930122 Daily Press Briefing  Return to: Index of 1993 Daily Briefings || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

Note: This Electronic Research Collection is an archive site. For the most current information, please visit the US State Department Homepage.
US DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING #11: 
State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher 

                       DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                       DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                            DPC #11

              FRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 1993, 12:51 P. M.
              (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)


         MR. BOUCHER:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  Good 
afternoon, John.  I have off the top for you one more personnel 
announcement.

         Marc Grossman has been named to be Special Assistant to the 
Secretary and Executive Secretary of the Department.  He takes up his 
duties as of close of business today.  Marc has been with the Department 
since 1976.  Most recently he's been the Principal Deputy Assistant 
Secretary in the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs.

         Q    Where does that leave Bob Pearson?  Is he -- that was Bob 
Pearson's job, right?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.  That was Bob Pearson's job.  

         Q    Does he have another assignment?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'm not sure what Bob's going to do.

         Q    Is that it?

         MR. BOUCHER:  That's it.  Be glad to take your questions.

         Q    Could you talk about Haiti?  There's been a lot of talk 
about sending human rights observers there.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Be glad to talk about Haiti.  We've, as you know, 
been long in support and strong support of the idea of sending human 
rights observers, a civilian democracy mission, to Haiti.  Minister 
Caputo at the U.N. and the Organization of American States' envoy has 
been working on the details of a civilian observer mission.  You'd have 
to get details from them.  It is being worked on, and we hope the 
negotiations on the mission would proceed rapidly, and that the mission 
could go to Haiti as soon as possible so as to sustain the momentum of 
Mr. Caputo's efforts.

         We have, as I said, strongly supported this initiative to 
monitor human rights, support democratic institutions and  advance the 
cause of a negotiated political settlement in Haiti.  The United States 
has provided $1 million to the OAS team that's already in Haiti.  I 
think they have 16 people already down there.  We're working with the 
Congress to re-allocate funds to provide an additional $1 million to 
support this effort, and I'd add to that that we and I'm sure other U.N. 
and OAS member nations are prepared to provide additional support that 
will be necessary.

         Q    Do you have any idea how large the mission will be?

         MR. BOUCHER:  At this point I don't.  The U.N. and OAS are 
working on the details.  We certainly hope everybody will join in to 
support it.  

         Q    So the flood that --

         MR. BOUCHER:  At this point we don't have the details.

         Q    How soon is it supposed to --

         MR. BOUCHER:  We hope as soon as possible, but the arrangements 
are still being worked out.

         Q    The flood of refugees that had been anticipated does not 
appear to be materializing.

         MR. BOUCHER:  For the moment, John, I didn't check on new 
numbers today -- I think the numbers I had yesterday showed that there 
hadn't been much for the past few days.  Hadn't been many people leaving 
Haiti for the past few days.

         Q    Have you set up the new application system inside Haiti 
itself?

         MR. BOUCHER:  You're quite right that the Secretary and others 
have talked about that.  We are sending a technical team to Haiti 
shortly that will look at improving the in-country refugee processing 
program.  To cite what the Secretary and the President have said, and 
that's we want to give Haitians every opportunity to establish their 
eligibility for refugee status without needing to risk their lives in 
unsafe vessels.  And we're moving a survey team down there.  We're also 
trying to identify personnel and resources to expand in-country 
processing.

         Q    How large is the group?

         MR. BOUCHER:  It was going back and forth.  I don't know.  I 
think in the range of ten or so, give or take five.

         (Laughter)

         Q    And their primary mission is to look specifically at areas 
where they can set up additional processing centers?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'm not sure how much out of -- how much travel 
they'll be doing.  They'll be going down to set up a system for an 
expanded in-country processing program.

         Q    Richard, do you know if the --

         Q    Richard, when do they leave?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Again, I don't know.  I don't think I have an 
exact date on that at this point.


         Q    Richard, do you know if the terms of reference for the 
observers has been transmitted to the Haitian Government, the de facto 
government?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know quite specifically on that.  Caputo 
has had some discussions with all the parties about it.  I think he's 
got basic agreement in principle on expanding the mission -- this is the 
OAS mission down there -- but I don't know how he's -- where various 
details stand.

         Q    When did you say the technical team was going?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Shortly.

         Q    Shortly?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

         Q    The other one was "as soon as possible."  This one is 
going "shortly."

         Q    Could we go to the area of -- as soon as possible -- are 
we through with Haiti?

         MR. BOUCHER:  It's up to your colleagues.

         Q    The Bosnian Vice President doubts that the plan that Mr. 
Vance and David Owen are putting forward will succeed, objecting mostly 
to the drawing of lines.  Does the Secretary share those doubts?  Does 
he think they should keep at it; that it's worth it trying to pursue 
these negotiations on the basis of this plan or sort of a mixed feeling 
type of attitude?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'm getting deja vu all over again.  Yesterday we 
went through this, I think, in quite some detail, and we explained the 
difficulty of the process.  Several times I spoke of United States 
support for the efforts that the U.N. and the EC are making under the 
terms of the London Agreements  and the CSCE resolutions and the U.N. 
resolutions to try to achieve a peaceful settlement.

         We support their efforts.  We're aware of the difficulty of the 
task, but we do -- we support their efforts as we support U.N. processes 
in many places around the world to try to bring the parties together.

         Q    Richard, you also talked about --

         Q    Can you be more specific, though, about the drawing of 
lines?  Does the U.S. have -- I don't expect you to, you know, stick to 
the plan piece by piece, but the central area of controversy is the 
drawing of lines.  I needn't embellish that.  You know what the problem 
is.

         Is there any objection here to that facet of the plan?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, as we said yesterday, again, we are not 
going to try to second-judge the negotiations.  The negotiators are 
involved with the parties.  Talks, I think, start again tomorrow with 
all the parties in Geneva, I understand.

         They have been working on three parts of it.  One is the 
constitutional principles, one is a map, and one is military 
arrangements.  That's what they're doing out there, and I haven't tried 
to comment on specific aspects from here.

         Q    Richard, you also talked yesterday about the 
Administration realizing the need to make decisions on an urgent basis.  
Where does that stand?  Are decisions being made now?  Is there a sort 
of a schedule for when decisions might be made?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No.  I don't have a schedule for you.  I would 
say what we said yesterday.  The President, the Secretary and their 
advisers are giving their urgent attention to this.  They're looking at 
the options on Bosnia and the former Yugoslavia as they are on other 
issues, and they recognize the difficulties of the issue and have 
expressed, I think, their deep concern about the fighting there and the 
possibility of a spillover.

         Q    What options are they looking at?

         MR. BOUCHER:  That's not something I would go into.

         Q    Just another follow-up on this:  Yesterday in testimony 
Madeleine Albright said that this question was the highest priority 
among the issues on the national security agenda.

         Could you elaborate on that?  I mean, is that -- shall we take 
it at face value that it's a higher priority than what happens in Russia 
for instance?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I wouldn't elaborate on that, Carol, no.

         Q    A follow-up on that:  Ms. Albright also in her testimony 
said that there would be a high-level meeting to talk about this option.  
Do you know when that --

         MR. BOUCHER:  Basically, we're coming down to the same 
question.  I think she talked about the possibility of an NSC meeting, 
and that obviously is not something I'd address here.  That's something 
you'd have to address at the White House.

         Q    Is this not the highest priority, foreign policy priority?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I haven't really asked for a list of priorities 
myself, Carol, but I would expect that she knows what she's talking 
about.

         Q    Richard, speaking of the testimony, though, it was, I 
think, just a week ago that then soon-to-be Secretary of State Warren 
Christopher testified that he had some "personal concerns."  I think he 
discussed this to some extent yesterday.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.  And it was just yesterday that we talked 
about that.

         Q    Right.  My question is, do those -- does the Secretary 
still have those personal concerns, or are they now the U.S. Government 
concerns about the negotiations?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Ralph, both yesterday and today, I've said that 
we recognized the difficulty of the process that Vance and Owen are 
engaged in, but we support U.N. processes to bring peace to regions, to 
bring parties together.  That's what they're engaged in, and yesterday 
and today I've said that we support their efforts.  So, yes, it's a 
difficult task, and those are the kinds of doubts that we talked about 
yesterday.  

         Q    Were those the kinds of --

         MR. BOUCHER:  But we certainly support their serious efforts.

         Q    Was the difficulty of the task, what it was that soon-to-
be Secretary Christopher was referring to when he talked about "personal 
concerns"?  I thought it was --

         MR. BOUCHER:  That's exactly the question that I was asked 
yesterday and it's the response I gave yesterday.

         Q    Richard, does the United States still support the arms 
embargo on Bosnia?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Again, in his confirmation hearings, Secretary 
Christopher said that it's an idea -- lifting the arms embargo -- is an 
idea that we're considering.  But, clearly, since it's based on U.N. 
Security Council resolutions, there would have to be consultations and 
agreement with other countries.

         Q    Have you started consultations on that subject?

         MR. BOUCHER:  At this point it's an idea that we're 
considering.

         Q    Can you tell us where the "no-fly" resolution stands?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The "no-fly."  The discussions continue in New 
York with the Permanent Four plus Spain on the text of a resolution.  
There is a draft resolution which is the basis for these discussions.  
However, several important details remain to be decided.

         Q    What are the -- can you tell us either about the draft or 
the 
details that are not in it or not decided --

         MR. BOUCHER:  No, I can't at this point.

         Q    Do you have anything on Croatia?  I mean, the Croatians 
attacking the Serbs, there is --

         MR. BOUCHER:  The fighting -- I got an update on fighting sort 
of 
overnight, but I think there's some press reports of more fighting this 
morning.  So I'm not sure what I have is current, but I'll be glad to 
share it with you.

         What we knew about today was that there has been some sporadic 
shelling and small arms fire in Sarajevo.  There was a heavy fog 
blanketing the city, and the temperature was near minus five Celsius.

         Elsewhere in northern Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bosnian Serb forces 
have shelled Maglaj and Gradacac.  Fighting between Bosnian Croats and 
Bosnia government forces at Gorni Vakuf apparently has subsided.  That 
was reported over the last few days.  And today we have reports of a new 
Bosnian Serb attack on the city of Mostar, south of Sarajevo.

         Q    Can I go back to the series of questions Ralph was asking?  
You referred to difficulties.  You keep saying that you see the 
difficulty in the plan.  Could you possibly  elaborate a little more?  
Is the difference -- does -- I mean, there are all sorts of 
possibilities -- what's difficult about it?  That it's a complex plan; 
that the parties -- 

         MR. BOUCHER:  Barry --

         Q    No, wait a minute.  One newspaper drew, you know, 
startling and front-page conclusions from what you were saying 
yesterday.  What I thought you were saying yesterday is that it's a 
difficult plan and you wished they'd keep at it, and I didn't think you 
were saying more than that.

         But since we're all into it now because of front page 
treatment, is the difficulty attached to the credibility of the parties 
-- the fact that some of them are war criminals in the State 
Department's judgment, or is the difficulty the complexity?  What is 
difficult about it?  Can you elaborate a little?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, what I've said today is a very shorthand 
version for a ten-minute discussion on this subject that we had 
yesterday.

         Q    Exactly.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'm not desiring, really, to repeat that 
discussion.  I thought it was fairly clear yesterday that we weren't 
indeed commenting on the specifics of the plan or the plan that they 
were working on.  We are firmly in support of their efforts.  We support 
the process of trying to reach a political solution.  We're aware of the 
difficulties of the problems of getting the parties to accept a plan in 
terms of what we talked about yesterday -- the history is there, the 
fighting, the different views of the different parties.  They have a 
difficult task to get something agreed to --

         Q    Does Mr. Christopher --

         MR. BOUCHER:  -- the negotiators do, but we support their 
efforts to seek a political solution to this conflict, as we do support 
other efforts to get political solutions to conflicts where you have the 
United Nations, and in this case the EC, with appointed representatives 
who are working on this, and we support their efforts.

         Q    Now, Mr. Christopher -- is he torn in some way between his 
old attachments to Mr. Vance and the problems that he sees in this plan, 
and is he somehow trying to find a middle ground to separate himself 
from an old loyalty to a current skepticism about a plan's feasibility?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I wouldn't describe anything in that way, Barry.  
I would describe this as the policy of the U.S. Government.  Obviously, 
this is policy of the Secretary of State.  Frankly, it's very similar to 
what we were saying a week ago on the subject.

         Q    Could the Administration give its blessing to a solution 
which, in effect, codifies the results of ethnic cleansing?

         MR. BOUCHER:  George, again we've gone through this three 
times.  Again, they are working out there under a set of principles -- 
the London Agreements, the CSCE principles, the U.N. resolutions.  The 
views of ourselves and the international community are well expressed 
there.  That is the framework that they are working under, and we 
support their efforts to try to reach a political solution to the 
conflict, and that's where we really have to stay.  That realistically 
is where we have to be for the moment.

         Q    Richard, that leaves the impression that the U.S. -- that 
whatever the outcome of those negotiations, because it took part -- 
because it came about as a result of the process you just discussed, 
that the U.S. will support it -- is committing itself now to support it, 
because -- 

         MR. BOUCHER:  No, I didn't say that, Ralph.  I said that we're 
very familiar -- we're all familiar with the framework that they're 
working under.  They're working on it.  I'm trying not to second-guess 
the negotiators at this point or try to characterize or comment in any 
detail on their plan.  But we know what they've been working on, and 
we're supporting their efforts.

         Q    Richard, if I could just go back to the lifting of the 
arms embargo. It's fair to say then that this Administration is 
reviewing the former Administration's policy on the arms embargo and may 
consider changing its position on it?

         MR. BOUCHER:  It's fair to say what Secretary Christopher said 
in his confirmation hearing -- that lifting the arms embargo is an idea 
that we are considering.

         Q    (Multiple questions)

         Q    I mean, he was not Secretary of State then.  He's 
Secretary of State now.

         MR. BOUCHER:  And it's still true today that we are considering 
the idea.

         Q    But so did the previous Administration.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, you know that this was raised by Secretary 
Eagleburger during his trip to Europe.

         Q    Exactly.

         MR. BOUCHER:  He discussed it with others.

         Q    In what way is this being considered?  Has it been tasked 
out to a group or does Christopher sort of mull it over in the shower in 
the morning?  (Laughter)

         MR. BOUCHER:  John, I think, we've said that the Secretary, the 
President and others have said that they will give their urgent 
attention to these issues -- these issues involving Yugoslavia.  We just 
talked about the hearing yesterday.  Madeleine Albright described it as 
the highest priority, a high-priority issue for the Administration.

         Certainly, as they look at all the various options, what there 
is to do in Bosnia to advance the goals that we have set out, this is 
one of the ideas that they're looking at.

         Q    Is there an interagency group looking at this?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know the specific structure of the 
discussion at this point.

         Q    Can you offer us any evidence that we could see or observe 
of the urgent attention which you say is being given to this issue?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I can offer you the fact that I'm coming down 
here and telling you about it.

         Q    But you're not telling us about it.  You're simply saying 
that it's being given urgent attention.  In what way?  How is that being 
given urgent attention?

         MR. BOUCHER:  It's being discussed, will be discussed among the 
President and his advisers, including the Secretary.

         Q    Has the Secretary met with, for example, EUR officials to 
discuss this issue since he took office?  I don't want to limit it to 
that particular group, but --

         MR. BOUCHER:  The Secretary has been meeting with various 
officials in the Department on different issues.  I'm sure that he has 
met with EUR and others to talk about this situation in Yugoslavia.  It 
is something that he's giving his attention to.

         Q    Richard, does this Administration feel that unless it does 
something on Bosnia, like lifting the arms embargo, that the damage done 
to the United States reputation in the Moslem world will be beyond 
repair?  We won't be able to accomplish anything with Moslem allies or 
Arab allies, such as the peace talks or -- I mean, for instance, Turkey.  
The Prime Minister of Turkey today was censured by the Parliament for 
allegedly allowing U.S. offensive air strikes out of Incirlik.   Are you 
starting to see some sort of pattern, and are you trying to rehabilitate 
the United States in the Moslem world?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I understand the question, Sid.  I'm not quite 
sure that I can address the answer in exactly the same terms.  But 
certainly the perceptions, the concerns of people in the Moslem world 
have been something that have been very apparent to all of us; and that 
we've had, as you know, in the past Administration a number of 
discussions with Arab governments, Moslem governments, about their 
concerns.

         We're trying to do certain things in Yugoslavia.  We're trying 
to make sure that people who need humanitarian relief get it.  We're 
trying to make sure that the sanctions are enforced tightly.  We're 
trying to make sure that we support -- there is support for a peaceful 
settlement and a few other things which I probably don't remember.  I 
mean, I guess the basic one is trying to bring pressure on the Serbs and 
in any other way we can to see an end to the aggression being carried 
out and the deprivations.

         What this Administration is looking at are options on how to 
advance this agenda, and how to move forward in terms of these and 
perhaps other goals that I have forgotten about in order to try to bring 
us closer to a solution of the conflict and an end to the horrible 
fighting there.

         Q    But, Richard, on --

         Q    Have any Moslem countries offered their participation or 
suggested options or contributed to this difficult decision-making 
process?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know what you're asking, Howard.  Are 
they going to attend -- 

         Q    In other words, the U.S. and other allies are involved in, 
(a), the effort to achieve a political solution in Bosnia that involved 
wrangling over the "no-fly" enforcement situation.  I'm curious what 
Moslem countries may have offered in terms of thoughts contributing to a 
solution.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I guess, again, Howard, in terms of thoughts -- I 
mean    you've seen a lot of statements out of the Moslem world.  There 
have been    OIC meetings that have suggested various things, including 
lifting the arms    embargo.  Certainly we've had contact with a lot of 
other governments, both    in Europe and the Arab world and elsewhere 
around the world, to discuss the    situation there and to exchange 
views on what can be done about it.

         Q    But Richard, that's a change, because when the last 
Secretary was in Europe it was made quite clear that following 
negotiations and   discussions that he'd had with your European allies 
that the Europeans had   seriously considered that the idea of lifting 
the arms embargo was an idea   whose time was not to come, it was a 
lousy idea, and they didn't want to see   it happen.

         The French still believe that, the Brits still believe that.  
What's   changed that you and the new Administration are now going 
around on this   thing again when you haven't got support from the 
Western allies?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, "going around" -- I didn't say that we'd 
gone around to other countries at this point on this.  As I said, the 
Administration -- the President and his advisers understand that this is 
a serious problem that deserves their urgent attention, and they are 
giving it their urgent attention.  And in that context they're looking 
at the various options and ways we have of advancing this.  

         And this is certainly an idea, as you said, that's come up 
before -- and I'm sure we'll take the views of all the various countries 
into account as they discuss this -- but it's an idea that the Secretary 
said is worth considering, so they're considering it.

         Q    Richard, if I can go to another subject -- on Angola.  Is 
there any kind of review, overall review, of U.S. policy towards Angola, 
given this current situation there?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, the current situation -- let me run through 
and   tell you where we stand on that.  I wouldn't characterize anything 
in   particular as a review at this point, but certainly it's a 
situation that's of   concern to us.  I'm not sure exactly if there have 
been any meetings on the   subject, but it's something we follow closely 
in this building.

         There has been heavy fighting continuing in many parts of the 
country. There appears to be an ebb and flow, and depending on the 
location, with either the government or UNITA has the advantage.

         We believe that UNITA has taken control of the northwestern 
town of Soyo.  In addition to an already considerable loss of life, 
we're deeply concerned about the welfare of oil company employees and 
others in the city held by UNITA.  There are apparently no Americans 
involved, however.

         We think the holding of innocent civilians and foreign workers 
is unacceptable and we would call on Dr. Savimbi to order their release 
immediately.

         Now, we know there are press reports that peace talks under 
U.N.   sponsorship have been agreed to by both parties and that they 
could occur   within the next few days in Addis Ababa.  At this point, 
we can't   independently confirm those reports; but we have strongly 
supported the   earliest possible return to face-to-face talks and, for 
our part, as an   official observer in the peace accords, we're prepared 
to participate if the   U.N. and the parties would find it useful.

         Q    A follow-up.  Is the U.S. prepared to increase pressure on 
Mr.   Savimbi to have him abide by the election results or at least 
participate in   the run-off, which he's so far --

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, I don't know exactly what you have in mind, 
Steve.  I think we've made clear over the last several months, and again 
today, that we have strongly supported the idea of face-to-face talks.  
We've made clear to all the parties in our contacts with them that we 
think that   fighting is not an option, that there's not a military 
solution, and that they   should, in fact, get back to the process of 
the elections and the peaceful   implementation of the agreements that 
have been reached.

         Q    Is the U.S. not putting any more pressure on Mr. Savimbi?  
Does this not send a signal to --

         MR. BOUCHER:  I didn't say we were not putting any more 
pressure on   Mr. Savimbi.  We've made our views very clear repeatedly 
to both the parties   about the situation there, and about the need to 
get back to the peaceful   process that was under way and about our 
rejection of any sort of fighting   and military solutions.

         Q    Is there concern about the signal that might be sent, in 
that if you don't have Savimbi abiding by the results of the election or 
participating in the run-off, what that might bode for other areas -- 
other places in the   world where you're pushing for elections?  Are you 
concerned about kind of   signals we send here?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I think, first of all, we're concerned about the 
situation in Angola and that this continued fighting doesn't bring 
anything to the people of Angola and it results in a lot of death and a 
lot of trouble for the people of the country.  So we've been urging the 
parties to get back to the peaceful implementation of the accords.

         And, yes, that is, basically when people agree to something 
with the   U.N., when they agree to a process, we, everywhere in the 
world think they   should adhere to that process.

         Q    Richard, you keep talking about the peace accords or the 
peace   process, but people on both sides -- UNITA and the MPLA -- are 
saying that   the peace process per se is dead, the war has resumed.

         Do you still believe that there's a chance of reconstructing or 
reviving the peace process that existed before December?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Jim, that's the framework that's in place.  And I 
think   the first step -- and the one that we've pointed to most 
directly here -- is   the need for some kind of face-to-face talks to 
try to resolve the issues   that are involved there.

         Q    But, in other words, can you pick it up at the run-off 
elections or do you have to go back to square one?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.  I don't think I have a judgment on 
that today.

         Q    Richard, you said the Administration is going to 
participate in these talks?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

         Q    What sort of role do you -- what level of participation 
and what sort of role do you see?

         MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, I don't know, Sid.

         Q    Honest broker or observer?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, we've been an official observer to the 
peace   accords and to this whole process.  We and other governments 
that have been   deeply interested in this have participated in many of 
the meetings and   discussions that they've had along the way.  And if 
the U.N. and the parties   find it useful, I'm sure that we and others 
would be prepared to participate   in helping them get back to the 
process.

         Q    Can you comment on the second incident in two days in the   
northern "no-fly" zone in Iraq?  What does this bode in terms of, sort 
of a   pause, in terms of the U.S. Government?  Or maybe there isn't a 
pause.

         MR. BOUCHER:  For the details of the incident, I think we'll 
ask you to check with the Pentagon.  But, basically, early this morning, 
U.S. aircraft fired two missiles at an Iraqi surface-to-surface missile 
site about l5 nautical miles east of the city of Mosul, 20 nautical 
miles north of the 36th parallel.  The action was taken after onboard 
indicators confirmed that the aircraft were being tracked by Iraqi SAM 
tracking radar.

         As far as what it means more generally, John, I think you have 
to ask the Iraqis what it means in terms of these kinds of incidents, 
this kind of tracking going on. 

         We have made clear, as the Secretary said yesterday, to the 
Iraqis what is required for them to avoid this kind of incident.  And as 
this President and the Secretary made clear yesterday, we are determined 
to enforce our current policy and to allow our pilots to defend 
themselves as necessary.

         Q    Does the fact that these incidents keep happening and then 
Iraq immediately says, "Well, despite this terrible aggressive behavior 
on the part of the United States, we, the Iraqis, are going to continue 
to observe the cease-fire and U.N. inspectors keep coming in"?  Does 
that signal something to the U.S. Government?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think I could draw any conclusions at 
this point, John.  We've made clear our determination to continue with 
this policy.  We've made quite clear to the Iraqis over the course of 
time, very directly, what it takes for them to avoid this kind of 
military confrontation and what form of cooperation it takes for them to 
avoid this kind of incident.

         Q    What about the "heat" that the U.S. is feeling, 
increasingly, from some of its friends on this issue?  Sid mentioned 
earlier the Turkish delegation.  First of all, the Prime Minister has 
been censured in their parliament -- 

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think -- I'm not aware of exactly what it 
was that passed the current -- the Turkish parliament, but I'm not aware 
of anyone that has said that our pilots shouldn't be able to defend 
themselves when they're threatened.

         Q    Well, there is increasingly some questions about whether 
or not the entire enforcement of the U.N. "no-fly" zone and the 
declaration of the "no-fly" zones themselves are adequately covered by 
current U.N. resolutions.  Is there any plan by this Administration to 
go back to the U.N.   and seek additional authorization to be doing the 
kind of military operations   that have been undertaken in the last two 
weeks?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Not that I have heard of, John.  I think if you 
look at the comments of the President and the Secretary, they have 
stated firmly their   intention to continue to enforce the "no-fly" zone 
to ensure Iraqi compliance   with all the U.N. resolutions.

         Q    So you feel that the United States is well within its 
right to be exercising this level of military force, even though some of 
our allies are beginning to question that?

         MR. BOUCHER:  John, again, I think you have to look at the 
various   statements that have been made.  I have not seen any one 
question the right   of our pilots to defend themselves. The need for 
Iraqi compliance with the   United Nations  resolution is also something 
that many, many countries,   including our allies, have repeatedly 
expressed their support for.  The terms   of the "no-fly" zone and the 
justification for the "no-fly" zone is something   that is widely 
accepted and has been discussed many times, both when it   was 
established in the north to protect the population there from Iraqi   
aerial attacks and when it was established in the south to help protect 
the   population there from Iraqi aerial attacks -- understand the basic   
humanitarian purposes of this.

         Q    But you weren't being asked about whether anyone 
questioned   whether U.S. pilots have the right to defend themselves.  
You were being   asked whether the U.S. -- there was a question --

         MR. BOUCHER:  I was asked if I was concerned about criticism of 
this level of military action.

         Q    That's right.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'm not quite sure what that means.

         Q    O.K.  Well, we can be more specific, has anyone questioned 
the U.S. insistence on the type of enforcement the U.S. is engaging in?

         MR. BOUCHER:  You mean the fact that when we're -- that we 
shoot back?

         Q    No.  Flying missions which, for one reason or another, 
appear to provoke Iraqis to light up their radars, for example.  Just as 
one example --

         MR. BOUCHER:  Ralph, I just -- I just --

         Q    -- you didn't mention in your list a minute ago of things 
that endorsed --

         MR. BOUCHER:  I did deal, in my list of things that had been 
endorsed, that have been explained, with the "no-fly" zone there.

         Q    Right.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Now, if you're going to say that our flights --

         Q    Enforcement of them.

         MR. BOUCHER:  -- over the north and the south, which are there 
to protect population from aerial attack by the Iraqis, are somehow 
provoking them into targeting our airplanes and shooting at them, I 
think I'd have to differ on that.

         Q    Have you seen any of the -- my question was about whether 
anyone else has questioned that.  You didn't address --

         MR. BOUCHER:  I personally haven't.  I'm not sure I'm done a 
scrub with everything that's been said on every single detail of this, 
but the "no-fly" zones have been explained many times and I think the 
justification is ample.

         Q    The justifications for the "no-fly" zones have been 
explained, the "no-fly" zones have been explained.  The enforcement of 
them, the specific ways in which the allies enforce them, have not, to 
my knowledge, been either endorsed by the U.N., specified by the U.N. or 
explained by the U.N. or the coalition.  It's sort of done --

         MR. BOUCHER:  I certainly think that we have.

         Q    That's right.

         MR. BOUCHER:  That we have explained it.

         Q    Right.  So the question is:  Have any of these critics 
questioned the U.S. explanation of how that's to be enforced?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Ralph, if you get to that sort of level of 
detail, I'm afraid that -- I can't say that I've done a look at every 
single criticism or statement that's been made about us.

         Q    (Inaudible) on the ground of late?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Somewhere I have some information on that.

         Despite Iraqi obstacles to humanitarian relief supplies, some 
supplies are getting through at this time.  Convoys are now moving at 
the rate of 40 to 50 trucks a day.

         The situation in northern Iraq, however, remains fragile.  We 
remain concerned about the plight of the 3.l million Iraqi citizens in 
northern Iraq as the winter months are upon them.

         The U.S., Turkey, and the other coalition partners remain 
dedicated to ensuring the welfare of the people in northern Iraq.

         Q    What are the obstacles?  Are they still putting bombs on 
trucks?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I haven't checked recently on bombs on trucks, 
but I guess I'd have to get you more detail on that.

         Q    On a related topic, has this Administration at a high 
level been in touch with Kurdish leaders, with the Iraqi National 
Congress, about the 
situation in Iraq?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know, Sid, what recent contacts we've had 
with them.  We've had ongoing contacts, I know, with the Iraqi National 
Conference.

         Q    This Administration.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know at what level or with who exactly 
those contacts have been and how recent they've been.  I'd have to check 
on that.

         Q    Since a request by Skopje is pending at the United Nations 
to get recognition under the so-called "Republic of Macedonia," what 
position will you take?  Will the Clinton Administration veto the 
application so that a creation of a non-existent Macedonian (inaudible) 
at least will be prevented, which has been already opposed by the 
majority of its multinational residents?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The application is currently pending before the 
Security Council.  We're looking at it.  We're consulting with other 
members of the Security Council about it.  And we haven't taken a final 
position.

         Q    Not yet?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Not yet.

         Q    To another contentious issue:  It's long been the policy 
of the United States that the status of Jerusalem will be determined at 
the end of the peace process.  However, the Clinton Administration was 
elected on a ticket which included the promise that Jerusalem would be 
regarded as the capital of Israel and the Embassy would be moved there.  
This has been creating some concern in the Arab world, and I was 
wondering what the policy of the current Administration is towards the 
American Embassy in Israel.  Does it stay in Tel Aviv?  Does it move to 
Jerusalem?

         MR. BOUCHER:  It's not an area that I've had a chance to look 
into, Jan.  I believe that the Secretary was asked and had some comments 
at his confirmation hearings about that.

         Q    Could you take the question?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll check on that and see if I can get you 
something, yes.

         Q    On an unrelated matter, can you tell us what contacts, if 
any, Secretary Christopher has had with Andrei Kosyrev, or aides to 
Andrei Kosyrev, to set up any kind of meeting that he's promised to 
have?

         MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, Ralph, I don't know of any 
specific contacts.  I know that he has had some contacts with foreign 
officials, as well as --

         Q    With who?

         MR. BOUCHER:  -- with foreign officials -- with other 
government officials.  I don't have a list at this point.

         Q    Could you take the question of with whom he's been in 
contact?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll see.  I'm not sure we're going to want to 
start off with a list of everybody he talks to, but I'll see.

         Q    Well, I'd like to know whether, for example, he's made 
"get-acquainted" phone calls to -- for example -- the NATO allies.  Has 
he been in   touch with the participants in the Middle East peace 
process, for example?

         MR. BOUCHER:  There have been various messages coming in.  
There   have been congratulatory messages.  I think he's probably had 
conversations   with at least one or two -- maybe more people -- so 
there have been various   exchanges of messages, or messages that have 
come in to him.

         Again, I don't know specifically which countries at this point.

         Q    Can you give us a sense of what he's doing?  One thing on 
his public schedule -- does that mean he's napping the rest of the day, 
or what?  What is he doing?

         MR. BOUCHER:  John, he was over at the White House, as you 
know, for   the formal swearing-in.  I think there was a meeting over 
there -- a Cabinet   meeting afterwards.  He's been meeting with various 
officials in the   Department on different policy issues.

         As I said, he's had some contact and some messages with foreign 
governments.

         Q    Richard, what's the reason for the meeting between 
Assistant Secretary Djerejian and a number of Mideast Ambassadors today?

         MR. BOUCHER:  They've asked for -- and I think all I know at 
this point is that they've asked to come in and talk to us about a 
number of issues.

         Arab Ambassadors requested the meeting with Assistant Secretary 
Djerejian to discuss a range of issues.

         Q    Can you give us a readout on that?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll see if we can get anything.  We can, at 
least, get you --

         Q    That's a little broader.

         MR. BOUCHER:  -- that they came to see him and discussed a 
range of 
issues.  I'm not sure.  We'll see what we can get beyond that.

         Q    O.K., thank you.

         Q    Well, thank you.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Thank you.

         (The briefing concluded at l:29 p.m.) (###)

To the top of this page