US DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING THURSDAY, JANUARY 27, 1994 BRIEFER: Michael McCurry Subject Page BELARUS Parliament Ousts Shushkevich ...............................1-4 US Aid .....................................................2-4 NEWLY INDEPENDENT STATES Economic/Political Reform Process ...........................2-4 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Bilateral Talks/US Role .................................5,10-11 JORDAN Meetings with US re: Military Cooperation ...................5-6 QATAR Foreign Minister's Meeting with Secretary .....................6 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Fighting/Reports of Serbian Regulars ........................6-7 Air Strikes/Conditions/Procedures ..........................7-13 Humanitarian Aid .........................................7-8,13 Prospects for Opening Tuzla Airport ........................8-10 Diplomatic Discussions between US and Fr...................................................10-12 CHINA Vice Foreign Minister's Meeting with Secretary/ Others/NPT Agreements/Nuclear Issues ...................13-16 Radio Free Asia ............................................15 NORTH KOREA Status of Inspection Talks with IAEA .........................15 UKRAINE Tripartite Agreement/Security ................................16 Economic Team's Meetings in Washington .......................16 VIETNAM Non-Binding Senate Resolution to Lift Embargo .................................................16-17 RUSSIA Clarification to US of Kozrev Remark re: Baltics ................................................16 (###)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
THURSDAY, JANUARY 27, 1994, 1:05 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon, everybody. I'd like to start with a comment on the developments yesterday in Belarus -- the vote, as I think some of you know, by the Belarus Supreme Soviet to remove Chairman Shushkevich from office. The United States believes that vote deprives Belarus of leadership that has made a remarkable contribution to peace and stability in Europe and to the development of U.S.-Belarus relations. Chairman Shushkevich's strong support for the cause of economic and democratic reform in Belarus, as well as the critical goal of denuclearization, provided a solid basis for strengthening U.S.- Belarus relations and cooperation.
During his tenure, Mr. Shushkevich, as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet, led many important initiatives. The body ratified the START and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaties. Those historic decisions allowed us to implement in Belarus the first Nunn-Lugar assistance programs for the safe and secure dismantlement of nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union. It was largely for that reason that President Clinton welcomed Mr. Shushkevich to Washington last July.
Obviously, we express our concern about the decision taken there yesterday.
Q Can I pursue that with you? When the President was there, there was some concern about a delicate balance between reformers represented by Mr. Shushkevich and the communists who were pretty prominent in government.
Does the State Department have -- you know, it sort of sounds like Russia all over again. The President leaves and the reformers get booted.
MR. McCURRY: That's a truncated and probably too simple analogy of the situation there. The political forces at work in Belarus are complicated. They reflect a lot of different ideologies, both remnants of the former totalitarian past and also the new and encouraging spirit of reform.
Those forces are ebbing and flowing, and the political dynamic and debate continues. We are expressing our concern today about the departure of Mr. Shushkevich, knowing that we hope that those who will replace him and those who will lead the government in the future will remain committed to the path of economic and political reform that can make a difference in the life of the people of Belarus.
Q One more quickie: You remember the President left behind a number of assistance pledges and cooperation. Are all those still in place, or are they being reviewed or --
MR. McCURRY: Those will be in place -- those commitments are triggered on the economic side on the pace and progress of reform. I'd also point out that on the other side of the equation -- denuclearization -- the decisions of the Belarusian parliament to ratify START and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have already been made, and they've already deposited their instruments of accession to the NPT.
We don't expect that consensus to be affected in any way by the Parliament's actions yesterday, and indeed apparently the Belarus Foreign Minister has given a briefing for foreign diplomats today, saying that the removal of Mr. Shushkevich will have no effect on their commitment to denuclearization, which is another aspect of our bilateral cooperation. We consider that a very important statement.
Q Mike, what would you say to the American taxpayer, who you were asking to dole out billions for Russia and for Belarus and other countries, to convince them that this Administration's entire policy toward that region of the world is not crumbling?
MR. McCURRY: Well, because they see day in and day out the facts of life as political and economic liberalization moves ahead, both in Russia and in the former communist states. The path of reform in these countries is now irreversible. It may suffer setbacks. It may suffer delays. The formulations by governments may change. But there is something at this point now that is almost inevitable about the continuation of market economics and market reform, and that is something that I think they understand as a fact of history, and it's something that we will attempt to encourage, because this is in the manifest interests of the United States of America.
We are developing new markets. We are turning those former communist systems into potential markets for U.S. goods. And the degree to which we can encourage an investment in the process of change in each of those countries, it works to the benefit of the average American citizen.
Q Mike, I'm curious about your statement that the progress -- the path of reform in these countries is now irreversible. What evidence do you have that that is, in fact, the case?
MR. McCURRY: Because everywhere in Russia in which privatization is occurring -- even in Ukraine, where they took important steps towards privatization yesterday -- those are going to create demonstrable changes over time that will be undeniable regardless of the government. You'll have private sectors that begin to flourish, markets that begin to allocate resources efficiently, and those are the things that are permanent. Those are the types of changes that become permanent over time.
That's why so much -- back to the other question -- so much of our assistance is aimed exactly at getting the benefits locally to people who are making a difference in changing the way business is done in Russia and elsewhere. That's why so much of our reform is directed to the grass roots, so that in a sense it circumvents governments and goes directly to the people who are changing the economic reality in each of those countries.
Q But on the one hand you are talking about future changes and future benefits, but at the same time you are saying that it is already irreversible. It is irreversible why? Because these future changes are going to come about? How can you say that?
MR. McCURRY: No, I wouldn't say the changes are -- I mean, the transformation of these systems towards market economics is irreversible. That's what is going to happen and going to continue. The pace of it, how it happens, how it's regulated by a central government, these are all questions that reflect the policies of each of the governments that we're dealing with in these former communist countries.
We've expressed our concern about the direction of policy -- the short-term effects of inflation; the dislocations that are caused in these economies is something that is of concern to us, but inevitably these countries' move towards market economics is something that we see as almost a destiny that we need to support, to encourage, and to nurture.
That's going to be ultimately the will of the people of each of those countries, as they've clearly expressed in a variety of ways since 1989.
Q If I could follow up on that a bit in terms of Belarus. Some new aid was promised late last year in the expectation of economic reforms that they haven't actually carried out. They haven't gone very far in those reforms. Shushkevich was expected to take the country along those lines.
What happens to that aid now? Has any of it gone out? Could you give us some details?
MR. McCURRY: I will check on that. The status of the assistance that we announced when we were most recently there was predicated on conversations we've had with the government. We have obviously not seen a change in policy by the Government of Belarus. Frankly, we don't know how the departure of Mr. Shushkevich will affect that policy, but I'll review that and see if there's something further to say on any additional assistance package that we've got.
Q Mike, I'm interested in your confidence in the irreversibility of history which I can only say is Marxist in its argumentation.
MR. McCURRY: No, I was not pronouncing myself on historical determinism. It was turning Hegel on its head. Mr. Schweid is correct.
Q Let me continue. Mr. Talbott in his testimony this week talked about the dangers of hyperinflation and the historical precedence for that. What exactly is it that's irreversible? Isn't it not all too threatening a situation that hyperinflation could bring a return to authoritarianism and something akin to fascism?
MR. McCURRY: We are obviously concerned about policies, and we've expressed ourselves on what those effects may be. What I am suggesting is that, in answer to Sid's question, the purpose and the support that we are giving to the transformation taking place we believe will make a difference over time in the lives of each of these countries, because as markets begin to work, as the privatization begins to occur, as those things continue to embed themselves into the political economies of each of these countries, they become irreversible over time, because they just begin to become the system in each of those countries.
I don't know how else to say it. I guess the other way of saying it is the reverse of that. Is there any indication in these countries that they intend to return to central command/control of the economy, to a GOSPLAN, to the five-year plans of the communist past? We don't see evidence that that's the policies they're pursuing, and we think because of that the liberalizing effects of market capitalism over time begin to nurture themselves. They build upon themselves and they continue the progress of reform.
What we're doing is nurturing that. We're in alliance with that. We're encouraging that and, to the degree we can, helping to accelerate that.
Q On Belarus, Mike, they recently unified their currency or voted to unify their currency with the ruble. Belarus never had an independence movement. It became independent when the Soviet Union fell apart. Do you see a long- or medium-term threat that the actual independence of that country could be compromised, and this resignation could be a step along that path?
MR. McCURRY: That would be speculating pessimistically about the future. A large part of what you said about their past, their cultural and political identity with Russia is true, but I don't want to speculate negatively on what the future holds because of the departure of Mr. Shushkevich.
Q Can I go to a new subject?
MR. McCURRY: New subject.
Q The Secretary of State is very pleased with the new format of the Middle Eastern talks. Could you elaborate a little bit on why, and sum up the first week of talks in Washington?
MR. McCURRY: I guess it's hard to do that, because we're not saying a lot about the substance of the dialogue itself. I think he's satisfied that they are making progress based on the reports that he's been receiving from those who are in contact with the heads of delegations as they meet.
I would just say that I don't want to over-dramatize the results of the first week by any sense. I think they met. They continue to discuss. They continue to address a lot of the issues, and the informal nature and format of these discussions seems to be having the desired effect that it prompts good, genuine exchanges between the parties.
We don't even at this point want to suggest to you how the talks may continue to unfold, be added to, in the weeks ahead. We'll just have to see how things develop.
Q Will they meet again to continue the talks next week?
MR. McCURRY: I believe they'll take some time off during the weekend, and they will continue their talks next week. They do plan to continue.
Q Mike, on a somewhat related matter, apparently Jordan and the United States have agreed this week on a large military aid package, or are negotiating a military aid package. Is there some relation which -- is this the payoff now for Jordan's progress with Israel and the peace --
MR. McCURRY: Actually, I was not aware of that. The only readout I had on the talks -- presumably you're referring to the talks with the King yesterday.
Q This is some sort of military -- not with the King --
MR. McCURRY: Mil-to-mil cooperation?
Q And the U.S. apparently has decided to sell some non- lethal vehicles, etc.
MR. McCURRY: I think that's all work that is growing out of the U.S.-Jordan Joint Military Commission that's been meeting this week, I believe. I think they have had meetings over at the Pentagon the last couple of days. DoD has got more details on that. I don't know that there's anything that is new. It flows from the discussion we've been having through the joint military cooperation with them since -- I think that's an entity that has existed, I think, since 1989 to have work.
Q Mike, in the past on the Middle East talks, you've described the U.S. role as a full partnership, facilitator, honest broker. Words such as "intermediary" and "mediator" have been used recently. Is there any difference?
MR. McCURRY: I don't think so. Those are descriptions of the role the United States is playing in the Syrian-Israeli track in which we clearly have a different level of participation and a different role than we do in some of the other tracks.
Q Do you have anything on the Yugoslav army being in action in Bosnia?
Q One more on the Middle East.
MR. McCURRY: One more on the Middle East. Let's stay on it, yes.
Q The Foreign Minister of Qatar was here yesterday. Do you have a readout on the meeting?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have a full readout on that meeting. The Secretary addressed that at a photo opportunity earlier and was asked a question about some remarks that the Foreign Minister made this morning. So you might check the transcript of that, because he had a couple of things to say on that.
Q The Yugoslav army -- is it in action in Bosnia now?
MR. McCURRY: We're looking at charges that regular army units of the Government of Serbia-Montenegro are now taking part in the fighting in Bosnia. I'd say, up until now, we have not seen evidence of any substantial escalation of activity by the Serbian military. What we understand about the role that the Serbian military plays there is based upon watching for many months what we think happens, which is we see some undeniable Serbian involvement in the provision of war materiel. Serbian help for the Bosnian Serb elements that are fighting in Bosnia has been sort of an undeniable staple of the crisis in former Yugoslavia for some time.
There are Serbian paramilitary groups from across the border in Serbia that have been fighting on the side of the Bosnian Serb army almost since the beginning of the conflict, and we have from time to time seen some examples of incursions by JNA units in. But, as I say, as of right now we don't see any evidence of massive formations or anything that would indicate a substantial escalation. Obviously, because of the account in The New York Times today, we'll go back and look at that very carefully.
Q Specifically on Bosnia, the Russians are reported to insist that they have right of veto over any decision to launch air strikes. Does the United States agree that Russia or any other member of the Security Council has a veto over that Security Council resolution which was already voted?
MR. McCURRY: We think the provisions of U.N. Security Council Resolution 836 and 844 are quite clear, and they specify the terms under which additional military measures can be used.
Q And so then the Russians are wrong? There is no (inaudible) veto.
MR. McCURRY: We're not aware of anything needing to return to the Security Council for further action in those resolutions.
Q Mike, on Belgrade aid to the Serbs, hasn't President Milosevic assured you that he had stopped that, and are you saying that they're continuing to aid the Bosnian Serbs to this day?
MR. McCURRY: I'm saying that it's a porous -- our understanding is that there are arms that go back and forth. There are paramilitary groups that go back and forth. There may be elements of the JNA regular army that go perhaps sometimes not in official uniform across the border. But you're correct, we've raised this with Milosevic, and the answer we get back is that there is no official support.
Q So he is lying to you?
MR. McCURRY: I've described to you our understanding. I don't know how recently we raised the issue with Milosevic.
Q Have you seen figures that I believe were put out by the U.N. which analyzed how food aid goes to different ethnic groups and comes to the conclusion that most of it doesn't go to the Muslims?
MR. McCURRY: I saw there was an account on that yesterday, and I had some things prepared on that yesterday. I don't think I've got that here today. I think that it is true that the humanitarian aid that is provided in former Yugoslavia and in Bosnia in particular is provided on a non-discriminatory basis based on ethnic groups.
Q Mike, can you clarify what the U.S. position on the opening of the airport at Tuzla is? The NATO summit said pretty clearly that it should be opened and force should be used if necessary. Where are we on that?
MR. McCURRY: We are right where we were at the NATO summit. That's where we have been, and that's where we are right now. UNPROFOR was asked urgently by NATO to draw up plans for the opening of the airport. I assume that we've made it pretty clear to the United Nations that we would like to see those plans developed quickly, and they will be duly considered by the Alliance once they are drawn up.
Q Do you have any news from the military experts about clarification? I mean, at what stage is it, either from NATO or from the U.N.?
MR. McCURRY: Well, we have from NATO -- we have a very thorough and fairly clear understanding of what the military contingencies are and some of the military difficulties with opening the airport at Tuzla. That is a question they've looked at very carefully, and there are many reasons why it's very important to coordinate closely with UNPROFOR on the questions of how to open, or how to deal with the opening of the airport there.
Q It is true, isn't it, that in spite of differences on other things, that the United States, Britain and France are in general agreement on the use of force in Tuzla and Srebrenica, right?
MR. McCURRY: I think that's an accurate statement, yes.
Q So if UNPROFOR -- we're now waiting, are we, for the United Nations to draw up the plans for a NATO strike? Could you walk us through what happens after those plans are revealed? Are they made public or where are -- what happens then?
MR. McCURRY: Those plans would then give -- my understanding -- and I'll make very sure that if I get any of this wrong, that we would get back to you -- but my understanding is that having a clear military plan from UNPROFOR would then put the North Atlantic Council in a position to decide whether to activate those provisions of the NATO communiques that were issued both in August and then recently in January.
Q In that case, would you expect a Foreign Ministers meeting?
MR. McCURRY: I wouldn't want to speculate on a Foreign Ministers meeting.
Q Is any other meeting necessary at that point?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know the answer. I don't know formally whether you would take it in at the Permanent Representatives level at one of their regular meetings, or how you present it to the Council. I'm not sure how it gets presented to the North Atlantic Council.
Q Does the Secretary General have anything further to ask for or say at this point before anything happens, before the trigger is pulled?
MR. McCURRY: I think there still is a reserved right of first-time approval that is built into some of the considerations under the previous U.N. Security Council resolutions. I think that still applies. That was still anticipated in light of the NATO action in August.
Q So we're talking about the U.N. plans get published; they go to the North Atlantic Council, which then has a meeting of some sort and that goes back to --
MR. McCURRY: A request has come to the Council, and the Council has to act upon a request from a member to activate the provisions of the communique that would relate to air strikes. At that point, it then goes into some type of formal consulting procedure with the Secretary General, which is why the request from NATO to UNPROFOR for plans was obviously important.
Q Are you also saying if Akashi and Boutros Ghali come back saying, "We've looked at the plans and what it would take; we don't think it's a good idea," that that would be the end of it?
MR. McCURRY: I doubt that that would be the end of it.
Q Why do we need two different sets of plans? We're talking here about plans from NATO, plans from the U.N. It's the same thing.
MR. McCURRY: Without over-simplifying it, for the same simple reason that NATO has more directly involved in the operation in the air and UNPROFOR has been more directly responsible for the operation on the ground. Making sure that those two are completely in cooperation and understanding about what will proceed seems to be a pretty smart thing to do. That's why.
Q So what you're saying is that NATO went faster than the U.N. in drawing the plans for Tuzla?
MR. McCURRY: NATO has looked at contingencies and possible operations in Bosnia extensively, in great detail. Admiral Boorda, among others, has a very clear understanding of different contingencies and possibilities there.
Q How does the U.S. Government characterize the U.N. Secretary General's performance up to this point?
MR. McCURRY: Splendid.
Q Can you just clarify what you mean by that -- "it wouldn't be the end of it?" If Boutros Ghali comes back and says, "We don't think it's a good idea," what would we do that would move it forward?
MR. McCURRY: You asked me, "Would that be the end of it?" I said I doubted it. I don't want to speculate beyond that.
Q I know there's some differences between the United States and France these days, but are --
MR. McCURRY: There are no differences. I want to make very clear on that. We had a very good series of bilateral meetings with the French on Monday covering many, many subjects in which there was, I would say, complete agreement, cooperation, a willingness to work together. There was obviously a disagreement on the subject of Bosnia, but I wouldn't overstate it.
I noticed that my counterpart in France today has said that he had observed that with respect to the moral aspect of the issue, "The choice today is between resigning oneself to observing the fighting or doing everything possible to end it. France has chosen to act on the ground with its 6,000 men who are contributing in exemplary fashion to relieve the suffering of the population and through diplomacy by redoubling efforts to reach a negotiated peace."
On the question of redoubling diplomatic efforts, we are in complete agreement. I would say that on the subject of the exemplary fashion in which the French have worked in Bosnia and have demonstrated their heroism on the ground, there is certainly nothing more that I can add to the statement by my colleague in France, that is that probably he's stated the reality exactly correctly.
Q Hopefully, it would be more than a one-word answer. In the bilateral talks, did the French express any opinions on the Israeli- Syrian talks taking place here in Washington?
MR. McCURRY: They were very interested in that. I believe they were interested in that because of a pending visit to the region by a senior French official. The Secretary and the Foreign Minister, at least, had an opportunity to have a very good and lengthy conversation on that in which the Secretary gave a description of the meetings between President Clinton and President Assad and talked about some of our -- of course, also the meetings the Secretary just had with Chairman Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres as well.
Q Could you tell us who that senior official is?
MR. McCURRY: The only reason I don't want to, I'm not sure whether the French Government has announced that. It's up to them to describe the visits they are taking. I think they already have, but I would just leave it to them to say.
Q Because it's germane again today, could you tell us why the U.S. is exempt from any ground service as peacekeepers in Bosnia? Why does it fall to the French and the Canadians and the British?
MR. McCURRY: There's just no change in the way I would state that based on what the President and others have said in the past. Our commitments and our participation in the efforts in the former Yugoslavia are those that you're well aware of -- our participation in the "no-fly" zone, in the airdrop/airlift operations, and providing logistical and material support.
We have not seen a sufficient reason for the United States to be engaged with deployments of ground troops.
Q Why can't you state from the podium what is known and talked about by every official in Washington: that there is no political constituency for the use of ground troops there?
MR. McCURRY: That may be true, too, but we don't base decisions like that solely on the political constituency. It is one of the criterias. You've heard the Secretary and the President describe them. The popular support of the United States does not exist for a massive deployment of ground troops in Bosnia.
The American people would not understand a decision by this Administration to impose large numbers of U.S. forces on the ground in a situation in which three parties continue to fight and slaughter. They would have no understanding of that.
That, I think, makes equally more important what I said earlier about the heroism of those who are there -- the Canadians, the French, the British, and others. They have been there largely in furtherance of the humanitarian efforts. The problems that the fighting causes for the provision of humanitarian aid, I think, are obvious.
Q But if the difference between getting air support on behalf of the Bosnians, which the United States has long wanted, and not getting any cooperation from the French and the British and others in getting that air support, is putting in a contingent of American troops as U.N. peacekeepers and humanitarian workers, as you suggested is an American objective, isn't that sufficient reason to put in some ground troops so that the United States can get on, can get support for its efforts to do air strikes when necessary?
MR. McCURRY: That was too complicated a question for me to answer. Try it again.
Q I'll try it again. The French and the British have refused to go along with air strikes, though we've been asking for them these many months because we don't have people on the ground getting in the way.
MR. McCURRY: Stop there. I don't know that that's an accurate characterization of the British position or the French position.
Q They have repeated that it would be easier to make the decision on air strikes if there were American troops on the ground as well as French, British, Canadian, Dutch, and everybody else. Isn't that sufficient reason to get some troops on the ground?
MR. McCURRY: They have also, on many occasions, said that one of their concerns about air strikes is because of their deployment of people on the ground and what the likely retaliation might be. I think that's a very sensible concern on the part of those governments.
Q It is a sensible concern; but the United States wants to do something, and the United States wants to do something from the air which may work. But it can't do anything from the air because the French and British oppose it because they have people on the ground there. There are two solutions to that. Either they get out or the United States puts somebody in in order to at least equalize and spread the risk around so that the French politicians and the British politicians don't have to take all the risk. Isn't that a sufficient reason that you're looking for?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know. I'll take the "Friedman Proposition" and try that out on people and see what they say. Carol.
Q I want to change to another subject.
Q Last one on the planning?
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q You said UNPROFOR is to do the planning. To the best of your knowledge, who within UNPROFOR has to do the planning? Those same Generals who are asking for rapid action in Bosnia are also doing the planning in a very slow fashion?
MR. McCURRY: The new British UNPROFOR commander, you mean? I don't know that.
Q What's your understanding about who is in charge of the planning? Who should provide the plans for --
MR. McCURRY: I think that the planning ultimately reports to the Secretary General regardless of who on the ground or in the theater is making the plans. I'm not sure. I don't believe I have a complete understanding myself of who within UNPROFOR. I think it's probably the UNPROFOR command in Kiseljak, north of Sarajevo, that draws up most of the detail planning. That then is obviously routed to New York for a review at a senior level.
Q Mike, can I come back to my question on the aid, because the humanitarian assistance has been at the center of U.S. policy and I don't think there's been an appearance on the podium where that hasn't been offered as something concrete the United States is doing. Although that does keep people alive in some sense through the winter -- it obviously doesn't protect them from being killed when they're sledding -- but now it appears that the United Nations has published figures that shows that twice as much of the aid per capita, almost, is going to Bosnian Serbs as to Bosnian Muslims, and three times as much is going to Bosnian Croats as to Bosnian Muslims.
When I asked about this before, you said that you give out assistance without regard to ethnic origins, which is obviously true as far as it goes. My question is, are those figures correct? Is this humanitarian assistance, which you're so proud of, mostly going to the Serbs and to Croats?
MR. McCURRY: Get to the question.
Q That's the question.
MR. McCURRY: I don't have any reason to dispute the U.N. numbers. Carol, did you have another question?
Q Yes. I wanted to ask about the negotiations with the Chinese. Has there been any progress?
MR. McCURRY: No.
Q No progress?
MR. McCURRY: No. The Secretary will actually be seeing the Vice Foreign Minister later today. Liu Huaqiu will be dropping by to see him. They're going to actually get into issues other than the proliferation talks that Dr. Davis has had.
I would say that the U.S.-Chinese dialogue that has occurred over the last two days will continue today, particularly in light of the Secretary's visit later today.
The discussions over the last two days covered a full range of issues, including North Korea, the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the extension of the NPT in 1995, negotiations for a comprehensive test ban, and regional security in south Asia.
The U.S. discussed its proposal for a cut-off of the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes. The Chinese focused on their proposal for a treaty among the five nuclear powers for a "no first-use" agreement concerning nuclear weapons.
The discussions also aimed at concluding a binding international agreement on missile non-proliferation that would confirm both governments' commitments to observe the current guidelines and annex of the Missile Technology Control Regime and prevent the future export of certain missiles and missile technology to Pakistan.
At the time of the signing of that type of an agreement, the United States would simultaneously lift the sanctions that we imposed in August 1993.
It is clear, I think, based on the meetings today that negotiating the bilateral agreement will take time. That was also the case for a similar agreement involving a previous case between Russia and India that many of you are familiar with. We have proposed a bilateral agreement that would specify how MTCR guidelines should be applied. It would be reciprocal, applying the same rights and obligations equally to both the United States and China.
All of that background by way of saying, that's what, in a sense, was on the table in the discussions with Dr. Davis. The most I can tell you at this point is that we expect to resume discussions in the coming month with China on many of these issues.
Q Can I just follow up? So you've had discussions on the MTCR agreement but you have no resolution. On the fissile material proposal, have they signed onto that?
MR. McCURRY: No. It was discussed. We discussed that proposal; they raised the issue of "no first-use." There was not agreement between the two on either of those subjects.
Q How about the Comprehensive Test Ban -- have you reached agreement on a strategy?
MR. McCURRY: They reviewed those issues. They will continue to discuss them, I think, in the next series of meetings they have on these proliferation issues. I don't know that they came to any conclusions about how to proceed.
Q Has China promised that it will not test anymore?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of. I don't have a specific readout on that point, but I'm not aware of any pledge on that part.
Q What have they told you about North Korea? Since the Secretary met with the Chinese in Paris on Monday, has China gotten back to North Korea?
MR. McCURRY: It wouldn't be for me to say. That would be for China to discuss.
Q Did they talk at all about their position on sanctions, since that seems to be at issue?
MR. McCURRY: They explored a range of things related to North Korea.
Q Can I also ask, in the run-up to this IAEA Board of Governors meeting in February, which increasingly seems to be the trigger point for sanctions, is the U.S. conducting now or planning to conduct more working-level meetings with the North Koreans to just make clear that sanctions are a real possibility? Or are we just going to just let the IAEA continue to dicker with them?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know the answer to that. I don't know whether we plan any further diplomatic exchange that reaffirms to them our determination to resort to an alternative means of resolving the dispute if there's a declaration by the IAEA that continuity of safeguards has been broken. I just don't know whether we plan to meet them.
I think we've tried to make that message abundantly clear in a variety of different ways, both through our prior contacts and through things that we have told them since then, things that obviously we said publicly.
Q Can I just make sure I understand? So there will be nothing concrete coming out of these two days of meetings -- no concrete agreements?
MR. McCURRY: I wouldn't say that there's any concrete agreements that are being finalized during these discussions.
Q Was there any representation made to the Chinese about our willingness to license more satellites to be launched?
MR. McCURRY: No. As you gather from the description I gave you, to the contrary. I think they understand that the sanctions imposed in August 1993 are in place. What was possible -- it would have been possible to discuss the lifting of those sanctions if there was a broad agreement along the lines of the one under discussion concerning adherence to the MTCR Annex and Guidelines. That not having been reached, there's no ability under U.S. law for sanctions to be removed.
Q The Chinese Government this morning said that the U.S. should drop the project of broadcasting Radio Free Asia towards China. Do you have any response to that?
MR. McCURRY: No. I saw that. I meant to get something on that and I'm sorry I didn't. I saw that report, though, and we will see if we can work up some type of reaction to that.
Q Is there another round of meetings scheduled?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not sure if there's something firmly scheduled. I said we expect to continue Dr. Davis' discussion on these proliferation issues next month. There had been some prior -- there had been an announcement that Under Secretary Tarnoff would be holding some discussions with the Chinese as well. I don't know of any change in those plans.
Q Thank you.
Q A couple more questions, please.
MR. McCURRY: Barry, you're excused.
Q Can you clear up -- there's some confusion about the security guarantees for Ukraine. Is France one of the co-guarantors?
MR. McCURRY: No.
Q France is not?
MR. McCURRY: I went back and checked. I checked the text of the trilateral agreement. The only other party referenced besides the United States in the provision of guarantees is the United Kingdom.
Q ...on Ukraine -- the trade delegation that's here.
MR. McCURRY: The economic assistance --
Q The economic --
MR. McCURRY: There's an economic delegation that's led by Economics Minister Shpek currently in Washington meeting with U.S. Government officials on economic and financial matters.
One of the issues that's under discussion is expanded bilateral assistance for Ukraine in 1994. This is something that was suggested at the time that the President stopped in Kiev and then referenced that later in Moscow as well.
That plan that's under discussion is still under negotiation. Final numbers about what type of assistance levels that they're talking about are not available.
The U.S., though, has indicated its readiness to further expand bilateral assistance above the current proposed level for Ukraine as Ukraine adopts a comprehensive economic reform program.
Q Anything new on Vietnam and the vote this morning by the Senate for resolution asking for the lifting of the embargo?
MR. McCURRY: The vote occurred. Senators Kerry and McCain prevailed on their amendment.
Our only comment on that would be that the Senate debate itself was an excellent review of the arguments pro and con that exist for lifting the arms embargo. The President, as you know, has conditioned any lifting of the embargo on achieving the fullest possible accounting for POWs and MIAs, and no decision has been made at this point on lifting the embargo.
Q Another question on eastern Europe. There was more tough talk coming out of the Russian Foreign Ministry today about the Baltics. Your counterpart, Vitaly Churkin, said that there are big problems with the Baltics; it's not such a good idea to withdraw the troops; it wouldn't improve the situation of the ethnic Russians; and so forth. Do you have any comment?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware of those comments. I'll have to find out more about them. They don't sound like the strong protests we had at the time that we commented on Minister Kozyrev's previous pronouncements on the Baltics. So we'll be interested in seeing further the nature of those comments.
Q Can you say at what level those protests were? You might have said already; I missed it. After Kozyrev's comments?
MR. McCURRY: At what level?
MR. McCURRY: Public.
Q Just public? Was there also direct communication from Clinton or the Secretary to their counterparts?
MR. McCURRY: You mean on Kozyrev's comments?
MR. McCURRY: We attempted to seek clarification of those remarks working through our Embassy in Moscow.
Q Did you receive any clarification?
MR. McCURRY: Yes, we did. We are satisfied with the clarification, but that's what makes more interesting the report that we just had today.
Q What was the clarification?
MR. McCURRY: The clarification given to us was not unlike that one that was given publicly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that the Minister was quoted out of context.
Q Thank you.
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