930415 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 #55

                THURSDAY, APRIL 15, 1993, 12:36 P. M.
                (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)


          MR. BOUCHER:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  I have 
one thing off the top.  After this briefing, the Press Office will be 
able to provide you with the executive summary of the humanitarian 
assistance team's report on its visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina last month.  
The executive summary is a six-page document that presents us the issues 
that are identified by the team, even as they are still in the process 
of preparing a comprehensive report.  As we've said before, we're 
following up on all the ideas presented in the report.  Many of them are 
within the means of the appropriate agencies to implement or to send for 
further study, and these are already in various stages of follow-up or 
actual implementation.

          As noted in the report itself, some of the recommendations had 
broader implications for policy and therefore required wider or higher 
level review.  That review continues.  We're evaluating them in the 
context of our overall efforts to bring about a settlement, as well as 
provide relief.

          You remember on February 10, the Secretary promised quite 
determined steps to ensure that humanitarian deliveries got to the 
people who need them.  We've now flown airdrops for 45 days.  We've 
delivered over 1,800 tons of food and medicine through that means. The 
United Nations has also continued its efforts, particularly in eastern 
Bosnia, despite the fighting and the security risks.  So we'll have this 
available to you after the briefing with a written copy of a slightly 
longer statement.

          Q   Have the President and Congress seen this executive 
summary?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The executive summary has been delivered to 
people on the Hill, and I don't frankly know about the President.

          Q   Do you have a list of the members of the team?

         MR. BOUCHER:  The members of the team.  The total number of 
participants in the travel in and around Bosnia-Herzegovina was 26.  
Various agencies were represented:  different offices in the Departments 
of State and Defense; offices from the Agency for International 
Development.  There were specialists from the Centers for Disease 
Control in Atlanta, from the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, 
Germany, and from U.S. private voluntary agencies working in Bosnia-
Herzegovina; and we had people from our Embassies in Zagreb and 
Belgrade, and people from the Disaster Assistance Response Team which 
works out of Zagreb.

          The team was led by Jerry Hamilton -- Hugh G. Hamilton, Jr., 
Deputy Special Adviser for Eastern European Assistance in the Office of 
the Deputy Secretary of State.  The deputy team leader was Jim Kunder, 
Director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in AID; and the 
senior Defense Department representative was a Navy Captain by the name 
of Larry Julihn of that Department's European Policy Office.

          Q    How do you spell his last name -- Julihn?

          MR. BOUCHER:  J-u-l-i-h-n.

          Q    Richard, does the executive summary contain any of the 
recommendations which do have policy implications which are under 
review?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The executive summary notes all the important 
recommendations of the team.  It's everything from providing more seeds, 
which is something that we can do, to more medical care, to various 
liaison arrangements, and it raises ideas which it notes are outside 
their mandate or outside their ability to implement, but questions of 
safe-havens, of fighting, Tuzla airport, things like that that you've 
heard about.

       .  Basically, when they came back -- they were out there from 
February 25 to March 10 -- when they came back, they faced a choice of 
working for a long time on a long report or getting together and 
deciding what the key recommendations were and bringing these to the 
attention of both policy makers and people who could implement them.  
And that's the course that they chose to get to work on the 
recommendations and findings quickly, so they did a summary -- an 
executive summary that was finished towards the end of March, and that's 
what we've been following up on through the various appropriate 
channels.  The whole report, the comprehensive report, is not yet done.

          Q    Richard, did they stay in Bosnia from the 25th to the 
10th of March or --

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, they traveled in the area during that 
period.  I think different ones of them went to different parts of 
Bosnia at different times.  I'm not sure what the total time in Bosnia 
was.

          Q    Do you have anything on the visit here of the Israeli 
Ambassador this morning?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Nothing more to say than what we've said before.  
As you know, we've had a number of delegations and groups in for 
consultations in preparation for the April 20th resumption of talks, 
which we still expect to happen.  We've met over the past few days with 
delegations -- the Palestinians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Syrians.  We had 
extensive consultations with the Israelis, obviously, earlier this 
month, around the time of the -- or last month around the time of the 
Rabin visit, and we've continued our discussions with the Israeli 
Ambassador, such as the meeting today.

          Q    Now that you have met with all the parties, what have you 
learned?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'm afraid at this point I'm not going to get 
into details of what we may or may not have suggested or discussed with 
the parties as part of our consultations.  We have talked to them, 
clearly in the context of looking forward to the next round and looking 
at what kind of substantive and meaningful progress can be achieved in 
that round.

          You know the United States is committed to playing the role of 
a full partner, and we've been having serious and substantive 
discussions with all the parties.

          Q    Have there been any discussions with Faisal Husseini over 
the last couple days?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't remember who exactly their delegation 
is.  I don't think he's part of that.

          Q    But independent of that.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.

          Q    You are talking about the next round of negotiation as if 
it was a done deal.  Have you received any clear response on the 
participation of the Arabs and the Palestinians?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We haven't received any formal acceptances yet 
from the Arabs and the Palestinians.  We do, as we've said before, 
expect the talks to resume on April 20.

          Q    With all the participants?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I would expect them to be there, yes.

          Q    You have had a clear, formal response from everybody else 
but the Palestinians --

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, I said we haven't gotten formal acceptance 
yet from the Arabs and Palestinians, but, yes, we do from everybody 
else.

          Q    Richard, do you have anything more on the Caputo
visit to Haiti?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't really, Betsy.  He's down there, and 
we'll leave it to him to talk about the progress or the process that 
he's involved in.  He's down there working with all the parties, and 
we're staying in close touch with him.

          Q    Is there any clarification of what he has taken down 
there, whether it's amnesty just for the people who staged the coup, or 
whether this is an amnesty which is broader -- has broader implications?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think any further clarification of that would 
have to come from him.

          Q    I was going to raise Bosnia.

          Q    Just a question on Nagorno-Karabakh.  There was a 
declaration by the Turks, saying that they are ready to support fully 
the Azeris.  Do you have any indication that the Turks have been 
providing weapons to the Azeris, as it was claimed by the Turkish press 
recently?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't have any specific information on that.  
I think they and the Armenians have talked this morning and perhaps 
clarified somewhat the issue of whether there's any Turkish assistance 
or not.

          As for the policy, obviously, we continue to remain convinced 
that the Minsk Group is the best hope for a peaceful resolution.  The 
Acting Secretary saw both Armenian and Azerbaijani representatives on 
Monday, and they repeated to him their commitment to that Minsk process.

          We've called on all the parties to refrain from seeking a 
military solution and to return in good faith to the negotiating table.  
We've been in consultations with a lot of different governments, 
including Turkey, and made clear that we think it's important that other 
countries not provide any military assistance or introduce forces into 
the conflict.

          There have been various Turkish officials, including Prime 
Minister Demirel, that have publicly stated that Turkey has no intention 
of intervening in the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  It's 
something that we've made clear we've welcomed, but we stayed in close 
touch with all the parties to make clear what our views are.

          Q    Richard, I understand that the Bosnian Muslims have said 
that if the town of Srebrenica should fall to the Serbians that they 
would be withdrawing from their approval of the existing peace plan.  I 
wonder if you have any reading?

          I understand that Serbian -- the Bosnian Serbs are within 
small arms fire of the center of the town and it might indeed very well 
fall very soon.  What is your read of that, and what do you think the 
consequences would be if the Serbs take
over?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Well, let me give you the read of that. I don't 
think I can speculate on what the consequences might be.  Clearly our 
efforts are continuing to be devoted to bringing more pressure on the 
Serbs.  The United Nations, of course, is working directly with the 
parties on the ground in trying to secure their implementation of the 
cease-fire that they've agreed to.

          We've just had Ambassador Bartholomew out in the region and 
he's been talking with the parties and making very clear the importance 
to the Serbs of getting back to negotiations and stopping the fighting.  
He's made very clear our intentions to continue to toughen and tighten 
the sanctions on Serbia, should that not occur.  So we're continuing to 
increase pressure on the Serbs and continue our efforts to try to get 
the fighting to stop and to get to a negotiated solution.

          As far as the situation on the ground, however, there are 
artillery and mortar attacks that continued on Srebrenica during the 
night and this morning.  Bosnian Serb troops have moved closer to the 
center of the enclave.

          In Sarajevo -- Sarajevo was quiet last night although there 
were four tank shells that landed in one neighborhood. Small arms fire 
was reported on the periphery of the city's "Old Town" area.  Sniper 
fire has been heavy this morning.

          There's been shelling in some other areas -- the northern town 
of Olovo, in the northwestern town of Bihac; shelling in the north-
central city of Maglaj and in Gracanica in the northeast.  So there is 
some fighting going on in other places as well.

          Q    Do you have any totals on casualties in that fighting?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't -- no, I don't have any totals on 
casualties.

          Q    There was a couple of comments made our friend, the 
British, that the Prime Minister, evidently, was absolutely adamant that 
they will not approve of lifting the arms embargo.  Lord Owen has echoed 
similar thoughts.  But Owen also said, in his article in Foreign 
Affairs, that he thought we ought to consider using air strikes to force 
the Serbs to the negotiating table.  Any thoughts on that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't have any further thoughts on that.  It's 
something that I think we've addressed before.  At this point, I don't 
have anything further on that.

          Q    Richard, to follow that up, Lord Owen told the BBC that 
Russia has effectively threatened that if the arms embargo were lifted 
for the Bosnian Muslims, Russia would arm the Bosnian Serbs with what he 
called sophisticated weaponry.

          The United States has had extensive contacts with Russians in 
recent weeks.  Is that also the American understanding of what the 
Russians would do?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I saw that report this morning, Mark, and I 
didn't have a chance to check on it, so I don't know.  But I think it's 
probably more appropriate that you ask the Russians what their position 
is.

          Q    So, Richard, it's correct to say, then, that even if the 
Serbs overrun Srebrenica the Administration will not change its strategy 
towards easing the conflict one bit?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Sid, obviously, we keep all kinds of options 
under review.  We have devoted our efforts and our activity to 
tightening and toughening the sanctions on Serbia to try to get them to 
use their influence to try to get the fighting to stop.  That is 
certainly our primary goal in this conflict, and that's a goal that 
we'll continue to pursue.

          Q    Richard, apparently, according to reports out of 
Belgrade, Ambassador Bartholomew came out of his meetings with the Serbs 
empty-handed.  What else remains there in terms of diplomatic pressure 
on the Serbs to get them to accept the Vance-Owen plan?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Jacques, we have a number of different 
activities going on of which Bartholomew's meetings are a part. He had, 
I think, what he called direct and candid discussions with Milosevic and 
other Serb leaders.  These have been one of the means of pressure on the 
Serbs.  There are others in the international community that have been 
trying to make it very clear to the Serbs that if they don't stop the 
fighting and they don't come to an agreement that they'll face 
increasing pressure.  And one of those forms of pressure that you're 
well aware of is the 26th of April; if they haven't come into the peace 
process, the U.N. plans on passing additional sanctions -- tightening 
and toughening the sanctions and making life much, much harder for them.

          Q    Clearly, they were not deterred by this threat?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Clearly, Jacques, what matters most is maybe not 
what people say after the ends of meetings, but what actually happens on 
the ground, and the fighting has continued on the ground and therefore 
we'll increase our means of pressure against the Serbs if that situation 
doesn't change.

          Q    Can I change topics?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Sure.

          Q    On South Africa, clearly, they didn't heed your calls for 
an end to violence yesterday.  Do you have any statement about the 
aftermath?  And is there anything realistically that the U.S. can do?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Well, we have been urging parties to continue 
the negotiating process.  And, indeed, we're encouraged in the aftermath 
of the assassination of Chris Hani that the parties have reaffirmed 
their commitments to the negotiating process.  The talks have been 
postponed until next week, after the period of mourning for Mr. Hani.  
But we continue to support that process as a way of bringing a real 
solution to the problems out there.

          As you said, there was some violence yesterday.  The numerous 
memorial services that were held yesterday were very tense.  In most 
cases, they were peaceful.  But, as you know, in some of the urban areas 
there were large demonstrations that spilled over into violence.

          Q    Is the U.S. concerned that Nelson Mandela does not have 
control of some of the ANC factions?  And what does that bode for the 
future?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't have any broad analysis like that for 
you, Connie.  I think the important thing is that those who have 
influence, as they have, make the clear the importance of getting back 
to negotiations and that we try to see progress in talks so that we can 
give people the prospect of a real solution.

          Q    Any breakthrough on the Angolan talks, while you're in 
the area?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Nothing new on that. Steve.

          Q    Richard, has there been any further analysis or 
evaluation of the Russian translation of General Quang's report, or are 
you waiting to get the original from General Vessey?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't have anything new on that for you.  As 
you know, General Vessey is meeting with the President this morning.  I 
would expect the President to provide information on that meeting; and 
General Vessey will be out in Hanoi shortly, and we've made clear that 
he will raise the questions about this document -- the questions raised 
by this document -- as his first order of business.

          Q    Have the Vietnamese said whether they would allow Quang 
to meet with Vessey?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know at this point.  I'll have to check.

          Q    You know, on that, the Vietnamese said today that this 
document was an insult to their people.  Is there any response to that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, Steve.  I think it's something for General 
Vessey to pursue.  I saw the same press report that you did.  As you 
know, the Vietnamese have rejected the document, but they've also 
promised to investigate.

          Q    Do you know when Vessey leaves?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think he leaves today.  Perhaps in seven 
minutes.  But his talks there are the 18th and 19th.

          Q    And Christopher comes back today?

          MR. BOUCHER:  He comes back tonight, yes.

          Q   There's no public observations to make on the DIA man's 
observations that these reports frequently -- when they talked about 
Americans -- included other Asians who had worked for the United States?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I didn't observe the observations of the DIA 
guy, so I don't have anything additional to say about that in public at 
this point.  We are going to pursue the document and find some answers.  
That's General's Vessey's first order of business.

          Q    Do you have anything more to say about the unrest in 
Baghdad?

         MR. BOUCHER:  No.  We checked again this morning, and we don't 
have anything that would confirm those press reports.

         Q    Thank you.

         MR. BOUCHER:  Thank you.

         (Press briefing concluded at 1:05 p.m.)
(###)

To the top of this page