930426 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 #60

                MONDAY, APRIL 26, 1993, 12:38 P.M.
              (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)


         MR. BOUCHER:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. One short 
announcement, off the top:

          Secretary Christopher will be appearing before the 
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary of the Senate 
Appropriations Committee tomorrow morning at 10:00. His testimony 
concerns the 1994 budget.  The room is 253 Russell Senate Office 
Building.  Given this appearance, we will not have a regular press 
briefing tomorrow.

          Q    I want to get the Mideast peace talks underway with some 
expression of what the U.S. means by "full partner." Are you folks going 
to be in the room at some point?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, at this point I think we've explained the 
term "full partner" a number of times.  As the Secretary said last week, 
we are prepared to do our part as a full partner to help the parties 
achieve what they can in these talks.  You've seen a number of 
discussions that we've had with the parties over the course of the last 
several months, both to get them to the table and to ensure that 
progress can be achieved at this round.  This act of involvement by the 
United States, working hard with the parties, reflects the commitment 
that the President and the Secretary have placed on the Middle East 
process, trying to make 1993 the year of progress in these talks and 
trying to take advantage of the opportunity that presents itself now.

          Q    Well, but physically where will the U.S. -- well, at 
least let's get to tomorrow.  You know, maybe in the next couple of 
days, will the U.S. be available if called upon in a side room?  Or 
might you just enter the room and say "Look, guys, here's what we think 
a settlement ought to look like."

          MR. BOUCHER:  Well, I don't think it's necessarily one or the 
other, Barry.  As you know, the question of entering the room is 
something that would only be done at the request or the approval of both 
parties at any given negotiation.

          Our role is an active one.  Our role is one that you've seen 
played out over the last several months in the Secretary's trips, the 
conversations that we've had with the parties, and the continuing 
context that the Secretary has had with the parties.  So we have been 
active and willing to offer suggestions and work with the parties to 
help them achieve what kind of progress they think they can.

          Q    Is there any difference in the way the people involved, 
the American officials involved, are going to be deployed?  Is anybody 
going to be given specific responsibility for one track or another of 
the talks?  Or is there some sort of schedule -- informal or otherwise 
-- for meeting with the participants or keeping an eye on what's going 
on inside the room?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, I think we've had those things in the 
past.  We've had liaison for particular tracks.  Obviously Ed Djerejian 
and his peace team are the people in charge and the people that will be 
handling the talks on a day-to-day basis from our side.  They've been 
meeting with the delegations.  They met with a number of delegations 
last week.  They met with the representatives of the Israeli delegation 
on Sunday.  We would expect to see the other delegations perhaps today; 
but we haven't set the meetings, at least as of the time that I came 
down.

          So we'll continue to follow all the tracks, all the talks, 
closely; and we'll continue to meet with the delegations during the 
course of the talks.

          Q    There's no difference, though, in the way you're 
deploying in these talks as opposed to the ones in the past couple of 
years?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I haven't examined the arrangements at the level 
of detail that might point out any specific difference.  But, basically, 
we have been -- in the past rounds, we've met with all the parties.  
We'll continue to meet with the parties.

          Q    Can you explain a little bit more fully what the 
Secretary meant when he ad libbed in his speech the other night, that he 
intended -- that the United States would be even-handed, not only 
looking like it's even-handed?

          MR. BOUCHER:  He intended to convey our strongest desire to be 
a full partner, to be an honest broker, in the next phase of the peace 
negotiations; to consider fully the views of all the parties.  We don't 
think anybody should read anything more than that into the comment.

          Q    Does the statement imply that the U.S. hasn't been even-
handed until now?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Again, Howard, I don't think anybody should read 
more than that into the comment.

          Q    Does he know what it means, do you think?  You don't want 
us to read anything into it, but you've managed to touch all the grace 
notes -- or the Secretary has in the last few days -- all the things, or 
at least many of the things the Arabs have been wanting to hear:  even-
handed; you've called the Palestinians courageous; you've done the full 
partner number; you've called conditions on the West Bank harsh.

          But to stick to even-handedness, which the Arabs have asked 
the U.S. to at least assert publicly, as the Secretary now has, for 
years.  One, I think, easy inference of even-handedness is the two sides 
arguments of equal weight, and the U.S. is equi-distant between the two 
of them.  Is Israel no longer the U.S.'s most reliable ally in the 
Middle East?  Do you see two powers competing that have equal causes and 
you're just in between the two of them?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Well, Barry, having cautioned you twice not to 
read anything more into this, I don't think --

          Q    Well, why do you say these things if we're not supposed 
to read into them?  They are said to give a message. Now, I'm trying to 
figure out what the message is.  Words don't just float around the 
Middle East like they pop out of people's mouths.  These things are 
thought out before they're said, and we're trying to figure out what 
message you're sending.  It's not like we're being quarrelsome or 
snooping.  We want to know what's your message -- the State Department, 
of course?

          MR. BOUCHER:  My turn?

          Q    Yes.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, having cautioned you twice against 
reading anything more into these remarks than what I just told you, let 
me tell you once again what the remarks were intended to convey and what 
they do convey.  They convey our strong desire to become a full partner 
and an honest broker in the next phrase of peace negotiations and to 
consider fully the views of all parties.

          Q    Richard, anything new on the multilateral talks?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, I don't have anything new today on it.  Is 
there supposed to be something new today?  I don't remember precisely 
the schedule, Sid.  That's why I ask, but I think they're a little bit 
down the road.

          Okay.  John?

          Q    Can you explain, on Bosnia, how the international embargo 
and the various things that the President has signed into law, how they 
are any different than what the U.S. has already done -- freezing 
Yugoslavian assets?  We already froze Yugoslavian assets.  Didn't the 
United States do that already?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Yes, John.  But these new sanctions will do much 
more than that in terms of what they do against Serbia.

          The new Resolution provides a much more comprehensive embargo 
on the transshipments of goods to and through Serbia and Montenegro and 
a freeze on the financial assets that are owned or controlled by Serbian 
and Montenegrin companies.

          The Resolution authorizes the establishment of an exclusion 
zone in the waters of the so-called Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 
the Adriatic, and this zone will be patrolled by NATO and West European 
Union forces.  Maritime traffic through the zone is prohibited except if 
specifically approved by the United Nations.

          The Resolution introduces a much tighter control regime for 
transshipments through land access points and on the Danube.  Such 
transshipments will require approval by the Sanctions Committee on a 
case-by-case basis.  The control regime will provide for close 
monitoring.

          Q    That's not what I asked.  Did the U.S. Government, 
haven't they already frozen their assets?

          MR. BOUCHER:  John, if I can finish, I'll tell you. You asked 
that specific question; I answered it off the top. You asked "What more 
does this do that we haven't done already?"  I've given you a list 
already of half a dozen things that it does that we haven't done 
already.

          In the aim of increasing our assistance for local customs 
officers responsible for enforcing the Resolution, we promised 17 
additional sanctions assistance monitors for the region, bringing the 
U.S. total to 27.  Eleven of the new monitors arrived in Romania and 
Bulgaria yesterday.  We have pressed the Europeans to do likewise.

          So in other words, in terms of "what does it do," it does all 
these things that are in the Resolution.  It provides for the exclusion 
zone.  It cuts down on the traffic and the transshipment, and that's 
what it does.

          Q    That's not my question.  My question is, what -- as the 
U.S. Government haven't we already frozen their assets --

          MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

          Q    -- so the President has signed an Executive Order, at 
midnight last night, supposedly freezing their assets; but the U.S. had 
already done that.  What does this Executive Order do in terms of United 
States' participation that is different? I understand what the sanctions 
do, but what does the U.S. Government do that is different today than 
yesterday?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The United States participates in an enhanced 
international sanctions regime on Serbia and Montenegro.  What do we do 
that's different than yesterday in terms of the specific Executive 
Order?  I believe -- and you'll have to get the detailed explanation 
from Treasury -- that the Order provides for the freezing of additional 
assets that weren't frozen beforehand.

          Q    What additional assets.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I do not have the exact details of that, and the 
Treasury Department are the ones that have the jurisdiction over the 
Order.  What does the United States do that's different?  We participate 
through additional monitors, our ships in the Adriatic, and other ways 
in an enhanced sanctions regime that will significantly bring new 
sanctions to bear against Serbia and Montenegro.

          Q    Does that mean you could be reaching, you know, to 
Europe; you could be dealing with secondarily held assets? Treasury will 
explain this?

          MR. BOUCHER:  John only wants me to talk about the United 
States.

          Q    No, the United States.  There was an escalation with 
Iran, too, with first initial assets, then there were secondary assets.

          MR. BOUCHER:  The Resolution, as I just told you, Barry, calls 
on all the governments to freeze Serbian and Montenegrin assets, 
wherever they are.  That includes in Europe; that includes in other 
places.  It provides a U.N. obligation on countries to freeze these 
financial assets and, I think, in addition to freeze any financial flows 
which result from the sale of property.  There's specific language on 
that in the Resolution.

          So, as John points out, we in the United States had previously 
frozen a lot of assets under previous resolutions. This Resolution 
clearly provides the authority that Serbian and Montenegrin assets, 
wherever they should be, should be frozen and must be frozen.

          Q    Do you happen to know, Richard, how it would affect a 
company, the California pharmaceutical giant that has a large -- that it 
has its Eastern European operation in Yugoslavia and is run by the 
former Prime Minister, the American-born or the California resident --

          MR. BOUCHER:  Do you mean Panic?

          Q    Run by Panic and the former Ambassador -- U.S. Ambassador 
to Yugoslavia.  Do you know how that is affected?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I do not know what --

          Q    Does the California firm have to stop to doing business 
with them and --

          MR. BOUCHER:  Saul, the sanctions apply to all firms, whether 
they're in California or elsewhere.  I don't know what the business of 
that firm is and what assets they may have there, so I can't really 
comment on a specific firm.

          Q    What is the reaction by the U.S. Government to what the 
European Foreign Ministers did yesterday in terms of deciding that they 
really didn't want to support an escalation of pressure on the Serbs?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Well, I'm not sure I would agree with you on the 
characterization.  The Europeans met and have looked at a number of 
options and decisions.  They're essentially wrestling with the same 
policy options that we are considering.  As far as we know at this 
stage, they've neither ruled out or settled on any of the options beyond 
the sanctions enforcement.  But we have been talking to the Europeans 
about sanctions enforcement.

           We had a delegation out there late last week to talk to them, 
and they took some decisions over the weekend for their part to increase 
the number of sanctions monitors.  We believe that they will help ensure 
that the new sanctions resolution is strictly and swiftly enforced, and 
we've been cooperating closely with them in doing that.

          Q    You don't regard this as a rejection of the air strikes 
option.

          MR. BOUCHER:  As far as we know, they've neither ruled out nor 
settled on any of the options beyond the sanctions enforcement, but 
that's something that obviously goes into effect today and that we want 
to work very closely with them on.

          Q    The President said last week that anything done should be 
done with the allies.  I mean, he was very strong about that.  Is the 
necessary corollary of what you just said that the U.S. hasn't decided 
on other options as well?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think the President said yesterday that he was 
not ready to announce anything; he was not ready to announce a policy 
that hadn't been decided yet.  But he did say that we'd do everything we 
can, stand up against and stop the practice of ethnic cleansing, and 
that we'd find some way for people in Bosnia-Herzegovina to live in 
peace.

          Q    Do you want to wait -- do you have to wait a period to 
see how these tightened sanctions play out before doing something else, 
or is the Administration not precluding another imminent action?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Barry, I think we believe that the sanctions are 
important, they're tight enough, and that they will have an immediate 
effect on the Serbian economy, first of all.  But, second of all, the 
timetable -- as far as I know, there is no specific timetable for the 
further review of options that's underway.

          Q    What is the status of the policy review that's going on 
right now?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The options are still being looked at. They're 
still being looked at, and the President said yesterday he had nothing 
to announce.  There's nothing new this morning.

          Q    There's some speculation that the Secretary will be 
traveling to Europe to consult with European allies.  Can you tell us 
anything about that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  A lot of speculation.  As you know, we're in the 
process of considering options on policy.  Any decisions on travel or 
other plans have not been made.

          Q    Richard, what has Ambassador Bartholomew been doing in 
recent days?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Sid, I'll have to get you something on that.  I 
don't have any specific list of the actions he's been taking.  Obviously 
he has been heavily involved in the policy review.  He's been providing 
his advice.  He's been around here.  I don't think he's had any 
particular meetings to speak of, but I'll check and see if he has.

          Q    You said that the sanctions -- you expect the sanctions 
to have an immediate impact on the Serbian economy -- they're tight, and 
they're important.  An impact on the economy -- but do you also 
anticipate they will have an impact on what you're really after, which 
is a change in behavior on the part of the Bosnian Serbs and the Serbs?

          MR. BOUCHER:  John, as you know from previous instances, it's 
always very difficult to predict a specific effect of sanctions other 
than the economic ones.  These sanctions significantly tighten the 
loopholes that have existed in the past.  They give us a way of bringing 
additional pressure to bear.  They give us a way of ensuring that Serbia 
pays its price for support for the aggression that has been going on 
with the continued pressure and fighting that's perpetrated by the 
Bosnian Serbs.  So in those terms they will have their effect.

          Obviously the overall effect that we're looking for is to 
bring an end to the fighting, to stop the killing and to encourage them 
to reach a negotiated settlement.  We'll just have to see if they can do 
that.

          Q    Sir, Germany is responsible, too, for that crisis in the 
Balkans.  As the leading force of the EC and Europe, I'm wondering if 
you discussed with the German Government the problem of refugees in 
order to find ways to help them, due to the fact that a tension also 
exists at this particular moment in Kosovo and Skopje?  Otherwise, is 
Germany ready according to your discussion to receive the refugees from 
the former Yugoslavia?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I really think that's a question you have to ask 
the Germans.  We've been talking to other governments and working with 
other governments on the problem of refugees in the area.  As you know, 
the Germans have taken quite a lot of people from the former Yugoslavia; 
but exactly whether they're ready to take more right now or not, you'll 
have to check with them.

          Q    Did you discuss the situation with the German 
authorities?  This is the point.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Certainly, we've discussed it many times with 
the German authorities; but what their position is right now, I'd have 
to leave you to them.

          Q    To what extent was the discussion?

          MR. BOUCHER:  To what extent?

          Q    Yes.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't have a full run-down, but obviously 
there have been a lot of countries that have worked over many months in 
terms of the refugees coming out of Yugoslavia -- out of the former 
Yugoslavia.  Germany has been one country that has taken very many, and 
we've talked about it a lot of times with them.

          Q    Did they tell you exactly how many they have received so 
far in order to help the situation?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I assume they did.  I don't have those numbers 
handy, but I really have to leave you to the Germans to get those 
numbers.

          Q    Richard, do we have an assessment of the Russian vote?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We don't have a final assessment now. The 
Russian Central Electoral Commission is scheduled to announce 
preliminary national results tomorrow morning.  The official final 
results will be announced several days later.

          Based on the preliminary results we've seen so far, the 
referendum is encouraging for the future of democracy and reform in 
Russia.  The United States Government welcomes the successful conduct of 
the referendum as a further step in Russia's movement towards full 
democracy.

          The success of reform in Russia is important for the world and 
for the Russian people themselves, and we look forward to continuing to 
work with President Yeltsin and all the other reformers in Russia to 
help build a new relationship based on trust and partnership.

          Q    On another subject, Taiwan and mainland China are going 
to be holding the (inaudible) talks in Singapore.  What is the U.S. 
point of view on this development between the two sides of the Taiwan 
Strait?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Let me see if I can get you something on that.  
I don't have anything particularly new to say on it right now.

          Q    Thank you.

          (The briefing concluded at 12:56 p.m.) (###)

To the top of this page