930406 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 #48

                 TUESDAY, APRIL 6, 1993, 12:55 P. M.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  I'd like 
to do a couple things off the top.  The first is, we revised the 
schedule this morning, so I just want to make sure you've noticed that 
we'll have a photo op of the Secretary and Egyptian Foreign Minister 
Amre Moussa this afternoon.  Pickup time is 1:40 p.m., C Street lobby.  
The photo op is at 2:00 o'clock.

          Second of all is, I would like to make a statement by 
Secretary Christopher on the recent fighting in the area of Nagorno-

          Last week's offensive by ethnic Armenian forces in the 
Kelbajar District of Azerbaijan has threatened efforts to resolve the 
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict peacefully and has created additional 
suffering for the innocent civilian population of the region.

          The United States Government condemns this offensive and has 
expressed its deep concern about the offensive to the highest level of 
the Government of Armenia and to representatives of the Nagorno-Karabakh 
Armenians.  We have called for the prompt and complete withdrawal of all 
ethnic Armenian forces from the Kelbajar District.

          The United States Government remains convinced that the CSCE-
sponsored Minsk Group negotiations remain the best hope for a peaceful 
resolution of the conflict.  We call upon all parties to the conflict to 
refrain from seeking a military solution and to return in good faith to 
the negotiating table.

          With that statement, I'd be glad to take your questions.

          Q  Do you have any comment on the remarks by President 
Milosevic of Serbia, praising U.S. policy towards them?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The President has commented on that, I think, 
already twice this morning, most recently in his press conference with 
President Mubarak.  Certainly, as the President said, what Milosevic 
appears to be trying to do is to play politics and try to thwart the 
effort to have new sanctions. The President has once again stressed his 
commitment to toughen up the sanctions if the Serbs don't agree to stop 
the killing and negotiate a solution.

          In fact we have been meeting with the Security Council.  We 
met yesterday informally to discuss a draft text of the new resolution.  
We're continuing our consultations on that subject, and we expect to 
move forward.  We're supporting a resolution that calls on the Serbs to 
reach a peace agreement and that tightens economic sanctions against 

          Q    On that, Richard, did the Russians ask for still another 
delay on this rather "Caspar Milquetoast" resolution?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Well, first of all, I would not describe the 
resolution as "Caspar Milquetoast."  The resolution is one that will 
toughen the economic sanctions on Serbia-Montenegro, which is the prime 
supporter of the Bosnian Serbs.  As you know, it's our intention to go 
ahead with tighter and tighter economic sanctions if they fail to join 
in the search for peace.  It's a resolution that we continue to work 
with other members of the Security Council.

          Q    But did the Russians ask for a seven-day delay on this 
one, too?  I think they indicated that they had.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think they indicated that they wanted some 
delay.  I'm not sure exactly what the time period would be.

          Q    In view of the sensitivities in Russia on this particular 
resolution and the approach of the April 25 referendum, is the United 
States willing to have a delay until after the April 25 referendum?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Mark, we continue to work this resolution up in 
New York.  We want to move forward on this resolution.  As you know, 
we've cooperated closely with the Russians in the past.  We've 
cooperated on a series of steps to try to get the parties to reach a 
peace agreement.  We've cooperated in attempts to use our influence with 
the parties.  We've cooperated on the imposition of the enforcement of 
the "no-fly" resolution, and we'll continue to work with them and 
cooperate with them on this resolution.

          I don't have a specific timetable at this point for its 
passage, but certainly the effort of all of us is devoted to trying to 
bring pressure on the Serbs so that they understand that if they fail to 
reach agreement, if they fail to negotiate seriously, and if they fail 
to abide by the commitments to stop the fighting, they will face more 
and more pressure from the international community.

          Q    Do you have any comment on the proposal by Vitaly Churkin 
-- late last week, I believe it was -- to encourage all parties to sign 
the existing agreement with the prospect that the specific provincial 
borders could still be negotiated afterwards?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I didn't see that proposal.  Certainly, Mark, 
our efforts and the Russian efforts have been devoted to trying to make 
the Serbs negotiate seriously on the papers, the documents, that are in 
New York that the other two parties have already agreed to.  The other 
parties would obviously have to agree to anything; and it's for them to 
decide, not us.

          Q    Are you discussing with the Turkish Government Armenian 
attacks on Azerbaijan?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Yes, certainly.  They're concerned about it, and 
we are, too.

          Q    I have another question:  Last week Secretary 
Christopher, he labeled Iran as an international terrorism -- a main 
source of international terrorism -- and he suggested the U.S. is 
planning to implement some economic sanctions against Iran also.  But 
last week the Washington Times reported that Armenia and Iran signed an 
agreement about some pipeline and also exchanging scientists, a top-
level software or computer scientists exchange.  Do you have any comment 
on it?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'm not aware of this agreement.  As far as the 
situation goes with Iran, Iran is and has been for many years on our 
list of state sponsors of terrorism; and that makes them subject to a 
whole variety of sanctions from the United States, basically in the 
areas of high technology.  In addition, there are other restrictions on 
trade and commerce that we have with Iran.  And we have been working 
with other governments to try to ensure that those kinds of things are 
made more universal.

          The specific comments the Secretary made, I think, have to do 
with World Bank loans and lending by international financial 
institutions; and we also discussed that here last week.

          Q    On Bosnia again, Mr. Christopher apparently said that 
lifting the arms embargo for the Muslims would result in a more level 
playing field, and the British Foreign Secretary responded by saying it 
would result in a more level killing field.  Is a split developing 
between the United States and Europe with the United States wanting 
tougher policies?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I guess I would question the word "developing."  
There's a difference on this issue.  There has been in the approach to 
this.  Secretary Christopher has been very up front in talking about the 
considerations.  We certainly understand the concerns that are raised by 
other governments when it comes to considering the arms embargo, and 
he's explained those many times.  He explained them again last night on 

          We understand those concerns.  At the same time, we do think 
that if the Serbs continue to fail to participate in the process of 
trying to reach agreement and fail to stop the killing, we will have to 
look for other measures.  We've made very clear -- the Secretary has 
made very clear -- that we think the arms embargo is something that we 
would raise and we think ought to be considered.  At the same time, we 
understand the concerns that others have and that they have raised 

          It's a very complicated and difficult issue.  It will be when 
we talk to the other countries about it.  But we do think it's something 
that ought to be raised and considered if the Serbs continue their 
depredations in eastern Bosnia and if they continue to fail to 
participate in the search for peace.

          Q    On Russia, Richard.  Forgive me if this question was 
asked yesterday.  The President intended to ask for assurances from 
President Yeltsin on the Russian economy; and he had certain specifics 
in mind on credit, inflation, and so forth.  And on those assurances the 
rest of the package to be presented to the G-7 were based.

          Can you tell us if the President got those assurances and if 
work is now going forward on the second part of the package to be 
presented to the G-7?

          MR. BOUCHER:  John, I don't have any additional information on 
that.  The President, I think, did address those concerns at the press 
conference that he did with President Yeltsin.  He made clear that there 
were a lot of things in the area of reform that the Russians had to do.  
But he made clear that we would also be looking at pursuing the efforts 
that we had undertaken, in addition to the things that we announced over 
the weekend, and that we were looking at what further measures we could 
take based on the conversations that we had with President Yeltsin and 
what further measures we could develop for discussion around the time or 
at the G-7 in Tokyo.  So, yes, we are working on the second tranche.

          Q    That is, even without getting the assurances from 
President Yeltsin, we're working on the second tranche?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think the President made clear that overall 
there are things that the Russians need to do in the area of economic 
reform.  He said that there are things that they have to do.  But there 
are also things that we can do, such as the things that we announced 
over weekend that help further the process of reform and help build the 

          Q    But, Richard, saying that there are things the Russians 
need to do and getting the assurances from the Russians that they are 
going to do them are two different things.  Did we get the assurances?

          MR. BOUCHER:  John, I do not remember that the President ever 
said -- and you can correct me if you have the quote somewhere -- but I 
do not remember that the President said that we had to have specific 
assurances from the Russians before we could go forward with some kinds 
of aid.

          Q    No, the President didn't say that; but two senior 
Administration officials, briefing reporters before the summit, said 
that they were necessary.

          MR. BOUCHER:  You might ask those officials, then, if they got 
the assurances.  I don't have any further de-brief on the President's 

          Q    There is a report this morning that the Ex-Im Bank is 
going to loan $2 billion for some sort of transaction involving Russia.  
Do you have anything?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The Ex-Im Bank apparently has been -- well, the 
Ex-Im Bank has been negotiating and discussing with Russian authorities 
an oil and gas framework agreement that could finance up to $2 billion 
in U.S. equipment sales and services to the Russian energy sector.  I'm 
sure you can get more details on that from the Ex-Im Bank.

          Note that in this sector also we announced at the Vancouver 
summit an energy and environment initiative which will provide $38 
million in assistance; $10 million of that will focus on reform efforts 
in the oil, gas, and coal sectors.

          Q    Do you have anything on Japanese Foreign Minister 
Watanabe's decision to step down because of his health condition?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Foreign Minister Watanabe has been an able and 
effective representative of Japan, demonstrating a strong commitment to 
the U.S.-Japan relationship.  Secretary Christopher had very productive 
discussions with Minister Watanabe during his visit to Washington in 
March*.  We extend our best wishes to him for the recovery of his 

          We worked well and closely with Mr. Muto when he was the 
Minister for International Trade and Industry.  We congratulate him on 
his appointment, and we look forward to a constructive relationship with 
him as Foreign Minister.

          Q    Richard, do you have anything new on Haiti, on Caputo's 


 *  Correction:  The visit and meeting were in February.          MR. 
BOUCHER:  No, I don't.  I think we want to leave it to Mr. Caputo to 
describe the status of his talks and the status of his mission.  We, of 
course, have been in close touch with him.  He met yesterday with 
Ambassador Pezzullo, our Special Advisor on Haiti, to discuss the 
situation down there and the status of the negotiations.

          Q    Richard, on Iran, Minister Kozyrev said on one of the 
talk shows yesterday that Iran could not be termed an "international 
outlaw" because action against it had not been taken by the U.N. 
Security Council.  Is there any consideration at this point of a move 
through the Security Council to take a tough stand against Iran?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know, Mark.  I haven't heard of any 
resolutions being tabled or anything like that.  But you know about our 
concerns about Iran, concerns about its support for terrorism, its human 
rights practices, and concerns in the proliferation area as well.  We've 
worked with other governments in a variety of international 
organizations to bring those concerns to the fore and to try to see that 
people's policies toward Iran take into account those factors.

          Q    Do you have anything about Cyprus -- the last week 
meeting in New York?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, I don't.

          Q    Thank you.

          MR. BOUCHER:   Mark has one more, I guess.

          Q    Do you have anything on the case of a Baltimore Sun 
correspondent in Moscow who has been summoned for questioning on 
articles he wrote about the chemical weapons leak?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Our Embassy in Moscow has expressed our concern 
about the case to the Russian Foreign Ministry.  We'll continue to 
follow that case closely.

          The reporter, we understand, has hired legal counsel and will 
meet with Security Ministry officials tomorrow.  An Embassy officer will 
accompany him to the meeting.  That's where we are.

          Q    Thank you.

          (Press briefing concluded 1:10 p.m.)

To the top of this page