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US DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
                         
                   Wednesday, December 15, 1993
                                      BRIEFER:  Michael McCurry
Subject                                                    Page
RUSSIA
    Elections/Impact on Yeltin's Ability to Govern ..      1-11
    --  Vice President's Statement/Meetings with
          Political Leaders .........................      1-3,5
    --  US Contacts with Zhirinovsky/Rationale ......      2-4
    Current/Future US Aid ...........................      4-9
    White House Background Briefing Today ...........      5
    Upcoming Summit with US .........................      7
UKRAINE
    Status of START I/NPT ...........................      9-10
NATO
    Partnership for Peace/Timetable .................      10-11
POLAND
    Foreign Minister's Meeting with Secretary ......       11
    --  Partnership for Peace .......................      11
HAITI
    Prime Minister's Meeting with Peter Tarnoff .....      11-12,14-16
    Asst. Secretary Shattuck's Concern re: Adequacy
      of Refugee Processing Centers in Country ......      12-13
    Four Friends Meeting re:  Sanctions Enforcement .      13
    Prospects for Conference on Reconciliation ......      14-16
VIETNAM
    Asst Secretary Lord Concludes Visit .............      16-17
SOMALIA
    Departure of US Troops ..........................      17
    Whereabouts of Aideed ...........................      17








                         DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                         DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                      DPC #165

               WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1993, 1:08 P.M.
                (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)


    MR. McCURRY:  I have no opening statements.  I'd be delighted to 
take your questions.  Good afternoon, everyone.

    Q    On behalf of the Department of State Correspondents 
Association, could I just point out that the 12:30 briefing was 
called today at 1:04, 34 minutes late.

    MR. McCURRY:  Why don't we say the Noon Briefing is now at 1:00.  
Then I'm only four minutes late.  We've been clocking in closer to 
1:00 as a general principle.  It just makes it easier if we just say 
1:00.

    Q    It'll be 1:30 then.

    MR. McCURRY:  No, that's not true.

    Q    That's what you said when you changed it to 12:30.

    Q    It was moved to 12:30 because you were clocking in closer to 
12:30.  Now, you're clocking in closer to 1:00.

    Q    What's the read today on Russia?

    MR. McCURRY:  On Russia?  I think most of you have seen some of 
the comments that Vice President Gore had to say earlier today 
following his meeting with President Yeltsin.  I think he was very 
encouraged by that meeting.  He indicated that President Yeltsin had 
expressed great confidence in his ability to stay the course.  I 
think beyond what the Vice President has said -- he's given a pretty 
detailed readout of his meeting at this point -- I don't have a lot 
to add to what the Vice President said.

    Q    What's the basis of the confidence?  If the 
ultra-nationalists and the communists are as strong in the 
parliament, as it looks like it could be, this has to cause problems; 
right?

         MR. McCURRY:  As we've said in the last couple of 
days, the composition of the new parliament is still very much 
in flux.  We're learning more now about some of the other seats 
that are being filled.

         I think I told you in the last couple of days that we 
have been -- a lot of you have declared Zhirinovskiy the 
"president-elect" or the "shadow president," based on some of 
the results that are coming in for half of the Duma seats -- 
half of the seats in the lower house of the parliament.

         In the other half of the seats that were up and 
contested in this election, it appears that a large majority of 
people elected on that slate have called themselves 
"independents," or didn't run with a party affiliation.  That 
means that there's going to be a lot of uncertainty about the 
political texture of this Duma as it gathers to meet next year; 
and presumably the political leadership -- those who represent 
reform in Russia -- are going to do what they can do to build 
coalitions and to try to establish factions that they can work 
with within this new parliament.

         That's something that clearly will unfold over the 
next month and that we will certainly be watching carefully as 
I assume you will as well.

         Q    On Zhirinovskiy, clearly, he's not going to be 
president soon.  But in his past ramblings, among other things 
he said that he would take back Alaska.  Do you have any 
problem with that?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think the President has said something 
about that.  I think I said something about that a couple of 
days ago.  It's kind of a ludicrous proposition.

         Q    Are there any plans for Gore to meet with 
Zhirinovskiy now, now that he's had a chance to meet with 
Yeltsin?

         MR. McCURRY:  No.  My understanding is that he is 
reaching out and meeting with some opposition figures within 
the political community while he's in Moscow.  But he has made 
it very clear that Mr. Zhirinovskiy is not among those that 
will be on the guest list.

         Q    What are the kinds of people or the factions or 
groups, or whatever, that the Administration is reaching out to 
at this point?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think Vice President Gore is meeting 
with people that represent a wide spectrum of political 
viewpoints within the new political life of Russia.  I don't 
have a detailed list on who he has met with.  I think as you 
know, as we indicated last night, we have had contact, even 
with Zhirinovskiy himself, even fairly recently through our 
Embassy, because one of the things our Embassy feels strongly 
about is the need to reach out and understand the full range of 
views on the political spectrum within this emerging 
democracy.  So they will continue that type of work.

         I think the Vice President, obviously, will have one 
occasion in which he can touch base with some elements of the 
opposition, but there's a full range.  There are agrarians, 
there are communists, there are various factions within the 
pro-reform movement itself.  I think certainly both the 
Embassy, and then on the Vice President's trip, they'll reach 
out and make sure that they understand the full range of views 
that are going to be contesting in this new parliament.

         Q    Why not have Vice President Gore meet with 
Zhirinovskiy as part of a group meeting of opposition leaders 
rather than snubbing him?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't know that I'd call it a "snub."  
He just wasn't invited to this particular gathering.  There 
were others elected who weren't invited to this gathering.  But 
I think as the Vice President said today, and as I think the 
Secretary told you yesterday, there are certain things about 
the views, publicly stated in the past by Mr. Zhirinovskiy, 
that are anathema to the values that we hold important.  So I 
think that would indicate that a meeting -- until there's some 
better understanding of what his views are and what they will 
be in this parliament -- a meeting like that would not be 
warranted.

         Q    Mike, at what level were the meetings at the 
Embassy with Zhirinovskiy?  How often were they?  Why would 
they meet then and not now?  Is it a practice to meet with 
neo-Nazis such as this person?  We had a considerable fallout 
over meetings that were described in the same -- with Hamas 
members in the Middle East.

         MR. McCURRY:  To make it real clear, I think during 
the election period itself, various, presumably political 
officers within the Embassy in Moscow, were doing everything 
they could to understand the full range of debate within the 
campaign itself and the viewpoints of those who were standing 
as candidates.

         My understanding is the meeting that was held by our 
Embassy representatives with Zhirinovskiy was held in the 
context of his placement on the ballot as a registered 
candidate.  They met with a wide variety of candidates on that 
ballot so they would have a better understanding of the types 
of people who were seeking office and the viewpoints they would 
have.

         Q    Secretary Baker, on the MacNeil/Lehrer show last 
night, said that -- he pretty well took the Administration line 
on this -- but he did say that he felt that under the 
circumstances it wouldn't be wise to cut the military budget 
further.  Do you have reaction to that?

         MR. McCURRY:  As you all know, the budget for the 
Defense Department and our Department is under very active 
review in the final stages of the annual budget process.  I'm 
not going to make any comment on budget matters at this point.  
That's something the President is clearly addressing with 
senior members of his Cabinet.

         Q    What's the status of U.S. aid to Russia, money 
that has been voted so far?  How much of it has been spent; how 
much is still in the pipeline?  And is any sort of review 
underway as to whether or not to go ahead and spend any money 
that might still be in the pipeline?

         MR. McCURRY:  From time to time I've checked in on how 
much of that aid that has been approved by Congress has 
actually been flowing.  I know that most of the obligated 
FY-1993 money had been spent and had been directed to various 
sources.  I'll see if I can get some more information on where 
funding is.

         I would say this, though, that we have maintained -- 
even prior to this election -- that the importance of taking 
that money, approved and appropriated by Congress, and getting 
it to its destination which, after all, is at the grass roots 
level in Russia, is a very important part of our effort to 
nurture and support political and economic reform in Russia, 
because it's precisely designed to produce results that average 
Russian citizens see as immediately as possible.

         The sense that we were accelerating that type of aid 
or trying to push money out in the pipeline so it would reach 
the grass roots quickly had been a regular feature of our aid 
program.

         Now, some aid, as you know, that's coming through the 
multilateral institutions, has flowed slower.  Some of the 
assistance is coming through the systemic transformation 
facility, I think, is still being reviewed by the various 
multilateral lending institutions.  I don't have a complete 
read on the status of that.

         Q    Just to follow up on that.  Vice President Gore, 
this morning, in his news conference in Moscow, took some 
unnamed parties to task for being slow about getting aid to the 
Russian people.  Was he talking about the international lending 
institutions, or individual countries?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't know.  I'm not sure what he said 
in connection with that particular issue.  I don't know who he 
was directing those remarks to.

         We have expressed concern directly to the Russians on 
some occasion that we need to find help within the Russian 
Government to establish some of the procedures necessary for 
moving this money.  I don't know to whom the Vice President was 
referring.

         I do want to let everyone know, I think later on in 
the afternoon -- in fact, maybe shortly after this briefing -- 
they do plan to do some background briefing over at the White 
House on Russia involving some senior Administration 
officials.  I want to make sure you know.  It's probably going 
to be, I think, close to the 2:00 hour, I am told.

         Q    Are you optimistic that Yeltsin is going to 
somehow continue reforming at the pace and intensity that he 
has been in the months ahead now that this election is over?  
You see no change in the trend line there at all?

         MR. McCURRY:  I wouldn't want to add anything further 
to what the Vice President has said following his meeting just 
today with President Yeltsin.  He said almost exactly that.  He 
said he was impressed by President Yeltsin's confidence and his 
determination to move ahead on reform.

         I think you'll see some of the reporting coming from 
the Vice President's remarks in Moscow.  He's had an 
opportunity to speak directly with Yeltsin, so I wouldn't want 
to go beyond that.

         Q    My question really is:  It's nice that President 
Yeltsin is expressing confidence that he can continue to go 
ahead.  Does that match, in any way, the reality that the U.S. 
Government sees as it analyzes what has happened over there 
since this election?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think it does in the sense that when 
he has -- remember, a very important feature of this election 
was the adoption of a new constitution that does allow the 
President to formulate policy.  It probably gives him a better 
capacity for formulating policy than he had under the Soviet 
era constitution that he has been operating under.  We also, 
clearly, have a legislative branch in which there will be many 
forces contesting; but his ability to develop a program, 
promulgate a program, form a government that then works that 
program through a legislative branch is something that we 
clearly are going to do more analysis on.

         But I think our sense is that there's no reason to 
think that they won't be able to propel reform forward.

         Now, is the task going to be more complex for 
President Yeltsin?  Undoubtedly so.  That's one of the unique 
features of democracy -- that things get a lot tougher once you 
begin to take into account a wide range of opinions expressed 
by the people in exercising their right to vote.

         Q    Mike, can I come back to aid for just a second?  
I think when you were asked about aid, you talked about the 
feature of the U.S. program before the election being to get it 
to the grass roots, and so on.

         Bud was asking you whether there's been any review of 
that now.  I think what we want to know from you is whether the 
election results have had any effect or will have any effect on 
the Administration's obviously intended plan to push the aid 
through and get it to the grass roots.

         Are you pausing for a moment to review the scene, 
check the scenery and see whether it's right to keep going 
ahead with this aid?  Or are you going to ahead, no questions 
asked, the money is going?

         MR. McCURRY:  No, I would say that we are very much 
committed to the path of reform and to continuing our strategic 
alliance with reform and with reformers.  That will continue 
apace.  The question of whether or not the results of the 
election, as we assess them and understand them, will cause us 
to think through how else that we might assist and promote 
reform, I wouldn't want to rule out the possibility we might 
look at that question.  But I think your question is 
immediately, are we taking a pause and saying, "Gee, is this 
really a wise idea?"  No, we are not.  We are moving ahead and 
supporting reform, continuing the policy, and staying the 
course.

         Q    There is no sort of bottom-up review regarding 
America's approach towards Russia as a result of this?

         MR. McCURRY:  We've certainly taken into account these 
results, but as you've seen us over the last several days, we 
are much more measured in our reaction than those of you in the 
media who have already promoted Zhirinovskiy way beyond where 
we think the current election results warrant his being placed.

         Q    Also, on the question of the summit, you're only 
a few weeks away now from Mr. Clinton going to Moscow.  Are any 
plans for the summit being altered by the results of these 
elections?  I'm not talking about plans for a meeting with Mr. 
Yeltsin.  But is the President reconsidering, or is the 
Administration reconsidering with whom Clinton should meet when 
he goes there?  Is he reconsidering any of the talking points, 
for example, that we presume he'll make regarding nuclear 
weapons in the other neighboring republics and so on?

         MR. McCURRY:  The President answered that question 
directly yesterday and said, no, he was just at the point at 
which he was beginning to focus on his approach to this trip, 
in any event.  I'm not aware of any plans to change the 
fundamental features of his trip or of the summit itself.

         There's already been a considerable amount of work 
done on that summit.  The Secretary and Foreign Minister 
Kozyrev reviewed the agenda for the two leaders when they met 
recently in Brussels.  The Vice President was doing additional 
preparatory work on this current trip, and I'm not aware of any 
changes being made in the agenda for the summit itself.

         I can't speak at the moment to the question:  Are 
there other things that will be included in the President's 
schedule in light of the election results?  I don't know the 
answer to that, but we'll certainly watch and work with the 
White House and find out more, as we know more about the 
details of his schedule.

         Q    To go back to the aid question again.  This is 
the period of time when the budget is under review.  Do you 
anticipate that there will be a Russia aid package in the 
upcoming budget?  And if so, will it be greater or less than 
the current fiscal year?

         MR. McCURRY:  My anticipation is there will be a 
Russian aid package.  Long before the results of this election, 
it was clear to us that it was not going to be as large as the 
initial package that was developed beginning with the Vancouver 
summit.  I think that's been known to the Russians for some 
time.  We made it clear at the time of the Vancouver summit 
that much of this aid was going to front-loaded -- the first 
year contributions wouldn't represent a pattern that would 
develop over time.

         I'm not aware of any changes in the size of the 
package because of the election results.  I think it had 
already been settled in pretty much the type of request that 
was going to be made.

         Q    Mike.

         MR. McCURRY:  Jim.

         Q    As you pointed out and the President pointed out, 
much of what happened in the election was a protest vote.  Has 
it occurred -- or has this Administration considered the 
possibility that it, the United States, by backing President 
Yeltsin may have actually contributed to the protest by making 
him sort of a symbol of outside interference?

         MR. McCURRY:  We will assess that question and see if 
there's any legitimate reason to think that is so.  I'd say 
that we have been conscious in all of our contacts and dealings 
with the Russians that a large part of what we do and say and 
work with them does have reverberations domestically for them.

         I know we were very conscious of that when the 
Secretary visited Moscow in October.  I think we understand 
always that the types of bilateral relations we have with 
countries do reverberate in their domestic political 
environment.  So we have taken some of that into account 
already.  Whether we will go back and look at that and say is 
there something that we did that affected these results, I know 
that question will be examined.  I don't want to prejudge any 
conclusions that we might make.

         You see today a great deal of discussions of a similar 
nature going on on behalf of people who are close political 
advisers to President Yeltsin.  They, themselves, are looking 
at the question, is there something that we could have done 
differently during this campaign.  I can tell you from my 
experience that's a very natural thing that happens after an 
election.

         Q    Mike, you said earlier on the aid question, you 
wouldn't want to rule out the possibility of reviewing aid in 
the future?  Why is that?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm sorry.  Say again.

         Q    You were asked whether there was a review going 
on as far as aid to --

         MR. McCURRY:  No.  I said there wasn't a review going 
on now.  I said as we analyze the results of the election, if 
there's something that we see that we need to do, of course we 
will look at that type of question.

         Q    Okay.  Well, since you've sort of introduced the 
hypothetical, what sorts of things would trigger a review of 
aid to Russia?  What would you be looking for?

         MR. McCURRY:  I mean, as I just said, we look at ways 
to make effective our aid programs at all times.  I don't think 
there would be anything surprising about that.

         Q    The aid was channeled in large part to the grass 
roots, and a big chunk of the grass roots ended up voting for 
hardliners and ultranationalists.  What does that say about the 
efficacy of the aid program, and is that a cause for a shift in 
direction?

         MR. McCURRY:  Our analysis is that at the grass roots 
level, particularly outside the major population centers of St. 
Petersburg and Moscow, they're not seeing the tangible rewards 
for going down the path of reform and that there's a great deal 
of frustration.

         That has to do with things more than just the levels 
of assistance coming from the West.  It has to do with 
indigenous economic conditions, obviously, as well; but I think 
that's one among other things that we'll look at.  Is there 
some way that we can make more effective our support for reform 
as we look at how we structure our assistance efforts?  That's 
the type of question, I think, that does suggest itself.

         Q    Still on Russia for just a second.  Can you tell 
us any more today about the Secretary's involvement in the 
post-election assessment?  Has he been in touch with Kozyrev 
now?  Has he been in touch, for example, with the Foreign 
Ministers or other officials in surrounding former Soviet 
Republics?

         MR. McCURRY:  He has had some contact with the 
European allies, but I forgot to check and see exactly the 
nature of the contacts.  He does have a plan to meet with the 
EU Ambassadors here next week on Tuesday, and I think that this 
will be a subject that will be on their agenda for that 
gathering.

         He has not talked to Kozyrev, to my knowledge; and I 
think most of his work on the question of the Russia elections 
-- he's been in close contact with Vice President Gore's party, 
talking to them and getting readouts on some of their meetings 
that are going on with Russian officials that they are seeing.

         Q    And no contact with Kravchuk or Nazarbayev or any 
of those people about what this means for the U.S. push to get 
them to give up their nukes and so forth?

         MR. McCURRY:  Not at the Secretary's level.  I think 
that in each case Embassies have been in contact with their 
points of contact in those governments, and they're assessing 
that.  We're clearly collecting reactions as they come in from 
countries throughout the region.

         Q    What do you hear from Ukraine, for example, 
following the elections?

         MR. McCURRY:  The same thing that you see publicly 
stated by them in the news reports from Kiev.

         Q    Those media again.  You mean they're just 
overreacting to the elections?

         MR. McCURRY:  No.  They're reporting the facts as they 
think they know them and sometimes they analyze those facts and 
sometimes the analysis is wrong.  Reporting facts is -- you're 
always straight when you're reporting facts.

         Q    As long as we report everything you say, we're 
straight, right?

         MR. McCURRY:  Factually.  As long as you carry it 
verbatim, without analysis and commentary, I think you'll be 
right on the money.

         Q    Would it be the advice of the State Department 
that Ukraine should be encouraged by the results of the 
election in Russia?  That that should be a motivator to give up 
their nuclear weapons?

         MR. McCURRY:  No.  I think, as I said yesterday, if 
they have concerns -- and they have obviously expressed 
concerns -- that might make it all the more imperative for them 
to follow through with the commitments they've made on the 
nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, on START I, and on the Lisbon 
Protocols.

         Q    Why?

         MR. McCURRY:  It's very strong.  Because, among other 
things, they know that there's a security guarantee that is 
similar to those offered to other accessionaries to the NPT 
that's available to them once they fully adhere to their 
commitments.

         Q    Mike, is there any sort of review underway -- as 
long as we're on the subject of reviews -- of the speed with 
which the Partnership for Peace would go into effect for some 
of the East European countries?

         In other words, is there any thought being given to, 
perhaps, speeding up the timetable to that as a result of the 
Russian election results?

         MR. McCURRY:  Not occasioned by the election, but that 
has been under review because it's an item that's under review 
in preparation for the NATO Summit.  That is one of the 
questions that is certainly on the table for the summit in 
January.  How do you structure the Partnership?  How do you 
address questions like timing?  What's necessary to demonstrate 
the kind of qualifications that might lead eventually to NATO 
membership?

         These are all among the things that I think have been 
set up for the leaders to discuss when they meet in January, 
but that was true prior to this election.

         Q    Are you considering speeding up the timetable?  
In other words, was there in your mind, say just for argument's 
sake, a five-year timetable and now there's a three-year 
timetable as a result?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware of any change in how we 
view the question of timing.  It was an issue that was to be 
discussed by the NATO summit leaders, and clearly will be.  I 
guess your question is maybe will that conversation be informed 
by the results of the election, and of course it will be.

         Q    Did the subject come up in the meeting yesterday 
with the Polish Foreign Minister?

         MR. McCURRY:  Yes.

         Q    Did he change the Secretary's mind on --

         MR. McCURRY:  No.  I think they had an exchange very 
much along the lines of the comments they addressed to all of 
you prior to the meeting, it's my understanding from the 
Secretary.

         Q    Was he convinced it was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't want to attempt to amplify or 
clarify on the Foreign Minister's remarks.

         Q    But the Foreign Minister used the word "fear" 
several times yesterday with the Secretary.  Did the Secretary 
feel he was able to allay the Polish Foreign Minister's fears?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think the Secretary feels confident 
that he made it clear that the avenue available for addressing 
that type of fear is the avenue laid out in the U.S. 
initiative, Partnership for Peace.  I mean, if anything, it's 
another argument in favor of the type of approach that we have 
developed and put before our NATO allies.

         Q    It's funny, because it seems as though no matter 
what the election results would have been, those answers would 
have been the same.  If the Reformists had triumphed, then you 
would have said this was another argument why the Partnership 
-- it is like the all-purpose answer here.  It's extraordinary.

         Q    Bingo!  He's got it.

         MR. McCURRY:  That must indicate that it's divinely 
clever.  (Laughter)

         Q    Could we do Haiti?

         MR. McCURRY:  Yes.  Let's move on.

         Q    President Aristide is asking Cedras to resign. 
That's part one.  Do you have a response to that?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't have a response to that.  I just 
actually happened to see that on the wires prior, and I will 
tell you that I suspect that we can have some more to say on 
that perhaps later.  Prime Minister Malval was here and met 
with Under Secretary Tarnoff yesterday before returning to 
Haiti.

         My understanding is that he's now enroute to Haiti and 
may be arriving in Haiti shortly.

         Q    Why was that not made public yesterday?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think it was developed very quickly.  
He was here.  I think you know, or at least we knew that he was 
coming here to talk to President Aristide following the meeting 
of the Four Friends in Paris; but I think it was a hastily 
arranged meeting yesterday.

         Q    Why?  What was the meeting for?

         MR. McCURRY:  To discuss the situation in Haiti.

         Q    Can you be more specific?

         MR. McCURRY:  No.

         Q    Do you remember talking about the U.S. policy on 
Haitian refugees yesterday at about this time, and apparently 
hours later Assistant Secretary Shattuck raised questions about 
the wisdom of the policy.

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't think he did that.  It's my 
understanding -- I've talked to Assistant Secretary Shattuck at 
some length today, and this is his understanding of what he 
said and my understanding of what he said.

         He expressed concern about the human rights situation 
in Haiti.  He, I think as you know, was there to deliver a 
posthumous award to the family of Guy Mallary, and then also 
had a number of briefings about the situation in Haiti.  He is 
clearly concerned that threats and intimidations do seem to be 
on the rise, and those caused him some concern.

         He then went and got a briefing -- or I think he 
toured one of the in-country processing centers that we have in 
Haiti to take a look at what capacity they have for handling 
cases in which there might be a legitimate claim for refugee 
status leading to an asylum request.

         I think his concern is that the capacity of those 
in-country processing centers might now be stretched because 
there has been a noticeable increase in the volume of people 
applying for refugee status.  I think what he was indicating is 
that we needed to look at the issue of whether or not those 
in-country processing facilities are adequate to handle the 
cases in which there might be people who have got bona fide 
claims for refugee status that need to be processed.

         I went through that pretty carefully with him today, 
and he certainly wants me to indicate that that's what he 
intended to communicate.  He did not call into question the 
overall policy on repatriation or interdiction or return of 
people who are attempting to illegally emigrate from Haiti, and 
there is no change in Administration policy on that question.

         Q    Will the Administration consider expanding its 
ability to process these people?  Are we going to --

         MR. McCURRY:  That's among the things, I think, that 
will need to be looked at.  There are limits to our capacity to 
do so because of the resources that we have available in Haiti 
and the resources that we have available at those three sites.  
That's exactly what Assistant Secretary Shattuck was suggesting 
needs to be examined or reviewed.

         Q    But will it now be reviewed?

         MR. McCURRY:  That question of how those processing 
centers are working, what their capacity is and what type of 
volume they can handle given the increase that we're seeing is 
something that we are looking at, yes.

         Q    What about the question of sanctions?  There was 
some reporting yesterday out of Paris that seemed to indicate 
that perhaps the United States was swayed to the French view on 
the need to increase sanctions?

         MR. McCURRY:  I checked into that, Carol.  My 
understanding is that they did have that discussion.  I think, 
as you know, it was widely known the French had put forward a 
suggestion that maybe we needed to toughen sanctions.  I 
understand that they agreed at that meeting, as they said in 
the communique, to have a high-level military delegation from 
the Four Friends journey to Haiti to meet with military leaders 
in Haiti and indicate to them the strong possibility that they 
would have to consider a toughening of sanctions next year 
should there not be a movement on implementing the Governors 
Island process.

         Q    But not at this moment?

         MR. McCURRY:  My understanding is that they did not 
suggest nor did they agree in the meeting in Paris to do that 
immediately.

         Q    Mike, still on Haiti, did Malval tell Tarnoff 
that he wanted to resign, and did he give him a date for 
resignation?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't have anything for you on that.

         Q    Did Tarnoff tell Malval not to resign?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think the Under Secretary expressed to 
Prime Minister Malval the gratitude that we feel for the Prime 
Minister's tireless efforts to build a political future for 
Haiti and to attempt to bring together the parties in the 
interests of furthering the Governors Island process.

         Q    So he expressed gratitude for Malval's past 
service but did not ask him to stay on, is that correct?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think they discussed his status at 
some length.

         Q    The Secretary has said in recent weeks -- I think 
last week or maybe the week before -- that Malval should not 
resign.  Has the United States Government told Malval he should 
not resign?

         MR. McCURRY:  We have expressed strong support for the 
Prime Minister -- indicated that his service and his 
willingness to serve as Acting Prime Minister beyond the date 
of his resignation, which had been set for today, was very 
helpful and that his ideas in trying to bring together the 
conference that he suggested should occur were also very much 
warranted.

         The President, I think as you know, expressed strong 
support for exactly that concept on December 6 and expressed 
either, I think, gratitude or warmly welcomed the willingness 
of Prime Minister Malval to agree to continue as an Acting 
Prime Minister to try to further that process.

         Q    And you got an answer from Malval, but you don't 
want to tell us what it was.  Is that accurate?

         MR. McCURRY:  It's not my place to get into that.

         Q    President Aristide has evidently objected to this 
conference and said it should not be held.  Does the United 
States still back the conference?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't have anything on that.

         Q    When Malval was here, he had indicated he'd like 
that conference to start this week, or soon anyway, and did he 
give an indication how quickly that could get off the ground?

         MR. McCURRY:  Yes.  They discussed that, and I just 
don't have anything further on that right now.

         Q    Are you confident that it will happen at all, or 
do you think there is a problem with it now?

         MR. McCURRY:  I am not.

         Q    You're not confident it will happen.

         MR. McCURRY:  I am not confident that it will happen.

         Q    Would you say the talks between Malval and 
Tarnoff were productive?

         MR. McCURRY:  They were fully engaged and productive 
in dealing with the situation in Haiti and how to try to 
advance the Governors Island process and move it forward at 
this point.  I think that was a very productive conversation.   
Dealing with someone who is so clearly and courageously 
committed to the future of his country is obviously going to be 
a productive session, yes.

         Q    You're not confident this conference will happen, 
and Malval's agreement to stay on as Acting Prime Minister was 
contingent on this new initiative.  Did then Malval indicate 
that he was stepping down as Acting Prime Minister -- that he 
would not serve as Acting Prime Minister?

         MR. McCURRY:  I just don't have an answer I can give 
for you on that.  It wouldn't be my place to give that answer.

         Q    Does the United States still support the idea of 
a conference?

         MR. McCURRY:  We continue to think that Prime Minister 
Malval's initiative was one that could have been very helpful 
and --

         Q    Could have been.

         MR. McCURRY:  Or might have been or will be.  The idea 
was an idea that could have advanced the prospects for a 
settlement of the differences that existed between the parties.

         Q    Even though Aristide opposes the idea of having a 
conference?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think the President made clear on 
December 6, and I believe at that time President Aristide 
indicated his willingness to be supportive of the initiative 
that Prime Minister Malval launched or at least articulated 
that day.  My recollection is that President Aristide at that 
time was supportive, yes.

         Q    Who then do you see as the obstacle to this 
conference?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't want to characterize it.  It's 
not my place to characterize who's presenting obstacles.

         Q    Did Christopher weigh in at all yesterday in the 
talks with Malval?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't think he was physically 
present.  He has been in close contact.  This has been a 
subject that developed...  It took on a certain amount of 
urgency because of the meeting in Paris while the Secretary was 
traveling abroad, so Under Secretary Tarnoff had been a point 
of contact for Prime Minister Malval on this.

         He has been working closely with Under Secretary 
Tarnoff on the issue and contributing a fair number of ideas to 
it, yes.

         Q    But the Secretary didn't call Malval or stop in 
the meeting briefly to try to persuade him?

         MR. McCURRY:  He did not participate in that meeting, 
no.

         Q    And if this conference is now off the table, as 
it seems to be, what's the next alternative?

         MR. McCURRY:  We'll have to wait and see what happens.

         Q    Can we go to North Korea?

         MR. McCURRY:  Yes.

         Q    Has there been any movement on either side on the 
North Korea situation?

         MR. McCURRY:  No, nothing new since the meeting on 
Friday.  We're still awaiting a response to the ideas presented 
on Friday.

         Q    Anything on Hanoi with the departure of the 
Assistant Secretary?

         MR. McCURRY:  No.  He was out doing a -- I think he 
went out to the border, as I indicated, or at least he did have 
a good tour.  In fact, if you get a chance to, read a kind of 
interesting report on his tour out to the border with Laos when 
they went to investigate some of the trilateral work that's 
going on to look for additional remains.  Then, my 
understanding is that he departed for Tokyo, where he'll be 
having some discussions with the Japanese Government on the 
Framework Talks.

         Q    And what is Secretary Lord's and, for that 
matter, the Secretary of State's opinion following Lord's visit 
of Vietnam's compliance with and efforts to help resolve the 
MIA issue?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think nothing different from what I 
described yesterday.  I think Assistant Secretary Lord clearly 
was very encouraged by some of the progress that's being made.  
I think he was touched by the ceremony in which the remains of 
seven missing were returned to the United States.  I think that 
he wants to have an opportunity to present a very full report 
on his travels to the Secretary, and we didn't have any further 
characterization of his conclusions beyond that.

         Q    A quick question on Somalia.  What is the U.S. 
assessment of the number of troops, U.S. and other troops, the 
percentage of troops, in the international peacekeeping force 
in Somalia that will be leaving as of March 31?  There's some 
speculation that actually three-quarters of them will be 
departing.

         MR. McCURRY:  As of that date?

         Q    Yes.

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't have that.  I'll see if we've 
got an assessment.  I don't know that we've got one that is 
complete, because I think in some cases we just don't know the 
answer to the question, "Who's staying and who's going?"

         Q    How's the strangulation going around Sarajevo 
today?

         MR. McCURRY:  I haven't seen any new reports today on 
that.

         Q    On the question of Somalia, where is General 
Aideed?  Was he walking toward the border?  (Laughter)

         MR. McCURRY:  My understanding is that, following the 
meetings in Addis Ababa, he departed -- made his own 
arrangements, bought a ticket or something, and departed for, 
we believe, Nairobi, Kenya, I am told.  I don't have a 
confirmation on that, but our understanding was that he was not 
returning immediately to Somalia,,that he did have some 
additional travels in the region that he was arranging on his 
own.

         Q    Is Ambassador Oakley going back?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't know the answer to that.  The 
last I heard, he had plans to go back, but I don't know what 
the status of those plans are.

         Q    Thank you.

         MR. McCURRY:  You're welcome.

         (The briefing concluded at 1:46 p.m.)

         (###)

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