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                         DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                         DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                      DPC #56

                  FRIDAY, APRIL 16, 1993, 1:00 P.M.
                (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)


         MR. BOUCHER:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  I don't 
have any announcements or statements, so I'd be glad to take your 
questions.

          Q  Richard, could you bring us up to date, please, on the 
Secretary's contacts with the Russian Foreign Minister?  We understand 
there have been virtually daily contacts.  What's the latest 
conversations?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The latest was the conversation from the White 
House with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Mamedov.  As you 
know, George Stephanopoulos just reported on that.  But just to review 
what he said, the Secretary expressed our outrage and distress at the 
continuation of the fighting in eastern Bosnia and the situation around 
Srebrenica.  He said, basically, that if Srebrenica were to fall or be 
forced to surrender, that all bets were off as far as what the U.N. and 
the Security Council should do next.

          He provided the American view that it was intolerable to stand 
aside in the face of this aggression.  Noted -- as they both know -- 
that the U.N. is meeting this afternoon, and they will consider the 
situation and look closely at the situation in eastern Bosnia, and noted 
that there would be -- obviously, were Srebrenica to fall or be forced 
to surrender, there would be support in the Council for moving 
immediately to the sanctions resolution and that the United States would 
support the resolution in that event.

          I think it's important to review what is in that resolution. 
That resolution would require member states to implement a whole series 
of measures that would tighten and toughen the sanctions on Serbia and 
Montenegro.

          I'll run through those for you.  It would permit imports, 
exports and transshipment through U.N.-protected areas in Croatia and 
areas in Bosnia-Herzegovina controlled by Serb forces only with proper 
authorization.

          It would take steps to prevent the diversion of commodities 
and products to Serbia and Montenegro.  It would prevent transshipment 
of commodities or products on the Danube unless specifically authorized 
and effectively monitored.  No vessels registered in the Federal 
Republic of Yugoslavia would be permitted to pass through installations, 
including river locks, within the territory of member states.  Riparian 
states would take the necessary measures to ensure that shipping on the 
Danube would be in accordance with this resolution.

          It would require states to bring proceedings against person 
and entities that violated these resolutions.

          It would require states to freeze funds and funds from 
property of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- Serbia and Montenegro.  
It would prohibit the transport of all commodities and products across 
land borders and to and from ports of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 
with limited exceptions for medical and food stuffs, for essential 
humanitarian supplies that were approved on a case-by-case basis, and 
for strictly limited transshipments which might be authorized.

          It would require neighboring states to prevent the passage of 
all freight vehicles and rolling stock into or out of the Federal 
Republic of Yugoslavia except at strictly limited road and rail border 
crossing points.

          It would require states to impound all vessels, freight 
vehicles, rolling stock, and aircraft in which a majority and 
controlling interest is held by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and 
these items would be forfeited to the seizing state upon a determination 
that they had been used to violate the resolutions.

          It would require states to detain vessels, freight vehicles, 
rolling stock, aircraft and cargoes suspected of violating the 
sanctions.

          It would prohibit most financial and non-financial services to 
any person or body for business carried on in the Federal Republic of 
Yugoslavia, and it would prohibit all commercial maritime traffic from 
entering the territorial sea of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

          So, in essence, it would be a much, much tighter, much, much 
stronger and much more effective and properly controlled embargo to 
isolate Serbia and Montenegro; make them pay a cost for their support 
for this aggression.

          Q    Excuse me.  When you said "all bets are off" -- you know, 
it's a fairly imprecise term -- you mean all bets would be off on moving 
on the sanctions, or did you mean to leave the suggestion that there 
might be other action apart from economic action?  I assume you meant 
the two-week delay might be aborted.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.  As you know, the Council has heretofore 
expected to vote on the sanctions resolution on April 26.  Should 
Srebrenica fall or be forced to surrender, we would have to consider, 
with other members in the Council, when to move on that resolution.

          Q    On that resolution.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Now, the President has said just this morning 
that he's also considering other options as well.

          Q    Pardon me for not quite understanding this, but it seems 
to me that the reason that this whole vote was delayed in the first 
place was at the request of the Russians.  And if the Russians still 
don't agree to move forward, it seems difficult to imagine how the 
Security Council can move forward since they have veto power.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Well, as you know, we've worked effectively with 
the Russians in the past in passing the original sanctions resolutions 
and working together closely in the United Nations on this crisis.  They 
have had their diplomatic efforts underway, as we have, to try to bring 
pressure on the parties to seek a negotiated solution.  They have 
supported the "no-fly" resolution, and they have asked, in this 
particular case of the sanctions resolution that there be a delay until 
the 26th.  And as Minister Kozyrev has said, that delay was in order to 
give the Serbs a last chance to change their minds about the aggression, 
to stop the killing and to enter the negotiating process.

          I guess we would have to say that if the Serbs continue to 
pressure Srebrenica militarily and force it to fall or force it to 
surrender, then, in that case, that might constitute a Serb response to 
that last chance, and we would consider it appropriate to have the 
Council look at that point, and we would want to work together with the 
Russians to have the Council consider what action it could take.

          Q    Richard, why would the threat of sanctions stop the fall 
of Srebrenica?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Sid, the threat of sanctions is directed at a 
number of things.  There are a lot of efforts going on, and the threat 
of sanctions is obviously one of the efforts that's going on.

          There have been diplomatic efforts to try to bring about a 
negotiated solution that would stop the fighting.  There have been 
efforts on the ground by the United Nations to try to get the cease-fire 
to stick, and there have been sanctions and tightening of sanctions and 
threat of further sanctions to ensure that the Serbs pay a cost for 
their support and, hopefully, to make it clear to them that it's in 
their interest to try to get this to stop.

          Q    Did the Secretary get a commitment from the Russian 
Foreign Ministry that the Russians would not use their veto power in the 
Security Council to block the enforcement of these sanctions?

          MR. BOUCHER:  My understanding -- and it's based on what 
George Stephanopoulos just said -- is that they are -- the Deputy 
Foreign Minister promised to raise all these questions and points with 
his Minister and leadership.  We didn't get a specific response at this 
point.

          Q    Richard, the fall of Srebrenica to me almost seems beside 
the point in that the Serbs are sitting within gunshot distance of the 
center of the town and are able to lob shells and fire at the civilians 
there with incredible accuracy and heavy casualties, as they've shown 
repeatedly this week.

          What is the United States prepared to do to relieve the 
misery, the suffering, and the deaths of these tens of thousands of 
miserable and defenseless people?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Alan, as you know, the United Nations forces and 
humanitarian workers that have been out there have been working actively 
on supplying relief supplies to people in this area, providing them with 
food and medicine.  We are continuing our airdrops to people who are 
unable to get food and medicine due to the blockade and the sieges.

          The United Nations is also working on evacuations in an 
attempt to relieve the suffering of these people, as you say.

          Q    Wait a minute.  Airdrops are nice, you know.  It's nice 
to eat.  But when there are also shells dropping, as well as meals-
ready-to-eat, it doesn't really seem to answer the situation.  Whatever 
has happened, since your delay, scores of people have been killed there 
and the Serbs have crept further and further into the town.

          What's happening now is that the Muslims are seeking terms of 
surrender.  I fail to understand how anything that you've announced 
changes that situation one iota?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Alan, I don't think we've ever claimed that the 
sanctions or the diplomatic efforts would be able to change a specific 
situation in one area.  The sanctions are intended to make the Serbs pay 
a price for their support for this.  They're intended to influence them 
to get them to change policy.  They're intended to make it clear to them 
that it's very much in their interest to stop this and to get back to 
the table.

          We are continuing, as I said, and the U.N. is continuing to 
make very courageous and valiant efforts on the ground to try to take 
care of the people who are suffering because of the fighting.

          Q    Richard, did you say when the sanctions would be 
effective?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The sanctions would be effective when they're 
voted.

          Q    Immediately?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

          Q    The grace period is gone?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The grace period is gone.

          Q    I thought until now the sanctions were tight and we've 
already been policing traffic on the Danube and the riparian states have 
already been rather tightening things.  And you tell us from here that, 
as far as you know, the assets of Yugoslavia have been frozen, at least, 
in this country.  None of that has made an impression upon the Serbs.

          In addition, Reginald Bartholomew made this same warning, 
personally, to the Serbs and apparently they ignored those warnings.  
Why should they now decide that it isn't worth it to undergo these 
sanctions in order to get a "Greater Serbia?"

          MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, I can't try to step in the minds of 
Serbian leaders.  What we can do is to ensure that there is a price to 
be paid and that there is pressure that increases, that ratchets up and 
that increases over time; and to look for all ways of tightening the 
embargoes, of tightening the sanctions and making them understand, as 
they do -- whatever calculations they do of their interests -- that 
there is a price to be paid, and that they will face an increasingly 
heavy burden.

          You know the difficulties that have been created in the 
Serbian economy.  You know the problems they're having with their 
banking system right now.  You know about inflation, about unemployment, 
about gas lines, and things like that.  But we also know that there has 
been some leakage, in part, by ships that evade the sanctions on the 
Danube; there's been leakage, in part, by ships that have gotten in 
through the coast underneath the surveillance; there's been some leakage 
from transshipments in rail cars, and things like that.  There have been 
a series of steps to tighten those.

          This resolution would, indeed, tighten those things much 
further by making the sanctions much, much more difficult to evade.  For 
example, by barring all their ships from the territorial waters, by 
barring the barges from passing through the locks, by impounding and 
seizing the rolling stock, the vessels, that are used to violate the 
embargo, by having everybody freeze their assets, financial transactions 
that can be used to seize this.  So this is what we've talked about 
before, the economic isolation of Serbia.

          Q    When we last did this to Iraq, the United States deployed 
a rather massive naval and air force with the aid of other nations, 
including the Russians, as I recall, to patrol this.  Is the United 
States -- will there be an implementing resolution?  Does the United 
States plan to engage a massive military force, in conjunction with 
other military forces, to patrol these borders and to tighten these 
sanctions in the same way it was tightened around Iraq?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, we and the neighboring states have been 
cooperating on enforcing sanctions.  Hang on.

          Q    As you say, it's leaking.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Can I finish an answer here?  We and the 
neighboring states have been cooperating in enforcing the sanctions.  We 
have programs of cooperation with sanctions assistance missions that are 
being beefed up.  We've been providing equipment.  The West European 
Union has, indeed, been providing new patrol craft.  We have been 
providing new patrol craft to the Danube.  You know that the NATO and 
the Western European Union both have naval forces in the Adriatic.

          What this resolution does is provide them -- those people 
enforcing sanctions, the riparian states, the others cooperating with 
them and those in the Adriatic, as well as those monitoring road and 
rail shipments -- with the tools necessary to make sure that the 
sanctions are completely effective.  So, for example, when a naval 
vessel encounters another vessel on the high seas, it's not a question 
of what's the cargo?  Who is it intended for?  Are you going here, there 
or elsewhere?  It is you shouldn't be here.  You shouldn't be in these 
territorial waters.

          It's not a question, when cargo shows up -- or barges show up 
at the locks -- of where you're headed, or are you going to pass 
through, or do you have your paperwork right.  It's you shouldn't be 
here.  You can't pass through these locks.  So it makes it much more 
clearer for these sanctions enforcers to make these things stick so that 
the resolution--the leakage and the diversions and the false paperwork 
that we've seen is minimized, and so that these forces that are there 
can effectively impose the sanctions.

          Q    Sounds to me like that would take a rather massive group 
of people and military people.  We have sent a few Boston whalers, as I 
recall.  Is that what we're contemplating -- sending more Boston 
whalers?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We've also sent a lot of people.  The WEU has 
sent a lot of people.  We've sent equipment, we've sent coordination 
teams, communication equipment.  There's a fairly massive effort 
underway already, and it's the one that's in the process of being beefed 
up.

          Q    But in answer to my question, do we plan to send any more 
military people or ships or any other forces to tighten the grip of 
sanctions around Yugoslavia?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We have increased our assistance to the 
neighboring states, and we will continue to increase it as necessary.

          We had one back here.

          Q    Richard, Lord Owen suggested that the West may have to 
bomb Serb supply lines in Bosnia to help end the civil war.  What's the 
U.S. reaction to Lord Owen's suggestion?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The reaction is the one the President gave this 
morning.  I'll stick with that.

          Q    Richard, a couple of things.  These, I think, go central 
to this issue.  When the Secretary acceded Monday morning, before 
leaving for Tokyo, to the request from Kozyrev for a two-week delay, he 
was said to have been hopeful that the negotiations could be resumed; 
hopeful even that there could be Serbian agreement on a settlement.  
Does he still have that hope?

          Second, the Secretary has been consistently against the use of 
force in this situation.  Is he now wavering?  Is he now reconsidering?

          The only part of this government that even wants to consider 
the use of force is the Pentagon.  Now, the Secretary has been 
consistently putting down the use of -- it was useful last year when 
they were out of office, but now it's the wrong thing to do.  Has he 
changed his mind?  Has he got an open mind now on using force to stop 
this situation?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, first of all, I think you're mis-
characterizing views.  You're saying things that the Secretary hasn't, 
in fact, said himself.

          The President this morning, on behalf of all of us, said that 
we were considering other options, that we have not ruled any in or out 
except for the intervention by American ground combat troops.  The 
Secretary has said that before, as you know.

          The military is already involved in a variety of ways, be they 
airdrops or the ships in the Adriatic or the patrol of the "no-fly" 
zone.  So I think you've seen our position on this.  And, as the 
President said this morning, we don't rule anything in or out.

          Q    Wait a minute.  Until there's a -- first of all, you 
didn't answer the first question.  Maybe I threw too much at you.

          MR. BOUCHER:  You certainly did.  You can try again at this 
point.

          Q    All right.  He took off at Tokyo and agreed to a two-week 
delay, even though there was no evidence that the Serbs were relenting, 
because he saw some hope that the Russians' influence would be 
successful, that the Serbs would indeed resume serious bargaining.  Does 
he still hold out any hope for that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, I would go back to what we said at the 
time and what the Secretary said at the time.  The Russians requested a 
delay until April 26, because they felt that there were serious 
diplomatic efforts underway or that could be undertaken to try to bring 
diplomatic pressure on the Serbs. The Secretary felt that that was a 
reasonable request, and indeed you have seen various diplomatic efforts 
underway, at the same time as you've seen the fighting in eastern Bosnia 
and the continued pressure by Serbian forces on Srebrenica.

          And, as the Secretary said this morning or said to the 
Russians this morning, should Srebrenica fall, should it be forced to 
surrender, that all bets were off as far as whether we'd continue to 
delay on that sanctions resolution, because we have, indeed, made 
diplomatic efforts.  We haven't seen a change in the fighting situation, 
and the Security Council will -- if that situation continues to worsen 
out there -- will have to reconsider its options

          Q    The second point:  You're not disputing, can you, that 
the Secretary has been consistently counseling against the use of force?  
And I'm asking if this important part of the government is now 
reconsidering the view that force was the wrong -- would be the wrong 
remedy?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, apart from the Secretary's remarks on 
combat forces, which he and the President and others have made --

          Q    I'm not talking combat forces --

          MR. BOUCHER:  Hang on.

          Q    You know, artillery, etc.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, apart from the President's -- from the 
Secretary's remarks on combat forces, I don't believe that either he or 
I have gone into, in any forum, the kind of counsel that he gives inside 
the Administration.  I don't think I'm prepared to do that now.

          Q    He has stated that the President recommended last July, 
beginning with taking out Serbian artillery.  That was the situation 
then.  The situation now has changed.  He hasn't explained.  The 
inference is there are now peacekeepers on the ground who would be at 
risk.

          I think he is on the record as force not being the remedy.  
I'm not talking about ground troops.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, I will -- the Secretary's been at the 
White House for the Miyazawa visit.  It's not a question I've been able 
to ask him, if he's hopeful or has anything new to say on the use of 
force.  It's something we'll try to check for you.  Rather than get into 
a debate on the record, it should be clear to all of us.

          Q    Richard, can you clear up a statement that he made on the 
"Today Show."  He was asked about Margaret Thatcher's suggestion of 
loosening the arms embargo so the Bosnians could get arms and a bombing 
campaign to make it painful for the Serbs.

          His reply was, "It seems to me that Prime Minister Thatcher's 
prescription is one for only increasing the carnage."  And he further 
said, "It's a rather emotional response to an emotional problem."

          That seems to contradict exactly what George Stephanopoulos 
just said when he said that these -- both these options were under 
consideration.  Can you square that for us?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The President has said that we don't rule 
anything in or out.  We've given our views on various specific ideas 
that have come up -- the Secretary has himself.  Things are being looked 
at and considered.  There are pros and cons to every side of these 
things, but I really can't get into any more detail on the counsel or 
the discussions that may be taking place on specific options within the 
Administration.

          Q    We don't want his private advice --

          Q    Please.  Can I follow?  I'm not going to give way this 
time, thank you, because you've had a long monologue.

          Q    Yes, but we can't get an answer.

          Q    Excuse me.  Can I step back a little bit.  It seems to me 
that when faced with this kind of persistent aggression, a government 
such as the United States Government has to make a judgment as to 
whether it's dealing with a rational regime or government that can be 
influenced by things like sanctions, the economic well-being of its 
people; or whether it's dealing with a government that is so irrational 
and so evil that it will only be stopped by the use of force when 
confronted and defeated.

          Now, my government in the 1930s, to its everlasting shame, 
made the wrong judgment about Nazi Germany, and as a result millions 
upon millions of people lost their lives. Everything that you have said 
today and in the past points to the conclusion that the United States 
still believes that Serbia is ruled by people who are rational and who 
understand pressure points such as sanctions.

          In view of their record, isn't it time that you recast your 
views and try to see them for what they really are and what they're 
being revealed to be?  That is to say, aggressors who will stop at 
nothing until they're confronted and defeated.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Alan, I reject your analogies.  The United 
States has taken a stand on this issue.  Secretary Christopher has taken 
a stand on this issue.  We have taken a stand firmly in support of a 
negotiated settlement, of an end to the fighting.  We have involved 
ourselves in diplomatic efforts to attain that.  We have involved 
ourselves in humanitarian efforts to take care of people who are 
suffering from the fighting, and we have imposed and led the way to 
increasing economic pressures and particularly to ensuring the 
tightening of sanctions, the further movement in that direction that's 
been taken already, and that will be taken in the future.

          We have taken a stand on this.  We have made it very clear 
that the Serbian leadership, however it does its calculations, is going 
to have to pay a price for this aggression.  We have made very clear 
that these pressures will continue to increase in a whole variety of 
ways if this continues.  So I would say we've taken a clear stand on the 
issue, we've taken action on the issue, and we'll continue to do that.

          Q    Richard, I'm trying to find out whether for the first 
time we are hearing, in response to the question, "Are you prepared to 
use force," we're hearing what we heard from George Bush before Iraq?  
That is, we have not ruled anything in or out.

          I have asked several times here whether it isn't unwise to 
rule force out, which you've done.  Now it seems to me that force is one 
of the options, unless I'm overdrawing it, and I'd like to know whether 
in response to the question, "Would you consider the use of force," the 
answer is now, "We are not ruling anything in or out."

          MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, the answer is the President's answer this 
morning, and the Secretary's answer the other day. There are, obviously, 
to any given option, there are pros and cons.  We've told you that we're 
considering various things in connection with the humanitarian report 
that says one of the best humanitarian things you can do would be to 
create a safe-haven or stop the fighting or stop the shooting by heavy 
weapons.  We've said that all those options are being looked at.

          So, obviously, there are a lot of options that are being 
looked at.  These things are always part of an ongoing process.  At the 
same time, I think we've laid out a clear course of action, the 
Secretary laid out a clear course of action on February 10.  We have 
told you the steps that we're pursuing in that regard, the steps that 
we've pursued to carry out that.  We've told you where we are now.  
We've told you where we were yesterday.  And tomorrow -- if we're 
somewhere else tomorrow, we'll tell you where we are then.

          Q    Yes, but I'm asking --

          MR. BOUCHER:  Terry and Gene had questions.  Let --

          Q    Let me just one more time --

          MR. BOUCHER:  It's up to your colleagues.

          Q    I'm asking another question.  The other question is, are 
we confronting the Serbs with the possibility that the United States 
will go beyond sanctions for the use of force, or are we simply saying 
the worst they can expect is sanctions -- tough sanctions, strict 
sanctions, strangle-hold sanctions, but sanctions only?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, once again, we've told you we are 
proceeding with sanctions, with strict sanctions, with tough sanctions, 
with strangle-hold sanctions, as you say, and that we are indeed 
proceeding in that direction.  What comes beyond that, I'm really not 
going to speculate on.

          Terry.

          Q    I have two questions.  The first is, describing the 
Secretary's call to the Deputy Foreign Minister, it sounds as if he put 
some degree of responsibility on the Russians to try to stop the fall of 
Srebrenica.

          Were you given any assurances at the time that you agreed to 
delay of the Security Council vote, that they either thought or believed 
or would be able to prevent the Serbs from advancing on Srebrenica?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The efforts of the United States and indeed the 
Russians in delaying the vote -- and I'm sure of others as well in the 
international community -- have been to try to bring pressure, 
diplomatic pressure, during this intervening period, as Kozyrev 
described it, to give the Serbs a last chance to stop the fighting and 
rejoin the peace talks.

          That's always been part of our portfolio.  It's part of Reggie 
Bartholomew's portfolio.  Ambassador Bartholomew has just traveled in 
the region and is now in Paris, I guess, today.  So I don't know if I 
can, sort of, give you specific assurances. If you want to ask the 
Russians about their diplomatic activity, you can.  But the efforts that 
were underway, that we were both attempting to do, that they were 
attempting to do, and their own explanations of it --

          Q    Does the U.S. believe it has --

          MR. BOUCHER:  -- is to get the fighting to stop.

          Q    Does the U.S. believe that there's any sort of standstill 
agreement ensured by the Russians that if you give them these ten days, 
that what is happening now would not happen, or was it not in that 
context?

          MR. BOUCHER:  They, like we, felt that there was an 
opportunity for diplomatic efforts, and that therefore it was reasonable 
to delay the sanctions resolution while reaffirming its inevitability if 
there shouldn't be any change in course.

          Q    I had two separate questions.  The other question is for 
a period of time the Serbs were held outside of the town, an went on for 
a period of, I guess weeks, a couple of months now.  Now, in the last 
few days it had a succession of events.  The sanctions were delayed.  
The French General who put himself on the line to avoid the fall of 
Srebrenica was withdrawn and is being told, in fact, he is being 
recalled back to France.  The U.S. Government and the British Government 
both brushed off Margaret Thatcher's public call for military action.

          Taking these events together, it would seem that this sends a 
signal to the Serbs that, I guess, the West isnŐt that serious; that 
each of these events in effect undercuts whatever diplomacy is underway 
and the credibility with diplomacy that's underway.  Why isn't that the 
case?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Terry, I mean, you're laying up a pile of things 
which, if you choose to, you could interpret as sending one signal.  I 
would say in fact if you look at the direct actions we've been taking, 
you will see a completely different signal having been sent.

          Ambassador Bartholomew was in the region talking to the 
parties.  He had a meeting -- a candid and direct meeting with Milosevic 
and Karadzic and the others; laid out the things that we were doing and 
going to do in terms of sanctions and the possibility of looking at the 
arms embargo, and things like that -- direct.

          We have started to enforce the "no-fly" zone.  The NATO planes 
have taken to the skies and are flying to deter flights in violation of 
that zone.  We have gotten agreement on the certainty of passage of a 
sanctions resolution if the Serbs don't change their behavior.  I would 
argue, I guess, that those steps that we have taken in this intervening 
period have been direct steps and clear steps.

          Q    Richard, back-benchers have a hard time here, but --

          MR. BOUCHER:  Sorry.

          Q    Alistair Lyon of Reuters' very significant report -- can 
you confirm or deny out of Ankara that NATO has invited the Turks to 
send the first Moslem aircraft into action from Italy?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I have not seen that report.

          Q    Eighteen of them are supposed to arrive in Italy in the 
next two days.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'm afraid I haven't seen that report. You might 
check with NATO --

          Q    Could you check on that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  -- but we'll check as well.

          Q    Now, a follow-up question on that.  Since there are other 
non-NATO planes working on the "no-fly" zone, is it possible that you 
might reach out to other Moslem countries outside of NATO for coverage?

          MR. BOUCHER:  That would be speculative on my part. The planes 
flying at this point are NATO planes.  I think NATO has been asked by 
the Security Council and the U.N. to carry out this operation.  Whether 
others could be involved or integrated, I don't know.  I mean, in 
previous cases, we've said we would welcome contributions from others.  
I just don't know exactly in this operation.

          Q    Richard, you just said a minute ago that you've got 
agreement on the certainty of passage of the sanctions resolution.

          MR. BOUCHER:  If the Serbs don't change their behavior.  That 
was the understanding that was reached and which we described to you the 
other day.

          Q    All right.  But that does not include an agreement of 
certainty of passage of this resolution in the discussions with the 
Russians today?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The understanding that was reached the other day 
was that the Russians would cooperate, and certainly the other members 
intend to -- the Russians would cooperate with the intention to pass the 
resolution on April 26.  In the Secretary's phone call today, given the 
events in Srebrenica, that, you know, he basically said all bets are off 
as far as that delay if this aggression against Srebrenica continues.

          Q    Let me try something else.

          Q    No.  What is your understanding of the 3:00 p.m. 
consultations at the Security Council today?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The consultations in the Security Council this 
afternoon is an informal meeting.  I think it was called on a different 
subject, but at the same time they will certainly consider the situation 
in eastern Bosnia.  The Council has been watching the situation out 
there closely and at 3:00 p.m. will discuss the sit          MR. 
BOUCHER:  3:00 p.m.  It might be 3:30, I'm not sure.

          Q    Well, whatever -- this afternoon.  No action is 
anticipated -- discussion --

          MR. BOUCHER:  I really couldn't speculate.  My understanding 
is the Council will meet, and obviously people will discuss what they 
think ought to be done and what the situation is on the ground.

          Q    Middle East -- the other ongoing saga of U.S. diplomacy.  
A Palestinian spokeswoman today said that the Palestinians would seek a 
postponement of the April 20 round. What's your reaction to that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Alan, there's been no new definitive answers 
from the parties.  We think it's in the parties' interest to recommence 
the negotiations and indeed to recommence them as soon as possible.  We 
have invited the parties to return to negotiations on April 20.  We 
would look forward to having the parties start their negotiations on 
April 20.

          Just to review, we had consultations this week with all the 
parties.  These consultations were useful.  They helped us focus the 
parties -- focus with the parties on the substance that they will need 
to address when they do return.

          As you know, the Arabs and the Palestinians are meeting in 
Damascus to make the decision to return to the negotiating table.  We 
believe that the time to make that decision is now. We think that too 
much time has already been lost since the last round in December.  It's 
our firm conviction that the needs and the concerns of all the parties, 
especially those of the Palestinians, can be addressed most effectively 
at the negotiating table.

          As in the past, there may be opponents of peace who would try 
to sabotage the talks.  We continue to believe that they cannot be 
allowed to succeed.  It's important for all the parties and all the 
supporters of peace to focus on the negotiations,comprehensive peace 
based on U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

          Q    Having been told by the Palestinians, one assumes that 
they will be seeking a postponement, do you remain confident, as you 
have been all along, that the talks will indeed resume on April 20 with 
the participation of all the parties?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Alan, my understanding is that the Arabs and the 
Palestinians are meeting in Damascus to make decisions on returning to 
the table.  We don't have the final answers from them.  We look forward 
to seeing them on April 20.

          Q    Are you confident?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We remain -- we continue to have our level of 
confidence, yes.

          Q    You have been saying that you expect them to show up.

          MR. BOUCHER:  We expect them to show up.

          Q    You still expect them to show up.  Have you been turned 
down by anybody?  I mean, have you heard from the Palestinians that 
they're not coming?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No.

          Q    Richard, the Palestinians' main beef was -- with the 
Administration -- that they failed to get the type of explanation they 
wanted on Secretary Christopher's promise of good things.  What's your 
comment to that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know that I've seen them say that.  I'm 
not going to go into -- well, I didn't.  The Palestinians are aware of 
the prospects of what could happen once they make the decision to return 
to the table.  Until they make that decision, I'm not going to be in a 
position to go into any more detail or to describe things, but we have 
had full and extensive discussions with them.

          Q    Has Secretary Christopher been on the phone or in contact 
otherwise with any of the leaders in Damascus or in the Arab capitals in 
the last -- since returning last night?

          MR. BOUCHER:   Since last night?

          Q    Well, let's say since --

          Q    Or on the road.

          Q    Let me rephrase the question.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know, Alan.  I'll have to check. You 
mean in the last few days, has he been directly in touch with them?

          Q    Yes.  The Palestinians have told us, and I assume that 
they told you yesterday, that they were going to recommend a 
postponement, a delay.  In the light of that, has there been a U.S. 
effort to persuade the parties once more to come forward on that we've 
had complete and extensive discussions with the Palestinians here in 
Washington.  I'll check for you and see if there's anything else, 
messages to and from the Secretary, subsequent to that.

          Q    Do you have an accounting of how many Serbian assets the 
U.S. has seized and is holding?  Is there a quantitative assessment?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, I don't.  I suspect Treasury would have 
that, but I'll see if I can get it.

          Q    Thank you.

          (The briefing concluded at 1:38 p.m.) 
(###)

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