US DEPARTENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING Tuesday, January 25, 1994 BRIEFERS: Alexander Watson Christine Shelly Subject Page LATIN AMERICA/CARIBBEAN Overview ....................................... 1-3 El Salvador/Elections .......................... 3-4 Nicaragua ...................................... 4 Guatemala/Peace Talks .......................... 4 Peru/Human Rights/US Aid/Goldman Report ........ 4,11-12 Mexico/Insurgents/Human Rights ................. 4-5,7-12 Haiti/Sanctions ................................ 5-7,13 Prospects of Tour by Secretary ................. 7,13-14 Venezuela/Economic Reform/US Petroleum Imports . 9-10 Cuba ........................................... 12 Narcotics ...................................... 13 ARMS CONTROL Conference on Disarmament in Geneva ............ 14-15 -- Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty .............. 14-15 -- Chinese Position ....................... 14-15 UKRAINE Economy/Inflation/Talks with US/US Aid ......... 15-16 NEWLY INDEPENDENT STATES US Aid ......................................... 16-17 PLO Report US to Provide Security Training to Protect Arafat ............................... 17 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Bilateral Talks Began Yesterday ................ 17-18 JORDAN King's Meetings with President/Secretary ....... 18 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Update on Diplomatic Activities ................ 18-19 IRELAND Application for US Visa by Gerry Adams ......... 19 ####
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 1994, 12:50 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We will open our briefing with remarks by Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs Alexander Watson. He is going to begin with an overview of Administration policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean. We'll follow the usual format. He'll make some remarks, and then he'll be happy to take your questions.
For those of you who may not know Ambassador Watson, he's a Career Minister in the Senior Foreign Service. He was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs on July 2, 1993.
Prior to this, he served as United States Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations with the rank of Ambassador -- this is from August 1989 until January of 1993. He's had numerous prior overseas assignments in the region as well. He's served in Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Dominican Republic. He's also served in Spain, in addition to a number of domestic assignments.
As you know also, I will take questions on other subjects when we finish this briefing. So with no further ado, I pass the microphone to Ambassador Watson.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: Thank you very much, Chris. Let me take two or three minutes to begin, and then we can get to the questions. I'd like to make some points that you might not get to in your questions.
From my standpoint, I think that things are going really quite well in Latin America and the Caribbean. Of course, we have rough spots. The surface of the water is not completely calm, but basically things are going very well. I analyze it in terms of the three basic objectives that President Clinton enunciated when he spoke at American University a while ago, which was his basic objectives for foreign policy were to strengthen national security, to increase U.S. economic growth, and to foster the spread of democracy around the world.
I think in all three areas, Latin America and the Caribbean is proving to be very propitious. Let me just run through these very quickly. In national security, first of all, for the first time I think ever there's no external threat really to the hemisphere.
Secondly, the international tensions of the region have diminished dramatically. There's virtually no international tension likely to break into conflict at this point, and most of the internal tensions have been reduced dramatically.
Another event which I think people have not focused on sufficiently is what the Brazilians and the Argentines and the Chileans have done in the southern cone in terms of weapons of mass destruction; and what the Argentines and the Brazilians have done in terms of opening their nuclear facilities to mutual inspection and with the IAEA is really quite extraordinary; and what the two of them have done with the Chileans in terms of chemical weapons and biological weapons -- ruling them out completely -- is also, I think, a very positive step forward.
Just last week the Argentines and the Chileans signed on to or deposited their instruments of ratification with the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which means only Brazil and Cuba are outside this agreement which would make everything from the Rio Grande south nuclear-weapons free. The Brazilians will be doing it as soon as their senate can pass the legislation in that regard.
On economic growth, of course, one of the major events of the last year is the passage of NAFTA, which we think will contribute significantly to U.S. economic growth and the creation of jobs. Right now, we're working to work out the details of how to proceed beyond that. The President has indicated he wants to expand trade with all democratic countries of the hemisphere as quickly as we can, so we're working with USTR to see what kinds of arrangements we can make for further steps to expand free trade in the hemisphere.
There's also been a wave of economic reform in the hemisphere, which is significant in terms of its contribution to economic growth, which is starting to pick up. I think the average last year was about 3.6 percent, which isn't bad for Latin American and the Caribbean. This, of course, has implications for U.S. exports and for our own economic growth.
Finally, on the democracy point, I think we have unparalleled prevalence of democracy in the hemisphere. We have 16 presidential elections from November of last year until November of this year, and I think that a lot of effort is being taken by the U.S., by the OAS and by the IDB to strengthen democratic institutions beyond simply the holding of elections. In this regard I would point out the OAS Santiago Resolution, which calls upon the hemisphere to react negatively to any effort to overthrow a constitutional democratic regime. We used that to good success in Guatemala last year.
The two issues I see of greatest vulnerability in the hemisphere that could threaten these gains that have been made in the last two years are poverty and I guess I would say governance. That is to say, we need to work very hard with our friends in the hemisphere to reduce poverty, because it would be regime threatening over time, as well as for its own sake; and, secondly, there's got to be a lot more work done everywhere in making government more efficient, transparent and honest, particularly in democratic societies. If governments are not responsive, the system can be threatened seriously. We've already seen that in a couple of countries in the hemisphere.
Another very positive factor we have going for us this year will be the "Summit of the Americas" that the President asked Vice President Gore to announce when he went to Mexico a couple of months ago after NAFTA was approved, and we're working on putting that together.
If I could for one moment mention four specific country cases and then get to your questions. These are cases that I think have been in the news from time to time quite a bit but maybe have slipped a little bit out right now. I want to point out that things are going reasonably well in, for instance, El Salvador.
I think that the consolidation of the peace process is continuing apace. The electoral campaign for the next presidential and congressional elections is in full swing. We are delighted that the FMLN is participating as a full and very effective participant in these elections. We're delighted that the electoral registration process which brought on to the rolls many people who had not heretofore been voting in El Salvador. After some difficult hurdles at the beginning, it seems to have been very successful, thanks in part to support by AID and the U.N. and others.
The biggest concern in El Salvador right now is this violence, and some of it may be politically motivated, and we really, really condemn the murder of FMLN personnel, ARENA leaders, policemen, military and others that have taken place. I went to El Salvador in November precisely to indicate our deep concern about this and to call upon all Salvadorans to refrain from any kind of political violence which could tear apart the very delicate fabric of peace that they put together at so much sacrifice to themselves. We'll continue to make this point over and over again, and the United States is contributing significantly, both financially and in political terms to something that's called the Joint Group, which is a U.N. human rights ombudsman -- Salvadore human rights ombudsman group, with a couple of other attorneys to look into illegal armed groups in El Salvador. We'll be working closely in support of them.
On Nicaragua, I think it's quite fascinating to me that they have moved really so quickly and positively in the last few months. I don't know whether it has much to do with our adjustments in policy or not, but I like to think that we may have contributed to this.
Basically what seems to be happening in Nicaragua is that the Nicaraguans have come to the realization that they, themselves, have to work out their problems, and they cannot find the answers here in Washington. So we have the national legislative assembly starting to function again with, I think, virtually full participation, which will allow them to pass the constitutional reforms they need, approve the new controller, pass the new armed forces law, pass the new law on military justice, etc., and start to come to grips with some of the underlying problems in that country.
They've also replaced many Supreme Court members, and they have a new Supreme Court, which I think will have a dramatic impact on how courts all the way down the line will be dealing with human rights cases and others.
Guatemala: We're delighted that after a hiatus of several months, the peace talks between the UNRG and the government are back on and will be taking place in Mexico under the U.N. mediation, if you will, or observation, starting this month, with a target set for winding up a comprehensive agreement by the end of the year. We think that is very heartening.
Finally, I just came back, as Christine said, from a trip to Peru where I and several colleagues -- Richard Feinberg from the NSC, Mark Schneider from AID and some others -- Chris Arcos from our Narcotics Bureau -- went down there to see if we could expand and strengthen our dialogue on all of the issues of importance to us, a dialogue which I thought had gotten rather desultory in the last few months.
I think we had very good talks, and I think that we discovered significant progress on the human rights front taking place in Peru. Obviously, there's more to be done, acknowledged by President Fujimori and everybody else, but I think the steps that have been taken and will be taken in the next few days are very encouraging.
So with that brief run-through of some generalities and a few specific cases, I'd be willing to take any questions you may have.
Q What is your evaluation of what's happening in Mexico regarding the political and social instability? Does that fit that portion that you are talking about about poverty and lack of efficiency in the government?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: I think there is no doubt that the events in Chiapas derive from poverty and lack of ability of the Mexican system -- government and everybody else -- to deal with some of the fundamental problems in that part of the world. No doubt about that in my mind. I think that that's a good example of the kind of thing which can be a system and regime destabilizing; not that the Mexican system is likely to be destabilized by what happened in Chiapas, but it certainly demonstrates that poverty and neglect and failure of government to deal with people's concerns over time can bring about very, very serious consequences -- not that I would condone for one second turning to violence to try to solve them.
I'm encouraged that President Salinas has gone down there today and has picked Carpizo and Camacho, two first-rate people, to work on this. He has declared an amnesty and has a cease-fire. I think he has his own national human rights people active in the region. The Red Cross is in the region visiting people now.
So I think the Mexicans seem to be proceeding in the right direction in dealing with. They've set up a new commission, I gather, to look at the problems of indigenous people throughout the country, which I think is promising as well.
Q But the United States has been following this problem very carefully on their evaluations. Have they determined if it's linked to Guatemala, to the opposition forces? And in which way can the United States contribute with Mexico to solve this problem of poverty?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: I don't think we have any evidence that any external actors were involved in what happened in Chiapas. There may be but we do not have any evidence of that, and I haven't heard people talking too much about that anymore. So I don't think it's linked with the Guatemalans at all.
Q Regarding the contribution that the United States can make in helping Mexico solve its economic and social problems, particularly in the area of poverty?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: I think the biggest contribution we can make, I think, is through NAFTA and the trade and expansion of commerce and economic growth which we think will result. Beyond that, really, it's up to the Mexicans in how they deal with particular problems in their society.
Q You didn't mention Haiti. Have we made a decision yet about whether the United States will support expanded sanctions and widening of the embargo? Because the other members of the Three Friends -- of the Four Friends; excuse me -- say they are waiting on us.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: I didn't mention Haiti or Mexico on purpose because I was sure we would get to them. I just wanted to mention a couple of other things that you might not be as interested in, but what I was interested in mentioning to you.
No, a decision has not been made as yet on that, but I would expect it would be made very soon.
We've had some talks, of course, with the other Three of the Four Friends in New York and those will be continuing. We'll be looking at language, I think, up there fairly soon, proposed by the French -- we haven't seen it yet.
Q Wasn't there a meeting on this today -- this morning?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: I don't think so. I think there may be a meeting later today. There hasn't been one yet today.
Q I have two questions. One on Haiti and sanctions, specifically. One reads in the press that malnutrition is increasing, especially among the weak, the very young and vulnerable in Haiti, and this is despite the U.S. feeding program which is now feeding almost a million people a day.
Are there any thoughts in your mind that using sanctions, this very blunt, inefficient instrument, which is causing incredible hardship and suffering amongst these poor people is, in fact, the wrong way to go, is the easy out? It's very easy for the United States to impose and yet it destroys peoples lives and causes incredible suffering. That's my first question.
My second question is -- well, maybe you could answer that and I'll come back, if that's okay.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: Sure. I'll give it a try. Sanctions certainly are a blunt instrument, without any question. I think our people take some exception to some of these press reports about the impact that the sanctions allegedly have had on malnutrition in Haiti. Malnutrition has been endemic there for a long time.
The feeding programs we think -- not just the U.S., a lot of other countries as well are involved in those feeding programs -- are getting to the most vulnerable population.
AID has 38 spots around the country that it monitors all the time, in close touch with conditions there. To my knowledge, they have not detected -- certainly not any starvation -- they have not detected any significant increase in malnutrition as yet. We tend to rely more on that more systemic approach than on the anecdotal material that sometimes appears in the press, although we certainly don't discount it and take it very seriously and try to follow up.
In fact, the sanctions we think are having an impact and will continue to have any impact in Haiti, not simply on the poorer people; in fact, more likely on more middle class people. I think the military leadership understands that they are responsible for this condition.
There are several things that they could do overnight -- the leadership of the armed forces -- that could probably, if the U.N. Security Council would agree, cause the sanctions to be lifted. Those were enumerated in the aide-memoire that was left for them not so long ago.
Our view is that the sanctions are starting to work. There is pressure on the military leaders. We believe that a diplomatic approach, backed by sanctions, is the only reasonable approach. We must be firm on the sanctions and the military must understand that, in fact, they are the problem.
We are very heartened by what President Aristide said at the conference last week in Miami -- I guess now a week and a half ago in Miami -- where he called upon all people to work together in Haiti to try to overcome this problem.
Q My second question is: I and some colleagues were hearing reports that the Secretary was planning a trip to Latin America, to several countries in Latin America last month. Then just more recently we started hearing that he won't be going after all, that he has some more important things to do.
No Secretary has been there since Shultz, with the exception of very, very brief visits by Baker to attend drug summits in Colombia. Is the Secretary planning to go? And, if not, what kind of signal would this send?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: The Secretary very much wants to go. We have been making preparations, but he has not, in fact, decided as yet when he will go.
Q Mr. Watson, if we could return to the Chiapas situation. You mentioned one of President Clinton's priorities was democratization. One of the demands that has been raised up in that situation has been for greater openness of the political system. Could you tell us what the thinking in this institution is about the lessons that Chiapas might have for the direction of those issues in Mexico?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: Quickly, to begin to speculate -- which I don't want to very much of, I'll do a little of, however -- it would seem to me that President Salinas' response to this, which has been to look for a political solution and to negotiate with these folks and send a top-notch person like Camacho down there to do this, is indicative of the way at least the Mexican leadership wants to try to deal with this kind of a problem. Hopefully, there won't be similar outbreaks elsewhere in Mexico. I presume there will not be.
But it still, I think, indicates that the sensitive political leadership understands that they're going to have to be dealing in a much more aggressive way. They put in a huge amount of the solidarity funds were going into Chiapas. But, obviously, even that was not enough, or maybe it wasn't focused properly. As I learn more about Chiapas, as I guess all of us are, you discover that although there may have been some economic infusions there, it didn't come to grips with some of the underlying social problems which apparently are somewhat worse in Chiapas than elsewhere.
But the lessons I draw is that the Mexican political system -- at least, at the highest leadership right now -- understands that in order to deal with this you have to be flexible and creative and try to open up ways for more people to participate in the political system.
Q We have been told that the U.S. raises the issue of human rights in the context of Chiapas and its discussions about that situation. Is the issue of democracy also raised by the U.S. in those discussions?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: We certainly have raised human rights at the very highest levels from the outset of this crisis. Without knowing exactly what Ambassador Jones has said there, I don't want to venture too much further. I do not know whether he has talked about the longer range questions of how you have greater political participation. I think he was focusing more on the immediate reaction of this crisis. He will be in town later this week.
Q Can you say what prompted you to raise the question of human rights with their abuses by the authorities?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: No. Ambassador Jones has raised this with the Mexican -- raised our concern about protection of human rights with the Mexican authorities from the outset.
Q Even in the absence of any abuses?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: From the very outset --
Q It was pre-emptive. It was not in response to --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: It was pre-emptive. It was, we are very concerned and would hope that the Mexican Government would deal with this situation in a political way, respectful of human rights.
It was not reacting to information. It was pre-emptive. It was an expression of our concern.
Q Mr. Secretary, a new President is going to be inaugurated next week in Venezuela -- President Caldera. Foreign direct investment has tended to dry up in Venezuela in recent months as it became uncertain regarding the continuance of the reform program. There were riots down there yesterday, or the day before with regard to the application of the VAT tax.
What is the attitude of the U.S. Government regarding a need or the continuance of reform in Venezuela under present circumstances?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: Obviously, the last few weeks of President Velasquez' administration have been troubled. President Caldera takes over on the second. He is going to face multiple challenges as he is clearly aware.
Our view is that the economic reforms in Venezuela, despite opposition some aspects of them have generated, are extremely valuable and very important and very positive, and we would hope that the Venezuelan Government, the Venezuelan people, would not go back on them.
As you are aware, their economy is under tremendous stress from a variety of sources, but principally I would think it's because of the dramatic drop in the price of petroleum which has been an enormous source of revenue to Venezuela for a long time. So they have to find ways to increase revenue or cut expenditures or their budget deficit will be widening dramatically and contributing to inflation.
The debate over the value-added tax, or EVA as they call it, is a serious and major debate. But if for some reason a suspension of the collection that tax goes on for any length of time, they're going to have to find some other way, I presume, to raise revenues.
So our view is, the reforms are basically positive. We hope they will not go back on them. We hope they will find ways to resolve their current economic difficulties in a manner consistent with those reforms.
Q Despite the drop in oil revenue, it comes precisely now that the U.S. is threatening to reduce or eliminate the imports of reformulated gasoline for Venezuela because of certain claims of several oil companies up here, it would seem like strictly a protectionist measure.
How do you -- the State Department has said that this matter will be negotiated. Venezuela is taking it to GATT. Is this a good way to start out relations with the new government?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: EPA is perfectly willing and has made this explicitly clear -- and we have made sure that the Venezuelans know this -- that the EPA is going to sit down and continue discussions with the Venezuelans, which they had under way at the time when they, by law, had to make the finding that they found on reformulating gasoline.
As the EPA has said, the door is open on this one. So the important thing is for the Venezuelans and the EPA and others in this government to negotiate on that point.
Q Are you going to go into arbitration with Venezuela on this matter under GATT?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: I think we're a way away from that. I would hope -- they have every right to go to the GATT if they want. I would hope, as I said, that they would get talks between EPA and the Venezuelans going as quickly as possible, which is certainly what the EPA intended when they made their announcement to that effect at the same time as they came down with their decision.
Q Back on Mexico. You said that the United States had raised its concerns about human rights from the very outset, even without evidence. Have you now had evidence that there have been abuses by the Mexican military of the human rights of the peasants?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: We've had the reports that have come from a variety of sources. We are in touch with Amnesty International and Americas Watch and other organizations. If we haven't received their people already, we will be this week to get their views and information. We're terribly concerned by these reports.
We encourage the Mexican Government to investigate all accusations of abuse of authority, of violation of human rights by whomever as aggressively as possible. We are encouraged that the ICRC -- the International Committee of the Red Cross -- is present there and is interviewing people now. That's helpful. We're encouraged that the Mexican human rights body is active in that region as well.
Q Do you have any people on the ground yourself, checking these things out?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: We had some people down in Chiapas, in San Cristobal de las Casas, during the entire crisis. Their principal function was to see if there were any American citizens down there that needed help -- and they did find some and did help them get out -- and to try to observe.
We pulled some of them back now. I do not know yet whether we have any independent information on our own that would allow us to conclude from those sources that there have been human rights violations. But as I said, we're open to information from whatever sources and are concerned about it.
We are pleased that the Mexican Government has allowed lots of NGOs into the region. There are 140, I understand, NGOs in the Chiapas region at this point, taking a look at a variety of aspects of the problem. So I think there will probably be no lack of information on this. We're encouraging the Mexican Government -- and there's no reason to think that they will not do this -- to investigate all of these charges as thoroughly as possible.
Q Sir, to what extent are the Peruvians willing to implement the Goldman report? And have you heard any commitments, while you were staying in Peru, to allow you, or to make it possible for the release of aid that is frozen still for Peru?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: Let's take that in pieces. First of all, although there's the general notion that aid for Peru is frozen, we've provided over $137 million in development and humanitarian assistance to Peru last year.
What is at stake is the economic support funds, sort of balance of payment assistance, which has become part of our commitment also under the support-group arrangement that facilitates Peru's re-entry into the international financial community. That is, of course, a matter of discussion between us and the Peruvians. We're trying to move forward on that, but no firm and final decision is made on that as yet.
You asked about what you called the "Goldman Report." It's really the International Jurists Report -- two Americans, one Argentine and one Italian -- with expertise in how you handle judicial behavior in a situation dealing with terrorism and things like that. They have submitted a report to the government. It contains a number of suggestions and recommendations.
From my talks down there, I am quite confident that at least some and perhaps many of those actions will be taken, are being taken and will be taken by the Peruvian Government to respond positively to many of the concerns raised in the report. I wouldn't want to say that those actions are a reaction to the report because many of them were taken even before the report was written.
But I came away, as I mentioned earlier, quite encouraged that progress on human rights is significant and moving forward, although of course everyone acknowledges, as I said, that there is still more to do.
Q That is not tied to the releasing of the $3 million that you wanted to give them, right? It's not some fulfillment of some parts of the report that would make it possible to release?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: The human rights situation in Peru is a very important factor affecting decisions on the disposition of that assistance -- not tied to the report, but the objective human rights reality on the ground is what we're talking about.
Q Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bernd Niehaus has said he will try to get Cuba in the OAS if he is elected Secretary General. What is the U.S. position?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: I think it's premature to consider bringing Cuba back into full membership of the OAS, certainly until it has overcome the factors which caused it be excluded in the first place and until Cuba really makes some fundamental steps towards true democracy and protection of human rights inside that country.
Q Ambassador, I was struck in your opening statement that you said in the national security area there is no external threat to the hemisphere posed in Latin America. Is that a reflection of this Administration's shift of focus away from the drug problem, or does this Administration really believe that narcotics from Latin America no longer pose a threat to the United States?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: I meant no external threat in the [sense of the] classic political/military threat that's been hanging over our relationship with the hemisphere since the beginning of the 19th century and toward which the Monroe Doctrine was directed, etc. Then, of course, the threat was perceived to be what the Soviet Union and its allies represented.
With the end of the Cold War, there is no external threat, which allows us to work on our relationships undistorted by those kinds of factors. In fact, I do think that the narcotics situation does represent a threat to national security, not only to our country but to many of the countries in the hemisphere; and I don't think it's an external threat. It's an internal threat, internal to our hemisphere. And I think it is something that requires very important attention and efforts and is one of the main things I talked about when I was in Peru.
For instance, right now, as you're aware, we have fewer funds to provide on a bilateral basis for dealing with the international dimensions of the narcotics crisis. So that means we are re-tailoring our policy somewhat to focus more on strengthening the local institutions in Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and others so that they can deal with the narcotics problem. We're going to focusing, to the extent that we are able to do, and we hope that international financial institutions and others will join in on this, in alternative development schemes, which is of course much broader than the concept of crop substitution, trying to find development schemes which will have an impact -- a negative impact, if you will -- on the narcotics industry.
We're reshaping our interdiction efforts to make them a little bit more selective and probably overall a little more focused near the countries of origin rather than the countries of consumption.*
MS. SHELLY: Last question.
Q Returning to Haiti, can you give us some indication on how soon you think our policy, the international policy, might prove successful in causing the military to step down?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: It's awfully hard to speculate on something like that. There are indications that the military in Haiti are feeling the pressure at this point. As I think you're aware, one of the principal efforts of the international community, including the United States, has been to try to involve in the political process in Haiti more elements -- elements that are democratic, although not necessarily supporters of President Aristide. Members of the Congress that were elected the same time he was elected will have to pass the legislation to create a new police force and amnesty legislation, get those people involved, so there are more voices speaking than simply the extremes on this -- but always with the intention of restoring democratic government and President Aristide to power.
How long that's going to take, we don't know, but there are some encouraging signs at this point.
Q Mr. Secretary, a clarification on the trip of Christopher. Is this being discussed, the time in which he will go, or whether he goes or does not go at all?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: I think what's under discussion is the timing.
Q So he will eventually go, right?
Q Discussing or going?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: Within ourselves. The
* CORRECTION: Mr. Watson meant to say "transit countries" rather than "countries of consumption."
Secretary has to decide what he is able to do. He's very interested in going, and the question is when he will be able to go.
Q To which countries will he go?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: I can't get into that until we get the decision that the trip is actually going to go. We have several places in mind, but he might change his mind. He might not accept our recommendations and go elsewhere.
Q And do you know yet when the summit will take place?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: No decision as yet. No decision as yet by the President on exactly when or where, but it should be this year.
Q Thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY WATSON: Thank you very much.
MS. SHELLY: Thank you very much, Assistant Secretary Watson.
Now we'll turn to other subjects. I have a statement to make on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
As you know, this morning in Geneva the Conference on Disarmament opened its 1994 session. At the top of its agenda is an undertaking of great importance to the United States, and that is the negotiation of a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
President Clinton has said that he believes that the CTBT will support and supplement the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and will further constrain the acquisition and development of nuclear weapons. The Administration is committed to the completion of this at the earliest possible time.
The Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, John Holum, is in Geneva for the opening of the conference. He carried with him a message from President Clinton to the conference, hailing the negotiation of the CTBT as a crucial objective and the conference's top priority.
Mr. Holum delivered the President's message during his address to the conference this morning. Copies of the President's message, Mr. Holum's statement and a press release are all available in the Press Office.
I'd be happy to take your questions on this or on any other subjects at this point.
Q On that topic, Christine, does the Administration think that China was going to play along with the Comprehensive Test Ban?
MS. SHELLY: On the --
Q And what are the implications of them not?
MS. SHELLY: On the question of China -- will they play along; what's their position on testing; what does all this mean to the negotiations -- as you know, so far the Chinese have not joined the moratorium on nuclear testing being observed by the other four nuclear powers.
I would note, however, that Beijing has committed itself to the goal of negotiating a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty no later than 1996. Following China's nuclear tests on October 5 of last year, the United States conveyed its deep regret to China on this action; and we have urged China repeatedly and at the highest levels to refrain from further tests and to get them to join in the global moratorium.
We believe that observance of the moratorium by all of the nuclear powers would contribute to the achievement of that goal at the earliest possible time.
So the point on the testing I think is pretty clear, but Beijing's commitment to the negotiation of the CTBT by 1996 is certainly the point on which we are focusing.
Q Did the Secretary raise it in Paris?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have a complete readout on the range of topics. I know that non-proliferation generally was one of the topics that was discussed. This has been an issue which has been under active work by senior Administration officials with all of the nuclear powers for some time.
Under Secretary Davis has met with her counterparts in all of the nuclear states to consult bilaterally on the CTB issues, and so I know that we have taken it up with the Chinese in talks that Under Secretary Davis has had. I know non-proliferation generally and the range of subjects under it were discussed in Paris by the Secretary; but whether this specific initiative or the negotiations on this, I don't have precise details on that.
Q Did you note a news article today that talked about the possibility of Ukraine dividing in two and, if you did note it, do you have any comment on it?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, I've seen the article to which you've referred, and it uses as the basis for its report a National Intelligence Estimate which was done on the Ukraine. As you know, we're constrained from commenting specifically on the contents of these Intelligence Estimates.
I think there are some fundamental issues that are raised by it on the economy and on what our views might be about the worsening situation and what the implications are for that. I'd be happy to try to address that.
Certainly the Ukrainian economy is in very bad shape, and it appears to have crossed the threshold into hyperinflation, according to U.S. Government analysts. As I think you're probably aware, there is a high-level Ukrainian economic delegation which is actually here this week for talks. It's led by the Minister of Economy, Roman Shpek, and the National Bank Chairman, Victor Yushchenko. They're discussing the specific steps that the Ukrainian Government is trying to take on economic reform. We're also going to be talking with them about how we and the international financial institutions might be able to support their reform efforts.
As to what the implications of all of this are, about the future of Ukraine and any possible future scenarios, I don't have a crystal ball. I don't want to get engaged in hypotheticals. I think it's very difficult to predict the full outcome of the economic crisis. Certainly we want to work with Ukraine and try to help them strengthen their economy and help Ukraine to become fully integrated into the international economic community.
We think that a full economic integration offers the best hope for economic security. Similarly, we wish to work with them on all of the commitments that they made in the January 14 U.S.-Russia-Ukraine trilateral and believe that that will also contribute to their overall security.
Q I had an interview today with the Polish Foreign Minister, and he said that he believed that 97 percent of the aid the United States has given to the former Soviet Republics went to Russia. That sounded a bit exaggerated to me, but I was just wondering if you had any breakdown of the way assistance has been distributed between various republics; and, if you don't have it at hand, perhaps you could get that.
MS. SHELLY: Is he talking about total assistance, or is he talking about the SSD assistance?
Q I don't know. He didn't --
MS. SHELLY: He wasn't specific?
MS. SHELLY: I don't think that's right. That just sounds like that's way too heavy an emphasis. On the SSD things, that in fact I do have; and there was a total of something like $800 million that was proposed on the Safe and Secured Dismantlement of the nuclear weapons assistance. And of that $800 million, approximately half of that, was going to Russia, or just over half, and Ukraine was getting about a quarter of that. So certainly on that type of assistance, it would not line up with those magnitudes.
As to the other types of assistance -- general economic assistance, that kind of thing which is being provided -- I'll have to look into that; and, if we can provide something more specific about the numbers or the magnitudes, I'll post that this afternoon.
Q Christine, will the SSD assistance actually go out to Ukraine before the parliament ratifies the deal on disarmament?
MS. SHELLY: I'll have to check on that, on the timing. I don't have that information with me.
Q You could take that?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. Sure.
Q We had a story from Tunis suggesting that U.S. officials are going to provide training for Yasser Arafat's security personnel.
MS. SHELLY: So what's the question?
Q Is there anything to it?
MS. SHELLY: This report was also drawn to my attention shortly before coming in here. I'm checking on this right now, and I will try to post something for you on this later this afternoon.
Q I believe your colleague, Mr. McCurry, answered that question some weeks ago. The answer was yes, we were going to train them for security --
MS. SHELLY: I know the subject has come up. As to the precise status of it, if you'll give me a moment to --
Q My recollection is he confirmed it.
MS. SHELLY: Okay. Well, I'll check on that and post something for you this afternoon.
Q Christine, do you have any additional readout on the Mideast talks?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. I have a little bit. I don't have a lot. As you know, I'm constrained up here on what I can say. The Heads of Delegations started their discussions yesterday. I can confirm that meetings were held on all four tracks. The parties have told us that their exchanges were serious; they were substantive. I understand that all of the parties were resuming their discussions today.
Q Where? Here in the State Department?
MS. SHELLY: It's in the State Department and other locations which we have -- other State Department locations around town. As you know, we're not announcing the specific times and places for these discussions, and so I can't really be any more specific.
Q But there are some meetings that are occurring in the building?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, that's right.
Q Christine, do you have any comment on King Hussein's speech and Q&A session yesterday with Jewish leaders in which he did what you all have been trying to get Hafez Assad to do for 27 months?
MS. SHELLY: I haven't seen the text of -- are you talking about the speech he made to the --
Q Jewish leaders.
MS. SHELLY: No, I don't have the text of that yet, so I am absolutely constrained from commenting on it. I'm going to try to get it and see what it says. King Hussein has been here for meetings. He met with the President at the White House last Friday. The Secretary will meet with the King tomorrow and will be hosting a lunch for him at the Department.
As I think you also know, there's a press availability, a photo op, which will precede the lunch tomorrow. So that might be a moment also for you to maybe direct that question to him. But since I haven't seen the text, I can't make any comment on the remarks.
Q Christine, do you have any response to Russia's proposal today for a Foreign Minister-level meeting on Bosnia in Geneva?
MS. SHELLY: I'm sorry. Who made the proposal?
MS. SHELLY: The Russian proposal. I had heard something that there might be a proposal of this kind. I haven't seen the text of the remarks; and since the possibility of high-level meetings on Bosnia was also something that came up in the context of the Secretary's discussions in Paris with his French interlocutors, I don't feel like I'm in a position to give you anything yet on that.
Q Do you have any advice for children in Sarajevo who might feel like playing in the snow, like "stay indoors for the next five years" or something similar?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know exactly what you want me to say on that. I mean, I talked about this specifically yesterday. This is an upsetting situation for everyone concerned. We have always deeply regretted the loss of life, especially when innocent children are victims of this kind of thing. It is indeed a terrible tragedy.
The key to trying to get an end to the kind of shelling that is going on, of course, is to try to get some progress in the negotiations. We are certainly disappointed that the talks in Geneva and other places have failed so far to yield that kind of result, which would result in an improvement of the military situation.
But again, there are a lot of victims in this tragic conflict. I don't think that imposing solutions on any of the parties concerned is going to be a very viable sort of outcome on the thing, and certainly we remain interested. We remain engaged on this. We've just completed talks with French officials on this subject, and I don't think there's really much more I can say.
Q Yesterday you did say that the United States did not know who was responsible for the shelling which killed the children, and I notice today that the Bosnian Serbs say that it was the Muslims themselves who did it to engender international sympathy. Do we have any reason to believe that the Muslims would have done this to themselves?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything beyond what I said on this yesterday.
Q So then we don't know who did it.
MS. SHELLY: No. We didn't know yesterday, and I haven't seen anything indicating that we have any more information on that today.
Q Did you ever make a decision on the visa request by Gerry Adams?
MS. SHELLY: Not yet. As you know, he applied for a visa at our Embassy in Dublin on January 14; and, as you also know, he's ineligible under the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act which excludes from admission persons who have been engaged in terrorist activities. As you also know, there's a possibility of a waiver of his ineligibility under the provisions of this Act, and a decision on the waiver is something which is pending and has not yet been taken. There isn't a particular deadline by which this decision must be made, and it's still pending.
Q Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:41 p.m.)
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