US DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING Tuesday, January 18, 1994 BRIEFER: Michael McCurry Subject Page ANNOUNCEMENTS Secretary Attends Norwegian FonMin Holst Funeral 1-3 - Press Sign-Up Sheet for Oslo-Paris Trip 1 - Secretary's Travel Schedule, Press Coverage of Secretary's Meetings 1-2,15-16 Earthquake: State Department Actions 3 State Field Offices, Consular Missions in LA 2 PEACE PROCESS Meeting with Peres and Arafat in Oslo 2 RUSSIA Resignation of Finance Minister Fedorov & Deputy Prime Minister Gaydar; Impact on Reforms 3-4,6-7 Kozyrev Comments re Russian Troops in Baltics/ Russian Commitments 5-8 Impact on US Assistance, Current Assistance 7-8 HAITI Status Following Miami Conference, Next Steps 8-10 Prospects for Governors Island Accord 8-9 Contacts with Military Leaders 9 January 15 Deadline, Expanding UN Sanctions 8-10 UN Resolution Required 9 SYRIA Clinton-Asad Meeting, Concern of Exclusion of Press Raised by Secretary w/ FonMin Shara 10-11 Logistics of Press Coverage 10-11 IRELAND Congressional Ltr re Gerry Adams Visa Waiver 11-12 Ineligibility of Adams, as IRA Member 12 JAPAN Construction Industry Contracts Open to Foreign Bids 12 NORTH KOREA Talks with IAEA 12-13 SOMALIA UNOSOM Release of Detained Somalis, UN Res 885 13 Investigation of Attacks on Peacekeepers 13 Status of Reconstruction Projects 14 Assessment of Reported Increase in Banditry 14 UNITED NATIONS Departure of Undersecretary for Management Melissa Wells 14 JORDAN Expectations from King Hussein's Upcoming Visit 17
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, JANUARY 18, 1994, 1:16 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon everybody. I'm delighted to be back with all of you today and delighted to see so many here on an inclement day.
I have two announcements -- one announcement and one point of information, just to begin with. First is to tell you that Secretary Christopher will attend the funeral of Norwegian Foreign Minister Johan Jorgen Holst on Saturday, January 22. In traveling to Oslo, the Secretary wishes to pay special tribute to Mr. Holst's remarkable dedication in the pursuit of peace, and particularly for the assistance that he and his government gave to the Israelis and the Palestinians in reaching the historic decision to sign the Declaration of Principles here in Washington in September of 1993.
The Secretary will depart Washington on Friday, January 21. He will then continue on after the funeral to Paris where he will attend the meetings that we've previously announced with French officials and also with Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen.
We will post a sign-up sheet for this trip for any of you who wish to accompany the Secretary to both Oslo and Paris after the briefing. We'll take it down fairly early tomorrow, by 10:00 tomorrow morning; so if you have some interest in going, you do need to sign up.
On that, let me just say that, given that this is a somber occasion and a funeral, we certainly expect to keep the Secretary's appearances in Oslo restricted to those in connection with the funeral itself. We don't plan any other press or public events. I'd tell you that obviously a number of dignitaries will be attending the funeral and in connection with the activities associated with the funeral, he might have an opportunity to meet some of the other mourners who will be in attendance; but we do not plan to provide any formal press opportunities in connection with any sessions like that.
The bottom line there, or reading between the lines is, we would encourage those of you who can make your way commercially to Paris to consider that option rather than joining the Secretary. That might be a little easier on some of your news organization budgets. That's where we do think that obviously we will be making some news.
Q Wait a minute. If he's meeting with people with people like Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres, that's going to happen in a black hole?
MR. McCURRY: We'll be happy to answer to questions you might have. We're not going to make the Secretary available publicly in connection with those or have photo opportunities or that sort of thing, because it's just not appropriate in keeping with the occasion itself.
Obviously, anyone who is there -- we understand that we have an obligation to provide you timely information on the Secretary's meetings; and we obviously will help you if there are news organizations that feel they need to be there to cover that story. We'll certainly provide you the assistance that we always do, but in this case we just won't be making a lot of pictures available or the Secretary available. I'm sure your news organizations will understand that.
Q Mike, is this an absolute? For those of us who might for some reason decide not to go to Norway and end up in Paris would not suddenly find that there are photos all over European television of the Secretary meeting with Arafat and Peres?
MR. McCURRY: I can't predict -- I don't know at this point what type of coverage arrangements are being made by the Norwegian Government for the funeral itself. I can assure you that on our part we're not going to construct any separate photo opportunities for any meetings that the Secretary may have.
By the way, we don't have any confirm schedule for the Secretary at this point. I think many of know that publicly both Chairman Arafat and the Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres have indicated they will be there, and I certainly expect that the Secretary would want to have an opportunity to chat with both. Again, I would stress that that's not something that we think -- and given the occasion that we would attempt to orchestrate any coverage of those meetings.
MR. McCURRY: I think the plan will be to probably go from Oslo down to Paris on Saturday after the funeral. My understanding is that the Secretary doesn't have any schedule planned at this point on Sunday. It just would have been impossible to come all the way back and then go back to Paris for these meetings; so he'll be in Paris on Sunday with a day off -- a well-deserved day off.
Q And then he'll come back to Washington?
MR. McCURRY: Yes. He'll come back to Washington at the conclusion of the meetings, I believe on either Monday night to Tuesday morning. We'll have that a little clearer later.
Q Was that your announcement and your point of information?
MR. McCURRY: No, the second point: Given that the earthquake is a major story, I just thought some of you might be interested in some of the things the Department did yesterday after the earthquake hit. First of all, the Department has a facility in Los Angeles. The first thing was to make sure our personnel and our facilities there were okay. They were. There was some minor damage -- file cabinets overturned and things like that, but nothing significant.
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security's Field Office was then, during the day yesterday in contact with most of the foreign consulates located in the Los Angeles area, and several foreign consulates reported minor damage to their office space. There are no reports of injuries to any diplomatic personnel stationed in Los Angeles that we are aware of at this point.
Not all of the consulates were they able to reach because some of the phone lines had been down; but they'll attempt to reach out to those consulates that weren't contacted yesterday and get a hold of them today. Any work that needs to be done to look at our cooperation with some of those foreign consulates, they will explore that in some follow-up meetings today. I just thought I would pass that on to show you that we were concerned, too, about the obvious presence of the foreign diplomatic corps in Los Angeles in the aftermath of the earthquake yesterday.
And with that, any questions.
Q The Finance Minister, apparently, is following the Deputy Prime Minister out the door in Russia. I'm just wondering if you had an assessment on the impact vis-a-vis the reform program?
MR. McCURRY: My comments would be very similar to the ones the Secretary made in a televised appearance on Sunday. Certainly, both Minister Fedorov and Minister Gaidar have played important roles in the reform of Russia's economy. But I would stress that President Clinton, as many of you know, received assurances from President Yeltsin that Russia will continue its push forward with its historic process of both economic and political reform.
I think some of you were even there and present when U.S. journalists had an opportunity to question President Yeltsin on that point; and he, when asked "Will there be any slowing of economic reform in Russia," responded very clearly and firmly with a "nyet." We take that answer very seriously and certainly expect that that will be the course of policy-making in Russia regardless of who fills these critical economic posts in the Russian Government.
Q But to the extent that Gaidar and Fedorov are seen here and elsewhere in the West as symbols of the reform effort and main movers of the reform effort, don't you expect that they're no longer being in the Cabinet shows some lessening of that commitment -- that Yeltsin spoke rhetorically, but the evidence seems to be otherwise?
MR. McCURRY: President Yeltsin's commitment is very clear; and it will be up to President Yeltsin to select successors, and it will be up to those successors to implement the policies that the President has indicated he will follow.
Q But if his commitment were clear, why are two known, well regarded reformers leaving?
MR. McCURRY: They both have addressed themselves to that. I don't have any more information than what they have said publicly themselves. They've had some specific policy disagreements. They have some concerns.
As the Secretary indicated yesterday, there was an election in Russia, and there very often is political fallout in the aftermath of an election.
But, again, I would stress the importance of the commitment made President-to-President, by President Yeltsin to President Clinton, stressing that economic reform would not slow and would proceed, and policies to that end will obviously need to be implemented by the successors to those who are departing the government.
Q Mike, can you name any of Mr. Yeltsin's current advisors who have won as much respect from the Western economic community as have either Gaidar or Fedorov?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not as familiar as I should be with some of them. Mr. Chubays is obviously well regarded, well respected. There are others. There are other officials that we meet with very often at a diplomatic level and others that Treasury Department officials have met with. We certainly hope that those with the stature and the knowledge and the competence of both Mr. Gaidar and Mr. Fedorov are seen as suitable replacements.
But, again, I would stress, it's the importance of the policy that will be pursued by the successors and not necessarily the personalities.
Q Foreign Minister Kozyrev -- on the same topic -- said this morning that Russia should maintain a military presence in the Baltics; and if they didn't, if they were to withdraw their troops, it would create a security vacuum. Do you have any comment on that?
MR. McCURRY: I would restate our own strong view of policy: Our policy toward the region is based on firm support for the sovereignty, the independence, and the territorial integrity of the New Independent States and the Baltic Republics. We have told the Russian Government repeatedly that we expect prompt withdrawal of all Russian troops from Estonia and Latvia. They, as you know, have already departed Lithuania.
We don't accept any view that suggests Russia should assert or exercise a special role or prerogatives that are inconsistent with the U.N. Charter, the principles of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and general principles of international law. This was reaffirmed by the two Presidents in their meeting, and the Moscow Declaration signed by both President Clinton and President Yeltsin with regard to the Baltic States pressed for the prompt and unconditional withdrawal of remaining Russian forces.
The Declaration itself said that both sides would pledge to promote rapid and peaceful resolution of conflicts on conditions that correspond to generally standards of international law, including respect for the independent sovereignty and existing borders of the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union.
In light of all of that, Foreign Minister Kozyrev's comments are certainly at odds with statements signed by President Yeltsin in Moscow and certainly at odds with things that we've been told by high officials of the Russian Government in our meetings in Moscow and prior to Moscow.
Q The resignation of Gaidar, Fedorov, and now Kozyrev's comments -- don't you sense some sort of pattern there of President Yeltsin telling President Clinton one thing and turning around and doing something completely different?
MR. McCURRY: They haven't done anything. There have been statements. It's what they do. The things that they do have to be based on the commitments that have been extended by President Yeltsin. We would certainly expect them to be based on the commitments made by President Yeltsin.
At this point, they have not done any of the things suggested by some of these comments that have come Foreign Minister Kozyrev or suggested by the policy statements.
Q If I could follow up on that. That had been initially my question. You said that Mr. Kozyrev's comments are at odds with the assurances that you got in Moscow last week. Are you going to seek some clarification?
MR. McCURRY: At this point we've seen news accounts of Foreign Minister Kozyrev's comments, which I gather were made to Russian Ambassadors to the Baltic Republics. We certainly will ask to see a full transcript of his remarks to see if somehow or other the news accounts might not be accurately reflecting the sentiments. If they are accurate, we certainly will seek clarification from the Russian Government.
Q Mike, could I just ask you about Gaidar and Fedorov? For months now, these two have been portrayed as the best and the brightest of the economic minds surrounding Boris Yeltsin -- the very architects of reform.
If you put it in terms of this country, it is as if Warren Christopher and Lloyd Bentsen had both resigned within days of each other to protest the policies of the Clinton Administration. And yet you are portraying this as if these were two lower-level bureaucrats who suddenly decided to take a vacation.
MR. McCURRY: That's not true. We didn't portray these two as anything but very senior architects of the economic reform process.
Q Is there not --
MR. McCURRY: Secondly, I think you can't draw a parallel to the United States because they did just recently have an election in Russia and they're in the process of forming a new government under a new constitution. So I think you're drawing kind of the wrong parallel there.
Q The fact is that these two men both quit because they disagreed with the course of Russian economic reform. Is this not disquieting to this government?
MR. McCURRY: I think anything that would suggest that the economic reform policies to which President Yeltsin is committed are somehow not going to be pursued in the aftermath of these resignations would be of very serious concern and would be very disquieting; but we have no indication that those policies, as committed to by President Yeltsin, are not going to be pursued.
Q Did you have any indication last week that either of these gentlemen was planning to resign? And were you given any assurances by President Yeltsin that he would do his best to prevent them or to keep them on?
MR. McCURRY: I cannot say whether or not we knew clearly the plans of either Fedorov or Gaidar. I do know that we did receive some indications -- and I'm not certain how descriptive or clear they were -- that there were likely going to be some changes in the Russian Government.
I think in light of the fact that there were going to be changes -- and it was suggested to us there might be changes -- President Clinton felt it very important to stress to President Yeltsin that the support the West has given to Russian economic reform very much depended on seeing a pursuit of the policies of reform that President Yeltsin has committed to in the past. And I think it's also a reason why President Clinton felt it very important to seek reassurances from President Yeltsin that those policies would be pursued.
Q Mike, do you think the departure of Gaidar and Fedorov might result in a delay of providing Western aid to Russia?
MR. McCURRY: I wouldn't raise that as a possibility because there's no indication that the policies of reform are not going to be pursued.
Q Just the same point. I believe that some of the aid, at least, is attached to Baltic troop withdrawal. Is that not correct? And what might be the implications of failure to complete that withdrawal on the provision of aid?
MR. McCURRY: Alan, I don't know the answer to that -- whether or not. We have indicated in the past that that's a very real source of concern to us, the presence of Russian troops remaining in Latvia and Estonia.
I'm not sure if we have tied specific sums of aid to that. There are some Congressional restrictions -- the Byrd Amendment -- but I don't know how they come into play in this. We can try to check and get something further on that.
Q What about the project --
MR. McCURRY: But, again, I would stress -- it's important to stress that there is no indication other than these statements by Kozyrev that there is any plan not to complete the withdrawal. In fact, we had good conversations with the Russians during the summit in Moscow indicating that they were certainly interested in pursuing the commitments they had given to us to seek a complete withdrawal.
Q During your visit, did you get any indications in talks with Kozyrev or Yeltsin's people that things like this might be coming for domestic consumption -- a statement like this on the Baltics and troops?
MR. McCURRY: I think we got a good understanding during our meetings in Moscow about the current political dynamic in Moscow. I think that they got from us a very clear indication of our concerns and our interests and policies that move forward with both political and economic reform.
Q Mike, on the point of the Russian troops, we are financing a project -- the Administration is financing a project to build barracks or housing for Russian officers. Is that being -- it's probably too early to say. Where is that project right now?
MR. McCURRY: I'd have to think back to the time when Secretary Christopher was in Riga and visited this issue with the three Baltic Foreign Ministers.
We have been assisting the Russian Government in building barracks so that they can complete the withdrawal to Russia of troops currently stationed in Latvia and Estonia. I'm not sure of the current status of that. I think there were some materials that we distributed for the summit that have got the answer to that question, that cover what the current status of our assistance is. You might want to check there.
Q Mike, on another subject, after the somewhat inconclusive Miami Conference over the weekend, where do you think the Haiti situation now stands? Where do you think it is going to go?
MR. McCURRY: We have felt for a long time that it's essential to have a successful conclusion to the Governor's Island process. Whether or not the conference that was held over the weekend contributes to that end is something that we'll know more of over time as we watch the parties and see whether they begin to try to act in some fashion of unity to address the political situation in Haiti and complete the return both of democracy and President Aristide.
I don't have much to offer beyond what I think Ambassador Pezzullo said in his remarks at the conference. He stated pretty clearly, I think, in those remarks U.S. policy interests and what we will be pursuing in connection with the other so-called Friends of Haiti -- Venezuela, Canada, and France.
We have indicated and will certainly now move ahead with tougher sanctions, because, as we indicated in the aide-memoire distributed after the meetings on December 22, some of the basic conditions that we felt necessary have not been met. There will be a meeting between the Friends, I think, to figure out exactly how to do that and when to do that and how they will approach that; but certainly the intent to move ahead on expanding the U.N. sanctions along the lines that we've indicated publicly in the past.
Q The absence of the military and key members of the business community, does that not send a message to this government about the possibility, or the likelihood of the Governor's Island Accord ever being put through with the current leadership in place?
MR. McCURRY: We've said if not this conference, then other conferences that might be held, that those who are currently critical to the future of the Governor's Island process have to be part of the dialogue about what happens next. That would obviously include the Haitian military authorities. We continue to make it very clear that we don't see them playing any role in the political future of Haiti, but we acknowledge that they are part of the equation, as we attempt to decide what happens next in Haiti. Whatever now happens, whether it's a new conference or other efforts, they'll certainly have to be part of the -- they'll be a factor in deciding how you proceed with some process that ultimately results in the twin and important goals of the Governor's Island process -- the restoration of democracy and the restoration of the duly-elected President.
Q I take it you haven't heard from the military since you and your friends delivered them that memo about three or four weeks ago?
MR. McCURRY: George, I don't know. I think there has been subsequent contact with them. I don't have any details on that contact. Obviously, in advance of this conference this weekend, they were determining whether or not they would be participating. It's clear that they didn't. But what their suggestions are as to how to move forward, is something that we will certainly await.
Q Mike, the Four Friends laid out a date and the date was January 15 for certain things to happen, which haven't happened. So what's next?
MR. McCURRY: That's what I referred to -- referred to just earlier -- those things did not happen. So, as we indicated publicly in December, we will now move ahead on expanding U.N. sanctions. How that will happen and under what terms they will be expanded, is something that we will meet with the other Friends about.
Q Would the U.S. anticipate a U.N. resolution (inaudible)?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not sure. I think it would be required if they are moving beyond the current U.N.-ordered regime of sanctions. But I'd leave that up to experts. Again, it would have to follow the conversations we will now have with the other of the so-called "Four Friends."
Q What further measures are under consideration, Mike?
MR. McCURRY: The ones that have been discussed publicly are the ones that were contained in that paper.
Q Could you say them?
MR. McCURRY: Restrictions on non-commercial airline flights, and I think the other thing referred to publicly was making universal a somewhat broader and tougher regime of sanctions imposed by the Organization of American States. They have a somewhat tougher embargo regime than the one that was adopted by the United Nations. The thought was to expand universally the OAS-ordered embargo. Those are the ones publicly that I recall, although I wouldn't rule out other aspects of bringing greater pressure to bear on those who are standing in the way of the implementation of the Governor's Island provisions. That, obviously, is principally the Haitian military.
Q Mike, on the Assad-Clinton meeting, is it the policy of the Clinton Administration to restrict or exclude people on the basis of their nationality or religion or ethnic origins?
MR. McCURRY: No, to the contrary. It's the stated policy of this Administration to encourage the widest -- I think you're probably referring to press coverage of important international events -- and we encourage broad, international access to important information such as a meeting between two Presidents.
Q So why is it that the United States went along with an arrangement in Switzerland under which people from certain countries were effectively excluded?
MR. McCURRY: We did not. In fact, at the level of the Secretary of State, we raised our concerns to assure the Syrian delegation that we could not tolerate a situation in which anyone would be discriminated against, and that resulted in an agreement to expand the U.S.-selected pool that covered the meeting of the two Presidents.
I would tell you that, for logistical reasons only, some journalists -- and that's what we're talking about here, journalists -- had to be excluded from that session simply because there were pretty close to 2,000 journalists covering this session, and it was agreed that there would be duly constituted pools who would represent the U.S. and the Syrian press, and then we insisted on including members of the international press to ensure the widest possible coverage. That was done, and a journalist from an Israeli news organization was included in the U.S. pool at our insistence and after our raising the issue at a very high level.
Q Are you saying that that hotel logistically couldn't hold the journalists, because I was present at that hotel when Secretary of State Baker met Tariq Aziz, an event that was extensively -- even more covered than this event, and a much more important event, since the fate of whether there was a going to be a war in the Gulf hung on that meeting -- and every single journalist that was there was accommodated with great ease.
MR. McCURRY: Well, I know that I was told, and I think I witnessed with my own eyes, a room that was not capable of accommodating every journalist that was in Geneva present to cover that meeting. I was told that there there were pretty close to l,800 journalists who were accredited at the International Press Center for coverage of this meeting. We obviously had a room at that hotel that couldn't accommodate those numbers; so that's why a pool arrangement, as it is often done, was arranged. We insisted on making the U.S. portion of that pool coverage available to international press.
Q Mike, are you saying that the Secretary personally raised this with President Assad?
MR. McCURRY: The Secretary personally raised -- there were concerns expressed to us about limiting the ability of international press -- specifically, the Israeli press -- from covering the meetings. We raised that at a level with Foreign Minister Shara, because of our concern and our strong view that you can't exclude the free media from covering events of this nature.
Q And Shara's response was --
MR. McCURRY: His response --
Q -- if you want to make some of your slots available to them, then you can do that.
MR. McCURRY: I will leave it up to the Syrians to characterize his response. Our feeling was that he said that if something was available in a universal, non-discriminatory way, they would not raise any objections to that. Then in subsequent discussions, we decided the best way to do that was for us to include various members of the international press in an expanded U.S. pool, and that's what happened.
Q Mike, what does that say to you about the peace process that Syrians don't even want Israeli journalists to cover a news conference when the president speaks?
MR. McCURRY: It says they have an awful long ways to go in this process -- which they do.
Q Four Senators have written President Clinton asking him to grant a visa to Gerry Adams to attend a conference in New York, I believe. What's the Department's thinking on that?
MR. McCURRY: It's under review; they haven't decided -- is the bottom line answer. Gerry Adams applied for a visa on Friday. He is currently ineligible, under U.S. law, for a visa; so he would have to be granted a waiver. So actually what he's seeking in this case is a waiver under the current ineligibility statute. That matter is under review.
I don't know that we have actually seen the letter. I think the letter you're referring to by the Senators -- Senators Kennedy, Kerry, Dodd, and Moynihan -- may have been directed to the White House. I don't know that we have that here at the Department yet, but in any event we certainly are aware of their views on this matter.
Q Why is he ineligible?
MR. McCURRY: He's ineligible under U.S. law because the Provisional IRA -- let me do a correct and legally precise answer to the question, but it arises under the relevant statute to his role as a leader of the Provisional IRA -- which is a restricted organization -- but the exact wording of that, Mark, I'll get and we can post that so it's stated precisely.
He has, by the way, as I think many of you know, has been denied on repeated occasions in the past -- been denied a visa on the grounds of that statute.
Q The State Department has been deeply involved in the negotiations with the Japanese on trade and other issues -- market access. The Japanese have announced that they are opening their construction industry bids to foreign competition. Do you have any reaction?
MR. McCURRY: A minimal one, let's say. I thought I had a minimal one.
We are studying the Japanese action plan -- that has been announced -- intensively to see if it meets our concerns about foreign market access to Japan's public sector construction market.
We deferred a decision in October on Title VII sanctions until January 20th. I'm confident that by that date we'll have a decision on how to proceed.
Q When you do come up with a decision, could you put it up --
MR. McCURRY: Do it publicly? Certainly.
Q Anything new on the IAEA and North Korea?
MR. McCURRY: No. The last I had heard -- I'm kind of catching up with some of this upon my own return from being on travel with the Secretary and the President. But my understanding is that the discussions that were underway between the IAEA and North Korea are still underway.
We referred to IAEA comment on those discussions, and they obviously involved the question of what type of inspections will be held to meet the safeguards requirements of the international agency as they look at the relevant sites in North Korea.
We certainly would urge North Korea to promptly allow the inspections that the IAEA deems necessary to assure the continuity of safeguards at the declared nuclear sites so we can get on to the other important and relevant discussions we need to have.
Q On Somalia, have you got any update on events there where Aideed people are being released by the U.N.?
MR. McCURRY: No. They were released. I think it's important to note that the release of those who remained detained was after -- and that was done pursuant to an announcement by the U.N. Secretary General -- but it's the result of a lengthy process that is based on U.N. Security Council Resolution 885, which asks the Secretary General to appoint a Commission of Inquiry which investigated the events surrounding the attacks on U.N. peacekeepers in and around Mogadishu.
Now, it's the Commission that had recommended the release of the detainees. The U.N. Special Representative, Jonathan Howe, and the U.N. Military Commander, General Bir, both recommended release of the detainees. A former Zimbabwin Chief Justice was asked by the United Nations to examine the case and he came to the same conclusion, recommending release of those who have been detained.
The United States accepts those judgments and the decision of the Secretary General. Hopefully, the decision will contribute to the political dialogue that we continue to believe needs to be held to resolve outstanding issues relating to both the security and civil order in and around Mogadishu.
The other thing to stress is that this certainly doesn't end the matter of finding culpability for the death of U.N. peacekeepers, including those U.S. military personnel who were serving. The Commission will continue its investigation of those events surrounding the attacks. They are asking -- the United States is certainly asking other nations that have information, or other factions or clans who have got information, to come forward so evidence can be established to find those who are guilty and bring them to justice.
Q Mike, the conference in Addis Ababa late last year, which looked forward to March 3l and the withdrawal of U.S. and other peacekeeping troops, set up certain reconstruction projects which was supposed to be pursued. Has a single one actually begun?
MR. McCURRY: I would have to check and see. If they had begun, they would be most likely outside the area of Mogadishu. They would be in rural parts of Somalia where we have indicated publicly we will now direct our efforts.
We're trying to send a message very clearly that those areas that have resumed some level of civil order and that are beginning to function in the wake of the famine will be higher priority for international relief efforts than those areas in which clans refuse to stop their fighting and stop their violence. That's a deliberate attempt on our part to try to encourage those who continue to fight to enter the reconciliation process and bring about some type of peaceful settlement that will allow civil order to be reestablished. And we are talking -- and, clearly, most principally -- about Mogadishu.
Q But do you have an assessment on reports that banditry and lawlessness and looting have actually increased outside of Mogadishu?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have that. I'm not aware of those reports. I'll see if there's something we can get for you on that.
Q Changing the subject, can you tell us why Melissa Wells is leaving the U.N.?
MR. McCURRY: Because I think the U.N. Secretary General wanted someone else in the position.
Q Has she lost the confidence of the United States, as was reported in one paper this morning?
MR. McCURRY: No. This was a personnel decision that was up to the U.N. Secretary General. I think we indicated on our part that it's essential to have someone in that position -- the Under Secretary for Management -- who is both qualified and experienced. We will certainly make recommendations for filling that post that will be consistent with our strong interests in having administrative and bureaucratic reform at the United Nations.
Q Do you expect and anticipate that it will be another American filling that post?
MR. McCURRY: Well, we certainly will recommend Americans for the post. There's no such thing as a "U.S. post," but that post has traditionally been filled by Americans.
Q Are you surprised or disappointed that Mr. Boutros-Ghali didn't want her to continue in her post?
MR. McCURRY: I just don't have anything to say. It was a personnel decision that he made.
Q Is she going to get another job?
MR. McCURRY: Well, she will return to the Foreign Service.
MR. McCURRY: She's a Career Foreign Service Officer, so she'll presumably return here for further posting.
Q Is the United States pleased with the job that she did?
MR. McCURRY: I think that we're pleased with some of the efforts under way at the United Nations to institute new procedures, bureaucratic reforms, and streamline administrative procedures. We certainly are not satisfied that all of our goals in that respect have been accomplished. We think there needs to be a lot more done to reform the United Nations' administrative procedures.
Q That was not my question.
MR. McCURRY: No, but that was your answer on this.
Q Can we briefly return to the travel arrangements that you've made for the funeral?
MR. McCURRY: Sure.
Q I'm trying to distinguish why it is less dignified to take a picture of the Secretary of State while he is doing business -- which will be written about in the newspapers extensively -- with other Foreign Ministers. Why is that less dignified than not to take a picture of him?
MR. McCURRY: Jack, I guess my view of it is it's hard to -- and on an occasion like this it's a period of mourning, especially on behalf of those who are participating in a funeral. We're all realistic enough to know that occasionally at state funerals there is other business transacted on the margins of that.
But I think, just in keeping with the nature of the event itself, that we would not want to be seen as promoting the additional work that's under way, or the additional discussions.
In fact, at this point we're not even sure how formal those discussions will be. They may be very informal. There may be chance meetings that just don't lend themselves to the type of formal news availability that you would normally expect.
Q If he has semi-formal meetings with other important leaders in the world, the fact of those meetings doesn't detract or add one way or the other, I wouldn't think, to the dignity and the solemnity of the situation. And to have a picture of the Secretary of State doing the business which he is doing, which you don't deny he's doing, doesn't detract or add one way or the other.
I don't understand that. Why --
MR. McCURRY: Well --
Q I mean, it's as though you're denying the meeting's taking place. Yet you're perfectly willing to tell us what happened at the meeting, and if you're a newspaper reporter that's how you can write it up: as a meeting with Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres. If you're a television reporter you're at a great disadvantage.
MR. McCURRY: You're just suffering from the fact that a picture is sometimes worth a thousand words. Maybe it's just a difference.
I understand the point you're making; I'll certainly revisit the issue and talk about it with some others here. But it's --
Q Find a way to do it more discreetly.
MR. McCURRY: -- our sense just currently that we certainly have an obligation to report to you on the work the Secretary is doing, and we recognize that. But we just felt in this situation it might be inappropriate to turn any of his meetings into photo opportunities.
Now, I'll revisit that question and see if we have another viewpoint.
Q If a meeting takes place, a meeting takes place.
MR. McCURRY: I understand your point.
Q Can you tell us what the Administration hopes to come out of King Hussein's upcoming visit?
MR. McCURRY: Well, it will be another opportunity to review the progress that's being made, and that can be made, in the peace process -- and an opportunity to examine again the dialogue between Jordan and Israel growing out of the framework that was agreed to on September l4. It also will be an opportunity to get the King's thinking on discussions at that point that would have occurred here in Washington with the return of the delegations here for the informal streamlined talks that will most likely begin sometime next week.
Q He's coming this week?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not sure of the exact dates.
Q This week talks -- next week?
MR. McCURRY: Next week. It will be an opportunity to talk about the talks that will be happening. I had the dates wrong on his visit. It's a preview of the upcoming talks, the informal streamlined talks that will occur.
Q Thank you
MR. McCURRY: Thank you.
(Briefing concluded at l:55 p.m.)
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