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 #69

                  THURSDAY, MAY 13, 1993, 12:44 P.M.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  One 
announcement to make for you:  We will have a briefing in this room at 
2:30* this afternoon on this round of Middle East peace talks. The 
briefer will be Assistant Secretary Edward Djerejian.  He'll be ON-THE-
RECORD to explain all the ins and outs of the process, or at least some 
of them, for you this afternoon; 2:30 in this room, anybody who wants to 
be here.

          Q.   Does that mean you're not prepared to entertain any 
questions about the peace process?

          MR. BOUCHER:  That means I'd like to defer on the peace 
process to somebody who is better qualified to answer questions than I 
am. But I'd be glad to take any other questions you have, George.

          Q.   Richard, I noticed an interesting discrepancy in what Mr. 
Christopher said today about Bosnia and what he said on May 1, which was 
the day that he gave his briefing at the White House prior to leaving on 
his European mission, and it concerns the aim of U.S. policy.

     On May 1, he said that the aim was to respond to the violence, stop 
the aggression, and contain the conflict.  Today, he used the phrase, on 
two occasions, "reduce the level of violence."  Are we no longer trying 
to stop the aggression?  Have our ambitions -- your ambitions, I should 
say -- been somewhat lowered?

     MR. BOUCHER:  Alan, I don't think that's an accurate rendition of 
the Secretary's remarks.  I have to say, I don't have the transcript 
with me so I can't go through exactly what the question was and what the 
answer was.  But, no, our aim continues to be to stop the killing, to 
find a negotiated solution, and keep the conflict from spreading.

          Q.   In addition to that, the Secretary and the President have 
noticeably dropped some of the phraseology which they were using last 
week, which has to do with what the U.S. is considering and desirous of 
the allies, saying that the U.S.

*Note:  Spokesman later announced time change to 3:45 p.m. is 
considering increasing the pressure on them, including military steps.  
That particular phrase is gone from their comments now.  Is that because 
the U.S. has stopped considering military steps?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, John.  The options that we have discussed in 
the past, the options that we've discussed with the Europeans during the 
Secretary's trip last week, are still on the table.  We are dealing with 
a dynamic situation, and there continue to be developments which affect 
the course of progress.  But I think I would have to say, there's some 
indications that the sanctions and the other pressures that we're 
bringing, including our discussion of what further might be required, 
are having some effect on the situation.

          The Bosnian Serbs are increasingly isolated, including from 
their natural allies.  The Serbian leadership -- President Milosevic -- 
has taken some distance from them.  The European Community has proposed 
monitors to go to the border areas to see that Mr. Milosevic lives up to 
his word, and that's certainly something we think is a good idea.

          We're watching to see what happens on that border, to see if 
he is, indeed, going to cut off the Bosnian Serbs.  We're watching the 
outcome of the referendum to which we don't attach any particular 
legitimacy ourselves but which some others have attached a certain 
degree of importance.

          We've made clear I think during the course of this week that 
we're looking at other options, including ones that might further help 
the goal of containing the situation.  But, basically, we've been 
telling you where we are, and that's that we've agreed with our European 
friends and allies that stronger measures will be necessary -- could be 
necessary -- if we all conclude that the Bosnian Serbs have rejected the 
prospects of a negotiated settlement.  We are discussing with them what 
precisely those measures might be.

          Nothing is excluded, as these Europeans have made clear, and 
the options that we've been discussing with them over the course of the 
last week or so are still on the table.

          Q    And the word "military" hasn't come out of your mouth?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Including military action.

          Q    Richard, you just said that if he is, indeed, going to 
cut off the supplies to the Bosnian Serbs, that hints of a future tense, 
so is that intentional?  At this point, do you believe he has not cut 
off -- what is your assessment of the flow of equipment, supplies, and 
fuel over the border now?

          MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, it's an assessment that is 
basically mixed results.  There are reports from some areas that traffic 
has been diminished across that border.  There are also other reports 
that indicate that vehicles and supplies continue to cross the border.  
So he's said that the border will be closed, and we're continuing to 
watch that situation.  We expect him to keep his word.

          Q    So is the border closed?  It doesn't look like it.

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, not completely.  There are some places where 
the traffic appears to have gone down, but we do know that supplies and 
traffic continue to cross.

          Q    North Korea is defying --

          Q    I would like to ask about Macedonia, since the President 
made a statement, talking about the fact that peacekeepers or U.S. 
troops could be sent, or was under consideration that they would be sent 
to Macedonia.  I just wonder why advantage wasn't taken of the presence 
in the United States, in New York, of the Macedonian President to have a 
high-level meeting with him?  He was due to come to Washington today to 
give a talk at the Carnegie Endowment, and I'm told that he cancelled 
when he couldn't get a meeting with Mr. Christopher.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Alan, I don't know what his private plans were, 
but certainly we keep in touch with the Macedonians.  The Secretary and 
he -- the schedules didn't work out for them to have a meeting, but the 
Secretary talked to him on the phone Tuesday evening.  He talked to the 
Macedonian President in order to keep in touch, in order to talk about 
-- to congratulate him on the U.N. membership, talk about how that 
process is going in terms of the remaining issues that need to be 
resolved, and to discuss the situation in Macedonia.

          Q.   I saw the Secretary's schedule today, and I noticed there 
were a few things in there.  Certainly, one assumes he's very busy all 
the time, but as far as public appointments are concerned, there did 
seem to be a few gaps. And since the President of Macedonia was coming 
here today anyway, one would have thought that half an hour could have 
been found in the schedule.  I understand that he's left in something of 
a huff.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Alan, once again, I'm not personally familiar 
with all the details of President Gligorov's travel plans.

          The Secretary, as you know, had a busy day Tuesday.  He went 
to New York yesterday; has just come back.  He does have other 
appointments other than the ones on his schedule.  I can't give you the 
blow-by-blow of the different attempts that were made, or what times 
might have worked or not worked for each one of the other of them, but 
the Secretary did want to maintain contact with him, did want to talk to 
him, and called him on Tuesday night to talk to him.

          They had a useful conversation, a friendly conversation; one 
that covered a number of issues that are important to both of us.

          Q    But the timing, as Alan was saying, is striking. You have 
the President saying he's considering or preparing to send American 
troops.  Macedonia's security is important enough to perhaps send 
American ground forces to Macedonia, and yet you couldn't work out a 
time for more than a telephone call with the leader of that now 
supposedly vital country?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Terry, we have stressed a number of times the 
importance of Macedonia.  The Secretary did want to make sure he got a 
chance to talk to President Gligorov, and it was for that reason that he 
talked to him on the telephone.  I would not draw any conclusions -- 
certainly, not any pejorative conclusions -- from the fact that they 
weren't able to meet in person.

          Q    Did they discuss dispatch of American troops?

          MR. BOUCHER:  They discussed the stories that appeared in the 
press.  President Gligorov, I think, asked about it and the Secretary 
told him that no decisions had been made.

          Q    As far as stories in the press, Macedonian officials are 
quoted as saying, "Why send troops here," basically.

          MR. BOUCHER:  You know that all along we've been very 
concerned about the possibility of spillover.  It's important that this 
conflict not be allowed to spread to other areas. We've been concerned 
about the welfare, the status of Macedonia.  We've tried to work closely 
over time with the Macedonians.

          We have had international monitors, I think, there.  We have 
an UNPROFOR contingent that's already there and we're looking for other 
ways that we can increase the international presence in Macedonia as 
well as Kosovo.

          Q    Richard, all along what the Macedonians have said they 
really want is recognition.  Can you just reiterate for us why the 
United States has not seen fit to recognize Macedonia yet?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We've been looking for a solution to be worked 
out, that can be acceptable to all the parties that have an interest in 
this.  As you know, we were very pleased that the Macedonians were able 
to move into the United Nations.  That was one of the things the 
Secretary discussed with the Macedonian President on Tuesday evening -- 
how to proceed with the remaining issues that need to be resolved.

          Q    But when you say all the parties with an interest in 
this, are you essentially saying that Greek dissatisfaction over 
recognition is holding up the process?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The European Community, I think, has been 
working with the Greeks and with the Macedonians to try to find a 
solution that could be acceptable, that could move forward to 
international recognition.

          Q    We talked to both the Bosnian Foreign Minister and the -- 
the Macedonian Foreign Minister and the U.S. rep for Macedonia on 
Wednesday.  Both of them were with the President of Macedonia and both 
of them said quite clearly that they had not been contacted by the U.S. 
Government with this idea for putting American peacekeepers into 

          MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, David, no decisions have been 
made.  I would point out to you that it was discussed in a telephone 
conversation on Tuesday evening between the Secretary and the President 
of Macedonia.

          Q    What did they say?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I just described to you that the subject came up 
and they talked about it, and the Secretary informed him that no 
decision had been made.

          Q    I don't quite get the -- the Secretary is informing them.  
Isn't he asking them if they want peacekeepers?

          MR. BOUCHER:  There weren't any requests one way or the other 
at that point.

          Q    So they have not requested peacekeepers?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Again, for their position, I think you have to 
ask them.  There were no requests one way or the other. It was a subject 
that's been discussed.  We have been in close touch with the Macedonians 
all along.  The whole issue of an international presence in Macedonia is 
not new.  But as far as any further proposals or steps that we might 
make, we haven't made decisions on that at this point.

          Q    What has UNPROFOR told you about the need for additional 
peacekeepers in Macedonia?

          MR. BOUCHER:  That's not something that I know, and I don't 
think we would be interested in getting into at this point.  UNPROFOR, 
obviously, has people on the ground there.

          Q    Well, could you take the question of whether --

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think if you want to question what UNPROFOR 
thinks about the need for further people on the ground there, I think 
you better ask UNPROFOR.

          Q    Richard, are you saying this was entirely a scheduling 
problem and there was no unannounced or unstated reason for there not 
being a meeting between Christopher and the Macedonian President?

          MR. BOUCHER:  George, I'm not trying to go into great detail 
about why they weren't able to meet face-to-face. Clearly, they're both 
busy men.  They both have their schedules.  The fact is, the Secretary 
wanted to be able to talk to the President of Macedonia while he was 
here in the United States and they arranged to do that by telephone.  
That was a useful and satisfactory arrangement.

          Q    Richard, within the context of the Balkans, what kind of 
discussions are going on within the NATO framework? And, number two, how 
would you respond to some congressional concern over NATO vis-a-vis the 

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't quite understand.  You're talking -- I 
mean, NATO has had a role in a variety of ways in the whole crisis --

          Q    Can you be specific?

          MR. BOUCHER:  NATO has done a lot of planning for various 
contingencies.  They did the planning and now the execution of the "no-
fly" zone.  They've been doing planning for the possibilities of 
implementing the Vance-Owen plan.  NATO has been a place where we 
regularly keep in touch with our allies on all the issues involved out 

          The Secretary met with the Secretary General of NATO just last 
week.  So we've been having a lot of discussions with NATO and with our 
NATO allies in the context of NATO meetings. It's a regular way that we 
keep in touch with people and do essential planning for operations.

          Q    There's some sentiment -- as a follow-up, there's some 
sentiment on the Hill that this whole scenario might affect the future 
viability of NATO.  How do you respond to congressional concern over 

          MR. BOUCHER:  Again, this whole scenario might affect the 
future viability of NATO?  Obviously, this whole scenario and what NATO 
does in the Yugoslav crisis is important to NATO. It's been the subject 
of many discussions in NATO and certainly it's something that has 
concerned everybody in the organization.

          Q    Richard, I'd like to step back a little bit and try and 
get a sense of where the United States is.  As I understand it, when the 
Bush -- when the Clinton Administration took over, it had a re-
evaluation, re-examination of Yugoslavia policy which culminated in an 
announcement on February 10.  A few weeks later it had another re-
examination which culminated in an announcement on May 1.

          Do we have -- do you have a policy now, or are you in another 
re-examination period?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Alan, I think I just described to you where the 
United States is.  We are dealing with a dynamic situation which 
changes, both on the ground and in terms of the views of other 
governments on this.  The Secretary had a trip just a week ago to put 
forward the direction that the President had determined.  We've said 
that that still remains in play, that that's still on the table, that 
the Europeans have not excluded those kinds of options, and that we're 
also looking at other options that can help in this situation.

          So where we are is in close consultations and discussions with 
our allies; agreed that we have to move forward with further measures if 
the negotiating process falls through, and working with them to define 
precisely what those measures might be, as well as to bring more 
pressure on the Serbs and further isolate the Bosnian Serbs.

          Q    But on May 1, the Secretary said that the President had 
decided on the direction that he thought the United States and the 
international community should now take, which included a number of 
specific recommendations, including military steps.  Is that still the 
situation today?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I've just said all those things are still in 
play.  That's still the situation.

          Q    That's still the situation?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

          Q    Richard, is the U.S. making efforts or preparing to try 
to send more observers, CSCE observers, into Kosovo, Sandjak or 

          MR. BOUCHER:  We have been working with other governments and 
allies to try to expand the CSCE mission to Kosovo in particular.  We 
currently have a couple of American diplomats there.  We've been working 
with our allies and continue to urge them and the CSCE to augment the 
number of monitors in Kosovo.  We think that type of international 
presence can help deter Serbian aggression.  So it's something we're 
working on.

          Q    But does that include further either U.S. diplomats or 
U.S. military personnel in some presence there as part of some --

          MR. BOUCHER:  The people that have gone there before have been 
CSCE monitors, I'm sure we'd be -- you know, in the augmentation of 
that, we'd certainly consider any obvious role for the United States.

          Q    As I recall it, there are roughly maybe something under 
two dozen there.  That's what the target number had been a while back.  
I don't know if it's --

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know the total.  It was recently 
increased, but I'm not sure how far it's gotten.

          Q    How much further augmentation is being considered?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'll have to check on that, Terry.

          Q    Richard, when you say "asking our allies to augment," I 
mean, is the focus of effort to get them to put more people in, or are 
we considering putting more people in, too?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Tim, there's been an international discussion, a 
continued discussion, which we have promoted to get more international 
monitors into Kosovo.  Exactly how many or what precise role the United 
States would have in this augmentation, I think I have to leave for the 
moment.  But certainly we've played a role so far and would expect to 
continue to play a role.

          Q    Richard, what do you think of the Russian proposal at the 
U.N. to put in some 500 monitors on the Bosnia-Serb border?

          MR. BOUCHER:  As I understand it, yesterday the Security 
Council discussed in informal session a draft resolution that would call 
for the deployment of U.N. monitors along the border between Bosnia and 
Serbia.  The Council will take up the proposal again on Monday.

          As we've said before, we support the idea of testing to see 
that Milosevic lives up to his word in this regard.  We believe the 
presence should be designed to be effective.  But it is important, it's 
a useful idea, an important idea, to try to get people out there to test 
to see that Milosevic lives up to his word.

          Q    What would make it effective?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Just the design of the numbers and the way 
they're deployed, and things like that.

          Q    Do they need Milosevic's permission to put them in place?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'm not sure what he has said on that. It seems 
to me at some point I saw somebody on the Serbian side welcoming the 
prospect, but I don't know exactly whether that was Milosevic or what 
the state of play is.

          Q    But if they were to couple -- if the Serbs were to couple 
that with a request to seeking to have the sanctions eased as part of a 
deal to allow monitors on the border, would that be an acceptable trade-
off for the U.S.?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Terry, I haven't seen any such proposal. The 
sanctions exist in order to try to bring pressure on the parties to end 
the fighting.  As I said, we haven't seen this cut-off made effective 
yet.  The results are mixed.  The parties are basically required not to 
supply things into Bosnia by the U.N. resolutions.  We expect people to 
do that, and we would expect to see that lived up to and to see that 
monitored appropriately.

          Q    The U.S. would provide personnel for border -- part of a 
border monitoring force?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We wouldn't plan to provide troops for that, but 
what sort of logistical and material support we might provide would be 
considered on a case-by-case basis.

          Q    You indicated that you thought that economic sanctions 
were having some kind of impact on the various political moves which you 
have seen.  Do you have anything to back that up?  Any facts, figures, 
anecdotes?  Where do you draw that conclusion from?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think I can get facts and figures.  I'm not 
sure I can do anecdotes.  There are some of the things that I've cited 
for you, first of all, in terms of behavior and what we've seen between 
the parties, the fact that Milosevic has taken some distance from the 
Bosnian Serbs and at least in public made statements and brought some 
pressure on them, that we have seen some cut-off in the terms of this 
border traffic, although it's not complete yet, and we would expect it 
to be complete.

          Q    Do you think that's a result of the sanctions, 

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think it's a result of the variety of 
pressures that we're bringing to bear on the situation, including the 
sanctions.  Let me give you a rundown of the impact of the sanctions 
that we've seen.

          Serbia's economy has been severely weakened by the sanctions 
overall.  The impact has been more pronounced since the U.N. Security 
Council Resolution 820 went into effect in late April.

          (Staff member hands Mr. Boucher a piece of paper.)

          Oh.  I'll tell you that in a minute.  It doesn't have to do 
with this.

          Inflation has averaged more than 225 percent a month. The 
industrial sector is reported to be operating at 35 percent of its 
normal capacity.  Infrastructure is deteriorating.  The banking system 
is in crisis with another large private bank, the Dafiment Bank, 
recently closed after a drawn out bank run.

          We believe the sanctions are taking a significant toll on the 
Serbian and Montenegrin economy.  The cumulative effects of sanctions 
are bringing home to the Milosevic regime the enormous cost for its 
policies.  As we've seen in the last week in pronouncements by the 
Serbian leaders, sanctions are increasingly becoming an element in 
Serbia's assessment of its policies and may be beginning to limit the 
options that are available to the Serbian Government.

          Q    New subject?

          MR. BOUCHER:  New subject?

          Q    What's on that piece of paper?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Oh, what's on the piece of paper.  We would like 
to change the briefing by Assistant Secretary Djerejian to 3:45 p.m.

          Q    You still want to make the papers?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We want to do it at a time that's convenient for 
the briefer to be able to explain things fully and completely to you.

          O.K.  We had a new subject over there.

          Q    Yes.  North Korea is defying the U.N. resolution to 
receive nuclear inspector to the so-called military site, and also if 
U.N. imposes economic sanctions on North Korea, that will be considered 
so-called proclamation of war, they said.  Do you think that it is 
appropriate time for you to have high-level political talks with North 

          MR. BOUCHER:  You've put a lot of things in there.  Let me try 
to answer most of them.  The passage of the resolution, in our minds, 
confirms the international community's grave concern about these matters 
and the dedication of the international community in making every effort 
to convince North Korea to reaffirm its commitment in the Non-
Proliferation Treaty and to live up to its non-proliferation 

          That, as the resolution said, must include full compliance 
with its IAEA safeguards agreement, as specified in the Board of 
Governors resolution at the IAEA of February 25. North Korean officials 
have been saying they want to resolve the situation.  They decided to 
admit International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors on May 8 to conduct 
normal nuclear safeguards activities.  That's a positive development, 
but it falls far short of full compliance of the terms of North Korea's 
Nuclear Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, as has been sought by the 
Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors.

          As far as further meetings, as you know, our goal remains to 
work in concert with the international community, to see that the 
desires of the international community to see North Korea respect its 
obligations, to see that those desires are fulfilled by North Korea.  
We've said we're willing to meet with North Korea to help resolve the 
current situation, but the current situation results from actions taken 
by North Korea in the nuclear area, and at this point we really don't 
have anything further for you on that.

          Q    Yesterday, Assistant Secretary Gallucci appeared 
optimistic about the solution of the North Korean nuclear issue.  Is he, 
the Ambassador, reflecting the other views in the State Department?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think his remarks, from what I could see in 
the papers, were very similar to what I said:  that North Korea has said 
it wants to resolve the situation; that North Korea has admitted some 
inspectors for normal nuclear safeguards activities and that was 
positive.  But that, overall, they still fall far short of meeting the 
requirements of the IAEA, meeting the requirements of the decisions of 
the Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors.

          Q    One more question, if I might.  Can you say when and 
where and what level the so-called higher level talks will be held?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, I can't.  No meeting has been scheduled.  I 
think I just said I didn't have anything further on that, other than to 
say that we are willing to meet with North Korea to help resolve this 
current situation.

          Q    And how do you arrange for the meeting?  Do you think it 
necessary to have a preparatory talks to arrange for the higher level 

          MR. BOUCHER:  Once again, nothing is scheduled at this point, 
so I don't think I can go any more into the schedule.

          Q    Richard, there's a report from Geneva that the small U.N. 
contingent in north Iraq is being withdrawn for lack of funds.  Do you 
know anything about that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, I don't.

          Q    Could you check on it?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'll check on that.

          Q    Richard, Saudi Arabia announced earlier today that it is 
shutting down a human rights group, and there have been reports in 
addition that some of the people involved in that group are going to 
face retribution, including dismissal from their jobs.  Does the U.S. 
Government have any reaction to that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I hadn't seen that.  I'll have to check on that 
for you.

          Q    Thank you.

          (The briefing concluded at 1:10 p.m.) 

To the top of this page