930318 Daily Press Briefing  Return to: Index of 1993 Daily Briefings || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

Note: This Electronic Research Collection is an archive site. For the most current information, please visit the US State Department Homepage.



                         DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                         DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                      DPC #41

                 THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 1993, 12:54 P.M.
                (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)


         MR. BOUCHER:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  I do have 
a couple of announcements and statements on the top.  So let me do that, 
and then I'll take your questions.

          The first thing is -- I'm not sure if it's a declaration of 
the obvious or an admission of defeat, but the mid-day briefing at the 
State Department -- I think you all have been waiting from 12:00 on for 
many years or several years -- I think we should just declare that the 
briefing will start at 12:30.  And I promise -- well, after 12:30.  The 
briefing will not start before 12:30 in the future.  So those of you who 
show up at 12:00 in order to wait me out will have to spend a little 
less time here.  Given the arrangements that we're now using for 
preparation, I think 12:30 is a much more logical time.

          Q    It's like changing the speed limit to 65 and then 
everybody goes 75.

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, I don't think it is.  This will just be a 
secret between you guys and me.  We won't tell the people that do the 
preparation, so we'll do the preparations at the same pace.

          Q    So we can expect to have the briefing actually begin 
sometime after 1:00, then, on a routine basis?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, honest to God.  I haven't been down here 
before 12:30, but we will do everything at the same pace; and therefore 
the people that do show up at noon and wait to see the briefing can now 
show up at 12:30.  Hopefully, the wait will be not as long and you can 
plan your days a little bit better, at least with another half hour in 
there.  I think it's very rare that I've been ready before 12:30 anyway.

          Q    Filing break?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Filing break, Sid?  (Laughter)

          The other things in the way of statements that I'd like to do: 
I'd like to tell you about the visit of Foreign Minister Kozyrev, tell 
you about the visit of Foreign Minister Zlenko of Ukraine, and tell you 
a little bit about Chuck Redman.

          Following recent conversations with the Russian Foreign 
Minister, Secretary Christopher invited Foreign Minister Kozyrev to come 
to Washington.  Foreign Minister Kozyrev will be visiting Washington 
next week.  He'll meet with Secretary Christopher on March 23 and March 
24, and he will also meet with President Clinton.

          Minister Kozyrev is coming to continue the preparations for 
the Vancouver summit as well as to discuss a range of bilateral and 
international issues.

          Q    Richard, when was that date actually set?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Yesterday afternoon or evening.  As we've said 
before, they've been discussing some possibilities, including specifics.  
It was set yesterday afternoon or evening.

          Q    But it wasn't set in the phone call on Tuesday?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No.  It was discussed in the phone call, but it 
wasn't set.

          Second thing:  The Secretary will meet with Ukrainian Foreign 
Minister Anatoliy Zlenko on March 24.  They're expected to discuss the 
full range of U.S.-Ukrainian relations, including bilateral, economic, 
and political issues as well as international issues of mutual concern.

          I'll remind you that in President Clinton's phone conversation 
with President Kravchuk on January 26, both leaders agreed that the two 
Ministers should meet at the earliest opportunity, and they're going to 
be meeting next week on March 24.

          Q    Did you say Clinton or Christopher would meet with him?  
I'm sorry.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Secretary Christopher will be meeting with the 
Ukrainian Foreign Minister on March 24.

          Q    He will not see the President?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think the whole schedule is set. I don't 
know.  You have to check with the White House on that.

          Q    No menage a trois?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, at this point, the whole schedule is not 
set.

          Q    Do you have, in your guidance there, an update on the 
status of the nuclear weapons issue as it relates to the Ukraine?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The START Treaty and the Non-Proliferation 
Treaty are before the Ukrainian Parliament. As you know, we've talked to 
the Ukrainian Government repeatedly about this issue.  We've urged that 
the consideration and the ratification of these documents take place as 
soon as possible. The Ukrainian Government has assured us that it, too, 
was pushing for an early ratification.

          The Treaties are, however, still before Parliament. We've been 
concerned about the delay.  That's where it stands.

          Q    In the U.S. view, can there be accelerated progress in 
U.S.-Ukraine bilateral relations without ratification of those Treaties?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We've talked about issues such as that in the 
past, Ralph.  I don't have any new characterization for you today.  
Clearly the ratification of these two Treaties is an important 
foundation for the kind of relationship we want to build with Ukraine.  
We continue to see their ratification as being very, very important.

          Q    Richard, just to follow this up a little bit, former 
Secretary Eagleburger specifically said that U.S.-Ukraine relations 
would suffer if this Treaty didn't go forward.  Is the Clinton 
Administration holding to the same view?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I didn't -- well, let me see.  Let me check and 
see if we want to restate it in precisely the same words.  But I think 
the import of what we have said all along is that it's very, very 
important to building any kind of future relationship to see these two 
Treaties ratified.

          Q    Let me be clear about Saul's question earlier.  I realize 
you said that the Ukraine Foreign Minister's schedule is not fully set 
yet.  But Mr. Kozyrev's seems to be.  Does the U.S. think it would be a 
good idea for the Ukraine Foreign Minister, the Russian Foreign 
Minister, and the U.S. Secretary of State to meet together to discuss 
issues of mutual interest?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Ralph, at this point, neither schedule is set.  
The fact that they're both coming at the same time is really 
coincidental; we were working on these things on separate tracks.  But 
at this point what I've told you about are the meetings that were 
scheduled, and we'll see what happens.

          Q    Richard, will they also be discussing tightening 
sanctions in Serbia?

          MR. BOUCHER:  You mean with the Ukraine?  I'm sure they'll 
discuss a full range of issues -- bilateral, economic, and political 
issues, international issues of mutual concern, START, Ukraine's 
economic reforms, the general regional situation.  I would expect Bosnia 
and sanctions would probably come up as well.

          Q    The day before Kozyrev comes, the Secretary is giving a 
speech.  Is it on Russia -- the one in Chicago?

          MR. BOUCHER:  It's a speech about our foreign policy but with 
a heavy emphasis on Russia.

          Q    What about advance texts?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We make our best-efforts pledge, as we always 
do.  Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we don't.

          Q    Would it be possible to hear that speech here in 
Washington?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'm not sure yet.  We're looking into it.

          Q    At a minimum you'll have texts available here at some 
point, right?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

          Q    On the same day?

          Q    Maybe in a week or so.

          MR. BOUCHER:  No.  Come on.  We've always gotten it out by the 
time the speech actually occurs.  The question is whether I can get it 
for you ahead of time.

          Q    With Kozyrev, would you expect also to -- would you 
include in your list of international issues to discuss the Middle East 
peace process and the status of the invitations that have been issued?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I would expect a whole lot of things to be 
discussed, Ralph.  As I said, they're looking at meeting the 23rd and 
24th.  We are the co-sponsors.  Yes, I would expect that to come up.  I 
can't promise to give you the complete list because sometimes the list 
gets longer than they have time for, but I'm sure there are a lot of 
issues that both of them are interested in talking about.

          Q    On a different subject?

          Q    A related matter before you do the next one?  Can you 
tell us anything about this current thinking on the Administration's 
part about a G-7 meeting of some sort, of what sort, and when it should 
take place?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We're still looking at various options. 
Ministers meetings, of course, as you know, is one of the options that's 
being looked at.

          What we're looking for is for the G-7 process to focus at an 
early date on concrete measures that can help the process of reform in 
Russia.  We had a good meeting, an excellent meeting, with the Russians 
and the sherpas in Hong Kong.  We will be looking to follow that up with 
further G-7 meetings, as I said, with that goal of focusing at an early 
date on concrete measures that we can take.

          Q    Are we looking for a G-7 process or are we looking for a 
G-7 meeting, which is what the President suggested and what Mitterrand 
suggested?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We're looking for a continued G-7 -- at some 
level -- meetings so that the seven countries in the Group of Seven 
focus, along with Russia, on what we can do, concretely, to support 
their process of reform.

          Q    Are we still making efforts to get a G-7 heads of state 
meeting before July?  Are we still aiming or trying to get the Japanese 
to buy on to that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, Saul -- first of all, for heads 
of state questions, I really have to leave it to the White House.  But 
what they've been saying is, we're looking at various options.  For my 
part, ministers is one of the options that's being looked at.

          Q    Was that subject discussed this morning when the 
Secretary talked with the Japanese Foreign Minister?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

          Q    Can you be any more fulsome on that subject, or do you 
want to go onto your announcement first, or whatever?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Let me just tell you briefly about the meetings 
with Vice Foreign Minister Owada this morning.  Vice Foreign Minister 
Owada met with both the Secretary and the Deputy Secretary this morning.  
In these conversations, they discussed a wide range of issues.  They 
discussed the upcoming visit by Japanese Prime Minister Miyazawa.  They 
discussed economic matters, both international and bilateral.  And, yes, 
they discussed the G-7 summit, G-7 support for the reform process in 
Russia, as well.

          Q    Is there still a difference between the United States and 
Japan on the modalities for dealing with Russian aid and the timing?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Jim, these issues all have to be discussed with 
the G-7.  As I said, we're looking at the various options.  We're 
discussing this with other G-7 partners.

          You know that President Clinton talked with President 
Mitterrand yesterday.  We're having meetings with the Japanese. The G-7 
have been conferring on these issues, and various possibilities are 
being looked at.

          Q    How close are you to solving the issue of how to deal 
with it -- the modalities, merely the modalities?  Never mind the 
substance of it.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Ralph, I can't give you a gauge.  But let's 
point out that we're not new to this process.  The G-7 has had 
substantial discussions and assistance from these countries in the past 
to Russia.

          As I said, we just had a meeting last weekend in Hong Kong 
with the Russians.  The United States -- for our part, we have a summit 
coming up with the Russians.  You know that the President is looking at 
different ways of providing United States support for the process of 
reform.  So this is an on-going process.

          Q    It's precisely because you're not new to the process that 
some of us wonder why it's so difficult to reach a decision over merely 
the modality of at what level to take this issue up.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I wouldn't say it's extraordinarily difficult.  
We want to make sure -- as I said, the key is not the meetings, but 
there will be meetings.  The key is to get the G-7 countries to focus, 
at an early date, on the concrete measures that those of us involved in 
that process can take to support economic reform in Russia.

          The United States, as you know, has a summit coming up with 
Russia, and we are focusing intensely on this.  The G-7 has been 
focusing on this, and we'll continue to.

          Q    I just want to know whether the United States still 
favors a meeting at the highest level?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, ask the White House.

          Q    You mean there's a question about that?  I mean, the 
President said he did.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, I'll refer you back to what the President 
and the White House have already said.

          Q    Well, he said he was looking at various options. But I 
want to know what we favor.  Do we favor, as he said in his press 
conference with Mitterrand, an early meeting of the G-7 heads of state?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, I would favor, first of all, that we read 
the President's press conference with Mitterrand carefully; and, second 
of all, that you ask questions about heads of state meetings at the 
White House.

          Q    Should we go on to the other one?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Can we go on to the other one?  Haiti: 
Appointment of a Special Charge.

          As part of our effort to achieve the restoration of democracy 
in Haiti, Secretary Christopher has named Ambassador Charles E. Redman 
to serve for a limited time as our Special Charge d'Affaires in Port-au-
Prince.

          Ambassador Redman will work closely with Ambassador Pezzullo 
in support of the on-going multilateral negotiating process conducted by 
the U.N./OAS Special Envoy, Dante Caputo.

          Ambassador Redman will accompany Ambassador Pezzullo to Haiti 
today.  He will remain there to undertake his new duties.

          Q    You're going to have two Ambassadors to Haiti, basically.  
Is that what it boils down to?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We want a senior person down in Haiti to be our 
Charge, to be on the ground to support the negotiating process that's 
going on with Mr. Caputo.  This will be Ambassador Redman's principal 
duty down there in Port-au-Prince.  It's not a permanent assignment.  
I'd have to say it will be for a limited time.

          Ambassador Pezzullo has been named as well to support the 
processes, both in terms of meetings there, meetings here, keeping in 
touch with the OAS Special Envoy.  `It is: another example of our 
attempts to support that process and to make it move as quickly as 
possible.

          Q    What credentials does Ambassador Redman bring to the 
Latin America field, or the Caribbean field, if you wish?

          MR. BOUCHER:  He brings a long experience in the Foreign 
Service and in foreign affairs.  He brings a knowledge of U.S. policy 
throughout the world and experience in a variety of areas.

          Q    I've forgotten.  Who is the resident Ambassador, or is 
there one?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We haven't had a resident Ambassador down there 
for about nine months.

          Q    Who is the Charge, then?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I forget the Charge's name, frankly.

          Q    But he'll just --

          MR. SNYDER:  Les Alexander.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Les Alexander is the Charge down there now.

          Q    And he'll just run the building and the passport 
business?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No.  They'll work together.  Certainly the 
Charge down there has done a good job, and he has been important for us 
to have down there.  With Redman going down, we'll provide a little more 
senior involvement in this process of support for Caputo.

          Q    What's the reason for not naming an Ambassador? Because 
you don't want it to be a permanent appointment, is that it?

          MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, we haven't had a resident 
Ambassador down there for nine months, so we felt that in the absence of 
having an accredited permanent Ambassador down there, we did need a 
senior official now down there to support the negotiating process that's 
been conducted by Mr. Caputo.  That will be Ambassador Redman's 
principal duty.

          Q    Well, wait.  Isn't it because you don't accept the 
legitimacy of the regime in Port-au-Prince that you don't have an 
Ambassador there?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Let me just remind you, I think last year we in 
fact proposed, nominated, an Ambassador for Haiti, and he was among the 
group that didn't get through Congress last year.

          Q    Are you afraid -- you're obviously not afraid that 
appointing a senior diplomat to go to Haiti at this time will lend 
credibility or stature to the de facto government and perhaps erode some 
stature and credibility from the person the U.S. Government supports as 
President of Haiti?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, we're not.  What we think it will do is lend 
some stature and credibility to U.S. support for the peace process, U.S. 
support for the efforts of Dante Caputo. We're moving on a whole number 
of fronts, diplomatically, to support this process.  You've seen the 
appointment of Ambassador Pezzullo.  We're sending Ambassador Redman 
down there as a special Charge so that we can be firmly and totally 
involved in trying to reach a solution and helping him out in any way we 
can.

          Q    With this appointment, will Mr. Redman have to present 
credentials to anybody?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.

          Q    Richard, did the Haitian Government request that the 
Administration name someone who is sort of the Ambassador in an effort 
to meet their demands of recognizing in some manner that government?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Not that I've ever heard of.

          Q    New subject?  Or do you have other announcements?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No.  That's it for me.

          Q    Do you have anything you care to say about the rumors and 
reports by some news agencies yesterday of an incident in Iran involving 
Ayatollah -- allegedly involving Ayatollah Khamenei?  Does the U.S. know 
anything about his status?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The short answer: no.  Long answer:  we have no 
information at this time that would confirm the reports.

          Q    Richard, the PLO today apparently has called for U.N. 
protection in the Occupied Territories, given the violence that's been 
going on there.

          Does the U.S. have any reaction to that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I hadn't seen that report, so I don't have 
anything on it.

          Q    Could you look at it?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'll see if there's anything we have to say on 
it.

          Q    Back on Iran for a moment.  Does the United States feel 
that Iran is behind an increase in terrorism, sort of world-wide, 
outside Iran's borders -- specifically the death of an Iranian 
opposition leader in Rome the other day?

          MR. BOUCHER:  John, we've said a number of times that Iran 
remains the principal state sponsor of terrorism in the world today.

          If you look, I think last Friday, Ambassador McNamara 
testified -- and I can get you a copy of his testimony -- he went 
through the state of terrorism in the world in a fair amount of detail.

          And as far as the killing in Rome, obviously the Italian 
authorities are investigating that.  But I think in the answer the other 
day we noted it bore similarities to some of the events that have 
occurred in the past with Iranian support.

          Q    But do you feel that the Iranians are making an effort to 
reach out, to push terrorism into places where it has not been before -- 
specifically, for the United States?

          MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, John, I don't think I can get too 
specific on that.  I'll leave you with Ambassador McNamara's testimony, 
and then of course our "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report comes out 
April 30.  That will deal with last year's record.

          Q    Does the U.S. think Iran has had anything to do with the 
explosions in any of the cities in India?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The explosions in India are being investigated 
by Indian authorities, and I wouldn't want to speculate on what the 
cause might have been.

          Q    Richard, the Jordanians have apparently supplied the 
explanation for the recent warning or advisory to Americans travelling 
in Jordan, saying that they had arrested last month I believe two men 
who came with a carload of weapons from Syria, allegedly planning to 
target Americans touring Petra at the time of the Secretary's visit.  
Any details you would like to give us?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No.  Sorry.

          Q    Richard, on another subject.  Is there something new 
cooking between the United States and Vietnam?

          MR. BOUCHER:  In terms of food?  I think what you're asking 
about, basically, is the discussion that we had yesterday with the 
Vietnamese Permanent Representative to the United Nations, which I'd be 
glad to tell you about, if I can find it.

          Ambassador Trinh Xuan Lang, Vietnam's Permanent Representative 
to the United Nations, paid a farewell call on Assistant Secretary Clark 
yesterday.  During the call, Assistant Secretary Clark reviewed the 
steps taken by both countries during their respective tenures to resolve 
outstanding issues, including on the Prisoner of War and Missing in 
Action issues, and urging that Vietnam continue its on-going efforts to 
resolve all the remaining issues.

          Q    How come this meeting was not listed on the public 
schedule?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.

          Q    And what was the response from the Vietnamese?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Again, it was a farewell call.  It wasn't a new 
initiative or something.  It was a discussion between the two men of 
what had happened during the periods of their tenure.

          Q    I thought the Vietnamese were doing everything that the 
United States wished them to do on the POW issue.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Jim, we have said in the past that we welcome 
the additional cooperation that we've gotten from the Vietnamese in this 
area.  I think we've talked in very specific terms about that 
cooperation.  At the same time, we've urged them to do everything they 
can to ensure the fullest possible accounting.

          Q    Richard, just sort of a clean-up item from yesterday.  Do 
you know whether the U.S. ever did anything in response to the Iranian 
incursion over Iraq last weekend?  Did the U.S. or its allies --

          MR. BOUCHER:  I really don't have anything to add to what we 
discussed yesterday.  I don't think there was anything left to discuss 
over --

          Q    Well, I asked yesterday whether the U.S. had done 
anything about enforcement of the "no-fly" zone over the weekend in 
Iraq, and --

          MR. BOUCHER:  And I think I referred all your questions about 
military action to the Pentagon on the "no-fly" situation.

          Q    Have you discussed with your allies that incursion and 
what steps might be taken?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.

          Q    Richard, do you have a definitive response yet on El 
Salvador concerning the Truth Commission report?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, not a definitive response.  The Truth 
Commission met with Under Secretary Tarnoff yesterday for about an hour.  
They more or less formally presented him with a copy of the report, and 
they discussed it.  As we've said, we're interested in both the 
implications for the peace process and the implications for the United 
States, and Ambassador Tarnoff explored that with the members of the 
Commission.

          Q    Richard, El Salvador now is debating the question of a 
general amnesty and also the question of whether or not it's going to 
implement the recommendations of this report.  Is there some point when 
it will be appropriate, to have an effect on the debate in El Salvador, 
that the United States might express some substantive opinions about 
what is recommended?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Is there some point at which we may wish to?  
Yes.

          Q    No.  The important question is, do you plan to do it in a 
timely manner so that it could influence the debate or do you just see 
this as something --

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think, Carol, we've told you that this report 
deserves a careful examination.  We think it provides a volume of 
evidence that's very important to El Salvador and to the people in El 
Salvador who are moving forward on the peace process.  And you're aware 
that we've taken a whole series of steps and been very closely involved 
with the parties in supporting the peace process, and that's a process 
that we have worked with.  We've supported it monetarily.  We've 
supported it in detail, for example, with the Truth Commission; and 
we've tried to urge that whole process along.

          I think yesterday I said that we'd be studying the 
recommendations in the report, and we would indeed be talking with 
others involved in the process -- meaning the Salvadoran Government, 
possibly representatives of the FMLN, and the other countries that are 
concerned about the situation there.  We'll be discussing in more detail 
how this process can continue along in terms of supporting the peace 
process.

          Q    Richard, on another area, Bosnia.  As you know, over the 
past year some Americans have gone there to take part in the fighting on 
one side or the other.  What sort of problems does it cause for the 
United States Government when these Americans are captured, as a couple 
of them were last year?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The whole situation with Americans who have 
gotten involved in the fighting there is not always clear. First of all, 
the Neutrality Act -- the Arms Export Control Act -- excuse me -- 
requires people to obtain a license before they furnish certain forms of 
training and other assistance to foreign persons, including foreign 
governments.

          As a matter of policy, we don't approve licenses for mercenary 
services to the parties in the Yugoslav conflict.  So, first of all, the 
problem is that it's against our law if it's done without a license; and 
people wouldn't get a license.

          Second of all, we obviously have concerns whenever an American 
is detained in a foreign country.  We have certain responsibilities to 
visit them and to see after their welfare. In many ways the capture of 
an American in fighting is similar to any other arrest case, except that 
in terms of our interest, our interest is seeing the person is treated 
in a fair and humane manner.  If they're held on criminal grounds, it 
means expecting to see a fair trial.  If they're held as a prisoner of 
war, we'd expect humane treatment under other international standards.

          But the practical problems of a person who's been captured in 
a war situation are much `more: difficult.  There's no guarantee that 
the side that captured the person would necessarily notify us or allow 
access by a consular officer. Indeed, given the situations with 
fighting, etc., there's a great likelihood that getting to that person 
to see to their welfare would be very difficult.

          Q    So in sum you're saying it's against the law for 
Americans to go there to fight.

          MR. BOUCHER:  It's against the law for them to go there to 
fight without a license, and we wouldn't give them a license.

          Q    Is it against the law for the sides in that conflict to 
come here and recruit people to go there?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'm told that under neutrality laws, it's 
illegal for persons to enlist or recruit others within the United States 
to enter the armed forces of a foreign country.

          Q    Are there people doing that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We have some reports out of Zagreb that there 
are a few people who either may be doing it or may be thinking about 
doing it or may have done it.  I'm told the sum total of these comes to 
about four people.  We had a couple last year that were picked up and 
then, I think, released through the intervention of Prime Minister 
Panic; and we talked about that at the time.

          At this point we have some sort of vague reports out there.  
We don't really have confirmation.

          Q    How about recruiting in the United States for that 
particular thing?

          MR. BOUCHER:  That I don't know.

          Q    The ones that you referred to are recruiters or 
mercenaries?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No.  Reports out of our Embassy in Zagreb are 
that they have heard that there are about -- the possibility of four 
Americans who may be out there in an army.

          Q    Out there fighting?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Fighting, yes.

          Q    Mercenaries?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Mercenaries.

          Q    These are dual nationals?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know exactly.  The information is 
apparently somewhat vague.

          Q    Do you know what side they're fighting on?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, I don't.

          Q    Richard, on another subject --

          Q    Wait.  Could we stay on Bosnia.  There are reports that 
Serb forces are advancing pretty quickly on Srebrenica. Given the fact 
that there are two Americans -- given the fact that there are thousands 
of people there, including two Americans, what can you say about this 
situation, and are there any plans to evacuate?

          MR. BOUCHER:  As you know, the Americans who are there are 
there as part of General Morillon's party.  They work for General 
Morillon; they wear blue helmets; and what they do will be decided by 
the person they work for, basically by the U.N. and General Morillon.

          We have strongly supported his efforts to try to open these 
places up to convoys and to evacuations.  The fighting in eastern Bosnia 
is indeed heavy around Srebrenica.  Several reports indicate that 
Bosnian Serb forces have moved closer to Srebrenica, capturing several 
villages outside the city. Bosnian Serb forces are using tanks and 
howitzers to shell the area around Srebrenica, according to reports that 
we've seen. So there is more fighting there.

          I would point out that we have continued our airdrops in the 
area and that we had five U.S. planes that dropped 29 tons of food and 
1.1 tons of medical supplies into eastern Bosnia last night.  This is 
the 18th consecutive mission of Operation Provide Promise.  It was the 
10th airdrop to Srebrenica and the second drop to the village of Gabela.

          The drops included baby food from Norway, ration packets and 
biscuits from Great Britain, and about 200 pounds of penicillin from the 
World Health Organization.  Some of the United Nations people on the 
scene, I would point out, told us that the penicillin was urgently 
needed and that indeed the penicillin that was dropped the other night 
did get through to people who needed it.

          The UNHCR has identified Srebrenica and Gabela as continuing 
high priority areas for humanitarian relief because of their rapidly 
increasing refugee populations from Cerska and Konjevic Polje.  The U.N. 
and other humanitarian organizations have reported that these areas are 
experiencing widespread starvation and that the refugees lack adequate 
clothing.

          We continue to target Srebrenica and Gabela because relief 
convoys have still not been allowed into the area by Bosnian Serb 
forces.  U.N. officials in Srebrenica, including General Morillon, have 
confirmed that previous airdrops to the area have been on target and 
accessible to people there.

          Totals since the airdrops began on March 1:  The U.S. Air 
Force has delivered 544.6 tons of food, 19.3 tons of medical supplies.

          Q    All right.  Have you confirmed that the two Americans 
working for General Morillon are in fact spotting for the airdrops?

          MR. BOUCHER:  They're not working on airdrops.  They are 
support staff to General Morillon.

          Q    But they have told reporters that they are spotting for 
the airdrops.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't -- I haven't seen that.

          Q    So you're denying that --

          MR. BOUCHER:  My understanding is that they're not involved 
with the airdrop operation except to the extent that people with 
Morillon's staff, because they're there, are able to tell us that things 
got through, as Morillon has done.

          They are support staff that are assigned to UNPROFOR to work 
with General Morillon.  They were assigned to his operation in Kiseljak, 
and they went to Srebrenica with him.

          Q    Just so I understand this, you are denying that they are 
spotting for the airdrops.  Is that correct?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.  They're not involved with the airdrops.

          Q    O.K.  Well, we have them on tape saying they are, so --

          MR. BOUCHER:  Well, I'd like to see the tape, and I'll ask the 
people that tell me one thing, and we can compare.

          Q    Richard, in the increased fighting around Srebrenica, has 
the U.S. or the U.N. observed any additional Serb aircraft, using 
offensive techniques in the area, since the ones reported yesterday or 
the day before by the U.N.?

          MR. BOUCHER:  There was a United Nations statement yesterday 
-- a Security Council statement yesterday -- that we strongly supported, 
that condemned the aerial bombings by Bosnian Serbs of Bosnian 
Government targets.  In that, the Security Council took note -- and this 
is from the statement -- of being informed by the Secretary General in a 
letter of 12 March of the violation of 11 March by military jets 
proceeding from the airport of Banja Luka of the "no-fly" space.

          And then the Security Council also took note of the report by 
the Secretary General in a letter of March 16 that indicated that on 
March 13, new violations of the "no-fly" zone took place by planes that 
proceeded to bomb villages of Gladovici and Osatica in the Republic of 
Bosnia and Herzegovina before leaving in the direction of Serbia-
Montenegro.

          Q    Military jets also engaged in bombing?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.  But again the U.N. statement yesterday 
said the above flights were the first violations of the Security Council 
Resolution 781 observed by UNPROFOR which involved combat activity.*

          Q    And what steps does the U.S. think ought to be taken to 
deal with that problem?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Well, I mean, first of all, we strongly 
supported the Security Council statement.  We think, as the statement 
points out, the bombings are violations -- flagrant violations -- of 
Resolution 781 that bans military flights in the airspace of Bosnia-
Herzegovina.

          We believe the bombings and the statement will serve as 
catalysts to move the Council forward on adoption of an enforcement 
resolution, and it's something that we have long sought.  We do plan to 
increase our diplomatic efforts in New York and in Security Council 
capitals, urging our friends and allies in the Council to take swift 
action.

          Q    Are you aware of the French initiative in that respect?  
Dumas announced in Paris that France is ready to propose a resolution on 
enforcement of the "no-fly" zone, and it would be a rather drastic 
change in the French position.  Are you aware of that initiative?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I personally hadn't seen that statement from the 
French, so I wasn't personally aware of it.  I'm not sure if our U.N. 
people are, but certainly we would welcome any support.  As you know, 
the United States has supported enforcement of this for some time.

 
 *  CORRECTION:  The U.N. Security Council statement on the aerial 
bombings in Bosnia noted the March 13 violations involved bombing.  The 
information in the Secretary General's letter regarding the March 11 
violation doesn't mention bombing by military jets.

          Q    The Serbian offensive, though -- the continuing Serbian 
offensive is also a violation of the rather strong statement that the 
Security Council made, I guess, a week or ten days ago.  Is there any 
further action to be taken to back up what the Security Council said 
when they warned Serbia not to do that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We have continued our efforts in various ways.  
You've seen what General Morillon is doing on the ground to try to open 
up the area to evacuations and convoys.  Three of the four convoys that 
were blocked at the border have apparently received permission to move, 
but not the one to Srebrenica.

          We have been meeting with the parties up in New York -- Vance 
and Owen have been meeting with the parties up in New York to try to 
continue the peace process.  All the parties are there now.  The Bosnian 
Government had a continuous delegation that had been there that had been 
in touch with Vance and Owen.  But also yesterday Vance and Owen met 
with Radovan Karadjic `and: Mate Boban.  They were to meet with the 
Foreign Minister of Serbia-Montenegro, Mr. Janovic, yesterday evening; 
and they're going to meet with President Izetbegovic today.

          Ambassador Bartholomew is back up in New York, and he has been 
having meetings as well.  He met with Radovan Karadjic on the afternoon 
of March 17.  Karadjic had just come from his meeting with the Co-
Chairmen, Vance and Owen.  In this meeting with Karadjic, Ambassador 
Bartholomew called what is happening in eastern Bosnia an abomination.  
He linked it explicitly to the practice of ethnic cleansing.

          He pressed Karadjic on the discrepancy between what is 
happening on the ground in Bosnia and the ongoing discussion of the 
Vance-Owen proposals.  Ambassador Bartholomew also pressed Karadjic to 
ensure that the killing and the Bosnia-Serb advance stop and that the 
Bosnian Serbs allow humanitarian aid convoys to pass.

          Karadjic claimed that the Bosnian Serbs are only responding to 
the Muslim offensive, but he did say that steps would be taken 
concerning the movement of convoys to Srebrenica.

          Q    Does the United States believe that Mr. Karadjic 
represents the military that is operating in the name of that rump 
government?  There have been reports that the civilian part of the 
government is no longer in control of what General Mladic is doing on 
the ground.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think I could make any observations on 
that.  He purports to represent the Bosnian Serb community and to 
negotiate on their behalf, and we deal with him in that capacity.

Q    What did Ambassador Bartholomew say, and what did Mr. Karadjic say, 
about the air offensive?  You talked about the ground offensive just 
now.  Was it --

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'm not sure they got into specifics of how the 
Serbian offensive was being conducted.  It's clear that, you know, we're 
concerned not just about bombs but also about the terrible things that 
occur on the ground in the name of ethnic cleansing.

          Q    As I recall --

          MR. BOUCHER:  Sid?

          Q    Ambassador Bartholomew delivered essentially that same 
message, although not the same details, about a week and a half ago to 
Karadjic, and things have just gotten worse.  Did he indicate that this 
may be "the last time I'm saying it to you," or "Listen, we told you two 
weeks ago to do something about it.Ó  I mean, he's doing nothing?  What 
sort of stick is he holding out to Mr. Karadjic, or are we just going to 
continue to let these people, who have been publicly told they should 
answer for war crimes, just push us all over the place?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Sid, we and others have been moving to bring a 
variety of pressures on this process, have the activity of people on the 
ground, like the UNPROFOR people, the UNHCR people, General Morillon and 
others, in trying to get the convoys through and get the food to people 
who need it.  You have the diplomatic activity that weÕve unleashed and 
that has been going on in New York to try to bring the parties to 
agreement.  You have a continued tightening of sanctions where you've 
seen a number of steps that we've taken in that regard.  So indeed we 
have been moving in a variety of areas to bring the pressures that are 
necessary to bring the parties to an agreement that's fair and workable, 
and to see that the killing stops.

          Q    Just on the sanctions, just to follow up --

          Q    You've been doing that for some time now, and it so far 
hasn't worked --

          MR. BOUCHER:  That's no reason not to keep doing it.

          Q    -- and I just wondered whether you're thinking of doing 
anything else.

          MR. BOUCHER:  We are continually thinking of doing other 
things.  We've announced a series of steps --

          Q    Like what?  I mean, it might be helpful to Karadjic if he 
knew some of the things that you might have in mind if this kept up.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, we've discussed these before.  The 
Secretary has discussed the steps that he said we would take, and indeed 
we are taking those steps.  We're continuing to look at other possible 
sanctions enforcement and sanctions measures which may be necessary to 
increase the incentives on the parties to reach agreement and stop the 
fighting.  We're continuing to look at the humanitarian area.  We're 
continuing to work in all these areas.

          Q    At what point will we determine that it's going to take 
additional sanctions to induce these people to do something?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Sid, I can't predict the future.

          Q    Can you be specific about what contribution the U.S. is 
prepared to make, now that the U.N. Security Council has issued a new 
statement on the air offensive and now that you think the bombing will 
help move the Security Council to further steps?  Is the U.S. proposing 
to the Security Council to make a concrete contribution to enforcement 
of the "no-fly" zone?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Ralph, I think you're familiar with the fact 
that NATO has done some planning in this area at the request of the U.N. 
Secretary General.  ItÕs too early for me to try to talk about specific 
roles in enforcement.  WeÕve held all along it's important to get the 
enforcement resolution and to see the resolution enforced.

          Q    Is it too early to talk about it because you haven't had 
enough time to think about enforcement?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We've got to get the resolution first.

          Q    Do we have any kind of a timetable on at least presenting 
the Security Council with this resolution, now that it appears that 
there were real live violations of the --

          MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, I can't give you a specific timetable.  As 
you know, the Council works --

          Q    I mean a timeframe, like within a week, two weeks, a 
month?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Is it my turn, Saul?  We plan to increase our 
diplomatic efforts in New York and the Security Council capitals.  We'll 
be doing that right away, and we'll be urging our friends and allies on 
the Council to take swift action. We're pushing it as fast as we can get 
it.

          Q    Is this going to be a new push, or is this the same four- 
or five-month old push we've been trying --

         MR. BOUCHER:  This is a new push, Sid.  This is a new push.  If 
you want it reduced to simplistic levels, it's a new push for the "no-
fly" zone enforcement resolution.

          Q    Well, that's helpful, Richard.  It's not simplistic; it's 
helpful.

          Q    Is it premature to discuss the reports from Brussels 
about the 50,000-member NATO force for implementation of the agreement?

          MR. BOUCHER:  It's still premature to deal with numbers, 
Ralph.  Let me tell you what NATO is doing.  NATO is doing necessary 
planning to implement an overall settlement under U.N. auspices once an 
agreement is reached by the parties.  Preliminary planning by NATO is 
being undertaken without prejudging the final decisions to be taken by 
the United Nations.

          The North Atlantic Council on March 17 approved additional 
planning guidance to NATO military authorities on a possible NATO role 
in implementing a peace plan.  The additional guidance is not a decision 
document, but rather an aid to NATO military authorities in focusing 
their planning, and it's part of an ongoing process.

         Q   And it didnÕt mention the 50,000-member figure?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The military has to do their planning. There 
were no decisions taken on how and with what level of forces NATO might 
contribute to implementation.

          Q    That wasn't the question.  The question was whether the 
guidance includes any figures, such as the 50,000 figure?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think that's a question you'd have to ask at 
NATO, about specific NATO documents.  There were no decisions taken.  
It's merely guidance for the military authorities to do planning.

          Q    But it goes to the question of whether it's premature to 
discuss figures.  If NATO is in fact discussing figures, then obviously 
it's not premature to do so.  If there are no figures in there, then 
maybe it is premature to do 

         MR. BOUCHER:  ItÕs premature for me to discuss them in either 
case, Ralph.

          Q    O.K.

          Q    Richard, what incentive is there for the Bosnian Serbs to 
sign an agreement which, as soon as they sign it, they will get a large 
NATO force, whereas now they can operate with impunity?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Chris, there are continuing incentives -- the 
prospect of diplomatic and economic isolation, the continued effect of 
sanctions on the Serbs and the Montenegrins, the prospect of increasing 
sanctions -- and one would hope that the prospect of peace and security 
were of some incentive to them as well.

          Q    A point of information, Richard:  Have all Yugoslav funds 
-- Serbo-Montenegrin funds -- in the United States been frozen?  Do you 
know?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

          Q    They have been?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

          Q    Thank you.

          (The briefing concluded at 1:40 p.m.) 
(###)

To the top of this page