US Department of State Daily Briefing #117 Thursday, 8/20/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Aug, 20 19928/20/92 Category: Briefings Region: E/C Europe, MidEast/North Africa, Caribbean, Southeast Asia Country: Yugoslavia (former), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, USSR (former), Iraq, Somalia, Lebanon, Syria, Cambodia, Haiti Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, International Organizations, Human Rights, CSCE, Mideast Peace Process, Democratization, Arms Control, Trade/Economics, OAS 12:59 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm sorry I'm late.

[Former Yugoslavia: Issues Update]

If I can, I'd like to start off with a brief update on some of the items we've been tracking with regard to Yugoslavia and tell you a few words about where we are in Somalia since that's important as well, and then I'd be glad to take your questions on other subjects. In terms of the International Red Cross gaining access to detention camps and detention centers, our understanding is that as of today they have registered 11,522 prisoners in 16 places of detention. Of these, 921 of the prisoners are held by the Croats, 955 are held by the Muslims, and 9,646 are held by the Serbs. I don't have the entire list of detention centers that they visited, but I suspect you can get that from the International Red Cross. On the U.N. Human Rights Commission Rapporteur Tadeusz Mazowiecki, he's currently in Geneva. He's conferring with officials of international humanitarian organizations. Tomorrow he will fly to Zagreb, along with a support team from the Human Rights Center, to begin his investigations. The U.S. Mission in Geneva has met with Mazowiecki. He assured us that he intended to meet the August 28 deadline for his initial report on his investigations and findings. The U.S. Mission offered to support his activities by providing an officer to accompany the Special Rapporteur to Zagreb, and this offer was accepted, and we have identified an officer who has been assigned to go with him as part of his support team. Q A Foreign Service Officer? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Somebody from our Mission in Geneva. On the CSCE, there's a CSCE steering committee meeting on the former Yugoslavia today in Vienna. They will consider further steps. They will plan for the rapporteur mission to detention camps, and they'll work on the placement of monitors in Kosovo, Vojvodina, Sandjak, Macedonia and other neighboring states. We do not as yet have a readout of that meeting. In going into the meeting, we're pressing to resolve these questions at the meeting today. Expectation is that they can name the rapporteur mission's chief, and that the rapporteur mission from the CSCE could leave by August 25. That's the one with the primary goal of gaining access to the detention camps. As you know, there's already been a CSCE mission visiting Vojvodina, Sandjak and Kosovo, but the placement of regular monitors in flashpoints and neighboring countries, we think might take a little longer to organize. A target date for that to happen would be by September 1. Another thing decided at the CSCE meeting last week was that the Chairman in Office, who is Foreign Minister Moravic of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, would go and travel to the former Yugoslavia. In fact, he met with Serbian leaders yesterday, August 19, in Belgrade. Today he plans to meet with President Grigorov in Skopje. On August 21 he is scheduled to meet with the Bosnian President Izetbegovich in Sarajevo, and he'll meet Croatian President Tudjman on August 23, and then return to Prague. His goals for this mission were laid out by the CSCE last week. First, to pass on the CSCE's strong political message denouncing human rights violations -- pass that message on to the Serbs -- and to call on all the parties to allow access to detention centers, to secure access for the early deployment of the various rapporteur and monitor missions that were agreed at the meeting in Prague last week, and to stress to all parties the need for full cooperation, and then finally to review the situation on the ground and report back to the CSCE. The other meeting going on -- I guess it was yesterday, actually -- was the meeting in Brussels on sanctions monitoring in Romania. As you know, we've been working with the Government of Romania, with our NATO and NACC partners to put international teams of sanctions monitors in place in Romania as soon as possible. The meeting yesterday was attended by all the NATO allies, by a number of the NACC partner states, and by Austria. The proposed monitoring mission, which is based on the Romanian initiative at the NACC, was discussed. For our part, the United States offered to support the effort with a contribution of personnel and logistical support. There's now a follow-up meeting scheduled for next week in Brussels, and we're continuing to work with the Romanians and other European states to see these actions take place, since they can promote full compliance with the United Nations resolutions and sanctions. And, finally, just one note on NATO. I think you remember NATO last week decided that the Military Committee should report back again to the Allies by August 24. In the meantime, NATO has established liaison with the WEU through Italy, which is now the Presidency country of WEU, in order to facilitate the coordination of our efforts, and we're continuing to review with NATO in other international fora and with other interested governments possible next steps to implement the U.N. Security Council's "all necessary measures" Resolution. I'll stop there for Yugoslavia. If you want to, I'll do Somalia briefly, and then we can go to whatever questions you have. On Somalia, I won't do the full rundown. I think over the past few days you've gotten from the Pentagon or from the briefers here a rather complete rundown. Just to update you on a few of the elements, I understand there are three U.S. C-141 aircraft that have arrived already in Mombasa, Kenya; that the C-141 flights are expected to begin as soon as possible from Mombasa to a place called Wajir on the Kenya-Somali border. About 18,000 tons of food has been identified in Mombasa for the immediate airlift. That food was supplied by the United States and other countries to the U.N. World Food Program. I've seen some reports of problems with the runway at Wajir, but I'm told that those have now been resolved. Obviously, the latest information can be had from the Defense Department. I'll stop there with the update, and go onto -- Q You remember last week, we were talking about Iraq? You were talking about how the U.S. was consulting with coalition partners, which obviously means more than the customary consultation with Britain and France. Could you give us any notion of how popular the U.S. approach to protect the Shi'ites is with the Arabs -- with the Arab members of the coalition, specifically? Do you have their support? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I don't want to speak for other governments in specific terms. I would say that we have been and we remain in close touch with U.N. partners, with coalition partners, including Britain and France and countries in the region on the appropriate steps to take in response to violations of U.N. Security Council Resolution 688 and Iraq's other violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions. I think you've seen concern expressed at the United Nations and elsewhere fairly consistently about Iraq's behavior and Iraq's violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. To go beyond that, I would leave it to the countries themselves to speak. Q It's not like I'm being nosey, because normally when you have support -- especially when you have united support or near united support as you did, for instance -- near united except for Jordan and some Palestinians -- in moving against Iraq two years ago, the U.S. Government is very happy to tell the world that its policy has total or near total support. Does your policy not have that -- MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I absolutely disagree with your characterization of what we've done. We have never tried to speak for other governments here. When we have seen other governments make statements, when other governments have voted with us in the United Nations, we've certainly always welcomed those statements. We've sometimes called your attention to them, but I wouldn't say that we've stood up here and tried to give you a rundown on who's in and who's out at any given point. Q You don't speak for other governments but you speak on how other governments respond to your entreaties, and you've entreated them now to join in this campaign, and I'm asking you -- and apparently I'm not going to get from you -- how your entreaty is falling on their ears. MR. BOUCHER: I would say at this point, other governments that we have talked to, including the list of people that I said which includes allies, concerned countries, and countries in the region, share our concerns about Iraq's behavior and we'll see if there's anymore that could be said, if we make an announcement at some point. Q When do you expect this no-fly zone to be implemented? MR. BOUCHER: When it's time. I have no way of predicting it at this point. Q Before it's implemented, I understand that there's no need in your view for a new U.N. resolution. But would there be any form of U.N. action in the form of a statement or some kind of declaration that would be handed to the Iraqis? How would it take place? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, Alan, I don't think I'm able to go into that. I would characterize the position we're in now as saying that we're still consulting and discussing many of these details with other governments. We're in a period where we're refining the details of timing and implementation. When that is complete, obviously, we'll have more to say about the implementation. Q Are your discussions technical and concerning operational details, or are they on the political principle of the thing? MR. BOUCHER: No. I think if you, for example, look at what General Scowcroft said last night and what various other governments have said, there's basic agreement on what needs to be done. We're still discussing some of the details about how to do it. Q So would you say that it's a done deal, that there will definitely be a no-fly zone erected, and it's just a matter of time? Q: (inaudible) Mr. Scowcroft? Q: Or should we watch television? MR. BOUCHER: You can watch all the television you want, Barry. I would describe it -- the way Scowcroft described it yesterday was accurate. There's agreement in principle. We're still working on some of the details. That's what I said again this morning. Q Richard, can you tell us, do you think it's fair to characterize this as a shift in U.S. policy, a major dramatic change in U.S. policy that the U.S. did not at one point think that it wanted to do this? And after the Gulf war, it had a lot of reasons for not doing this -- reasons that actually were articulated publicly by General Scowcroft at the time and now it thinks that it's a good idea to do this? And if it is a change in policy, why? MR. BOUCHER: Mary, I think some of your questions, since they're predicated on "do this," I think are better answered once we can explain to you in more detail what "this" is, and -- Q You already said that you've agreed to do in principle. MR. BOUCHER: -- we have to work out the details. So at this point, we're dealing with the basic principle. And I think the basic principle is that there is a United Nations resolution, which we supported and which the United Nations Security Council members voted for which deals with the repressions of its civilian population by Iraq. That's Resolution 688. It's the resolution that followed 687, which was the ceasefire. So I don't remember the exact date, but it was very early on. The situation is such that we've seen the kind of repression, the kind of attacks, the kind of bombing of civilian populations; the declarations by Iraqi Ministers that they were going to wipe out these people that would clearly, clearly -- that do and would continue to clearly violate that U.N. resolution. Our position has always been that these U.N. resolutions need to be respected. Q (Multiple questions) MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. Does somebody want to let me finish my answer, or we can go ahead? Our position has always been that these resolutions need to be respected, and that is the basis for action now. Q But, Richard, isn't there also a resolution on the books about war crimes against Iraq that has never been addressed? Aren't there things in the resolutions that haven't been enforced? MR. BOUCHER: I'd have to go back and look at that particular one. I think that our concerns, first and foremost, have to be for actions such as these which cause misery and hardship and loss of life. Q Weren't they doing that to them last year as well? Were the Shi'ites persecuted by Saddam Husayn last year -- MR. BOUCHER: Certainly. You're very aware of the fighting. Q -- where the U.S. Government took the position not to do anything at this stage? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, Barry, we'll answer -- perhaps we'll have more answers to some of these questions when we can define in more detail exactly what we're doing at this point. But the effort is one to effectively monitor that Baghdad is respecting the U.N. resolution that requires it to not repress its population. There's a population in the south that's at risk, and we think that steps need to be taken. Q Can you just, off the cuff, if you're able to -- maybe not so off-the-cuff because we've been involved with this for weeks now -- can compare the mistreatment this year to last year? Is it worse this year? Is the degree of it worse? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I can make that kind of comparison of misery, no. Q That would be one rationale for doing something that the U.S. Government chose not to do last year. MR. BOUCHER: I think, clearly, if you look at the van der Stoel report, the statement and information that Perkins and others discussed in front the U.N. Security Council, that you will see at least given the pattern of behavior in recent months that there has been an increasing intensity of attacks. There's been an increasing intensity of threats against this population that do violate and indicate the prospect of further violations of the U.N. resolution. That's what we think needs to be monitored and kept track of. Q Anything on fixed-wing aircraft recently? Have they used it in any way? MR. BOUCHER: The situation on the ground, I don't have -- well, I'm told that there haven't been any flights of fixed-wing aircraft south of the 32nd Parallel today. But, in general, the Baghdad regime continues to repress its civilian population in the marsh area in the south. There are continuing Iraqi army ground operations against citizens in the south, and they're continuing their efforts to divert water from the marsh areas. And, as I've said, these brutal actions are in direct violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 688. Q Richard, just to go back, to follow up on my original question, are you basically saying that there's been a change in principle in the policy but that's because the Iraqis have stepped up their acts of repression? The reason there's been a principle change -- MR. BOUCHER: The policy has always been to see that Iraq live up to the United Nations resolutions. We think that steps -- as General Scowcroft described them yesterday and I described them yesterday -- need to be taken -- as I've described them today, that steps need to be taken to effectively monitor that those resolutions are being respected. No-fly zone is therefore one way of doing that. And if there is a no-fly zone, then you don't want Iraqi aircraft in the area. That's the principle that we're dealing with here. So, I would describe it as a continuation of our policy to see that Iraq respects the U.N. Security Council resolutions, and it's necessary to consider these measures at this point because of the stepped-up effort by Saddam Husayn and his government to attack and kill and repress people in the south. Q Can we move to Yugoslavia? MR. BOUCHER: Sure. Q Let me just -- I want to ask about a Reuters story, actually. MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what the protocol is on that. Q Do you have any information about a new kind of Serbian offer to turn control of detention centers and prison camps over to the United Nations or some other international organization? MR. BOUCHER: There was a report that I think we got third hand that Serbian authorities were reportedly willing to discuss turning detention centers over to the ICRC, or somehow to the international community. The ICRC may have more information on that. I'm not sure. I think we stated before, our view is that the camps should be closed and the detainees should be released. Some of the reports indicate that there might be attempts to attach conditions to that, that the releases might be conditioned upon forced expulsions or relocation of non-Serb populations that were released. And, of course, we think that violates a basic principle here. We've condemned ethnic cleansing in all its forms, and we don't think there should be conditions on the release of people from camps when they don't belong there in the first place. Q Following you on Bosnian Foreign Minister Silajdzic's visit here and what he said at the end of that visit. Can I ask, what did the United States know about these so-called detention centers, and when did it know it? MR. BOUCHER: Alan, that's a question that maybe in your absence was asked by your colleagues a half dozen times, and I think we've answered it here many times as best we can, so I'll refer you back to the record. Q Richard, do you have any comment on the statement made by the so-called frontline Arab states in Damascus with regards to the peace process? MR. BOUCHER: I have not seen that statement yet. I just heard about it briefly this morning. So I don't have any kind of analysis for you, and I'm sure we'll want to hear from our embassies and our Ambassadors about it as well. As far as the peace talks, I can tell you a little bit about what we expect for that. The sixth round of the Middle East peace talks is scheduled to resume here on Monday, August 24 at about 10:00 a.m. Arrangements for the press will be the same as in previous rounds. You can expect stakeouts at three entrances. There will be still the same arrangement on meeting rooms, and we expect that they'll have their press conferences as usual, perhaps -- well, it's up to them to decide, and it will be the responsibility of them to name the places where to have that. Obviously, we welcome this round. The United States has worked hard to get all the parties to the negotiating table and to focus seriously on the issues at hand, and we're strongly committed to making the negotiations succeed and we will make every effort to assist the parties towards this end. Q There was a lot of talk by the Arab Ministers about raising questions as to the role of the United States as an honest broker. Do you have anything on that? MR. BOUCHER: Well, I just, I think, told you that we worked hard to get the parties to the table. We're strongly committed to making the negotiations succeed. We'll make every effort to assist the parties towards this end, so I would describe our role in the same terms as we've always described it -- honest broker, driving force, catalyst, making every effort to see that they succeed, doing whatever we can to help them. Q Do you plan to start out with any statements or anything? Will there be a more activist role this time because the omens are more positive than they were during the last talks? MR. BOUCHER: I don't necessarily anticipate any statements. We've always sort of stated our view in general terms and left it to the parties to negotiate and to state their view on what was going on in the negotiations. So, for example, I would not anticipate this time changing our practice of not giving readouts from this podium of the progress in the talks or commenting on every view that's stated by the parties in their press conferences. Q Do you know whether, because of all the personnel shifts, James Baker and Dennis Ross will be playing any role? How is it going to work this time? Who's involved? MR. BOUCHER: I mean, first of all, if you look at the way past rounds have operated, Ed Djerejian, for example, is the one who has met, I think most often, with the delegations. And, in fact, he expects to start meeting with the various heads of delegations over the coming days as they arrive. I'm sure he'll have meetings next week and throughout the talks. The Acting Secretary -- Acting Secretary Eagleburger is obviously available to be part of this and to help out as necessary, as he feels appropriate. The other people who have maintained such an interest in this process, like Secretary Baker and Dennis Ross, I'm sure will maintain their interest in the process. So we have the full team, I think, from top to bottom that's prepared to continue the United States role on this. Q What's happened to the other co-sponsor -- Russia? Have they bowed out? MR. BOUCHER: No. They're still co-sponsors, and we would expect to have them with us for the next round as they've been here before. Q Richard, there is a report in the Israeli press about an American proposal to break the deadlock on the Golan involving the U.S. military? MR. BOUCHER: There was some kind of report a couple of days days ago, and I'm just afraid I don't have anything for you on that. I think as a matter of principle, we don't comment on what may or may not have been part of our private discussions, nor have we tried to comment on every single press item out of the Middle East. Q But are you denying the truth of that report, or are you -- MR. BOUCHER: I'm just saying I'm just not going to have anything to say at all. Q Richard, can you go back to Yugoslavia for a minute? Q Can we stay in the vicinity? MR. BOUCHER: In the vicinity. Okay. Q Concerning the parliamentary elections in Lebanon, Richard. They've been calling on the Lebanese Government to conduct free and fair elections in Lebanon. Given the rising opposition and the boycott to the elections, do you still maintain the same position? Do you have a position on the boycott? Are you in touch with the Lebanese Government? MR. BOUCHER: I think I addressed that about a week ago. And, certainly, we're watching the situation. We're aware of the situation. We're concerned about the situation. We've always called for free and fair elections in Lebanon. We think that's very important, but some of the things have to be decided by the Lebanese parties themselves like timing and things like that. Q Do you have the same position on Syrian presence, whether the election should take place before or after? MR. BOUCHER: I don't remember if we've ever quite defined it that precisely. Let me see if there's something more we have to say than what I've just said. Q Richard, are all the parties coming here? Is that a fact now? No problems? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure I can guarantee it, Barry. We are going to be open. We're going to be ready for business. They've all accepted. Q (Inaudible) MR. BOUCHER: They've all accepted. We've told you that before in the past. Q You've just taken a bow for the hard work the U.S. has done to get the parties to the table. I just wonder if there's any doubt that they can all be here -- MR. BOUCHER: There's no doubt in my mind, Barry, but there may be in yours. At this point, let me just say, we're three days away. They've all accepted. We expect them to be here. Q (Inaudible) on the multilaterals, aren't they coming up soon, too? MR. BOUCHER: The multilaterals are coming up soon, and I don't have all the dates in my head, but I think it's about mid-September when they start again. Q One more on the region. Given our haphazard schedule, maybe you can address this: The reports that Syria has been test-firing scud missiles, have you said anything or do you have anything to say on them? MR. BOUCHER: I haven't said anything. Let me see if I can get you something. Q Richard, should these Lebanese elections take place, would the United States send monitors as it has to other elections? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know, Alan. Q Could you take the question? MR. BOUCHER: I'll see if there's anything I can say on it. Q Richard, can we go back to Yugoslavia for a minute now? MR. BOUCHER: Mary wants to go back to Yugoslavia. Q You didn't mention the upcoming peace conference in London. I wonder if you could tell us, is the United States going to that conference with its own proposal for some kind of solution to this conflict? And has the United States, or will the United States take any position on this question of cantonization of Bosnia-Hercegovina? Is it true that the EC's position is that they support cantonization, which there are stories today saying that the Bosnians are very concerned about this, and that the U.S. is against it? Is it true? Has the U.S. taken any position? MR. BOUCHER: I think we've got four or five questions in there. First, on the issue of cantonization: I think if you saw the readout that we did yesterday on Acting Secretary Eagleburger's meeting with Foreign Minister Silajdzic, you saw in there a very clear statement by Acting Secretary Eagleburger that the United States is opposed to the idea of cantonization. I think it's basically for a couple of reasons. First of all, that -- first of all, let me find my piece of paper. Let me mention three reasons. We think that cantonization would contradict CSCE principles and set a dangerous precedent. Second of all, we think that cantonization along ethnic lines in Bosnia would only reward Serbian aggression and that we should in no way reward Serbian nor Croation or anyone else's attempts to gain Bosnian territory through aggression. And, third, we've always said that we would support whatever the parties could work out peacefully. It's very clear that the Bosnian Government rejects cantonization so it's really not a viable option at this point. Second of all, Mary, you asked about the London Conference. I think we'll leave some more to be said as we go to the meeting itself. We have been in touch with the British and with other governments about the upcoming conference. Obviously, there'll be more to say there. I would characterize the conference as part of an overall effort of the international community to end the fighting, to end the killing, and to end the bloodshed. It brings together the full weight of the United States, the European Community, the CSCE, the United Nations, and other governments. The overall goals, I think, that we'd like to see come out of the conference are to press the parties to reach a political solution that's based on CSCE principles rather than continuing the violence, to obtain rapid action on the delivery of humanitarian assistance and immediate access to detention camps. And, third, to make efforts to prevent the spread of the violence. I think, in general, you can characterize many of our actions to date as directed at those goals; and we see this London Conference as a continuation of that in an effort, as I said, to bring the full weight of the international community together to try to achieve more movement towards those goals. Q Richard, just to follow up on that, do you see the international community -- the U.N., the U.S., the EC, the CSCE -- going into this conference with some sort of unified stand saying, "Here is what we think you ought to do"? Are they going there to listen to what the parties have to say about their own ideas? Do you have a blueprint? It sounds like there's some -- disagreement. MR. BOUCHER: There's a lot of discussion on what the conference is about and what the conference can achieve and, obviously, the hosts -- the British, on behalf of the EC and the U.N. -- are, you know, important for that discussion. I don't think I can, at this point, characterize it quite the way you did, Mary. I think we'll have to let those preparations for the conference proceed a little more before we start to characterize the kind of discussion there will be there; but, certainly, everybody is going to have a role: both the outside parties, and in particular the people from the territories. Q Richard, the Prime Minister of Thailand has said that there are Hmong people, born in Laos and with U.S. passports, who are entering Thailand to infiltrate into Laos, and are creating problems with the government there; and he specifically asked the United States to do something about these people to stop them. He says, "Washington should do more to oversee the activities of these people." If Americans do that -- if they were to go into Laos -- would they be violating any U.S. laws, and has Thailand -- Mr. Lambertson was to be called in by the Thai Foreign Ministry to discuss this issue. Do you have anything on this? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything on that. That's a new one on me. Q Could I ask you another question -- from the same region? There have been a lot of reports about the Khmer Rouge noncooperation in the peace pact in Cambodia -- MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q -- and there's a possibility that the whole -- the largest U.N.-ever -- peacekeeping operation will fall apart. Is the United States able to put any pressure on the Khmer Rouge or on China, who does have some influence with the Khmer Rouge, or on Thailand, which allows the Khmer Rouge access to its markets? MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think the answer is basically "Yes." And we are working on this; we have been working on this problem. We see the continued refusal of the Khmer Rouge to disarm and accept cantonment as a serious obstacle to full implementation of the military component to the settlement plan. In this case, it's a term that's been used -- Q What's the difference between "cantonment" and "cantonization"? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. We'll leave the scholars to do that one, but the "cantonment" is the term that's being used in these accords for the collection of military groups into one place so that they can disarm and turn over their weapons. And that's a good thing. (Laughter) To date, the U.N. -- UNTAC -- has disarmed and "cantoned" -- the verb -- over l5,000 non-Khmer Rouge forces. We and the other core group countries submitted a proposal to the Supreme National Council in June which sought to enhance the role of the SNC and accelerate UNTAC's control over existing administrative structures and which urged the full and immediate compliance on the part of all Cambodian parties with the Paris Accords. We understand that the Khmer Rouge, as part of the SNC, has not yet responded to that proposal. The U.N. Security Council adopted unanimously a resolution on July 2lst. That resolution improved efforts to continue to implement the agreements despite the difficulties, and it urged all states -- in particular, neighboring countries -- to provide assistance to UNTAC to insure the effective implementation of the Paris Agreements. At the time of the resolution, in explaining our vote, Ambassador Perkins stated that the international community cannot wait for the Khmer Rouge indefinitely and should be prepared to implement the Paris Accords with or without them. Clearly, if the Khmer Rouge continue to obstruct the peace process, we expect that the Security Council may have to continue further measures against the Khmer Rouge and consider those measures shortly. We have been working on this problem extensively. Some of the things I would mention is that we have been talking to the non-Communist Cambodian parties. We've been in touch with Security Council members; we've been in touch with other interested governments. I believe you'll find in the transcript of the Secretary's readout at the ASEAN meetings, at the ASEAN post- ministerial, that he discussed the problems in Cambodia rather extensively with Foreign Ministers there. Under Secretary Kanter met earlier this month with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister and he raised this problem with the Chinese at that time, as we have in other fora; and Acting Secretary Eagleburger, in fact, discussed this with the Japanese Ambassador just the other day. Q Can I follow up just a couple of things? When you say that you urged the neighbors to cooperate, to assist UNTAC, does this imply that you're not satisfied with Thailand's continuing to allow the Khmer Rouge to operate a, you know, a gem and timber exporting business across their border? And, also, at the same time, when you say that the Security Council may have to consider measures against the Khmer Rouge, what sort of measures are these? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, I'm not in a position to specify in any more detail either one of those things. Q Richard, there's a report in the L.A. Times that the United States is considering relaxing its support for the embargo against Haiti in exchange for promises that at some point in the future Aristide may be permitted to retain his title. MR. BOUCHER: Is this a new report, or this was a report last week like that? Q Well, there's a wire story -- MR. BOUCHER: A wire story. Q -- today. MR. BOUCHER: O.K. Well, in Haiti our position on the embargo remains the same. I think our position has been that when there's a solution, a new government, then we would be in a position to lift the embargo. There have been, as you know, humanitarian exceptions to the embargo; and there are licenses that come up from time to time -- food, pesticides, things like that -- that get approved for humanitarian purposes. So there is a certain amount of exceptions to the embargo because of the humanitarian reasons that we've explained before. There is currently the mission down in Haiti. OAS Secretary General Baena Soares and his delegation got to Haiti on Tuesday. They're meeting, as we've said before, with all sectors of Haitian society. And we've urged all Haitians to work constructively with the mission and resume a dialogue that can lead to the restoration of the democratic process. Q Well, could you take the question as to whether any further relaxations are contemplated? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, I would just answer that by saying our position on the embargo has not changed -- Q O.K. MR. BOUCHER: -- and, certainly, there will be licenses and exceptions from time to time, but the basic position on the lifting of the embargo has not changed. Q Do you have any reaction to the murder of the three high-profile Aristide supporters last night? MR. BOUCHER: Well, it's an act of violence that, clearly, we condemn. It's the responsibility of the de facto authorities, we believe, to condemn the killings, first of all, and to investigate them. That investigation should be prompt; it should be thorough. And they should prosecute those guilty to the full extent of the law. Q There's an Amnesty International report on Haiti out today. Do you have any reaction to it? MR. BOUCHER: I didn't know there was one, and I'm sure we haven't analyzed it yet. So, no. Q Can we do Somalia? The airlift, as I understand it, was supposed to have started either yesterday or today; and apparently it's not going to happen for a while. Could you explain why? MR. BOUCHER: Well, I'm not sure it's for a while, George. My understanding was that it was slightly delayed, but we're still hoping to see it start as soon as possible. Some people have mentioned Friday as a possibility, but I think the Defense Department will have to tell you that. I think we better check with the Pentagon on exactly what caused the delay. I think it was the type of aircraft they had there. As I say, they've got the C-l4ls down there and the eight C-l30s are still on their way. So it may have been the place they wanted to go and the type of aircraft. There was this question about the runway that they've, apparently, now resolved. Q So you, don't know -- you're -- MR. BOUCHER: In other words , I can't give you a full detailed explanation, but I think it has something to do with airplanes and runways and I want to let the Pentagon explain it. Q But you can't rule out security concerns? MR. BOUCHER: I asked about security and I was told we have no information that would indicate the security situation has changed markedly in recent days. There's chronic instability and banditry that continues throughout the central and southern areas of Somalia. Security, obviously, is a major concern in planning these operations; but the Defense Department has their planners out there already. They've been working on these flights for several days. I'm told there hasn't been much of a change in these last few days. Q So it's still dangerous. MR. BOUCHER: It's still dangerous; that's the answer. But they still plan to go ahead. Q Back on Yugoslavia one more time? You opened the briefing by talking about -- I believe it was -- the Red Cross; but, anyway, international observers -- MR. BOUCHER: Yes -- ICRC. Q -- who have now had access -- MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q -- and the numbers of prisoners and so forth. Has the United States reached any conclusion about whether these are, in fact, concentration camps and whether there is a systematic genocide going on behind those doors? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we have any conclusions at this point, Johanna. I mean we've all seen the reports by news people who have gone to these camps and seen what they've been able to find. I don't think that I can remember they felt they had substantiated evidence of systematic killings, although they certainly had ample evidence of very difficult conditions. I would have to leave it to the Red Cross to characterize their information; but if I remember correctly, at the U.N. Human Rights Commission meeting -- or around that time -- the ICRC did put out a statement on their own of what they had found at some of the most prominent of the camps where things had been reported. And I think at that point they, too, said that they had not found substantiated evidence of -- Q Well -- MR. BOUCHER: -- systematic killing. So I would say, at this point, you know, the horrible conditions that are in many of these places are amply demonstrated; but I'm not aware that we've, at this point, been able to substantiate some of the reports of systematic killing. Q So the reporting was incorrect? MR. BOUCHER: I would just have to say that, at this point, we can't tell you for sure. Q How about the -- do you agree with or do you have an opinion on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Staff Report? MR. BOUCHER: I am told we don't have a copy of the report. Yes. So I don't have a full opinion on it. I've been told a few things about it. I think, in general, I would just say that any efforts by anyone to collect information -- whether it's the media, the ICRC, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Staff, or anyone else -- are important to this. I think there was a statement a day or two ago that the ICRC said that they felt that the international spotlight that had been focused on the detention centers had helped them in gaining the access that they wanted and that they've needed. So as far as research goes, I think I would welcome that. Q But you're not -- MR. BOUCHER: I've been told there's also a certain amount of criticism of U.S. policy, which obviously I don't accept. I think the United States has taken the lead -- Q Richard -- MR. BOUCHER: -- for many months in denouncing ethnic cleansing and in leading to the sanctions and leading to the investigations that we're seeing now. Q How come you don't have a copy of the report? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I didn't have time to go check. Q It's kind of interesting. MR. BOUCHER: Maybe they gave it to you before they gave it to us. Q Is that -- MR. BOUCHER: Well, I checked with the Bureaus that would do the analysis and they didn't have one. Q Uh-huh. Q Would they like one? MR. BOUCHER: I'd be happy to have one, Johanna. I'll get it to the people who might want to look at it. Q Can't you just call them up? (Laughter) MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure we'll do that, John, but -- Q Just to go back, did you say how many camps the Red Cross has been into? I know you mentioned how many -- MR. BOUCHER: The latest number we have was l6 places of detention. Q So they've been into l6 camps -- MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q -- and the United States, you're sure, is in communication with them. And after going into l6 camps they're saying that they can't substantiate the Nazi-like atrocities -- or the United States can't substantiate the Nazi-like atrocities -- MR. BOUCHER: Sid, I think when the ICRC said it last week, they also said how many camps they'd visited at that point. And I'll leave it to the ICRC to describe what they've concluded from their visits to l6 places. But I'm not aware, at this point, that with the information that's come out from the media and elsewhere -- I'm not aware, at this point, that there are confirmed stories of systematic death camp kind of situations, although, again, there are many stories of terrible conditions. And we've seen, for months now, stories of death and terror and abhorrent things happening throughout these areas -- much of this associated with the practice of ethnic cleansing that we've been denouncing for months. Q Richard, Britain, two days ago, said that they're willing to send up to -- I believe it's -- l800 ground troops to ensure a convoy gets into Sarajevo. What is the United States considering at this point? What kind of commitment -- given the fact that the French have already committed 2800 ground troops? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. I guess I would say that, for our part, I believe the President has already stated that we're willing to contribute naval and air assets to the effort to get humanitarian assistance in. But, overall, I'd also point out that the NATO, WEU, and others are still working on this question of what are the best means -- military or nonmilitary -- of getting these -- making sure humanitarian assistance gets to those who need it. That's the mandate of the U.N. resolution, and that's what we're trying to do with our friends, allies, and other interested governments. Q Thank you. MR. BOUCHER: O.K. (The briefing concluded at l:40 p.m.)