930413 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 #53


               TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 1993, 12:30 P.M.
              (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)


         MR. BOUCHER:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

         If I could start, I would like to tell you about our seventh 
submission to the United Nations on human rights abuses in the former 
Yugoslavia, and after that I'll be glad to take your questions.

         Yesterday, our mission to the United Nations in New York 
presented the U.N. Secretariat with the seventh U.S. Government report 
on violations of humanitarian law in the former Yugoslavia.  We have 
again asked that the report be circulated as a Security Council document 
and that it be provided to the U.N. Commission of Experts -- the so-
called War Crimes Commission -- that is examining allegations of grave 
breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

         As with our previous six reports, this report documents 
numerous examples of willful killing; torture of prisoners, including 
sexual abuse; deliberate attacks on non-combatants; wanton devastation 
and destruction of property; impeding delivery of food and medical 
supplies to the civilian population; and other violations of 
humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict, including mass forcible 
expulsion and deportation of civilians.

         We intend to continue to prepare such reports and present them 
to the United Nations as further information becomes available to us.

         And that report is available in the Press Office.

         Q    Richard, when does this Administration think it would be 
appropriate to go forward with war crimes trials?

        MR. BOUCHER:  Sid, as you will remember, we have pressed 
strongly for the establishment of a war crimes tribunal.  Under the 
resolution, the Secretary General was to report within a specified 
period of time -- I can't remember exactly what it was -- to establish 
the tribunal, and then they would commence their work.          Q    And 
when does this Administration think the time is right for that?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We voted for a U.N. resolution that has certain 
time periods in it, and we think it should proceed expeditiously.

         Q    Does the Administration feel that a war crimes trial 
should go on while the negotiations for peace in the Balkans is still 
continuing?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We have not linked the issues.  We have felt it 
was important to proceed with the establishment of the war crimes 
tribunal through the U.N. resolution and then through the further work 
that has to be done with the Secretary General's report to move forward 
with their work.

         Q    Would the United States -- I know you are not linking -- 
would the United States consider dropping this whole war crimes matter 
if the Bosnian Serbs sign on to Vance-Owen?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, that is a totally hypothetical question.  
We have indeed pressed for the establishment of the war crimes tribunal, 
and we have always maintained that those who are responsible for these 
crimes should be brought to justice.

         Q    Have any other nations submitted yet any such report?

         MR. BOUCHER:  There have been a number of other reports.  I 
think the last time we checked in March, it was about ten.

         Q    Do you have any reaction to the shelling of Srebrenica 
yesterday just a couple of minutes after the "no-fly" zone began to be 
enforced?

         MR BOUCHER:  Well, first of all, I think there is no indication 
that there is some direct link to the "no-fly" zone despite the 
coincidence in time.

         The situation with fighting yesterday was very difficult.  
There was a lot of shelling in both Srebrenica and in Sarajevo.  We 
continue to deplore this shelling.  These are brutal attacks on innocent 
people.

         Let me say what we know about it.  According to a U.N. 
spokesman, there were 56 people, most of them civilians, that were 
killed in yesterday's shelling of Srebrenica.  Fifteen of the victims 
were children, and an additional 73 people were seriously wounded in the 
two-hour-long artillery and mortar attacks by Bosnian Serb forces.  
Sixteen people were injured in villages near the city center.  The city 
has been quiet since these attacks.

         In Sarajevo, heavy shelling also occurred yesterday. Reportedly 
one person was killed and two were injured in those attacks.  There were 
reports of more shelling and infantry fighting in the city today, and 
there were sporadic artillery and mortar attacks overnight in some of 
the neighborhoods.

         Q    This presumably ends the cease-fire.

         MR. BOUCHER:  The cease-fire is in difficult straits. It is not 
being observed, basically.  We have this fighting in Srebrenica; we have 
the shelling in Sarajevo.  Five people were killed in shelling in Bihac; 
isolated exchanges of shelling in northeastern towns of Gracanica, 
Celic, Gradacac and Brcko.

         Clearly we think the cease-fire remains important, and we have 
urged the parties to observe the cease-fire that was reached last month.  
But, as the facts show, there are a lot of breaches.

         Q    What does it say about the Serbs -- Bosnian Serbs 
commitment to negotiating peace?

         MR. BOUCHER:  So far they haven't shown that kind of 
commitment.  We have asked -- the international community has asked for 
them to stop the killing and to negotiate seriously for peace.  As you 
know, we have a number of efforts underway, both the continuation of the 
humanitarian efforts, convoys -- we got a convoy into Srebrenica just 
today.  Air drops have continued.  But we are also continuing our 
diplomatic and other efforts to bring pressure on the Serbs to stop 
killing and join in the search for a peaceful solution.

         Q    Some of the Third World nations are not too happy at the 
unilateral suspension of the sanctions resolution that you and the 
Russians decided on yesterday.  Do you have anything to say to those 
countries?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The non-aligned nations have expressed their 
concerns over the delay in the vote on the resolution. The Security 
Council President, Jamshed Marker of Pakistan, is going to hold 
bilateral discussions with Security Council members today on the 
proposed delay.  The Security Council will meet tomorrow informally to 
discuss the results of his consultations.

         I would point out again, as we did yesterday, in agreeing to 
the delay we would also remove from the resolution the two-week grace 
period before sanctions would take effect, and thus the delay would not 
affect the date on which the enhanced sanctions against Serbia and 
Montenegro would begin.

         Q    The U.N. in Geneva said that they were down to one-day's 
food in the pipeline.

         MR. BOUCHER:  I have slightly different information on food.  
We are concerned, as I said yesterday, that there may not be enough food 
in the pipeline for coming months, and we are raising this at high 
levels with donor governments.

         However, there is food arriving.  There is a U.S. Food for 
Peace shipment that arrived on Friday, April 9.  Another shipment from 
Canada is expected to arrive April 20.  The U.S. is also providing 
additional funds to UNHCR for the immediate purchase of food.

         The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has also made emergency 
purchases of food for Bosnia that will be delivered later this month.  
Still further purchases through the European Community are expected very 
shortly.

         At this point, we have no information on the U.N. cutting 
rations due to a shortfall of food supplies.

         Q    Srebrenica is -- on the Vance-Owen map -- Srebrenica is in 
the Moslem -- one of the Moslem enclaves or zones.  How important is it 
for the viability of that process that Srebrenica should not fall?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Alan, it's important for the people in Srebrenica 
that they not be subject to further attack.  And certainly we have made 
efforts to support the cease-fire.  We have made efforts to get the 
Serbs to stop their aggression in the area, and the international 
community has been very united on this point.

         In terms of, specifically, the Vance-Owen map, I really don't 
want to get into commenting one way or the other on specific lines on 
the map.  But the problem in Srebrenica is not a problem of lines on the 
map.  It's a problem of people on the ground who are suffering due to 
the continued aggression.  We're doing what we can to try to bring it to 
a stop through our diplomatic efforts and through our coordination with 
other governments and through impending moves such as further tightening 
of the sanctions.

         Q    Any thought given to these NATO warplanes that are flying 
overhead over these artillery batteries and mortar batteries and tanks, 
that they can take some sort action, even flying low to perhaps prevent 
these guns or try to stop these guns somehow from shelling these people 
if it's that important that they not be shelled?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, I don't know if what you're suggesting is 
militarily feasible.  But in any case, I think we've described the 
purpose of these aircraft.  They're flying there to enforce the "no-fly" 
zone.

         Q    I know.  But the "no-fly" zone is apparently not 
protecting the people from the shelling.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, the "no-fly" zone is intended to prevent 
aircraft from flying, to prevent the use of aircraft for a variety of 
purposes, including the bombing of civilians such as has occurred in the 
past.

         Q    I got you.  So what's to --

         MR. BOUCHER:  We're there to enforce the "no-fly" zone.

         Q    I know, but what's to prevent their shells from going from 
the Serbian guns onto the population of Srebrenica?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Once again, Saul, I've described for you, the 
Secretary described on February 10, what we are doing to try to get the 
fighting to stop.  I've described to you the continuation of those 
efforts.  We're doing every single thing that we described.  One of 
those things is to enforce a "no-fly" zone, and that's what our 
airplanes are there for.

         Q    Is the violation of the cease-fire also sort of a 
violation of other U.N. orders not to do these things?  In other words, 
isn't the shelling in violation of repeated Security Council 
resolutions?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Indeed, the Security Council has repeatedly 
called on the Serbs to stop the aggression and stop the fighting, yes.

         Q    Has Ambassador Bartholomew met with Bosnian Serbs yet?

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.  I'll give you a rundown. Ambassador 
Bartholomew, Lt. General McCaffrey, and Deputy Assistant Secretary Ralph 
Johnson are in Mostar, in southern Bosnia, today for a meeting with the 
Bosnian Croat leader Mate Boban.

         Yesterday they met in Sarajevo with members of the Bosnian 
Presidency and with senior UNPROFOR and UNHCR officials.  Tonight 
they're returning to Zagreb for meetings with Croatian President 
Tudjman, UNPROFOR Civil Administrator Chief Thornberry, and UNPROFOR 
Commander Wahlgren.

         Tomorrow they're scheduled to be in Belgrade to meet with 
Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic, Serbian President Milosevic, and Russian 
Special Envoy Churkin.  Later in the week they're scheduled to meet with 
Bosnian President Izetbegovic.

         Q    I don't know fully the purposes -- I mean, what they hope 
to come out of these meetings with --

         MR. BOUCHER:  The purpose is what we've described previously, 
and what I've described again today.  This is part of our efforts to 
support an overall Bosnian settlement.  He's pressing the main points of 
our policy with all of his interlocutors.

         Part of that policy, of course, is to tighten and toughen the 
U.N. sanctions regime to bring more intense pressure to bear on the 
Bosnian Serbs and their supporters in Belgrade. And, as I said before, 
we and the rest of the international community are working to bring the 
Bosnian Serbs to an agreement so that we can put an end to this 
conflict.

         Q    Has there been any violations of the "no-fly" zone in the 
last 12 hours -- last 24 hours?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The last 24 hours?

         Q    Any interceptions?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I wasn't able to get up-to-date information on 
that.  You might check with the military, and I'll see if I can get you 
something later.

         Q    Can we ask about Vietnam?  Have you had a chance to 
evaluate at all the document in question and its authenticity?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The experts are continuing their analysis of the 
document.  It's not completed yet.  It is being undertaken on an 
expedited basis.  As I think I mentioned yesterday, some of the experts 
at the Pentagon have been looking at the information that was in this 
document even before we actually got a copy of it.  So while that 
analysis continues, I'm afraid I won't have any more to say about it.

         Q    The Vietnamese are saying that this is a forgery and a 
fake.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Again, until we've finished our analysis, I 
couldn't say one way or the other.

         Q    Have the Vietnamese communicated directly or indirectly to 
the U.S. their opinion of the document?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.

         Q    Do you have any comment on the situation in South Africa?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think I have anything new, Alan. We 
commented on the death of -- the assassination of Chris Hani.  Of 
course, we've seen various statements by different parties that indicate 
their commitment to the talks and the negotiations, and of course we 
welcome that and support that.

         Q    Can you give us any kind of readout on the meetings today 
with, I think, the Jordanians --

         MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.  I don't have any sort of readout yet.  The 
schedule is the Jordanians met this morning with Assistant Secretary 
Djerejian and the peace team at 11:00.  The Syrians meet with them this 
afternoon at 3:00.  Tomorrow the Lebanese will meet with us at 11:00; 
the Palestinians, at 3:00. They're also seeing Israeli Ambassador 
Rabinovich on Thursday.

         Q    Can you say what the purpose is?

         MR. BOUCHER:  These are consultations in advance of the talks 
which we expect to resume on April 20.  The purpose is to discuss with 
the parties the issues that will come up at those talks and try to 
encourage them to make -- to be in a position to make meaningful 
progress when those talks resume.

         Q    Have you heard from any of the parties?

         MR. BOUCHER:  We have no new definitive answers yet.

         Q    Have you received any official notification that Faisal 
Husseini will be part of the delegation?

         MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, I don't have anything on that.

         Q    There is no message coming out either from Tunis or from 
other capitals telling you officially that he's going to be --

         MR. BOUCHER:  I've seen lots of various statements, but I don't 
have anything for you on it.

         Q    Have we communicated with the Iraqis since the incident 
Friday?  Did they give any possible explanation?  Can we draw any 
conclusions?

         MR. BOUCHER:  I'll have to check, Sid.  I don't know.

         Q    Thank you.

         (Press briefing concluded at 12:48 p.m.)
(###)

To the top of this page