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

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman Taken Questions of January 10, 1994

1. LAOS Q. Were U.S. POWS left behind in Laos? Is Laos doing enough on the POW/MIA issue?

A. THIS ISSUE HAS RECEIVED EXTENSIVE REVIEW IN BOTH THE LEGISLATIVE AND EXECUTIVE BRANCHES.

--FOLLOWING ITS YEAR-LONG INVESTIGATION INTO THE POW/MIA ISSUE, THE SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON POW/MIA AFFAIRS NOTED IN ITS FINAL REPORT "AMERICAN OFFICIALS DID NOT HAVE CERTAIN KNOWLEDGE THAT ANY SPECIFIC PRISONER OR PRISONERS WERE BEING LEFT BEHIND."

--HOWEVER, WE CANNOT RULE OUT THE POSSIBILITY THAT LIVE AMERICANS MAY BE HELD IN LAOS. BOTH EXECUTIVE BRANCH REPRESENTATIVES AND MEMBERS OF THE SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE FOLLOWED UP EXPEDITIOUSLY IN LAOS ON REPORTS AND PHOTOS SUGGESTING THAT AMERICAN SERVICEMEN MIGHT BE ALIVE. WE CONTINUE TO INVESTIGATE ANY REPORT OF AMERICANS IN CAPTIVITY.

--COOPERATION ON THE POW/MIA ISSUE IS A PRIORITY IN OUR RELATIONS WITH LAOS. WE WILL CONTINUE TO PRESS FOR ADDITIONAL COOPERATION AND PROGRESS ON THIS ISSUE.

--505 AMERICANS REMAIN UNACCOUNTED FOR IN LAOS. LAST YEAR, THE U.S. AND LAOS CONDUCTED SIX JOINT FIELD ACTIVITIES. HOWEVER, MORE THAN 80 PERCENT OF THE PERSONS UNACCOUNTED FOR IN LAOS WERE ACTUALLY LOST IN AREAS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE NORTH VIETNAMESE. THIS DEMONSTRATES THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FIRST-EVER TRILATERAL OPERATION WITH VIETNAM, WHICH WAS COMPLETED ON DECEMBER 20.

--THE FIRST FIELD ACTIVITY FOR 1994 IS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN LATER THIS MONTH.

2. France Q: Have you spoken to French officials about their Dec. 30 release of the two suspected Iranian terrorists? What was the response?

A: WE SPOKE TO FRENCH OFFICIALS BOTH HERE AND IN PARIS, EXPRESSED OUR STRONG CONCERN, AND REQUESTED A FULL EXPLANATION. WE EXPECT TO CONTINUE OUR DISCUSSIONS WITH THE FRENCH ON THIS SUBJECT.

3. PEACE PROCESS Q: Have the military vehicles promised by Secretary Christopher been delivered to the Palestinian police force?

A: WHEN THE SECRETARY WAS IN THE MIDDLE EAST IN DECEMBER HE INDICATED THAT THE U.S. IS CONSIDERING MAKING NON-LETHAL EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE TO THE PALESTINIAN POLICE FORCE.

WE ARE NOW FOCUSING ON HOW BEST TO MAKE EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING SOME VEHICLES, AVAILABLE.

4. KASHMIR Q: Has the Government of India asked for clarification of the letter sent to the head of the Kashmiri-American Council?

A: WE DO NOT COMMENT ON DIPLOMATIC EXCHANGES.

--THE LETTER REFLECTS THE CONSISTENT STAND THAT THE ADMINISTRATION HAS TAKEN ON KASHMIR, NAMELY THAT THE UNITED STATES WISHES TO SEE A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF ALL ISSUES BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN, INCLUDING KASHMIR.

--TO THAT END, THE U.S. IS WILLING TO ASSIST INDIA AND PAKISTAN TO REACH AND IMPLEMENT AGREEMENTS IF THEY BOTH SO DESIRE. HOWEVER, WE DO NOT SEE OURSELVES IN A MEDIATOR'S ROLE. (###)

To the top of this page