US Department of State Daily Briefing #134: Thursday, 9/24/92

Snyder Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Joseph Snyder Description: Washington, DC Date: Sep, 24 19929/24/92 Category: Briefings Region: Subsaharan Africa, E/C Europe, Eurasia Country: Yugoslavia (former), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Somalia, Russia Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, CSCE, Security Assistance and Sales, Mideast Peace Process 12:44 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. SNYDER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to begin with a housekeeping matter, and I've got an announcement about Yugoslavia and an update on Somalia. First of the all, the housekeeping. There will be an On-the-Record briefing on the Middle East peace talks today at 5:00 here in the Press Briefing Room. The briefer will be Edward Djerejian, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.

[Former Yugoslavia: Update]

On Yugoslavia: The United States is making available up to $6,130,000 to support international efforts to evacuate thousands of prisoners held in camps in the former Yugoslavia. Closure of the camps and release of all detainees was identified at the August 26 London Conference as a major priority. The actual evacuation will be managed by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will assist the evacuees in their place of refuge, and the International Organization for Migration will provide for further onward evacuation of the worst medical cases for needed treatment. The U.S. contributions in support of the evacuation efforts include: -- $2 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross in support of its activities in the former Yugoslavia; -- $3,800,000 to the UNHCR to support aid to detainees evacuated from prison camps in Bosnia and other republics; and -- $330,000 to the International Organization for Migration for the purpose primarily of transporting evacuated detainees from prison camps in the former Yugoslavia to the United States for medical treatment. In this regard, we understand that the ICRC has completed arrangements to begin transferring detainees from the camp at Trnopolje. However, a hotel in Banja Luka was bombed on Tuesday and this raises serious security concerns for the Red Cross because the camp is located nearby. Therefore, the Red Cross has not yet set a date for the transfer of these detainees until the security situation is clearer. On the fighting: Bosnian Serb forces continued their artillery attacks on Sarajevo throughout Wednesday night. Shelling struck near Stari Grad. According to Radio Bosnia, tank shells struck the suburb of Dobrinja. As we've seen for the last several weeks, shelling is coming both from U.N.-monitored and from undeclared Serbian artillery sites. We've also had press reports that two French soldiers were wounded in Sarajevo. Elsewhere in Bosnia, fighting was reported in Doboj, Gradacac, and near the town of Visegrad. The U.N. humanitarian assistance airlift to Sarajevo remains suspended. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee convoys scheduled for today out of Split include 40 metric tons to Ljubuski and 100-plus tons to Sarajevo. Scheduled for tomorrow is an 86-metric ton convoy to Kladusa out of [agreb, as well as 40 tons to Mostar, 96 tons to Vitez, and, again, over 100 tons to Sarajevo out of Split. On the talks in Geneva, the working group on confidence-building met again today. The group is discussing ways to ensure compliance with agreed confidence-building measures, including the grouping of heavy weapons. The Co-Chairmen of the London process, Mr. Vance and Lord Owen, will travel to Banja Luka on Friday, tomorrow. The Co-Chairmen have stated publicly they are concerned that tensions may be rising in Banja Luka. They wish to assess the situation on the ground. Part of their concern, of course, is this bombing that we mentioned. And on the missions, the only thing I have new to report is that on the mission to Kosovo, Sandzak, and Vojvodina, the two U.S. Foreign Service Officers participating in this CSCE long-duration mission -- Robert Norman and Peter Mulrean -- are now in Kosovo. They're scheduled to meet with Kosovar Albanian leader Rugova on September 24, and with the Serbian authorities on September 25. Mulrean and Norman will travel from Pristina, Kosovo, to Novi Pazar, in the Serbian area of Sandzak, on September 25, and they'll meet with local officials there on September 26.

[Somalia: Update]

And, if I could turn to Somalia, an update on the relief effort there. Yesterday, there were a total of 10 U.S. military relief flights to destinations in Somalia and Kenya to deliver 105 metric tons of humanitarian assistance. Weather conditions improved over Baidoa yesterday and the Department of Defense flew five relief missions there and delivered 61 metric tons of relief supplies. If the clear weather holds, DoD expects to return to a full schedule of relief flights to Baidoa. One mission was flown to Oddur with 10 metric tons of aid. This mission provided an opportunity to assess the condition of the runway at Oddur, and it was determined that the heavy rains of the last few days had not done significant damage to the airstrip's surface. Consequently, the Department of Defense expects to fly a full complement of flights into Oddur today. There were also four flights to Wajir, Kenya yesterday to deliver 34 tons of relief supplies. To date, DoD has flown 302 relief missions in Somalia and Kenya, delivering a total of approximately 3,800 metric tons of humanitarian assistance. The flights of C-141s carrying the Pakistani guards continue. There are now a total of 271 Pakistani food guards in Somalia, including the 60 brought in in the advance party last week, and there have been no incidents in connection with their arrival. Those are my updates. I'd be happy to take whatever questions you might have. Q On Yugoslavia: Any estimate on the number of prisoners to be evacuated and where they will go? MR. SNYDER: I don't have that. I would suggest you check with the ICRC, who is making the arrangements. I don't know exactly how many they have in mind. Any other questions? Q Have we given up entirely on discouraging the Russians from selling submarines to Iran? MR. SNYDER: Acting Secretary Eagleburger addressed this, as I'm sure you know, today in New York. He said we're very concerned about this. He said we have taken it up with the Russians in the past and we will be doing so again. Beyond that, I really don't have anything to add. Q Anything on the Eagleburger-Shara' meeting in New York? MR. SNYDER: Nothing to report here. You'll have to get that out of New York. Q Thank you. MR. SNYDER: Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 12:50 p.m.)