that resolution. But, as you know, again the discussions by Eagleburger and Scowcroft over the weekend on TV and what we've generally said is that this provides for doing what's necessary to ensure that the conditions necessary to deliver humanitarian assistance are met; that we can do what it takes to get humanitarian assistance to the people in need. That's the basic principle, and that's the principle that you will see carried out in the language in various ways. Q Richard, the President, I think, said at the end of last week that he wanted to us all means available to find out what was going on in those camps, and there was some discussion in your briefings last week about knowing what's going on and not knowing what's going on. Do we know -- does the United States Government know any more about what is going on in those camps than it did a week ago? MR. BOUCHER: I think there have been other reports and other statements by people involved. There have, of course, been the visits of journalists to some of the camps that have been widely reported. But at this point in terms of what the most important thing was, and that's getting the ICRC into the camps, no, that hasn't happened. So I don't say that there's any more definitive information now than there was about a week ago. But, of course, we are looking for all the information that we can get. I think the President and others have mentioned that we were going to use our intelligence assets and other means of collecting information, and we're sponsoring things and pushing for things like this Human Rights Commission meeting that we've got now scheduled for Thursday in order to collect all the available information. And then, finally, I would mention the effort underway with the war crimes resolution that we've described before as one to get all states to provide corroborated or substantiated information to the U.N. Security Council. Q Richard, on the topic of camps, detention camps, we asked you last week about this July 3 memo from the U.N. Human Rights Commission. You said you would look into it and see whether -- MR. BOUCHER: Yes. I think subsequently the U.N. -- it wasn't Human Rights Commission; it was U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees -- the UNHCR, not the UNHRC. UNHCR, High Commissioner for Refugees, held a meeting on July 3 in a place in Bosnia and apparently provided some information at that meeting. We didn't have anyone at that meeting, and I checked around, and we didn't get that. But I think they, in their press release, listed the ICRC, among others, who they gave the information to. Q So -- Q Excuse me. Just let me follow up quickly. So at that point the United States didn't have an inkling that the detention camp situation was starting to boil up and become -- to reach the level of brutality that we're now seeing? No information from that report or meeting was discussed here in this building? MR. BOUCHER: Sid, I would say that while we didn't have information on that, I think we have made clear through the steps that we've taken about "ethnic cleansing" and the denunciations that we've made -- the Secretary has called this a humanitarian nightmare; in mid-May in London and Lisbon announced the sanctions that we were imposing and the steps that we were taking to start what has become a successful effort to get some of the tightest United Nations sanctions that exist. So I don't want to say that we weren't aware of the horrors. We certainly were aware of many terrible things taking place in connection with the forced expulsions, and I think if you go back over the record, you will see charges by various parties about people being kept for detention; about people being kept hostage in order to swap people with other groups. The ICRC, I think, reported about April or May that they had successfully arranged the release of a number of people in detention. The question that has arisen more recently in about the last ten days or two weeks is that what are the practices and what are the abuses that may have been going on in these detention centers. What you've seen in the last two weeks is a lot more specific information and specific charges about what might be occurring in these places; and what you've seen is a response by the world community with the strong initiative of the United States to get to the facts, to get the ICRC in there to do their job and to do everything possible to see that the abuses, if there are any, stopped. Q Richard, how would you assess the prospects for passage of the U.N. resolution? You say you still need Russia and China and some others? MR. BOUCHER: I don't like to make predictions, but we certainly feel that this is an important issue that the international committee -- the international community -- should be with us on. As I say, we've gotten an understanding with the European Communities' members on the Council and we will be discussing it with others. We certainly think it's a resolution that's deserving of everyone's support, and we'll be pushing it as quickly as we can. Q Richard, not to beat it to death, but I'm still a little bit -- I need a little clarification. What is it that the U.S. isn't ready to say or doesn't have enough facts to deal with? As you stated it before, and you did the same thing last week, you're vehemently against "ethnic cleansing," and all these terrible things that have been alleged. But it's correct, you don't know exactly what's going on in the camps? In other words, until the Red Cross gets in, or whatever it is, you won't -- MR. BOUCHER: Until the Red Cross gets in or we get more information from other sources. I noted -- we've all noted that there were some press reports, including film footage of people who were emaciated; some pictures of beatings and things like that. But at this point, there have been charges. There's been some information. But, really, to know in more detail what's going on in those camps, we don't know yet. There have been reports in the press of systematic killings taking place at the camps. Those are the kinds of things that we can't confirm at this point. We think the best way, first of all, to reveal the truth and the information, and, second of all, to make sure that these kinds of things don't occur, is for the ICRC, the International Red Cross, to get in there because they serve the function not only of looking at the situation and making sure that the camps are operated in a humane manner, but they can also register prisoners and keep track of people and keep abuses from occurring. Q And the people who have -- I guess some people have gotten out of these camps. The U.S. has had access to them, and that still isn't enough to give you a comfortable picture of what's going on? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, at this point I would just have to say that we don't have a good picture of what's going on. We don't have confirmation of some of the things that are reported. We do see more and more specific information coming out, and we certainly think that that justifies the major effort that we are making to get the ICRC in there, to get others in there, and set up rapporteur missions and other things to find out exactly what is going on. Q Richard, the U.N. human rights meeting later this week, what specifically are you trying to get this group to do? You say you're going to call for concrete action. Concretely, what do you mean? MR. BOUCHER: There are a number of things that this organization at this meeting can do. First of all, the provision of information is something that's important. Second of all, I think we mentioned that the U.N. Human Rights Commission could send a reporter of some sort -- I guess they call it a "rapporteur" there as well, someone to look into this situation. Certainly, they will probably be other things that we'll be dealing with on the agenda there, but I can't -- I don't have a full agenda for you, but those are examples of some of the things that this group can do. Q But the Commission doesn't have any power to do anything, does it? Once it finds out that there have been abuses, what could it do? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know precisely that in institutional terms. But I think it could certainly find out what the -- the members of the Commission could certainly decide what the appropriate action was. Q On the war crimes, does the draft resolution refer specifically to the former Yugoslavia, because -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't quite know what the question is here. Q The question is, there are some nasty things happening in other parts of the world as well -- Somalia, Iraq -- that you've talked about yourself. Would that war crimes resolution -- MR. BOUCHER: Well, there's a separate war crimes resolution on Iraq that was passed some time ago.* I think this is one dealing specifically with the kinds of reports that we've seen and the kinds of events that have been taking place in the former Yugoslavia. Q Richard, anything to tell us about the Secretary so far as any personal involvement? Maybe you did this at the beginning of the briefing, but he has Rabin duty and Kennebunkport duty. But in New York, or since -- I suppose they're in Maine by now -- did he get on the phone or talk to anybody about the resolution or about the situation? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I'm aware of, Barry. But he is in Kennebunkport with the President and Prime Minister Rabin. I'm sure if he's doing anything up there, that question can be asked by your colleagues up there. Q And the usual -- I mean, the same question as week. You get these statements from Panic and other people that they're going to do such-and-such, like open the camps. Are they in touch with the U.S. Government and putting any of this in writing or making any of these vague promises specific and credible? MR. BOUCHER: Well, the point, Barry, is that it has to be put in writing and the arrangements have to be made with the International Red Cross. The Bosnian Serbs have sent a letter to the head of the Red Cross, and they are, we hope, making arrangements to visit the 12 camps that the Bosnian Serbs recognize, to visit those as soon as possible. They specifically did say that they would make the arrangements for them to visit the camp at Omarska where many of the abuses have been reported. But I reminded people today, and I'll make this point again, that it's very important that all detention centers, operated by any of the parties, be opened up and that specific arrangements be made for the International Red Cross to visit all the places of detention. Q Richard, over the weekend the Foreign Minister of the Serbian republic of Bosnia made pretty specific threats about retaliation by Serbs outside Yugoslavia in case of an intervention by the coalition. He said that he had received word and that these people were willing to attack nuclear power facilities in Europe. Is that something you all are aware of? Do you have anything to say about that? MR. BOUCHER: I think I saw reference to the remarks. But, no, I don't have anything particular to say about them. *Note: Security Council Resolution (10/90) refers to violations of the 4th Geneva Convention and other international covenants. Q Do you have anything on camps operated by people other than Serbs? MR. BOUCHER: I mentioned last week -- I think a week ago Monday, if I remember that briefing correctly -- that we did have reports that there were camps being operated by Bosnians and Croations, but that we didn't have the kind of reports of abuses there. We hadn't seen the kinds of reports of abuses there. Nonetheless, we think it is important that all places of detention be opened up, and we've tried to make that point today. Q But the camps are still reported camps? I mean, both the abuses are reportedly, and whether they even exist is still a "reportedly" case a week later; is that what you're saying? MR. BOUCHER: I'd have to check, Barry. Q Do you know if the camps exist? MR. BOUCHER: I think several of the parties have admitted to having places of detention, and I assume that we do know that places of detention exist and are operated by other parties as well. It's the same question of what goes on in there. But it still makes it very important that the Red Cross have access to all of them. Q Do we have any sense of numbers? You mentioned a number on the Serbian camps, and I wonder if you have one on the other? MR. BOUCHER: Well, I mentioned a number that the Bosnian Serbs had told the Red Cross. I mean, there are other statements that have been made. The Bosnian President or the Bosnian Government has circulated a list of 105, I think it is, camps -- 94 of them in Bosnia and 11 outside. So I didn't want to say that that number 12 is necessarily definitive. There are different numbers coming out of different people for the numbers of people who might be detained or the number of camps that might exist. At this point, I don't have anymore definitive numbers for you. Q Richard, could I ask a question about the activities of the only Slavic member, or permanent member of the Security Council, which obviously is a very important country in all this -- Russia? They recognized Macedonia, which we haven't. Is your recognition of Bosnia-Hercegovina according to the original boundaries? What specifications were made with regard to recognition since most of the country is no longer under the control of the government? MR. BOUCHER: I think we went through that last week. The recognition of the state of Bosnia-Hercegovina was done in April. What we moved last week on is the establishment of diplomatic relations, and there's been no change in terms of our position on borders, and that's borders shouldn't be changed by force and any changes should be done peacefully and democratically. Q A follow-up on that: Has Russia been one of the 35 who have signed up for the Human Rights Commission? MR. BOUCHER: Let me see. I had a list when it was 32. If they're not on this list, it doesn't necessarily mean they're not one of the 35. Q Could we get that list? MR. BOUCHER: If I can get it added to 32. They weren't on the list when it was 32. But, as I said, when we checked back again, a half hour later, there were 35, so I'll see if I can get the list of all 35 for you. Q Is there a date set when the camps have to be opened? Was that date discussed? MR. BOUCHER: We haven't set some sort of outside deadline as to how long people could delay. We frankly think it should take place immediately, and that's what we're pushing for. Q I'd just like to button up one point on the question of humanitarian aid, Richard. There is no thought being given to expanding a notion of humanitarian aid to any kind of weapons to protect themselves -- that sort of thing? MR. BOUCHER: I think the President addressed the issue of weapons over the weekend and there's no change in that. Q Richard, do you have anything on the PLO-Israel -- MR. BOUCHER: I'm going to leave Israel questions to Kennebunkport. So, no. Q On Yugoslavia: While this is taking place in Bosnia, there are at least two other areas that are considered very explosive, namely, Kosovo and Macedonia. What, if anything, is the United States and the international community doing to try to head off a further spread of this civil war to those areas? MR. BOUCHER: Don, I think if you were here at the beginning, you heard me talk about the President's -- one of the things that he proposed last week was that there be missions to -- and observers -- to try to make sure that there wasn't that spillover, specifically, in Kosovo, Vojvodina, Sandjak, and the other one on the list. And that in fact, the CSCE has had a team out there to look at these areas; that we will be proposing at the CSCE Committee of Senior Officials meeting that we expect to have, we will be proposing a means of making that a regular presence so that those areas are monitored. The President also talked about trying to prevent spillover to neighboring states. I think I mentioned the European Community has been discussing that with neighboring states and that we're in close touch with the U.K. and that as well, we had thought, we had believed, that monitors should be placed in Macedonia as well. So we are concerned about this possibility of spillover of the fighting, and it's something that we've been addressing at the CSCE and the President addressed further last week and that we're carrying out. Q Beyond the monitors, is the United States taking any kind of diplomatic or other initiatives to try to prevent this eruption in those areas? MR. BOUCHER: I guess what I would say, Don, is that our initiatives overall in relation to stopping the fighting is designed to stop the fighting where it is and not allow it to erupt. We've been in close touch with neighboring governments throughout the crisis. As I said, we've been working with Romania, for example, on sanctions enforcement. We've been working with other governments in the area all along. Q Do you have any report on the meeting that the British and, I guess, together with the Secretary General of the U.N., have called for late this month? There have been some suggestions that this be moved up; other suggestions that the people attending it should be increased and questions about who is going to attend. What is happening on that front? Do you know? MR. BOUCHER: I think I talked about it a couple of times last week. The meeting has been called by the British, I think as EC Presidency country, as well as with the U.N. Secretary General, that they will jointly preside -- I don't know exactly how to describe the arrangements, but they will. We do expect to attend. I don't have the definitive word at this point on who will attend for the United States. But it's a meeting to try to organize the parties and point, again, to the possibility of a peaceful political solution to the conflict as well as, I assume, deal with other issues that need to be dealt with at that time. Q Does the U.S. have any position as to whether that should be advanced in time? MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't really heard that proposal; so, no, I don't. Q Richard, do you have any update on Iraq, on the U.N. inspectors? MR. BOUCHER: The basics. In Iraq, the U.N. Special Commission Team has completed its second day of inspections today. They have not at this point reported any problems to date concerning their on-going inspection. The team has a list of sites to be inspected. Our understanding is that they will work through it. Of course, I have to refer you to UNSCOM for more specific information. I'd just say that we expect Iraq to continue to allow the U.N. Special Commission immediate and unimpeded access to any site that the inspectors choose, and that is what is required from the U.N. resolutions. Q Richard, when you said, they did't have any special -- you mean so far as getting access, or they didn't find anything suspicious, or both? MR. BOUCHER: Those are questions you have to ask them. My understanding is, they haven't encountered any problems in access or in carrying out their work so far. Q You meant access? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q Can I ask are there contingency plans in case the crisis resumes? MR. BOUCHER: You can ask, but I don't think I have an answer for you. Q Richard, I know you don't have specifics on what they did, but can you say whether they did or did not visit any government ministry? MR. BOUCHER: I have to leave it to the Special Commission to do that. Q Where are these questions put to the Special Commission? MR. BOUCHER: I think in New York. Q In New York. You don't have a list of the places they either visited or feel they have rights to visit? MR. BOUCHER: Would you like to give it to the Iraqis so they know where these guys are headed? Q No, but I'd like to know if Saddam -- yes, very much. MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry, Barry, but it's not for me to talk about the sites that they will visit. I want to make very clear the view of the United States Government, that they have the right to visit whatever sites they choose to visit, but I'll leave it to them to talk in more detail about their work. Q I don't want to leave it at that, if I may. When you say they have the right to pick their sites, do those include, for instance, the residence of Saddam Husayn? MR. BOUCHER: The U.N. resolutions would provide that they can go anytime anywhere. Q You know why I'm asking? Because there are reports, particularly in Saudi Arabia, that they are asserting the right to visit -- to "visit," it's a great word -- to have access to Saddam Husayn's dwelling -- MR. BOUCHER: I haven't seen these reports from Saudi Arabia. I'd just go back to what we said, and that's they have the right to go anywhere they think it's necessary to conduct their work under the U.N. resolutions. Q Richard, about, I guess, two weeks already you had a long statement on the goings-on in southern Iraq. Anything new there? MR. BOUCHER: Southern Iraq: There have been press reports of Iraqi army deployments in the south. We're watching the situation closely, but I can't give you anything definitive at this point on any changes. We've seen no indications, in fact, that Baghdad has changed its policy of repression against the civilian population, which violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 688. There's not been a lot of change recently. Q Anything about fixed-wing aircraft? MR. BOUCHER: I didn't check on fixed-wing aircraft. I don't have a definite answer on that. Q What about in the north? Anything new on the Kurds, on interruption of supplies? MR. BOUCHER: Nothing new up there either. I think the basic policies and the stance of the Iraqi Government haven't changed. Q If you please, on China and the forced labor? Q Could I follow up on Iraq? About two weeks ago, members of the Iraqi opposition visited Secretary Baker and Mr. Scowcroft and made a number of requests. Has the United States told the Iraqi opposition whether and to what extent it will meet the requests that were made to it at that time? And, if so, what are they? MR. BOUCHER: We had a number of follow-up meetings with members of the delegations to discuss some of these issues in more detail. I'm not aware that we have firm replies, but I'll have to check on some of those things. Q My question is, U.S. replies to them? MR. BOUCHER: That's right. That's what you're asking about. Q On the China signing last week: So far as access, as I understand it, the U.S. if it is not satisfied with what the Chinese say is going on, U.S. inspectors can look at the plans or whatever. Do you know how much advanced word the Chinese will have before Americans make these inspections? The AFL-CIO is not terribly crazy about the agreement, you know, and thinks they're about half a dozen major flaws in it. One of them, they say, is that this inspection can be delayed a week or a month by which time all evidence could be removed. Is that a valid complaint? Or perhaps do you know anything about the timing of these inspections? MR. BOUCHER: What do you mean by "the timing?" Q Well, the U.S. has a right under the agreement, if I understand it, if we're not satisfied with what the Chinese say about how these goods are manufactured, whether they're being manufactured by political or other forced labor, the U.S. can send people in. The AFL-CIO says, "Sure you can, if you wait about a week or a month to do it." Are they right? MR. BOUCHER: I think -- again, I'm not an expert on this particular agreement. But I think the agreement says "promptly," or words to that effect. So I wouldn't expect any unusual delays to be involved there.

[Afghanistan: Situation Update]

Q Richard, do you have anything on what's going on in Kabul? Any update on the situation? Any reaction? Frankly, there's been a lot of bombardments and violence in Kabul. MR. BOUCHER: There's been a lot of fighting. We're, in fact, increasingly concerned about the continuing fighting in Kabul. Armed factions have exchanged heavy weapons fire now for the past several days. Reportedly, attempts to negotiate a cease-fire have broken down, although the factions are continuing their discussions. The reports indicate that fighting involves the forces of a Shia party and Sunni forces inside Kabul. There have also been artillery exchanges between Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's forces outside the city and the militia forces of Rashid Dostam. There have been reports of numerous civilian casualties and extensive property damage in residential areas. We deplore the loss of human life and we call on all sides to stop the fighting. We have urged all Afghan factions to establish a lasting cease-fire and to continue a political process to create a more permanent government acceptable to the Afghan people. We think that the Afghan people have achieved their freedom with the ouster of Najibullah and the formation of an interim government in April. It would be tragic if this victory were negated by continued internal fighting. The U.S. and other members of the international community are attempting to help the Afghan people rebuild their country, but we cannot do this effectively while fighting continues in Kabul. As you know, we don't have an Embassy in Kabul because of the security situation, but we are, at very opportunity, pressing the Afghan factions to conclude a lasting cease-fire. Q Richard, is the United States continuing to give humanitarian redevelopment aid to Afghanistan, or is this fighting making you think that maybe you ought to hold it in abeyance for a while? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know the exact numbers on the cross-border or the other humanitarian assistance which I believe has continued, but I did, I think, make clear in the statement that we're trying to help the rebuilding efforts that are necessary in that country and that that will be much more difficult. In fact, we don't think we can do it effectively if this kind of fighting continues. Q But the specific question is, would you halt your assistance if this fighting continued? MR. BOUCHER: Let me double-check and see if anything has been stopped, interrupted, either for policy reasons or by the security situation. Q A sort of a related question: There was a report today of some people who are smuggling arms from Afghanistan to Tajikistan being arrested. Do you have any sense of the magnitude of that kind of trade? MR. BOUCHER: Arrested where? In the United States? Q No. Arrested in Tajikistan. They were smuggling arms from Afghanistan. MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't seen that. I'll have to check and see if we have any information on what might be going on there. Q Richard, there are, again, reports that the Secretary of State might leave his position this week, right after the Rabin visit. I don't expect you have anything on that? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't, Johanna. The two people who might are up in Kennebunkport. Q What I was wondering about was whether anyone on the Seventh Floor, to your knowledge, has cleaned out their offices? (Laughter) MR. BOUCHER: I haven't done a check of everybody's desk drawers up there, Johanna. No, it's not something I would have an answer to. Q Richard, a quick one on Lebanon. When he was in Lebanon, Secretary Baker mentioned that he wanted the Taif Agreement to be implemented in spirit as well as in words. Is the assessment of this Administration that the electoral process in Lebanon is in line with the spirit of the Taif Agreement? You know, what's going now, the opposition by the Christians, the fact that they don't want to participate in those elections. MR. BOUCHER: Jacques, I'm not sure that's a judgment that's for us to make. The judgment on the process is for the Lebanese and the Lebanese voters to make. We do think that there needs -- we've talked about it before -- there needs to be adequate provisions for a free and fair election. That's what's important. That's what needs to be held. The timing and arrangements and things like that have to be organized by the Lebanese so that the elections can be free and fair. Q Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 1:36 p.m.)