December, 1992

US Department of State Daily Briefing #174: Tuesday, 12/1/92

Boucher Source: State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Dec, 1 199212/1/92 Category: Briefings Region: Subsaharan Africa, E/C Europe, Southeast Asia, MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia Country: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Somalia, Vietnam, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Indonesia, Iraq, Angola, United States Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, State Department, Mideast Peace Process, Democratization, POW/MIA Issues, Arms Control 12:37 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to do a few things off the top by way of announcements and notices. The first thing is I'd like to take a moment and introduce Kim Jones. Kim's over here. She started work yesterday as our new press assistant, replacing Lynette Williams. Kim was born in Washington, D.C. She attended Northeastern University, and she graduated in 1991 with a B.S. in Political Science. And I know you'll all make her feel welcome and give her plenty of work to do and requests to take care of, but she'd be glad to help you out as much as she can. The second thing is to award a gold star to Sid `Balman, UPI: who noticed yesterday that we had predicted the success of a trip from November 26-30. In fact, that trip did take place from October 26-30, and it was as successful as we said it was. So that's to note that there was a mistake in that, and we have a revised copy of the full sheet for people -- with the proper dates. The third thing is we have more material concerning U.S. efforts to account for Vietnam-era prisoners of war and missing in action. This is our fourth such release. This release consists of 22,000 pages of documents, ten boxes, related to the Paris peace negotiations and documents drawn from the file of Frank Sieverts, who served as Special Assistant for POW and MIA Affairs in the Department. We have a slightly longer statement on that and copies. There will be a reading copy and then the sign-up sheet for those who want full sets. You can sign up, but you have to promise to cart them away. Q Do you have more than one copy there? MR. BOUCHER: We've got 22,000 pages of documents, and at least one copy. I think we have several in case people -- Q Oberdorfer wants one. MR. BOUCHER: If he brings the hand cart or the forklift and carts them away, he can have a set.

[Update: Yugoslavia and Somali]

MR. BOUCHER: O.K. The next is to do a brief update on Somalia on the airlift. We had 11 flights yesterday, 144 metric tons of humanitarian assistance that was delivered. The civilian component -- the latest information I've got on that is Sunday with 11 missions and 174 metric tons. And we have some more details for those who want it. I was asked yesterday about looting of food supplies, and I think you've probably seen in the Secretary General's letter some of the estimates of the amount that gets looted. I'll put up a more detailed version of this as well, but as best we can ascertain the food that we fly in, whether by military or civilian airlift, is not looted. It goes into warehouses and is being distributed to feeding centers. But the international airlift brings only about 20 percent of the total amount of food that goes into Somalia, and the 80 percent figure that's sometimes used for looting refers to the looting of food that's transported overland from Mogadishu or from Kismayo, another port, to inland towns. It refers to both looted food and protection money that's paid in food to armed gangs to prevent attacks on the convoys. And we've had some recent examples where many trucks have left and few have arrived. So that's one part of the situation out there. The other thing I was asked about yesterday was estimates of death rates. There are various estimates -- and we've checked this morning with the USAID Disaster Assistance Team in Nairobi as well as with the Red Cross -- some of the estimates range as high as 1,000 deaths a day from starvation and disease in Somalia. Statistics can't be verified. They're very hard to come by or to gather. I think people know a little more about what's going on in Bardera. That's a city of 20,000 people. There they say the rate was about 45 people a day in late September who were dying. It went up to as many as 200 a day in early November and now remains over 100 a day. We think the proportion of death rates to the population is alarmingly high throughout Somalia. Most significant is the number of children under five years of age who have died, and in effect an entire generation of Somalis has been lost. So that's where we stand on that. Q (Inaudible) MR. BOUCHER: What? Q You're saying all children under five have died? MR. BOUCHER: No. I'm saying that there's a significant number of children under five -- I don't have a percentage -- who are dying. Q Richard, considering that loss and that Mr. Eagleburger went up last Wednesday in kind of a hurry and delivered several options to the Secretary General, including the use of troops, is the U.N. taking unduly long in selecting which of these options? I mean, people are dying while the U.S. is deliberating and possibly gone to lunch, too. This seems to be an old situation. But what's the U.S. view of the deliberate speed with which the U.N. is considering these offers? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I don't think we have any problem with the speed with which the U.N. is doing this. I mean, the first thing that I need to point out is the speed with which the U.N. has been and continues to deliver food to people. We have our airlifts. We have our civilian funded airlifts. We have other humanitarian organizations in there. We have U.N. guards and U.N. workers in there. We have non-governmental organizations. And there is a lot being done every day in very difficult circumstances on the ground to get food to people. The discussions that we had with the Secretary General last Wednesday led to a fairly comprehensive nine-page letter that the Secretary General provided yesterday to the Security Council. He provided his ideas on the various options that were possible. He described the pros and cons of different options. The Security Council now in a new resolution will decide on which course to follow. We have had discussions with the Secretary General and with other members yesterday that I would describe as sort of informal discussions of the various options. Today we're discussing with some other members of the Security Council the elements that we would like to see in a resolution, and we'll continue our consultations with other governments with a view to reaching a Security Council decision as soon as possible. Q Are these conversations related or connected in any way to some anxiety, some concern, that a veto could stop a rescue operation, or is it just a matter of trying to find the best approach, and the U.S. is confident that some approach will be selected this week by the Council? MR. BOUCHER: Well, I can't give you a specific prediction. We're working this as soon as we can, as quickly as possible. The consultations are beginning in the Council. We've had some informal discussions yesterday. Today we're discussing with some other members the elements that we'd like to see in a resolution, and it's devoted to finding the best approach to meeting the needs out there. Q A quick one: Is China one of the people you're speaking to, and is China on board so far as at least not vetoing -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a specific list of countries, but I'll leave it to other countries to describe their position. Q What are the other elements you're talking about? What are the elements you would like to see included in this resolution? MR. BOUCHER: Well, the specific language has to be worked out with other members. The basic goal is to permit member states, working together and with the United Nations, to establish a force that would ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian supplies. Q Obviously, you have some modalities that you are particularly concerned about. I mean, you can't say in a general way what the elements are -- like one of the elements is that the command of -- under U.S. command? Is that one of the elements? MR. BOUCHER: There will be a large number of issues that need to be addressed. Some of them I'm sure will be in the resolution; some of them will be elsewhere. In discussions with the United Nations, of course, command and payment and mission and all that sort of thing have to be worked out. We're going to really -- if you start looking at questions like the size of the force and the length of their deployment, that obviously depends on the mission given to the force. The mission, of course, has to be defined both in the United Nations resolution and in what we would expect to work out -- sort of a clear statement of mission objectives, with indicators that would indicate the attainment of those objectives, so that it would help in setting a schedule for accomplishment of the mission. So there's a lot of things that follow, but the basics have to be laid out in the resolution, and that's what we're discussing. Q In answer to Jack's question, in your statement when you said the basic goal that the U.S. would like to see is to permit member states to act. MR. BOUCHER: To permit member states, working together and with the United Nations, to establish a force to ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian supplies. Q As distinct from creating a United Nations force. You're suggesting that the United Nations allow member nations to do certain things. MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I don't want to at this point to get too detailed into describing this or that aspect of it. I would describe this as our approach to it. Q Richard, in that language you just read, the word "Somalia" doesn't appear. Is this meant to be a precedent for other situations? For example, Mozambique or Sudan or other places? MR. BOUCHER: Jim, the word "Somalia" doesn't appear, because that's what we've been talking about. I could easily insert the word "Somalia." The United Nations has undertaken a variety of operations in the world right now. I'm not going to draw any particular conclusions from them. As you know, the whole subject of the U.N. role in peacekeeping, peacemaking and things like that is something that we have discussed with the United Nations, that the Secretary General has discussed, and the President, in fact, discussed in his speech to the United Nations last fall. Q Right. The point I was trying to get to was, as seen from the point of view of the United States, is this only to deal with the specific question of Somalia, or is this seen as a precedent for a whole series of catastrophes around the world for which the United Nations might be a useful remedy? MR. BOUCHER: Jim, as I said, the United Nations is doing a lot of things in a lot of different places in the world. We have never taken what the U.N. is doing in Country X or in one situation and sort of slapped it down upon every other country in the world. Obviously, the U.N. learns from each of these operations, but the more general subject of what the U.N. role is in different crisis situations is something that's separately under discussion. What we're working on now -- the "this" that you talk about is not defined yet. What we're working on now is to defining with regard to ensuring the food deliveries, ensuring the delivery of humanitarian supplies in Somalia, the best approach for the U.N. to take on this issue. Q Have any other countries offered troops? MR. BOUCHER: 0SZ5 Bad made public statements. I haven't seen anything that specifically offered troops. We do anticipate that other countries will contribute troops to help deal with the pressing humanitarian crisis in Somalia. Of course, some countries already have some troops there. I think it's too early to speculate on which troops -- which countries would provide troops or other material support, or what the size of other contributions might be. Q Back to Barry's question, is there any sense of urgency at the U.N. in the United States view? I mean, do you anticipate that this will be resolved this week, in this week, this month? MR. BOUCHER: I can't give you a specific time, but I think I've used the phrase "as quickly as possible," "as soon as possible," and "as fast as possible" about 12 times already. Q Richard, is the U.S. trying to drum up support among other countries for sending troops? MR. BOUCHER: We're talking to other countries. I'm not sure if our consultations have reached the point of specific discussion of sending troops. But, obviously, we're in touch with other governments, and they're aware of our views. Q Yesterday the Secretary General in his letter said that one of the things that he would recommend be done to determine what the force should do is to set a time limit for the action of this larger-scaled U.N. umbrella force -- the kind that you're talking about. Does the U.S. Government have any view as to whether a time limit should be set, and, if so, what is its preferred time limit? MR. BOUCHER: The length of time really depends on the mission. It depends on which course the Security Council decides to follow and what conditions the force encounters there. Clearly, we want to see a stable situation for the delivery of food and other supplies established quickly. The other thing the Secretary General described in his letter to the Council is that the initial force would be replaced by a regular U.N. peacekeeping force as soon as the conditions permit. So that's the general parameters of that question, but it's not a question I can answer in any specific terms at this point. Q Are you running into, in these consultations, any concern from countries that the United States will come down on one side or another or put -- and, secondarily, but along the same line, can this be -- this operation be conducted on a purely humanitarian basis without even unintentionally becoming enmeshed in -- you know, with a terrible factional rivalry in the country? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, every time we discuss something that we're doing at the U.N., you ask me to talk for other countries and their concerns. Q Well, you're hearing -- MR. BOUCHER: I'm not about to start talking for other countries and their concerns. We discussed yesterday the purposes of what we're about to undertake. You've seen the detailed discussion by the Secretary General of the various options, of the pros and cons of those options. We have supported the United Nations efforts to work on things like political reconciliation, relief, security for food deliveries. We continue to support that. The efforts of the United Nations, the Secretary General's Special Envoy for Somalia, who is Ambassador Kittani, has been working on a lot of the political reconciliation aspects of this, and we continue to support those efforts. Q Is the United States telling other countries -- maybe you would perfer the question this way -- is the United States telling other countries that it will not become involved, even accidentally, or try to steer clear of becoming involved in the political thicket that Somalia is right now? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, if you remember, yesterday we discussed this issue. I said very clearly we're not proposing that the United Nations take over Somalia. We're not proposing that we go in there and set up a separate administration. I described our goals yesterday the way I've described them again today, and that is to provide a safe and stable and secure environment to facilitate the delivery of the relief supplies to the people who so desperately need them. Q Richard, does the provision of a safe and secure environment in Somalia include the disarmament of -- or the disarming of various and sundry groups and individuals and small groups, and so on? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, that's something that's discussed in the Secretary General's letter. At this point I think I have to leave any specifics of the mission to be defined in the discussions in New York. Q You don't care to offer us the U.S. view on that subject? MR. BOUCHER: Not at this point, no. Q Richard, what's being done on cost-sharing? MR. BOUCHER: That, too, is a subject that we will have to discuss. I'm told that thus far we haven't gotten into any detail into the issue of payment. I think generally we'd expect that contributing member states would support the use of their own forces, but exactly what contributions we would expect to see from ourselves and others has to be defined by the -- in the course of discussions. Q Will different countries have different -- Q (Inaudible) from the Persian Gulf operation then. The Gulf operation involved soliciting contributions from a wide variety of nations and financial contributions. MR. BOUCHER: I don't know that it will be, but different nations may find different ways of supporting the operation. So it's a subject that I can't define in too much detail at this point. Q Richard, when you were talking about transporting the additional troops which the U.N. had authorized to be sent {into Somalia, the piece of paper that you put out on it said that this amount of -- that the money that it would cost to transport these people would be taken off of the amount of money that we owed the U.N. Are we seeing these -- the payment for these programs now that we are engaged in is a way of paying off our debt to the U.N. as opposed to appropriating the money? MR. BOUCHER: I think -- I'm not sure it said "debt." I think it said peacekeeping "assessments" as opposed to peacekeeping "arrears." But in any case, I can't -- it's been done on a case-by-case basis, and I can't define for you how this case will be charged. Q Will there be different missions -- MR. BOUCHER: Or if it will be charged. Q Excuse me. Will there be different missions for different countries? Or put another way, will the United States have a specific mission? Related to that, if you can try -- I know you don't want to talk about details or much about this at all -- but will there be some zonal arrangement? You know, that the United States -- this is done in Bosnia, for instance. MR. BOUCHER: Barry, it's way too early for me to try to answer that question. Q It frightening that it's too early, because this is a matter of great tragedy and starvation. MR. BOUCHER: It is a matter of great tragedy. It's a matter that we're working on intensively. It's a matter of defining specifically the mission and the goals in a U.N. resolution. We're working on that. I've told you we're working on that as soon as possible. I'm sure the various military planners are hard at work as well. But it's too early for me to define it, because I don't know what all the different contributions are going to be, and I don't think they do either. Q Richard, what can you tell us about the meeting which is under way in Addis Ababa? Q What was the question? MR. BOUCHER: The meeting in Addis Ababa. The meeting is the third and the fourth of December: in Addis Ababa. It's a meeting of -- to discuss the situation in Somalia, I think primarily with a provision of relief. I didn't bring my piece of paper on it, so that's about all I remember. We're sending some people out, and I believe all the various Somali factions are expected to attend as well. Q Who is representing the United States there? MR. BOUCHER: We're sending out Bob Oakley who is -- Ambassador Robert Oakley, who will be replacing Ambassador Peter de Vos as our Special Envoy for Somalia. They're both going to this meeting. Q (Inaudible) MR. BOUCHER: No. He was the Ambassador to Pakistan. I think -- I'm not sure what his current status is, but his future status is our Special Envoy for Somalia. Q This goes to the question of the urgency that has been brought up earlier. I was looking at the situation report put out by OFDA on November 6, and it talked of a catastrophic situation -- 300,000 dead already, 1,000 per week, 1.5 million threatened. Going back to October, the words were almost as alarming. What happened in late November to suddenly give this government a sense of urgency about a situation which had been going on for months? MR. BOUCHER: Jim, I tried to address that yesterday. I'm not sure I can do that any more today. I've described for you some of the specific numbers that we have on death rates, the situation that we've been seeing. If you've looked at the Secretary General's reports to the Security Council, there was one on November 24; there was one again on November 29. They go into a great amount of detail on the situation of lawlessness and anarchy which exist, on the difficulties that have been faced by people trying to deliver food supplies. I've described to you the looting that happens in the trucks and the movement of food from the ports to the places where people are who need it. This situation has gotten worse, and the inter-related elements of food and security have grown to the point where food can't be delivered to the people who need it because the security situation has broken down. Q But much of that was going on in late October, middle October, and, certainly, it was mentioned in the situation report published on November 6. MR. BOUCHER: I'd just have to put it this way, Jim, the situation has gotten worse. The U.N. has taken various initiatives over the course of time in terms of working with the factions in order to try to get agreement and consent to the deliveries. They have had various agreements and understandings, which are detailed in the U.N. Secretary General's report, which haven't been followed, which haven't been abided by, and which have prevented the delivery of food. We felt now is the time to move in some different way. He feels now is the time to move in some different way, as you can see from his letter. Q Can we move in a different way? Q No. I'm sorry, Barry. First of all, on this question, you mentioned to us or commended to our attention the Secretary General's reports on the 24th and 29th of November. It's clear now that the Bush Administration had been moving on this subject in an urgent way, at least a few days before November 24. We're not quite sure how many days before. Were there other reports that suggested some urgency outside of the ones that we've been reading on a monthly basis and outside of the ones that have prompted the flights on which you report every day over the past six/eight months? Is there something that -- MR. BOUCHER: No. Obviously, there is a lot of information, in terms of formal reports to the Security Council. I'm not sure how many the Secretary General has done. You all have been reading the newspapers. You've been reading your own reporting on what's going on out there. I don't think anything that we've said from here or that we've really had has been that much different. The difficulties of the situation have been very well described, I think, in the public record. Q All right. Now, if I could come back to Jim's question for a moment of much earlier, the question of whether this resolution applies to Somalia. I take it from your answer that the U.S. view is that this resolution should apply rather strictly to Somalia; is that correct? MR. BOUCHER: This is a resolution on Somalia. Jim is asking me to draw a paradighm or a model that I will then pop down on various other countries that he wants to name from time to time, and I'm declining to do that. We're dealing with a resolution on Somalia. Q And I'll decline to contribute any motives to anybody else's questions either. But the question is whether similar breakdown of security, similar inability to deliver food, and the other conditions you mentioned in the course of this briefing apply in other places, most notably in Yugoslavia -- former Yugoslavia? The French are raising this question, for example, and I'm wondering why action of this sort, resolution of this sort is not being dealt with in the same way in other situations where similar problems of food delivery and security breakdowns have occurred? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, there are problems of food delivery and security breakdown, I'm sure, in any number of places in the world right now. The U.N. and various countries are dealing with those in different ways. I would point out that recently the United Nations has, in fact, increased the amount of troops, the support for the delivery of humanitarian supplies by beefing up UNPROFOR in Bosnia, and that that effort is part of an effort to expand the delivery of food throughout Bosnia. So I don't think you can ask us to take the exact same moves in different places. Obviously, in each given situation there are going to be similarities, there are going to be differences. We try to do what's appropriate to the situation to ensure that our goals can be met. Q In that connection, where do we stand on the U.S.-desired enforcement of the U.S.-proposed "no-fly" zone in the Balkans? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything new on that at this point. Q Has that essentially been sidetracked now -- MR. BOUCHER: No, I wouldn't say it has. It's a subject -- Q -- partly because of this issue and partly because of the opposition to it? MR. BOUCHER: No, I would say it's a subject of continuing attention, but I don't have anything new to report on it. Q And it's not something the U.S. desires to have happen as soon as possible or as quickly as possible? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, I don't want to get caught in trying to apply words from one situation to another. We've reported to you on the "no-fly" zone and what we're doing about it. We've reported to you on the situation that we see out there and what the U.N. Secretary General has provided to members of the Council on that subject. It's a subject that we continue to work on; and when there's something new to report to, I'd be glad to. Q Are the flights continuing? Q You don't have any judgments on those flights yet, still, I presume? MR. BOUCHER: No. Q Are there any new flights? MR. BOUCHER: I haven't checked specifically overnight, but in recent days there have been some new flights; yes. Q So that -- wait a minute. Okay. So the same -- it's the same catechism, right? You don't know if they're military; you've reached over a hundred now, and they're continuing -- all that is true? MR. BOUCHER: All that is true. Q What's wrong with us drawing the conclusion that the United States has obviously decided, suddenly, that Somalia is a situation that demands as soon as possible and as quickly as possible, and Bosnia is a situation that doesn't because it's politically impossible to -- MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, at any given moment you can find someplace in the world where we're moving faster than somewhere else in the world. Two months ago people were criticizing us for beefing up UNPROFOR in Bosnia and not doing anything in Somalia. Now, this week, you want to want to criticize us for doing something in Somalia and not doing the same thing at the same time in Bosnia. The fact is that we have to deal with different situation. Situations develop differently over time and in different places. We try to deal with those situations as best we can and at the times we can. Q The U.S. and its allies laid down a marker with the "no-fly" zone; and we finally concluded the Arabs and the Israelis are not going to respond to George Shultz's peace plan. I think at some point we're going to have to conclude that you guys -- MR. BOUCHER: I didn't know that that had been raised in this context. Q Oh, yeah. Nobody turned it down. Nobody ever turned it down. We're going to have to conclude that the U.S. and its allies, for some reason or other, have lost its zeal for maintaining an air cap over Bosnia and to protect the Muslims. MR. BOUCHER: You can conclude that at some point, Barry, if you want to. I would caution you that it might be premature to conclude that now. Q What we're getting at, Richard, is, you're trying to explain to us what the rationale, what the underpinnings are for a move that the United States and perhaps other countries are about to make in a big way in Somalia. There's no criticism implied in that move. You're explaining to us the rationale for that. We see the same rationale existing in Bosnia, but you choose not to use that rationale to justify similar action there. We're just trying to explore where the distinctions begin. MR. BOUCHER: We go right back to the same thing, Ralph: Situations are somewhat similar, situations are different. We do what's best in a given situation. We have a standing rule that we don't do comparisons, and it's just because of this. Diplomacy, responding to needs, responding to death, responding to crises is not a matter of plugging in four factors into a computer and having it spit out an answer that you can use anywhere in the world. { We're dealing with these situations differently. If you want to criticize what we're doing in one situation, that's fine. Q Richard, do you have any reaction to calls by Islamic countries, headed by Saudi Arabia, to end the arms embargo on Bosnia? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything new on that, Alan. We've expressed our views on that before. Q On the meeting in Moscow -- I'm sorry. Q Just one last thing. These factors that you plug into computers -- MR. BOUCHER: That we don't plug into computers. Q You don't plug into computers. Are they what are commonly known as "principles?" MR. BOUCHER: Alan, we're to a level of theory that I don't know what we're talking about anymore. Q I'll ask you something specific. Assuming that the day has ended in Moscow, the consultations on the Mideast, right, the two-day consultations should be over now. Do you have any results? And do you have any regrets or acceptances, or some combination thereof, for the London meeting which is Thursday, I believe? MR. BOUCHER: Are you talking about the steering group meeting? Q Yeah. Well, first, you had pre -- you know, the -- MR. BOUCHER: Am I wrong, or is somebody else wrong? Because I thought the steering group was the third and fourth as well. Q No, no. Here's the point. There was a little paper put out yesterday that said the U.S. and Russia would talk first in Moscow. That was to be Monday and Tuesday, preparing for the steering. MR. BOUCHER: Preparing for the meeting of the steering group on the third and fourth. Q And you listed all the people you'd like to be at the steering meeting in London and not all of them have attended previous regional meetings. So I wonder if -- MR. BOUCHER: We listed the invitees. Q That's right. And some of them somehow don't {{always show up. So I wonder, did the U.S. and Russia resolve anything particularly in London or did they just make technical -- I mean, in Moscow -- or did they just make technical preparations? And have you heard from such as the Israelis and the Syrians and whoever else -- the Palestinians -- whether they will be at the steering committee meeting? {w3{ MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if there was anything specific concluded in Moscow. The intention of Moscow was to compare notes among the co-sponsors before the steering group meeting. The guest list -- who actually shows up in London -- I think I'll have to wait until tomorrow, but I'll try to get that for you. Q Can I go back to Alan's question for just one minute on arms embargo in Bosnia. You said -- you repeated U.S. policy. Is that under review? Would you be willing to take it under review given the Saudi request? MR. BOUCHER: Johanna, it's a subject that is raised periodically. It's a subject that's certainly in the air. There's no review going on of our policy on that. Certainly, we discuss it with other governments. We tell people our views on it.

[Indonesia: Whereabouts of East Timor Guerrilla Leader Gusmao]

Q Do you have anything new on the condition of Mr. Gusmao, the guerrilla leader in East Timor detained by Indonesia? The latest I've had is that he appeared on a videotape asking for East Timor to be integrated into Indonesia and disclaiming -- MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't seen that, and I don't have anything new on him. Q Nothing new? The State Department asked the Indonesian Government for the Committee of the International Red Cross to have access to him? MR. BOUCHER: That's right. Q Have you had any reply on that? MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check on that and see. Q What about the -- have we talked about the U.S. citizen in Iran recently? MR. BOUCHER: No, we haven't talked about that recently and I haven't checked, so I'll have to check on that one, too. Q And how are we doing with the Russians? Moving right along on it? MR. BOUCHER: Both sides are working hard. Q Both sides are working hard. Q As quickly as possible, and as soon as possible, no doubt. MR. BOUCHER: Soon, I think that one is.-- Q "Soon." Okay. Q Do you anticipate that the Acting Secretary of State is going to meet with the Foreign Minister of Russia in these series of meetings in Stockholm? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know specifically what the Russian Foreign Minister's travel plans are. But every time they're in the same place at the same time, they meet. Q That's true. But I was sort of asking whether or not you think the other guy is going to be there? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know yet. Q The Acting Secretary is meeting this afternoon with the Senators. What's the subject of that? MR. BOUCHER: The subject is their recent trip, basically. Q Which Senators? MR. BOUCHER: Senators Nunn and Lugar have just been to Russia and several of the other states. They've been talking about nuclear programs and nuclear disarmament. They are known as the authors of the Nunn-Lugar Amendment. Obviously, they have a strong interest in that subject, and that's what we expect to talk about with them. Q Richard, the Ukrainian parliament -- I know this has come up repeatedly. The Ukrainians have also repeatedly assured the United States that the ratification of START -- START I, that is -- would be -- and the annex to START I -- would be put before their parliament in the fall session. I know it's still officially fall here. It's pretty cold over there. Do you know -- do you have any new assurances? Are there any problems, any hiccups? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware of any new assurances, Alan. I'm sure we talk to them about these matters fairly frequently. I just hadn't checked recently. I'm not aware of any changes in the situation. I don't know how long the fall session lasts. But we've been repeatedly assured, as you say, that it's on their calendar and that they are working for passage. Q So the leaves are still on the trees in Kiev? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know how the leaves are doing, but evidently the parliament session is not over. Q Is the U.S. having any talks with the Iraqis of any significance? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I'm aware of. Q They seem to be interested -- MR. BOUCHER: Is there anything in particular we should be talking to them about? We had some public discussion at the U.N. last week when Tariq Aziz showed up, and we stated our views. Q It's a catch-all question. MR. BOUCHER: I know it's a catch-all question. I'm sure from time to time we have contact. Q It's prompted by various inside stories and various newspapers and such saying the Iraqis are really eager to mend fences and want to talk to the U.S. I don't know if they mean this Administration or the next one, particularly. MR. BOUCHER: I really haven't seen any stories like that, Barry. I don't know of anything particular. Q But Eagleburger definitely did not see Aziz in New York last week; right? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I'm aware of, Barry.

Former Yugoslavia: Aircraft Fired Upon]

Q Richard, anything to say on the shooting of an American plane today in Yugoslavia? MR. BOUCHER: The airlift -- there was a C-130 on its final approach to Sarajevo that was hit by a bullet from small arms fire. There were no injuries. The plane was able to land safely, and after being checked out thoroughly, was able to take off again from Sarajevo and make its return flight to Rhein Main. UNHCR officials have temporarily interrupted the airlift. This is the fourth such incident this month when a U.N. humanitarian flight was fired upon by small arms fire. Obviously, we don't think that this is the way to act in relation to people who are bringing in needed supplies. The totals yesterday: 17 flights, five of them U.S. and 167.9 metric tons of food, clothing, plastic sheeting, and other relief supplies. Q Do we know who fired at them? MR. BOUCHER: Not at this point. I just have the barest of details from it. Q Anything further to say about the situation on the Nazi violence in Germany, or the prosecution thereof? MR. BOUCHER: Nothing new today, no. Q Senator Nunn last week, at his press conference, voiced concern about what he said was the likely leakage of nuclear material out of the former Soviet Union, and mentioned specifically smuggling from Byelarus. If you haven't already addressed this, can you tell us if the United States has any corroboration of what he said? MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to get something for you on that. I'll have to look into that one. Q Also, on one three-page sheet of paper, you talked about at the beginning -- we mention a program to buy HEU. I assume that's highly enriched uranium. Is that a new initiative? MR. BOUCHER: It's something that's been announced before. I don't remember exactly when it was, but it was announced by the White House a couple of months ago, I think. Q Back to Somali again for just a second. Can you tell us, to what extent, if any, the Bush Administration has consulted with or discussed the situation in Somalia with the Clinton Transition Team? MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't. Q You did take the question. MR. BOUCHER: I think I put an answer that said we really hadn't had that kind of discussion with any of the people here yet. As far as the whole Administration goes, I think you probably ought to check with the White House as well. Q Okay. As of this point, Eagleburger, or the State Department Transition Team, and perhaps someone else -- Kanter or -- MR. BOUCHER: As of this moment, I can't tell. As of the moment when I checked yesterday afternoon, they had not.

[Angola: Situation Update]

Q Richard, also on Africa: It looks like the UNITA forces have taken two towns in the northern part of Angola. What's the assessment here? Has the whole peace package fallen apart? MR. BOUCHER: Well, let me give you a fairly extensive rundown of what's going on. According to the United Nations and government sources, heavy fighting broke out in the northern province of Uige on November 29, in what appears to have been a well-coordinated plan by UNITA forces. Attacks were launched simultaneously on the provincial capital city of Uige -- that's U-I-G-E -- and the nearby airbase of Negage. One U.N. non-commissioned officer, a Brazilian, was killed in the fighting and another was wounded. All the U.N. personnel have been withdrawn from Uige. Government forces have also been withdrawn, and both Uige and Negage are now under UNITA control. Confrontations have also occurred in other parts of the north over the past few days. A government contingent was ambushed near the city of Caxito, forty miles east of Luanda. Fighting continues today in the northern city of Soyo. Western oil companies with facilities in that area, including TEXACO and FINA, have reportedly evacuated their personnel due to the fighting. We see these latest hostilities as a clear violation of both the Angola Peace Accords and of the November 26 declaration in which both parties agreed to respect the ceasefire and to halt all offensive movements. We would call on all the parties, particularly UNITA, to immediately bring their forces under control and to stop offensive military action. We believe the progress towards a negotiated settlement can be achieved only with the cessation of military activities and a return to the designated troop assembly areas provided for under the peace accords. This is especially true for UNITA, which has systematically utilized military operations over the past two months to sieze territory and to destabilize Angola. For its part, the government should take steps to promote negotiations, including such things as the release of prisoners, the return of bodies of those who were killed, and, of course, cooperation with the United Nations in that regard. Q Richard, to dot the "i," are you putting the burden of the blame on UNITA? MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think I've described what we think all the various parties should do. But the attacks I've described in recent days have been attacks by UNITA. Q Has the Administration heard from Jonas Savimbi in the last few weeks? MR. BOUCHER: The last few weeks? We talk periodically on the telephone with Savimbi. And, of course, we're in touch with the other parties as well, so we've in touch with both sides. Q Who speaks with him, by the way? MR. BOUCHER: Who speaks with him? Q Does Eagleburger, Baker? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know for sure. Everybody has spoken with him, I think. Q Margaret doesn't take his calls now. (Laughter) MR. BOUCHER: The ones that I'm familiar with have been Hank Cohen or Jeff Davidow, the people in the African Bureau. Q Can you state categorically that the U.S. Government is no longer supporting UNITA with overt or covert funds? MR. BOUCHER: I would have to go back and get the official doctrine on that one, John. Q That would be helpful, just for the record. MR. BOUCHER: Because we've continued to provide support -- humanitarian support and election support, and things like that. I'm not sure how much of it goes to individual organizations. Q In that connection, is Hank Cohen, or someone else in the Africa Bureau, engaging in any kind of formalized consultations with African nations on the subject of the Somalia operation? Is he convening some sort of a meeting to discuss it or anything, or is it all being handled -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't know precisely. We're in touch with various other governments, including, I'm sure, some African governments, but I don't know precisely of any meetings that are being held. Q I hate to bring this old one up, but we never really got the answer. Is the Administration satisfied with the explanation it got for the killing of Wilson dos Santos and Tito Chingunji? MR. BOUCHER: Sid, we had a lot to say about it at the time. I don't think I have anything more to add. Q I remember pretty clearly what you said, but there was never any resolution to it. MR. BOUCHER: I'll check and see if there -- Q Jonas Savimbi (inaudible) he didn't do it -- MR. BOUCHER: -- is any sort of resolution at this point. I'm not aware of anything new. Q Sorry, George. You may not have an answer to this anyway, but we've got to ask something about Cuba. From time to time, the U.S. Government, through this building and elsewhere, expresses comments about groups that take actions outside the United States. For example, I remember it occurring in El Salvador and Nicaragua situations a few years ago. Does the U.S. Government have a view on groups that claim publicly to have engaged in gun-running raids to Cuba in which they delivered weapons or have brought weapons on boats to Cuba? They make all these claims fairly publicly. Is there some problem with that as far as the U.S. and its conduct of foreign policy is concerned? MR. BOUCHER: We have laws on that sort of thing that we have described for you before. I don't know all the details of them. Q Does the U.S. actively enforce -- MR. BOUCHER: We have laws against using the territory -- you know, engaging in attacks on other countries from the territories of the United States. Q Does the Bush Administration actively enforce those laws in the case of Cuba? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure we do, but you could check with Justice on that. Q Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 1:20 p.m.)