US Department of State Daily Briefing #182: Tuesday, 12/15/92

Snyder Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Joseph Snyder Description: Washington, DC Date: Dec, 15 199212/15/92 Category: Briefings Region: Subsaharan Africa, E/C Europe, Central America, MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia Country: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Somalia, El Salvador, Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Israel, China Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, United Nations, Trade/Economics, Human Rights, Democratization 12:54 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. SNYDER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm sorry for the delay in coming out here.

[Somalia: Update]

I'd like to begin off the top with our periodic update on our relief effort in Somalia, the delivery of relief supplies. From last Friday to yesterday, there were 32 Department of Defense airlift relief flights to Baidoa, Bardera, Wajit, Hoddur and Mogadishu in Somalia, and to Wajir in Kenya. The flights carried approximately 375 metric tons of relief supplies. To date, the Defense Department has airlifted a total of approximately 18,120 metric tons of relief supplies in 1,531 missions. The AID-funded civilian portion of the U.S. relief airlift flew a total of 46 flights from Friday through yesterday, and these flights carried a total of 764.2 metric tons of relief supplies. To date, the civilian component of the U.S. relief airlift has carried a total of 10,376 metric tons of relief supplies. In all, that is, both the military and the civilian components, have carried in 28,496 tons. And with that, I'll be very happy to take any questions you might have. Q Joe, do you have anything on this information, according to which the Syrians are not allowing the Jewish community to travel abroad? MR. SNYDER: Yes, Jacques. It's our understanding that no exit permits have been issued to Syrian Jews in the last eight weeks. We've raised this issue on several recent occasions with Syrian officials. They maintain that there's been no change in the Syrian policy decision permitting Syrian Jews the right to travel like all other Syrians. Those Syrian Jews who had previously been issued exit permits have been allowed to travel freely to and from Syria during this eight-week period. We continue to raise this issue with the Syrians at the highest levels. We consider the policy decision to allow Syrian Jews to travel abroad to be a very positive one, and we hope and expect that the Syrian Government will continue to carry out its policy. Q The Syrians are saying they are continuing -- there is no change in the policy. On what ground can you say that there has been, in fact, a change? MR. SNYDER: The facts are that for the last eight weeks no exit permits have been issued. Another fact is that the Syrians tell us there has been no change in their policy. I can't explain the discrepancy there. What is important, though, is that we do continue to talk to them about it and to urge them to follow their policy. As I said, we consider the policy decision to allow Syrian Jews to travel abroad to be a good one, and we want to see it implemented. Q Are you aware of any requests by Jews in Syria which have been turned down by the authorities? MR. SNYDER: No, not specifically, I'm not. Q So, there is no exit visa granted, but you are not quite sure if there is any request for an exit visa? MR. SNYDER: I don't know, but I can check and see if we have something on that. Q Just to clarify, they've not explained why nothing has happened in these eight weeks? MR. SNYDER: They said their policy has not changed. Q I understand, but -- MR. SNYDER: They have said their policy has not changed. Q How many Syrian Jews are left in Syria? Do you have any idea? MR. SNYDER: I'll see what I can get for you, Jim. I don't have that. Q Do you have any reaction to the killing of this Israeli border policeman? MR. SNYDER: The body of Sgt. Major Toledano was found by Israeli authorities this morning. We've been in touch with Secretary Eagleburger's party, and I understand they have put out a statement. We'll be happy to get a copy for you later this afternoon. Q Joe, do you have anything on either of Minister Kozyrev's speeches yesterday in Belgrade -- I mean, Stockholm? MR. SNYDER: No. Secretary Eagleburger was asked, and he had some comments in Stockholm. I've got nothing to add to what he had to say. Q But which of these two speeches do you tend to believe, the first one or the second? MR. SNYDER: The Secretary talked about it, and I'll let his comments stand. Q Anything further on what happened in the Russian Government yesterday, all the changes there? In particular, I'm interested in how you think the Freedom Support Act would be affected by the changes, if at all? MR. SNYDER: The new Prime Minister of Russia is former Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Stepanovich Chernomyrdin. As we said yesterday, we are pleased to see that the selection of a Prime Minister was conducted in a legal, constitutional manner. We remain firmly committed to the U.S.-Russian partnership that was elaborated at the June summit meeting between Presidents Bush and Yeltsin. We look forward to working with President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin in further strengthening that partnership and in support of continued democratic change and market economic reform in Russia. Q And as far as the Freedom Support Act is concerned? MR. SNYDER: We remain firmly committed to the partnership. Q There were some figures released by the Treasury Department a couple of weeks ago or three weeks ago. According to these figures, almost the whole amount of $24 billion promised on April 1 were actually delivered to Russia. Do you have any further comment on that, and do you agree with this figure? MR. SNYDER: No, sorry, I don't. Q Do you have any idea what's happening in Burma with the Nobel Prize Laureate, Mrs. Suu Kyi? MR. SNYDER: Jim, only what I saw in the paper. I saw a reference to the government making some sort of a statement about the possibility of prosecuting her. I didn't ask our people to check specifically. What, in particular, are you interested in? Q Well, there's a report that she's on a hunger strike as well. MR. SNYDER: I'll see if we've got anything for you. Q Joe, is it the position of the U.S. Government that alleged violators of the embargo against Serbia-Montenegro should be prosecuted? And, in particular, Bobby Fischer? MR. SNYDER: It's our law. We are enforcing the embargo against Serbia-Montenegro, and whatever our law calls for is what our policy is. I'm not a legal expert. You'd have to check with the Justice Department -- the Treasury Department which administers the license, on specifically what the sanctions are. Q Thank you. MR. SNYDER: Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 1:00 p.m.)