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US DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING #15: 
FRIDAY, 1/29/93

Source: State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher 
Description: Washington, DC
Date:  01/29/93
Category: Briefings
                        DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                        DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                      DPC #15

                FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 1993, 12:39 P.M.
               (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)


   MR. BOUCHER:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  I'd like
to start by surprising you with an announcement of a trip to New
York.

   Secretary of State Christopher will travel to New York on
Monday to meet with the U.N. Secretary General Boutros-Ghali and
to participate in Ambassador Albright's presentation of
credentials.  This meeting will be the first between the two since
the Clinton Administration took office.  It will be his first trip
since assuming his duties, which underscores the importance the
new Administration attaches to the role of the United Nations in
the international arena, and, in particular, to the role of the
Secretary General in carrying out his burgeoning responsibilities
in the areas of international peacekeeping and humanitarian
assistance.

   While in New York, Ambassador Albright and the Secretary will
also meet with the U.S. Mission staff in order to review the
issues that they work on day to day.

   We anticipate that the discussions in New York will cover a
broad range of policy issues involving the United Nations.  The
meeting will also highlight U.S. interest in working with the
United Nations, and with the Secretary General personally, to
ensure that our mutual efforts enhance the organization's
effectiveness and efficiency in meeting its primary goal of
contributing to international peace and stability.

   We'll be working on a press schedule for you that we hope to
have later in the day.  We'll get that to you.  I'd just note for
the moment that the Secretary will be available to the press in
New York.  We'll have some sort of press availability, and
therefore there won't be a briefing here in Washington on Monday.

   Q      I'll be happy to carry your advertisement if you'll give us a better 
idea of what he's going to do in New York?  I'll attach
importance to the U.N., just like you want me to, but can you tell us,
is he zone which has been pushed like a feather in the last two
months?  Is he going to try to stave off sanctions against
Israel?

         Could you give us a better idea, apart from the symbols
-- because he's going to be there apparently a good part of the
day -- what business he's going to take care of that might be of
interest to viewers and readers?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, I think, first of all, as you
know, the U.N. is engaged and involved and we are engaged and
involved in working with the U.N. in areas all over the world. 
So we would expect the discussions to span the entire world.

         Second of all --

         Q    In one day?

         Q    It's Friday, Richard.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Second of all, of course, these two
gentlemen will discuss anything they want to.

         Third, I will make the point once again that the
Secretary will talk to Boutros-Ghali about the importance the
United States places on the U.N. and the important role that the
United Nations and the Secretary General play in the world, and
we'll try to establish the cooperation that we can use to work
closely with the United Nations, as we have in the past.

         Q    Does the Secretary think that the United Nations
--

         MR. BOUCHER:  Now, finally, I would note that we're all
aware of what the issues are that are being worked up there and
being discussed up there.  Clearly, Somalia and the U.S. forces,
U.N. forces, the transition, is something that they will want to
discuss.

         The situation in Bosnia, the importance of Iraqi
compliance, questions like the deportees, U.N. reform, U.N.
peacekeeping, and the Secretary General's ideas -- those are
obviously all things that they'll discuss.

         Q    Just a quick follow-up, Richard.  With all this
tribute you're paying to the U.N., does that mean that the
Secretary is inclined to support efforts to give the U.N. more
of a peacemaking as well as a peacekeeping role?

         MR. BOUCHER:  He commented on those ideas that come out
of, I guess what's called the Secretary General's set of ideas
or something like that, from the report that was done last
spring.  He commented on it during his confirmation hearings,
and certainly said that that was something that he supported,
what has been already announced by the United States 
in terms of being willing to cooperate in a number of areas with
the United Nations, on being better prepared for peacekeeping
activities.  And I think the Secretary also said that it would
be good to look at -- he thought they were good ideas and he
wanted to look at this further and discuss it.  So I'm sure that
they will be discussing it.

         Q    Richard, is one of the issues he'll be discussing
is Boutros-Ghali's reported intention of appointing the
wonderfully-named Norwegian lady, Mrs. Sham Poo, to the post of
Under Secretary for Management?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The question of the post of the U.N.
Under Secretary General for Management is certainly something
that could come up that they may want to discuss.

         On the general issue, I would say that there are no
positions in the U.N. Secretariat that are formally reserved for
any particular member state.  At the same time, we are intensely
interested in good management and reform at the United Nations.

         I've already said that U.N. reforms is clearly one of
the topics that they would expect to discuss.  With an American
in the post of the Under Secretary General for Administration
and Management, we have been able to cooperate closely with the
Secretary General in his efforts towards institutional reform.

         (Multiple questions)

         Q    -- of the U.S. payment of --

         MR. BOUCHER:  Hang on.  Let's let Alan ask his
follow-up.

         Q    Did the United States note that Boutros-Ghali,
having abolished four of the Under Secretariats last year,
re-created two of them towards the end of the year?  And, if so,
what is your reaction?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'm sure we've noted any changes that
were made up at the U.N.  You know our strong interest in a more
effective U.N. and issues of reform.  I don't know that we've
had any particular reaction to those steps that you talked
about.

         Sonia.

         Q    What's the status of the payment of arrears to the
United Nations?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I probably should have brought that down.
 I'll have the folks who work the numbers get you the numbers. 
As you know, we've made some payments to pay back the arrears
that had accumulated in the regular budget.  I believe, 
in his testimony, the Secretary said that he was committed to
paying our bills.

         Q    Would it be possible --

         MR. BOUCHER:  We'll get you the numbers; yes.

         Q    -- so that it's factually correct.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll see if I can find that excerpt that
I vaguely remember from the testimony.

         Q    Richard, on Bosnia, could you talk a little, or
expand a little bit more on the remarks that the Secretary made
last night when he cautioned us not to expect a quick decision
on the policy toward Bosnia?  This comes after you yourself had
said that there was an urgent review, and you and other
officials talked about how this was a high priority.

         What exactly did he mean to convey when he seemed to
put a brake on quick expectations?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Carol, I don't think I can expand too
much on the process that is underway.  It is something that's
being looked at.  I think I have to decline to sort of expand on
the Secretary's remarks.  He cautioned you against necessarily
expecting decisions right away.  That's clear.  But it's also --
I don't think that contradicts what we said before, that it is
something that we have to look at as a high priority.

         Q    Are they finding that the issues are more
complicated than they thought before they were in office?  Are
there new factors that have sort of made them think that they
couldn't move as quickly as they seemed to indicate first out of
the box?  You can't add any sort of insight into that?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I can't, Carol.  I thought the Secretary
explained it more than adequately yesterday, and I didn't try to
expand on that any more in my conversations with him.

         Q    The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. has referred to it
as the highest priority.  You referred to it the other day as a
high priority, and you repeated that again today.

         Was the Secretary meaning to say yesterday that the
issue of the highest priority won't be -- there won't be any
answers available on that highest priority issue right away?  Is
that how we should read it?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Ralph, I would read it the way the
Secretary said it.

         Q    I wonder what "high priority" means.  I thought
high, or highest priority -- I thought in a situation where 
thousands of people are being killed -- I made the mental
connection in my head; maybe it was foolish of me -- that "high
priority" means we're concerned, we're terribly concerned as a
government and want to do something on some urgent basis.

         The impression I'm getting now from various accounts --
and from your account in this statement -- is "high priority"
means it's a subject we ought to talk about a lot and maybe go
back to the beginning and see what the options are and weigh
them and the considerations and all.  And this is in the dead
winter, so what does "high priority" mean?  Doesn't it mean that
you want to do something quickly, or does "priority" just mean
it's a big thing and there's no urgency about it?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, the situation is as follows:  We
are giving this matter urgent attention.

         You know -- I think the White House reported to you
yesterday that the meeting of the President's senior advisers
was held yesterday, that they've discussed this issue.  We've
told you that we're looking at all the options.

         The Secretary has told you that he wants to move ahead
forcefully, that he wants to move ahead actively, and that he
wants to move ahead in view of our outrage and our deep concern
about the situation that the people are facing out there.

         We have not suspended the ongoing efforts devoted to
feeding people, to enforcing sanctions, and in many other areas
where the United States has been active.  These options are
being looked at in order to move forward.

         The Secretary cautioned you yesterday against expecting
something in a very -- well, I forget exactly how he said it --
immediately is the way I would summarize it.  But at the same
time it is something that's being discussed; and the efforts
that we've had underway to take care of these grave humanitarian
problems that we've talked about are, in fact, continuing.

         Q    Is this what you've told you the visiting Bosnians
-- not to expect anything right away?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know exactly how that was
phrased, how we described it to him.

         Q    Did they get to a higher level than the Assistant
Secretary?  You remember, there was the possibility they might
see somebody --

         Q    That was the Turkish --

         MR. BOUCHER:  No, I don't remember that.

         (Multiple questions.)

         Q    Has anything delayed action -- any kind of action
on this issue?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Not that I'm aware of, Saul.

         Q    Has there been delay in taking any kind of action
in either meetings or discussion or any kind of decision-making?
 Has there been any delay?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Not that I'm aware of, Saul.  I don't
pretend to be able to give you any kind of readout of the
discussion that was held yesterday.

         Q    It's just that I remember --

         MR. BOUCHER:  But it is an issue that is getting their
attention.  It's an issue that they are devoting their attention
to and that is under discussion.

         Q    Is it still accurate to say that the United States
wants to see prompt movement to the second phase of the U.N.
resolution on the "no-fly" zone in Bosnia, and that the U.S. is
seeking prompt move to the enforcement stage?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Nothing has changed on our desire to see
that enforced.

         Q    Is there any kind of timetable on, at least,
taking the first action which is pressing the resolution, if
that's what you're going to do, or lifting the embargo?  Is
there any --

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, if that's what they decide to do.

         Q    -- timetable?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No, I don't set timetables for the
President's senior advisers.

         Q    I'm not asking you to -- I'm just wondering
whether you're aware if there's any timetable?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'm not aware of any.

         Q    What's the situation at the U.N. on the "no-fly"
zone?  What's the situation now on the "no-fly" zone and the
enforcement resolution?  Are you still discussing it with
allies?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I believe so.  I'll have to get you an
update.  I didn't get one today.

         Q    Will the Secretary deal with any of the Bosnia
allies on Monday when he goes to the U.N.?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The meetings, as currently scheduled, as
expected, are with Boutros-Ghali, with the presentation of
credentials with Ambassador Albright, and then with the U.S.
Mission people there.  There are no Security Council or other
meetings scheduled there.

         Q    No Perm Five or Perm Three?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No.

         Terry.

         Q    What's the Administration's current assessment in
terms of the adequacy of humanitarian assistance reaching
Sarajevo and other Bosnian enclaves?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Let me give you some of the numbers.  We,
at least, have a period of 20 days to sort of look at the
numbers with you, and then I'll give you a general assessment of
how things have been going.

         During the period from January 1 through January 20,
there were 5,972.4 metric tons of relief supplies and 1,993
heaters that were delivered to Bosnia-Herzegovina by the U.N.
High Commissioner for Refugees.  That's both in convoys and the
airlifts, and by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

         For the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees convoys and
airlift to Sarajevo, they distributed 3,656 metric tons of
relief supplies and 1,933 heaters, as follows:

         To Banja Luka, 100 metric tons of food.  To Bihac, 171
metric tons of food and 10.8 metric tons of clothes and bedding.

         To central Bosnia, 407 metric tons of food, 14.6 metric
tons of winterization materials, and 14.6 metric tons of clothes
and bedding.

         To eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina, 679 metric tons of food
and 8 metric tons of medical supplies.

         To Sarajevo, 1,265 metric tons of food, 161 metric tons
of winterization supplies, 1,933 heaters, 157.9 metric tons of
clothes and bedding, and 136.9 metric tons of medical supplies.

         And, finally, to southern Bosnia-Herzegovina, 681.2
metric tons of food, 0.1 metric tons of winterization supplies,
6.6 metric tons of clothes and bedding, and 5 metric tons of
medical supplies.

         The International Committee of the Red Cross delivered
2,316 metric tons of relief supplies to the Banja Luka area, the
Bihac area, the northeast Herzegovina area, eastern Herzegovina,
southern Herzegovina, northern and central Bosnia.  We don't
have a breakdown of tonnages by region for these deliveries, for
which I'm sure you're all thankful.

         Now, the purpose of giving you all these numbers and
destinations is to let you, if you want to, plot on your map or
reach the conclusion about how this is going, in terms of the
breakdown.  What we see, in general, I would characterize as we
have been able to maintain the supply lines, although not always
at the levels that we have liked into Sarajevo, into central
Bosnia, and into western Bosnia-Herzegovina.

         There have been major problems with deliveries, where
you see the numbers are down, in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
a few other specific locations where the fighting or the sieges
have prevented the deliveries.

         Q    (Multiple questions)

         Q    Wait, wait.  I stepped into this one.  Let me
follow up.  Okay?

         Q    (inaudible) whether the heaters are plugged in?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I think they're not all electric.  I
think they're multiple-purpose.

         Q    Clearly, you've gone to great efforts to amass
statistics, but they don't tell us very much.

         The question is, what is your assessment, in terms of
the adequacy of meeting the human needs in these areas?

         You will recall a former President, not so many months
ago, said we'd do whatever is necessary to see humanitarian
relief gets through.  Now, I gather the assessment that's going
on here, as part of your review process, suggests that this is
not meeting whatever standards or goals you had hoped to reach
in terms of meeting the minimum humanitarian needs of the
region.  Is that right?

         MR. BOUCHER:  What I'm trying to draw you to, Terry, is
not just to sort of look overall -- and, of course, you can look
overall -- but that the situation in different parts of this
region is different; that while we have not been able to get
everything through that we would have liked to some of these
areas -- Sarajevo, central Bosnia, and western
Bosnia-Herzegovina and places like that -- we have been able to
maintain an essential supply line through the efforts that have
been made by a lot of aid workers, a lot of UNPROFOR people, a
lot of UNHCR people, a lot of International Red Cross people.

         The situation is most difficult in the eastern areas
where there's fighting going on, where there are cities under
siege and where, as you know, people haven't been able to get
in.  The town of Zepa was one that required a special and
extraordinary effort to get into and they were in dire straits.
Perhaps not quite as dire as had been reported, but they were in
a very difficult situation.

         There were also some major efforts made to get into the
town of Tuzla not too long ago.  So there have been some
significant efforts to get into these places.

         But rather than try to draw an average, which would
imply that everybody was only getting that portion of their
needs, that both understates the ability to maintain the
supplies in some places and overstates the ability to get food
and relief in to people who really need it badly in some of
these towns.

         Q    One more before you leave it.  You will recall
that only under prodding from here did you offer the information
that the U.S. has estimates of 70,000 being held in camps.

         Perhaps you can go back and get us some more detailed
report that answers the question of adequacy of the deliveries
of supplies to major population centers.  You're right,
averaging it out, doesn't necessarily answer the question.  But,
clearly, you have been assessing the adequacy, not just the
statistical delivery levels.  So it would be useful to have some
rather candid reaction in terms of where there are real
problems, where the aid is not getting through?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, that's what I just tried to give
you.  I also reject your characterization of the discussion of
camps, but we can argue that some other time.

         Q    Richard, if you can give .4 -- to the .4 metric
tons, then perhaps -- and this is to sort of buttress what Terry
is saying -- you can say you're meeting 50 percent of the need
of Sarajevo, 20 percent of the need of someplace else.  That's
the kind of, I think, scale that would be more meaningful than
these metric tons, which basically means nothing to us.

         MR. BOUCHER:  The metric tons lets you sort of look at
the relative distribution throughout the area and look at the
differences that we're facing.

         In terms of the percentages, obviously, the percentage
of the need -- the number that you're dividing by -- is an
estimate.  I think the estimate for Sarajevo proper is somewhere
around 220-or-so tons a day.  I'm not sure I can give you that
kind of estimate for the other places but I'll see.

         (Multiple questions)

         Q    (Inaudible) -- hearing on the Hill, and James
Kunder said up front that while there are plenty of resources
being distributed, being made available, at least on the scene,
they're not getting to the people who need them, and I think he
used the phrase, "the relief effort is being frustrated by men
with guns."  Representatives of relief organizations also said 
that, basically, the relief effort is failing and without a big
turnaround, there's going to be a serious loss of life.

         Down the line, they all called for use of force,
however reluctantly.  How would you characterize those
assessments based on what you're telling us here?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I would say that I just told you today
that we've been able to maintain a lifeline, or a supply line in
many of the areas.  But the places where we stymied the most in
getting the food through is the places where the fighting and
the security situation has prevented the deliveries.

         So, clearly, my analysis today coincides with what they
said.  And in terms of --

         Q    They're basically characterizing it as a failure.

         MR. BOUCHER:  You have to look at different places. 
But in terms of what can be done to enhance the delivery of
humanitarian supplies, I'd just have to say that, obviously,
we're looking at all the possible options.

Q        Richard, noting the other day that you said the war
crimes appear to be continuing, the ethnic cleansing appears to
be continuing.  As far as I know, the siege of Sarajevo is still
underway, and they're being pounded by Serbian guns.  And you've
not reported that there are any fewer prisoners than the 70,000
you estimated that there were, nor have you reported that there
has been any access to any of these prison camps by ICRC, as the
United States has tried to get.

         Having said all of that and remembering that
Christopher said that there was an urgency, and that the
situation was outrageous, how can you say that this -- how does
that square with the fact that now there's no timetable to do
anything?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, I --

         Q    You said a little while ago that there's no
timetable.  I thought there had been.  At least somebody had one
somewhere.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think I ever tried to give you a
timetable.

         Q    No, no.  I don't know what it is, but I asked you
whether there was one, and you said not that you're aware of.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll double-check and see if they have
one.  Obviously, the President and his senior advisers make
decisions on these issues, fully aware of the urgency of the
situation, as soon as they can, as soon as it's possible.  This 
process is underway.  It's well underway.  The principal
advisers had a meeting yesterday.  You know, I can't promise
you, nor could the Secretary yesterday, promise you that there
would be an immediate decision at some point right now.

         But the process of looking at the options is well
underway.  It is getting their attention on an urgent basis, and
they're devoting time to it.  

         Q    I simply asked --

         MR. BOUCHER:  And they will decide these things as they
can.

         Q    I simply asked, because the President himself said
in his campaign -- as a matter of fact, they criticized your
former employers for not being aggressive enough in getting aid
to people and in doing the kinds of things that were necessary,
like the "no-fly" zone or lifting the embargo.

         And he said then from day one of his Presidency, he
would sort of see to it that there was a more aggressive role. 
And the Secretary in his confirmation said from day one it would
be a top priority, and the Ambassador to the United Nations said
it would be the highest priority.

         And now you're telling us after the Secretary said that
it's much more complicated, that there's no timetable for
action, and I'm not sure what these things mean.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I will try to double-check with the
Secretary.  I said I wasn't aware of any timetable.  I will
check with him and see if he, himself, with his colleagues has
set a timetable.  But I think the facts do show that they are
giving it their urgent attention.

         Q    Richard, the fighting between Croatia and Serbia,
first of all, the Croatians have evidently ignored a Security
Council demand for them to desist, and I'd like your reaction to
that.

         And, secondly, could I go back to my question of
yesterday?  Is this fighting impeding the delivery of
humanitarian relief?  And there have been now some press reports
that it is.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I think we got you an answer yesterday
afternoon based on what we knew at the time.  I don't know
anything different today.  And that was that so far it had not
interfered with that, but it did threaten -- if the fighting
expanded -- threaten some of the routes that are used.

         Today there doesn't appear to be too much fighting in
the Zadar area, which is where the Croatian offensive began on
January 22.  The reports that we have conflict as to who has 
control of the Peruca Dam, which is something that people have
been concerned about, and they conflict as to what the extent of
damage is to the dam.

         And so in that situation we've asked the U.N. and the
Croatian authorities to try to get us information to advise us
on the situation.

         As you've said, there continues to be some fighting
there.  The U.N. has passed a resolution, has demanded that the
parties stop the fighting and abide by the plan, and I think
you've seen the efforts underway by the U.N. -- and I think
Vance and Owen as well -- to try to get them to abide by that. 
Certainly, those are efforts that we support and that we --
given the dangers posed by this fighting, we certainly think
that the parties should indeed comply with the U.N. resolution
immediately.

         Q    Richard --

         Q    (Multiple questions)

         Q    Let me -- just one more, please --

         MR. BOUCHER:  O.K.  Sid.

         Q    On the dam, is detonation of the dynamite, or
whatever it is that's been in that dam for so long, placed there
by Serbians -- does that fit into that category of environmental
war crimes?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'd have to check.  At this point I think
our reports conflict on what exactly happened out there.  I'll
check and see if there's a definition, and how it would apply to
this situation.

         Q    Anything new on the barges on the Danube?  There
are reports now that actually Ukraine is loading a lot more than
nine or ten barges with oil for Serbia.  Perhaps it's close to
100.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, let me go through the situation on
the Danube, and I'll tell you a little bit about what we're
doing with Ukraine as well.

         The latest information from our Embassy in Bucharest
indicates that three of the five Serbian tugs and barge convoys
have already reached Serbian waters.  Each was challenged by
both the Bulgarian and the Romanian authorities without success.
 No force was used against the Serbian vessels.

         Two Serbian tugs, one with ten barges and one with
twelve barges -- and we have the names, but I can't pronounce
them -- are still in the Romanian-Bulgarian section of the
river.  The Romanians and the Bulgarians have indicated that
they will also be challenged -- be challenging these barges as
well.

         Yesterday, the President of the U.N. Security Council
issued a statement expressing the Security Council's concern
that vessels carrying oil had reached Serbia.  The members of
the Council affirmed their support for vigorous enforcement of
the relevant U.N. resolutions.

         As far as Ukraine goes, I would say that we believe
Security Council Resolution 787 and 757 obligate Ukraine to
detain all Serbian vessels that enter their ports.  Ukraine is
also obligated by those resolutions to take the necessary
measures, including possible use of force, to enforce the U.N.
sanctions on the Danube River.

         I don't have a precise readout of the situation at the
ports today.  There is a team of three U.S. customs officers,
including two from our sanctions assistance mission in Romania,
who are in Ukraine today at the invitation of the Ukrainian
Government to review the port activities in Reni, and to make
contact with the local port authorities.  This is a prelude to
the establishment of a sanctions assistance mission in the
Ukrainian ports of Reni and Ismail.  We have asked these customs
officers to report to us immediately on their assessment of the
situation out there.

         We've also approached the Ukrainian Government on the
reports that Serbian barges are being loaded in Ukraine.  They
tell us they are investigating these reports, and they have
assured us that they will be prepared to enforce the sanctions. 
I'd also add in this connection that the Secretary talked to the
Ukrainian Foreign Minister this morning about this and other
subjects and received the same kind of assurances.

         Q    Richard, would you give us some details on this
shipment of weapons which was stopped by the Italian navy?  I
was wondering whether you have a more global assessment of the
level of smuggling of weapons into Bosnia or into Croatia?  Do
you have any other figures?  Do you have any comprehensive
assessment of this?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll see if that's something we can get
for you, Jacques.  I'll see if we have them.

         Q    (Multiple questions)

         Q    I'm sorry.  The same -- following on -- amongst
the other matters did he raise the question of Ukrainian
ratification of the START agreement, and did he receive
assurances and any kind of indication about when the Ukrainian
Parliament will take up that matter?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I do know that he discussed the Ukrainian
ratification of the START agreement.  I don't have any details
on that.

         Q    If I could follow up that point -- over here. 
Secretary Eagleburger said -- it now must be at least a month
ago when he was in Europe for the NATO meetings -- that if there
was any further delay of a substantial nature in the
ratification of the START agreement, it would adversely affect
the relationship between the United States and Ukraine.

         Does the current Administration take the same position?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I know the current Administration, Don,
takes the same position as to the importance of ratification of
START and the attendant protocols.  It takes the same position
as far as Ukraine status as a non-nuclear state, meeting that
commitment as well.  I think I'll have to leave it right there
for the moment.

         Q    (Multiple questions)

         Q    (Inaudible) -- United Nations and its
implications.  Can you tell us how the active diplomacy is going
on -- in regard to the --

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, somebody wanted to change the
subject over there first.  So, when it's time to change the
subject, we'll go over there.

         Q    The conversation with the Foreign Minister of
Ukraine.  You were able to tell us about assurances the
Secretary received on the issue of barge loading, but you were
unable to say anything about assurances on the START II Treaty.

         Does that mean that nobody told you what the outcome of
that conversation was, or shall we read that to mean that the --
whatever was said on that subject was not satisfactory to the
United States?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No, I wouldn't read that in any
particular way, other than the first question I asked him was
about barges, and the second that we asked was START, and then
he had to go.

         Q    The mess in Zaire.

         Q    Would you take the question of the status of the
START assurances from the Ukraine?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll take the question on that, and I'll
see if I can get you more.  I think START, in fact, was the
principal subject of conversation.

         Q    Richard, just one more quick one on this -- on the
"no-float" zone.  Are we just seeing the tip of the iceberg
here?  Is this -- have these illegal, illicit shipments been
going up and down the Danube for lo, these many months, and now
someone -- now we're finally starting writing about them, or is
this the first time we've detected this activity?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The --

         Q    And is this the first shot at diplomatic solutions
to that problem?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes, no and maybe.  The efforts on the
Danube -- the problem that was on the Danube in the past is
something that we have discussed before, and we had the
sanctions assistance missions.  We had the -- we've had
discussions with the Romanians and the Bulgarians, the other
riparian states -- that's been addressed in U.N. Security
Council resolutions when there was some question about their
obligations and their abilities, their responsibilities.  We
moved to clarify that at the U.N.

         There has been assistance to these governments in
helping them with customs officers and others to monitor and
enforce the U.N. resolutions prohibiting shipments into Serbia,
and we've played an active role in cooperating with them in
that.

         I think the other day, when we first started talking
about this issue, we did say that this was the first time that
somebody had tried to run the blockade basically, or refused to
respond when challenged and refused to respond to the
instructions of the customs authorities of the riparian states.

         And so this problem has been dealt with in the fashion
that it appeared, and now we have it appearing in another
fashion.

         Q    Richard, can you tell us how the consultations are
going on the Israeli sanctions issue?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I think to stop, we'd better -- the
person who wanted to change the subject first was back there. 
So we'll come to you next.

         Q    Maybe I can get in two questions.  I'd like to
switch to the Middle East for a minute, and my first question is
during the meeting this coming Monday, does the Secretary plan
to reach any agreement with the Secretary General regarding
sanctions against Israel?

         And my other question is this, and I would like to
stand corrected, but to the best of my knowledge, I don't
believe Israel has ever sat on the Security Council.  What is
the United States Government doing to ensure that Israel will
one day have a fair chance to set on the Security Council?

         MR. BOUCHER:  As for Israel and its status vis-a-vis
the Security Council and how that works, I just don't know the
answer to that.

         As far as the issue of United Nations action on this
issue, our position has not changed on that.  So the Secretary,
I'm sure, will discuss with the Secretary General the efforts
that the Secretary General made on the deportees issue, will
bring him up to date on his own efforts -- the Secretary's own
efforts to find a resolution to this issue.  But our position
remains the same -- that we don't think it's appropriate at this
point to bring this -- to bring up a debate on sanctions in the
Security Council.

         Q    Is there anything that you can tell us that you
haven't said in the past about the Secretary's efforts?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Is that sort of your question, Jim?  I'll
tell you that.

         Q    I don't think we've been aware of the Secretary's
efforts.  What efforts has he made, if any, on this subject?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I think in the past several days I've
mentioned the fact that he's discussed the issue with Prime
Minister Rabin.  I think I mentioned the fact that he discussed
it with Foreign Minister Moussa of Egypt, as well as some other
people.

         In addition, yesterday he -- Secretary Christopher sent
a communication to Prime Minister Rabin.  That was delivered
today by our Ambassador in Tel Aviv, William Harrop.  The
Secretary also had a good discussion with the Prime Minister
this morning on the issue, and they agreed to continue working
together on this issue in coming days.

         Q    What would be the appropriate time to bring it up
to a formal debate in the Security Council?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think I'd want to say something
like that, Jim.  I wouldn't make any prediction on that.  As you
know, we have been pursuing diplomatic efforts to try to see a
resolution of this issue.  We continue to believe that the
matter can be resolved through active diplomacy; and, of course,
what we want to see is the matter resolved and not face a
question of Chapter Seven resolutions or sanctions in the
Security Council.

         Q    When you say "a good discussion," does that
suggest or should we take it to suggest that he sees -- believes
that there's some greater degree of optimism about solving the
problem?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I would say that he felt they had a good
discussion.  I don't think I could predict anything beyond that.

         Q    Could you characterize the communication in any
way for us?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I've seen it characterized in the press
as a tough message, or something like that, and I wouldn't
characterize it that way.  It's part of the ongoing process that
the Secretary has established with Prime Minister Rabin to
discuss this issue.  

         They have been trying to work together on it, and, as I
said, in their phone conversation they agreed to continue to
work together on it.

         Q    If not now, at what stage do you get to the tough
message?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Norm, I can't make any predictions about
future messages, obviously, but our interest in this issue is to
resolve it and to see it resolved in a satisfactory manner.  We
are, indeed, working with the Israelis in discussing with them
this issue.  We've also been in consultations with U.N. Security
Council members and others in the region about it.

         Q    Richard, what was the sequence of events?  First a
message was delivered, and then the telephone conversation took
place.  Who placed the call to whom?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know about this particular call,
but I think you're aware that they've had a series of
conversations now; that President Clinton had a conversation
with Prime Minister Rabin on Saturday; the Secretary talked to
Prime Minister Rabin on Sunday; I think they may have had one or
two more conversations since then.

         Q    What I'm trying to get at is after the message was
delivered, did Christopher follow up by placing a phone call, or
did Rabin read the message and say, "Hey, I've got to talk to
him about this, and he placed the phone call"?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't really know, Alan.

         Q    Can you tell us Zaire?

         MR. BOUCHER:  About Zaire.

         Q    It's a mess.  People are getting killed, and I
wondered -- a couple of countries at least are pulling their
people out.  What is the U.S. doing, and was it a mistake to
back this guy all these years?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Violence broke out yesterday afternoon
when the Mobutu-controlled administration tried to force the
Zairian military to accept pay in the form of notes of $5
million Zaires, the local currency.

         The large denomination bank notes have been rejected by
the transition government and by most of the population.  The
violence also, very regrettably, caused several deaths and, in
particular, the tragic death of the French Ambassador.

         The situation for Americans is that to the best of our
knowledge all Americans are safe.  All the Americans with whom
the Embassy has been in contact have been instructed to stand
fast and to be prepared for evacuation should the situation
deteriorate, but at this point there are no plans for an
evacuation.

         Q    You got any numbers, please, by any chance?  

         MR. BOUCHER:  There are about 800 U.S. nationals in
Zaire.  About 220 of those are in Kinshasha.  The remainder are
mostly missionaries and dependents scattered throughout the
country.  There are 32 official Americans -- that is, U.S.
Government employees -- in Zaire.  One of them is on temporary
duty.

         Q    You're talking about the evacuation.  That was for
the Embassy or for all Americans?  I didn't --

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, as you know, Sid, when we do these
things, we make plans to take as many people out as possible,
and we offer as much space as we can to private Americans who
are there.

         Q    So it's for everybody, if it does indeed come
about?

         MR. BOUCHER:  If it happens, we make allotments.  We
take into account the needs of other Americans who are there who
want to get out.

         Q    What has been the status of Christopher's contacts
with Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev since he took office?

         MR. BOUCHER:  They've talked, I think, more than once,
but I'm not sure how many times.  I don't have that in my head.

         Q    Can you say whether they've talked, let's say,
this week, for example, and if so, in what context -- within a
START context or --

         MR. BOUCHER:  That's something I'd have to
double-check.

         Q    Richard, can I go back to Zaire for a minute?  Are
we in touch with Mobutu?  Are we conveying our concerns about
the situation there?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.  We are and we have been.  I don't
have any information on specific contacts, for example, today or
yesterday.  I'm not sure if we've talked to them, but certainly
he's well aware of our views.

         President Bush sent Mobutu, in fact, three letters over
the past ten months that urged him to turn over all effective
power, particularly over economic and financial affairs, to the
transition government that was selected by the now concluded
National Conference.

         We reaffirm the continuity of this policy.  In
particular, we support the transition process that was
established by the National Conference, the prime minister that
was chosen by it, and the government that it endorsed.

         The situation that has developed results from Mobutu's
failure to cooperate and give authority to the transition
government.  Our Ambassador in Kinshasha, together with the late
French Ambassador and his Belgian colleague, in fact told Mobutu
as recently as January 14 not only that the transition
government must be given full authority to pursue the twin
objectives of peaceful transition to democracy and economic
reform and stabilization, but that this should take place
without Mobutu's further interference.

         Q    What is his response to these demarches, or
whatever you would call them?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, I don't know specifically what he
said, but, of course, now we have a situation developing where
these bank notes have caused not only tremendous instability but
very tragic loss of life.

         Q    Do you have any kind of aid program or financial
assistance going on with Zaire?

         MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, I had some people check on
what's going on this year.  Since September 1991, we've had $5
million that goes to Zaire, and it only goes to non-governmental
organizations.  It doesn't go to the government.  It's food,
medicine, humanitarian aid only.

         Q    Just one more on the Middle East, back again, if I
could.  What's the status of the multilateral talks, as far as
the U.S. is concerned?  Will they proceed as planned, according
to the schedule that had been, I think, previously announced?

         MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, there has been, I think,
agreement on a set of talks and their dates, although the exact
oral invitation that's usually issued hasn't gone out yet.

         Q    And what about the bilateral negotiations?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The bilats, we've not yet suggested a
date for the next round -- the co-sponsors haven't.

         Q    Does the U.S. consider -- does the U.S. view the
February 20 approach of Ramadan as any kind of a -- having any
kind of effect on the schedule for the bilaterals, or does the
U.S. feel that that really has no impact on the scheduling?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I really don't know, Ralph.  I think that
would depend on the wishes and desires of the parties who
negotiate.

         Q    Richard, on Africa, the Secretary General said in
an interview in New York that the hand-over of Somalia
responsibility to the U.N. should take place over four, five or
six months.  Is this timetable acceptable to the United States
Government?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Don, I think we dealt with that
yesterday.  We've been working with the United Nations.  We've
been talking to them about the transition process.  We've been
coordinating closely with them.  At this point we don't have a
set timetable.

         But, as you know, we've talked about a phase process of
hand-over, and indeed that process has been discussed very
closely with the U.N., both in New York and out in Somalia.

         Q    But does that -- what he said about four or five
or six months -- does that represent something that the U.S.
Government has agreed to or just his own idea or which?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I haven't seen any set timetable at this
point.  It's something that we're still discussing with the U.N.

         Q    Thank you.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Thank you.

              (The briefing concluded at 1:05 p.m.)

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