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                   Tuesday, December 14, 1993
                                      BRIEFER:  Michael McCurry
Subject                                                    Page

Elections/Prospects for Further Democratic Reform1-11
--  Secretary's Conversations with Vice President
      Gore/Ambassador Talbott/Return to US ......1,10-11
--  Summit by Baltic Countries ..................3
--  Impact on US Aid Program ....................3-4
--  Foreign Minister's Election .................4
--  Impact on Partnership for Peace .............6-8
--  Impact on SSD Agreements ....................8-9
US Contacts with Party Leaders ..................4
Vice President Gore's Visit/Meetings ............4

Security Issues/US Role .........................8
Status of START I/NPT ...........................9

Secretary's Contacts with Foreign Secretary re:
  GATT/Middle East/Possibly Russia ..............11

US Document Declassification ....................11-12

Effort to Speed Up FOIA Requests ................12-13

Whereabouts of Mansur Kikhya in Egypt ...........13
Invitation to Terrorists to Visit ...............13

US Pleased at Opening of Rice Market ............13-14

US Policy .......................................14,16
Possible Visit to Department by Foreign Minister 14

Amb. Lord's News Conference re:  POWs/MIAs Today 14-15
Report US Companies Allowed to Bid on Projects ..14-15

Humanitarian Flights/Convoys/Serb Escorts .......15-16

Human Rights Watch Charges US with Violations ...17-18
US Immigration Policy re:  Haiti ................17

US Immigration Policy ...........................17
Four Friends Meeting Today/Sanctions Enforcement 18
Conference on Reconciliation ....................19

                        DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                        DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                      DPC #163

               TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1993, 1:16 P. M.

MR. McCURRY:  Good afternoon, everybody, and I thank you for 
letting us present Chairman Hamilton's views for you and allowing 
us to delay the briefing today.

I don't have any opening statements, so I will go straight to any 
questions you might have.

QCan you address the issue of any further American reactions to the 
Russian elections, whether or not the Administration is perfectly 
happy with the trend line that you see developing, whether there is 
any message you would like to send back the other direction about 
what is transpiring?

MR. McCURRY:  I don't have a lot new to add to what we covered 
yesterday.  I don't think our assessment has been completed yet, 
because we are still awaiting, as I told you yesterday, awaiting 
results from elections that just haven't been measured or assessed 

I will tell you that Secretary Christopher had a very good 
conversation this morning with Vice President Gore, who, as you 
know, is in Moscow now, and he also talked separately with 
Ambassador Talbott to get a report from both the Vice President and 
the Ambassador on their assessments, some of their conversations in 

I think a lot of what I told you yesterday still stands.  All the 
information we have indicates that the election proceeded in a 
normal fashion with no major irregularities, but again the 
situation is very much the same.  The results that we are looking 
at and that many of you are making judgments on, are based on the 
kinds of trends we are seeing in the elections for about half of 
the lower house of the new parliament, this would be the lower 
house, the Duma.

We have very fragmentary information about the member-specific 
elections that fill the remaining half of the Duma.  Some of you, I 
think, may have what you believe are exit poll data that will 
suggest certain trends on that.  We have not assessed a trend on 
that.  For example, we don't know the party affiliations, or the 
political preferences, that many of the people elected in that half.

Mr. Zhirinovskiy's party, for example, fielded -- of those 225 
seats -- roughly 70 candidates, as near as we can determine, in 
that group of member-specific constituencies that we are still 
awaiting results from.

So I think at this point we are still in a position where we 
will assess the election results, will measure the sentiments 
that exist within this new body.

I will say it's clear that there was a significant protest vote 
that is reflected in the strong showing by Zhirinovskiy's 
party, and by the Communists, too, for that matter, the former 
Communists.  But reform candidates have also made a strong 

Beyond that, I would say that we are clearly committed to 
maintaining the process of political and economic reform in 
Russia.  We would acknowledge that that is going to be 
sometimes a difficult road and will likely be a long road.  
From the beginning we have suggested that our long-term 
interests in Russia are associated with nurturing the process 
of political and economic reform, and we will stay that course.

QYou often in the past months used the phrase, "we support 
President Yeltsin in reforms," so I couldn't help but notice 
that that was missing.  Is that --

MR. McCURRY:  Oh, no, our policy fairly clearly has been very 
supportive of President Yeltsin, his efforts at reform.  But we 
have made it very clear that our interests are in the process 
of reform and nurturing that reform, and that doesn't depend 
necessarily on one individual.  It is a political process that 
we believe, among many things, is now made permanent by the 
fact that they have had a free, democratic election.  And we 
will continue to press for exactly that type of progress.

QWould you agree with Chairman Hamilton's assessment this 
morning that a lot now will depend on what he called 
coalition-building, other people call it horse-trading, within 
the newly formed democratic system?

MR. McCURRY:  I think a lot will depend on how the new 
parliament, as they constitute the Duma, the lower body, as 
they constitute the Federation Council, the upper house -- 
about which, by the way, we know absolutely nothing at this 
point as far as election results -- as we assess what types of 
factions develop within those two bodies, we'll know a lot more 
about how the executive branch and the legislative branch will 
coexist.  But at this point, it is just impossible to say what 
impact that is going to have on policy that will be directed by 
the executive branch and then submitted to the legislative 

Q        Doesn't the strong showing of the Communists and the 
other anti-reform factions cause the U.S. Government a certain 
pause, cause the U.S. Government to stop in its tracks and to 
wonder in what direction Russia is heading?

MR. McCURRY:  I would say to the contrary.  I would say at a 
moment in which you can see the wide range of forces that exist 
within Russian political life, the need to remain steadfast in 
our support of economic reform and political reform is even 
more imperative.

Q        At least can you say that the prospect that Mr. 
Zhirinovskiy has come off with most of the proportional 
representation vote and appears to represent a rather 
significant force, knowing what he believes and what he has 
said, that the rise of Mr. Zhirinovskiy alarms the United 

MR. McCURRY:  Well, I'd say, you know, we don't know at this 
point how Zhirinovskiy's party will perform in the parliament 
or what positions it will take on issues that are in the 
national interests of the United States.

I will say that many of Mr. Zhirinovskiy's past statements 
embody views that are obviously completely anathema to 
principles of democracy, to our own views on issues like human 
rights, the democratic process, economic reform, and relations 
among sovereign states.

Q        Let me try this in a different way.  The Baltic 
countries are so alarmed that they are holding a summit to 
discuss the implications on troop withdrawal, and so forth.  Do 
you feel that their fears are exaggerated?

MR. McCURRY:  Well, I don't want to characterize their views.  
My understanding is that they will hold a summit.  They are 
assessing these election results just as we are assessing them, 
and we are attempting to understand better what the shape of 
the political landscape in Russia will be, and I assume that 
they are doing likewise.


Q        Can the United States go ahead with its aid program?  
Can the Congress go ahead with voting billions of dollars of 
aid to Russia, when uncertainties such as the kind of role that 
Mr. Zhirinovskiy's party will have in the upcoming parliament 
are hovering over the Russian Government?

MR. McCURRY:  Well, I think, as you heard the President say 
yesterday, the strength that has been shown by Zhirinovskiy's 
party in this election may well be attributed in part to the 
fact that the Russian people are waiting to see 
the results of economic reform.  We have made clear from the 
very outset that the thrust of our assistance to Russia is 
aimed at getting those tangible benefits to the people of 
Russia, so that they see that the investment in democracy and 
political liberalization make sense and does yield results.

So I think it is ever more important that we do our part, as 
Congress has been willing to do, and as the President has 
pledged to do, to get the type of assistance to Russia that 
makes possible their complete transformation to democracy and 
to market capitalism.

Q        Can I follow up on that?  Can you tell us whether 
Ambassador Talbott or any other senior U.S. official has ever 
met with Mr. Zhirinovskiy and to what extent have there been 
consultations with his faction, shall we say, opposition 

MR. McCURRY:  I don't know the answer to that.  I doubt very 
much whether they have met with Mr. Zhirinovskiy, but I can 
check further.  I think, as is our practice in embassies around 
the world, we, through our embassies, maintain a broad range of 
contacts within the political life of a host nation.  But I 
don't know whether that has extended to elements of 
Zhirinovskiy's party.  I will see if I can find out anything 
further on that.

I do believe -- I don't have details on it -- I do believe that 
Vice President Gore plans to meet with some people during his 
trip later on today.  I don't have -- it is really best to go 
to the Vice President's traveling party for information on his 
schedule -- but I think he does plan to have some contacts 
beyond those senior officials within the Russian Government 
that he will meet.

Q        Do you mean he is going to be meeting with opposition 

Q         Is he going to be meeting with Zhirinovskiy?

MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware of any plans, no.

Q        When you say "meeting with some people", do you mean 
meeting with opposition figures?

MR. McCURRY:  I don't have his full list of people he will meet 
with.  I think he does plan to reach out.


Q        Any further word on Kosyrev, whether he survived?

MR. McCURRY:  Kosyrev did win his seat in the Murmansk region, 
is our understanding.

Q        Just one more comment on Mr. Zhirinovskiy's success so 
far.  Clearly he's not in charge over there, but he does 
represent, as I understand his past statements, a fairly 
imperial, racist and fascist point of view.

Does the U.S. Government not find that trend alarming and 

MR. McCURRY:  Well, we have said those views, expressed in the 
past by Zhirinovskiy, are completely anathema to us, as I said 
earlier, so of course they are of concern, and we would not 
expect or want to see those views take hold in the new 
parliament.  But at this point, it is completely unclear 
whether there will be a foundation for those types of views 
within the newly elected parliament.

That is exactly the type of thing we will be watching very 
carefully, and attempting to assess.  But there is no 
indication that we have at this point that there is a basis 
within this parliament to suggest that type of direction in the 
policy formulations of the new parliament.

Q        Based on what you know now, is there concern that 
there will be added pressure on Yeltsin and Kosyrev to veer 
away from a pro-Western foreign policy?

MR. McCURRY:  Well, we haven't seen anything to suggest that 
would be true.  We will certainly watch.  I mean, the clearest 
answer is we have no idea -- no way of knowing at this point.

Q        Did (inaudible) to Kosyrev today or last night?

MR. McCURRY:  I don't believe he has.  I think that the Foreign 
Minister had just obviously completed a successful, apparently 
successful, campaign, but I don't believe they have had an 
opportunity to talk yet.

Q        Do you have any further views on whether Yeltsin 
should now stand for election, or simply stand by the 
constitution which permits him to wait out his term?

MR. McCURRY:  No, no change in what I indicated yesterday.  We 
haven't heard anything new from him on that subject other than 
the statement that he did issue yesterday, and our views on 
that subject are the same as we have expressed before.

Q        Well, but those can change from time to time.  I mean, 
the Secretary expressed support for Mr. Yeltsin's announcement 
that he would stand for election in the spring, and when it 
became gradually clear that Mr. Yeltsin had no intention of 
standing for election in the spring --

MR. McCURRY:  Well, to correct you, Ralph, and not to 
interrupt, I'm sorry, but that's not our understanding.  Our 
understanding is that he has expressed a personal preference 
with the passage of this constitution, the promulgation of this 
constitution, to serve out his term through 1996, but I don't 
know that he has indicated definitely one way or another what 
his election plans are.  Not that I'm aware of, in any event.

Q        So when you make reference to the U.S. views, what are 
the U.S. views at this point?  Just support Yeltsin?  Whatever 
his decision is about elections, the U.S. favors them if he 
decides to --

MR. McCURRY:  Well, there is a process by which now the Russian 
people have elected -- I think we have indicated in the past 
that we would take this one step at a time -- and they have 
just concluded a successful election for the parliament.  That 
parliament will now constitute itself under the new 
constitution.  Under the new constitution, the term of the 
President goes through 1996, and there are procedures within 
that constitution for calling new elections.  But I don't think 
at this point, you know, it is our place to, prior to even the 
calling of this new parliament, it's not our place to suggest 
to them when and how and if they should hold another election.

Q        Do the election results occasion any reassessment of 
U.S. policy -- U.S. proposal toward partnership for peace at 
the NATO summit?

MR. McCURRY:  No.  I think it's likely -- I think it's our view 
likely to make the Partnership for Peace proposal even more 
attractive in some instances, and I think that it continues to 
serve as a very good foundation for the upcoming summit of NATO 
leaders early next year.

Q        Aren't you hearing the opposite from the Eastern 
European governments?

MR. McCURRY:  I think that there will be strong interest in 
entering into these types of partnership arrangements that will 
bridge the gap between the East and West.  We have already 
heard that from a number of Central and East European 
countries, and I suspect, if anything, their interest in that 
concept will be even stronger.

Q        To follow up on that, though, wouldn't the results of 
this election perhaps cause you, and certainly I would expect 
it would cause countries like Poland, to perhaps want to speed 
up their admission to NATO?

MR. McCURRY:  Well, I don't think that we have ever set forth 
exactly what the timing or how the timing or sequence would 
work under Partnership for Peace, because that's frankly one of 
the things that will be addressed most likely at the summit.  
But how quickly any of the Central European states, 
the Visogrod states or others might wish to informally enter 
into partnership is, you know, something that certainly is 
available to them, and certainly think there is interest in 
moving ahead with that concept, once it's adopted by the NATO 
leaders in January.

Q        Well, let me ask the question another way, then.  
Given what you know about the elections in Russia, does it make 
the United States feel that a more expeditious inclusion of 
other former Communist states in NATO -- does it make it more 

MR. McCURRY:  I don't think we have assessed that question 
yet.  I think we are still preparing, as we had been before, to 
present this idea formally to the NATO leaders in January, so 
it can be formally adopted, and we do anticipate that there 
will be further discussions on questions of timing and 
criterion, and how you formally establish a partnership.  Some 
of that work remains to be done.  I just can't answer for you 
at this point whether we will make it -- whether it becomes 
more urgent as a result of this election.

Q        Are you suggesting that we will, in January, propose a 
specific time?

MR. McCURRY:  My understanding is that there would be, in and 
around the preparation for the summit, discussions on that 
point.  Clearly, there were discussions recently at the 
Ministerial meetings of both the Foreign Ministers and Defense 
Ministers in Brussels.  There would likely be continuing 
discussions, moving right up into the summit itself.

Q        You better be careful.  I think what you're talking 
about is timing for membership in the Partnership for Peace.

MR. McCURRY:  Oh, yes.

QSome of us are asking questions about membership in NATO.

MR. McCURRY:  Oh, all right.  I'm referring only to the 
sequence of timing for Partnership for Peace.

QYou're not suggesting any timetable for membership in NATO?

MR. McCURRY:  No, I'm sorry.  I wasn't hearing the question 

QI think Carol's question was, in light of the reaction the 
Balts have already indicated, and you know the Polish Foreign 
Minister's views -- he's made them quite public already, and 
he's about to tell them to the Secretary in a little while -- 
you seem to think it's going to make these countries even more 
eager to join the Partnership for Peace.  
Some of us, I think, think it's going to make them even more 
eager to go beyond partnership to full membership.

MR. McCURRY:  If that's true, I think what's being set forth, 
in the context of the summit, is the partnership proposal.  I'm 
not aware of any other proposal that will be pending before the 
summit leaders in January than the U.S.-sponsored initiative 
calling for Partnership for Peace.  I think that's the avenue 
that now is available to any nation that has those types of 

QThen it's accurate for us to say that despite what many think 
are the ominous results in Russia, the United States has no 
intention of supporting an expedited membership in NATO for 
Eastern Europe?

MR. McCURRY:  For the simple reason -- listen to the premise of 
the question.  We haven't come to the judgment that those are 
ominous results.  Now, if some of you have, that's your 
prerogative, but we are still waiting to assess what those 
results are and what they might likely mean as we look ahead.

We don't have in the type of indications that would suggest 
that you should fundamentally alter some of the policy paths 
you're on, whether it comes to assistance for Russia or whether 
it comes to the question of how do you reconfigure, re-energize 
NATO itself.  We're still looking at election results that are 
coming in.

It's the classic case of we've got precincts that haven't 
reported yet, which is literally true when it comes to some of 
the large urban centers -- St. Petersburg and Moscow, in 

QMike, what measure of protection is the United States prepared 
to give to the Baltics, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary?

MR. McCURRY:  We've had conversations about security issues 
with each of those countries.  I wouldn't want to get into the 
detail of those conversations, but there's been a broad 
discussion of the types of guarantees that are available within 
the discussion of the Partnership for Peace proposal itself; 
most recently at the NACC meetings in Brussels.

QMike, has the United States Government taken any steps 
following the early results in these elections to stop or 
perhaps reverse actions the U.S. was taking on military 
dismantlement, deployment of troops in Europe, or any other 
actions of that nature?  Has anything been done to put a hold 
on any of those moves?

MR. McCURRY:  You mean on SSD agreements -- dismantlement 

QYes.  Anything been stopped?  Everything is proceeding?  So 
weapons that were in the process of being dismantled continue 
to be dismantled?  Nothing about the results of these elections 
has affected --

MR. McCURRY:  We've seen nothing about the results of these 
elections that I am aware of at this point that suggests any 
change in the commitments made by those countries with whom 
we've entered into SSD agreements or who are carrying out 
dismantlement programs independently.

QDoes that cover as well commitments that we've made for 
military cooperation, joint exercises, and the like, with the 
Russian military?  Everything is full-speed ahead?

MR. McCURRY:  I can't answer that question.  Those are 
partnership arrangements that were made by the Secretary of 
Defense, I think, when he met with the Russian Defense 
Minister.  I'd really want to check with the Pentagon before I 
got into that.  I'm not aware of any change in the status of 
that, but I think they were handling that "mil-to-mil" contact.

QWe'll do that, too, but would you take the question just in 
case there is something to be said on this front about 
cooperative ventures with the Russians and whether they're 

MR. McCURRY:  If I took the question, Ralph, I think it would 
just come back and refer it to the Pentagon.  If there's 
anything more than that that we can get for you, we'll post it.

QHas the United States felt it necessary to reassure the 
Ukraine that their safety has not been imperiled any further as 
a result of this election and they should go ahead with their 
early agreement to do what they pledged to do on the Lisbon 

MR. McCURRY:  I don't know that we've have a diplomatic contact 
since the election of that nature with Ukraine.  But I think it 
has been abundantly clear to Ukraine, and we had made it clear 
to them, that it is in their security interests, their economic 
interests, and their strategic interests to immediately proceed 
with ratification of the NPT, START I, without reservations, 
and to adhere to the commitments they've made pursuant to the 
Lisbon Protocols.  That is fundamentally in their security 

I think that if this election perhaps causes them to reflect on 
that, you would have to check with the Government of Ukraine to 
see whether they have any new assessment.

QThe reason I'm asking is, after the last crisis -- the one in 
the spring and the one in the fall in Russia -- the United 
States went, as somebody suggested, full-speed ahead and put on 
sort of an all-out, worldwide effort -- diplomatic effort -- to 
display its support for reform and for the Yeltsin Government.  
One of the things it did was to suggest to other nations that 
they stick by agreements, that they continue to support what's 
going on and that what's going on is good.

Is there a similar effort being contemplated by the United 
States for something like -- now?

MR. McCURRY:  What's the question?

QThat is, a diplomatic effort like the last one in September to 
reassert support for reform and the Yeltsin Government in 

MR. McCURRY:  I think the statements by the President -- 
certainly, by the Vice President -- and the statements that 
we've made here at the Department make very clear our support 
for political reform and for reformers.  We will continue, as 
we have, to be in alliance with those who are nurturing and 
proceeding with reform in Russia.

As a result of assessing these election results over the next 
several days, or however long it takes to get a definitive read 
on what the results are, if we suggest that we need to take 
additional steps to project that message, certainly, we will 
consider that.  But I think that's contingent on finding, on 
our understanding, of what we think will likely emerge as the 
Russian political debate continues next year.

QMike, one more question on the Vice President's visit in 
Moscow.  Strobe Talbott is with him.  Does he have his own 
agenda now?  Is he going to be talking to any people that the 
Vice President is not going to be seeing?

MR. McCURRY:  I can't answer that.  I don't know.  He often 
does.  I know when he travels with the Secretary of State, he 
often has a good number of meetings separately from the 
Secretary's schedule, as do many of us who travel as part of 
the delegation.

I suspect Strobe is going to do that on this trip.  I just 
don't know whether he is, in fact, going to do that.

QAre you expecting him to give you the sort of definitive 
assessment when he comes back?

MR. McCURRY:  I think he will be in a good position to give a 
definitive assessment.  And thinking ahead, I've already 
thought about making that available as early as Monday here.  
That's what we're working on.

QHe will be back Monday?

MR. McCURRY:  I think he gets back over the weekend.


QGiven the uncertainty about Russia's future foreign policy and 
how it will use its Security Council veto, is there an added 
impetus in the Administration now to resolving the North Korean 
nuclear problem?

MR. McCURRY:  I don't know that there's anything about the 
election results in Russia that has made that question more 

QOne more on the diplomatic contacts.  Can you tell us what 
contacts the Secretary has had with allies in NATO, or perhaps 
other friends, to obtain their assessment of the Russian 

MR. McCURRY:  Ralph, I'm only aware of one contact that he's 
had.  There may be others, and I can check with him.  I'm only 
aware of one.

He had an important call with Foreign Secretary Hurd yesterday 
afternoon.  The subject, I would make clear, was GATT.  He 
actually reached the Foreign Secretary in the middle of an EU 
Foreign Ministers meeting, and I think he conveyed to the 
Foreign Secretary the importance the United States attaches, in 
the final hours of the Uruguay Round, to concluding the 
agreement by the date certain tomorrow.

I think they also talked about the Middle East.  I think they 
may have also talked about the election in Russia, but I don't 
know what other subjects they discussed.

QDoes the U.S. think it would -- in light of the returns from 
the election, which you say are not assessable yet, does the 
U.S. think it would be a good idea or would it be necessary to 
have another kind of meeting prior to the NATO summit for the 
NATO allies to come to a definitive assessment, perhaps, by the 
time of the summit, before the summiteers get there and are 
confronted with it?

MR. McCURRY:  I haven't heard of any -- I haven't seen any 
suggestion that that kind of session would be held.  But I 
think this is a subject of enough importance to all the members 
of NATO.  I think you may have seen the Secretary General's 
comments yesterday.  I'm certain there will be a discussion in 
the lead up to the summit.  I'm not aware of any plans to 
gather a Ministerial-level group together; but I know that it 
will be on the agenda of those countries as they prepare for 
the NATO summit in January.


         Q    Have you seen the story in the New York Times 
today about the new set of documents released which suggests 
that then-Administration officials had been involved in 
training right-wing "death squad" supporters or members as 
recently as three years ago?

         MR. McCURRY:  I saw the Times story today.  We should 
make clear that they are writing on a number of documents that 
were declassified by this Administration pursuant to the Truth 
Commission that was established by the Secretary.  But the 
article is pretty clear in indicating that the Ambassador 
himself was concerned about possible wrongdoing on the part of 
members of the group mentioned in the article and that 
Ambassador Walker felt that he should put an end to activity 
that he felt improper.

         Beyond that -- you all know that we have looked at 
this question from the perspective of the State Department and 
issues that arise in the State Department and told you some 
things about the findings of the Vessey Commission.

         The matters referred to today involve another 
Department, and I think that Department -- the Pentagon plans 
to address -- my understanding is they plan to address that 
today, so I'd refer you to them.

         Q    As you say, Ambassador Walker did try to put a 
stop to it.  But some of the people reading the documents come 
to the conclusion that -- one of the lessons is that there 
were, in fact, an Ambassador and a "shadow" Ambassador.  There 
were two different policies being promulgated, one of which 
apparently was unknown to the real Ambassador.

         MR. McCURRY:  Again, I would say what we've said often 
here.  Our purpose in declassifying those documents is to let 
the American people and let the press and let historians take a 
look at that record and judge the facts.

         It's not our purpose to reopen policy debates that 
date back to the 1980s, or perhaps now we would say the 1990s 
as well.  Our purpose was in allowing people to make the right 
type of historical judgments based on the most complete basis 
of information that could be made available.

         I think the Secretary clearly felt, as a result of 
this whole episode, that it was important to think about any 
implications that arise for the current conduct of foreign 
policy, and we've addressed that.  He, as you know, had a 
high-level group that examined exactly that question.  Their 
reports have already been made public and made available to you.

         Q    Michael, could I have a follow-up on that?  
There's a rumor around the building here that maybe because of 
the budget, you're going to be cutting back on FOIA, on the 
Freedom of Information Act releases.  Can you confirm that the 
Department of State, which doesn't have a sterling reputation 
for rapidity with which it declassifies under FOIA, is not 
going to have less of a good record on that than the previous 

         MR. McCURRY:  I can gladly confirm that to you as one 
of the co-chairs of the Appeals Panel on FOIA cases.  I can 
tell you personally that we are taking steps to -- we're 
actually taking some interesting steps in light of resource 
cutbacks to get people to help us process cases faster.

         One of the things we're doing is, there are some 
senior career Ambassadors who are awaiting assignment or 
haven't necessarily taken up new posts who are available, we're 
actually bringing groups of them in to expedite cases and to 
review them and turn them around faster.  That's something that 
I personally attach a priority to, and because it's something 
that the Secretary of State attaches a high priority to.

         Q    Do you have any reaction to the disappearance of 
Mansur Kikhya, who is a prominent Libyan opposition figure in 
Cairo, given the fact that Colonel Qadhafi has been threatening 
the opposition figures in exile?

         MR. McCURRY:  I know we are trying to find out more 
about it because we've seen the reports.  I think that we've 
been in touch with the Government of Egypt to see if they can 
help us find out what has happened.  He is obviously a very 
well-known dissident and the Libyans have employed such tactics 
in the past but we just don't have any information on what has 
occurred in this particular case.  That's why we've contacted 
the Government of Egypt to ask their assistance.

         Q    Anything on what Qadhafi said recently in his 

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not sure whether it was in that 
speech or associated with that speech -- he's indicated that he 
is inviting a group of well-known terrorists to Tripoli, and 
obviously an invitation to terrorists belies Qadhafi's repeated 
assertions that he has renounced terrorism, and it should be 
noted and judged as such.

         Q    Could we go back to Europe for a minute?  Do you 
have anything on the "terrorists" trial in Moldova?  The 
verdict last week sentenced one person to death.  It was an 
illegal court.

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't have anything on that.  I can 
check and see if we can get something on that.  I'm not certain 
that we can, but, if we can, we will try to get something and 
post it.

         Q    Yesterday, the Japanese Prime Minister made an 
announcement on the rice issue.  Do you have any comment on 

         MR. McCURRY:  I would say that the United States is 
pleased that Japan has decided to start to open its rice market 
to foreign imports through the Uruguay Round negotiations.  
Japan's initiative will help ensure the Round's successful 
completion and to expand world trade and to integrate into the 
global economy.

         We applaud Prime Minister Hosokawa's decision on what 
was clearly a very difficult issue.

         Q    On North Korea, any new meetings, any new 
developments at all on that?

         MR. McCURRY:  No.  Nothing new on North Korea.

         Q    Is Under Secretary Davis out of the country?

         MR. McCURRY:  Is she out of the country?  I don't 
believe so.  I saw her Monday.  I don't think she's out of the 
country, but I can double-check and see if she is.

         Q    Since in the recent few days expressing very hard 
a number of European countries for the FYRM, Former Yugoslav 
Republic of Macedonia, to get diplomatic recognition by the end 
of this year on a bilateral level.  Could you please once again 
clarify the U.S. position vis-a-vis to this issue?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware of any change in our views 
on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, since last 
stated, I believe, by my colleague, Ms. Shelly, when she 
announced the opening of the liaison office in Skopje, which 
was sometime during our trip, maybe within the last two weeks.  
And I think she addressed the question at that time.  I'm not 
aware of any change in our views.

         Q    Since the Skopjean Foreign Minister was in town 
yesterday, I'm wondering if he met any high-level U.S. 
Department officials in this building?

         MR. McCURRY:  I can check and see whether the 
representative of the FYRM met with anyone.

         Q    And one more question:  It was reported in Europe 
today that somehow Mr. Christopher is mediating between Greece 
and Skopje to reach an agreement.  Do you have anything on that?

         MR. McCURRY:  He's an enormously active Secretary of 
State, but I don't believe his activity has extended to that 
issue in recent days.

         Q    Mike, do you have any clarification of remarks by 
U.S. officials in Vietnam that U.S. companies are now going to 
be able to "bid" on contracts in Vietnam?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't.  I think Winston Lord -- 
Ambassador Lord, as you know, our Assistant Secretary for East 
Asian and Pacific Affairs, has been in Hanoi today and held a 
news conference in which he discussed some of the progress that 
they're making on accounting for POW/MIA issues.  The sole 
purpose of his trip there was to look into the efforts that are 

         I think his schedule tomorrow, for example, includes a 
trip out to the Vietnamese-Laos border to look at some of the 
joint efforts by the Vietnamese and Laotians and also the U.S. 
efforts to identify additional remains.  Where we are on the 
other questions bilaterally involving Vietnam is pretty much 
where we've been; that any further steps in the U.S.-Vietnam 
relations will depend strictly on further tangible progress in 
POW/MIA accounting, and the issue of whether the Vietnamese 
will have made sufficient progress in that area is something 
that will be under review upon Ambassador Lord's return.

         I know the Secretary certainly will be anxious to hear 
his complete report.  I am not aware of any changes suggested 
such as those that you suggest that have been made in our 

         Now, there is one possible explanation of what they're 
referring to, and that involves the step we took earlier this 
year, lifting some of the restrictions on international 
financial institution lending, which opens up a way in which 
there might be a way for some U.S. companies to bid on projects 
that are financed by multilateral lending institutions.

         So that may be what they're referring to.  I've seen 
some of the reports that you're referring to, and I just want 
to make it clear that's not connected to any initiative that 
Ambassador Lord had under way today.

         Q    Can you give us your assessment of the situation 
in Sarajevo and whether we're getting ready to go ahead with 
the increased aid program announced in Rome, and how can we go 
about it if the airport remains closed?

         MR. McCURRY:  The airport was closed, I think, because 
of shelling in and around the residential area to the northwest 
of the airport this morning.  But it has been open on and off, 
depending on the weather and depending on what the fighting 
conditions have been around the airport.

         I think as we've made clear, in addition to the 
flights, which are very important, we've indicated, as we did 
in Rome, that the convoy traffic is also critical in getting 
necessary relief through.  We've been following the convoy 
relief situation very carefully in contact with UNHCR.  They've 
had mixed reports.  It's fair to say there have been convoys 
into Sarajevo within the last several days, into Tuzla within 
the last several days, but there have been some convoys held up 
proceeding to Gorazde, one of the other safe areas.

         So I think it's best -- right now is a mixed bag, and 
again the reason seems to be the same.  In some cases they're 
being hassled administratively by local commanders.  In other 
cases there's fighting going on between the three parties and 
combinations of the three parties that interferes with some of 
the convoy routing.  But obviously the U.N.-sponsored effort 
there with the additional assistance provided by the United 
States is making a very real difference.  It must continue, 
because they clearly are going through a difficult winter, and 
the winter will continue.

         Q    And the on-again/off-again status of Sarajevo's 
airport and the on-again/off-again status of the convoys do not 
constitute, I take it, strangulation in the views of the United 

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't have any change in the 
characterization of that activity from what I've reported to 
you in the past.

         Q    So there is no imminent implementation of the 
NATO threat of last August?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware of any effort being made 
to activate that August 2 or August 9 Communique.

         Q    Another subject?

         MR. McCURRY:  You want another one on that?

         Q    Yes.  Are you satisfied with the kind of deal 
made between the U.N. and the Serbs, by which the Serbs are 
escorting the U.N. convoy and the U.N. is giving gasoline and 
fuel to the Serbs?

         MR. McCURRY:  We have known for some time and heard 
from the United Nations that that is virtually the only way 
that they can get assistance through.  They clearly have to 
make arrangements both locally and then with border officials 
to in a sense give a cut to the Serbians; and, frankly, it's 
quite clear that aid would not continue at all were it not for 
those types of arrangements.

         So they certainly are not satisfactory arrangements, 
but they're absolutely necessary in assuring that humanitarian 
relief can proceed to its destination.

         Q    American Administration said a few times that it 
will follow European Community countries considering 
recognition of Republic of Macedonia.  Does it mean that it 
will happen if European countries establish full diplomatic 
ties with Macedonia?

         MR. McCURRY:  We had been in contact with our European 
friends and allies on that issue.  We make our own independent 
judgments on that question, as I indicated in response to the 
question earlier, and we certainly are aware of some of the 
discussions that have been held within the European Union, but 
the United States will make its own independent judgment on 
that question.

         Q    Another subject?  Mike, the ACLU and a group 
called Human Rights Watch are reporting today that they believe 
the United States is in violation of the international covenant 
on civil and political rights.  Are you familiar with their 
charges, or shall I spell out a few and ask you for a reaction?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not sure.  Is it in reference by any 
chance to Haiti?

         Q    It has to do with Haiti, it has to do with race 
relations, it has to do with sexual relations, religious 
freedom.  There's a whole list of areas covered by this 
international covenant, but the repatriation of Haitian 
refugees is one of the subjects among them.

         Is the U.S. preparing any kind of response to this 
report or --

         MR. McCURRY:  I was aware -- I've seen some of the 
comments carried on the wire services that have been critical.  
I know in the case of Haitian repatriation, we feel very 
strongly that we are, one, acting consistent with our policy in 
repatriating to Haiti those who are trying to enter the United 
States using the assistance of criminal profiteers; two, we 
have set up in-processing centers within the country for the 
exact reason that those who do have rights that need to be 
protected should have a process under law by which they can 
apply for asylum here in the United States.  Those processing 
centers are open.  They have been quite active.  In fact, I've 
been told that there has been an increase in activity there, so 
there are legal procedures available to those, both who are 
repatriated and those who are seeking to immigrate to the 
United States.

         So on that issue we feel strongly.  I'm not suggesting 
that we've studied in any detail the report you're referring 
to, but I know on that one issue we do have that response.

         On the other aspects of the report and other things 
covered, we certainly will look at the report and see if 
there's anything that merits a response.

         Q    Can I ask a follow-up?

         MR. McCURRY:  You want to follow up on that.

         Q    The United States, as you know, annually 
publishes its own human rights report which accuses a lot of 
other countries of doing various and sundry things the U.S. 
doesn't think are a good idea, and the U.S. requests and in 
some cases demands that those countries take actions in 
response, set up commissions to review these things, and so on.

         Does the U.S. intend to look at this report with an 
eye toward evaluating itself and offering some kind of response 
to others who might read it and say, "Yeah, you've got the same 
thing going on in the U.S., and you're pointing the finger at 

         MR. McCURRY:  That's not a construction that makes a 
lot of sense.  I don't think any rational individual would 
compare the human rights record of the United States to many of 
the countries that we criticize in our annual report.  By the 
same token, we have always urged in our relations with other 
countries transparency when it comes to the issue of human 
rights, and we welcome those who want to raise this issue.

         We certainly will consider criticisms that are raised, 
not necessarily indicating that we agree with the assessment, 
but open and active discussions of issues of human rights, 
whether it involves the United States or any country in the 
world, can only be to the benefit of holding the world 
community to the high standard of universal human rights that 
has been adopted by the United Nations.  That's not indicating 
any specific response to any specific criticism raised in this 
report, but a discussion of those issues can never be 
detrimental to the interests of human rights.

         Q    Do you have any reaction or have you already 
given it to the French effort to tighten sanctions against 

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not sure that we've given it or 
not.  I think our reaction is that the sanctions in place on 
Haiti, probably the most robust international sanctions program 
ever in the Western Hemisphere, have been effective; have been 
having the desired effect of restricting trade.  As we can tell 
now from some of the curtailment of oil -- petroleum shipments 
within Haiti are beginning to have an effect.  They're 
beginning to bite.

         Q    So no further tightening.  Is that the American 

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware of any efforts to tighten 
sanctions.  I think what they're trying to do is ensure that 
those sanctions that are in place are working.  As I suggested, 
there is some evidence that they are having the effect that we 
would desire.

         Q    Well, wait a second.  Is France trying to ensure 
that the existing sanctions are effective, or is that the 
American effort?

         MR. McCURRY:  Look, I don't think that they have 
addressed that today.  We're still awaiting the copy of the 
Four Friends Group.  As you know, it includes the United 
States, Canada, Venezuela and France.  They met today in Paris 
and issued a communique of which we, just prior to the 
briefing, were attempting to get a copy of.  I don't think that 
that communique addressed anything about furthering sanctions.  
We will try to find out more.

         Q    Have they proposed it?  Because that was the 
French intent?

         MR. McCURRY:  I just don't know whether they raised it 
or not.

         Q    What's the status of Malval's effort to get a 
conference going?

         MR. McCURRY:  We've strongly supported it.  He, I 
think, briefed the representatives of the Four Friends Group on 
it yesterday, and I think he is planning to go back to Haiti to 
see if they can convene that conference.  He may be on the way 
back now.  I'm just not sure.  But the United States has 
strongly supported the Prime Minister's untiring efforts to 
convene that conference and to create a consensus within Haiti 
for national reconciliation.

         Q    One more question on the East.  Could you take a 
question on Romania?  The Foreign Minister is coming to town.  
It will be the first visit -- official visit --

         MR. McCURRY:  That's on Thursday.

         Q    Right -- since 1989.  Is this a sign of warming 
relations between the U.S. and Romania or recognition that 
their reform program is now on track?  Or what does it mean?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'll certainly see if I can put some 
things together.  I'm not sure we will do that for tomorrow.  
We might just do that in the context of his visit, which I 
believe is on Thursday, if I'm not mistaken.

         Q    Thank you.

         MR. McCURRY:  You're welcome.

         (The briefing concluded at 2:02 p.m.)


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