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                                                     BRIEFER:    Michael 


Representative Lee Hamilton to Address AFSA/
Open Forum at Department/Secretary to Introduce .....1

US Welcomes Ratification of NPT 
Vice President Gore Offers Congratulations ...................2

Elections/Constitution/Parliament Members/
Views of US Ambassador 
Vice President Gore's Visit/Meetings ...............................4
Yeltsin's Term of Office 

Implementation of Declaration of Principals ................7-11
Contacts with Parties by Secretary/Others ..................7-9
US Role 
Resumption of Bilateral Talks in Washington ...............7-8,11

Death of Prime Minister 

Status of Rice Policy 

Secretary Aspin re:  Nuclear Capability ...........................14


                                DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                                DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPC #162

                      MONDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1993, 1:07 P. M.

          MR. McCURRY:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  I've got 
just a couple of quick things before we start.  First, I want to tell 
you that Chairman Lee Hamilton of the House Foreign Affairs Committee 
will be here tomorrow for a joint session of the Secretary's Open Forum 
and the American Foreign Service Association.  The two organizations 
sometimes regularly sponsor appearances here.

          That will be an ON-THE-RECORD session in the Loy Henderson 
Conference Room -- I think that may have been changed from earlier 
notices.  So it's in the Loy Henderson Conference Room tomorrow at noon, 
and we've got some information for those who want camera coverage 
tomorrow.  You can check with the Press Office.  They've got some 

          I will say that because that starts at 12:00 tomorrow and will 
likely go on some time, we won't do anything here until the end.  Since 
we customarily don't start until after 1:00 o'clock anyhow, that should 
not be any great surprise.

          Q    Do you have a theme, title or --

          MR. McCURRY:  U.S. Foreign Policy from the Perspective of 
Congress.  The Open Forum, I think as many of you know, is an 
opportunity for employees -- open to anyone, participation by anyone -- 
employees here in the Department and within the Foreign Service to meet 
regularly with senior officials of the Administration and with those 
from outside this Department who are invited, who have perspectives on 
foreign policy issues.

          So we all look forward to that.  He will be introduced by 
Secretary Christopher.  I know the Secretary is also looking forward to 
Chairman Hamilton's appearance.

          Some of you who were with us in Kazakhstan when we were in 
Almaty will recall when we visited there, President Nazarbayev gave 
assurances to the Secretary that the Non-Proliferation Treaty would be 
ratified by the end of year.  That has happened today.

          The United States warmly welcomes today's vote by the 
Kazakhstan Supreme Soviet to fulfill its Lisbon Protocol obligation to 
accede to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapons 
state in the shortest possible time.

          Vice President Gore, I think as many of you know, is in 
Almaty.  He personally congratulated today President Nazarbayev, 
Kazakhstan's parliament and the Kazakhstan people for this significant 

          You should check with some of the coverage coming from the 
Vice President's trip -- I think they also went ahead formally with the 
signatures on the SSD agreement today as well.

          With those announcements, we can go to any questions that you 
might have.

          Q    Do you have a reaction to the elections in Russia?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm going to start today with just a general 
cautionary note.  I think, as there often is with elections here in the 
United States, there is a great tendency to analyze what we think are 
results before we have a lot of facts to deal with.  I caution you at 
the outset that, as you probably know from some of the wire accounts 
you're seeing, you're looking right now at very preliminary results that 
come from, I think, 25 of 89 regional districts in Russia.  

          I guess what I would say, just to start with, which is really 
the most important point, and that is that at this hour we can certainly 
say one thing with absolutely certainty, which is that the Russian 
people have exercised their democratic right to choose legislators and 
to approve a new constitution.

          We think these elections have set the stage for the 
development and growth of new democratic institutions in Russia, and we 
certainly congratulate the Russian people on their conduct of this 
election and on their approval of the new constitution -- a democratic 

          Many of you have seen the remarks that President Yeltsin had 
made today that are very much in that spirit.  I think at the moment 
that we don't want to lose sight of the fact that the first truly 
democratic elections have been held in Russia, and that's something that 
the world community celebrates.

          I think what you're more interested in is the complexion of 
the Duma, as we understand it, from the election results as they're 
appearing.  Again, I want to caution you that what we have at this point 
are preliminary reports.  We've got some information about the conduct 
of the election itself.  

          I think you're hearing now a lot of reporting coming in from 
those who are part of the international observer teams that were in 
Russia and that watched the conduct of the election.

          Certainly, everything we've seen has indicated that there was 
participation by many aspects of Russian society; that there were no 
major irregularities in the conduct of the election.  What we will now 
do over the next several days is watch to see the fragmentary reports 
that we now have on the results themselves develop into a more full 

          Now, a couple of things which kind of underscore this point.  
The new Russian parliament consists of an upper house and the lower 
house.  So what we were looking yesterday in the elections were the 
elections to the Duma -- the lower house.  Of the 450 contested seats, 
half are split between those who run on designated party lists and the 
other half were single member constituencies.  At this point we don't 
have any full accounting of what the results were in the single member 
constituency voting, which represents half of what the Duma will look 
like when it is constituted early next year.

          The other half come from the party list designations.  We're 
getting some reporting on that, but a lot of what we're relying upon 
right now to make judgments are exit polling that is being done by some 
news organizations.  Exit polling, as those who have worked in politics 
know, is difficult to model under conditions where you don't have any 
established track record of how people participate in the electoral 

          So I think at the moment we want to be very measured in our 
comments.  I think you're going to see a statement, perhaps from the 
White House later today.  Vice President Gore is in the region.  I think 
what all of us will be stressing is the need to reserve a more detailed 
comment on these elections until we have a final tally on the vote, but 
while simultaneously celebrating the very important reality that the 
people of Russia have expressed their free will through democratic 

          Q    Michael, just to push the envelope on this a little bit 
if we possibly can.  You know what the reports are about the trends that 
seem to be developing.  Do you have any concerns about what seemed to be 
the trends of the voting pattern?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't think we know enough at this point to 
establish a trend.  We've got isolated results in some districts.  I 
think there's no question that the party slates that were led by Mr. 
Zhirinovskiy and some of those associated with the former Communist 
party elements within the political spectrum did score well.  But it's 
also pretty clear that candidates who ran on reform slates scored well, 

          How they came out in balance as you look at the complexion of 
the Duma is something that really analysts will be talking about for 
days, if not weeks and months, from now.

          We don't at this point know a lot about how this new 
parliament will function, what its political ideology will trend toward, 
nor how the different institutions developing within Russia's democracy 
will interact.

          We've got a statement now from President Yeltsin that I think 
is very clear on his determination to abide by the will of the people as 
expressed in this election, but we really are going to have to watch and 
see how the Duma itself develops.  

          I think all of you are reporting some of the views that were 
reflected in the past by Mr. Zhirinovskiy.  We don't know at this point 
whether that will represent a predominant sentiment within the new 
parliament.  We'll have to certainly watch that and watch that closely 
over coming months.


          Q    Michael, on Vice President Gore's trip, does he have any 
plans to meet with some of these newly victorious opposition leaders 
like Zhirinovskiy? 

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't know.  We've talked several times in the 
last 24 hours with Strobe Talbott -- Ambassador Talbott -- who's on the 
trip with the Vice President.  The Vice President had a fairly extensive 
conversation with Secretary Christopher before leaving on the trip since 
the Secretary's traveled in that region fairly recently.

          I don't know what his plans are for Moscow when they arrive.  
I can certainly check with the Vice President's office and see if we've 
got some more detail on it at this point.

          Q    But as a matter of principle, if this is a democratic 
election that the United States feels has been, you know, reasonably 
fair and free, wouldn't it make sense to meet with those leaders who 
represent the views of millions of people?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think, as the Secretary often does when he 
travels in regions, we do meet with the leaders in the parliament, 
subject to what the timing is available on the schedule that we 
maintain.  I just don't have information on the Vice President's 
schedule while he's in Moscow, nor do I know whether the election 
results -- as I stress -- whether the election results are clear enough 
to establish a good, realistic view of who might represent opposition 
leadership within the new Duma.  I think that's something that will 
really have to be sorted out over time.


          Q    Let me follow that in a slightly more general way.  
You've said that this election seems to have happened in a fair and 
legitimate way.  Does that imply that whoever turns out to be the 
leadership in the new Duma, the United States will try and work with 

          MR. McCURRY:  Our principal point of contact with the Russian 
Government will remain the Executive Branch, as it is in most of our 
relationships around the world.  But we will certainly acknowledge and 
notice the centers of power that do exist within other branches of 
government.  But at this point it would be just wildly speculative to 
suggest there are certain elements emerging from this election that we 
would single out for that type of contact.

          Q    No, my question goes more to the other end of it, and 
that is, is your intention to deal with whatever Duma and whatever 
legislative leadership comes out of this process, qualified in any way?  
Are there any groups that, if they turned out to be the leaders of the 
legislative branch, you would have qualms about attempting to deal with?

          MR. McCURRY:  No, I mean I guess one way of answering that is 
to refer to the statements that have been made today by President 
Yeltsin himself which do not attach any conditions to dealing with the 
newly elected parliament.

          I think what we do is work, as we do in any country around the 
world, with those political centers of power.  They're important to 
understanding the direction of civil society and how we can best advance 
our own national interests in our dealings with any country, whether 
it's Russia or any country.

          We routinely at embassies around the world meet with leaders, 
with opposition leaders, with all elements of political society, and I 
don't see any reason why that would not be true here.

          Now, have there been statements made by some of those who ran 
as candidates yesterday who on the face of those statements would cause 
concern to the United States, I think that's pretty obvious.


          Q    Is Ambassador Pickering a little bit out in front of the 
Administration on this?  He, on an interview program this morning, said 
that Zhirinovskiy was going to be a disruptive element for a long time 
to come in the Russian parliament.  Is that not the view of the 
Administration at this point?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't have any reason to dispute his 
characterization.  I think the Ambassador is certainly there; is closer 
to the political dynamic within Russia and understands the political 
forces and the political players well.  I don't have that depth of 
understanding to be able to articulate that view.

          But I think that through courtesy of many of your news 
organizations, we've certainly seen reporting of comments that Mr. 
Zhirinovskiy has made in the past, and I think that is certainly 
something that would cause concern.


          Q    On the Executive Branch, do you have any reaction to 
President Yeltsin's announcement that he will not step down in June as 
he earlier promised and will stay until the end of the term?

          MR. McCURRY:  His statement issued today does not address that 
question directly.  He has said in the past that it is his personal 
preference to serve consistent with the term established within the new 
constitution, which would be through the end of 1996.  I think others 
close to the President have also said that they don't want to prejudge 
what his electoral status would be, given whatever the context of the 
discussion with the parliament is.  

          But I think at the moment he has expressed a personal 
preference to serve out the balance of the term now established by the 
new constitution.  We've acknowledged that in the past.  I don't think 
that we've expressed a strong view on it one way or another.

          Q    Mike, on this issue, are you -- although you cannot 
address properly or in detail the results of the elections -- are you 
satisfied from the standpoint of the percentage of participants of the 
registered voters in the (former) Soviet Union in taking part in this 

          MR. McCURRY:  We'll know more about turnout and participation 
later on.  I think that it is true that for a non-presidential election, 
the turnout rates that I think were achieved in this election appear to 
be higher than they are sometimes in the United States.  Obviously, we 
encourage and always like to see democracies have the strongest possible 
participation by voters.  But I don't want to characterize the turnout 
levels until we understand more about exactly how many people did vote.

          Q    Has Secretary Christopher called to congratulate his 
counterpart, or do you know if the President has called to congratulate 
Yeltsin, or have there been any congratulatory calls?

          MR. McCURRY:  I have to confess, I meant to ask the Secretary 
that question and did not, and meant to ask the status of his 
counterpart, Foreign Minister Kozyrev, who was standing in the election.  
I don't have any detail on whether or not he was victorious.  I'll try 
to get that.

          Q    Do you have a comment on the talks between Rabin and 
Arafat and their failure to reach any sort of closure on Sunday?

          MR. McCURRY:  We've known all along, I think, that the issues 
involved in this discussion between the two parties were very difficult 
ones.  They involved transitional arrangements.  They involved 
fundamental issues of how do you carry forward the Declaration of 
Principles as negotiated.

          I think during the Secretary's trip in the region, he found 
that there was a very serious sense of purpose on behalf of both sides, 
on behalf of the PLO and the Israelis.  I think in the last 24 hours he 
has restated and redoubled his efforts to urge the parties to continue 
to make every effort to resolve their differences.  I know he spoke last 
night with Prime Minister Rabin, following the Prime Minister's meeting.

          We've had other contacts with the parties, and we certainly 
intend over this next ten-day period to stay in touch with them.  We'll 
urge them to move forward to focus on the practical steps that will be 
necessary to get the implementation underway.  And, as we have been, we 
will focus on what the international community can do, especially as it 
relates to economic assistance, to make sure that the Declaration itself 
is viable.

          Q    Are you disappointed that there were no even symbolic 
gestures from Israel to begin today by doing anything properly?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't want to characterize any reaction we 
have to the announcements they made yesterday.  I think the important 
thing to say is that the two sides clearly agreed to continue their 
discussions over the next ten days, and I think they both understand the 
seriousness which we attach to the proposition of making progress on 
implementation as fast as possible.

          Q    Mike, do you expect the Palestinians to come to the 
bilateral talks in Washington next month or in early February?

          MR. McCURRY:  We do, based on our discussions in the region, 
we do.  While we have announced that there would be resumption of 
bilateral talks here in January, I don't know that we've actually 
extended formal invitations at this point.  I think we suggested that 
those would be preceded by heads of delegations discussions and then 
discussions later on the bilateral tracks, but the focus has been on the 
Syrian-Israeli discussions and the Lebanese-Israeli discussions and 
reconstituting progress on those two tracks.  But I do expect, based on 
our discussions, that they would be here once the invitations themselves 
are formally extended.

          Q    Mike, let me go back to what I just started saying.  The 
incentives which were presented to Israel to encourage Israel to come 
forward and possibly bring about the December 13 withdrawal or beginning 
of implementation of the accords, do you think that these incentives, 
which are offered by the Clinton Administration, were offered 
prematurely or offered at the proper time to --

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm sorry.  Say the incentives offered to --

          Q    To the Israeli Government from the Clinton Administration 
for financial assistance and other commitments and the United Nations 
resolutions in the last few days, including the (inaudible) that the 
United States was giving Israel gratis and other things?  So do you 
think this was not taken into consideration, that the Israelis --

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't directly link those types of assistance 
that have been rendered to Israel directly to the implementation of the 
Declaration of Principles.  We have a very important bilateral 
relationship with Israel as our steadfast ally in that region that goes 
beyond just the discussion of the Declaration of Principles.

          I think that, as the President indicated when Prime Minister 
Rabin was here and as they discussed the type of assistance available, 
our interests and our cooperation on so many things go beyond the peace 
process itself.

          Again, I would say that we urge the parties to make progress 
on implementation and to begin to demonstrate the benefits to both sides 
-- to the people of Israel and to the Palestinian population -- that 
there are rewards and benefits for peace.  I think that's the message 
that we're conveying to both parties fairly urgently.

          Q    Are you making any bridging proposals?  Remember the old 
days of bridging proposals between Israel and --

          MR. McCURRY:  No, I think the Secretary was real clear during 
our trip there, that we're not entering into this process as an 
intermediary or as someone who will be at the table to help them hammer 
out the details of this agreement.  The Declaration of Principles was 
negotiated in face-to-face discussions between the two parties, as it 
rightfully should be.  It was successful, and we think that 
implementation itself can be successful as the parties meet face-to-

          Obviously, the Secretary just spent a fair amount of time in 
the region.  He's talked to both sides about this.  I think he's helped 
them understand each other's views, but also to understand the 
importance we attach to making progress on implementation.

          Q    Can you flesh out the phone call a little bit between 
Rabin and Christopher?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't want to provide much detail other than 
to say it was an opportunity for the Secretary to hear first hand the 
Prime Minister's view of the discussions he had during the day.

          Q    No similar phone call to Yasser Arafat?

          MR. McCURRY:  No, although we will have contact.  I don't know 
whether there will be direct contact involving the Secretary, but we 
certainly will stay in close contact with the PLO delegation and monitor 
the discussions that will continue over the next ten days.  We will also 
be in contact with the Egyptian Government since President Mubarak was 
the sponsor of these discussions yesterday.

          Q    Michael, are you closing the door forever and completely 
on any U.S. intervention here?  You're saying it has to be worked out 
between the two of them.  Peres declared today that there was a crisis 
in the negotiations and in the implementation of this accord.

          Is the U.S. basically saying, "This stands or falls on the 
basis of bilateral talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians; 
we'll have nothing to do with it; we've washed our hands of it"?

          MR. McCURRY:  No, I'm not at all saying that.  We certainly 
didn't say that in the last several days when we were there.  We have 
said that the security arrangements that are features of the Declaration 
of Principles, negotiated by the parties themselves, is something that 
they are going to have to work out.  They are dealing with the details 
of this agreement that they themselves negotiated.

          We certainly don't take any hands-off approach because we've 
been very actively involved with the parties, helping them to understand 
what types of structures they are developing to implement other aspects 
of the accord, especially the economic aspects.  I would say we are very 
much involved in those discussions because we are a principal donor, we 
are a principal participant in the international effort to provide 
assistance to make sure that this agreement produces direct, tangible 
benefits for both the people of Israel and for the Palestinians.

          Q    You're not worried that the first agreement reached 
between the Palestinians and the Israelis was not fulfilled in due time?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't think it would be accurate to say that 
at this point.

          Q    Mike, following on Mary's question, early in the visit of 
Mr. Christopher to Israel, he almost said that, "Let the parties decide 
and make up their mind to come to an agreement."  And everybody thought 
that this was a hands-off from the whole process.  Later on, after he 
met with Yasser Arafat, I believe he said that, "We would like very much 
to see that accord implemented on time."

          What made this shift into the early statement and the later 
statement of the Secretary?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think he was reflecting very much what the 
parties themselves said.  There was a view expressed by both Chairman 
Arafat and by the Prime Minister as we traveled in the region that as 
long as they kept focused on the importance of moving ahead with 
implementation, that if they took extra days to finalize details, that 
that would not be the end of the agreement or anything that would 
provoke a crisis.  And I don't think that that's -- it's not our 
understanding of the condition they're in now.

          They've got essentially ten days where they've got to deal 
with some pretty difficult issues.  I don't want to underestimate the 
importance of or the difficulty of reaching agreement on those issues, 
but I think our assessment based on our contacts in the last day or so 
is that it can be done.

          Q    The U.S. position has been characterized in the Middle 
East, or in some circles of the Middle East, as distancing the U.S. from 
the agreement as it is failing now and facing difficulties.  How do you 
read this?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm a weary traveller who has just returned from 
a week there.  I don't know how you could characterize that as being 
distant.  We were just there very proximate to the discussions 
themselves and to the parties.  I think that's a reflection of our 
strong desire to be an active intermediary in the process itself.

          We've also, as you know, outlined a very extensive program for 
January that will put much of the action right dead center here in 
Washington, right here in this building.

          Q    Another subject.

          MR. McCURRY:  Let's go one more on this.  Last question on 

          Q    I'm a little puzzled as to why the Palestinians are being 
invited in January since you're pushing everything into the "face-to-
face" between the parties.  Why do they need to come here on a bilateral 

          MR. McCURRY:  Two things:  One, that is a reflection of the 
Madrid process, which is still very much the formula, the process for 
guiding these discussions.  But, second, it reflects something we say 
often, that there are interrelationships between these tracks.  
Certainly, what happens on one track, what is negotiated and dealt with 
on one track, impacts other tracks.

          I think the advantage of having all four tracks proceeding 
simultaneously is that you can take advantage of that opportunity to 
share information and to share ideas.

          Q    Could I have a follow-up on that?  Do you have, in your 
memory or off the record, or whatever, can you tell us if there were any 
suggestions for confidence-building measures such as the release of the 
200 left in limbo up in "Fatahland" on the north bank, or a further 
release of prisoners?  Were such things brought up by the Secretary with 
Rabin and with Arafat -- specifics?

          MR. McCURRY:  I really don't want to get into any of the 
specific ideas that might have been shared in what were, after all, 
private conversations between them.  Certainly, they explored a full 
range of ideas and issues that would be helpful in moving the process 
forward.  But beyond that, I don't want to get into any detail.

          Q    Michael, can I have one after the last, please?  Again, 
on the Middle East.  Do you find any kind of lessons for the Syrian-
Israeli track in what's happened to this agreement between the PLO and 

          MR. McCURRY:  I would hesitate to draw any parallels.  I think 
it's important to make progress.  It's important to have understandings 
that are reached between the parties, and it's important to know how 
those understandings will be implemented.

          Nobody should be surprised that the process of making peace is 
difficult and is going to take time.  That's something we've said over 
and over again.  1993 has been a year of remarkable progress; 1994 could 
be a year of progress as well if the parties continue to focus on the 
core issues and the fundamental concerns that are at the heart of these 

          Q    Do you have any statement or comment on the death of the 
Hungarian Prime Minister, and what do you expect --

          MR. McCURRY:  I do.  I've got two things to note.  First, I'd 
say, to reaffirm something I believe our Embassy has said in Budapest, 
that the United States wishes to express its profound sorrow at the sad 
news of Prime Minister Antall's death.

          Prime Minister Antall was considered by Americans to have been 
a key figure in the historic transformation of Hungary into a democracy.  
His dedication to the Transatlantic relationship, and his friendship 
with our country will always be remembered by the United States.

          I'd also note that I think later today a letter of condolence 
that President Clinton has sent to the Hungarian President will be 
released by the White House.  It reflects many of the same sentiments 
personally expressed by the President, and I'd refer you to the White 
House for the text of that letter.


          Q    I'd like to try one more on the elections in Russia.  I 
understand that you don't want to make sort of final statements on 
what's happened so far, but it seems that maybe fringe elements are 
getting stronger than -- is this government concerned about the 
elections so far, about the results?

          MR. McCURRY:  I've kind of walked through what we understand 
about where the elections are, what they have produced.  But, really, it 
will take another several days for us to know a lot about the relative 
strength of various elements within Russian political society.  I think 
the fact that it reflects, certainly, a wide range of views on the 
political spectrum is something that goes without saying in many ways.

          As it is in many democracies, the question is not so much what 
is the range of opinions, but where is the core and the direction that 
guides the development of a nation's political life.  That's something 
that we will just not be able to understand with any greater precision 
until we know more about the election results themselves.

          There has been -- not to point to it since, as I said earlier, 
it can be somewhat misleading -- there are some indications from people 
that talked to voters yesterday that there was a strong sentiment for 
reform expressed personally by people.  But how that then is translated 
into individual candidates that are elected, is something that we will 
have to see more analysis on in the next several days.

          Q    Would you say this building was surprised by these 
results so far?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't think we were surprised at the depth of 
feelings.  They're certainly anecdotally to those who have been within 
Russia.  It was easy to understand some of the sentiments of voters.  
It's something that we've stressed often, that the economic benefits of 
political and economic liberalization need to be translated for the 
Russian people.  We stress the importance of that.  In fact, so much of 
the work that we are doing, as it relates to Russia, is designed to 
underpin this need for reform.

          Again, I would say that in a large sense we had a moment to 
celebrate yesterday because we had an election that reaffirms Russia's 
commitment to political liberalization and to democracy.  I think that's 
something that, again I'd say, all people would rejoice.

          At the same time, I think it was clear from our own reporting 
and from watching things there that there are sentiments within Russian 
political life that need to be looked at very carefully.

          Q    Michael, I'm asking you to state the obvious:  Does the 
State Department have a view on Mr. Zhirinovskiy's proposal that Russian 
ought to retake the territory of the former republics and occasionally 
Finland and Alaska as well?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't think I need to restate our firm views 
on the territorial integrity of Alaska here.

          Q    Michael, when you have the final results of this 
election, do you anticipate it will trigger a review of U.S. policy 
toward Russia?  Would it trigger any kind of review of, for instance, 
the massive foreign aid program to Russia?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think it's another way of asking the same 
question.  I think our commitment to the process of political and 
economic reform in Russia is as steadfast as the commitment now 
demonstrated by the people of Russia themselves who participated in this 
election yesterday and by President Yeltsin who has indicated that he 
will abide by the results of the election and will work with the new 

          Q    Do you have anything new on North Korea, different steps 
that the U.S. is taking to try --

          MR. McCURRY:  Nothing new.  I think my very able Deputy, who 
only reluctantly yielded the podium upon my return, told you what is all 
the latest on that.  She told you about a meeting last week.  We don't 
have anything further to provide for you at this point.

          Q    Japanese Prime Minister Hosokawa is announcing in Japan 
to open the rice market.  Could you comment on how it impacts the 
conclusion of the Uruguay Round?

          MR. McCURRY:  I would like to because I think that's a very, 
very important development.  I think I would resist that because there 
are aspects of that announcement that might directly impact some things 
going on in the final stages of the GATT negotiations, and I'd prefer 
not to do that.

          What I will do is take the question and then it might be 
appropriate for us later on today to see if we can say something on 
that.  Right at the moment, I don't think I should, but I will try to 
get an answer for you.

          Q    Do you agree with Secretary Aspin's comments yesterday 
that North Korea may well have a nuclear device already?  Or are you 
backing away from it the same way the Pentagon is?

          MR. McCURRY:  Since we were just sort of returning -- we were 
traveling yesterday -- I wanted to make sure I understood with some 
precision what he had said, so I looked at it and I want to recount his 
direct words because I think it was very important.

          He said that "The range of uncertainty does include the 
possibility that they might at this moment possess a single nuclear 
device."  He was discussing a wide range of assessments that might be 
available as you look at the intelligence on the matter.  I think that 
was turned into a much more declarative statement in some of the news 
accounts than I think was warranted, based on his exact wording.  But I 
don't have anything that changes what we've told you before -- our 
understanding of their nuclear program and its capabilities.

          Q    Michael, he also said that the dialogue has not led to 
the North Koreans continuing to develop their nuclear program; that 
their nuclear program hasn't changed.  Essentially, he seemed to be 
saying that they're frozen in place.  He said they weren't reprocessing 
any more plutonium or anything like that.  Is that your understanding?  
Is that because the North Koreans have made some kind of a commitment to 
you or have given you some kind of assurances that they aren't going to 
do anything on the ground while these talks go on?

          MR. McCURRY:  I wouldn't describe it in that fashion.  I would 
just say, based on our understanding, they have not moved their program 
forward during this time in which we are pursuing a diplomatic track and 
working with them on these issues.  I think Secretary Aspin certainly 
reflected that in his comments yesterday.  That's one reason among many 
why we are pursuing the diplomatic course at this point.

          Q    Thank you.

          MR. McCURRY:  Thank you.

(Press briefing concluded at 1:42 p.m.)


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