US Department of State Daily Briefing #127: Monday, 9/14/92

Boucher Source: State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Sep, 14 19929/14/92 Category: Briefings Region: Subsaharan Africa, E/C Europe, Eurasia, MidEast/North Africa, Southeast Asia, South America, East Asia Country: Yugoslavia (former), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Somalia, Russia, Lebanon, Peru, Israel, China, Syria Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, Arms Control, Mideast Peace Process, Terrorism, Human Rights 12:26 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. If I can, I'd like to start off with some updates on Yugoslavia and Somalia, and I'll tell you about the joint U.S.-U.K.-Russian statement on biological warfare, and then I'll take your questions.


Yugoslavia. A couple of things that I would like to note. As you know, the airlift into Sarajevo remains suspended. Supplies are being airlifted to Split on a temporary basis. From Split, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is operating daily truck convoys to Sarajevo, bringing in approximately 100 tons per day of supplies. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is attempting to increase this tonnage. Convoys for today include 40 metric tons to Prozor, 96 metric tons to Vitez, and 100 metric tons to Sarajevo. Tomorrow's schedule calls for another 100 metric tons for Sarajevo. On the International Committee of the Red Cross: They are working on an air evacuation out of Banja Luka for 69 detainees who need medical attention. That has been delayed at least until tomorrow owing to security considerations. Aeroflot, which is the airline that is going to fly these people out, has representatives currently in Banja Luka. They're assessing the security situation at the airport. The International Committee of the Red Cross is also meeting in Zagreb today to begin organizing the transfer of detainees from camps to safe places in conjunction with the closing of the camps. Some initial preparations for the evacuation have begun. The International Committee of the Red Cross has increased its personnel on Bosnia-Hercegovina to about 120. Most of the new personnel, we're told, are drivers. And then, finally, other news is the Sanctions Committee met last Friday in New York to consider the Croatian letter about the Iranian arms shipment that was discovered at the airport in Zagreb. By consensus, the Sanctions Committee decided to recommend to Croatia that Iranian arms be destroyed under the supervision of UNPROFOR. They agreed to ask Croatia to make a full report to the Committee on the quantity and the type of arms intercepted. They agreed to send a letter to the Iranian representative requesting clarification of the Iranian action within one week. In other business, they also decided to tighten sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro by making mandatory the sealing of all goods in transit through Serbia and Montenegro. On the -- Q A technical thing: The letter is going within one week or the clarification is due within one week? MR. BOUCHER: The letter, I believe, has been sent, and the clarification is due within one week. Q Okay. Thank you. Sorry. MR. BOUCHER: If not sent, almost sent. They agreed on Friday to send it.

On Somalia

, a few numbers here: There were 26 military relief flights to four destinations inside Somalia and Kenya over the weekend to deliver 268 metric tons of humanitarian aid. The summary is as follows: There were 12 flights to Belet Weyne; 10 flights to Baidoa; two each to Oddur, Somalia and Wajir, Kenya. Today, the Department of Defense is projecting four flights to Baidoa, four flights to Belet Weyne, and one flight each to Oddur, Somalia, and Wajir, Kenya. The total for today should be 105 metric tons. Q Richard, is it possible to -- I know it's hard to do -- but is it possible to translate that into meals to have some idea of how large a dent the U.S. is making in this mass starvation of millions of people? MR. BOUCHER: We had sort of your quick and dirty calculation of tons to meals. (TO STAFF) Do you remember? Two meals per kilo? So I'll leave it to you to figure it out. Two meals per kilo. Q If you said two meals per pound, which would havebeen -- MR. BOUCHER: Two meals per kilo, and I'll leave you to do the math since the math I've done at this podium before has always been wrong.

[Joint statement on biological warfare

And then, finally, if I can go on, I'll tell you about the joint statement on biological warfare that I believe we released this morning. The statement is the result of the meeting of senior officials in Moscow last Thursday and Friday, September 10 and 11. The U.S. team was led by Under Secretary Wisner. We've known for many years that the Soviet Union maintained an offensive biological warfare program in violation of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. Since 1984, we've reported that fact annually to the Congress and the public, and we've raised this subject repeatedly, first to the Soviet Union leadership and more recently with Russian leaders. During our recent discussions in Moscow, Russian leaders confirmed the existence of such a program and they committed themselves to dismantling all aspects of that program. We are convinced that President Yeltsin and his government are sincere in their commitment to full compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention. President Yeltsin issued a decree in April prohibiting illegal biological warfare activity in Russia. This joint statement now records the steps that the Russian Government has stated it has taken to resolve compliance concerns. It records additional steps that Russia has agreed to take as a result of these discussions, and it identifies steps that the three governments will take jointly. The steps in this statement are designed to launch a process that could, over time, give us confidence that Russia has terminated the offensive biological warfare program illicitly carried out for years by the Soviet regime. That's the basic statement, and I understand you'll have a further detailed briefing on this at 1:30 this afternoon. Q Richard, do you believe that in all of this that Russia has gone as far -- has Russia gone as far as the United States and its allies wanted Russia to go? MR. BOUCHER: What we want them to do is to demonstrate effectively that they have terminated the program. And the process that's laid out in these agreements, including access and inspections and joint efforts, is designed to demonstrate that. So we've established a process. We have an agreement on arrangements that will demonstrate that and do that. That's where we are right now. Q So you're satisfied? MR. BOUCHER: Certainly, we're satisfied with the progress that we've made. We're satisfied with the arrangements that we've come up with, and we look forward to their implementation. Q Richard, does the United States maintain an offensive biological weapons program? MR. BOUCHER: No, it's banned by the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. Q Do the Russians say in the statement or in the talks when the offensive part of their military biological research program was, in fact, terminated? Didn't you say that he confirmed that it had been? I thought I read the statement -- I don't have the statement in front of me. MR. BOUCHER: They confirmed the existence of such a program and committed themselves to dismantling it. Now, President Yeltsin issued a decree in April of this year prohibiting any illegal biological warfare activity in Russia. If they discussed the status of the program any further, I don't know, but that's something you might ask the briefer later at 1:30. As far as our view of it is, the overall status of the illegal offensive program is unclear. Through the various commitments and procedures that are spelled out in the agreed joint statement, we will be looking for concrete actions that would indicate that the Russian Government has effectively terminated the illegal Soviet program. Q Is the news here that they committed themselves for the first time to dismantle these weapons? MR. BOUCHER: George, far be it for me to tell you what the news is, but the news is that we have a detailed set of arrangements that will do that -- terminate the program, and that will effectively demonstrate that the program has been terminated. And that through these arrangements -- some of them steps that the Russian Government has already taken, some of the steps that they're going to take now and some of the steps that we will take jointly -- we expect to be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of ourselves, as well as to anybody else who is worried about this kind of thing, that the Soviet program to develop offensive biological weapons is effectively ended. Q Is the United States convinced that the Russian Government has an effective control on this program? MR. BOUCHER: Again, I think we're impressed, the way I said, with the commitment of the Russian Government. We think that President Yeltsin and his government are sincere and that we'll see, as we carry out these steps, how smoothly it works. Q But, that still doesn't answer that question. Do you believe that they are in control; that their statements can actually -- their rhetoric can match their operational control? MR. BOUCHER: I think that may be a better question to ask our briefer later. Q Can you tell us, Richard, if the U.S. military and intelligence community has agreed to the on-site verification procedures which this statement announces today -- the mutual procedures? And will those on-site visits by Russians and British scientists, and so on, be made public? Will the American public be able to view the U.S. defensive biological weapons research programs and have scientists speak about what they've seen there, and so on? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know exactly how those visits will be handled. The visits first start in Russia and I don't know how they'll actually work when we get to visiting U.S.-U.K. facilities. Q Will the briefer be equipped to handle the question of the U.S. portion of the visits? MR. BOUCHER: We'll tell them to. Q Richard, did the Russians offer an explanation as to why they hadn't terminated their program earlier? MR. BOUCHER: Again, that's either a question you can ask the Russians or you can ask somebody that's talked to them recently. I don't know. Q New area, or back to an area you mentioned: Somalia. A bunch of relief organizations who are active there held a news conference today. One point they raised was that Mogadishu port is handling only a fraction of the supplies that it can handle because of the security situation. I gather that the U.S. has flown in at least the advance contingent of the peacekeepers. Do you have anything on that?

[Somalia: UN Protection Force Deployment]

MR. BOUCHER: This afternoon at approximately 3:30 p.m., Somali time, an advance party of 40 troops -- 40 Pakistani troops -- out of the expected total of 500 arrived in Mogadishu. U.S. military aircraft flew the party from Pakistan to Mogadishu with a stop in Djibouti to transfer to a smaller aircraft. The remainder of the Pakistani troops should be arriving in Somalia within another week. Their deployment in the Mogadishu area will be worked out by the commander of U.N. forces in Somalia. The arrival took place without incident. Q Another point that was raised at this news conference was that the situation in Mozambique is fast becoming another Somalia. Do you have anything new on that? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. As you know, we've made extensive efforts to get ginned-up for a major assistance program for the drought in southern Africa. Nothing particularly new on that. Q Still on the subject of the peacekeeping troops in Somalia. I've lost track of this, frankly. Is the U.S. still supporting or has already -- has it already been approved for the increase in deployments above the 500? I think there was a proposal of 3,000 -- MR. BOUCHER: There was an increase of another 3,000 that was approved by the Security Council ten days/two weeks ago, I think it was. Q Will the U.S. be playing a similar role in that connection? MR. BOUCHER: You mean like flying them in? Q Flying them in? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. Q New subject. Q One last one in this area. Is there any explanation as to why it's taken so long to get even this first 40 in and the first 500, who are there yet? MR. BOUCHER: It's been worked out with the Pakistani Government, with how ready their people were ready and how ready the U.N. people on the ground were to have them there. I guess any explanation would have to come from them. We've been ready to fly them as soon as they were ready. Q Richard, to go back to Yugoslavia: What's the status of the "no-fly zone" discussions? MR. BOUCHER: As we mentioned last week, we're looking at ways of implementing the ban on military flights in Bosnia which was agreed by the parties in London. We're still discussing it with various allies. We don't have a U.N. resolution on it at this time. Q It being a no-fly zone? MR. BOUCHER: It being air cap, "no-fly zone," whatever way you want to describe it. But it's better defined as looking at ways of implementing the ban that was agreed to in London. Q We're asking about this specific way. I know they're several ways that have been -- we're talking about the "no-fly zone" and the resolutions to -- MR. BOUCHER: It all amounts to the same thing. It's that there be no military flights in Bosnia. That's what was agreed to in London. What you have to do is implement that and make it stick; no-fly zone, air cap, various ways are being discussed. We're discussing it with various allies. We don't have a resolution on one particular method at this time. Q There were some developments over the weekend, mostly positive; mostly the result of Cyrus Vance's hard work. I wonder if this takes the pressure or removes any of the steam from the U.S. interest in a "no-fly zone" -- the opening of -- the establishment of a road of peace, for instance? MR. BOUCHER: It certainly doesn't lessen our -- Q And the parties agreeing to be Geneva. I don't know if they're going to stick by it. MR. BOUCHER: None of the agreements and understandings that have been reached, and some of the difficulties that those things have faced even after they have been reached, lessen our interest in seeing the arrangements and agreements in London being implemented. One of the arrangements and agreements in London is that there wouldn't be military flights over Bosnia. Q The Bosnian Serb leader is quoted this morning as saying that such an air cap or restriction on military flights would alter what he called "the strategic balance" in Bosnia. Does the U.S. think there is a strategic balance in Bosnia that people ought to be concerned about or maintained in some way? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we've ever used that term, Ralph. No, I wouldn't say that we would agree that there's any sort of strategic balance there. There's all together too much fighting going on. Q That statement seemed to suggest to me that the Bosnian Serb leader wasn't any longer in support of the London agreement, which I thought he had agreed to -- to ban all military fights over Bosnia. Do you have any comment on his remarks? MR. BOUCHER: No. You can make your own interpretations of various parties remarks. Q Richard, there was reportedly heavy shelling in Sarajevo their time today. What is the status of the heavy weapons? MR. BOUCHER: Let me go through the status of what we know about the fighting. There has been heavy fighting in Sarajevo this morning, according to press reports. We understand that there were Serbian mortar attacks on several areas, including the center of the city and the Dobrinja suburb. Reports say the area around the Holiday Inn Hotel was the scene of intense fighting with automatic weapons this morning. Elsewhere in Bosnia this morning fighting has been reported on nearly all fronts, including Jajce, Gradacac, Brcko, Bihac, Bosanski Brod, and Tuzla. There are reports from local media that Serb forces have used tanks and howitzers in Bihac and Bosanski Brod. There are also reports in the press that Bosnian Government forces attacked civilians on the Belgrade-Pale road. We're looking into this. At this time, we don't have any independent confirmation of that. We have nothing new in Croatia. As far as the status of heavy weapons, we understand from statements by U.N. officials that the process of grouping the heavy weapons so that the U.N. can monitor them is under way. That, of course, is a welcome development, but not all the weapons subject to this grouping have, in fact, been collected and grouped as yet. Once again, we urge all the parties to cooperate with implementation of the agreements they made in London so that the fighting can end. Q You seem to be making a distinction between artillery and mortars and howitzers. Are what you're referring to as "heavy weapons" still being used by the Bosnian Serbs? MR. BOUCHER: Artillery and mortars and howitzers are all, in one way or the other, part of the category of heavy weapons, so there is firing going on by heavy weapons. This agreement to group the heavy weapons, as we said, is in the process of being implemented. Some of the weapons have been collected at some sites; there are people watching them. But not all of them have been grouped as yet. Now, I don't know at this point whether some of this firing that's reported is by weapons that have not yet been grouped or by weapons that, in fact, have been grouped but are still firing. Q Your statement about them not all having been grouped, seems like a rather understatement in light of your previous summary of the use of heavy weapons only last night. It's not only that not all have been -- MR. BOUCHER: It's a fact -- but some of them have been. But, as I said, I don't know whether the firing has been occurring by weapons that haven't been placed under U.N. supervision yet or whether it's, in fact, occurring by weapons that have been grouped but are still shooting. Q What does the U.S. think of -- how does the U.S. evaluate the Bosnian Serb commitment to that heavy weapons agreement, in light of both the grouping and the continued use of those heavy weapons at this time? What's your evaluation? Do they appear -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't understand what you mean "evaluation." Have they finished everything by Saturday's deadline? No. Is it still important that they do this? Yes. Q Are they committed to do it, and does the U.S. consider their commitment in the same way that the U.S. considers Yeltsin's commitment on biological weapons to be a sincere description of intent? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I would hate to have to evaluate the sincerity of commitments made by any of the Yugoslav parties, given the history that we've seen there of repeated agreements and violations after that. The important thing is what happens. We're trying to make this happen. The London Conference chairmen are trying to make this happen. It's something that we still think needs to happen. Just the same way we're taking steps on the other things that have been agreed to in London in terms of tightening sanctions and establishing talks and moving in humanitarian relief supplies, expanding UNPROFOR, and all those things are under way. So it's important that things happen to implement what was agreed in London. Q Just a definition on the grouping of weapons -- it only occurs to me now when you've suggested it's possible that grouped weapons can still be fired. Obviously, it doesn't mean that they're dumped in a pile. How do you define it? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure I can define it physically any more, but the understanding, the agreement was that the weapons are grouped. They'll be placed under continuing U.N. supervision. It doesn't mean that the U.N. actually takes physical control over them. The idea is that placing the weapons under observation diminishes the likelihood of their use. But it's not a perfect guarantee that they can't be fired. Q Are those weapons within a square kilometer or -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. You'd have to go to the U.N. and get the details of the arrangements. Q So even though they're grouped, they will still manned by gunners, and there's no way for the U.N. to prevent them from being fired? MR. BOUCHER: Whether they're manned or exactly what happens with that is something that you'd have to check with the U.N. on the actual physical arrangements. But there was agreement -- part of the agreement that Karadzic signed in London was that he would not initiate fire from these weapons, and there have been various statements like that. That certainly is the intention of the grouping, but it doesn't come with a guarantee that they can't be fired. Q On the water resources -- are we through with this subject, Ralph? On the water resources talks, could you tell us how many countries you expect? Any boycotts this time, etc.? MR. BOUCHER: Be glad to. The countries -- let me run through the whole thing on the multis and give you more detail on the water since that's being held here. The United States and Russia, as co-sponsors to the peace talks, are convening the second round of multilateral talks -- meetings starting this week. The arms control and regional security working group will meet in Moscow from September 15 to 17 and the water working group will meet here at the State Department, September 15 and 16. The other multilateral meetings are scheduled as follows: The environment working group meets in The Hague from October 26 and 27. The economic development working group meets in Paris, October 29 and 30. The refugee working group meets in Ottawa, November 11 and 12. We see the multilateral negotiations as an integral part of the Arab-Israeli peace process that started in Madrid. They're designed to complement the bilateral negotiations, which are currently in session, and which are the crux of the peace process. As we enter this round of multilateral meetings, we want to build on the progress that was made in previous rounds. At the water group taking place here, there will be about three dozen delegations present. Up to 15 regional countries will attend, together with over 20 extra-regional participants. The agenda will include topics such as, enhancing data availability, enhancing water supply, and concepts for regional cooperation and development. At the Moscow meeting on arms control and regional security, we expect more than 20 delegations that plan to attend the arms control working group meeting. Thirteen are expected to attend from the Middle East region. A number of extra-regional states have also been invited, and I have the list of those if you need them. Based on the success of the previous round, we hope now to begin to think about some small practical steps that will help to establish a broader foundation from which to move the process forward. Q That's arms control. MR. BOUCHER: That was arms control. Yes. Q I could ask you how F-15 sales moved the process forward, but instead let me ask you if any of the people invited have said, "No, thank you." I mean, the water resources talks. MR. BOUCHER: No. As far as I know, it's the same crowd that came last time. Q And -- Q That doesn't answer the question, though. Q Yeah. No. Excuse me. That's right. That doesn't answer the question. Q The question is, have any of those who were invited decided that they don't want to come? Q Syria's staying out, you're saying? Q Or is Syria not invited? MR. BOUCHER: Well, you get into the word "invited." I mean, the groups have been, you know, open to all in the past. I'm not sure that there was a specific invitation or a letter that was issued this time. I'd have to check on whether we approached anybody who decided not to come, but the terms of participation have not changed. The Palestinians will attend. I don't have the full list, but I don't know that there's been any change in the people who came or didn't come last time. Q Is your offer to make the list of attendees available for the Moscow talks also extend to the Washington talks? MR. BOUCHER: It does now. I'll have to get it for you. I don't have it with me. Q I lost something. The Palestinians -- who's not -- I'm asking about the water talks. MR. BOUCHER: You asked me about the water talks, so the Palestinians will be there. Q Ralph's point is well taken. Can we go through the usual cast of characters and ask you if the Syrians, Palestinians, Israelis, Saudis, Lebanese and Jordanians are attending the talks? MR. BOUCHER: O.K. I'll have to get you the list, Barry. I don't have it with me. Q All right. And while you're doing that, you're talking about extra-regional -- if there are any exotic participants. I mean, from way out Asia some place? MR. BOUCHER: I think I'd rather give you the list then try to classify some as "exotic." Q All right. Good. Now, let me ask you about, please, if I may, has the State Department anything fresh to say about the Lebanese-Syrian talks about a Syrian troop -- not withdrawal evidently -- but just a pullback to the Bekaa Valley? There were -- I know you had last week, but then they met -- Assad and President Harawi met. Anything further on that? Are you satisfied with the discussions? Is Syria living up to the Taif Agreement? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I don't have anything further to say on that today. I think we did address that last week. Ed Djerejian addressed it in a statement -- speech that he made last week, and those are the U.S. views. Q One last thing on it, though. Mindful of how unhappy the Lebanese profess to be with the Israeli negotiations last round, is it the U.S. view that Syrian troop presence in Lebanon is something that should not be -- or isn't properly addressed at the negotiations here, that it's an internal Arab matter to be worked out under the Taif Agreement? Or is it proper for the Israelis to talk about Syrian troops while the Lebanese and Israelis are talking about Israeli troops? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, that's something really for the parties to determine. I don't think I have a statement on that from here. Q Speaking of Lebanon, though, apparently the Syrians and the Lebanese Government have decided to postpone until next month serious talks on troop withdrawal. MR. BOUCHER: I wasn't aware of that. I hadn't seen that reported. Q Well, could you look at it, because what it -- MR. BOUCHER: I'll see if we know anything about that and see what it means. Q Wasn't there a September 24 deadline that the U.S. considered sacrosanct in some way? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we've ever used a particular date, Barry, but we've said that we thought that they should get together and decide now to move the troops back to the Bekaa as soon as possible. Q I thought the Taif Agreement has a particular date, and that you support the Taif Agreement. MR. BOUCHER: I'll leave it to you to check Taif. Q No, no, don't leave it to me, Richard. If the United States supports the Taif Agreement, and the Taif Agreement says, "Get your troops out of the vast area of Lebanon and pull back to the Bekaa Valley by the 24th" -- MR. BOUCHER: Barry -- Q -- the question is whether the State Department still wants that adhered to or whether you're flexible on that? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, we support the Taif Agreement. I haven't checked recently to see if it contains some particular date. I'm not sure it does. However, you know from what we said and from what Ed Djerejian said last week, that we believe the decision should be made now, and that it should be implemented as soon as possible to get the Syrian troops back to the Bekaa. Q Another area: Do you have any comment on the elections in Thailand over the weekend? MR. BOUCHER: As long-time friends of Thailand, we welcome the elections which are to bring into office a democratic and civilian government. The parties largely identified with the opposition to the pro-military government elected in March 1992 are expected now to form a coalition government. The head of the party that won the largest number of seats is taking the lead in forming a coalition. We have a long history of close relations with Thailand, which is a mutual security treaty ally. We look forward to working with a new government on a full range of bilateral, regional and global issues. Q What about aid? MR. BOUCHER: U.S. assistance was suspended following the February 1991 coup. Section 513 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Appropriation Act for FY 1991 says that assistance may be resumed following a determination that a democratically elected government has taken office, so we look forward to resuming assistance when those conditions are met. Q Were these elections free and fair, Richard? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any sort of judgment at this point, but I hadn't heard of any reports of major abuses or irregularities. Q So what conditions haven't been met? MR. BOUCHER: The condition is that a democratically elected government has to take office. Q Inauguration day. O.K. Q Do you have a figure on how much aid is at stake? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't, I'm sorry. I'll try to get that for you. Q This is something you might know about. Remember, before the recess, I guess Djerejian and I think Eagleburger in some way, in some cases, met with delegations or chiefs of delegations. Do you know if there's any plan for such a -- you know, meetings this week? MR. BOUCHER: Ambassador Djerejian has already met with Israeli delegation heads and with Palestinians in separate meetings over the weekend. Secretary Eagleburger will be meeting this afternoon with Eli Rubinstein of the Israeli delegation at the Israeli request. Assistant Secretary Djerejian will also attend that meeting. Q Thank you. That's today, you said. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q How about the plans for the Baker meeting? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware of any meeting scheduled with Chief of Staff Baker at this point. (TO STAFF) Joe [Snyder], do we have a time on Eli Rubinstein, do you know? Have you heard? I'll have to get that for you.

[Capture of Shining Path Leader Guzman]

Q Does the United States have any comment on the seizure of Guzman in Peru? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q What does it say about -- does it say anything about Fujimori's particular dealing with his own governmental structure -- his approach to democracy? MR. BOUCHER: Let me tell you what we have to say, and then we'll think about that other question in the meantime. We're very pleased that the Peruvian Government has captured Mr. Guzman, the head of the notorious Shining Path organization. He was captured September 12 in Lima. Several of his associates were captured with him. We congratulate the Peruvian Government on this successful operation. We hope this blow will be followed by other actions to control the terrorism which so affected Peru, and that it can mark a turning point in the country's search for peace. The Shining Path, as you know, has been responsible for more than 20,000 violent deaths in Peru since 1980. The group is unique in Latin America in its cult of violence, its use of torture and assassination to intimidate the population. It has recently stepped up its reign of terror against all Peruvians with bombing campaigns in residential areas of Lima, and the fanaticism of the movement, we believe, should not be underestimated. We look forward to the Peruvian elections that are scheduled for November 22. We think rapid restoration of democracy can contribute to the effort to overcome terrorism. And I think that last point answers your second question. Q Well, I mean -- you know, one could argue that this leader suspended regular constitutional processes and has been able to be successful in reining in the greatest threat to his country. Would you agree? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think -- well, I'm not making that argument. The argument, I think, is that this is an important step forward. It's something that's certainly very welcome to see, but it doesn't lessen the need for a restoration of democracy. Q In that connection, the U.S. provided some assistance and I think may still be providing some assistance to the Colombian Government with regard to certain drug leaders, and so on, who have escaped from places that they weren't supposed to escape from. Is the U.S. -- has the U.S. been asked for or is the U.S. providing -- or has the U.S. provided any assistance to the Peruvian Government in connection with the arrest of the Shining -- with the capture of the Shining Path leader? Is it doing anything to help the Peruvian Government make sure he doesn't find his way out? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid that's not something I have anything on. Q Could you look into that question, please? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if I can get you anything on that. Q Richard, at the meeting I guess Mr. Djerejian had with the Israelis -- you can't say what's going to happen this afternoon -- but did the Israelis discuss with Mr. Djerejian the proposal they're bringing here or they brought here for dealing with the Golan Heights? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, as you know, we don't get into the substance of what's discussed in the meetings that Djerejian has. If the Israelis want to talk about what they have brought or what they're going to bring, you can let them talk about it, but we -- Q I didn't ask you what you thought of the proposal. MR. BOUCHER: No, I know. Q I just asked you if they let him have a peek at the paper. Was Ed's curiosity piqued to the point where he said, "What are you giving the Syrians this week?" MR. BOUCHER: Was he piqued to the point of peeking at a paper? (Laughter). Q Or are you piqued by my peeking over your shoulder to see if you have an answer to this question? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry, but, no, we haven't been discussing what is peeked at or is discussed in these meetings. Q What do they talk about? How long do they meet? Is it a lengthy meeting? "How are you, how was the trip?" MR. BOUCHER: It depends, Barry. They have frequent and close consultations on a variety of subjects. As you know, we have plenty of things to talk about with all the parties. We talk about the peace process, the status of the negotiations, how things are going. We've told you in the past sometimes we offer ideas and suggestions, but we don't get into exactly what proposals or substance might have been discussed. Q Did you offer any ideas and suggestions this week? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. Q Has the U.S. received any official protest from the Israeli Government over the sale of F-15s announced by President Bush to Saudi Arabia? MR. BOUCHER: We've seen the cabinet statement that they issued after their cabinet meeting yesterday. We've discussed the sale with them in the past. We've explained our reasons for it. That's about as much as I know. Q But the U.S. has not received any formal protest from the Israeli Government on that subject or -- MR. BOUCHER: I leave it to them to describe the points that they've made to us. Obviously, they've expressed their views on it, and we've seen the statement they issued after the cabinet meeting. Q Richard, a couple of questions on China. As you know, the Senate is taking up Most-Favored-Nation this afternoon, and I assume the Administration still opposes it. But could you explain why, given the fact that the legislation is now more carefully targeted and doesn't hurt the people you were afraid would be hurt the last time around? MR. BOUCHER: Ted, we've explained why many, many times in various pieces of legislation with various kinds of conditions. Keeping the relationship with China, not isolating China, we think has been a very important part of the progress that we have made. We've addressed issues and problems with the Chinese directly through various laws and meetings and other mechanisms that we've raised that we have for doing that, and we don't think that conditions should be attached to MFN. Beyond that, I'm not sure exactly what the legislation says at this point, so I don't think I'd be prepared to analyze any given set of conditions. But we've always felt that attaching conditions to MFN is just the wrong thing to do. Q Richard, is it true that China has pulled out of a proposal for a bilateral human rights commission in response to the F-16 sales to Taiwan? MR. BOUCHER: That's something I'd have to check. I don't think we ever had agreement for a joint human rights commission. "Pulled out" may be the wrong word. Q How about have we received any more clarification from the Chinese Government about the statement issued earlier last week about their intention to withdraw from international arms control negotiations with the United States and others as a result of their displeasure on the F-16 sale? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know that we have, Ralph, but exactly what their intentions are I think is something that you'd have to check with them. Q Another subject: Do you have anything to say about the -- where is the Agriculture Department's announcement on aid to the former Soviet -- to Russia today stand? Where does that fit into the picture of U.S. assistance to the former Soviet Union? Is it part of the credits that had been announced previously by the United States and are somehow being approved or something today, or is this a new batch of credits? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know in that detail. I know that the Agriculture Department has announced it, so I assume they can explain it. Q O.K. MR. BOUCHER: We will get you the overall context of the other things that are going on -- the usual Monday update. Q Will that -- that won't include the Agriculture -- MR. BOUCHER: It will include the bare bones of the Agriculture announcement, but if you have a detailed question, you might have to go over there. Q O.K. And one more -- I'm sorry -- on Syria: Is there -- what is the status of discussions with Syria on the question of their presence on the terrorist list? Have the U.S. and Syria had any discussions on that subject recently? MR. BOUCHER: Certainly, as I think Ed Djerejian made clear in his statement on Friday, we have discussions on various issues between us, but there's no consideration being given to changing their status on the terrorism list as far as I know. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:03 p.m.)