US Department of State Daily Briefing #175: Wednesday, 12/2/92

Boucher Source: State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Dec, 2 199212/2/92 Category: Briefings Region: Subsaharan Africa, E/C Europe, Eurasia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, South America, Caribbean Country: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Somalia, Russia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iran, India, Venezuela, Pakistan, Cuba, Egypt, United States Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, State Department, Arms Control, Mideast Peace Process, Nuclear Nonproliferation, POW/MIA Issues 12:39 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have one thing I'd like to tell you about off the top, and then we can go on to your questions.

[Announcement: Release of KAL-007 Documents]

The Department of State is releasing today the translations of the documents handed over by President Yeltsin in Moscow to an American delegation consisting of representatives of the U.S. Government and the American Association of Families of the KAL- 007 Victims. These are translations of copies of original documents which were produced by the then Soviet Government. The documents shed light on the KAL-007 tragedy, and we deeply appreciate the courage which President Yeltsin showed in deciding to release them. However, it's important to understand that they are not U.S. Government documents and the U.S. Government assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of their contents. We are continuing to urge the Russian Government to clarify all the circumstances surrounding the KAL tragedy and to make available any materials which it still has in its possession. Copies of the documents are available in the Press Office. The materials provided by President Yeltsin also included a large map. Unfortunately, we can't reproduce the map and we therefore are going to mount it, and we have it available for viewing in the Press Office. Q Could I have a question? MR. BOUCHER: Yes, sir. Q I understand that the Foreign Minister of Russia announced this morning that there would be an experts meeting in Moscow, December 8-10 on the KAL tragedy. Are you planning to send anyone to take part in that? MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't heard about that. I'll have to check. Q It's the same document that has been handed to South Korea and published there? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q They are the same? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. And I think they were -- one of the Russian papers was going to publish them as well. Q In other words -- MR. BOUCHER: I think they're the same. I haven't tried to compare, but essentially it was the same set of materials that was turned over. Q It doesn't include a full transcript of the black box? MR. BOUCHER: It includes transcripts and then some of the internal Soviet Government memos that went after that. Q Does it have a transcript of the cockpit tape? MR. BOUCHER: It has the voice recorder. Q The whole thing? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. I think it's the whole thing. Q Did your experts come to any conclusion after translating these documents? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any new conclusions; no. Q Any old ones? MR. BOUCHER: No. Q You don't have any new conclusions. U.S. officials have obviously had a chance to look at these documents carefully. I presume you wouldn't have released them before they've done so? MR. BOUCHER: Well, our job, essentially, was to translate them and to make them available. As far as sort of reaching conclusions on their meaning and whether they shed any -- I mean, they provide more information and more background on what went on on the Soviet side of the tragedy. I haven't heard anyone say at this point that they've changed any views on what happened. That's something, I'm sure, that the experts will be looking at, but I don't have any new conclusions like that at this point. Q Richard, by saying that you assume no responsibility as for the accuracy of these document, are you trying to say that you're not quite sure that these documents are authentic? MR. BOUCHER: No. I'm just trying to say that our job was to translate them and make them available, and that they were not -- we can't -- whatever information was recorded in there was recorded by either the voice data -- the flight recorder or recorded by the Soviet officials at the time, and we can't vouch that what they said is true. Q But you think the documents are authentic, the ones which were presented by Yeltsin? MR. BOUCHER: I think what we know is what I've told, and that these are translations of copies of the original documents which were produced by the then Soviet Government. That's our understanding of what they are. Q The tapes which were given by Yeltsin to the South Korean President a week or two ago, did you get the copies of those tapes, by any chance? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure if we have copies of those tapes. I think what we have is the transcript, the Russian transcript -- one of these documents -- of the voice recorder. Q Moving right along? MR. BOUCHER: Moving right along. Be glad to take your questions.

[Afghanistan: US Buy-Back of Stinger Missiles and Other Issues]

Q Have you seen the report in the Wall Street Journal today that the United States is buying back at inflated prices the Stinger missiles it gave to Afghan rebels? MR. BOUCHER: I haven't actually seen that report, Alan, if you're asking me if I read that article this morning, but I had checked on the subject and I'd refer you back to our previous lack of comment on the subject. It's not something that we've been able to say anything about. Q Well, you've refused to comment on the provision of the Stingers in the first place. Without reference to how the Stingers got there, can you say anything about how the United States is attempting to reduce the supply of potentially dangerous weapons in the hands of any parties in Afghanistan? MR. BOUCHER: Only what we've said before, Ralph, and that is that one of the commitments that was made, I think by both sides in -- when did it start? -- January of this year or January of the year before? I can't even remember -- in the cut-off of weapon supplies, the negative symmetry announcement, was that both sides agreed to undertake, to the maximum extent possible -- I forget the exact language -- to see that major weapon systems were removed. We have been unable -- I, from this standpoint, at this podium, have been unable to describe for you in any more detail how that was being conducted. Q And from a budgetary point of view, do you think the American people have a right to know whether they've essentially -- what they will have ended up paying for these weapons three times, once when they first were purchased by the U.S. military, and then two more times when they're being repurchased by the U.S. Government? MR. BOUCHER: Ralph, there's really nothing in specific terms that I can say on this situation. Q Could you take that budgetary question? MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think the only answer I can give you to that is a general one. There are many things that the U.S. Government does which are -- that we are not in a position to make fully public. And, at the same time, those things are fully briefed and discussed with the people's representatives on the Hill.

[Middle East Peace Process: Bilateral Meetings and Other]

Q Richard, it's only a few days now until the eighth round of the Middle East talks are supposed to resume. Have you had positive responses from all parties? MR. BOUCHER: We don't have responses from all the parties yet, so I can't give you the definite word on that, at this point. As you know, we proposed December 7 for the start of the next round. We don't have responses from all the parties yet, but certainly we hope that they'll be there. And as in previous rounds, we think that they have strong reasons and strong interest in continuing their negotiations. We've seen that kind of commitment in previous rounds, so we'll tell you once we know that they're all coming back on Monday. Q From whom have you received replies and from whom have you not? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have the list at this point, Jim, and we usually don't go into specific countries and specific times. We'll tell you when we get the responses and whether it's on or off. Q Have a majority accepted? MR. BOUCHER: This is not done by majority vote, Betsy. The parties have to be there to negotiate, so we'll tell you when they do. Q At the risk of asking a hypothetical question, would the doors of the State Department open for Mideast peace talks with three out four of the Arab parties participating? MR. BOUCHER: We're here to help the parties negotiate, if they want to negotiate. Our doors are always open. But, truly, the situation you describe is hypothetical. I have no indication that we're going to end up in that position. I just don't have the definitive word yet that they're all going to be back on Monday. Q How about London? Do you have any word on that? MR. BOUCHER: It starts tomorrow. We'll get you the word of whose there when they get there. Q You haven't -- they don't RSVP? They just either show up or don't, you mean? MR. BOUCHER: They RSVP and certainly we expect most of the members of the steering committee to be there. But as we've seen in the past in some of these situations, we hope that all the parties are there and we hope that up until the point at which it's determined that they're not and that can't be determined until they don't show up. Q Richard, two things on this. You might have answered them in the past. Did you ever comment on the Israeli allegations that Yasser Arafat is holding up the talks from the Palestinians end? MR. BOUCHER: No, I didn't. Q Do you have anything? MR. BOUCHER: No. Q I don't remember anymore, but do the parties all bear their own expenses on these talks? MR. BOUCHER: I don't remember either, Connie. I think that's something you have to ask the parties, how they pay for it. Q I'm just wondering if the U.S. is picking up the bill for the hotels? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we've ever had anything on that before. Q Can you take the question? MR. BOUCHER: I'll see. Q Richard, on the replies that you have received, are the acceptances conditional? In other words, as I understood the Israelis -- MR. BOUCHER: Jim, if you want to talk to any of the parties about their intentions, their conditions, their views of next Monday, feel free to go ahead and talk to them. I think some of them have said things in public. I'm not going to stand here and try to speak on behalf of each of the parties. Once we get the responses, I'll be glad to tell you if we think we're on for Monday. At this point, I can't quite tell you that because we don't have all the responses. But I'm not going to go into each of the individual responses and what they might say. Q Can you give us your feel for what is happening up at the United Nations today -- progress or lack of progress toward resolution on Somalia? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. We are discussing a draft resolution in New York. We're talking with the Secretary General. We're talking with the other Permanent Members of the Security Council and with the other members of the Security Council. We've had a discussion -- there was scheduled a discussion with the African group at the U.N. this morning, and that will be followed by further Security Council consultations. We're also in contact with the Secretary General and his office and various other countries up there about, I guess what we call "modalities," but the various arrangements that are involved in the deployment of forces. Q Can you be any more specific on the modalities? MR. BOUCHER: And let me add one or two things about that. The informal discussions so far have led to several suggestions for changes in the text that we proposed -- it led to several suggestions for changes in the text which we proposed. Many of those suggested changes have been positive and will be reflected in the final resolution. According to the Security Council President this month, he expects that we could see a vote as early as tomorrow. Q What are the modalities? Again, the same type of question that we were asking you yesterday: What areas have been changed? What are the negotiating points that you are struggling with? MR. BOUCHER: As this is being discussed, John, we're going to have to work it out with the other countries involved. I'm not in a position to go through this with you. Certainly, we've discussed before some of the questions that are operative here. We have to look at various command arrangements, we have to look at the text of the resolution, we have to look at financial arrangements, and a lot of other sorts of things, as we move forward with this. We're moving forward with a lot of those discussions, as we get to a final resolution. Barry. Q Is this then a U.N. operation? MR. BOUCHER: This will be an operation under U.N. auspices. It will be an operation mandated by a Security Council resolution. We expect it to be a multinational operation under U.N. auspices. Q A couple more, may I try? Senators -- I don't know which Senator made which point -- but taking them collectively, Senators Lugar and Nunn, yesterday, basically approved of U.S. participation but had some caveats, and one was that it not be an open-ended mission, that the exit of the Americans be guaranteed. In other words, they don't get trapped in there. Do you have any -- and that the Americans be under American command. Do those three propositions -- are those three propositions in accord with the State Department's position? MR. BOUCHER: I didn't see the exact text of how they put the propositions. But, certainly, those are items that we have spoken about, that are, indeed, questions on which the precise arrangements have to be defined. We talked about defining a clear mission statement. We've talked about the need for a strong sense of timing, of how the operation works in terms of the issues that are raised in the Secretary General's letter. So, certainly, all those arrangements are things that are being worked on. Q Richard, you said that the U.S. expects it to be a multinational operation. Do you have any evidence of that at this point? MR. BOUCHER: We know that several countries have indicated an interest in participating. I'm not in a position to define -- to give you any names at this point. We also believe that some other governments will want to evaluate the final Security Council resolution, including its objectives and the missions and the means that are being taken to reach those objectives before they make their decisions concerning troops. Q Can you give us a feel, if not for the countries involved, for, say, the rough proportion, or something like that, of how much of this operation would be a U.S. troop operation and how much would involve other multinationals? MR. BOUCHER: I can't at this point. Q Can you say whether any sub-Saharan African countries will participate? MR. BOUCHER: I can't define particular countries at this point. Q I didn't ask about particular countries. MR. BOUCHER: No, I know, but -- Q There are 40 countries down there in sub-Saharan Africa, or more. MR. BOUCHER: It's not possible for me to give you any sense of the list of countries because, as I said, some have indicated an interest. Some have spoken publicly about it already. I'm not aware of any public statements by sub-Saharan African countries yet, but there may be some that I'm not aware of. But we also expect that other countries will want to look at the resolution once it's passed and make their decisions then. So I can't give you any sense at this point on how it will work out in the next couple of days as we pass a resolution and as various countries step forward and describe what they might be able to do to help this effort. Q Sudan is apparently not very happy about this. It smacks of colonialism kind of argument. I wonder if you have any response? MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't seen statements by Sudan, so I don't have any particular response. But I think we've amply explained the humanitarian need for this, the purposes and goals of feeding starving people. The Secretary General has amply described the situation and the need for such a force, and it's part of many, many efforts that we are making and that the U.N. is making, in particular, to bring -- to feed people and to bring about security and stability in Somalia. Q Richard, can you tell us how the scenario will proceed when the U.N. votes? Does the U.S. expect to begin deployment very promptly? Does the U.S. -- would there be some period of time during which these other countries you refer to would have a look at the resolution and go through some decision-making process about what they want to do? What's the scenario for how this is going to -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I can describe a scenario for you, Ralph. The terms of when the deployments are made depend on the mission and the way the Security Council resolution turns out. In any case, it's a question for the Pentagon to answer. Q Richard, does the Administration, as it did before Desert Storm, plan to consult or notify Congress, and to explain to the American people why they're putting Americans' lives at risk for this effort? MR. BOUCHER: Well, Sid, I think first of all the reasons for this consideration have been explained repeatedly by various spokesmen for the Administration, including the Acting Secretary, spokesmen at the White House and here. I expect that we would continue to do that. In terms of consulting with Congress, I haven't really checked on what contacts we might have had at this point. But, certainly anything that would be done would be completely consistent with the pattern we've established before. Q Richard, has the U.S. yet had any contact with these warlords to see if their public statements about welcoming American troops still stand? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware of any direct U.S. contacts with the people, the various leaders in Somalia. Now, they are expected to be at this conference at Addis Ababa that starts on the third. I guess that's tomorrow. Q It seems that Aideed says he's not coming. MR. BOUCHER: Well, we'll see. We'll see exactly who shows at that one as well. But I think the point that I wanted to end up with is that the U.N. has been working with the various leaders and people in Somalia to try to get their cooperation on this. So far the statements that we've seen have been positive. Q Does this Department or the U.S. Government have an assessment of whether those statements can be relied upon? Q Or does it make any difference? MR. BOUCHER: I guess those are both two valid questions that I just don't know the answers to at this point. Q On the boycott, have you heard that some of these guys might not show up, or -- MR. BOUCHER: No, I hadn't heard that. We know that the leaders of the various factions have been invited, and we hope that they will go there and they'll work with the U.N. on a plan to implement the humanitarian assistance programs there. This is a conference that has been planned for some time. It was part of the work of the U.N. Secretary General's Special Representative -- that's Ambassador Kittani. He's maintained the dialogue with a broad spectrum of Somali leaders. His discussions with Somali leaders at this point are trying to gain their cooperation for the relief effort and enhance security for the relief operations. Part of this involves the Addis Ababa conference that we see as being very important. They've been invited. We hope they'll show up and work with us. Q Richard, unlike the situation prior to the Gulf war, where troops were being sent in with the clear expectation that there could be combat -- whether there ever was or not is another issue -- but in this case, it's a humanitarian mission, which you've been describing repeatedly. Can the Administration assure the American people that U.S. troops being sent into Somalia for this humanitarian mission will be safe there from attacks either within or outside the country? MR. BOUCHER: That's really a Pentagon question, Ralph. First of all, U.S. troops organize themselves to ensure that they are as safe as they can be. But the dangers of the situation I think have been amply described by us, by people in the press, by the U.N. Secretary General in his letter, and at Pete Williams' briefing at the Pentagon yesterday, in fact. So it is a dangerous situation. It's so dangerous that it keeps vital supplies from getting to desperately starving people, and that's the reason why we're going in there. We're not going in there because it's a safe place to go to the beach. Q Can we ask you about another -- Q Hold on. Does the Administration anticipate sending in military engineering teams to help rebuild the infrastructure? MR. BOUCHER: You've got to ask that kind of question at the Pentagon as to what will be part of the deployment. Q Well, no, that would be part of the whole mission's statement, whether we're going to help to rebuild roads and bridges, etc., and communication systems rather than just how the military is going to quell the violence. MR. BOUCHER: That will be something that would have to be looked at in terms of the mission statement that's worked out, exactly what the composition of the various deployments are will have to be looked at. Now, clearly the U.N., in part of it's working on these other issues, has been working on laying the foundations for that kind of thing. What do they call it? One of the things to be talked about in Addis, for example, is to get agreement on relief cooperation and enhance security, and we think that would make it possible to begin reconstituting local and regional civil administration, and working on things like national reconciliation. So these things flow from one another. The problem that we're working on immediately is the question of delivering food to people who need it. Q Richard, can I ask another U.N. question? MR. BOUCHER: Sure. Q Cambodian peacekeeping situation -- Q Can we stay on Somalia? MR. BOUCHER: Can we stay on Somalia for a while, if people want to? Q Does the resolution, now under discussion, encompass disarming the warlords? MR. BOUCHER: David, one of the things that is being worked on -- is coming up -- is working on a very clear mission statement for the force that would go in. I don't have all its aspects at this point for you. Q Richard, on another area, I wonder if the United States still supports an arms embargo against all the belligerents in Bosnia? I ask because -- MR. BOUCHER: If we're going to another area, she short of has first dibs. But the answer is, we haven't changed our policy on that.

[Cambodia: Six UN Transition Authority Members Detained]

Q Very quickly. What can you tell us about the peacekeepers in Cambodia? Is the U.S. doing anything about that? MR. BOUCHER: The U.N. is active, obviously -- the U.N. Transition Authority. What's happened is, on December 1, six members of the U.N. Transition Authority in Cambodia -- that is three Britons, two Filipinos, and one New Zealander -- were detained by Khmer Rouge troops while they were on a monitoring mission in Kompong Thom Province. According to our information, the six remain in radio contact with the U.N. Transition Authority, and they appear to be unharmed. The U.N. has been in contact with Khmer Rouge authorities who say that the troops involved were acting independently. The U.N. Transition Authority has announced that it will travel to the scene from Phnom Penh with an officer of the national army of the Khmer Rouge to secure the safe release of the U.N. military observers. We certainly call upon the Khmer Rouge forces to release these men immediately. They should comply fully with U.N. Security Council Resolution 792, which demands that all parties take all actions necessary to safeguard the lives and security of the U.N. Transition Authority personnel throughout Cambodia. Q What does this incident do for the process of peace in Cambodia? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I can drawn any big conclusions from this particular incident. Certainly, all along we have urged parties to cooperate with the United Nations. We have established a structure. The U.N. has just reiterated its determination to see the process, that they've established, through to see that it leads to elections, and to take steps against those who don't cooperate with it. I guess I'd say that it's been made very, very clear by the U.N. the importance of this process and the need to see it through to its end. Q The Frenchman shot in the back -- MR. BOUCHER: Shot in the leg. That, too, was an incident on December 2. Perhaps the U.N. can get more information for you. I understand that there was a U.N. helicopter that was hit by ground fire over Kampong Chnnang Province, and a French officer was hit in the leg by a bullet. Q Can we stay on that for just a second? Is the U.S. satisfied -- you've called on the Khmer Rouge to cooperate and release these guys. Is the U.S. satisfied that other parties with influence with the Khmer Rouge, notably China, are using their influence effectively in this case? Does the U.S. call upon those with influence to exercise it -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what the Chinese have done. But, certainly we have encouraged all the members of the Security Council, all the people involved in this process, all the people with influence to try to see that the parties comply and support the process. Q And is the U.S. satisfied that China and the others are doing the best they can to resolve this situation? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what China or others may particularly be doing about this situation, Ralph. Q Richard, you say the Administration -- MR. BOUCHER: Let's go back there. The gentleman had a question. Q Do you have any follow-up on this East Timorese guerrilla leader detained by Indonesia? MR. BOUCHER: Not today. I think we gave you an answer yesterday afternoon. Q I was hoping you had it today? MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. Q Are you aware of the videotape that they showed the man recanting virtually all his statements concerning the self-determination of the island? MR. BOUCHER: That's something I was going to check on. I don't think I got you an answer on that. I'll have to keep checking. Q Is the Department aware of such a videotape, Richard? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I'll have to check. Q And are you in touch with any other embassies or with the Indonesian Government in connection with Mr. Gusmao's fate? MR. BOUCHER: I think our answer yesterday described our contacts on that for you. Q On Yugoslavia -- MR. BOUCHER: Yugoslavia. Q Does the United States have any preference in the upcoming electoral battle between Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Panic? MR. BOUCHER: Alan, our problems with Yugoslavia, with Serbia and Montenegro, are not with individuals except to the extent that the policies of the governments that they represent are a problem. And certainly our quarrel has never been with the people of Serbia and Montenegro. It's been with the policies pursued by their leadership. A change in those policies that would be brought about by Mr. Panic or any other candidate through a democratic process would be a welcome development. So we certainly have a quarrel with the policies leadership of Serbia and Montenegro. But we don't endorse particular candidates. We endorse any change in those policies that could lead to peace and an end to killing. Q But you said Mr. Panic is likely to -- MR. BOUCHER: He's announced that he'll be a candidate for the President of Serbia; that is -- Q And you think he's a force for change? MR. BOUCHER: -- he'll be running against the incumbent, Milosevic, who's running for another term. I understand that the parties have until December 5 to file candidates for the Serbian elections, but it certainly appears at this point that some prominent opposition figures will support Panic's candidacy. That's kind of where it stands factually. Q Is there any chance of this election being free and fair, and is any effort going to be made to see whether it is? MR. BOUCHER: Well, we're certainly skeptical. There's a pre-election monitoring mission that's out there, that's being carried out by the International Republican Institute, and they will monitor the campaign period, will address issues such as opposition access to the media and some others that I'll tell you about. In our view the authorities in Serbia and Montenegro are responsible for ensuring that the elections adhere to internationally accepted standards. That would mean, among other things, that they be conducted without violence or intimidation; that opposition parties have equal access to the media, including government-controlled media, and to the resources that are necessary to conduct a campaign. And, finally, that the voting itself be conducted according to international norms. We are very concerned about whether the election will be conducted in a free and fair manner. We're following the process closely. The campaign process is just as important to free and fair elections as is the actual voting day. Initial reports regarding media access and regulations governing the electoral process give reason for skepticism that the process will be free and fair. Q Have you made arrangements for that statement or something like it to be broadcast on the station that the United States Government is also financing? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, that is an independent station which we are supporting. Q I mean, I take it that they make their own editorial decisions, right? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Q Is that what you're saying? MR. BOUCHER: Basically, yes. Q And you don't suppose that what you just said is, number one, meddling in politics in another country, nor is it the kind of statement that you would have a station, independent station that you finance, broadcast? MR. BOUCHER: Barry -- Q (inaudible) MR. BOUCHER: -- independent stations are no different than independent wire services. If they decide something I said is news, they'll report it. If they don't, they won't. Q I don't appreciate any reference to wire services. I mean, the point is that you pick and choose, the U.S. Government does, which countries you decide to intervene. And, if we ask a question about a country you don't care to get involved in, the spokesman gets all uptight and suggests that somehow the question is off -- is out of bounds. MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I have to differ with you on that. Q All right. MR. BOUCHER: When have we ever made it a secret that we believe in free and fair elections? When have we ever made it a secret that we believe that the campaign period -- that things like access to the media, and that the period leading up to voting is just as important as the voting? Those are things that we've consistently mentioned when you've asked for our views at various elections. And, finally, when have we ever made it a secret that we don't like the policies of the present Serbian Government, we don't like the policies of the present Serbian leadership, and we look forward to some kind of change? We've not endorsed any particular -- Q Do you think I'd get those answers if I asked about Saudi Arabia and Syria right now, whether you support free and fair elections in those two countries, for instance? MR. BOUCHER: We have supported freedom and democracy everywhere in the world. I'd refer you specifically to the speeches of Ed Djerejian with regard to the Arab world. Q Could you be more specific about the lack of media access in Bosnia? It was sort of -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any particular numbers on that. We've talked about it before. The government-controlled media in particular has not permitted a lot of discussion. That's about as much as I can tell you at this point. Q Do you have any reports of a new Serb offensive in the suburbs of Sarajevo? MR. BOUCHER: I didn't get an update today on the fighting, so -- I don't think. Let me see. No. I'll have to check on exactly what the fighting situation is. Q Can we go to Russia? Q No. I need more numbers on the flights, please. MR. BOUCHER: On the airlift: The airlift -- Q No. I mean the air cap. MR. BOUCHER: Oh, the Bosnia "no-fly" zone. Q The so-called "no-fly" zone. The closely monitored "no-fly" zone. MR. BOUCHER: The Secretary General issued his fourth report on November 27. It reported 55 flights during the period from November 20-26. That brings us to a total of some 175 flights during the month of November. Some of these flights were observed landing or taking off by U.N. observers at the airfield. We've had reports of flights on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and we continue to follow up the reports with our allies in the United Nations. Q And no finding yet that any of these 175-plus flights were military flights in violation of the "no-fly" zone, correct? MR. BOUCHER: No findings of violations at this point. That's something that, as we said before, the U.N. and Security Council have to do. Q Well, the Secretary General has stated in his letters that they are violations of the "no-fly" zone. MR. BOUCHER: No, he hasn't. I don't think he's quite used those terms. He's -- Q Well, the texts of the letters are public, so his language is there. MR. BOUCHER: We'll check that. But in any case these are definitely possible violations. But as far as the final judgment on violations and moving to enforcement, we haven't done that yet. Q So we're sort of in a situation now where United Nations observers are sitting or standing or watching at airports in the former Yugoslavia as Serbian aircraft take off and land in an area where those U.N. observers represent a "no-fly" zone. Is that an accurate description of the situation? MR. BOUCHER: I'd quarrel with the last part of your description, Ralph. The U.N. observers are there to monitor compliance. They're there to provide information. There's a variety of information that's being provided. We've described to you before the AWACS information, the observers information, the information that should come out of a system of making people report flights before they occur. Q Are they there -- MR. BOUCHER: That information is being collected. Q But they're not monitoring compliance if there are flights taking off and landing. They're monitoring flights taking off and landing. MR. BOUCHER: And they provide that information to UNPROFOR headquarters. Q Richard, do you have any similar tallies on the effort to monitor heavy artillery? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think there's been that kind of effort to monitor heavy artillery. You'd have to look back and check with the U.N. as far as what they have. Q It's the old 62 hour clock. Remember that one? MR. BOUCHER: It was 96 hours, I think. Q Whatever happened with that? MR. BOUCHER: Sid, go back and check with the United Nations. I remember we talked about that quite a bit at the time. There was some limited observance for some period of time, but -- Q And we stopped? MR. BOUCHER: -- in the end the heavy weapons were certainly never corralled by the parties the way they agreed to do so. Q Richard, the meeting in Geneva of Foreign Ministers on the 16th, can one assume that the Acting Secretary will be there for that? MR. BOUCHER: I can't promise anything on his travel at this point. I've got no announcements on his travel, but Vance and Owen have called for a meeting of the London Conference Steering Committee in Geneva on December 16. Q The spokesman for that organization has announced in Geneva that it would be held at the Foreign Ministers' level. Is that the U.S. understanding as well? MR. BOUCHER: Uh -- Q Does the U.S. support such a meeting being held at the Foreign Ministers' level? Q Is that an announcement -- Q Wait a minute. Yes. Does the U.S. oppose -- MR. BOUCHER: We don't oppose. We will look to them to see what level they would expect participation to be at. We will then decide on our participation, and we will inform you as soon as I can on those decisions. Q Have you been invited, or will they know when you show up? (Laughter) As in Mideast conferences. MR. BOUCHER: I think we'll know before we show up. Q No. Will they know whether you're coming by whether you appear or not, as you deal with whether the Arabs and Israelis are coming? (Laughter) Q This isn't fun. It's not fun. Q Could we go to Russia for a second? MR. BOUCHER: Do we have a foreign policy question here? Q Yes. Russia. MR. BOUCHER: O.K. Hold it. We have a foreign policy on Russia over here. Q Yes. Would you like to speculate a bit about what's going on in the People's Deputies Congress? MR. BOUCHER: No, I wouldn't. Q Would you like to indulge yourself in some hypothetical? MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid I wouldn't. I wouldn't like that. Q What would you say if Gaidar is forced to resign? Do you think there will be drastic change or still there would be chance for reforms to succeed? MR. BOUCHER: That's for informed Russian observers to comment on and not for me. Q But still he -- Q (Multiple comments) Q If Gaidar resigns, do you -- does the United -- will United States think that would be the end of the reforms? MR. BOUCHER: I have to tell you, we have expressed very, very strongly our support for reforms, our commitment to continuing support for the process of reform. We share that very strong interest and I think what the White House described in their statement as a critical time in continuing that support. But I'm not going to speculate on individual changes or personalities. Q But reforms are not a matter of personalities, or are they? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. That's a question you'll have to answer, not me. Q Richard, Senators Nunn and Lugar yesterday said that the Acting Secretary and General Scowcroft had agreed with their assessment that the Bush Administration ought to press for completion of the outstanding arms control treaties before it goes -- before it leaves power on January 20. Am I -- MR. BOUCHER: Which is what I've been telling you we've been doing for many weeks, right. Q Right. Well, my question is specifically what are you doing and how are you going to do this? MR. BOUCHER: We've continued to work hard with the Russians, on joint language to pin down the technical details of the understandings we reached last June. You're aware of the contacts we had in September. Acting Secretary Eagleburger and Minister Kozyrev have stayed in touch since then. If they're both in Stockholm and one or the other of us announces the trip beforehand, they could very well meet there in mid-December. We have received a Russian draft treaty text, and we're studying that right now. Hopes remain, as before, to be able to wrap this up soon, but I can't predict for you exactly when that will happen. Q Richard, when did you receive the Russian draft, please? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know exactly when. Q (Inaudible) MR. BOUCHER: It's about a week ago, I think. Q A week ago? Q Richard, in my experience of covering the -- MR. BOUCHER: Some time in that time frame. Q In my experience of covering the State Department through the tortuous START negotiations and CFE negotiations and all the other negotiations, usually it's been the case that in order to clinch these treaties, somebody very high-powered like Secretary Baker has to go in there and make a very sustained effort at the highest level, including in Baker's case, Gorbachev in the past and Yeltsin, and not a chance meeting on the fringes of some other conference, if you really want to get it done. That's been the experience in the past. What makes you think that the experience in the future will be different? MR. BOUCHER: Because this process -- this agreement started off differently. Those other negotiations you referred to were large, long, long, long negotiations by experts at the expert level who then got to the key issues and referred them up the chain for final decision at the kind of high-level meeting you're describing. In this situation, those high-level meetings reached agreement on the key issues, reached an understanding on all the key elements of this. Those understandings still hold. We are now working to pin down those understandings in terms of the actual technical language and treaty language. We've described the issues under discussion as technical ones. Yes, indeed, we could find ourselves discussing these at higher levels, but we've continued to work on this. We've continued, we think, to make some progress on this through the discussions at technical levels. But the difference between the situation you describe in the past is that the key issues were decided at a high level right from the start, and the basic understandings have all been reached. Q Well, I mean, there's also the question of START I and the adherence to it of Ukraine, Byelarus and Kazakhstan, and I know that we've been over this many times before. But those annexes were hammered out back in the spring, a long time ago, and there's been constant delays in ratification. That's a political question. It's not a question of detail. I mean, the annex texts are there. There are no problems with the texts, as far as I'm aware, but if there are, please correct me. So aren't you concerned that these constant delays that -- I know that you're getting assurances. Are you afraid that they're using these nuclear weapons as cards to extract different concessions, economic aid or other kind of concession? MR. BOUCHER: Alan, certainly we'd all like to see these things wrapped up as soon as possible, and sooner rather than later. We have continued to work with the various governments involved, both working with the Russians on the follow-on to START, the de-Mirving agreement, to get that pinned down; and at the same time we've been working with the various parties to see the ratification of the START agreement and the attendant protocols. I think it's Kazakhstan that's already ratified the START agreement. Ukraine has repeatedly assured us that they intend to do that. It's on the agenda before the Ukrainian Parliament. I understand that they repeated their commitment to Senators Nunn and Lugar when they visited Kiev last week. And so we do expect that the Ukraine will ratify both START and the Non-Proliferation Treaty this year. So those are things that we've continued to work on because, as you point out, they are things that are important. Q At least part of the problem seems to be the shortage of money in those countries. Is the U.S. -- which has already offered something -- is the U.S. prepared to make any economic contribution to make compliance easier for these hard-pressed countries? MR. BOUCHER: You're aware, I think, of the Nunn-Lugar Amendment and the extensive four or five pages of the various programs that we're doing under that -- Q Have they been -- MR. BOUCHER: -- to assist. Some of those have been decided. Some of those are in work. Some of those are being negotiated. There are also other things, I think, that are mentioned in there. I think I'd refer you back to that paper for a rather extensive list of the ways in which the United States is trying to assist these countries in safely and securely dismantling their nuclear weapons. Q There are some people out there, analysts -- I could provide names if you want -- who think the Administration has been vigorous about using those resources. Well, this may not be the place to debate it, but I wondered if you're prepared to make some general statement about the Administration's intent to provide economic assistance rather quickly while it still has -- while it's still in office. MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I don't know what additional statement you want me to make beyond what we've said already, that we are committed to assisting these various countries in the secure and safe dismantlement of their nuclear weapons; that this is important to us. You know we have a variety of programs underway -- whether it's science centers to employ scientists or direct assistance in the transportation and accounting for nuclear weapons or other programs that we have, including the purchase of uranium and radioactive pieces that come out of these weapons. So there are a lot of things we're doing. We intend to continue to proceed with those programs, and we do think it's very important. Q Is all the dangerous stuff still under control as far as the U.S. can determine? You know, the Ukraine -- MR. BOUCHER: All the dangerous stuff? Q Well, you want me to be specific? Has any enriched uranium made its way out of Ukraine? Are you satisfied still that the control and command system of the CIS is operating efficiently? MR. BOUCHER: Barry, that's a whole series of questions that I don't know if I can give you a detailed answer on each one. We have commented in the past on those things. I'm not aware of any changes that could lead to any difference in the situation at this time. Q Richard, are any people from the foreign policy part of the transition team involved -- I mean, from the Clinton side involved in this arms control process? Has Clinton been consulted on the status of the START II negotiations? MR. BOUCHER: I think that's a question you'll have to ask at the White House. I think most of the contacts with Governor Clinton have taken place from the White House. I think you have to understand sort of basically where we are as we go forward in this transition period, the way we work with the transition team. Just about every issue going on, we are going to be providing information to the transition people, and they will be -- Q So are you providing information? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know at this point whether they've read papers on START yet or whether somebody's briefed them on START yet. But we are going to be providing information on just about every issue under the sun. At the same time, we're not looking to them for decisions. We're not looking to them for advice. We're not consulting with them on how we go forward. It's been made very clear, I think, by various Administration spokesmen, including the memo that I think you have from the Acting Secretary to the people in the State Department, that we're here and we have to make the decisions as long as we are. Q Richard, what does the Administration think about Gaidar's announcement this morning that Russia had signed weapons deals worth $2.25 billion with Syria, China, Iran and India? MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't seen that announcement, Sid, so I don't have anything on that at this point. Q Richard, could I ask you about Venezuela? Q Excuse me. Can you take it? MR. BOUCHER: I'll see if we have anything on it, if we can get you something on it.

[Venezuela: US Aid/Support for Government]

Q Richard, the Post carried a story this morning that the United States had given important help to Perez in putting down the revolt and quoted an unnamed European diplomat to the effect that the U.S. had participated in a 9-month effort to buy the loyalty of the military, to assure their loyalty to Perez. MR. BOUCHER: Well, I mean, first of all, those comments about buying the loyalty of the military, the only assistance that we've ever had to the Venezuelan military -- or that we have this year to the Venezuelan military is an IMET program, a small education and training program that's budgeted at $695,000. And, as you know, that program provides training to military officers. I think all or almost all of it takes place in the United States at military training schools. Q That's for Venezuela specifically? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. That's for Venezuela. That's the military training program that we have. That's the only aid to the Venezuelan military. On the other issue -- and I think, you know, again we've really made no secret of our support for Venezuelan democracy; our strong opposition to any attempt to bring about political change outside of the constitutional processes. We voiced that repeatedly since the attempted coup in February. We've said repeatedly that democratic government is essential to maintaining normal relations with the United States. We've delivered that message in public, delivered it in private, in high-level visits to Venezuela. We've addressed all sectors of the Venezuelan society in terms of the discussions we've had -- political leaders, the military, the business community -- so we've been fairly vocal in our views on the importance of democracy there. Q Were any contacts made -- other than the Presidential call to President Perez -- any contacts with the Venezuelan military during the revolt? MR. BOUCHER: During the revolt? Q Yes. MR. BOUCHER: Well, I'm sure our Embassy was in touch with a variety of people. I don't know who exactly they were in touch with.

[Pakistan: Report of Acquisition of Nuclear Weapons]

Q A couple of other areas: Do you have any comment on the published report about Pakistan possessing nuclear weapons? MR. BOUCHER: It sort of depends on which side of that you want to come at, because the basic -- Q Does the United States -- MR. BOUCHER: -- issue of fact is something that I'm afraid I have to tell you that I can't comment on information that purportedly is derived from intelligence sources. Q Does the United States believe Pakistan has nuclear weapons? MR. BOUCHER: Again, that's the kind of information that I can't comment on in specific terms. We have certainly had serious concerns about their nuclear activities. You're aware that in October of 1990, U.S. assistance to Pakistan was suspended because the President was unable to certify under the Pressler Amendment that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear explosive device. We've addressed those concerns repeatedly to the Pakistan Government. We've also in addition, you know, been actively engaged, both with Pakistan and with India, in efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation in South Asia. We've urged both countries to join nuclear non-proliferation regimes, to begin confidence-building steps, and to participate in multilateral discussions aimed at averting a regional nuclear arms race. Q Is the status of the U.S. evaluation of Pakistan's nuclear program the same as it was when you -- in the statement you just read, namely, that the U.S. could not certify that Pakistan did not possess, which leaves open the options either that they do possess or the U.S. doesn't know whether they do or not. MR. BOUCHER: The status is still the same, that we're unable to certify that Pakistan does not possess a nuclear explosive device. Q Could I ask you about the 120-day problem, if you know what I mean? Is there an answer yet as to how you get over this little legal bump? MR. BOUCHER: No. The lawyers are still working on the options. Q I don't know, I could count the days, but I wonder if Mr. Eagleburger's alleged trip to Europe will be in the 120-day span. I think it's about at the break point. MR. BOUCHER: Depending on the exact dates of the trip, it would probably come a couple of days after we get back. Q O.K. MR. BOUCHER: But I'm sure we'll have information before we get to whatever the date is. We'll try to have information for you on the continuation. Q Is the assumption correct that the lawyers are working on a way for him to stay in the chair? MR. BOUCHER: The lawyers are looking at the options and the law. I don't have a way of giving you a final answer at this point. Q Do you mean the Acting Secretary really doesn't know what's going to happen on December 20? MR. BOUCHER: I think -- well, it wouldn't be good for me to speculate at this point. Q What -- maybe I'm missing something here, but what difference does it make? Does it make a difference whether Eagleburger is acting Secretary of State or Deputy Secretary of State or for that matter Assistant Secretary of State if he's the highest level official in the building? Am I missing something? MR. BOUCHER: It doesn't make any difference to me, Ralph, but that's exactly what the lawyers have to run down. Q Does it make any difference to the U.S. Government or its dealings with other countries, or anything like that? I mean, is there some legal issue that affects the validity of his signature on documents or anything like that? MR. BOUCHER: That's exactly what the lawyers have to look at. Q Is he Deputy Secretary of State still? It's a legal question. MR. BOUCHER: It's a legal question, Barry. Q I don't think he is. MR. BOUCHER: I told you there weren't any answer on this -- Q I don't think he is. I think he'd have to be reconfirmed by the Senate. MR. BOUCHER: -- and I am true to my word that I don't have any answers on this at this time. Q A couple of other areas? MR. BOUCHER: Yes, Ralph.

[Cuba: Official Protest]

Q Can I come back to the question I had raised about Cuba, and not about Cuba so much as about U.S. citizens who publicly and openly advertise their efforts to go into Cuba and stage raids and attacks and amass weaponry, and so on? Do you have any further comment on that? MR. BOUCHER: Well, we talked about it yesterday in terms of general terms of our law. There was in fact a specific incident we heard about -- well, on October 10 the Cuban Government delivered a note to our Interests Section in Havana protesting an October 7 attack on a tourist hotel east of Havana in Matanzas Province. We also learned of the attack from the Canadian Embassy in Havana which had heard from some of its citizens who were in the hotel at the time. A Cuban exile group from Miami claimed responsibility for an attack on an unspecified target on the same date in the same province. As we said yesterday, we have laws that govern this, and we absolutely condemn any attacks such as this that could have taken the lives of innocent people and may have violated the laws of the United States. Our policy is to support democratic change in Cuba by peaceful means only -- and I stress the word peaceful. The Justice Department has been informed of this matter, and the FBI has opened an investigation, we understand. If any violations of law occurred, we will support the swift and thorough prosecution of those responsible. Q Can you tell us more about the note from Cuba? Was it a protest note? Was it an informational thing? Was there -- have the Cuban authorities passed on to the United States any evidence which the United States might be able to use in pursuing this case? MR. BOUCHER: It was a protest -- said it was a note protesting the October 7 attack. They did provide some photographs, ballistic evidence and statements from witnesses for use in the investigation, and those materials have been passed over to the FBI.

[Egypt: INS Hearing on Sheik Omar Abderrahman]

Q And on another area, could I ask you about the case of an Egyptian citizen, Mr. Rahman in New York? He's a guy who apparently is engaged in some battle with the United States Government now over whether he's permitted to remain in the United States. Does the U.S. think he has a right to remain here? MR. BOUCHER: As you say, his status is currently the subject of an exclusionary hearing before an INS judge. I have to refer you to INS for details on that. Q Does the U.S. -- has the U.S. had any discussion on this subject with the Government of Egypt? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. The Egyptian Government expressed its concerns about Mr.Abderrahman's alleged support of terrorist activities in Egypt, but they haven't asked for his extradition. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:31 p.m.)