US Department of State Daily Briefing #118 Monday, 8/24/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Aug, 24 19928/24/92 Category: Briefings Region: E/C Europe, MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, East Asia Country: Yugoslavia (former), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Macedonia, USSR (former), Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, North Korea, South Korea, China Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, Mideast Peace Process, Democratization, CSCE l:l2 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Former Soviet Union: Relations with the New Independent States]

MR. SNYDER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm sorry for the delay. Let me begin -- this is Monday -- with our update on relations with the New Independent States, and then I'll have a little bit of an update on the situation in the former Yugoslavia. On the highlights of what has happened in the last week in our relations with the New States, four humanitarian assistance flights aboard U.S. Air Force cargo aircraft were completed during the last week. These flights -- one of them had Project Hope, which provided $2.3 million worth of medicines and medical supplies to Irkutsk in Russia. On two of the flights, DOD sent excess stocks to Tbilisi, Georgia; Izhevsk, Russia; and Votkinsk, Russia; and the Children of Chernobyl Relief Fund sent $5.5 million worth of medicines and medical supplies to Kiev. As usual, we have a full run-down of the week's activities in the Press Office. In addition, I should add we have posted a notice that today at 2:30 p.m., in this Briefing Room, there will be an on-the-record briefing on recent U.S. Government assistance activities in Georgia, Belarus and Ukraine. The briefing will be conducted by David Hatcher and Heather Bomberger, who are members of Ambassador Armitage's staff. That will be 2:30 today in the Briefing Room, on the record. On Yugoslavia, first an update on the fighting situation. Media reports indicate that heavy fighting continued around Sarajevo yesterday and today, as well as in northern Bosnia and eastern Hercegovina. Reports also indicate that Bosnian President Izetbegovic has acknowledged that his forces are attempting to lift the siege of Sarajevo by military action. UNPROFOR, the U.N. Protective Force, has reported that the Sarajevo airport is open today. On flights, on August 2lst, there were 25 flights that delivered 276.4 metric tons of humanitarian aid to Sarajevo. Supplies consisted of food and medical hygiene material. There were four U.S. flights among these 25 that delivered 50.l metric tons of food. The airlift was suspended for about an hour when three mortar rounds hit near the airport control tower. There were no reports of injuries. On August 22nd, l8 flights delivered 2l9.7 metric tons of supplies, again food and medical hygiene material. Of these, 3 flights were American flights. We delivered 36.l metric tons of food and 2 metric tons of detergent. The airlift was suspended for nearly three hours after several mortar rounds hit near the airport control tower. Yesterday, eleven flights delivered ll8.4 metric tons, again food and medical hygiene material. We delivered a forklift to Zagreb but our flights to Sarajevo were cancelled due to weather. The airlift was suspended for about an hour for security reasons, and then was later closed due to poor weather conditions. On convoys, we don't have any update today for you. On ICRC access, we have no specific update, but we understand that inspections of detention camps continue. On the Human Rights Special Rapporteur -- this is former Foreign Minister Mazowiecki -- he and his team left Geneva on Friday for Zagreb and they plan to return to Geneva this Wednesday. The team -- Mr. Mazowiecki and his team -- are inspecting detention camps and conducting other investigations in preparation for his initial report to the Commission which is due August 28. We look forward to that report, which will be presented via the Secretary General to the Security Council. CSCE actions: The mission of the CSCE Chairman-in-Office, Foreign Minister Moravcik of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, ended yesterday. We don't have a report of his trip, but we'll try to get a readout for you later when we do have one. The CSCE Rapporteur Mission on detention camps: Sir John Thompson of Great Britain was named as head of the mission. He's a former Ambassador to the U.N. and an expert on the rights of persons belonging to minorities. His group will include representation from the U.S., Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, and Turkey. The Rapporteur Mission will coordinate closely with the U.N. Human Rights Commission and the International Committee of the Red Cross. They're both, of course, working on human rights issues. The group will depart for the former Yugoslavia on Thursday. The long duration missions -- these are the ones that were going to the hot spots of Vojvodina, Sandzak, and Kosovo -- the leaders of these missions should be named this week. The U.S. continues to push for the departure as soon as possible. The CSCE steering group has accepted the U.S. offer of an official to head the proposed mission to Macedonia. The name of the U.S. official should be announced in the next few days. No date as yet has been set, but we're pushing for departure as soon as possible. On the spillover missions: This is basically the missions where the EC has the lead. They continue preparations -- the EC does -- for the spillover missions to countries in the region of the former Yugoslavia. We expect these will be discussed in detail at the London Conference. And for further information, you should check with the EC. We continue to urge rapid dispatch of the missions and to explore ways we can contribute. I should add, in completion, I've gone over a number of facts here. The Acting Secretary left this morning for the London Conference. And basically this week, as we normally do, when the Secretary -- or, in this case, the Acting Secretary, is traveling, they will basically handle policy questions. We'll not handle them from the podium here. Okay. That being said, I'll be happy to take your questions. Q Joe, last week, when the Spokesman was talking about doing something to help the Shi'ites, it was said that there's support among the coalition members for doing something to help them. Is that support still strong? MR. SNYDER: Sure. Q All right. Because there's a report from the Persian Gulf that the U.S. is delaying its declaration because the Arabs fear that kind of action might splinter Iraq. Do you know of any change -- whatever the plan is, which I suppose you don't want to go into -- but do you know of any change in the U.S. approach to this problem? MR. SNYDER: I'm not aware of any change. We continue to consult with our allies, and Marlin (Fitzwater) addressed this over the weekend. He said that we would not take any action before the President explained our decision to the American people. Q But Marlin said that he expected that to happen as early as tomorrow. Does that still hold, or has there been a change now? MR. SNYDER: I am not aware of any change, but I'm also -- we're not announcing anything on that from this podium. It's going to come from the White House. Q Do you have anything to say on the peace talks starting? MR. SNYDER: Sure. A little bit. The talks between the Israelis and all the parties resumed this morning at 10:00 a.m. We see opportunities for real progress, and we've urged all parties to come prepared with serious, substantive proposals. As we've said from the beginning of the process, these negotiations involve complicated issues which cannot be resolved overnight. As in the past rounds, we don't plan to comment on the course of the talks as they proceed. You should look to the parties for discussions of their own views. Q Is it too early to ask you whether Secretary Baker will be engaged in these negotiations in any way? MR. SNYDER: Well, it's probably too late to ask me whether Secretary Baker is going to be engaged in the negotiations. Q Whether former Secretary Baker is? MR. SNYDER: You should basically check with the White House. Yes, he himself has said he will be involved. He'll be monitoring it. I don't want to paraphrase what he said. I don't have it front of me. But, for his involvement, I suggest you check with the White House. Q Also on the Middle East, do you have anything on the elections in Lebanon? MR. SNYDER: Before I do that -- remind me if I forget it -- I wanted to also do a little bit more on the peace talks. Assistant Secretary Djerejian is meeting with Syrian delegation head Mowaffak this afternoon at 4:30. He met with the head of the Palestinian delegation, Dr. Shafi, on Friday, and with the head of the Lebanese delegation, Ambassador Chammas, on Saturday. He will be meeting with the Israeli delegations on Wednesday, August 26. Assistant Secretary Djerejian expects to meet with other heads of delegations at their request during the course of the next several days, although the precise times of these appointments are still being worked out. As has been the case in previous rounds, he's available to meet with them throughout the upcoming round. Now on Lebanon -- Q Do you have any comment for the South Korea and China -- MR. SNYDER: I've got a question on Lebanon. I'll get back to that. At this point, we really don't have much information beyond the initial media reports. We've consistently said that the holding of elections was a decision for the Government of Lebanon to make. I would underscore the fundamental policy goals we have always espoused for Lebanon, namely achievement of unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. That remains our policy, and we continue to support the Lebanese in pursuit of these objectives. Q One more on the region: What about charges by the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament of massive rigging operations of ballot boxes? MR. SNYDER: We've seen the same reports you have, but we can't really evaluate them at this time. Q Joe, do you have any comment on -- Israel in recent days has eased a number of restrictions in the occupied territories. Latest indications are apparently they've cancelled expulsion orders against Palestinians. MR. SNYDER: Just this: We've consistently encouraged all parties to seek ways to improve the climate in order to facilitate enhanced trust and mutual understanding between the parties. Q Do you have a comment on the South Korean-China normalization -- MR. SNYDER: The Foreign Ministers of the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea announced the establishment of diplomatic ties on August 24 in Beijing. The United States welcomes developments like this which will help ease the tensions that have long plagued the Korean Peninsula and which can facilitate mutual understanding and communication in northeast Asia. Q So do you expect any change of attitude of the United States Government toward concerning U.S.-North Korean diplomatic developments with the South Korean-China normalization? MR. SNYDER: We have stated pretty clearly our attitude towards our relations with North Korea and those conditions that we've discussed in the past -- I don't have them in front of me -- will pertain. Q With this North Korean inspection -- inspection upon North Korea of the nuclear inspection -- MR. SNYDER: I'm sorry? Q Will the close relations between South Korea and China will ease North Korea's resistance upon -- MR. SNYDER: That's something you'd probably have to ask the North Koreans. It's very clear what the North Koreans have to do to gain the trust of the world community with regard to their nuclear program. Those conditions, inspections and so forth, have been laid out many times, and it's up to them to meet those concerns. Q Just one more, please. Don't you have any expectation that North Korea might initiate another hostility activity towards South Korea, with the intent possibly intensified isolationism with the South Korean-China normalization? MR. SNYDER: No. Q Have you talked to the North Koreans lately? MR. SNYDER: I don't know. I can check and see when our last meeting was. We announce them when we have them. There hasn't been one in the last several weeks, I don't believe, but I'll check and see if I can find out. Q Thanks. We're all going to go. Q Excuse me. Q Sorry. Q Do you have any schedule for the press briefings by the various delegations this afternoon? MR. SNYDER: Yes, we do. Let me just tell you what we have. Jordan is expected to have a press briefing at 1:30, five minutes from now, in the Grand Hotel, East Room. Syria at 2:30 in the Washington Hilton, and Israel at 3:00 o'clock in the Mayflower. Q That's what we're getting to, so thank you. MR. SNYDER: O.K. Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:25 p.m.)