US Department of State Daily Briefing #181: monday, 12/14/92

Boucher Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher Description: Washington, DC Date: Dec, 14 199212/14/92 Category: Briefings Region: Subsaharan Africa, E/C Europe, Eurasia, Europe, Central America Country: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Somalia, Russia, Slovak Republic, El Salvador Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, NATO, State Department, Democratization, Trade/Economics 12:46 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. SNYDER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. If I could, I'd like to begin with one announcement, and then I'll be happy to take your questions.

Somalia: Humanitarian Relief Update]

The United Nations escrow account for funding U.N. humanitarian and other programs in Iraq received about $50 million in contributions last Thursday and Friday from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The United States Government deposited $50 million in matching funds. We expect additional contributions to be made to the escrow account from other nations. As we said when the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 778, the United States will comply with it by making as much as $200 million in matching contributions from frozen funds from Iraqi oil sales `available: to the U.N. for these purposes. Other states holding Iraqi oil assets are also considering using these assets to make contributions. We're pleased that the important work of the United Nations humanitarian programs and the U.N. Special Commission to inspect weapons of mass destruction are now funded to continue their important work inside Iraq. I'll be happy to take your questions. Q Could I ask you a question on that? MR. SNYDER: Sure. Q This Iraqi oil -- where is it? How did it come into the U.S. possession? MR. SNYDER: We explained that back when the resolution was first passed. As I understand, it's oil in pipelines, it's oil on ships that hadn't been delivered, but we put out the details at the time. I'm sorry, I don't have them right now. Q You mentioned other countries. What other countries have been providing funds to the escrow account? MR. SNYDER: Well, they haven't announced their -- none have announced contributions yet. So, we'll let them do that. Q So it's not absolutely correct to say we're making a donation? What we're doing is selling somebody else's oil and then taking their money that would be theirs and donating it to -- giving it to this effort? MR. SNYDER: We're complying with the U.N. resolution which calls for doing that; exactly. Q Joe, the contributions that you say were made last week were the first contributions to that fund? MR. SNYDER: Yes. Those were the first ones. Q And the Saudi and Kuwaiti participation is also on the basis of frozen Iraqi assets? The $50 million -- MR. SNYDER: Let me see if I can find out specifically. I don't know that. They've put up a total of $50 million. We've put up $50 million, and the total of the fund is now $100 million. Q But what I was getting at is the U.S. contribution, the $50 million the U.S. made, was from these frozen Iraqi funds? MR. SNYDER: Yes. Q Iraqi oil assets, basically? MR. SNYDER: Oil. Asset sales; yes. Q Were the other contributions also from that source, or were those government contributions? MR. SNYDER: I'll check and see. I don't know, Ralph.

[El Salvador: Update]

Q Joe, on El Salvador, there's supposed to be a signing ceremony tomorrow in which there is also supposed to be significant U.S. participation, but now there is some doubt about whether the ceremony will take place and I wonder if you could give us an update? MR. SNYDER: Yes, George. Let me go a little bit into what's been going on in the last few days. Last Friday, a team of U.S. Embassy officials in El Salvador led by our Charge d'Affaires, Peter Romero, met with 30 to 35 mid-level commanders of the People's Revolutionary Army faction of the Salvadoran guerrillas -- FMLN. They discussed the guerrillas' concerns about full Salvadoran Government compliance with the peace accords after the guerrillas demobilize. Mr. Romero reiterated that the Salvadoran people and the international community, not guerrilla weapons, have to be the guarantors of the peace accords. The United States, along with the U.N. and the "Four Friends" -- Colombia, Mexico, Spain and Venezuela -- will continue to press for full compliance by both sides of the peace accords. We do expect the final ceremony will take place as scheduled tomorrow. Vice President Quayle will head the U.S. delegation, which will also include Assistant Secretary Bernie Aronson and U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.N. Alexander Watson. Q So they expressed their reservations about disarming; is that the bottom line? MR. SNYDER: They had a number of concerns. They discussed land redistribution, reductions in the Salvadoran armed forces, and other security issues; reforms in the judicial, electoral, and labor codes; and aid for injured ex-combatants. The Salvadoran Government is making progress on the reforms it agreed to in the peace process. Yesterday, the legislature approved bills on electoral reform, judicial reform, and aid for injured ex-combatants. We've encouraged that progress, and our aid to El Salvador is conditioned on continuing progress in reforms. The guerrillas should likewise show their commitment to the peace process by disarming and demobilizing as scheduled. Q This additional $50 million that we still have an issue with -- MR. SNYDER: What hasn't been released yet; yes. Q Sorry, could I just come back to the Iraqi assets thing for just a second? I'm sorry. Why was it that the U.S. waited until now to make the contribution? Because no one else had done so? MR. SNYDER: The terms that we announced at the time of the resolution is that -- well, the resolution, as I recall, calls for no one country to contribute more than half. In any case, we announced at the time that we would be doing matching contributions. Q But why is it that no one else has contributed until last Thursday? MR. SNYDER: Presumably, you'll have to ask the other governments. Q The U.S. doesn't know the answer to that question? MR. SNYDER: I'm sure each government had it's own reasons. Q And is this earmarked for any particular country -- this fund? MR. SNYDER: This is for humanitarian relief and the support of UNSCOM in Iraq. Q Oh, I see. Q In connection with the kidnapping of the Israeli policeman, there is a report to the effect that the Hamas, which claims responsibility, is financed with donations from Muslim countries. I'm not clear as to whether governments of Muslim countries are supporting it or otherwise. Do you have something on that? MR. SNYDER: No, I'm afraid I don't. Q Do you have something on this kidnapping? MR. SNYDER: I would just like to say that the United States deplores this outrageous action and calls for the immediate and safe release of the Israeli soldier. Obviously, those who kidnapped the Israeli soldier are opponents of peace. Q How does the kidnapping -- in what way does the U.S. think they are opponents of peace? Why does their action in any way oppose -- you're not saying opponents of the peace process, I guess, or are you? MR. SNYDER: Committing a terrorist act like this -- this sort of kidnapping is clearly not conducive to the general movement towards peace in the region. Q May I ask another question or two? MR. SNYDER: Sure. Q There is supposed to be a civil rights problem between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia, in which the U.S. Government officials, I'm told, have condemned the latest string of human rights violations by the Government of Uzbekistan by kidnapping an Uzbek opposition political leader and civil rights leader in the -- who couldn't attend a conference or did attend a conference. Have you got something on that? MR. SNYDER: I'm afraid I don't. Q Can we get something on that? MR. SNYDER: I'll see what I can do. Sure. Q There's just one more thing, if I might ask. MR. SNYDER: Sure. Q It's a bit esoteric, but there's a story to the effect that former Secretary Baker will still get involved in the peace process after the inauguration of President-elect Clinton, and that it may be a direct appointment by President Clinton, or he may come up as a USUN envoy with the approval of the United States. Have you heard something about that? MR. SNYDER: I haven't heard anything like that, but that's a question that would best be directed to the new Administration. Q I thought, you know, he's still in the Administration, isn't he? Isn't Baker still in the Administration? MR. SNYDER: You're talking about the future. Yes, he is. He's the Chief of Staff at the White House. Q Could I ask you a question about Bosnia, please? MR. SNYDER: Sure. Q Is the United States about to seek a resolution or some other mechanism for enforcing the "no-fly" sanction over Bosnia? MR. SNYDER: Secretary Eagleburger has been addressing this in quite some detail in Europe. It's one of the main things he's going to be working on -- the whole question of Bosnia, and I would like to direct questions along those lines to Secretary Eagleburger. Q I have read his intervention, and it is not as specific as you would like to believe it is, about what the United States is about to do there. Ambassador Perkins at the U.N. said, I believe this morning, that the United States felt that it was time to enforce the "no-fly" zone. Are we seeking a resolution there? MR. SNYDER: As Secretary Eagleburger said, we are discussing this question of seeking a new resolution, enforcement for the "no-fly" zone with our allies and with others during his trip, and I really would like to refer all questions on that to the party. That's where the action is right now. Q Several weeks ago when the U.S. first proposed the "no-fly" resolution, the U.S. wanted enforcement included in that original resolution. Then it agreed to the two-stage process. Does the U.S. still believe that a second stage -- that is, a second resolution, would be required at the U.N. before enforcement could take place? MR. SNYDER: Ralph, as before, that's sort of a tactical question and on the ground negotiations and discussions are going on right now at the various conferences in Europe, and I really would not want to get into that. Q Well, do you mean to suggest by that that the U.S. view on that subject may -- is under review? The question of whether to go for a second resolution, whether a second resolution would be necessary? MR. SNYDER: I just don't want to get into the kinds of tactics of how we go about it. We've said that we are determined to see that the resolution is enforced, and how we're going to do it is a subject of discussion right now. Q There's another area that you probably don't want to get into, and that's Somalia and what it is that the U.S. is going to do there or not do there. Boutros-Ghali held a press conference this morning where he acknowledged that there is a difference between the United States and his office anyway over what the ultimate mission will be. And he carefully pointed out that before U.S. troops can leave, they have to consult with the Security Council. Do you agree that before U.S. troops can leave, they have to get some sort of approval from the Security Council? MR. SNYDER: John, you had it right when you started the question. Secretary Eagleburger did discuss this in quite a bit of detail. We have just gotten the transcript, which I looked at just before I came in. We're going to be putting it out. But he went into the whole subject of what the Secretary General said and what our mission is and what our policies are. So I would refer you to that. Q Well, what has been the standing policy? Is part of the U.S. mission to disarm these gangs? MR. SNYDER: Jim, that's the kind of thing that Secretary Eagleburger was dealing with, and I don't want to, from this podium, discuss the same subject he's dealing with quite publicly on the road. Q Is there a date set for President Bush's meeting with the heads of delegations for the peace process, do you know? MR. SNYDER: You might want to check with the White House on the President's schedule. Q Is Mr. Djerejian meeting with them this week as he usually does? MR. SNYDER: He and his team talked to the various parties over the weekend, and they expect to meet with and talk to the delegations throughout this week. Q Joe, also on the Middle East, there have been recurring suggestions in the last week or so that Israel is seriously considering just unilaterally giving up the occupation of Gaza and turning it over to somebody, presumably Egypt. Does the State Department take any position on the unilateral ending of the occupation of Gaza? MR. SNYDER: Jim, that's the first I've heard of that. I'll see if the State Department takes such a position. I don't know. I'll look into it. Q Joe, Yegor Gaidar is apparently out in Moscow. Does the United States have any reaction to this, and to the likely effect on the reform program? MR. SNYDER: We're pleased to see that the process of choosing a Prime Minister was conducted in a legal and constitutional manner. The United States continues to support President Yeltsin's effort to bring about democratic change and economic reform. Q Do you think that this will harm that reform effort -- this change? MR. SNYDER: Former Acting Prime Minister Gaidar has made important contributions to Russia's efforts to build democracy in a market economy. We hope he will continue to contribute to that process in the future. Q What's your opinion of the fellow who's been chosen to succeed him? MR. SNYDER: We have just seen the name, and I've really got nothing more to say. Q Is there any change in the plan on how we were going to spend money from the Freedom Support Act as a result of that? MR. SNYDER: Not that I'm aware of. Q No consultations about disbursement of that money? MR. SNYDER: This is something which has happened in a matter of hours, and I'm not aware that there's been any change in those few hours. Q Is there anyone from the State Department in that Commerce Department mission in China? MR. SNYDER: I believe that's an interagency group, and there are State Department representatives, yes. I would refer you to the Commerce Department, though, for details of the trip. Q Is it a common thing to send State Department officials on that type of mission? MR. SNYDER: Sure. Oh, yeah. It happens all the time. Q Thank you. MR. SNYDER: Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:01 p.m.)