US Department of State Daily Briefing #132: Tuesday, 9/22/92

Snyder Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Joseph Snyder Description: Washington, DC Date: Sep, 22 19929/22/92 Category: Briefings Region: Subsaharan Africa, E/C Europe, MidEast/North Africa, South Asia, Caribbean Country: Yugoslavia (former), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Somalia, India, Bolivia Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, Security Assistance and Sales, CSCE 2:52 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. SNYDER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like, if I could, to begin with a statement on Sudan, and then I'll have a couple of updates on Somalia and Bosnia.

[Sudan: Sudanese Citizen Employed by USAID Executed]

We've learned with sadness and outrage that Mr. Andrew Tombe, a Sudanese citizen employed by the United States Agency for International Development Mission in Sudan, has been executed by the Government of Sudan. The Government of Sudan maintains that Mr. Tombe was tried and convicted of treason by a military tribunal. If such a trial took place, it would have been held in secret and would have been a clear violation of international legal standards pertaining to his detention and alleged trial. The Government of Sudan has supplied no evidence to us that would indicate that Mr. Tombe was guilty of treason. We believe him innocent. We have reliable information that a second AID employee, Mr. Baudouin Tally, has also been executed. Employees of the United Nations and other organizations are also reported missing. Several credible sources indicate widespread killing and abuse of the civilian population in Juba by the army and militia of the Government of Sudan. In spite of our repeated requests in Washington and Khartoum, Sudanese authorities have not provided us with information on the whereabouts of our Foreign Service national employees at the USAID compound in Juba, nor have they allowed travel by U.S. Embassy officials to Juba. Our Foreign Service nationals in Sudan have given us faithful service under very difficult conditions. We strongly condemn the Sudanese Government for its unwarranted execution of Mr. Tombe. We demand that the Sudanese Government immediately provide a full accounting of Mr. Tombe's detention, trial, and execution, and also provide information on the whereabouts and condition of Mr. Tally. We further call on the Sudanese Government to allow an immediate inspection of the condition of the civilian population in Juba by the International Committee of the Red Cross, including access to those being held in detention. Q The man who was executed was a Foreign Service national? MR. SNYDER: A Foreign Service national, yes. A Sudanese citizen. Q What was his job in AID? MR. SNYDER: I understand he was a white collar employee. I don't know exactly what it was that he did. Q: Have there been any reports of American citizens being executed there? MR. SNYDER: Not that I'm aware of, no. Q Do you have any more information on the second AID employee? MR. SNYDER: No. Just that it's reliable information, but I have nothing in addition to that. Q What was his job there? MR. SNYDER: He also was a clerk, or a white collar employee at the Mission in Juba. Q You said -- you made reference to U.N. employees and other international civil service being missing? MR. SNYDER: Reported missing, yes. Q Do you have any idea how many? MR. SNYDER: No, I don't. Q What have we done in protest? What are we doing? MR. SNYDER: We have been in to see the Sudanese both here and in Khartoum to demand information, to demand access to the compound, to protest in the strongest terms the execution of Mr. Tombe. Q Joe, is there any indication that they may, in fact, have been involved in espionage?

[Somalia: Update]

MR. SNYDER: None whatsoever. None that we have. Okay. If I could go on to Somalia -- an update on the situation there: Yesterday, there were a total of 12 U.S. military flights to destinations inside Somalia and Kenya to deliver 138 metric tons of humanitarian aid. The breakdown of these missions is as follows: There were eight flights to Baidoa with 100 metric tons and three flights to Oddur, carrying 28 tons. In addition, there was one flight to Wajir, which is in Kenya, to deliver 10 metric tons of relief supplies. To date, the Department of Defense has flown 290 relief missions in Somalia and Kenya, delivering a total of approximately 3,681 metric tons of humanitarian assistance. Three of yesterday's 11 scheduled relief flights into Baidoa were cancelled because security around the airfield deteriorated. There are reports that a firefight between unidentified factional elements erupted after eight U.S. military flights had delivered their relief cargoes at the airstrip. No U.S. personnel or expatriate relief workers were injured as a result of the fighting, and none of the aircraft were endangered. Department of Defense relief flights into Baidoa have been suspended until the security situation stabilizes. The United States AID Disaster Assistance Team and the International Committee of the Red Cross have not lifted the suspension on U.S. military flights into Belet Weyne. You'll recall, relief missions to Belet Weyne were halted on September 18 after a U.S. military C-130 was struck by a single gunshot. There were no injuries to U.S. personnel or significant damage to the aircraft in that incident. I should say that both the AID team and the Red Cross travel into Somalia to evaluate the security situation on a constant basis, and we plan to resume the flights as soon as the security situation allows. Q Does that mean all flights are stopped, or what? MR. SNYDER: No. Just to those two places -- to Belet Weyne and to Baidoa. Q There's other places they're going to, though? MR. SNYDER: Other places they're going. Q Back into Baidoa a second, before you go. MR. SNYDER: Sure. Q Did any U.S. military who were along for security for the U.S. aircraft discharge their weapons? Were they involved in the fighting to any extent? MR. SNYDER: Not that I know of. I don't think the planes were involved. It was after the first eight flights had come in and left that there was a disturbance that led them to cancel the remaining three flights. A little bit more on Somalia. The Pakistani troops: Three C-141s -- U.S. C-141s -- carrying Pakistani guards landed in Mogadishu yesterday. Three additional flights landed today. There were no incidents that we know of connected with the arrival of these flights. They will continue for about a week until all 500 of the Pakistani troops are in Somalia.

[Former Yugoslavia]

Now, to go to Bosnia. First of all, on the fighting, Bosnian Serb artillery rounds struck Sarajevo Monday night with shelling continuing into the morning. Most of the shelling was directed at the suburbs around the airport. Shelling is coming from both U.N. monitored and from undeclared artillery sites. The shelling knocked out Sarajevo's main electrical transmission line, reducing electricity and water power. Elsewhere in Bosnia, there were artillery attacks on the besieged cities of Jajce, Gradacac, and Bihac yesterday and this morning. It's clear that the Bosnian Serbs have not concentrated all their heavy weapons despite their commitment to do so. They've continued their destructive and unjustified shelling of Sarajevo and other cities. The U.N. humanitarian assistance airlift to Sarajevo remains suspended. Convoys are scheduled for today, including convoys into Sarajevo and to Banja Luka. Tomorrow, convoys are scheduled for Citluk, Vitez, and Knin. Yesterday, a convoy from Split to the Goradze area was stopped by a demonstration of Serbian women and children demanding that they be fed first. The convoy could not proceed and returned to Sarajevo.

[CSCE Meeting]

A little bit on the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and a number of the missions. As you know, there was a meeting of the Senior Officials of CSCE in Prague last week. This meeting commissioned the long-term monitor mission to Macedonia and charged it with watching for signs of spillover of conflict into Macedonia. The meeting approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Macedonia and Ambassador Robert Frowick, who is the head of the Macedonia mission. They set a budget for the mission, and placed operational control of the mission in the hands of the Chairman-in-Office. Upon his return to Macedonia later this week, Frowick will establish an office in Skopje. He plans to deploy eight monitors who will focus their attention on border crossing points near Kumanovo on the Serbian border and near Tetovo on the border with Kosovo. The Prague meeting also approved a U.S.-European Community comprehensive sanctions monitoring plan for Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania. The U.S. is contributing nine U.S. Customs officers for the start-up of the missions. Also, the EC and a number of CSCE member states have offered to provide monitors. The British are holding an organizational meeting for the monitors in London today, and they should be in place by the end of the week. I would also note that the U.S. and the United Kingdom will send a separate sanctions enforcement fact-finding team to talk to Macedonia September 29. That's separate from the Frowick mission to Macedonia and also separate from the other sanctions monitoring missions. The Prague Conference also directed a long-duration mission to Kosovo, Sandzak, and Vojvodina to undertake preventive diplomacy by doing several things: Promoting dialogue between the authorities and the population; collecting information on violations of human rights; establishing contact points for solving problems; and assisting in providing information on human rights, protection of minorities, free media, and democratic elections. Members of the preparatory contingent of this mission are gathering today in Belgrade, and they'll begin visiting Kosovo, Sandzak, and Vojvodina by the end of the week. And that's it for updates. I'll be happy to take your questions. Q Do you have any additional guidance to supplement what the President said yesterday about foreign aid and an increased role for the State Department, and a radical overhaul of the aid program? MR. SNYDER: Unfortunately, no, I don't. We'll begin working on that, but we have nothing else to say today. Q Joe, do you have any assessment on the role Panic is currently playing? Secretary Eagleburger, this morning, made remarks in New York that seemed to indicate that the Department doesn't take Panic seriously as a figure in Yugoslavia. Can you amplify that? MR. SNYDER: I really don't want to elaborate. The Acting Secretary, I think, went on at some length about our views of Mr. Panic, and I've really got nothing to add to what he had to say in New York. We'll have a transcript of that available, if you'd like. Q On the Sudan: Do you have any more information about what is behind the treason charges? MR. SNYDER: Absolutely not. There was no public trial; no evidence was presented. So we don't have any idea why the Sudanese Government did what they did. Q Do you relate it to the local political situation in any way? Is there any background you can give us? MR. SNYDER: Well, it's a chaotic situation in Sudan right now. There's factional fighting going on, tribal fighting, religious fighting. Where this fits into that picture, I really don't know. Q Joe, do you have anything to report on contacts with India about their alleged delivery of precursor chemical warfare materials? MR. SNYDER: Jim, I really don't. Again, the Acting Secretary addressed this yesterday in New York. He said we would prefer not to discuss the subject except to say that it's an issue of concern to us and we've been discussing with the appropriate authorities. Q And was there a U.S. protest made to India? MR. SNYDER: I just don't want to get into the details of our discussions on it. We have been discussing it with the appropriate authorities. Q Joe, back to Sudan. How were these people executed? Do you know? MR. SNYDER: I don't know. Q Joe, Rabin is quoted on Israeli radio this morning as saying something along the lines of reaching some accord or some agreement in the very near future on the Middle East situation. Are you aware of that? Do you have any knowledge of what -- or any affect that it might have on the peace talks here? MR. SNYDER: No. And in keeping with our standard practice, we're not getting into the substance of the peace talks from the podium. We ask you to direct any questions you might have to the participants. Q Joe, do you have anything on the withdrawal of 200 army engineers from Bolivia -- U.S. Army engineers from Bolivia? MR. SNYDER: Not at all. It's the first I've heard of it. Q Could you check that, because it did, indeed, happen? MR. SNYDER: I'll see what I can find out about it. Q Do you have any comment on the letter released by Representative Gonzales yesterday by Paul Hare -- on the memo by Paul Hare -- urging better relations with Iraq despite the shelter given to terrorists and other things? MR. SNYDER: Not really. I don't have any specific comment. The President and the Secretary of State have addressed our policy towards Iraq during that period in quite some length, and I've got nothing to add to that. I can tell you we've got copies of the memo in the Press Office, if you would like to see them. Q Joe, there are some reports drifting around the city that the U.S. is about to lift its embargo on Haiti. Do you have anything on that? MR. SNYDER: We have no plans to end our embargo at this time. We continue to evaluate its effects. However, we are providing $62 million in humanitarian aid this year through non-governmental organizations. One of the purposes of the 18-member mission sent to Haiti by the Organization of American States recently is to monitor the effects of the embargo and the delivery of humanitarian aid. Q Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 1:06 p.m.)