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 #18: 
Source:State Department Spokesman Richard 

                              DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                              DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                 WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 1993, 12:21 P.M.
                (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

         MR. BOUCHER:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  If I could 
start off, I'd like to add a little something to what we talked about 
yesterday, Mr. Karadzic's visa.

         Yesterday, as I was speaking on this subject, there were 
discussions continuing in this building on the exact restrictions to 
be placed on Mr. Karadzic's visa.

    The normal restriction on the C-2 visa, which is transit to the
United Nations, is a 25-mile limit.  But for purposes of security,
we've asked the Immigration and Naturalization Service to place
further restrictions on Mr. Karadzic's travel in the United States. 
We expect that his travel will be restricted to direct transit to and
from U.N. Headquarters and to movement within a 10-block radius of
U.N. Headquarters.

         His visa is for a single entry, and he may remain in the United
States for only one week.

         So those are the final restrictions being placed on his visa.

         Q  Richard, on that topic, I understand Karadzic is having 
trouble getting out of Belgrade.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.

         Q  Is he allowed within those 10 blocks to have meetings and 
raise funds?  There was a question of one Palestinian a couple of
 years ago who had a similar restriction but held a meeting across 
the road -- in a church I believe -- and was raising funds.

         MR. BOUCHER:  He's permitted to engage in any legal activity
while in the United States, consistent with limitations on the
travel, of course.

         What exactly that would mean for raising funds and what for, I
don't know.

         Q    Without wanting to cast aspersions, there is a
Serbian community in this country, some of whom may well support
what he stands for; and presumably he could raise quite a lot of
money and go back and buy weapons with it, for all I know.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, there is an arms embargo.

         Q    Richard, are you aware of any specific threat
against the security of Mr. Karadzic?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'm afraid security is not something I
can talk about.

         Q    Can you talk about whether the United States wants
the war to go on and on in the Balkans?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Obviously we don't, Barry.  We've devoted
a lot of effort to trying to find a solution to the problem.  We
are, as you know, currently reviewing the options that are
available to support progress towards resolving the problems
that are out there.  There are many difficult problems.  The
international community has been grappling with them for some
time.

         This Administration is currently looking at the various
options, and we're planning on playing a constructive role in
efforts to try to resolve the problem.

         Q    What is the State Department's assessment of how
successful the Vance-Owen negotiations have been?  Have they
attained a settlement?  Would you describe it as a "settlement,"
as David Owen -- who's now Lord Owen -- describes it in the New
York Times?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, I don't have a characterization of
their efforts or of the specific progress that they've achieved.
 I think they themselves have been very clear on the public
record on which parties are on and which parties are off on
different portions of the plan that they've been working on in
their efforts.

         We've supported their efforts.  We've appreciated their
efforts.  We've been in close touch with them.  The Secretary
had a good meeting with them on Monday.

         Q    Do you think it's helpful, Richard, for Lord Owen
to be going public with his criticisms of the United States for
not yet endorsing the plan?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think I want to characterize his
public statements.  I'd just say that the Secretary, as I said,
has had a good meeting with Vance and Owen on Monday.  He knows
their views.  He promised to take them back to Washington and 
discuss them with some of his Cabinet colleagues, with the
President.  He's been in touch with Vance over the last two
days, talked to him again this morning.

         They are aware of the fact that we're in the midst of
considering all the various options on the former Yugoslavia;
and they too understand what I just said, that we are planning
on playing a constructive role in efforts to help resolve the crisis.

         Terry?

         Q    Richard, this plan of course assumes that, were
there to be a settlement and a ceasefire, there would be a U.N.
peacekeeping force made up of NATO troops to go in on the ground there.

         Does the U.S. have a view with regard to NATO being
used in a peacekeeping role under the Vance-Owen blueprint?

         MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, I really don't have
anything on that, Terry.  That, I guess, would be just
speculation on my part at this point.  The plan has not been
adopted or endorsed by the U.N. at this point.

         Q    But in a way he's assuming or in a position of
offering the idea that there will be a peacekeeping force made
up of NATO on this, ready to move once there was such an
agreement.  And the question is whether he's able to even
suggest that to the parties involved with it, unless the various
NATO countries have agreed to allow their troops to be used that way.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think it would be useful for me
to try to speculate at this point on what might happen if the
plan were adopted and how it should be implemented.

         Q    Does the plan envision NATO forces to serve as a
peacekeeping or blocking force?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.

         Q    NATO allies have been working for weeks, actually
-- maybe months -- haven't they, on developing their own
suggestions of how NATO resources might be utilized in the
former Yugoslavia?  Wasn't that --

         MR. BOUCHER:  NATO has done some contingency planning,
obviously, in the past.  The Secretary General of NATO and the
Secretary General of the United Nations have been in close touch.

         You'll remember from the NATO meeting last December,
there was a communique that expressed NATO's willingness to
support U.N. efforts in that area.  So in terms of history, 
that's true.  But if you're asking me in terms of speculation
about how NATO could be used to implement the Vance plan, it's
just not something I can get into at this point.

         Q    But are you suggesting that -- when you talk about
it being history, the request from the U.N. came in December. 
NATO responded, saying it would -- you know, thanks for the
request, and we'll get back to you on it and we're working on it.

         Are you suggesting that effort is something in the past
that's not on-going?  The U.S. is a NATO member.  Is there not
on-going at NATO development of contingency plans for activities
in the former Yugoslavia?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'm sure there's all kinds of -- always
contingency planning going on at NATO; and, as you know, they
have expressed their willingness in the past.  As far as
specific contingency planning for implementation of the Vance
plan, I just don't know.  I think it's too early for me to try
to address that.

         Q    Could I go back to my earlier question, please?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Sure.

         Q    When I asked you if the peace plan envisioned
using NATO as a peacekeeping or blocking force, you said "I
don't know."  Does that mean that you personally don't know or
the United States does not know that that is in the plan?

         MR. BOUCHER:  That means I personally don't know.  I
would suggest that maybe that information should be had from the
negotiators rather than from us.

         Q    Richard, could you tell us something about this
review that's going on?  Where is it going on?  How long would
you expect it to take, and what exactly is being reviewed?  Only
the U.S. role, or are you taking up the whole Vance-Owen project?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Jim, I think we've talked about this in
the past.  I haven't tried to be too specific in terms of the
specific discussions and meetings that were going on.  Many of
them take place, or some of the major ones would take place, at
the White House; and you can always ask over there and see what
they're prepared to say about specific progress.

         I think, in fact, Dee Dee Myers had a few comments this
morning on it.

         The process is one, as the President and the Secretary
have said, that they want to devote their urgent attention to
the problems of Yugoslavia, it's something that is difficult,
that is horrible in some ways, and that needs to be 
looked at on an urgent basis.  It indeed is being looked at on
an urgent basis, and there have been various discussions and
meetings that have been held.

         Q    What is the scope of it?  Are you talking only of the U.S --

         MR. BOUCHER:  It's looking at a whole variety of
options of things we can do to help resolve the crisis.

         Q    Richard, what was the nature of the conversation
this morning and the purpose of it with Mr. Vance and the
Secretary?  Is that part of the review?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We've said we've supported their efforts.
 We've been in touch with them.  The Secretary had a meeting on
Monday, as you know, where he said he posed some questions about
things; so they've kept in touch since then.  I don't know the
exact nature of this phone call.

         We've also been in touch with others about the situation.

         Q    Let's pick up where you left off, or where the
Secretary left off.  He said among the questions he talked to
them about is for the feasibility and the practicality of the
plan.  Could you tell us if they've come back now and told him
something about those questions?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No, I can't, Barry.

         Q    Does the Secretary -- listen, in a sense we take
on the State Department's job for them.  When the State
Department says they support the process, we reflexively say the
State Department doesn't support the plan.  But I'd rather hear
you say it than us infer it from clever ambiguities by the
Secretary.

         Does the State Department or the Administration not
support any of the details of the plan or supports the fact that
they're trying to do something?  Is that what it means when you
say you support the process?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, I wouldn't accuse the Secretary of
ambiguity on this issue.  I think he was clear in the press
conference the other day.  We've been clear from this podium.

         We have supported the efforts that Lord Owen and Cyrus
Vance have undertaken to try to resolve this issue, to try to
find a political solution.  We have been in close touch with
them.  We've not taken positions on some of the specific details
that we've been asked about of things in their plan.

         We have tried to be supportive of the process.  We
certainly have supported the idea of a peaceful solution in 
their efforts to try to achieve it.  We've been in touch with
others; we've been in touch with the Bosnians, for example, to
suggest that their participation be at the Presidential level,
which was something that they had requested and suggested.

              So we're trying to work with them, we're trying to
cooperate with them.  They understand that we're in the midst of
reviewing the policy in this area, but they also understand that
we intend to play a constructive role in trying to bring this
crisis to a solution.

         Q    You said some detail -- 

         MR. BOUCHER:  John?

         Q    If they understand that you're trying to work with
them and support the process and intend to play a constructive
role, why has there been, for three days now, a drumfire of
statements -- interviews with CNN, with the New York Times, ad
hoc interviews with the press on the street corners, a joint
press conference at the United Nations -- all of which they have
said clearly and unequivocally the United States is not giving
sufficient support to what they are doing, that their efforts
are in grave danger of collapsing if the United States doesn't
step forward more strongly to support them, and that there isn't
really time to wait much longer?  How do you respond to all of
that?  They've been saying it for three days.

         MR. BOUCHER:  John, I've responded right now.  I've
responded in the way that I'm responding now.  You're well aware
of the efforts the U.S. has taken in the past to try to bring
this to solution, the efforts that we've taken in a whole
variety of fora; and we will continue to play a role.  We're in
the midst of the policy review, but that doesn't mean that we
don't support the efforts that are underway to try to reach a
peaceful solution.

         In fact, we're in close touch with Vance and Owen. 
And, as I just mentioned, some of the things that we can do to
help them we are in fact doing.

         Q    On that very point, I think you just said in
passing that the U.S. had urged the Bosnian President to come
and take part in the talks this weekend in New York.  Is that
right?  When did that happen?  At what level was that message
sent?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We contacted -- I think the Bureau, the
Assistant Secretary, contacted their Ambassador in New York, I
think yesterday.  It might have been today.

         And, as you know, we've tried to support and facilitate
their discussions, for example by issuing the visa to Mr.
Karadzic so he could come to those discussions.  So a number of
things that they thought were important to the talks we've tried
to support them with.

         Q    Have you been led to believe that they're
reconsidering -- that the Balkan President, Izetbegovic, is
reconsidering whether he will come?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know at this point.

         Q    Who is going to represent the United States at those talks?

         MR. BOUCHER:  It depends sort of how things turn out. 
The next step, I think, is for Vance and Owen to discuss things
further in New York and meet with the Security Council.  Let's
see where the Security Council is on this right now.

         They have a "Program of a Work" meeting that's
scheduled for today.  The Vance-Owen plan will be a topic but
only insofar as scheduling discussions on it.  There are no
substantive discussions of the Vance-Owen plan scheduled for
today.

         They will brief the Council on their peace plan some
time this week.  We anticipate there will be an open Security
Council session on the plan early next week.  Our Ambassador,
Madeleine Albright, would represent us up there.

         Q    Richard, could you speak to the merits --

         Q    Can you say the U.S. will have completed its
review of the process by the time it has to participate in the
U.N. Security Council meeting next week?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No, I can't predict any specific
timetable on that, Ralph.

         Q    Could you speak to the merits of David Owen's
argument that so long as the United States stays away from an
endorsement of the peace plan, the Bosnians are given to hope
that the United States will tilt toward them and come into the
fray on their side and therefore are not interested -- excuse
me, the Muslims -- and are therefore not interested in signing
onto a peace agreement like this?

         MR. BOUCHER:  John, I don't think I want to get into a
back-and-forth debate on every point.  We have, as you know,
supported this process.  We have encouraged the parties to
participate and to try to reach agreement.

         I've just mentioned some of the steps that we've taken
most recently to try to support the process and to try to
encourage the parties to reach a solution.  That's been our
position.  It's been stated clearly, and it's been stated
clearly in discussions with the parties.

         Q    Is the withholding of support like weapons for the
Muslims and the withholding of any follow-through of the
President's campaign pledge to take stronger action than Mr.
Bush had for them your way of supporting the process?  Is that a
way of helping the negotiators -- in other words, not providing
further weapons, not stepping in with sort of an aggressive
supportive role -- that you're supporting the peace plan by
withholding additional aid to one of the warring parties?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, I have to say I really don't
understand the question.

         Q    All right, let me try the question this way.  All
right, I'll put the question this way:  The President promised
to do something that he hasn't done yet, in a short hand, and
you folks talk about how urgent it is that something be done. 
It's winter and they're dying and all that.  You haven't done
anything.

         Have you held off doing anything to support the party
that you said you would support as a way of assisting the
negotiations by not coming down on one side or another?

         MR. BOUCHER:  You mean, have we somehow artificially
extended the process of review in order to affect the situation?

         Q    Yes.  That's right.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Not that I'm aware of.  This is a matter
that --

         Q    Well, to give peacemaking more of a chance.

         MR. BOUCHER:  This is a matter that continues to get
the attention of senior people in this government and this new
Administration.

         As you very well know, it's a very complicated issue
and there are a number of complicated problems, both in terms of
how they might affect the situation, just in terms of what's the
best way to move forward and how can we move forward.

         It's an issue that the international community has been
grappling with for many years -- for two years -- and various
things have been tried that haven't worked.  So it's not a
simple thing to just come down one day and say, boom, boom,
boom, this is what we can do to solve it.  It's an issue that is
getting their urgent attention.

         Q    Isn't it conceivable that one of the parties, one
of the two parties that wouldn't accept the basics of this plan
-- the Muslims -- could be withholding their support for the
negotiations because they expect very soon for Uncle Sam to ride
to their rescue? 

         So I'm asking, if Uncle Sam isn't holding up, as a way
of having them negotiate?  That was my question.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I guess, Barry, the only thing I can tell
you is [that] I'm not aware that there's been any artificial
delay, in the process of policy review, in order to try to
affect the situation.

         It is something that is getting the attention of senior
policymakers.  It's something that's being discussed.

         Some of the parties, in terms of the Vance plan, as you
know, are still out; some are in.  I think if you look at the
efforts and look at what we're actually doing in terms of
working with Vance and Owen and issuing the visa to Karadzic
and, at their request, encouraging the Bosnian Muslims to be
represented -- the Bosnian Government to be represented -- at
the Presidential level, you'll see that we are in fact working
with them.  We are in fact supporting them.  We are in fact
doing what we can to try to get the parties to participate in
the process and reach a solution.

         Q    Why don't they feel -- why are they issuing such
voluble sounds of unhappiness about the United States position?

         MR. BOUCHER:  John, it's not a question for me --

         Q    If we're working with them so -- well, they must
have told you something.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, they stated their view.  I think
they do understand that we're in the midst of reviewing the policy 
options.  We don't have all the answers for you or for them right now.

         Johanna?

         Q    Would you refresh my memory, and forgive me if I
came in late and I don't know if you already had this question.

         What is the United States' position -- did the United
States support moving the talks from Geneva to New York?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't ever remember having addressed
the question precisely.  I'm not sure if we were involved in
that decision at all.

         Q    What I'm wondering is, in retrospect, if the State
Department now sees that move as an attempt by Vance and Owen
precisely to pressure the United States?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think it's for me to try to
characterize their efforts other than the way that we have.  We
have supported their efforts, and we will continue to try to
work with them.

         Q    Did they talk on the phone?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes, Barry, they talked on the phone.

         Q    In the conversations between Christopher and Vance
and perhaps Owen, although you didn't indicate any further
conversations with Owen, has the U.S. made suggestions about the
plan itself or has the discussion all been about ways to support
the process, as you put it?

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

         Q    Could you take that question?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll see if we can.  I think there's
probably a certain level of detail of those discussions that
we're not prepared to go into.

         Q    Well, you've given us a detail like telling us
that Vance and Owen requested the U.S. to urge Izetbegovic to
come is okay to talk about.  But whether the U.S. is getting
involved in a general way in suggestions about the plan is too
much of a detail?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll check and see if I can get you an answer, Ralph.

         Q    Richard, can we move to another area, if it's okay with the --

         Q    Could I ask one more on Yugoslavia, please.  Would
you expect this to be on the agenda when Christopher meets the
German Foreign Minister, Kinkel, tomorrow?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'm sure they're both very much
interested in this situation there.  I'm sure it is.

         Q    I have some few questions, please, if you can bear
with me.  And, if they've been asked and you have answers to
those, please direct me -- refer me to where I can get it.

         And what I want to ask is the "compromise" that was
reached at the United Nations about Security Council
[Resolution] 799.  Compromise to me indicates that parties
debated and reached a compromise.  One party that's most
directly involved are the Palestinians.

         Were the Palestinians, the PLO or others involved in
reaching that compromise?  Can you tell me, if yes, who was
involved in reaching that compromise?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I think we have indeed answered these
questions over the past few days.  We've described the
discussions that the Secretary has had with the Israeli Prime
Minister.  We answered a question yesterday specifically about
who we talked to in advance.

         Q    Who on the Palestinian side?  That's what I'm asking.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Over time certainly we've been in touch
with various Palestinians about the issue of the deportees, but
that's about as far as I can go.

         Q    No, but, Richard, what I'm saying is a compromise
really does imply some negotiations between.  Were the
Palestinians party to that compromise?

         MR. BOUCHER:  These are steps that were announced by
the Israeli Government and steps that the Israeli Government
said it would take.  

         Q    Palestinians were not.

         MR. BOUCHER:  We endorsed them.  We support them.  I
guess you can ask the Israelis if they had any contacts.

         Q    No.  I'm asking you, because you're the spokesman
at the State Department --

         MR. BOUCHER:  I know.

         Q    -- and I'm here.  I'm not in Jerusalem.

         MR. BOUCHER:  But as far as the State Department's
concerned, these are steps that were announced by the Israeli
Government, and it's an Israeli proposal. 

         Q    So --

         MR. BOUCHER:  We obviously participated in discussions
with them about this issue.  In the end it's their proposal.

         Q    So the Palestinians -- no U.S. official --

         MR. BOUCHER:  And we supported it.

         Q    No U.S. officials contacted the Palestinians about
this compromise which came about through the Secretary of State,
Mr. Christopher?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We were asked that yesterday, and I'm
afraid the answer from yesterday is as far as I can go.

         Q    Richard, is --

         Q    Can I -- can I, Richard -- Ralph, can I please
just take it one further step?  This compromise about Security
Council resolutions, is this a Clinton Administration new
approach to international diplomacy?  Can we assume if the
Yugoslavs or the Iraqis come back to negotiate Security Council
resolutions that were passed, that Mr. Clinton Administration
will in fact deal with them?  Or is it an ad hoc issue with
Israel?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I think the way you describe this is not
fair.  We have made very clear our view -- the Secretary did on
Monday, I did again yesterday, and I would today if you wanted
me to, and I will -- that the Israeli proposal is a breakthrough
in the efforts to resolve the issue.  

         The point is to try to resolve the issue.  This not
only allows a significant number of the deportees to return
immediately, but it sets up a process of cutting sentences in
half so that people will be back, they'll all be back, by the
end of the year.  It sets up a process of review so that there's
a prospect of some being returned sooner, and it sets up a
process so that these people can get the relief and assistance
that they need.  

         And so we think it is consistent with Resolution 799,
and we've made no -- well, we've made that view very clear.

         Q    But you --

         Q    Do you have Palestinian acceptance --

         Q    But, Richard -- excuse me, can I just --

         Q    Sure.

         Q    You didn't really answer my question.  I'm asking
if this is a new Clinton -- because before I remember during the
Gulf War, Mr. Bush kept saying "We will not negotiate U.N.
resolutions.  They have to be implemented."

         And then I'm asking if this is -- if we are to take
hint that Mr. Clinton is somehow searching or has found new
policy?  Is it a new policy of the Clinton Administration?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, I don't accept your
characterization of this being somehow different.  The purpose
here is to resolve the problem, and we think that we have --
that this proposal by the Israeli Government resolves the
problem.  And I'd sort of reject your characterization of what
this is, and it would be even more wrong to apply that
mis-characterization to other situations.

         Q    Just on another --

         Q    (Multiple questions)

         MR. BOUCHER:  There's a few other people here.

         Q    Do you have -- on the Palestinians --

         Q    I said I wanted to ask you some questions.

         Q    (Multiple comments)

         Q    Can I ask the next question?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We'll go around.  I don't care.  Whatever
your colleagues think.

         Q    What I want to ask is, in a statement by Mr.
Rabin, he was quoted as saying that he is proud of the decision,
that the decision was "daring, rare and unprecedented," and then
he went on to say that the principle of deportation is being realized.

         Does the United States actually agree with that
characterization -- that by doing what the United States did at
the United Nations, it in fact supported the idea of Israel
deporting or expelling people?  Or can you tell me otherwise?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I haven't seen those particular comments.
 I think our views on the principle of deportation have been
amply expressed in U.N. resolutions and elsewhere, and so I'll
just stick with that.

         Q    Do you have Palestinian acceptance -- that may not
be the right word because I don't suppose there's an invitation.
 But have the Palestinians agreed to participate in multilateral
arms control talks?

         MR. BOUCHER:  At this point we are on the "multis" --
the multilateral talks as well as the "bilats" -- we're
consulting with our Russian co-sponsors, and we would expect to
have a decision fairly soon on the timing for the next rounds
for those talks.

         Q    All right.  That tells me you don't know when
you're going to have the talks, and it tells me you're talking
to the Russians, which makes sense because you're both the
co-sponsors.

         But on the specifics of whether the Palestinians have
told the United States they would be delighted to sit down and
attend a conference on limiting weapons shipments to the area,
which they've never done before, is that something they have
notified you all of?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't understand the --

         Q    Well, there are various items on the multilateral
agenda.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.  I know.  And one of them is --

         Q    And one of them is arms control.

         MR. BOUCHER:  -- the arms control round.

         Q    Do you have them on board on that?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Not at this point, since we have to talk
to the Russians first about suggesting the dates, the oral
invitations for people to come to the talks.  So at this point
we wouldn't have their answer if we hadn't gone to them yet.

         Q    No.  I say not in an invitational way.  Have they
let the U.S. know that they're prepared to discuss this issue in
a multilateral setting, even though you haven't set up the time
and, I suppose, place?

         MR. BOUCHER:  You mean sort of an "in principle, we're
going to be there" sort of thing?

         Q    Yes.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.  I'd have to check.

         Q    Richard, does --

         Q    Do you have any comments on the British statement
calling for Israel to fully implement the Security Council
Resolution 799, and if it indicates any kind of difference of
opinion between the Clinton Administration and London?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I hadn't seen this British statement.  I
don't know.

         Q    Would you take the question, please?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll see if there's anything to say on
it.  I think our position has been made very clear again today
that we think that the steps being taken are indeed consistent
with Resolution 799.

         Q    Richard, have you seen the reports from the
deportees themselves in which they unanimously rejected this
compromise?  What does that do to the breakthrough?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I've seen those reports.  I would say
generally that we are in touch ourselves with Arab governments,
with Palestinians in the Middle East, and with many others
throughout the world.

         As I said, we believe that the Israeli proposal does
represent a breakthrough in efforts to resolve this difficult
issue.  I've outlined some of the important elements of the
process that's been established that we think will resolve it
and provide for the return of these people.

         We think it's time to refocus attention on the
important works of the peace talks.  In our exchanges generally,
I'd say that we're finding broad acknowledgment of the
importance of avoiding counter-productive confrontations at the
United Nations and of the need to advance the Middle East peace talks.

         We think that the members of the international
community should not permit extremists who are determined to
destroy chances for peace to exploit this issue for their own
purposes, and that's the point that we're making.

         Q    Richard --

         Q    On this subject?

         Q    Yes.  If it is such a breakthrough, why are you
having to follow up with the Arab countries?  And if you could
sort of give us a better idea of, I guess, basically just the
need for further diplomacy on this issue?  I mean, clearly the
Arabs are not on board.  The Palestinians have said so.  And
since this is supposed to be a comprehensive peace, in my own
opinion, I would doubt that any of them would show up if the
Palestinians didn't.  So --

         MR. BOUCHER:  You want me to comment on your own
opinion or place a bet with you or what?

         Q    No.  If you could talk about why there's a need
for further diplomacy.

         MR. BOUCHER:  We're working this.  We are in contact. 
You've seen some public statements, or public statements from
some, I think, about their views; and I'll let them speak for
themselves.  We do think this is important.  As you say, why do
we need to follow up?  Because we need to follow up.

         Q    Could we go to another subject?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We're in touch with other governments
because we want to get the focus back on the peace talks and get
people to focus on that issue and try to move ahead.

         Q    That's right back to your earlier comments.  You
kept referring to the Israeli and -- you started by referring to
it as an Israeli announcement, of steps it's taking, and then
you repeatedly referred to it as a "proposal."  Is it the U.S.
view that somebody has to accept or reject this proposal?

         And the follow-up to that obviously is, at this point
if the U.S. view is that it was announcements or steps taken by
the Israelis, does the U.S. think that at least the 100 initial
Palestinians under these steps are in fact being kept in
Lebanon, or are they no longer being kept there?  Are they no
longer deported?  Are they staying there of their own accord? 
Are they choosing to stay there is the question I'm asking.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know the exact situation on the
ground, Ralph, where it stands in terms of the Israelis.  But
it's an Israeli announcement.  It's steps the Israelis announced
that they were going to take.

         Q    Is it a proposal and if so --

         MR. BOUCHER:  And it's a series of steps that
establishes a process to resolve this issue and allow these
people to return.

         Q    Does someone have to respond to this proposal in
any way, or is there some mechanism for doing that or negotiate
over it or -- in the U.S. view what happens?  What's the next step?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The next step is obviously the
implementation.  The next step in our minds is to refocus
attention on the peace process and try to move ahead with that.

         Q    Richard, can I ask you -- you've referred twice
now today and a hole always has to be filled.  When you talked
twice today about speaking to several of the Palestinians, does
this renew the U.S. dialogue with the PLO?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No.

         Q    All right.  Wait a minute, now.  The PLO is the
framer of the draft.  How can you conceivably talk to the
interested parties and not talk to the PLO?  Or do the
Palestinians you talk to represent the PLO?  Or how do you dance
around this one -- the State Department, I mean?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, we don't dance.  We don't talk to
the PLO, period.

         Q    Well, the people who come here say they get their
instructions from the PLO.  Now, in this case the PLO is front
and center.  It's their draft resolution.  They hold a news
conference at the U.N.  They say they reject it.  And, whether
Sid is right or not how, you know, loyally all the Arab parties
will salute if they have other purposes to be served is a
question.  But it is a PLO issue, and you're talking to
Palestinians.  Which Palestinians are you talking to?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We're talking to the Palestinians that
we've always talked to.

         Q    Do you mean the peace talk Palestinians you're
talking to about the deportations?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We talk to Palestinians representatives
that we usually talk to.  That's about as far as I can go.

         Q    Richard, your colleague, Bob Hall, yesterday made
a statement that Iraqi behavior had improved, and he referred to
the fact that they had switched off their radar, I believe, in
the "no-fly" zone.

         Across the board, has there been a general improvement
in Iraqi behavior that would justify that statement, or is it
just this one thing?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I didn't read the full briefing, but my
understanding from wire service reports -- if you can believe those -- 

         Q    Some of them.

         MR. BOUCHER:  -- is that he was speaking specifically
about the matter of the challenges and threats to U.S. aircraft
in the "no-fly" zones.  Certainly, if you look at Iraqi behavior
across the board, you find some cooperation with the U.N., with
the inspectors, and many instances of non-cooperation.  It's the
same mixed picture we've always had.

         Q    What's the Iraqi behavior like with regard to the
blockade of the Kurds at this point?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I think their economic blockade
continues.  Their military pressure continues in both the north
and the south, although without airplanes for the moment.  And
the -- well, I think there was another bombing of a relief
truck.  I mean, there's been some harassment of the convoys. 
I'll try to get you more on that later.

         Q    Richard, could I go to another subject, please?!

         Q    Wait!  

         Q    When was the bombing?

         MR. BOUCHER:  There was a report yesterday, I think, of
one.  I'll try to get you more information on that.

         Q    Was it in the north?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.  I'll get you something.

         Q    Richard, have you seen the report that Saddam
Husayn recommended to Yasser Arafat that the Palestinians do
rejoin the peace talks, peace process?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I saw a wire on that, yes.

         Q    Can you see if you can -- if that excites any
reaction in your bosoms?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll see, Jim, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

         Q    Richard --

              MR. BOUCHER:  John had a question.

         Q    Another subject, please.  Have Armenia and Turkey
reached an agreement to allow the transport of relief supplies
across Turkey in some fashion that they've not been allowed before?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.  I'll have to check on
that.

         Q    Richard --

         Q    You're unaware of such an agreement?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I personally don't know.  I'll have to
check.  We have been indeed getting a lot of supplies into
Armenia as quick as we can.  We have programs to get more in. 
But as far as the situation of transit through Turkey, I'll have to check.

         Q    Are they not normally transited through Turkey?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I better check on it.

         Q    Richard, the Secretary General also, and other
members of the Security Council, seem to disagree with the
Secretary of State that the compliance was achieved by the
compromise.  Any comments on Boutros-Ghali's comments that he
doesn't believe compliance was achieved with the compromise?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think I've seen any such comments
by the Secretary General.

         Q    O.K.  But, Richard, one other thing, please. 
There are two American Palestinians from the Chicago area who
have been under arrest in Israel; and they haven't been allowed
apparently -- three of them, I'm sorry -- that they haven't been
allowed access to legal counsel and that their arrest has been
renewed for two more weeks.

         What can you tell us about them?  Have they been
contacted?  Is this in accordance with how other governments
should be treating American citizens?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I think we talked about that yesterday. 
I'll leave it at that for the moment.  

         Q    So, I mean, you answered --

         MR. BOUCHER:  We're in touch with them.  We're visiting them.

         Q    You just spoke of extremists [who] shouldn't be
permitted to upset the peace talks, and of course everybody's
made the connection between solving the deportation problem and
getting the peace talks started.  Mr. Christopher in fact says
"Now we should be able to get ahead.  We've got this solved."

         The PLO is pushing a draft that will not let the
deportation issue subside or be solved.  Is the PLO one of the
extremists you had in mind who are trying to keep the peace
talks from getting started?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, there's no draft that's been
tabled in New York.  [There are] various people with ideas that
are circulating on this.  The Security Council, as I said, is
discussing its work program for the month, but there's no draft
on this.  There's no resolution that's been tabled on this.

         Q    Yes, but they say that -- at least they were
saying two days ago that your compromise is not acceptable.  As
their chief observer, I think, said:  "These guys have a right
to return to their own country."  Interesting construction, by the way.

         You just blasted extremists -- you know, that generic
term the State Department has been using for 20 years -- without
saying who the extremists are.

         I don't want to make that judgment, but I do know in
this case the PLO doesn't think it's solved.  They don't think
this compromise does it so far as they're concerned.  Are they
among the extremists you refer to who are trying to prevent the
reopening of peace talks?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, you know, once again the -- it's
not for me to sit here and sort of run down every list that you
have and try to characterize people.  We've stated our views
very clearly that we do think it's time for everybody to look
ahead, and we stated our view clearly on organizations that, one
way or the other, through violence or otherwise, have tried to
disrupt the peace process.  These people have made clear their
own views for themselves.

         Q    Richard, I believe I'm not the only one confused
as to whether the Administration considers that the deportees
problem is a closed file or a still continuing process of trying
to get the Israelis to get back the deportees.

         MR. BOUCHER:  The process that has been established is
a continuing process, is one of a significant number of people
going back immediately, a cutting of the sentences in half so
that there will be more people -- all of them -- will be back by
the end of the year, and the process of review of the individual
cases which holds out the prospect that some might get out
sooner -- that might get back sooner.

         So it's a process of return that ensures the return,
but it's also an ongoing process.

         Q    Richard, the --

         MR. BOUCHER:  Johanna?

         Q    Richard, the --

         Q    How long can the Israelis actually keep these
American citizens without charging them officially, according to
Israeli law?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.

         Q    Can you please look at this?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'm not going to answer questions of Israeli law.  No.

         Q    I'm not asking about Israeli law, Richard.  I'm asking --

         MR. BOUCHER:  You're asking "according to Israeli law."

         Q    -- how long can a government put under arrest
American citizens without charging them?  It's not Israeli, it's
American law.

         MR. BOUCHER:  They're not in the United States.  I'm sorry.

         Q    The are arrested -- they are under arrest in a
foreign country, Richard.  Come on.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'm sorry.  Our laws don't apply over
there.  We talked about the issue yesterday.

         Q    You don't know how long a country can arrest
American citizen without charging them?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Again, we discussed this issue yesterday about 
what our role was, and I'd suggest that you look at yesterday to 
find out about our role.

         Q    Richard, just --

         MR. BOUCHER:  Johanna?

         Q    I wanted to ask you about the Assistant Secretary
of State for Latin America and whether there will be an announcement soon.

         MR. BOUCHER:  We will make an announcement when it's
time.  I don't predict announcements before they're made.

         Q    Well, do you know of a meeting today to discuss the matter?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't particularly know, not myself;
but I wouldn't be talking about future announcements until they're made.

         Q    I know you're tired of the Balkans, but did Vance
call Christopher, and did he say anything in his conversation
that moderated -- if you can tell us -- that moderated or maybe
gave a different view or a less accusative view, if there's such
a word -- accusatory view than his partner did?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, I think I've characterized the
conversations at this point to the extent that I can.

         Q    This is really a devastating --

         Q    Did he talk with Owen also?

         Q    I mean, this is incredible.  You've got a former
British Foreign Secretary accusing the United States of wanting
a war to go on, of not caring about a settlement; and, you know,
you say "we care."  Is that the strength of the U.S.'s response
to this kind of -- I don't know what you call it -- it's almost
a libelous accusation.

         MR. BOUCHER:  The strength of the U.S. response, the
strength of the U.S. position, is in our actions.  It's in what
we're doing.  It's in our support for the process.  It's in the
various ways that we have supported the process, worked with
these people, and it will be seen in the way that we continue to
support the process.

         Q    Has Christopher spoken with Owen since Monday --
or since -- yes, Monday's meeting?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No.  Monday was two days ago.  

         Q    Right.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I think the phone calls were with Vance.

         Q    How many phone calls were there with Vance?

         MR. BOUCHER:  [He] talked to him yesterday and again today.

         Q    Who initiated them, please?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know, Barry.

         Q    If you know.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.

         Q    The answer is that he has not talked with Owen
since Monday, is that correct?

         Q    Monday night.

         MR. BOUCHER:  If you're going to draw some big
conclusion from that, I guess the answer is no.

         Q    I'm not asking you about conclusions.  I'm just --


         MR. BOUCHER:  O.K.  Ralph, he talked to Vance and Owen
together on Monday in person in New York.  The phone calls of
the last two days have been with Vance.

         Q    Richard, do you have anything precise or specific
about when will the Secretary go to the Middle East?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No.

         Q    Thank you.

         Q    Did the U.S. participate in the discussion of the
language, the resolution language, that you referred to earlier
that hadn't been tabled yet but that is being circulated in New York?

         MR. BOUCHER:  You mean on the deportations?

         Q    Yes.

         MR. BOUCHER:  No.

         Q    The U.S. has not.

         Q    Thanks.

         (The briefing concluded at 1:03 p.m.)  (###)

To the top of this page