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Tuesday, September 21, 1993

                            BRIEFER:  Michael McCurry

Subject                                           Page

Yeltsin Dissolves Parliament/Calls Elections ...1-5
--  US Reaction ................................1-5
Secretary's Contacts with Foreign Minister .....2-3

Secretary's Discussions with Russian FM ........3,11
US Urges Resumption of UN Peace Process ........10
President's Contacts with Yeltsin ..............10-11
Parties Conclude Agreement/US Reaction .........5-7
Peacekeeping ...................................6-8
--  US Commitment/Consultations with Congress ..6-8

Secretary's Meeting with Secretary General .....6-7

US Contacts ....................................8-9
Letter Reportedly Given to Asst. Sec. Gallucci .9

Israeli-PLO Agreement ..........................9-10
--  Statement by Syrian President ..............9-10

Prospects for Hosting Olympic Games ............11

Ministerial Meeting in Seattle .................11-13
--  Invitations/Prospects for Meetings .........11-13


                       DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                       DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                      DPC #131

             TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 1993, 12:50 P. M.

         MR. McCURRY:  Good afternoon, everybody.  I don't have any 
announcements, but I am aware of the fact that you are all very much 
interested, no doubt, in the story breaking in Russia.  I'll tell you 
that, as you know, just less than an hour ago, President Yeltsin did 
appear on television.  We were aware that that was going to happen and 
our Embassy in Moscow had been notified.

          Beyond that, however, I'll tell you that we are assessing the 
importance of this.  It is obviously a critical moment in Russia, and 
because of that and because we are continuing our assessment of what 
these developments mean, I don't have any further reaction for you at 
this time.  I do expect that later in the day we will have a statement 
forthcoming, and we will certainly let you know when that's available.

          Q    Do you know how much word the Embassy had, by any chance?

          MR. McCURRY:  It was short -- probably less than an hour's 
notice, I'm given to understand.

          Q    And just to make sure we understand, you said you were 
notified that he would appear on television.  Were you given any kind of 
content notification?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm not sure how much information Ambassador 
Pickering was actually given about the content.  I think it might have 
been a very -- at least a thumbnail sketch of the contents of the 
announcement made by the President.

          Q    Is there any indication of any unusual military activity 
in Russia?

          MR. McCURRY:  Not that I have that I'm aware of here.  It's 
something that there's clearly been a great deal of ferment in the 
political debate in Russia recently, as you're aware.  But I'm not aware 
of anything unusual.

          Q    Is the U.S. proceeding as normal with all activities of 
the U.S. Embassy -- for example, meeting with Russian officials?  Are 
they continuing to conduct meetings of that sort; or has anything been 
put on hold, whether it be diplomatic contacts or military contacts or 
financial dealings, or anything of that sort?

          MR. McCURRY:  It's not exactly a normal work day.  They are 
working at the moment to assess the importance of these events, and 
they'll certainly be concentrating their work on assessing this move -- 
what it means, what the prospects of elections in December might mean.

          So I think right now they're trying to gather correct 
information and then interpret that information for the use of senior 
policymakers here.

          Q    This is not exactly unforeseen.  It had been talked about 
for weeks in Moscow.  Surely the United States had considered the 
implications of this.

          MR. McCURRY:  We have been considering the implications for 
some time of the ongoing political dialogue in Russia.  We're certainly 
aware of the forces in contention there politically.  Those are matters 
of internal debate within Russia; but, as we always do, because of the 
importance of the relationship, we do assess current developments, of 

          Q    Mike, it's unusual and maybe we didn't ask the question 
that would have elicited the expected response, but I don't hear any 
expressions of support or anything of the sort -- of the process or the 

          MR. McCURRY:  They might very appropriately come later today 
from an official more senior than me.  I want to make it very clear 
we're dealing with a story that's now just in the process of breaking, 
and we will have some authoritative reaction shortly.

          Q    Would you expect that reaction to come from Christopher 
or perhaps the White House?

          MR. McCURRY:  We will check and see.  That's one of the things 
that we're discussing right now.

          Q    May I ask you, the Secretary's been talking quite a bit 
lately to Mr. Kozyrev, mostly about the Palestinian situation.  In fact, 
maybe even yesterday before the speech, he was one of the half dozen 
major players he talked to on the phone.

          Was there any special indication of a problem coming from 
Moscow during this conversation?

          MR. McCURRY:  I wouldn't say that there was an indication of a 
problem.  I think they discuss a range of matters all the time.  I think 
you know their most recent conversation had to do with the fighting 
currently going on in Georgia, among other subjects, and also the Middle 
East peace process which they talked about at some length.

          Q    Did they discuss during their recent conversation, or 
conversations in recent days, the political turmoil in Russia itself?  I 
don't recall you mentioning that as a topic of their discussion, but 
again, as Barry said, we may not have asked the right question.

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't believe that they discussed the 
political situation in Russia at any great length, no.

          Q    And have they been in touch today?

          MR. McCURRY:  I do not believe so.  I think the Secretary just 
received word of this shortly after noon, too.

          Q    Who notified Pickering?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm not sure who he had contact with.  

          Q    Who notified Christopher?

          MR. McCURRY:  He heard about it, I think, simultaneously from 
the news accounts that began to appear and also from the report from our 

          Q    Will the Ambassador or anybody from the Russian Embassy 
be asked to come to the State Department?

          MR. McCURRY:  Let's wait and see how our official reaction 
goes.  That may very well be something we address in the official 
reaction that we issue later.

          Q    It's been the case in recent -- I'd say years actually -- 
but certainly in recent months that the United States and Russia have 
communicated very regularly.  And when the United States, when President 
Clinton was going to be having his meeting in Vancouver and proposing 
the international aid program, and so on, the U.S. Government made 
extraordinary efforts to keep the Russians informed of what was going to 
be announced and how it was going to be done, and consulting the 
Russians on how they would prefer things to be done, and so on.

          There seems to be no indication that President Yeltsin 
returned the favor, if you will, on this occasion.  Is that the case?

          MR. McCURRY:  That may be jumping to too much of a conclusion.  
I think I indicated that we are certainly aware of  the political 
situation.  I think we understand the seriousness of it, and I didn't 
rule out the possibility that there may have been a mention or a 
discussion.  But I just don't want to elaborate on that at this time.

          Q    Take a little filing break?

          MR. McCURRY:  Filing break's been asked for and granted.

          Q    The wires are saying right before we came in here that 
Rutskoi had declared himself to be president.  Do we know anything about 

          MR. McCURRY:  I have not heard any information to that effect 

          Q    Have the Russians informed the United States of any 
change in personnel?  For example, is Kozyrev still the Foreign 
Minister?  Anything of that sort?

          MR. McCURRY:  I am not aware of any changes that have been 
communicated to us.  I think it was a very short report that we did 
receive in advance of President Yeltsin's address.  I think much of our 
news we're developing at this very moment.

          Q    Mike, you may have addressed this in recent days, but 
there have been reports that Ambassador Lukin is going to be replaced as 
Russian Ambassador to Washington.  Is that a fact, to your knowledge?

          MR. McCURRY:  Not that I'm aware of.  I don't think we have 
been officially notified of any changes.  We are aware of those reports 
and aware that there were reports circulating that they might be 
planning some changes in their representation; but I'm not aware of any 
formal communication of changes that have been made by the Russian 

          Q    Any idea at this point what the media plan will be for 
this afternoon?  Do you think this is an event of the type that the 
President would respond to or something that the Secretary would respond 

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't want to suggest that.  We're sorting all 
that out right now, Ralph, and we'll probably know more at the 
conclusion of the briefing.

          Q    Will the Secretary go ahead with his planned meeting with 
Lee Hamilton this afternoon?

          MR. McCURRY:  I expect so.  I don't see any reason why he 
would want to change that part of his calendar.

          Q    Can we request a change in the coverage plan for that?  
At the moment I think it's scheduled for no coverage.   Would it be 
possible for us to have a crack at the Secretary this afternoon?

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes.  We'll check and see one way or another.  I 
think we'll probably try to find a way to make him available.  You 
suggest there might be some folks at the White House who would be 
available; we'll certainly be checking into that.  I think, as you know, 
Ambassador Talbott was just testifying on the Hill.  He's on his way to 
the White House now.  I believe some others are on their way here.  So 
we will be in close contact with them as the afternoon proceeds.

          Q    He did not go to Moscow on this trip, did he, or did he?

          MR. McCURRY:  I believe that was one of his stops.

          Q    Did he meet with Yeltsin on it?

          MR. McCURRY:  Not that I know of.  I think he mostly had 
meetings within the Foreign Ministry.

          Anything else?  Obviously, I know the importance of the story, 
and we'll be working to get you our reaction as soon as we have it.

          Q    Bosnia?  Anybody want to do Bosnia for a minute?

          MR. McCURRY:  Next subject.

          Q    The status of the talks -- sort of up and down.  It had 
been thought that there would be another round today, or that they would 
resume today, and that was cancelled abruptly.  Where do things stand on 
that front?

          MR. McCURRY:  Our understanding, based on our conversations 
with Ambassador Redman -- who has been in close contact with the parties 
and indeed was on the HMS Invincible yesterday during their discussions 
-- is that the three parties to the conflict have concluded a draft 

          Q    Have not or have?

          MR. McCURRY:  They have.  They have concluded a draft 
agreement that would be designed to bring an end to hostilities in 
Bosnia.  We understand that the agreement builds on the constitutional 
arrangements and military accords that had previously been announced by 
the parties.  It does also include some new territorial arrangements.

          We understand that the Bosnian Parliament is expected to 
consider these provisions, or at least begin to consider these 
provisions, on Monday, September 27.  We're not aware of any similar 
process by the other parties.

          But I'd say that the United States welcomes this development.  
It's an important indication that the parties are coming to closure on 
their differences.  We urge the parties to respect their previous 
agreements calling for immediate cease-fire, unimpeded delivery of 
humanitarian aid, and the full and unconditional release of all 

          Q    Did you say it does include new territorial concessions 
to the Bosnians?

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes.  It is our understanding it does include 
some new territorial arrangements, and those were being sought by the 
Bosnian Government, I think as you know.

          Q    This Administration a couple of weeks ago, I guess, urged 
that the Bosnian demands for additional territory get added attention.  
Are you in any way satisfied with this new accord as it is shaping up?

          MR. McCURRY:  We will learn more about the details of that as 
we study the agreement itself.  I think we had asked for the other 
parties -- specifically the Croats and the Serbs -- to show greater 
flexibility as they considered some of the requests being made by the 
Bosnian Government; and it does appear, with some of the adjustments 
that have been made, that there may have been some flexibility shown.  

          Whether or not it's entirely satisfactory to the Bosnian 
Government is something that I would leave to President Izetbegovic and 
his Parliament to address.

          Q    You don't have anything there about the possible 
deployment of U.S. troops in support of that agreement, do you?

          MR. McCURRY:  No.  As I say, the agreement itself is still 
subject to approval by the Bosnian Parliament, but we stand by our 
commitment of February 10.  However, no final pronouncements can yet be 
made regarding the character and size of any U.S. participation in a 
peacekeeping force.  That's something that we will only be able to 
develop as we come to understand the agreement in greater detail.

          Q    Mike, is there a requirement that the United States -- 
that the Administration get Congress involved in a peacekeeping 
operation, get Congressional permission, formal or any special 
permission for a peacekeeping operation of what this type would be?

          MR. McCURRY:  I wouldn't want to call it a formal 
participation; but there is a reality that we're in the midst of the 
appropriation process within Congress, and they have a very strong 
interest in a variety of these peacekeeping functions under the auspices 
of the United Nations.  They have asked that some considerable detail -- 
for information about how those are going to be structured, funded, not 
only in  the case of Bosnia, but obviously they have very keen and 
strong interest in Somalia, and indeed all of the 14 various U.N. 
peacekeeping missions in various places around the world.

          So the practical effect is that they have to be closely 
consulted because they, of course, appropriate the funds necessary for 
U.S. participation in such efforts.

          Q    But you're saying it's a consultation rather than an 

          MR. McCURRY:  As it has been with so much involved with the 
former Yugoslavia, it's a very close consultation.  I think, as someone 
referenced earlier, Chairman Lee Hamilton is here today.  The 
Secretary's been in close contact with other members of Congress.  
Indeed, a number of high-ranking officials in the Department have 
regularly talked through with members of Congress a variety of aspects 
of our policy as it relates to Bosnia, and then indeed the larger 
question of U.N. peacekeeping itself.

          Q    One further thing:  Are we saying yet explicitly one way 
or the other whether we would offer troops -- under the right 
circumstances and with consultation -- whether our offer would include 
ground forces?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think the only thing that we have said is that 
the character and size of U.S. participation in any Bosnia peacekeeping 
effort has just not been determined.

          Q    You've said that you could assume -- I think you said on 
one occasion recently, that the assumption is that it would include 
ground forces.

          MR. McCURRY:  Most of the discussion about U.S. participation 
that you've seen from Secretary Aspin and others has been around that 
question.  I just don't know that we've said anything further than we 
would determine the character and size of U.S. participation as we 
review the final agreement itself.

          Q    Might not it help the process of achieving an agreement 
if the parties involved were either assured or understood that the 
United States would participate on the ground as well as in the air?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think the parties have a good understanding of 
our commitment.  That certainly has been one of those things that has 
been discussed, would be a participation by U.S. forces on the ground.  
But, again, that's a hypothetical discussion you can have prior to an 
agreement itself.  The agreement itself, then, has to be examined 
carefully and that's when you can make a clearer determination on how 
you would participate directly.

          Q    Mike, the Secretary saw Boutros-Ghali last night.  Did he 
make any commitment during the course of that meeting as to a U.S. 
peacekeeping force?  And, secondly, did Boutros-Ghali ask the United 
States to pay up its arrearages so that the peacekeepers in various 
places around the world might be financed?

          MR. McCURRY:  They discussed both of those issues.  I don't 
want to comment on the content of their meeting, but they did discuss 
both the arrearages issue and the situation in Bosnia.

          I think that you all know from the actions in Congress that 
there are determined efforts by the United States underway to fund some 
of our outstanding commitments as they relate to U.N. peacekeeping.  But 
I just don't want to characterize a private conversation between the 
Secretary and the Secretary General.

          Q    What other subjects came up besides those two that you 

          MR. McCURRY:  Oh, I think they talked about Somalia.  I think 
they talked about the upcoming UNGA session next week, and I believe the 
Secretary also had a good opportunity to brief the Secretary General on 
some of his proposals in his speech at Columbia University yesterday 
relating to the Middle East peace process.

          Q    Mike, back to Congress just for a second.  Does this 
Administration want Congress to take any affirmative step before it 
sends peacekeepers into Bosnia?

          MR. McCURRY:  Mark, I'll fall back on what I said earlier.  We 
want to be in very close consultation with Congress and know that, by 
and large, Congress is approving of the determination made by the 
President as he addresses the question of U.S. participation.

          Q    Mike, do you have any development on the North Korean 
Peninsula nuclear matter?

          MR. McCURRY:  Nothing new beyond what we discussed the other 

          Q    This morning, a Japanese newspaper reported that North 
Korea sent a letter saying that if you bring the North Korean nuclear 
matter to the United Nations Security Council, they would revoke, they 
would withdraw the NPT regime totally.  Is it true, or could you 

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't have anything new on that.  Sorry.  I 
don't want to comment on that report.

          Q    Yesterday, you had some certain type of communication 
with the U.N. Mission in the U.N. -- North Korean Mission in the U.N.  
So could you give me some content, what type of composition or what 
transmission you had with the North Korea Mission to the U.N.?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't have the answer with me that we had 
yesterday.  I do believe that we confirmed yesterday that we do have a 
channel of communication that's available to us.  I can get you some of 
the detail of that channel as we provided it yesterday.  I don't have 
that with me here right now, but we did confirm that we do have some 
contact there from time to time.  I'll get you more information on that.

          Q    A clarification on that, Michael.  Are you denying that 
the North Koreans handed over a letter to Gallucci?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware of them handing over a letter to 

          Q    That's what the report was about.

          MR. McCURRY:  They handed over --

          Q    They gave apparently -- the report says last Thursday in 
New York, the North Koreans gave a letter to --

          MR. McCURRY:  To Assistance Secretary Gallucci?

          Q    Yeah, to Bob Gallucci.

          MR. McCURRY:  I wasn't aware of that, but I can check on that.

          Q    Senior officials talked about that very --

          MR. McCURRY:  I recall there may have been some discussion 
about a letter.  I just thought it was the means of transmittal that I'm 
not certain about.  I can check that.

          Q    There was a letter which was not very positive from the 
North Koreans on that subject; is that right?

          MR. McCURRY:  There may have been a letter on that, and I can 
try to get some more detail on it.

          Q    Different subject?

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes.

          Q    President Assad has been making some more disparaging 
comments about the Israeli-Palestinian agreement and has also indicated 
in an interview with an Egyptian paper that he won't be reining-in the 
Palestinian rejectionists groups that he hosts.  Any reaction to that?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think, as you know, the President himself has 
had contact with President Assad.  There have been some remarks that I'm 
aware are attributed to President Assad.  We haven't seen the full text 
of those.  He has indicated to us that he will not interfere with 
Palestinian decision-making and that Syria remains very committed to the 
peace process.

          President Clinton and President Assad, in their telephone 
conversations last week, that we've discussed before, agreed that the 
Israel-PLO agreement was an important and significant event which should 
serve as a catalyst for progress in other tracks.  That remains the 
United States position.

          We strongly endorse the Israeli-Palestinian agreement, and we 
are exercising maximum efforts to build support for it in the region and 

          Q    When he indicated that he wouldn't interfere with 
Palestinian decision-making, does that mean he won't interfere with the 
rejectionists wreaking havoc?

          MR. McCURRY:  Well, I don't want to characterize that 
conversation beyond what I just said.

          Q    New topic?

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes, new topic.

          Q    Any indication whether Secretary Christopher will be 
meeting personally with de Klerk or Mandela, and when you might go ahead 
and lift the further sanctions?  What's the scenario from here?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't have any further indication on that.  
There has been some speculation on that.  I'm waiting to be told 
definitively what's going to happen.

          Q    Do you have anything on the events in Georgia?  President 
Clinton showed some support towards President Shevardnadze, but 
apparently the Russians seem to be taking the side of the Abkhazian 

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't.  I've got a little bit of information 
on just what we know about the military situation in Abkhazian, which I 
think many of you have already seen reflected on the wires, including 
the fighting around Sukhumi.

          I will tell you that President Clinton wrote to Chairman 
Shevardnadze this past weekend expressing his support for the Chairman's 
efforts to bring a lasting and just peace to Georgia.  We are watching 
developments there very closely and we are in constant contact with 
concerned parties through our Embassies in Moscow and Tbilisi.  We've 
urged all parties to use their influence to halt the current Abkhazian 
offensive and to resume the U.N.-endorsed peace process.

          It's also true that we have been communicating very directly 
with the Russians on this question.  As I think I indicated earlier, 
Secretary Christopher had discussed the matter over the weekend with 
Foreign Minister Kozyrev, and I believe that President Clinton may have 
also sent a separate letter on this subject to President Yeltsin.

          Q    I don't know if you mentioned it when we stepped out.  Do 
you have anything more on the pledging conference -- any RSVPs, where 
and when?

          MR. McCURRY:  No, I don't.  They're still working on the data.  
I think I understand from the background session that many of you got 
here yesterday that they were able to narrow it down a little bit for 
you and they implied that it might be held early next month, if not the 
earliest next month.  But beyond that, I don't think we have a firm date 

          Q    Mike, anything on China and the Olympics?  There was a 
pretty harsh editorial today in the New York Times.

          MR. McCURRY:  No.  We've been asked several times whether we 
take a position on that question.  We don't.  We have shared some 
information with the U.S. members of the International Olympic 
Committee, but that's a decision that they will reach themselves, I 
believe tomorrow, if I'm not mistaken.

          Q    Thank you.

          MR. McCURRY:  Thursday.

          Q    I'm not clear on why the United States, which has an 
interest in preventing China from doing all of the things that it wants 
to prevent China from doing has not taken a position or has not even 
hinted that it could use the Olympics as some leverage.  Why hasn't the 
United States -- I mean, is there some reason governments stay out of 

          MR. McCURRY:  Our feeling is, we've had a number of concerns 
that we are raising directly with China on a variety of issues, as you 
know.  I just don't think that this is one in which we see a pressure 
point or some action required of the United States Government.  It is 
within the province of the International Olympic Committee to make 
decisions about host cities, especially looking ahead to the year 2000.

          Q    Can we move to the next subject?

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes.

          Q    Okay.  On that, I'm questioning about APEC yearly 
upcoming conference.  The first one will be, has the United States 
Government already sent invitation letters to all of the governments 
participating?  The economic leaders council are quite apt to look to a 
new meeting.

          A second will be, there's a lot of new stories reported that 
Jiang Zemin and Vincent Shaw are invited as a delegation from Beijing 
and Taipei.  Can you confirm that?  And the third will be, will 
President Clinton plan to meet each of the leaders during the meeting 

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm constrained a little bit in what I can say.  
I think you all know that APEC will have its Ministerial meeting in 
Seattle November 17-19.  There's been considerable, and I would say 
accurate, speculation that there will be a leaders session at the 
conclusion of that session.  The White House, of course, would be 
extending invitations on behalf of President Clinton, so it's really 
more within their province to tell you more about the invitations that 
might very well be in the mail at this moment.

          I can tell you that Taiwan has been invited to attend the 
leaders meeting.  We look forward to their participation.  As for their 
response to the invitation, the level at which they would respond, I'd 
really refer it to them.  I understand they are saying some things 
publicly about it today and, of course, we would welcome their 

          As to what the President plans himself during this dialogue 
that will occur in Seattle, I don't have anything in detail on his 
schedule; but it is described as being an informal session for leaders 
for those participating members and economies of APEC.

          Q    Does an invitation to Taiwan preclude an invitation to 
the People's Republic?

          MR. McCURRY:  No.

          Q    Does the U.S. care at what level Taiwan is represented?

          MR. McCURRY:  They'll be responding and answering to that, but 
it would be disingenuous to say there hasn't been some discussion about 
that in advance of the formal invitations being prepared.  I really 
would prefer to leave it up to the White House.  It's really something 
that they will properly announce when they're ready to give you more of 
the details on the informal leaders meeting itself.

          Q    Is the U.S. imposing restrictions on Taiwan's 

          MR. McCURRY:  No, we wouldn't say that; no.

          Q    Has this Administration sent the individual invitation 
letters to the respective governments -- the President and the Chief 
Executive of all the members?  Did you send the individual letter to 
invite the Chief Executive of all the members?

          MR. McCURRY:  I really would ask you to check at the White 
House as to who actually received invitations going to each of the 
members of APEC, or member economies of APEC.  I think that they will be 
in a position very shortly to indicate exactly who they have been in 
correspondence with.

          Q    Do you have any undergoing arrangement to the coming of 
the respective country's President or Chief Executive to this country?  
For example, Korea is known -- President Kim was invited by this 
government and will visit Washington, D.C., before going to Seattle?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'll leave it up to each individual nation 
receiving an invitation to respond on its own behalf on how they intend 
to respond and other things they might plan itself.  Also, as I say, I 
think the White House will be very shortly in a position to say some 
more about that, too.

          Q    Thank you.

          MR. McCURRY:  You're welcome.

          (Press conference concluded at 1:20 p.m.)


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