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THURSDAY, 2/4/92

Source: State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher
Description: Washington, DC
Date: 02/04/92
Category: Briefings

                        DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                        DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

               THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1993, 1:19 P. M.
                                                      DPC #18

         MR. BOUCHER:  Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sorry I'm starting 
late, but I think you'll understand that it would have been kind of 
silly for us to stand out here and talk about the Middle East in advance 
of the President's announcement that Secretary Christopher will be 
traveling there.

         Let me at the top of this, so that people can cut it off the 
transcripts and tapes, announce to you that for your information there 
will be a briefing ON BACKGROUND in this room at 3:00 o'clock this 
         Q    Will he have a schedule at that time for the trip?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think we're going to be able to go into 
much detail for you on the schedule for the trip.  I'll tell you what I 
can about it in a minute.  
         I'd like to do one other announcement at the top, because we 
have good news from Belarus.  The Supreme Soviet of Belarus today 
ratified the START Treaty and voted to adhere to the Non-Proliferation 
Treaty as a non-
nuclear weapons state.

         The United States welcomes these actions which are another 
positive step in the growing relationship between our two countries, and 
we look forward to working with Belarus in implementing the START 

         That's my only statement, so I'll take your questions.

         Q    Richard, you always expected Belarus would ratify the 
Treaty, so it doesn't come as any real surprise.  The problem has always 
been Ukraine.  Where does that stand?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The situation remains about where it was with 
Ukraine.  It's on the schedule for their Parliament.   We keep getting 
the reassurances that they will take it up; and we do look forward to 
their prompt ratification -- the Ukraine's prompt ratification -- of 
both the START Treaty and the NPT.  And I think just a week or so ago we 
said that we had expressed  concern in the past about the delay in 
approving the two treaties, and we remain concerned about the continuing 
delays.  We'd like to see them do it as soon as possible.

         Q    What else can you add to what was said at the White House 
about the Secretary's trip?

         MR. BOUCHER:  O.K.  I think you've probably seen the basic 
statement about the purpose and that sort of thing, so let me 
concentrate a little bit on the details and tell you a little bit more 
about where we stand.

         At this point, as far as the details of which stops, which 
nights, we're still working the itinerary.  We're in touch with the 
governments involved.  We would expect to visit the major parties to the 
peace process.  The dates for the Middle East look like between the 17th 
of February and the 24th.  

         We'll have further information for you once the rest of the 
itinerary is set.  He'll be meeting with the regional parties; I think I 
mentioned that.  And that's about as much as I have for the moment on 
the itinerary.

         Q    Does "regional parties" include regional parties in the 
Persian Gulf, for example?

         MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, Ralph, I'm afraid I just can't be 
more specific.

         Q    Is there more to the trip after the 24th?

         MR. BOUCHER:  There will be some other stops that we're looking 
at, so we'll have those for you as soon as we can.

         Q    You're talking about leaving the 16th or --

         MR. BOUCHER:  The 17th.

         Q    He's leaving the 17th?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

         Q    And flying straight -- because you said the Middle East 
will be the 17th to the 24th.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Oh.  We're talking about leaving the 17th.

         Q    And going straight to the Middle East?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

         Q    After the State of the Union?

         Q    Before or after the State of the Union?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't have that precise an itinerary.

         Q    But straight to the Middle East, Richard, right?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.  The Middle East portion will be first.

         Q    And it ends on the 24th, after which the other phase of 
the trip will begin?

         MR. BOUCHER:  That's right.  That's the expectation at this 
point.  We're still putting all the pieces into place.

         Q    Could you say which continents the rest of this trip will 
be in?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't want to, Sid.  We'll get you the 
information as soon as we can.  At this point I don't want to start 
dropping hints.

         Q    Richard, can you say on the record, is it U.S. strategy to 
isolate Hamas, to in effect defy the PLO, the Palestinians, to come into 
the talks and disregard the Hamas situation?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think we've described things quite that 
way, Connie.

         Q    Why not?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We've said very clearly that we don't think that 
extremists -- groups like Hamas or Hizbollah or whoever else who's tried 
to reject the peace project and tried to block it with violence -- that 
they should be allowed to succeed.  Certainly that's true.
         We also have said that we think there's a strong interest and 
importance to parties in the region of the peace process and of 
proceeding.  Indeed, the Secretary has been in touch with the parties 
and with the co-sponsors in recent days.  He's found that they reiterate 
their sustained commitment to the peace process.  And it's on the basis 
of that that we're going to go out and we're going to, as the White 
House statement said, elicit their views, talk to them, get their views 
on the process and their views on how we can best help reinvigorate the 
process.  That's the point where we are now.

         Q    Was that what the Secretary was talking about when he said 
that in the next 24 to 48 hours we'd be seeing steps the U.S. would be 
taking?  I mean, is this it, or are there other steps the U.S. is 
contemplating, regardless of whether or not you want to disclose them?  
Is this it?

         MR. BOUCHER:  This is all I'm aware of, but I'll check.  We'll 
have to see.

         Q    Richard, when you say "reinvigorate the process," are you 
taking it for granted that there's going to be another round of peace 
talks or is the Secretary going out there to try to get another round of 
peace talks?  Is his aim to -- is he going out there with dates or 
seeking to come back with dates for another round?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, at this point on dates, we're in 
consultations with the co-sponsors about when to suggest dates for the 
next round, what dates to suggest.  I think it is important that he goes 
there on the basis of this sustained commitment that we have from the 
parties for the process; and, as I said, he'll be going there to see 
what we can do to help reinvigorate the process, to hear from them, to 
talk to them, to see what we can do to help reinvigorate the process.  

         And, as I think the White House statement said, there's an 
opportunity here to focus their energies on this.  We've stressed its 
importance, [and are] going out there on the basis of contacts with the 
parties where they have the commitment to the process, and moving 

         Q    Richard, on the consultation with the co-sponsors, is 
Europe gradually becoming another co-sponsor?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The co-sponsors in this case are the U.S. and 

         Q    I know.  But he's going to Europe right afterwards, and we 

         MR. BOUCHER:  I haven't said where he may be going after the 
Middle East --

         Q    All right.

         MR. BOUCHER:  -- but we do have other things to talk to other 
people in the world about.

         Q    Richard, is it still the case, as I think it was as 
recently as yesterday, that the U.S. expects to issue those invitations, 
I think you used the word "soon?"

         MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, Ralph, I think I have to say that 
we're consulting with the co-sponsors on when to do that.

         Q    O.K.  So we're sort of back-tracking a bit.  Along with 
the postponement of next week's multilateral talks, it would be fair to 
say that the U.S. doesn't -- is not  confident of being able to issue 
invitations soon, and instead has announced a Secretary of State trip to 
the region.  Is that --

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think that would be fair at all, Ralph.  
I would describe to you the situation the way I have.  The Secretary --

         Q    Do you mean the way you have today as distinct from 

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.  The Secretary this morning said that he 
thought it was prudent to reschedule the multilateral talks.  We think 
it made sense for him to go first and then have these other rounds of 
talks.  He can go out there.  He can have serious discussions with the 
parties -- parties who, once again I say, are in fact committed to the 
peace process and have told us that.  And we can look to what we can do 
to move the talks forward when they do happen.

         Q    Have the talks been rescheduled?  I may have missed it.  
I'm sorry.  
         MR. BOUCHER:  They haven't been --

         Q    They were called off, essentially?

         MR. BOUCHER:  They are being rescheduled.  We haven't fixed the 
new dates yet, but they won't be held as first scheduled.

         Q    Was it a U.S. initiative then to postpone the multilateral 
talks?  Sorry.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Wrong piece of paper.

         Q    Whatever the word --

         MR. BOUCHER:  The word is "rescheduled."  The "multis" are 
being rescheduled.  The multilateral talks are being rescheduled.  As I 
said, we've been in touch with the parties.  We've been in touch with 
the co-sponsors.  The Secretary said this morning he thought it was 
prudent to do that.  We'll be talking to the co-sponsors; and obviously, 
when we go out there and talk to the parties on the basis of the desire 
to continue, we'll be seeing what we can do to help it continue.

         Q    Can you tell us, Richard, whether it was a initiative to 
reschedule them, to postpone them?  Is it a U.S. initiative --

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't --

         Q    -- or is this because you were being told that nobody was 
coming or that some people weren't coming?

         MR. BOUCHER:  It just makes sense.  I mean, it makes sense.  If 
we're going to go out and have these discussions with people and try to 
move this process forward, it makes sense to try to do it after we've 
had a chance to talk to them.

         Q    Richard, what makes sense?

         MR. BOUCHER:  To schedule these multilateral talks and 
bilateral talks after we've had a chance to go out and talk to the 
parties face to face.

         Q    Did the parties want to come and the U.S. said, "It 
doesn't make sense until the Secretary goes out there"?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know, Mary.  I don't know exactly the 
back and forth.

         Q    Richard, have you heard anything from the parties about 
whether they're going to attend or not?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Whether they're going to attend what?  I mean --

         Q    The rescheduled talks.

         MR. BOUCHER:  -- the rescheduled "multis"?

         Q    Yes.

         MR. BOUCHER:  As I just said -- I think I've said about 13 
times -- the parties, in our contacts with them -- the Secretary has 
been in touch with them -- they've all expressed their sustained 
commitment to the peace process, as part of --

         Q    What about the rescheduled "bilats," or is that not 

         MR. BOUCHER:  We're in touch with the co-sponsor about when to 
suggest dates for the "bilats."

         Q    O.K.  And have you heard whether people are going to come 
to the suggested dates for the "bilats"?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We haven't suggested dates for the "bilats" yet.

         Q    But have they indicated whether they will come once you 
suggest those dates or not?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Anna, I've just told you -- and I'm happy to take 
the occasion to tell you for the 13th time --  we've been in touch with 
the parties; the Secretary has talked to the parties; and they have 
reiterated their commitment, their sustained commitment, to this peace 
process.  The peace process includes both the multilaterals and the 

         Q    O.K.

         MR. BOUCHER:  And I would take it that when they reiterate 
their commitment to the peace process, that when we schedule these 
things and have a chance to discuss them with them, we will see people 

         Q    O.K.  Sorry it took me --

         Q    Do you know of plans by Hanan Ashrawi to visit Washington 
in the next few days, and are any meetings planned for her?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I didn't know of those plans, so I haven't had a 
chance to check on meetings.

         Q    Do you know of plans by the Israeli Foreign Minister, Mr. 
Peres, who's going to be in the United States I think starting on the 
14th of the month, and are there any plans for him?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know of our plans for that either, but 
the gentleman that you might have a chance to talk to later this 
afternoon will be able to tell you.

         Q    Richard, reiterating support for the peace process and 
agreeing to show up for talks I think are two separate things.  Did the 
Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians and Jordanians say they would not attend 
the multilateral peace talks until there was a "better solution" to the 
deportee question?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Sid, if you want to ask them what they say, you 
can ask them.  As I've said, we've been in touch with them.  We've 
talked about all these issues --

         Q    Well, I had asked, and that's what they said.

         MR. BOUCHER:  -- and they have sustained commitment.

         Q    Did they say the same thing to you?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't have that information for you, Sid.

         Q    A few days ago -- I don't remember when it was -- you were 
speaking of the dates that had been scheduled for these multilateral 
talks next week.

         Did the U.S. receive any comments from participants in those 
talks about whether they would be attending, until the decision was made 
-- until the parties were informed yesterday that the Secretary would be 
visiting and that the U.S. thought it made sense not to have the talks?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Ralph, that's similar to what Sid was asking me, 
sort of what have people told us.  I think you're better off asking the 
others what their views are rather than asking me.

         Q    Well, it's not asking so much what they've told you as it 
is trying to figure out what makes sense and who thinks it makes sense.  
We're trying to figure out whether the U.S. was told by the parties to 
the talks that it made sense to postpone them or whether the U.S. felt 
it made sense and told the parties "Look, let's not bother to have these 
talks which you all were planning to attend next week anyway because the 
Secretary's going to come out and visit"?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, I don't know the precise back and forth.  
That might be something you could ask someone else.

         Q    Richard, could I ask about the Hanan Ashrawi statement 
that the talks could not take place before April, which is quite in 
contrast to Peres who said they were indefinitely postponed.  Do you 
have any comment on that?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I've told you that the multilateral rounds that 
were scheduled for the coming weeks are going to be rescheduled.  We're 
in touch with the co-sponsors over when to suggest dates for that and 
for the "bilats."  We will be talking directly to the parties.  We have 
their commitment to the process, and the Secretary will be hearing their 
views and will be talking to them about how to help reinvigorate the 
process.  That's where we are.

         Q    Richard, when the Secretary says it's prudent to 
reschedule, to put off the multilaterals for now, does that mean it's 
not a source of concern for the Administration that these multilaterals 
are not going to take place now?  There's no concern over that?  There's 
no sense of the possibility of a loss of momentum?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll refer you back to what the Secretary said 
this morning.  He said he was not discouraged.  He was encouraged by the 
way things were going, by the fact that we had movement, by the fact 
that now I can say that he's going to be traveling out there and seeing 
these people face to face, by the fact that we have their commitment to 
continue the process, and we'll be doing what we can to help 
reinvigorate the process during the trip.

         Q    Something else he said was that the process would be 
resuming at an early date.  I think he actually said "a very early date" 
at one point.  By that, does he mean the resumption of the process 
includes his going on the trip?  He doesn't mean the talks will resume 
at an early date, or does he mean that?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Ralph, I think I'll have to leave you where we 
are right now.  The Secretary spoke this morning.  I've told you that we 
don't have the dates for you yet, so in the end you can judge whether 
the dates are early or not by yourself.

         Q    But we wouldn't even be able to judge whether a trip that 
starts on the 17th is a very early date or not.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I think it's a pretty early date.

         Q    Richard, has there been any contact between the Secretary 
and the former Secretary, who was so successful in his earlier Middle 
East --

         MR. BOUCHER:  Secretary Baker?

         Q    Yes.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.  I just don't know.

         Q    On the deportee issue again, does the Administration think 
there needs to be some rejiggering of the solution, the breakthrough 
that they've been touting for the last few days, or is he committed to 
that and only that?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Sid, I think we've tried to describe this as a 
process that was announced by the Israelis.  We think it's a process 
that can resolve the problem of the deportees, the problems faced by 
these people who are stuck out there; that it's a process that has not 
only the immediate return of a significant number of people but that it 
is a process of early return of all of them -- a return of all of them, 
at least, by the end of the year and a process of review.  So that 
process we think is a good one.  That's why we think there's no 
necessity for further U.N. Security Council action, for example.

         Q    Do you mean to say that it's a negotiating process where 
this is the first offer and there may be some room for movement on 
either side?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I meant to say that there's a process established 
to resolve the difficulties to return these people from whence they 
came, and that we think is a good one.

         Q    Another subject?

         Q    Can I just ask one more question?  Have we been in touch 
with the Palestinians directly to find out their views on this process 
that you're talking about?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We've been talking to the Palestinians, yes.

         Q    And have you received any satisfaction that this is going 
to satisfy their doubts and fears about the deportees?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'm not going to try to characterize the 
individual responses or discussions that we've had with people.  We've 
talked to Arab governments, we've talked to Security Council members, 
we've talked to other governments throughout the world; we talk through 
our embassies; we talked at the U.S. Mission in New York.  We've had 
calls and contacts here in Washington.

         Generally, I would say what we said yesterday.  We're finding 
in our exchanges that there's broad acknowledgment of the importance of 
avoiding counterproductive confrontation at the United Nations and on 
the need for the parties to advance their core national interests by 
making progress in the Middle East peace talks.

         Q    At the United Nations, have you been successful yet in 
getting the proposers of a new resolution involving sanctions against 
Israel to withdraw or not go forward with that resolution?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Well, what the intentions are of the various 
people that have been discussing resolutions, you can check with them.  
My understanding is that at this point no resolution has been tabled.  
We're not involved in any negotiations on the text of a resolution.

         The Security Council is meeting today, but we don't expect this 
issue to be discussed.

         Q    Richard, on another subject, can we talk about Bosnia?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Sure.

         Q    On Bosnia, what is the Administration's position now on 
the Vance-Owen peace plan?  Specifically, the Administration -- is it 
accurate to say that the Administration is neutral on the plan?  And if 
it is neutral, is that the equivalent of not giving the support that 
Vance and Owen have asked for?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Mary, a couple of things on this.  First of all, 
the Secretary spoke this morning about the process of review that was 
underway.  It's intensive; it's active; it's underway.

         The Secretary met with Vance and Owen on Monday up in New York.  
As he said, he asked questions about the  practicality, the feasibility, 
and the enforceability of the plan.  He has followed that up in other 
conversations with Vance that I mentioned yesterday.

         Monday, when he talked on the sidewalk -- I think outside our 
U.N. Mission -- he said that he was going to bring their views back and 
discuss them with his Cabinet colleagues, with the President.  Indeed, 
he has done that.  The review is underway.  There have been meetings at 
the principals' levels that you know about.  There will be further 
meetings.  At this point no decisions have been made, but the process is 
underway and we're looking at this very carefully.

         Q    Dee Dee Myers is quoted this morning at the White House as 
saying that the Administration, as part of its review, is looking at 
coming up with an alternative.  The word "alternative" was her word.

         If the Administration is looking at coming up with an 
alternative, doesn't that mean that the Administration doesn't like the 
one that's there?

         MR. BOUCHER:  As the Secretary has told you, we've asked some 
hard questions about practicality.  I think he mentioned fairness this 
morning, enforceability, and things like that.  This review is underway; 
and while it's underway, I think that's as far as I can go.

         Q    Yesterday, Lee Hamilton basically came out in support of 
the Vance-Owen plan.  In conducting this review, has the Secretary met 
with Mr. Hamilton to elicit his views on the Vance-Owen plan?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.

         Q    Are there any moves afoot to improve relations with 
Vietnam, given the report yesterday that President Clinton sent a 
letter, when he was President-elect in December, to the Vietnamese 
leader seeking improved relations?

         MR. BOUCHER:  As far as that letter goes and the President 
Clinton angle on this, I think I'll have to refer you to the White House 
on that.

         As far as generally the relationship with Vietnam, I think 
Secretary Christopher described our approach during his confirmation 
hearings.  Vietnam is meeting its commitments on Cambodia.  As the 
Secretary said in his confirmation hearings, the problem remains whether 
or not we have obtained their full cooperation on the Prisoner of War 
and Missing in Action issue.

         We'll be considering, as part of our look at the situation, the 
extensive report that was prepared by Senator Kerry's committee, the 
Senate Select Committee on this subject.

         If it's possible to further advance the POW/MIA cooperation, 
we'll then seek to move ahead, hopefully more rapidly, as we get more 
cooperation.  We recognize that we have economic interests and 
commercial reasons for considering further steps, and the normalization 
process is getting and will receive a serious look by the new 
Administration but at this point there's no timetable for specific 

         Q    You said that Vietnam is meeting its commitments in 
Cambodia.  Is it the Department's assessment that Vietnam is also 
meeting its commitments on the MIA negotiations?

         MR. BOUCHER:  You know that they have done a lot recently.  
There has been a lot of progress in that area recently.  And, indeed, 
there have been some steps also from the U.S. side.  But as the 
Secretary said, the question remains whether we've received their full 
cooperation on that issue, and we'll be looking to see whether there's 
further progress, further cooperation that can be obtained on that 

         Q    Richard, on Haiti --

         Q    No, no, no.  Another one on Vietnam.  You're raising the 
possibility of normalization of relations with Vietnam in advance of the 
fullest possible accounting on the part of the Vietnamese on the MIA/POW 
question.  Is that --

         MR. BOUCHER:  No, I don't think so.

         Q    I didn't hear you right?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No.  Secretary Christopher stated the problem 
remains whether or not we have obtained full cooperation on the POW/MIA 
issue.  But then I said what we've said before:  If it's possible to 
further the POW/MIA cooperation, we will then seek to move ahead, 
hopefully more rapidly.

         I didn't promise normalization at any given moment or 

         Q    Move ahead toward what?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Move ahead in our relationship.

         Q    In fact, Richard --

         MR. BOUCHER:  Obviously the whole process is called the 
normalization process.  That's eventually where it leads.  But how far 
we go at one particular period depends on the kind of cooperation we're 

         Q    What you've just said, in fact, appears to make 
normalization contingent on further progress on the MIAs first.  Would 
that be a correct reading?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We've always said that the pace and scope of this 
process would be driven by the cooperation on POW/MIAs.

         Q    But is the drive for more progress rather than the 
progress we've received up to this point?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Martin, I don't know how many times I can say it.  
But the Secretary said the question remains whether or not we've 
received their full cooperation and whether there's further cooperation 
that we can get.  We're looking at those issues, but I don't have any 
timetable at this point.

         Q    Just one final point on this, Richard.  It's then assuming 
if the Secretary believed we were already getting full cooperation, he 
would presumably have said so or you would have said so.  The 
implication from what you are saying is that that option is still open, 
that we are not fully satisfied we are receiving full cooperation with 
them on the issue.

         MR. BOUCHER:  As he said, the question is "whether or not."  I 
didn't say "whether;" I didn't say "not."  I won't say -- you saying 
we're not fully satisfied?  The question is whether or not we're getting 
the full cooperation and whether there's more cooperation we can get.

         Q    On Haiti, Richard, do you have anything to say about Mr. 
Caputo's success or lack thereof in going ahead with his mission in 
Haiti?  Is he returning?  Does the U.S. think his mission has been a 
success?  What's the next step?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't have anything new on it.  I'll have to 
get you something later.

         Q    Oh, bummer.  Please take the question.

         MR. BOUCHER:  We'll take the question.

         Q    Do you have any reaction to Belarus' ratification of START 
and Ukraine's -- 

         Q    He announced that.

         Q    Oh.  Sorry.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Gotcha!

         Q    I'm going to crawl under the table.  (Laughter)

         Q    Anything today on the violence in Johannesburg, or on the 
proposed Bill of Rights?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No, I don't have anything new on that.  On the 
proposed Bill of Rights, obviously we think the Bill of Rights is a good 
idea.  We also think it's something that should be arrived at by 
consensus and discussion among the parties.

         Q    Anything new on Angola?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No.

         Q    No?  There are reports about starvation.

         Q    To return to Haiti for a second.  There's been reports 
that the government of Marc Bazin has basically said that they would not 
allow the monitors in the country unless there was a lifting of the 
embargo.  What's your reaction to that?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know, Steve.  I'll have to try to include 
that in the answer we give for you later on where we stand on Caputo's 
efforts and the deployment of the monitors.

         Q    I'd just say, if you're going to be very specific about 
what you come back with, there are reports that people -- Haitians -- 
who are assisting journalists in covering Caputo's visit have been 
harassed and threatened by the government.  There are reports that 
Caputo has not been permitted to go where he wants to -- to a certain 
hotel at a certain time, and so on.  There are reports that the 
government is impeding his movements around the area, and so on.

         If you'd just take that all under consideration --

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll see what we can get on his efforts and 
address as many of the specifics as we can.

         Q    Is there anything new on Zaire?

         MR. BOUCHER:  On Zaire, Hank Cohen, as I think you know, has 
been out in Brussels.  He's had some meetings with his French and 
Belgian counterparts in order to identify new ways to encourage Mobutu 
to cooperate in a peaceful transition to democracy.

         The U.S. and Belgian Ambassadors and the French Charge 
d'Affaires delivered a formal note for Mobutu to the Deputy Director of 
the Presidential Office in Kinshasa yesterday afternoon.  This demarche 
emphasized that recent events demonstrate that Mobutu should transfer 
authority to the transition government if Zaire is to avoid further 
chaos and suffering.

         Q    Has there been an answer from Mobutu?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Not that I know of at this point.

         Q    Is that the same statement that was issued in Brussels 

         MR. BOUCHER:  I think the Belgians released a copy of the note, 

         Q    Anything further on U.S. contacts with the Russians -- 
Kozyrev -- either on the Middle East or on the Bosnia issue?  Anything 
you can say about their --

         MR. BOUCHER:  Nothing new at this point.

         Q    Richard, is the U.S. aware of a freelance American 
journalist named John Walker going missing in Bosnia?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I have to check on that, John.  I hadn't heard 
about it, but I'll check on it.

         Q    Richard, speaking of aid to Russia, could you give me a 
definition of precisely what Strobe Talbott's job and responsibilities 
will be?

         MR. BOUCHER:  He has been announced as Ambassador-at-Large and 
Coordinator -- I think I got it right -- Special Advisor or Coordinator 
for the New Independent States.  His job will be to look at policy for 
that whole region, to look at our assistance efforts and all the other 
policy issues, and to help coordinate them and move them forward.

         Q    Will the Ambassador to Moscow report directly to him or to 
the Secretary?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Ambassadors report back to Washington through the 
Assistant Secretaries and to the Secretary.  They all report to the 
Secretary, in the end.  As a practical matter, there will be a lot of 
consumers for the reporting of the Ambassador to Moscow.

         Q    Richard, is Talbott going to function as sort of a 
regional Assistant Secretary for the former Soviet Union, separate from 
the European Bureau?  Or is he under the European Bureau?

         MR. BOUCHER:  There will be -- an Assistant Secretary, as you 
know, has been nominated for the European Bureau, and they will work in 

         Q    So the former Soviet Union and the resulting Republics are 
not being broken out of Europe?

         MR. BOUCHER:  It's not being broken out to make a new bureau.  
But obviously someone will pay a lot of time and a lot of attention to 
that area.

         Q    Richard, since a lot of different Federal agencies have 
programs of technical assistance to the Soviet Union, will these now 
have to be cleared through Mr. Talbott's office?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know how precisely I can get on  exact 
clearances, but he will be expected to coordinate our overall policy 
towards those countries.

         Q    Do you have anything on the AID Administrator?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No.  That wouldn't come from me anyway.

         Q    Thank you.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Thank you.

         (Press briefing concluded at 1:47 p.m.)  (###)

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