Return to: Index of 1993 Daily Briefings || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

Note: This Electronic Research Collection (ERC) is an archive site. For the most current information, please visit the US State Department homepage.

US DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
Monday, October 18, 1993

                                               BRIEFER:  Michael McCurry

Subject                                         Page

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Christine D. Shelly Named Deputy Spokesman .....1
Background Briefing Tomorrow on Secretary's Trip
  to Europe ....................................1-2

MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
Ambassador Ross' Meetings in the Region ........2-5
--  Bilateral Talks/Variety/Timing/Venue .......2-5
Syrian Foreign Minister's Meetings with
  President/Secretary/Results ..................4-5

ISRAEL
Reported Release of Palestinian Prisoners ......4

FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
European/NATO Reaction to US Statements re:
  European Policy toward Bosnia ................5-7
  --  US Diplomatic Contacts ...................7
Outbreak of Fighting/US Diplomatic Contacts.....7,10-11
NATO Meetings This Week ........................10-11
NATO Policy on Bombing .........................10-11
Humanitarian Assistance ........................11-12
US Diplomatic Contacts/Secretary's Letter to
  Serb President ...............................12

HAITI
Dole Amendment/Administration Contacts with
  Congress .....................................7-9
War Powers Act .................................9
US Security for Americans/Travel Warning .......13-14
Status of Asylum Claims Processing in Country ..14
US Immigration Policy ..........................14

DEPARTMENT
US Vital Interests/Other Interests .............9-10
--  Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia .....................10

RUSSIA
Dumping of Nuclear Waste at Sea ................15

SOMALIA
Visit by Secretary General/US View .............15-17

(###)



                           DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                           DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                      DPC #141

                   MONDAY, OCTOBER 18, 1993, 12:56 P.M.
                  (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)


         MR. McCURRY:  Good afternoon, everybody.  I'd like to start 
with a very happy announcement.

          I am pleased to introduce today Christine D. Shelly, who 
Secretary of State Warren Christopher has named as Deputy Spokesman of 
the Department of State.  Christine you will be seeing much of 
frequently.  Her arrival here makes many of us, and especially me, quite 
joyous.

          Christine is a career Foreign Service Officer who most 
recently served as Deputy Director of the Private Office of the 
Secretary General of NATO, Manfred Woerner.  Among her other duties was 
dealing extensively with many of your colleagues in Brussels who cover 
NATO on a regular basis.

          Since joining the Department of State in 1975, Ms. Shelly has 
served abroad at the U.S. Mission in NATO in Brussels, U.S. Embassies in 
Lisbon and Cairo.  Her Washington assignments were with the Bureau of 
Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, and the Bureau of Intelligence and 
Research.  She has completed not one but two degrees at the Fletcher 
School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.  She received her BA 
from Vanderbilt University in Nashville.  She speaks fluent French and 
Portuguese, and perhaps from time to time here at the podium at the 
Department of State she might speak fluent English as well.  (Laughter)

          With that, I'm happy to introduce Christine and have her on 
board.

          I also want to let you know that tomorrow --

          Q    She sounds too qualified.

          MR. McCURRY:  We believe in quality -- quality and diversity.  
We debated the merits of having her just start fresh, today, for all of 
you, but decided that given the amount of time it took the current 
Spokesman of the Department to prepare for his duties, we thought we'd 
give her at least a small amount of time to prepare.

          I also want to let you know that immediately, at the  
conclusion of my briefing tomorrow -- in fact, we'll try to just roll 
straight into it -- a senior Administration official, who will look to 
some of you, surprisingly, like a former employee of Time Magazine, will 
brief about the Secretary's upcoming trip and lay out some of the things 
that you can expect to see in the week ahead.  We may have some others 
who will be able to accompany his as well, but that will happen -- that 
will be a guest attraction tomorrow at the conclusion of the briefing 
and, thus, of course, a reason to make the briefing tomorrow especially 
short in duration.

          With that, I've got no other statements.  I'll take any 
questions you might have.  Your colleague has indicated a desire to go 
first.

          Q    This is so obvious that I thought we could dismiss it 
quickly, because it takes one little remark in the Middle East and the 
same cycle of stories start again.

          You know that you had talks planned October 25.  They've been 
derailed.  I'll ask the obvious question.  I don't even have to ask the 
question; you give me the answer; right?  Where do things stand?  Will 
he go there?  What's Dennis (Ross) trying to do?  Have you had talks 
planned?  Is Syria refusing to come, etc?  Whatever you'd like to say.  
This has been going on for 20 years.

          MR. McCURRY:  I'll feel at the end of the briefing like my 
answers have gone on 20 years, too, I'm sure.  I checked in with 
Ambassador Dennis Ross a short while ago.  He's concluded good meetings 
today in Cairo.  He tells me, among other things, the purpose of his 
current trip that he's on is to look exactly at the question of how best 
to start the peace process from the perspective of the Washington talks 
again -- whether or not that is, in fact, the best way to proceed at 
this point.

          We had not set any dates for a round of discussions here in 
Washington nor had we issued any invitations.  I think in the days ahead 
the U.S. peace team will be consulting with the parties on how best to 
resume the negotiations in Washington.  You've heard most recently both 
the PLO delegation and the Israeli delegation indicate that they have 
strong interest in resuming discussions here in Washington.  These 
subjects and others will very much be a part of Ambassador Ross' 
discussions as he moves through the region this week, as he's indicated, 
I believe, publicly already today.

          Q    So will he go to Tunis to see the PLO as part of what is 
now maybe an expanded itinerary?

          MR. McCURRY:  I certainly wouldn't that rule out.  I think 
that's, in fact, quite likely.

          Q    Mike, did you mean to say that Ross says that one  of the 
purposes of this trip is whether -- whether -- the Washington talks are 
the best way to proceed at this point?

          MR. McCURRY:  Whether it's the best way to proceed next at 
this point.  I guess I was thinking sequentially, whether or not that's 
the logical next step as we move step-by-step through the process.

          Q    But you're not casting any doubt on --

          MR. McCURRY:  On the resumption of the talks?

          Q    -- whether the U.S. wants to resume the Washington talks?

          MR. McCURRY:  No.  I think it's been the disposition of the 
parties, and certainly of the United States, that we would continue the 
discussions here in Washington and continue to build on the progress 
that's been made to date.  I was simply saying what happens next, and 
it's not clear, necessarily, that the next step will be discussions here 
in Washington.  There could be other steps that we might pursue.

          Q    Mike, is it only a matter of time or a matter of how to 
remodel the process itself?

          MR. McCURRY:  It's not necessarily remodeling the process.  
It's how do you take advantage of the discussions that have been held to 
date and built upon them.  You've already seen a variety of things that 
have happened that represent new ways of building on the historic 
agreement between the PLO and Israel, the donors conference here in 
Washington, the resumption of the multilateral discussions.

          I think that we're in a time when there are many dialogues 
occurring in different venues -- the establishment of the joint 
committees between the PLO and Israel just last week.  We're at a moment 
in which the effect of the Declaration of Principles itself is creating 
new institutions for dialogue and new avenues for dialogue, and that's 
one of the things that I think we now pursue in our discussions with the 
parties.

          Q    What do you think would be the subject of bilateral 
negotiations between the PLO and the Israelis in Washington in time to 
come?

          MR. McCURRY:  When the time comes, what issues would they be 
addressing here?  It would be follow-up on exactly those things agreed 
to in the Declaration and how to structure the involvement of the world 
community, among others.

          Part of the things that we think would be useful in 
discussions here is to coordinate the work of the international 
community, as reflected in our recent donors conference here,  and how 
that then relates to some of the work going on in the joint economic 
committee, the interim committee, and some of the other structures that 
are called for specifically in the Declaration itself.

          It is, quite frankly, another avenue by which the commitments 
made by the parties can be monitored, discussed, and also nudged 
forward.

          Q    Mike, on Israel, do you have any reaction to Prime 
Minister Rabin's promises about Palestinian prisoners?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't.  I'm not entirely --

          Q    He promised to release most of them.  I don't know if 
you've reacted on that already.

          MR. McCURRY:  We haven't had a reaction to that.  I suspect 
that we welcome that, but I'd have to take a look and see if we've got 
something specific on that.

          Ralph.

          Q    One part of Barry's question that you didn't touch on was 
the question of the Secretary's travel.  Do you have anything new or 
different you care to say today as a result of talking with Dennis about 
that?

          MR. McCURRY:  No.  I think it's still very much one step at a 
time.  This is his first stop.  Cairo was his first stop on this current 
swing in the region.  I'm speaking of Ambassador Ross now.

          I think at the conclusion of this trip, he will see where we 
are, and probably want to discuss things directly with the Secretary.  
The Secretary, in the past, has said, as you know, that he doesn't think 
it's so much a question of whether he goes to the region -- sometime 
soon -- but when.  But, again, as he said and I have said and we have 
said, we really do take this one step at a time and we'll see where we 
are at the conclusion of the visit by Ambassador Ross and the peace 
team.

          Warren.

          Q    Mike, on the Syria track, is there some feeling that 
another venue might be the best way to go, outside of the Washington 
talks?  That's where the focus is now.

          MR. McCURRY:  The discussions here have been very important.  
But I think, as you all know, the Secretary had already taken on a role 
as a result of his last trip to the region of being a very active 
intermediary directly between the parties.  I suspect that these 
questions are among those that Dennis will address while he's in the 
region.  He will be following up on the very successful meeting that the 
Secretary  had with Foreign Minister Shara and that the President had 
with Foreign Minister Shara here.  So we'll see where it goes from 
there.

          Q    Do you think invitations will be issued at the end of the 
Dennis Ross trip, or do you think it will wait until the Secretary goes 
to the Middle East and has his own visit?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't think they have an answer to that 
question yet.  I think that's among the things they're going to be 
discussing with the parties.

          Barrie.

          Q    I was just wondering if we could go on to a subject which 
seems to be slightly more interesting, and perhaps even more important, 
the Secretary's declaration of an end to two centuries of Eurocentric 
foreign policy to this country.

          MR. McCURRY:  Let's make sure we don't want to stay on the 
last subject first.  Anybody, please.  (Laughter)

          Q    I was just going to ask one more thing on that other 
subject.  Sorry.

          MR. McCURRY:  Ralph.

          Q    You just declared the meetings with Shara to have been 
very successful.  Is there anything you can specifically point to as a 
result of those meetings that others who were not present at the meeting 
might be able to identify as having been very successful?

          MR. McCURRY:  Nothing that I would point to directly.  I was 
thinking of the overall tone of them, the progress they made on relevant 
issues, and the desire to move ahead to the next level of discussions.

          Q    Sorry, Barrie, go for it.

          Q    Hold it.  One more on the unimportant issue.  Could you 
consider the meetings with Shara successful, considering the fact that 
the Syrians are still calling for an extension of the Arab boycott?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think that's an issue -- I was speaking 
"successful" in the sense that they relate to progress on the Syrian-
Israeli track and on the discussions, generally.

          We have, as you know, from the comments that both the 
President and the Secretary made at the time of that trip, raised this 
issue fairly consistently.  We have been raising it  with a number of 
nations in the region, and a number that we work with directly, or have 
worked with directly on the issue of both the primary boycott and the 
secondary and tertiary effects of that boycott.

          It is true to say at this moment that there have been no 
indication on the part of some nations in the region that they're 
willing to change their position.  But on the position of others in the 
region and how they will address that issue through the Arab League, I 
think that's a good subject to watch closely in the days ahead.

          Q    Can you say who those others are?

          MR. McCURRY:  I wouldn't want to specify individuals.  But you 
know -- I think the groups of nations we've met with in New York and 
recently -- you know some of the things they've said publicly on their 
approaches, and some of them, I think in their public remarks, have 
indicated a willingness to reconsider some of the posture that they 
currently take as it relates to the boycott.  We find that very 
encouraging.

          Q    Go for it, Barrie.

          MR. McCURRY:  Barrie.

          Q    Perhaps I could ask you, first of all, what your reaction 
is to the European reaction so far which, I gather, Mrs. Thatcher and 
Manfred Woerner have both expressed concern about the notion that there 
could be a major rift developing in the North Atlantic.

          But beyond that, I think 10 Downing Street harrumphed a little 
bit about the Secretary was just blaming Europe for the mistakes that 
have made here in Washington.  What is your response to this generally?

          MR. McCURRY:  My response is that probably more is being made 
out of this one extracted comment from an interview than is warranted.  
I think we feel that we have a good working relationship with the 
British on so many issues.  They are good friends.  Good friends can 
disagree from time to time.  But at the moment we are working very 
closely with the British and the French on questions that relate to the 
former Yugoslavia, in particular, which is I think the subject that 
triggered the remarks you're referring to.  We're satisfied that the 
nature of this special relationship is one in which we can identify 
problems in common and work towards common solutions.

          Q    Mike, you say it's an isolated quote.  But the fact is 
that the Secretary of State said that Western Europe is no longer as 
important as it used to be, and that what they say in Asia is perhaps 
more important than what they say in Europe.

          Does this reflect any new philosophy on the part of this 
Administration?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't think there's anything new at all about 
that remark.  I think that reflects the way many in Western Europe 
discuss the situation as well.  It's just a matter of historical record, 
more than anything else.

          Barry.

          Q    But they are very excited in London, certainly.  You just 
spoke of friends having differences.  Bosnia, there clearly was a 
difference.  Do you have any other examples?  I'm not aware of 
divergence on Haiti or Somalia.

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware of divergences on most of the 
major issues we deal with.  The differences that we have, as you look 
across such a broad range of bilateral issues that you have with close 
allies such as the British, such as the French, the number of 
discrepancies and points of view are usually minor and they're usually 
things that we deal with in a very warm and open environment.

          On the question of Bosnia, there have been significant 
differences, and we don't discount that.  I think that, as the Secretary 
said in exactly those remarks, is precisely what he was referring to.

          Q    Has the Secretary or any other senior State Department 
officials felt the need to contact representatives of European 
governments to explain his views?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't think so.  I think we are in contact.  I 
wouldn't say that we have not been in contact with them.  We're in 
contact with them all the time about a wide variety of matters, but not 
relating to this particular interview over the weekend.

          Q    Are you in contact with them about the new situation in 
Sarajevo?  I'm referring to the shelling of Sarajevo again by the Serbs 
-- the Serb forces?

          MR. McCURRY:  We have been in regular contact with our allies 
-- particularly our NATO allies -- as it relates to the situation in 
Sarajevo, the shelling that has occurred there.  That is, of course, a 
source of very great concern to the United States and to our NATO allies 
who worked with us in adopting the program of action outlined in the 
August 2 and August 9 communiques of NATO, referring to air strikes, 
which are still very much valid.

          Q    On Haiti, the Secretary raised the possibility today of 
some sort of compromise with the Congress on the Dole Amendment.  I 
wonder if you could flesh out what he said?

          MR. McCURRY:  I can't, George.  I think the Secretary did 
indicate that there were discussions that would be occurring today.  My 
understanding is those discussions are  very much occurring.  Because of 
that, I don't have much to say beyond what the Secretary said himself.  
He raised some very real concerns about restrictions that would be 
placed on the prerogatives of the Commander-in-Chief.  Those are the 
things that the Administration is raising in the discussions it's having 
today with Congressional leaders.

          But my understanding is that they probably will be saying some 
more about that over at the White House, perhaps later today.  So I'd 
really prefer for a comment to come from over there.  We're talking 
about, in this case, the question of separation of powers, the 
constitutional prerogatives of the Commander-in-Chief, and I think it's 
appropriate for comments on that subject to come from the White House 
today.

          Q    But, Mike, your remarks go to the Haiti -- to the Dole-
Haiti resolution?

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes.

          Q    Because there are other things afoot with the Democrats 
-- Biden and Byrd are a part of it -- a use of force resolution, for 
instance, to update the War Powers resolution.

          MR. McCURRY:  There are a number of other things we're aware 
of.  We, in fact, have been in very close discussion with the 
Congressional leadership about how to address the issue of approaching 
Congress and consulting with them when it comes to questions involving 
use of force.  But I would separate those issues from a discussion of 
the Dole Amendment, which is the matter that provoked the comments by 
the Secretary this morning.  It's the one in which, I think, we see 
constitutional issues that we now are discussing directly with the Hill.

          Q    The discussions only relate to the Dole Amendment and not 
to like the Byrd and Biden?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm only aware at this moment of discussions 
about that particular memo.  We know of the other issues that have been 
raised.  We have discussed those informally with members of Congress 
over a number of weeks, going back, I think, to earlier this year.

          Q    Is the Secretary involved at all in those discussions 
today with Senator Dole or on the Dole Amendment?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't know if he has discussed them with 
Senator Dole.  He's been very much a part of the thinking through of 
those issues within the Administration.  He was working on that question 
over the weekend considerably; I believe was addressing it with some of 
our team this morning, and was in direct contact with those who were 
actually working through the issue with the Congressional leadership.

          Q    And just to clarify something, since you're sort of 
building a fence between the Dole amendment on Haiti and other issues 
relating to war powers and use of force, the Secretary's last answer in 
the photo op was to a question about the Dole amendment and concerns by 
other members of Congress about those issues.

          His answer dealt with -- he brought it back to the broader 
issues of anything that disrupts what he saw as the President's 
prerogative to act swiftly to protect American interests.  So it's not 
clear to me anyway from the way he answered the question that he was 
building that fence.  I think --

          MR. McCURRY:  I think he has, as you would expect him to have, 
a broad interest in the discussion of war powers and how it relates to 
the separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative; and he 
was addressing that in a broad sense.  I grant you that.  But I think 
the specific things happening today are related to the Dole amendment.  
And on the other subjects, that's something for another day at this 
point, I think.

          Q    What did the Secretary mean in his interview with The 
Washington Post when he dismissed second-guessing about the deployment 
of the Harlan County as "Monday-morning quarterbacking" and said that 
the issue of that deployment should be taken up with another building?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think that's pretty straightforward language.

          Q    But what -- he said there were questions that you might 
want to take up with another building.  He was referring to the 
Pentagon, and --

          MR. McCURRY:  I think he was acknowledging what is manifestly 
true, that the United States State Department does not deploy ships.

          Q    But my question goes to what his beef is with the 
Pentagon about --

          MR. McCURRY:  Oh, I think he wasn't indicating this as a beef.  
The question in the interview was about the operational deployment of 
the LST craft, the Harlan County, and I think he suggested it would be 
good to go to the Pentagon for a very precise line of questioning that 
the reporters from The Washington Post were pursuing at that point.

          Q    Could I follow up on something the Secretary said this 
morning also?  He seemed to be drawing a distinction between issues 
which he listed by -- you know, in very specific terms that he described 
as being issues of vital interest and other issues that he didn't list 
in any specificity.

          Is he putting Bosnia, Haiti and Somalia into a category 
different from the category that he did specify:  Russia, Asia, China, 
Japan, Middle East, NATO?

          MR. McCURRY:  Ralph, I am reluctant to -- I mean, that was a 
question he was asked at a photo opportunity, and he was making comments 
about the range of interests that exist in those problems.  And I didn't 
detect in that answer a definitive view of each of the rank order of 
interest in each of the problems he was addressing and how they compare 
to what he was describing in some of the larger things that the 
Administration is working on in the field of foreign policy:  relations 
with Russia, with China, the Middle East peace process, other questions.

          I think he indicated in each of those cases there are 
interests, but I don't think he gave you a catalogue or hierarchy of the 
interests involved.

          Q    Michael, if you are asked to arrange them in order of 
interest, will you?

          MR. McCURRY:  No.  I mean, each of them are very important, 
difficult problems that require very delicate diplomatic responses, 
require very skillful analysis of questions involving the use of force; 
and each of the three in many ways are different.

          That's something I would encourage you to remember: that each 
of the three are in so many ways different, and we do have a tendency to 
lump some of them together and assume that the same issues, the same 
category of interests, and the same operational needs, as we look at our 
own response, are involved in all three.  That may not necessarily be 
the case.

          Q    Could we return for a moment to Yugoslavia and your brief 
response to a question on that?  You are indicating that if the Serbs 
continue to shell Sarajevo, they face a potential bombing campaign by 
the U.S. and its NATO allies?

          MR. McCURRY:  I've said simply that the August 2 and August 9 
communiques of NATO stand; and I think they were pretty clear about the 
responsibility of the parties as it related to the strangulation of 
Sarajevo, including the shelling of Sarajevo.

          Q    I'm just trying -- sometimes when a month or two passes, 
these policies have a way of sort of eroding.  But you are saying there 
has been no erosion of the will on the part of the Western alliance to 
bomb these folks if in fact strangulation occurs, whatever that is?

          MR. McCURRY:  I am not aware of any change in those NATO 
policies as adopted in August.  What did change in the  interim, of 
course, was that the situation on the ground improved somewhat over the 
summer; but we have seen a return, an escalation, of violence within the 
last several days that is a source of very great concern to the United 
States -- concern that we have taken up directly with parties that we 
believe can be of influence in the region.

          Q    Now you do not feel at this point that just an escalation 
of the violence is sufficient to trigger this NATO response?

          MR. McCURRY:  I told you already that NATO is planning 
meetings this week, including meetings of Defense Ministers.  I don't 
want to speculate on decisions that might be taken by NATO to respond to 
the shelling.  Suffice to say that we have made clear that there are 
many reasons, including the August 2 and August 9 communiques of NATO, 
for the shelling to cease.

          Q    Is strangulation occurring now?

          MR. McCURRY:  Whether or not strangulation is occurring is 
something that we are making regular assessments on that we share with 
our NATO colleagues; and because an answer to that question relates 
directly to the employment of air strikes, it would be proper for NATO 
to take that question, to answer that question.

          Q    Is food flowing and medicine flowing into Sarajevo at 
this point?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't have a complete detail of what the 
humanitarian relief situation is at the moment.  In general, in recent 
weeks there have been some improvements in water supplies.  There have 
been some efforts to reconstruct damaged infrastructure, including water 
supply and electrical power grids.  There have been efforts to get 
convoys routed through parts of Bosnia so that they can bring relief to 
not only Sarajevo but some of the other safe areas.

          But there have been continuing problems with those relief 
convoys.  In many cases they face violence.  It's not always clear where 
the violence is directed from, but there has not been what I would 
describe as a "flowing" of aid.  But there has generally been an 
improvement of the situation that existed at mid-summer.

          Q    So it doesn't sound like strangulation at this point 
either?

          MR. McCURRY:  The sharp escalation of shelling in Sarajevo and 
the turning back of relief convoys near Banja Luka, which also happened 
this past weekend, is something that may indicate a new attitude on the 
part of the Bosnian Serbs that would be very grave and that would have 
grave consequences.

          Q    Mike, coupled with winter conditions which are really 
just around the corner, if not there already, it's not going to take 
much on the part of the Serbs to actually strangle Sarajevo and other 
areas.  How much --

          MR. McCURRY:  They understand, and we have made clear very 
recently, what the consequences of that strangulation would be.

          Q    Who have you made that clear to and when?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't know how recently, but I know that 
Secretary Christopher intended to send a personal message to President 
Milosevic on exactly this subject.

          Q    And the Secretary was pushing a return to the 
negotiations the last time we saw him on this subject.  What's the 
status of that effort to get the negotiations resumed?

          MR. McCURRY:  We continue to believe that the parties should 
resume direct dialogue on a political settlement that would bring this 
fighting to an end and allow the humanitarian relief efforts to 
continue.  I think you all know that those talks at the moment are in 
recess, if not stalled outright, and that there are efforts underway 
under the auspices of the U.N.-EC negotiations, Lord Owen and Mr. 
Stoltenberg, to revive some type of approach that might be helpful in 
getting a new political track developing.

          We have not taken a position on their efforts, but we have 
suggested that we would certainly welcome any dialogue that can bring 
about quickly the prospects for a political settlement.

          Q    Is Ambassador Redman in touch with these folks?  Is he 
there?  What's he up to?

          MR. McCURRY:  He is not there.  I think both Ambassador Redman 
and Ambassador Jackovich are here in Washington.  They have been in 
regular contact with the parties and with the U.N.-EC mediators.  They 
continue to provide regular updates to the Secretary, and they continue 
to exchange information with other NATO allies on the situation on the 
ground.

          Q    Can you take the question of when the Secretary sent this 
personal message to Milosevic and how?

          MR. McCURRY:  I will tell you I'm reasonably certain it was 
sent by cable, I believe very early this morning, scheduled to arrive 
morning in Belgrade.  If that's not the correct answer, we will post it; 
so you may want to check later.

          Q    Mike, has the Secretary had phone conversations with any 
of his European counterparts to discuss the increase  in shelling --

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't know if he has discussed that by phone.  
I forgot to check with him whether he's had any direct discussions with 
his European counterparts over the weekend.  I can; and if there's any 
detail we can provide you on those types of contacts the last 24-48 
hours, I'll post it.

          Q    Can you state then what the consequences would be of 
strangulation?  You just said that they understand that we have made 
clear what the --

          MR. McCURRY:  The consequences are stated very clearly in the 
August 2 and August 9 NATO communiques.

          Q    Mike, back on Haiti again for a moment, there seems to be 
an emergence of some new parties in that tangled mess down there -- a 
number of political parties, some of whom have been accused of helping 
members of the old Duvalier regime.

          And a number of them are calling for a new round of 
negotiations.  What's the Administration's position on new negotiations 
involving Haiti?

          MR. McCURRY:  There's no change in our view that the Governors 
Island Accords represent the best pathway towards the restoration of 
democracy in Haiti.  Indeed, the sanctions which go into effect tonight 
and which we are in a position now to vigorously enforce are aimed 
exactly at bringing pressure to bear that will allow the Governors 
Island Accords to get back on track.  And we continue to believe that 
the return of President Aristide and the restoration of democracy is the 
best avenue towards the development of political institutions like 
political parties within Haiti.

          Q    Is the U.S. suggesting or withdrawing any Americans from 
Haiti, either diplomats or families, or offering transportation for 
others who are there?

          MR. McCURRY:  No.  I'm not aware of anything new beyond the 
actions this weekend -- that I think you're already aware of -- that we 
deployed some additional Marines for the Marine guard at the Embassy and 
then withdrew members of the advance team that had been there to support 
the technical assistance mission that had been scheduled to be deployed 
there.  There was sort of a switch over the weekend.  But I'm not aware 
of any other change in the deployment of U.S. personnel.

          Q    Or what about other U.S. citizens that the Secretary 
referred to this morning  Any offer being made to them to -- or 
suggestion being made to them to --

          MR. McCURRY:  No, not beyond the -- 

          Q    Travel advisory?

          MR. McCURRY:  -- information covered already in the travel 
advisory we issued last week advising them to be very careful, given the 
political unrest.

          Q    By the way -- I'm sorry, Steve -- on that travel 
advisory, since you mention it, one of the things that travel advisory 
did last week was delete the reference to the sanctions against Haiti 
because at the time that was under preparation the sanctions had in fact 
been lifted.

          It was issued on the very day the sanctions were reinstated.  
Is the State Department either going to reissue an advisory and bring it 
up to date or -- it sort of makes the State Department look like the 
right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.

          MR. McCURRY:  They sometimes routinely update these at a time 
that there's a change of information and add into it information that 
may have changed since the last posting.  But I think in light of the 
situation there and in light of the imposition of sanctions by the 
United Nations, I imagine there will be an update.  You're speaking of 
the overall consular information report for the country --

          Q    Right.

          MR. McCURRY:  -- not necessarily this travel advisory that 
we're referring to.  But they certainly will update that, given the 
change -- or given the action by the United Nations Security Council.

          Q    Mike, with the withdrawal of much of the U.N. personnel 
and some U.S. personnel, what's happening to the in-country processing 
of asylum claims for Haitians?

          MR. McCURRY:  Steve, I don't know the answer to that.  I will 
check with Consular Affairs to see whether this has slowed their ability 
to check those cases, and also to see whether there's been any change in 
the numbers of cases that are being filed.  I don't have any good 
information on that with me right now, but I think it's a question that 
I'll take a question on and see if we can get some information.

          Q    And a follow-up to that:  Has there been any change in 
the standing orders for the Coast Guard vessels in "Operation Able 
Manner" on how they will be treating Haitian refugees that they pick up?

          MR. McCURRY:  No.  My understanding is that the orders for 
"Operation Able Manner," as they currently stand and as they are being 
used over recent weeks, remain in effect.

          Q    Has there been any detection of boat building or other 
preparations for emigration?

          MR. McCURRY:  Not that I am aware of, but it sounds like there 
is an interest in a general workup on the status of or our analysis of 
immigration requests from Haiti, and I'll see if we can develop some of 
that.

          Q    A different area:  The Russian dumping of nuclear 
material.  Any comment on that?

          MR. McCURRY:  I've got a little bit.  We've got some 
information, but some information that is a little bit unclear.  The 
main thing that's unclear at the moment is the nature of the wastes that 
the Russians acknowledge that they have dumped -- whether these are just 
limited to low-level wastes or whether they include wastes that we would 
consider to be high level.  And that's an important question because it 
then relates to Russia's obligations as a party to the London Convention 
of 1972 in which it is obligated not to dump high-level radioactive 
wastes at sea.

          Russia has stated it has not done so, although it has 
acknowledged it has done so in the past.  We urge the Russian Federation 
to halt the dumping of low-level wastes and to honor the existing 
moratorium.  We believe that short-term land-based storage of such low-
level wastes would be appropriate.  We acknowledge that the Russians 
themselves say their lack of such facilities is something that has led 
them to pursue ocean dumping.

          Q    On Somalia -- a quick one on Somalia.

          MR. McCURRY:  Somalia.

          Q    Yes.  Does the Administration feel at this point that it 
would be useful for the Secretary General to make a visit to Somalia?

          MR. McCURRY:  We have been in close contact with the Secretary 
General on our own efforts under the auspices of Ambassador Oakley in 
Somalia.  I think we're satisfied we have things there moving on a 
track, on a political track.  I'm not certain that we have any reason to 
dispute the U.N.'s characterization.  I think they indicate now that the 
Secretary General may at some time in the future visit Mogadishu, but 
there's no date certain for his visit.  And we would concur --

          Q    Would the U.S. try to discourage him from going at this 
time?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think that we shared the views of those in the 
region as they related to any possible visit and how we shared the 
assessment we had of what was going on on the political track and shared 
those directly with U.N. authorities.

          Q    Who in the region?  General Howe?  General Aideed?  Whose 
views in the region?

          MR. McCURRY:  We've been working, I think you know, most 
closely with other governments in the Horn of Africa; and the less said 
about those exchanges the better, I think.

          Q    What is the view that you've expressed with them?  I'm a 
little confused.  I don't understand what view --

          MR. McCURRY:  Did I not make myself clear?  

          Q    No.

          MR. McCURRY:  Oh, I'm sorry.

          Q    What view about the Secretary General's visit to Somalia 
are you talking about?

          MR. McCURRY:  We gave our best analysis of that proposed visit 
directly to the Secretary General.  But since that was an analysis that 
we shared privately, I think I should keep it private at the moment.

          Q    So did the U.S. try to discourage his visit to Somalia or 
didn't it?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think I'm willing to check and see how best to 
answer that question.  (Laughter)

          Q    But you did say a moment ago that what you told the U.N. 
was you felt the United States had things on -- you were satisfied the 
United States had things on a good track, or words to that effect.

          MR. McCURRY:  We shared our analysis of the work that 
Ambassador Oakley had conducted recently in the region.

          Q    Yes, but what you said a moment ago was that you thought 
you had things in the direction of a good track, or something like that.

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes.

          Q    The unstated but implied end of that sentence was that 
there was no need for another track at this time.  Do you have any 
comment on that?

          MR. McCURRY:  We work very closely with the United Nations.  I 
know Ambassador Oakley has been in close contact with U.N. authorities 
as he worked in the region recently, and we will continue to remain in 
close contact with U.N.  authorities as we work on the problem of 
Somalia.

          Q    You're supposed to be a role model for your new sidekick 
here.  (Laughter)

          Q    He is!

          MR. McCURRY:  You mean you find my answers less than 
enlightening and not always forthcoming?  I'm shocked!

          Q    We have nothing for you on that.

          MR. McCURRY:  I have nothing for you on that.  Thank you.

          (The briefing concluded at 1:34 p.m.)

(###)

To the top of this page