US Department of State Daily Briefing #121: Tuesday, 9/2/92

Boucher Source: State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Sep, 2 19929/2/92 Category: Briefings Region: Subsaharan Africa, E/C Europe, Central America, East Asia, Europe, Eurasia Country: Yugoslavia (former), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Somalia, Romania, Nicaragua, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, China, Germany, USSR (former) Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, Refugees, CSCE, Environment, Mideast Peace Process, Arms Control, Trade/Economics 12:40 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. If I can, at the beginning, I'll tell you a little more about what we're doing with the former Yugoslavia. I'll give you a brief update on what we're doing about the tidal wave in Nicaragua, and then I'll be glad to take your questions.

[Former Yugoslavia]

On the airlift, there were 18 relief flights delivering 232.3 metric tons of humanitarian assistance on September 1. There were three U.S. flights, 39.6 metric tons of MREs and bulk food. Bad weather and maintenance problems forced the diversion or cancellation of at least three flights yesterday. There are 24 flights scheduled for today. And today a United States airplane flew the one thousandth flight bringing relief supplies to the people of Sarajevo. Convoys: The UNHCR scheduled a convoy from Sarajevo to Goradze for today. That will be carrying 100 metric tons of supplies in from Split to -- no, not in from Split; from Sarajevo to Goradze. Sorry. The ICRC has now visited its 20th detention facility in Drvar. This located in northwestern Bosnia-Hercegovina. It's a Serb controlled facility. It has 65 prisoners. There were talks yesterday in Banja Luka between the ICRC, the European Community, and local authorities regarding the liberation of prisoners in that area. That's certainly something that we hope will happen. CSCE rapporteur mission on detention camps: As you know, it's headed by Sir John Thompson. Participating in the mission are Ambassador Kenneth Blackwell and John Zerolis for the United States. They flew into Zagreb on August 29. Team "A," that's headed by Ambassador Blackwell, flew to Split, Croatia on August 31. They've been spending several days visiting Croatian, Muslim, and Serb places of detention from Split. We expect them to be returning to London soon. Team "B" is headed by Sir John Thompson. Since August 31, they've been conducting the second wing of the mission, concentrating on eastern and northern Bosnia. Both groups will have completed their visits and return to London by September 4 in order to prepare their report. There was a meeting yesterday on stationing of monitors and sanctions-monitoring with Romania. We met again -- we and other interested states met again with the Romanians in Brussels yesterday to continue our detailed discussions on this. There's going to be a meeting to put together an operational plan for the mission. That meeting will be held early next week. As you know, the United States has offered to support the effort through the contribution of personnel and logistical support, and we're urging others to do so as well. On the Geneva talks, Ambassador Zimmermann and his team are leaving Washington for Geneva today. The Steering Committee is scheduled to meet September 3 -- tomorrow morning -- at 11:00 a.m. and again at 3:00 p.m. Ambassador Zimmermann is leading a U.S. delegation that includes George Ward, the Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs; Victor Jackovich, the Director of the Yugoslav Coordinating Group; and Paula Reed Lynch, the Acting Director of the Office of International Refugee Organizations in our Bureau of Refugee Programs. That's the update on Yugoslavia. Why don't I just do the tidal wave, and then we'll take whatever questions you have.

[Nicaragua: Tidal Wave and Other Report]

We are prepared to provide humanitarian assistance to the Government of Nicaragua in dealing with this tragedy. We made this offer to the Nicaraguan Government this morning. Our Charge in Managua is releasing the $25,000 for immediate disaster relief assistance that he has under his control. This will be used to purchase things like food, water, and tenting material. The Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance is sending a representative to Managua and working through the AID Mission to determine precise needs and a more thorough response. We're also in touch with the U.S. Southern Command to explore other assistance options. I think some of you may have seen Secretary Cheney on TV this morning saying that if we are asked to provide assistance, certainly, we will. President Bush is also sending a message to President Chamorro today expressing his sympathy, support, and offering to help. Of course, whatever we do will be coordinated with the Nicaraguan Government and will depend on the needs that they identify. Q Do you have any -- have you identified any amount of money that might be available? MR. BOUCHER: As you know, Ambassadors and Charges have the $25,000, so that's kicked in right away, and then the rest will depend on the needs. Q And the delegation that you were going to send to Nicaragua to talk about political reforms there, is that still going? And will its terms of reference be the same? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if the tidal wave and disaster relief will come up in those discussions. It's very likely they might. We are pursuing that, though, independently. The delegation that the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central America, John Maisto, is leading left for Nicaragua this morning. Accompanying him are officers from the Acting Secretary's office and from the Bureau of Legislative Affairs. The aim of the delegation's discussions is to establish a basis for continued U.S. assistance to Nicaragua. To that end, the delegation will continue our regular consultations with the Government of Nicaragua on strengthening democracy, human rights, and the rule of law; professionalizing the security forces; returning confiscated properties or compensating their rightful owners; and economic growth and development. Q Richard, this humanitarian -- MR. BOUCHER: Let me just add one thing -- that we've been discussing these issues since President Chamorro took office. As you know, they figured prominently in Secretary Baker's discussions in Managua last January, and these are discussions that, as we said in our statement the other day, continue. Q I just want to make -- the humanitarian aid you're talking about here is separate and apart from the $100-plus million which is being held back? MR. BOUCHER: That's right. Our humanitarian assistance is not affected by the hold on the other ESF and project aid. Q And how can you be sure that the humanitarian aid, once earmarked, actually goes to what it's earmarked for and not for other purposes? MR. BOUCHER: We know who we're dealing with, Jim. We've worked closely with the government and the groups that we give money to. I don't think there's any problem with that. Q Is there any request from Mexico that you're aware of? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I've heard of. Q Humanitarian relief? MR. BOUCHER: I tried to check this morning. I hadn't heard of anything. Q Still on Nicaragua: You said the U.S. was prepared to offer assistance. The Nicaraguan Government has not requested any at this point, or -- MR. BOUCHER: At this point, I don't think they've actually specified any particular needs. We've made clear that we are prepared offer is assistance. I've tried to say today what we have available. I'm not sure if they've -- I think we have to work with them to figure out exactly what their needs are. Q What kinds of things -- what kinds of assistance does the U.S. have available, or would it make available, other than -- not a dollar amount. But you talked about tents and things that would be purchased under the $25,000. Is that the same sort of thing, or reconstruction equipment or personnel, or -- MR. BOUCHER: Well, you know, a lot of it depends on what the needs are. I think you've seen what we've done in other international disasters. I think Cheney mentioned airlift support and some various other things on TV this morning. It really depends on the needs. I think we have a lot of different capabilities to provide material, supplies, expertise, assistance, and that sort of stuff.

[Back to Yugoslavia: Diplomatic Relations]

Q Back to Yugoslavia. This development -- these talks you're having with the Romanians, I assume that's also bound up with the question of the Danube which Secretary Eagleburger has laid some stress on? MR. BOUCHER: Yes, that's right. As you know, the Romanians had previously talked to the NACC, and there were discussions on setting up -- helping the Romanians with stricter enforcement; looking at the Danube, in particular, because that's been a point of leakage. It was something that we specified that we wanted to help out with and do in -- I can't remember if it was the Acting Secretary's statement or the President's statement when we announced a number of new things that we were doing. But, in any case, it's something we wanted to help out with and do, and so we've had these discussions now, accelerated discussions with the Romanians on the deployment. It was also discussed and approved in London as well. Q There is this 1984 -- 1948, sorry -- convention on the Danube which declares it's an international waterway. It precludes anyone from impeding the free movement of traffic on that waterway. Assuming that the United States still honors that 1948 convention, does this mean that any monitors that were put there would not have the right to stop or search or seize goods that were suspected of moving into Serbia? MR. BOUCHER: Alan, I think if you look in the documents from the London Conference, you'll see that it was the view of the participants in the London Conference, including the United States, that the U.N. resolutions on sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro superseded the convention and permitted whatever was necessary to make sure that the U.N. resolutions were observed. Q So, just to nail that down, it's your intention that the people who go to the Danube should have the powers to stop, search, and seize -- MR. BOUCHER: I believe that that was addressed, to some extent, in the London Conference documents. And as this is worked out, the exact operational details will have to be worked out as well. Q A group of Senators is asking the United States to sever relations formally with Belgrade and to use -- to launch a campaign to deny Yugoslavia's seat -- its seat in the United Nations. We've been around this before, but could we try one more time? MR. BOUCHER: No. Is there a question? Q Well, you've never broken relations. Is it a fact you've never broken relations with Yugoslavia? You just figured Yugoslavia went away and the relationship went away with it is all I could figure. MR. BOUCHER: We have made very clear that we don't consider Serbia and Montenegro to be the successor state. We have not recognized their self-declared Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; and we've made very clear in our terms of international organizations, for example, that we would expect them to have to re-acquire -- have to apply for membership and meet the criteria of those organizations. We've made that clear in meetings themselves where people have been in attendance claiming to represent the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, or whatever they call it -- that we don't accept them as representatives of Yugoslavia. Q I know your position on succession, but you've never formally broken relations with Yugoslavia. In fact, there's an embassy there. MR. BOUCHER: There is an embassy there, and we've talked about this before. Q Sure, we have. MR. BOUCHER: We have made very clear that we don't see them as a successor state. Q That I'm clear about -- but these folks -- these Senators, apparently, are as confused as I am because -- or they don't think you've done the full -- you've gone the full distance. They think you haven't broken relations -- they're asking you to -- and they think you're not really working at trying to get Yugoslavia out of the U.N. That's their two-point -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't know how to describe the legal question of breaking relations with an entity that no longer exists. Q I don't either. MR. BOUCHER: I don't know how to answer that one, Barry. I know what our position is on those who claim to be the Yugoslavia. Certainly, we don't recognize that. On the issue of whether we're trying hard enough, I would just say that we are making efforts. We have made strong efforts to make sure that the view that we hold was clearly expressed and to encourage others to accept that view as well. Q Richard, to what degree is the Embassy in Belgrade accredited? MR. BOUCHER: It's the same question that we go round on every time one of these things come up. I can't specify an answer for you, and I'd say it's not really a major concern of ours. Q It may not be a major concern of yours, but a lot of things we ask about aren't. MR. BOUCHER: That's true, Ralph. I would offer that maybe this shouldn't be a major concern of yours either, but you can decide that for yourself. Q Yeah. Is the Embassy accredited to anyone at this point? MR. BOUCHER: At this point, the Embassy is out there doing a job, and that's what they're doing. Q And who are they doing it with? MR. BOUCHER: They're doing a job with whoever they have to do it with. They do it with -- they talk to various officials to make our case, to make our points. They talk to people around Serbia or anywhere else they travel to. Q Has it ever stopped doing business with -- MR. BOUCHER: They are trying to make sure that we accomplish the goals that we're trying to accomplish. Q Are the American diplomats there accorded the privileges, and do they -- let me rephrase the question: Do the American diplomats there accept the privileges that go with being diplomats in another country? Have they said to them, "No, thank you, we don't want to be able to double-park because, you see, we don't recognize you?" MR. BOUCHER: Have they said, "We want you to be able to arrest me anytime you want to"? No, I don't think they have, Barry. Q If I commit a crime like anybody else, I'd be willing to stand trial. They don't do this? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think they have, Barry; no. Q So then you're dealing, by way -- MR. BOUCHER: Again, you can look -- you can read the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic status and that sort of thing. I'm really not prepared today, either personally or intellectually, to try to get into a discussion of the retention of privileges and immunities of diplomats to a state (inaudible) Q We're not getting into this for -- I don't know -- we have no ulterior motive. We don't want to beat a kind of a minor point to death, but it could be that you're keeping the seat warm just in case you get a government you like in Belgrade. There's one example. We're trying -- at least, I'm trying to figure out, what is the U.S.'s motive in not formally saying -- MR. BOUCHER: Barry, the U.S.'s motive -- Q -- "We have no more relations with Belgrade. Period." MR. BOUCHER: The U.S.'s motive in keeping our people in Belgrade has been to keep them there because they perform a very important function for us. They make our case, they make our points to officials in Belgrade as well as elsewhere. They make our case to people in that area so that people understand what the views are of the United States. They help support humanitarian assistance. They help identify human rights violations and problems and investigate things like detention centers. They're important in accomplishing the goals of U.S. policy with regard to the former Yugoslavia. Q Precisely. MR. BOUCHER: That's why they're there, and that's what they're doing. Q That's why the United States has relations and a presence in countries that it doesn't approve of. It's there to try to fulfill a U.S. function. You don't have to like folks to have relations with them. If you don't like them, and you choose not to break relations with them, I think the U.S. ought to say so. Q How about the other way? Are there Yugoslav diplomats in this country who are still accredited? MR. BOUCHER: It's something I'd have to check on, Jim. I don't know exactly the status of their accreditation, or whether it expires or anything like that. Q Could you check to see if -- MR. BOUCHER: There are still Yugoslav diplomats who represented Yugoslavia in this country, at an embassy here. But what the exact legal status of their former accreditation is, I don't know how to describe it. Q Do they still get diplomatic immunity? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I guess I can try to find out for you. Q Yeah, could you? Q Richard, what is the flag in the lobby of Greater Serbia? What does that represent? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think there is one. Q They took it down. It was there for about eight hours. It was a mistake. It was described as a mistake. MR. BOUCHER: I think it was less than eight hours, Barry. Q It took us eight hours to find it. MR. BOUCHER: It was there for less than eight hours. Q Also on economic sanctions. I don't know if you've seen the press reports that the chess player Bobby Fischer was not very respectful about the Letter of Notice he got from the U.S. Government about accepting payment in Yugoslavia. Have you seen those reports? MR. BOUCHER: I have seen those reports, Jim. Q And do you have any reaction? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't have any particular reaction. I'll leave it to the Treasury Department to interpret and enforce the regulations. Q You don't want to call him a "pawn" or anything? Q Is fax-spitting equivalent to flag-burning under the First Amendment? MR. BOUCHER: You can ask your legal scholars that. Maybe you and Barry could talk about it afterwards. Q Does the Administration have anything to say about the upcoming referendum on Prime Minister Panic's -- MR. BOUCHER: One, I don't think it's a referendum; and, two, I think it's a no-confidence vote that's been presented in the Parliament; and, three, no, I don't have anything to say. Q Mr. Djerejian saw the Palestinians this morning, which is a timely meeting, because it follows by a day or day and a half maybe the Palestinians' presenting their third revised draft of a plan for self-rule on the West Bank. Did he discuss that plan with them? MR. BOUCHER: I'm going to have to leave it to them to explain, if they want to, what they have discussed. For our part, we're going to continue our practice of not commenting on anybody's plan or the substantive issues that they've raised or discussed in the negotiations. I guess I should note as well, as you said, Ambassador Djerejian did meet with the Palestinians this morning. Acting Secretary Eagleburger will meet separately with the Palestinians, the Syrians and the Lebanese today, and then with the Israelis and Jordanians on Thursday. In these meetings he'll be joined by Ambassador Djerejian, Dennis Ross, Richard Haas and Dan Kurtzer. Chief of Staff Baker will not attend these meetings. Q Exactly. That was my question. As you ratchet up the hierarchy here of people in charge and people in charge pro tem, or something -- they requested -- I thought arrangements -- there was an effort -- I don't know who initiated it -- to have a meeting between the delegations and Mr. Baker. Is that -- as far as you know, is that off the board now? MR. BOUCHER: No. As we said yesterday, that was under consideration. That's a possibility. We said there were possibilities of meetings with Eagleburger and possibilities of meetings with Baker. At this point I'm telling you that the possibilities of meeting with Eagleburger are now pinned down. Q Is there -- will there be any press coverage of those meetings? MR. BOUCHER: That's something I forgot to check on. Q If not, why not? We would like to request press coverage of those meetings. MR. BOUCHER: O.K. I'll see if we can do anything. Q Listen, I asked if -- I didn't ask you what you thought of the Palestinian plan. I asked if it was discussed with Djerejian. Could you say whether it was a topic of discussion? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to get into the topics of discussion, Barry. I'm sorry. Q Can you tell me why? MR. BOUCHER: We've made it a practice here of not going into that sort of thing before. We've noted that we're having meetings with the delegations, but as far as what the issues are and how they're being discussed and what the various views are on them, we've left that to the parties. Q Does the U.S. express opinions on these meetings? I'm trying to get some sense of the import of these meetings -- if there's anything -- if anything really going on at them. MR. BOUCHER: These are the regular kinds of meetings that we've had with the various parties and delegations over the past several rounds. I think we've described our role in the past. I won't bother telling you about the honest broker, driving force. Q Catalyst, and all that. MR. BOUCHER: But, certainly, we discuss the issues that are being discussed. We discuss the progress of the negotiation, and where we can offer any suggestions, we do. Q How do you feel about the recess? How does the U.S. Government feel about it? MR. BOUCHER: It's really up to the parties. Our understanding is that they're discussing talking about recessing on Thursday night to allow time for consultations next week, and then to reconvene on September 14 for another two weeks. Q You're the co-sponsor. You organized the talks. You were -- the U.S. Government -- very pleased, almost exultant, that the new Rabin Government had in fact initiated the notion of a continuous round instead of just meeting for a week and going home, and they penciled in a full month. And now the Israelis have suggested a ten-day break, and the Arabs with some grumbling -- or at least they profess to be grumbling about it -- said that, "O.K., we'll have a recess." But in fact one of them -- I think the Syrian -- said, "We've lost one-third of the time that we thought we were going to have." So I'm asking the United States as the arranger of these meetings, in fact the endorser of a month-long meeting, whether the United States has any problems with a ten-day recess? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, it's really up to the parties. Our interest is in seeing them make concrete progress. I think we've said that to you a number of times over the past few days. We've been looking for tangible progress in the talks. If a recess and consultations can contribute to that, then it's a good thing. But it's up to the parties to decide. I think we've described before, the more or less continuous process is something that we did support. And I note in this case that after this recess, what they're talking about is coming back to continue their discussions where they left them off, for another two-week period, without any long hiatus such as we've seen in the past. Q Can I cover one thing -- very quickly, let me cover one little -- you know, something is just not quite covered here. Baker. They didn't meet with Baker? Did they talk to Baker on the phone? MR. BOUCHER: I really don't know. You can ask the question at the White House if you want to. Q Well, Baker doesn't work here any more, I know. Q Have you penciled in dates for the multilateral meetings that are supposed to be -- MR. BOUCHER: I think they're more than penciled in. I think we had a list of them not too long ago. I'll try to post something again for you. Q Richard, it may be obvious, but why is the White House staff now getting involved in the consultations? MR. BOUCHER: The staff level people from the White House have frequently been part of our meetings -- have always been concerned about this, have always worked on it. So you have Dennis Ross and Richard Haas coming over to join us for these meetings. Q Does it have anything to do with Ross being one of the principal architects of this whole -- MR. BOUCHER: Obviously, he maintains his interest. He wants to be -- you know, we maintain our interest in seeing whatever contribution he could make. Q The meetings will be here. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q But you would think he has his hands full trying to get the President re-elected. MR. BOUCHER: Sid, you can go ask him what he's doing, but he obviously has enough time and enough interest in this subject to keep working with us on it, and we welcome that. Q Richard, is there anything you can say about the F-16s and Taiwan? MR. BOUCHER: No. Q Well, have you said anything to the Chinese about it? Q Wait a minute. How about F-15s -- Q Well, can we finish F-16s which is a done deal. (Laughter) Q Oh, all right. Q No. I mean, you got two controversial sales. One is on; one is still pending. So far as -- MR. BOUCHER: Thank you for that information, Barry. What I've seen is some press reports. I don't believe there's been any formal announcement; and, at this point having seen the reports, there's not much I can do for you. Q Well, I mean, the people that are going to deal with this are going to deal with it as a jobs issue, and I thought there's also maybe -- maybe -- possibly a diplomatic side to explore too, like selling or planning to sell up to 150 jets to Taiwan. I wondered if the U.S. Government has done anything to tell the Chinese the need for doing this or to assure them or whatever to tell them, you know, stick it in your ear? Did you have any contact with China over this so far? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I think if there is an announcement some time, that would be a very interesting question to ask. But at this point it's not a question I can answer for you. Q According to AP, there was an announcement aboard Air Force One. MR. BOUCHER: According to the AP or Reuters, whoever I saw, said that there were some officials that talked about the possibility of an announcement, but as far as I know the White House has not made a formal announcement. Q General Scowcroft though said over the weekend that the Administration is reviewing all aspects of this, and one of the aspects is, undoubtedly, you know, how it would affect the relations with China. I mean, why can't you tell us whether you've been in touch with the Chinese about this? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry, but it's just not a subject that I'm prepared to go into at this point. Q You mean, we wouldn't talk to the Chinese until the deal was announced? MR. BOUCHER: I didn't say that, Barry. Q Is there a secret mission to China we'll learn about in a month? (Laughter) Not a high-level contact, just a mission. No? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I know of, Barry. Q No, I mean, look, there's diplomacy here -- the point is -- MR. BOUCHER: Barry, we'll be glad to talk to you about all the diplomatic aspects of this if there is an announcement -- Q We'll ask you tomorrow. MR. BOUCHER: -- but if I had the quotes here, I would quote from Secretary Cheney this morning who was asked about this, and who said he's not going to get out ahead of the President, basically. Q Also on China, have you been seeing the reports of the mishandling of some dissident and an American journalist/author? MR. BOUCHER: Have you been seeing the reports of what we said yesterday? Q No. I didn't see that.

[China: US Reaction to Detention of Shen Tong/Ross Terrill]

MR. BOUCHER: We talked yesterday about Shen Tong and Ross Terrill. I have a little bit of an update for you. Q And what's the return on that? You said you protested yesterday. Did they accept the protest? MR. BOUCHER: Our Embassy officials met with officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on two separate occasions to protest Chinese treatment of Shen Tong and Ross Terrill. The Chinese provided no information on Shen's case except to say that the U.S. had no right to interfere. The Chinese also rejected our protest concerning Terrill's treatment. They informed us that they were expelling Terrill from China. We have made our concerns about the treatment of Shen and Terrill clear to the Chinese Government. We believe strongly that people should not be detained because of their political views, and that journalists should be free to do their jobs. We'll continue to raise these points with the Chinese Government at every opportunity. I should note as well that our understanding is that Terrill left Beijing early this morning after being escorted to the airport by Chinese police, and he is now in Hong Kong. Q Has the U.S. Government taken any steps with regard to its relationship with the Chinese Government, other than to meet with Foreign Ministry officials on two occasions? MR. BOUCHER: Well, I don't accept the characterization of "other than to meet." What we have done in this case is -- Q No characterization. Just a statement of fact. MR. BOUCHER: -- to protest -- let me say that the facts are that what we have done about this case is that we have raised it. We have made clear the views of the United States Government. We protested it, and we'll continue to pursue it. Q Are there any other steps the United States Government is taking, other than meeting with the Chinese Foreign Ministry? MR. BOUCHER: We've protested it, and we'll continue to pursue it. Q When Secretary Baker went to China last year, he had three main issues on his agenda. If I'm correct, they were proliferation of weapons, trade issues, and the third was human rights. Have you been able -- MR. BOUCHER: We usually list human rights first. Q This was not -- I didn't list them in any order of importance. MR. BOUCHER: That's O.K., Alan. I understand. Q Has there been any progress, would you say, in human rights since then, and especially in view of this latest incident which is probably not encouraging for you? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have an overall assessment for you, Alan. I'm trying to think of when our most recent one was, but I don't -- nothing immediately springs to mind. Q One could also -- I know this is outside your realm, but perhaps since Baker took it to China, there is this problem on trade as well, I understand. So it would be -- MR. BOUCHER: Sure. I mean, there was an announcement a couple of weeks ago by USTR about potential for retaliation if we didn't solve some trade issues. Q So it would be interesting to have an assessment on the general human rights situation if you could provide one. MR. BOUCHER: I'll see if we can provide anything, or if we can provide perhaps recent testimony or something where we might have covered that. Q How seriously does the Bush Administration take this Shen Tong incident? MR. BOUCHER: I don't want to try to stack it against some of the other reports and problems that we've had in the human rights area. I mean, certainly we've made clear our views. This is one of the issues that has existed before -- the arrest and detention of people for expressing their political beliefs -- and we've made clear all along to the Chinese that we didn't think that was appropriate. The issue of journalists has come up before. So this has been part of our human rights agenda, something that we'll continue to pursue. Q Does the U.S. believe its having raised these issues in the past and having done so in this case has had any effect on the behavior of the Chinese Government? MR. BOUCHER: Again, you're sort of asking me for the kind of assessment that Alan was asking for. I don't have an overall assessment. There have been cases of releases. There have been cases of people who were promised passports and were able to get them. I think you remember one of our concerns was that people be allowed to get passports and leave the country if they wanted to, and there have been some cases where that has taken place where we wanted it to. There have been some prisoners released, and other things like that have happened, but I don't have an overall sort of balance for you at this point. Q The Secretary, I think it was himself, who said in Beijing that he was disappointed -- either in Beijing or on the way back or immediately after -- that he was disappointed with the results on that specific area of human rights after his visit. Is there any -- is that basically where things stand as far as the Administration is concerned -- that it is disappointed -- or have things gotten -- is the U.S. more so or about the same or -- MR. BOUCHER: That's the third time I've been asked to do an overall assessment. I tell you, I can't do one for you off the top of my head. I'll try to do something. Q Here's something you haven't been asked before probably. Has the U.S. Government said anything to the German Government about the resurgence of fascism in Germany? MR. BOUCHER: Do you mean the Rostock riots and -- Q Well, you know, skinheads. MR. BOUCHER: -- skinheads and things like that? I don't know. I'll have to check. Q It's more than that. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. O.K. Q I mean, there seems to be a movement -- MR. BOUCHER: That kind of thing. Q -- a movement in an area where there sometimes have been movements before. MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check. Q Sort of forwarding that, there's been U.S. -- American members of the Ku Klux Klan who have traveled to Germany to advise these people on tactics. Can you include that in what you check up on? Whether we've looked into that? MR. BOUCHER: What? I'm supposed to check on the travel of Klu Klux Klan members or -- Q Generally, do we allow terrorists to practice -- American terrorists to practice their trade in foreign countries -- would be a good place to start. Q Is there anything against -- travel privileges? MR. BOUCHER: I'll check and see if the lawyers know of any laws that might restrict travel by that -- of that nature. Go back here. Q Some Russian and Western press reports suggested Eduard Shevardnadze is losing control of the situation in the Abkhazian conflict. What is the U.S. position concerning the Georgian situation and also concerning Shevardnadze? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid that's something I'll have to get to you as well. I don't have anything with me now. Q When could you get that for me? MR. BOUCHER: We'll try to get you an answer this afternoon.

[Arms Control: Draft Treaty Banning Chemical Weapons To Be Presented to the UN]

Q Richard, do you have anything to say about the status of the chemical weapons agreement? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. I would be glad to. The first thing to note, I think, is the White House did a statement on August 13, as it looked like this thing was being wrapped up. But to update you and express our views again, the negotiators at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva have completed work on the Chemical Weapons Convention which prohibits the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, transfer and use of chemical weapons. This is a major achievement for arms control and for the United States. The achievement is the latest in a long series of accomplishments in the area of non-proliferation. These include strengthening the Australia Group in missile technology control regime controls, establishment of nuclear supplier group, dual-use controls, and with the President's non-proliferation initiative, placing non-proliferation at the top of the international agenda. On Thursday, September 3, the Conference on Disarmament is expected to forward the final treaty to New York as part of its annual report to the United Nations General Assembly. Then the U.N. General Assembly will consider and is expected to pass a resolution that would call on states to sign the convention at a meeting in Paris next January. Much of the text is based on a draft text that was tabled by the United States -- in fact, by then Vice President Bush for the United States -- in 1984. The convention requires the destruction of all chemical weapons within a ten-year period. It also provides for unprecedented verification measures, including the declaration and inspection of chemical weapons and production facilities, continuous inspection of their destruction, challenge inspections of suspect sites, and inspections of high-risk commercial chemical facilities. While it's difficult to predict exactly how many countries will sign the convention, we do not foresee any difficulty in finding the 65 nations required to sign and ratify the convention for it to enter into force. All 51 CSCE countries and a number of other countries have pledged to become original signatories. And, as the White House has said previously, the United States expects to be among the first signatories. Q Can you give us an assessment of how many countries -- and just to pick one region at random, the Middle East -- might be expected to -- or have perhaps pledged already to sign the treaty? MR. BOUCHER: I can't at this point, Ralph. I'd just say that we're encouraging everybody to sign up. Q One of the problems with chemical weapons proliferation has been that many of the nations the U.S. accuses regularly of engaging in chemical weapons production have ignored these sorts of agreements and attempts at agreements in the past -- countries such as Libya and Iraq to name two. Does the U.S. have any feeling that these nations, this time, might actually participate in this agreement? MR. BOUCHER: Well, I guess I would just have to say that we hope that everybody will participate in it. I would point out in the case of Iraq that the U.N. inspection process -- that there are U.N. inspectors, a chemical weapons team, that I think is more or less there permanently now that is engaged in the destruction of Iraqi chemical weapons munitions. Q But that doesn't pledge the country not to recreate them at some point in the future, which is what the treaty will do. MR. BOUCHER: Well, and Iraq is also subject to fairly strict monitoring sanctions. But irrespective of that, there is also a value in getting every country to sign up to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and that is something that we would encourage everyone to do. But I can't predict how specific countries will act in this -- Q Has the U.S. talked with its friends and allies in that region -- for example, Saudi Arabia and Israel -- about adhering to this treaty? MR. BOUCHER: We've talked to people all around the world. I don't know specific countries, but we've made quite -- we've made a series of diplomatic efforts to encourage people to sign up to this thing. Q Richard, the ten-year total destruction clause, as I recall it in the U.S. draft, was contingent on all other countries agreeing to surrender and do the same before the United States would do it. Do you know if that contingency is still in there? MR. BOUCHER: There was a U.S.-Soviet or U.S.-Russian -- I don't remember exactly when it was -- agreement on that point -- U.S.-Soviet agreement, I think, on that point that changed that. I don't remember the exact details at this point. Q Housekeeping thing: Just to confirm, there will be no briefing here on Friday? MR. BOUCHER: There will be a briefing tomorrow but none Friday. Yes. Q Thank you. MR. BOUCHER: Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:15 p.m.)