Return to: Index of 1994 Daily Briefings || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

U.S. Department of State Office of the Assistant Secretary/Spokesman Taken Questions for January 3, 1994

1. Bosnia Q: NPR is reporting that France and the United Kingdom are threatening to withdraw their troops from Bosnia-Herzegovina if there is no progress in political reconciliation talks. Is the State Department aware of these statements and, if so, what is our reaction?

A. Neither the British nor the French have informed us that they intend to withdraw their forces from participation in the UN operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina (UNPROFOR).

2. Middle East Peace Q: Where will the next round of multilateral working group talks take place?

A: IN THE COMING MONTHS, THE MULTILATERAL WORKING GROUPS WILL MEET FOR THEIR SIXTH SESSIONS. THE NAMES OF THE GROUPS AND LOCATIONS OF THE MEETINGS ARE LISTED BELOW. DATES FOR THE SESSIONS HAVE NOT BEEN FINALIZED.

STEERING GROUP -- TUNISIA, ARMS CONTROL/REGIONAL SECURITY -- QATAR, WATER RESOURCES -- OMAN, ENVIRONMENT -- NETHERLANDS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT -- MOROCCO, REFUGEES -- EGYPT.

3. SYRIA/ISRAEL Q: What do you know about the Syrian/Israeli academic talks?

A: WE HAVE BEEN AWARE OF PRIVATE CONTACTS BETWEEN ISRAELI AND ARAB ACADEMICS. THESE HAVE BEEN ORGANIZED AND CONDUCTED UNDER PRIVATE AUSPICES. IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT THESE DISCUSSIONS HAVE NOT BEEN RESTRICTED TO ISRAELI/SYRIAN PARTICIPANTS, BUT HAVE INVOLVED UNOFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVES FROM A NUMBER OF OTHER ARAB STATES.

4. PLO Q: What is the status of legislation regarding P.L.O. activities in the United States, including opening an office? Have restrictions changed regarding travel to the United States by P.L.O. members?

A: LEGISLATIVE RESTRICTIONS ON P.L.O. ACTIVITIES IN THE UNITED STATES REMAIN IN EFFECT. UNDER THE TERMS OF THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE FACILITATION ACT, AS AMENDED, THE PRESIDENT HAS THE AUTHORITY TO SUSPEND UNTIL JULY 1994 CERTAIN LEGISLATIVE RESTRICTIONS RELATED TO THE P.L.O. THE PRESIDENT HAS NOT YET EXERCISED THAT AUTHORITY. OPENING OF A P.L.O. OFFICE IS CONTINGENT ON THE PRESIDENTIAL WAIVER.

RESTRICTIONS ON TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES BY P.L.O. MEMBERS HAVE NOT CHANGED AND ARE NOT TREATED IN THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE FACILITATION ACT. REQUESTS FOR VISAS ARE EVALUATED ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS.

5. Israel/Syria Q: Can you tell us anything about the House Foreign Affairs Committee staff trip to the Middle East to look into the issue of Israeli MIAs?

A: THE HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE STAFF DELEGATION WILL TRAVEL TO THE MIDDLE EAST THIS WEEK. AT THE COMMITTEE'S REQUEST, A STATE DEPARTMENT REPRESENTATIVE WILL ACCOMPANY THE DELEGATION.(###)

To the top of this page