US DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING Thursday February 10, 1994 BRIEFER: Michael McCurry Subject Page ANNOUNCEMENTS State Department Documents on CD-ROM .................1-2 Readout of Secretary's Meeting with Japanese ForMin Hata .......................................................................2-6 Economic Framework Talks/Expansion/ Strategy ..............................................................................2-6 Summit/Bilateral Relations/North Korea ...............2-3,5 BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA Russian Reaction/Vorontsov-Amb. Albright Mtg/UN Security Council Meeting/Contacts .......6,13-15 Tarnoff, Redman Activities/Contacts in Europe ..6-7 Karadzic on Non-Participation in Peace Talks ......7 Responsibility for Sarajevo Shelling/ Investigation ....................................................................7-9 NATO Decision: Bosnian Serb Arms Redeployment ...................................................................8 Weapons Included ...............................................................8,11-12 Interference with Relief Deliveries/ Retribution ........................................................................9 U.S. Next Steps/Secretary's Involvement, Contacts re Peace Process/Tarnoff Role .............9-10 Redman, Geneva Peace Talks .........................................10 U.S. Interests/NATO Credibility ..................................11-13 Tuzla Airport, Srebrenica Troop Rotation ..............11-12 Eligibility for Partnership for Peace .......................13 National Boundary .............................................................14 Targetting Radar Equipment/U.S. Ground Troops ................................................................................15-16 DEPARTMENT Pelletreau Confirmation/Secretary Call ................16-17 PEACE PROCESS Israel-PLO Agreement in Cairo/Implementation of Declaration of Principles ..................17-18 Bilateral Talks/Various Negotiations ......................18-19 ISRAEL Reinforcements to "Security Zone" in Lebanon .....18 NORTH KOREA UNSC Perm Five Discussion/China Position/ Sanctions/IAEA Credibility .......................................19-22 IAEA Board of Governors Decision ...............................21 SOUTH KOREA/JAPAN Possible Foreign Ministers Meeting in Washington .........................................................................22 (###)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 1994, 1:16 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon, everybody. Let me start with a piece of excitement, the first ever CD-ROM, issued by the U.S. State Department by the Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Public Communication. We've got on this handy little disk about 25,000 pages of your favorite State Department documents --
Q Human rights --
MR. McCURRY: Everything that you'd want. Of course, including the ever popular transcripts of Daily Briefings here at the State Department.
Q Are you the lead singer on that?
MR. McCURRY: I am not on this here disk. I'm not on the lyric sheet here, but this covers documents from January 1990 to May 1993. It contains speeches, statements, testimony, briefings by top foreign policymakers in both the Clinton and Bush Administrations. It's easy to use if you've got the right type of equipment. It is something that we share automatically with federal depository libraries around the country where it's available to researchers and the general public. It is also available for sale through the Superintendent of Documents at the Government Printing Office, and we just happen to have some copies that we would like to make available to all of you, for those of you who are computer literate.
Q If you join this subscription plan, how many other records do you have to buy during the year? (Laughter)
MR. McCURRY: I feel given how important CNN is to us, this is the kind of things where they have those commercials all the time. "Get one now, while they last."
Q Not available in stores, in other words.
MR. McCURRY: They are not available in your favorite store. It's by subscription only, but we do make them available to the public. We'll take whatever the Government Printing Office accepts.
Q Knowing the source, does this carry any warning label to children under 18?
MR. McCURRY: It's not marked PG or anything back here on the back. Unrated. An unrated, general circulation. This does reflect the determination on the part of the Department to move into the new age of technology, cut down on the use of paper, make things available electronically. I think for those of you who like to keep archival material in connection with your reporting, or for the general public that likes to have this type of material for research purposes and others, it certainly is a user-friendly way to access a tremendous amount of data.
As I say, it's about 25,000 pages of documents just on this, and we've only used up one-tenth of the space on this very first CD-ROM disk issued by the Department.
Q Is it Windows-based?
Q Seriously, does it have any sort of search function so you can search for a word or a phrase or anything?
Q The computer does that.
MR. McCURRY: I think it does. It's got some instructions on the back here. It does have some search capabilities. We've got some people who can give you some further information if you're interested in how we put it together and how it actually will be used.
Q Would you give a special briefing maybe on it?
MR. McCURRY: Special briefing? It's available.
Q On background?
MR. McCURRY: On background.
Q How far does that go, up to what date?
MR. McCURRY: Just up to May 1993. I'm not sure how much -- at some point they decided, in order to get the first one out, they cut it up. For those of you who regularly subscribe to our Dispatch magazine, which is a compilation of a lot of key documents, it goes through the Volume IV, Number 22. I'm not sure myself how far in to May 1993 that covers.
As I say, it is documents that cover the period January 1990 through May 1993.
Secondly, I'm late because I wanted to get some sense of how the meetings went between the Secretary and Foreign Minister Hata. I think as probably many of you know, the Foreign Minister was also meeting today with Ambassador Kantor at the Trade Rep's Office and I believe also with Bo Cutter at the National Economic Council at the White House.
The Secretary had an opportunity to talk to them and to the White House prior to his meeting, and we've been in close coordination with the other agencies that have been working together on the framework talks.
I think the Secretary, during the meeting with the Foreign Minister, very much amplified on the views that he shared with you at the photo opportunity. The Foreign Minister said that he had been sent at the direction of the Prime Minister to attempt to make progress in the talks prior to tomorrow's summit.
The Foreign Minister did suggest some ideas. The Secretary considered them and took very much a wait-and-see attitude on whether or not progress would be possible in advance of the summit tomorrow.
Beyond that, the substance of the discussion I don't want to relate in any greater detail, but it clearly was a constructive meeting but a frank meeting as well.
Q Did they only talk about the Framework Agreement, nothing else?
MR. McCURRY: I think they did discuss some other issues of bilateral interest, and I think as the Secretary indicated, we often describe the relationship with Japan as being something built on the three large foundations -- the economic issues, the issues that we work on globally together with Japan that are important: peacekeeping, support for the Middle East peace process, protection of the environment. These are all, by the way, areas in which we have made extraordinary progress with Japan in our bilateral relationship.
Counselor Wirth very often describes some of the success they have had in discussions with Japan in those areas. We also deal with them on security issues, and I think they did obviously review the situation in North Korea.
But, that aside, as the Secretary indicated, the progress and success of those aspects of the bilateral relationship must now be matched by progress on the economic issues, and those, as we've indicated since the time of the President's meeting with Prime Minister Miyazawa back in July, there has to be progress on the economic issues for us to be satisfied that that part of our bilateral relationship is also sound and strong.
At the moment, we can't say that there has been that type of progress, and at the moment it doesn't seem likely that there will be that type of progress before the summit tomorrow. As the Secretary said, based on the meeting today, we'll just have to wait and see.
Q Would it be possible to get a more complete readout later in the day?
MR. McCURRY: Given that the Foreign Minister will be moving around town, and there will be additional meetings today, I think that's as much as we would like to provide on the Secretary's encounter with the Foreign Minister. I do believe that some of the others who are working on the Framework Talks and who may be back into negotiations with the Japanese today may want to be in a position to comment later.
Q Mike, my office asked me if they had perhaps moved those meetings from here to the White House and it had expanded to include other U.S. officials? Has that happened?
MR. McCURRY: There is a team that includes Under Secretary Spero here from the State Department that had been negotiating directly with the Japanese. They, as I think many of you know, broke off talks, I believe on Tuesday night. I think those talks may be beginning again today, but I would suggest you check with USTR and the White House specifically.
Q The Secretary didn't take the Foreign Minister from here to the White House for the expanded meeting?
MR. McCURRY: No. They previewed some of the issues. In fact, to the contrary, the Secretary suggested some of those who had been participating at the working level on these discussions should probably go on and get on with business. In effect, he sort of said jokingly, maybe those who are with us at this meeting can go on and continue their discussions, because those are very important.
Q Mike, the Secretary's statement to us during the photo op was uncharacteristically plain spoken and almost blunt on the issue of the Framework Agreement. Does that indicate that there has been a change in the thinking here in the State Department about this -- a new tougher attitude toward completing this agreement?
MR. McCURRY: No. I think this reflects a very honest and candid appraisal of where these discussions are at the moment. We certainly hope that every summit meeting that a President of the United States has with a foreign leader is a successful one, but there won't be any attempt on our part to disguise the fact that if there is not progress on the economic talks, that we'll have to say that this summit didn't achieve all the results that would have been most encouraging.
So unlike many opportunities when we perhaps put the best light on summit meetings, in this case we'll just be very realistic about where we stand with our bilateral relationship.
We understand, of course, the situation that Prime Minister Hosokawa is in as he comes to Washington for this important meeting, but we have some very fundamental views of what needs to happen at this point. We need to have credible agreements that lead to meaningful market opening, and we really can't settle for anything less, because we can't settle for the status quo. There has to be some way to improve our economic relationship with Japan. We believe that has to include measurable results so that we know exactly how we are doing, and we also believe that the framework that was designed last July was designed to produce exactly that outcome.
That is an outcome, by the way, that is not just in the economic interests of the United States -- although it surely is -- it is also in the economic interests of Japan and in the entire world community, because it results in a wider, more open trade, and it brings Japan into the community of trading nations, in which Japan can enjoy the full benefits that derive from that type of commerce.
So our position on this, I think, is very, very firm, and, as I say, we'll have to wait and see if any progress can be made, but we're getting a very realistic assessment of where we think the talks are at this point.
Q Mike, can you give us a realistic assessment of what steps you'll consider if progress isn't made?
MR. McCURRY: That I don't want to get into. I think you've heard Ambassador Kantor was in Tokyo recently and said that there are other options that are available to us. But I think at this point it's not useful to speculate on those options. We'll have to see what type of progress is possible within the framework discussions themselves.
Q But can you characterize for us the strategy that you are using with the Japanese? Are you putting pressure on them or trying to induce them to --
MR. McCURRY: No. I think that we are trying to have good, substantive dialogue that builds on the framework that was arrived at last July. It's not been our view that we need to pressure. What we need is a good, honest assessment of the economic relationship that can be measured over time and that can lead to a serious attempt to address the persistent trade imbalances that lie at the core of the problem in our economic relationship.
Q But is it more carrot than stick? Is it more threat than --
MR. McCURRY: No, I'm not characterizing it as a carrot-and-stick process. It's just a good, substantive dialogue, one in which we have presented a very firm view on behalf of the United States; and it's one in which I think there has been very close cooperation and coordination between all the agencies of the U.S. Government that are involved in trade and commerce related questions.
Q Mike, the Secretary also said that Madeleine Albright met with Yuliy Vorontsov this morning, and that he did not indicate to her that the Russians wanted an emergency Security Council meeting. Is "emergency" the wrong word? Did he indicate that the Russians would like to have some kind of meeting to discuss the NATO decision yesterday?
MR. McCURRY: Let me review that. It is correct that Ambassador Albright met with Ambassador Vorontsov this morning. They discussed the NATO decision on Bosnia and the general question of how the United Nations proceeds. There is a previously scheduled meeting of the Security Council tomorrow that will take up the issue of Bosnia, as I understand it.
Ambassador Vorontsov did not give us any indication that it is the Russian view that further action by the Security Council is necessary at this time.
Q Did he echo the kinds of comments that are coming out of Moscow in opposition to the NATO action?
MR. McCURRY: That's not my understanding of the meeting. It was a good, constructive meeting on the subject of Bosnia and how to proceed at this point, focusing on the role of the United Nations, since that's properly what the two Ambassadors to the United Nations would discuss.
Q Do you have an update on the activities of Mr. Tarnoff and Mr. Redman? I believe they're in Germany.
MR. McCURRY: I believe that they've had good, productive conversations and discussions now with the French, the British and the German Foreign Ministers, obviously concerning our ideas for advancing the peace negotiations on Bosnia.
They have not yet returned. I believe Ambassador Redman is now in Geneva, present for the talks that may or may not resume, and Under Secretary Tarnoff, I think, is on his way back here.
I think there is still not a great deal I can tell you about the ideas that we are advancing, although I'll tell you that we remain determined to work very closely with our European allies on the issue of reaching a negotiated settlement in Bosnia, and I think that that certainly seems possible based on the good conversations that the Under Secretary and Ambassador Redman have held.
Q Why did Tarnoff go? Is this an attempt to upgrade the level of the dialogue?
MR. McCURRY: Ambassador Redman has been our special envoy who meets regularly with the parties and follows the discussions in Geneva. The problem of Bosnia has very frequently been discussed at what is referred to as "the political director's level." That's the rank that Under Secretary Tarnoff holds, and his counterparts have often been very directly involved in discussing Bosnia. So he's an appropriate choice, I think, to meet with his counterparts and with the Foreign Ministers as they dealt with our new approach.
Q On this subject of Geneva, have you seen the statement by the Bosnian Serb President Karadzic, saying that he would not participate in any further peace talks until the responsibility for that Saturday mortar round had been determined?
MR. McCURRY: We have seen the news accounts of that statement. That is disappointing, because we had hoped that the parties would reconvene today in Geneva in a spirit of good-faith negotiations that would help settle the war in Bosnia.
Q Does this put an end to the hopes that there can be any tripartite talks?
MR. McCURRY: I really don't know the answer to that. I'd really have to say it's up to the parties to say what their disposition is toward talks. I'm not aware that Mr. Karadzic has indicated he will boycott the talks permanently. We'll have to see what develops. We haven't had a report yet from Ambassador Redman covering that. So we'll presumably hear a little more as their discussions unfold.
Q Mike, there was a Croatian magazine that came out last night and had a fairly extensive story on the Saturday shelling, and they heavily quoted a Croatian scientist who helped develop a particular kind of shell that was sold to the Serbs -- developed for the Serbs, the Yugoslav army at that time, and that he says that kind of shell was used Saturday, and that it is proof positive that it was fired by Serbian gunners. Have you seen it? Do you have any comment on it?
MR. McCURRY: I have not seen that magazine article. The best assessments we have of who was responsible for that shelling come from those from the United Nations who have examined the evidence as best they can, and based on their analysis of the Saturday event, as I think many of you know, they cannot say for certain that it has come from Bosnian Serb mortar fire.
On the other hand, there has been a pattern over many months, including an incident just the prior day, in which they were able to establish with some degree of certainty that the Bosnian Serbs were responsible, and I think based on that we, ourselves have very little doubt about the author of the tragedy that occurred in Sarajevo Saturday.
Q Michael, didn't the NATO agreement provide for a mechanism which prevents the Serbs to redeploy their artillery on other fronts in Bosnia once they've pulled back from the Sarajevo area.
MR. McCURRY: It has no mechanism that allows them to deploy. It only addresses removing the heavy weaponry from the exclusion zone that's been defined by NATO or, as an alternative, submitting it to control by UNPROFOR, by the United Nations.
Q But then if the Serbs want to send those pieces of artillery to Bihac or to Tuzla, they can do it?
MR. McCURRY: Well, they --
Q There's nothing to prevent them from doing it?
MR. McCURRY: There is nothing that prevents them from redeploying elsewhere. That is correct.
Q Are you concerned that if they do it, they could initiate other fighting around different safe havens -- I mean, other safe havens?
MR. McCURRY: Yes. We are very concerned about fighting that does occur in and around the other U.N. declared safe areas. Whether or not this will affect the fighting around those safe areas is something that's just highly speculative at this point. We don't know, (1) that the withdrawal will occur -- we hope it does occur -- but (2) we don't know what type of redeployment the Serbs would make in any event. I'm not in a position to judge what they might do to redeploy.
Q Mike, given the fact that now the Russians -- at least a number of Russian sources, including Russian military sources -- are raising the possibility that the Muslims did this to themselves, do you see any particular utility in setting up this commission, which the Bosnian Serbs are demanding, to investigate?
MR. McCURRY: It's clear that the Bosnian Serb desire for an investigation is somehow or other designed to divert the attention of the international community from the tragedy that has occurred.
As I indicated, that incident Saturday was consistent with a pattern in which the Serbs had been assigned responsibility by the United Nations, and they in those cases disputed their involvement as well. So their contesting that they are responsible for the attack on Saturday is not unlike the statements they have made in the past when the United Nations has determined with some authority that they were responsible for these attacks.
The United Nations has experts available on the ground who can make this type of independent investigation. They are a proper authority to do so, they have done so in the past, and they did so as best they could for the shelling incident on Saturday.
Q Mike, do you have anything on reports this morning that the Bosnian Serbs have been in some way restricting the movement of U.N. aid workers in Serb-held parts of Bosnia?
MR. McCURRY: We've seen those reports, and we're aware of them. Those are enormously concerning to us. We are aware that there are difficulties that will exist and have existed in the past with the delivery of humanitarian aid. It is not anything new that there has been interference with humanitarian aid convoys trafficking through Bosnia. That is something that has been a source of concern to us in the past, but again an attack upon U.N. relief workers or any attempt to detain them is something that we regard as a gravely serious matter.
Q Would that trigger an airstrike?
MR. McCURRY: That's not covered under the criteria of airstrikes, although it is referenced in several of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions that do talk about the role that UNPROFOR plays within Bosnia. That is not specifically addressed in the decision that was taken by NATO yesterday.
Q Is it this Administration's view that that type of activity shouldn't be met with military retribution?
MR. McCURRY: We have not defined in the mission that the military element will undertake as a result of the decision yesterday anything that relates to this question. That is something that is covered under the general purview of United Nations Security Council Resolutions that have already been passed and adopted.
Q Mike, when President Clinton says that he has directed the Secretary of State to engage himself or engage U.S. foreign policy more directly, are there any other steps, other than the new initiatives that Tarnoff and Redman have been discussing that fulfill that ...?
MR. McCURRY: Those are obviously very important consultations that are occurring. The Secretary himself will remain very closely involved. He just concluded a very short while ago a good conversation with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe. The Secretary will remain very closely in contact and will continue to direct the diplomatic effort to re-energize the negotiation process, the peace process, so that we can attempt to bring the war to an end.
Q So basically, the Secretary himself will be spending more time working this issue, working the phones?
MR. McCURRY: He will. Obviously, we've got a number of issues, as we are dealing today with the importance of the bilateral economic issue; but I think that he will continue to be very, very involved.
Q Is Tarnoff playing a different role in this now? I mean, is he a sort of a pile driver or in any of these other specially tasked ...?
MR. McCURRY: As our Under Secretary for Political Affairs and, as I suggested, as the counterpart Political Director to some of our key European allies, he will be in a position to remain closely involved at that level. But he will be actively engaged as well, yes.
Q That's more active than he was previously or --
MR. McCURRY: I wouldn't suggest that his level of activity has changed.
Q Are you attempting to raise the level of representation without actually saying that you're doing that?
MR. McCURRY: Not, Bud, in connection with the discussions in Geneva. Ambassador Redman has worked with the parties and has had a very good working relationship with them. I think that at that level in the context of the Geneva discussions Ambassador Redman is a very important link to that process for us.
In the question of dialogue with our closest partners in Europe, Under Secretary Tarnoff, as a link and as a presenter of some of the views that we've shared recently, is an indication that this is something that the Secretary and the President attach a very high priority to, yes.
Q Mike, the President spoke yesterday of trying to find out what the Muslims' minimum requirements were in terms of territory -- that that's part of what these discussions are about now. Any change on their position on that?
MR. McCURRY: I think it would be premature for me to suggest that. I think Ambassador Redman has just arrived in Geneva. He will meet with the parties and attempt to learn more about their positions, attempt to get at that question in the coming days. I don't have anything to report on that as yet.
I want to quote -- back to the question prior -- call attention to something the President said last night that I thought was very important. He went through, as many of you recall, defining some of the interests that the United States perceives now in dealing on the Bosnia problem. One that he put very high that I think is important is the interest that the United States has in ensuring that NATO remains a credible force for peace.
I point that out because when the Secretary outlined his strategic priorities for 1994, you'll remember that Europe and how we approach the question of defining NATO's role in Europe in the future is something that he felt personally required a great deal of his time.
Obviously, the problem of Bosnia has many, many aspects -- humanitarian, the desire of the United States to prevent a broader conflict in the Balkans, our interest in stemming the flow of refugees, those things that the President referred to. But the Secretary does see this as something that is critical to NATO, critical to our alliances in Europe, and, frankly, it is for that reason -- the fact that Europe in a sense desperately needed the United States to enter the picture here -- that he felt, consistent with the priorities that he's outlined in the past to the Congress, it was important for the United States to become more actively involved.
Q Do you have an update on the situation in Tuzla and Srebrenica? Any progress in rotation of the Canadian troops or the opening of the airport?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have anything newer than a day or two ago when I checked on it. The discussions between UNPROFOR and the Bosnian Serbs on Tuzla airport were continuing with some indication that there was interest on the part of the Bosnian Serbs in allowing the opening of the airport for humanitarian delivery.
I will have to say that we will now have to assess whether or not that remains a possibility in light of the decision by NATO. We'll just have to see on that.
On the rotation, there have been forward units that are connected with managing the logistics of the rotation at Srebrenica. I believe that they have had Dutch units who have gone in and out of Srebrenica to make arrangements for the main rotation and that those arrangements so far have proceeded satisfactorily, as I understand it, based on information that may be a day or old. I'll see if there is an update on that that we can get you.
Q Mike, yesterday's agreement -- it will ban heavy weapons in this exclusion zone. What sort of missiles -- ground-to-ground missiles -- are covered?
MR. McCURRY: Missiles are covered. I don't know that priority targets that might be listed by the Defense Department -- whether or not that includes ground-to-ground. The Pentagon was briefing just as we were going in, and I assume that they will get some questions like that on that; but missiles, broadly defined, is something within the NATO discussions. It was included in the criteria that they had for heavy weaponry.
Q Mike, just to go back to the previous question, just for clarification. Did you say that NATO has dropped its plan now to try to open the Tuzla airport in light of the decision?
MR. McCURRY: No, I didn't say that. I said we'll have to see what type of dialogue is possible with the Bosnian Serbs. The decision of NATO, as you recall, in January was if they couldn't do that through a negotiated agreement, they would have to look at other means, perhaps military means, to open that. I'm not aware of any change in NATO's view on that question.
Q Mike, can I just go back to a previous answer to a question, because I think I just saw the glacier move by an inch or so.
The philosophical framework of this Administration for the last six months or so has been that Bosnia is a regional problem, that there are six areas of strategic interest to the United States. Are you now saying that Bosnia has become a part of one of those six areas of interest because it takes away -- failure to do anything in Bosnia takes away from the credibility of NATO? So it has now moved from being a regional interest to becoming a strategic interest?
MR. McCURRY: I think that's a separate -- "strategic interest" implies what type of interest we assert around the world. I'm talking about the priorities that the Secretary outlined for his own work. When he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he referred to those priorities that he felt should guide the work of the Secretary of State.
In the past you have referred to and Bosnia has been referred to as a problem that is regional in nature, that somehow or other is not connected to some of these priorities that the Secretary outlined.
What I was suggesting is, as the President said yesterday, the importance of the credibility of NATO and the future of our working relationships with our European allies is something that is of very keen interest to the Secretary and part of his own priorities. There are aspects of the Bosnia problem that do related very directly to that priority. I think that became clear to the Secretary, as I indicated yesterday, in the meetings he had with the French Foreign Minister and the British Foreign Secretary.
It's clear that the alliance itself -- our European allies -- were saying to us that this is a moment in which the United States needed to lead. I think the Secretary felt that that was not something that you could turn down.
Q And this came as some sort of epiphany? This was news to the Secretary?
MR. McCURRY: It was the degree of frustration and exasperation that the Europeans had in -- their inability to deal with Bosnia and to meet that challenge is something that I think was certainly -- not apparent, it was certainly there -- but I think it's something that was just underscored fairly dramatically in the conversations he had recently with the Europeans.
Q So is it fair to say, then, that this issue of credibility of NATO in a way tipped the balance? You've described your interests, or the Secretary has, in Bosnia before. Now this recent description is similar in a way but adds this element of the credibility of NATO. In the way you're describing it now, it sounds like a driving point.
MR. McCURRY: The President indicated last night, in outlining the American interests, that NATO is a credible force for peace in the world. It's something that does lie at the heart of U.S. interests. I think that was an important statement because it does reflect some of the understanding that we developed after our discussions, not only since the NATO summit but specifically that the Secretary had with his counterparts.
Q Mike, does the U.S. at all feel constrained in this whole issue since the U.S. needs Russian assistance in the Middle East peace process? How does that fit into the equation?
MR. McCURRY: In all the things that we've thought about, we have got a lot of people who do consider those consequences. The Middle East process is at an important moment, as many of you know. It's not central in our consideration of the issues relating to Bosnia. It's a factor. I wouldn't want to suggest that it's a factor of enormous importance in designing the strategy.
Q Is Bosnia eligible for the Partnership for Peace?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know the answer to that. I know the answer in connection with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia because we have been addressing that issue in the last couple of days. They are interested and have expressed an interest.
I suspect that given their status, their status would be similar to Bosnia. I'm not aware that there has been any suggestion that they [Bosnia] consider membership or any indication of interest in membership on their part. I'll check further on that.
Q Let me just follow up.
MR. McCURRY: Say again?
Q Is the lack of a defined boundary somewhat of an impediment?
Q It's an internationally-recognized boundary, though.
MR. McCURRY: It is a boundary that's referenced in U.N. Security Council Resolutions. It's an interesting question I don't have the answer to. I'll have to look into it.
Q If I could just follow up on that -- sort of semi-hypothetically -- if they are eligible.
MR. McCURRY: I know the hypothetical question you're going to ask and it's obviously going to be one of those hypothetical questions we don't answer.
Q If they're eligible and they join, then they will have a special right to consult because they're under attack -- to consult with NATO because they're under attack?
MR. McCURRY: The right to consult under attack generally then leads to action by the United Nations, among others. The United Nations has already acted in this. There are security guarantees that are also included within the United Nations charter that have been expressed and reasserted in U.N. Security Council resolutions as a matter of international law, I would think.
Q Just going back to a different angle on the "Russia" question. When is the most recent time that the Secretary talked with Foreign Minister Kozyrev? I'm just curious whether in any conversations we've had with them, whether in addition to their concerns about the need for U.N. consultation, they have expressed directly any concerns about the effect in the parliament and on President Yeltsin's ability to work with the parliament or to work with reform?
MR. McCURRY: The questions in order. The Secretary spoke with Foreign Minister Kozyrev on Sunday, I believe. There have been follow-up conversations that have occurred, as I indicated earlier in the week, between Ambassador Collins, who was sent to Moscow, and Foreign Ministry officials in Moscow.
We've also had additional conversations with the Russians to understand more closely their views. I think that we have a good working understanding of their concerns, their views, on Bosnia. We've had an enormous amount of consultation with them over many, many months, including the work that we did together last year. I believe we understand how they see this issue both externally and internally.
Q I'm trying to separate between an issue on which two powers can reasonably disagree and an issue on which we might be dealing -- you know, their government, which we've been trying to support a real blow.
MR. McCURRY: I think that's a factor that we have certainly weighed in our thinking and our decision-making.
Q Can we switch to another area?
Q Can I just finish? It's a factor. You consider it a factor in which we might be dealing them a real blow, or it's just a factor in which it's a slight irritant?
MR. McCURRY: No, I think it's a factor that we took into consideration in designing our approach on the problem of Bosnia. It's among many factors. I think we're satisfied that we've done something that's reasonable and that we hope the Russians will look upon with favor.
Q Mike, in the briefing yesterday one of the briefers talked about a little bit about a target acquisition radar that would really make NATO's action yesterday work in Sarajevo. This person said that the United States would not put that radar there because it would require ground troops.
Does this Administration feel that that radar should be there? And is it working with the other two nations -- he mentioned the Dutch and the British -- that do have that technology to do so?
MR. McCURRY: I know that they got into that subject yesterday. The United States does feel that it's something that could be usefully deployed in Bosnia and would help with the decisions taken by NATO yesterday. That's the reason why it was specifically referenced in the NATO document passed yesterday. How that will be deployed, how we work with other countries in fulfilling that aspect of the NATO communique is something I believe is under discussion and I think that they were addressing as I saw it earlier -- addressing it over at the Pentagon today. They know a lot more about the NATO command structure and what type of hardware is available. So I would really prefer to leave it up to them on that. I'm pretty certain they were getting that question over at the Pentagon today.
Q At the briefing?
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Is it the case that we -- however it's deployed, we won't be putting guys in to operate it?
MR. McCURRY: It's not our intention to do so; that's correct.
Q Michael, during the same briefing, the figure of 100 was mentioned for the number of pieces of artillery deployed around Sarajevo and concern by the agreement.
MR. McCURRY: The number of pieces of artillery deployed around Sarajevo that could be seen through the means available to the United States of the Serbs.
Q Do you have an assessment -- we were used to a different figure; a much higher, actually, for the strength of the Serb artillery around Sarajevo. Do you have any other assessment which would not be based on visual --
MR. McCURRY: The briefers yesterday gave the best assessment that we have available, I think.
Q Can we switch to another subject -- the Middle East?
MR. McCURRY: Ready, set, go.
Q A question -- two parts. First of all, there was a confirmation hearing on Monday for Robert Pelletreau. Pat Moynihan made a comment; he seemed to suggest that the Secretary of State had called him last Friday, asking to push this nomination through. Can you tell us anything about that conversation, give us any background? And then, number two, do you have anything on the Middle East?
MR. McCURRY: I can't. I was not aware of that conversation on that specific point. I'll check and see if there's anything I can find out further.
I think the Secretary remains in very close contact with most leading members of the Senate, including Senator Moynihan, who has been so influential, so outspoken, and so provocative in his analysis of major foreign policy matters. He also happens to be my former employer.
Q Part of the situation, for those who attended that hearing, he was the only Senator at the confirmation hearing. It would seem that perhaps that hearing was lost in the shuffle of other hearings this week -- in another confirmation hearing?
MR. McCURRY: It would be not unlike Senator Moynihan, who once served as an Ambassador himself, to know the importance of a confirmation hearing of that nature and to be there to provide good, interesting questioning.
Q Would you be surprised if I told you how few questions he actually asked?
MR. McCURRY: The business of the United States Senate is not something I routinely comment upon here.
Q Mike, do you have any statements on the Middle East -- the agreement yesterday?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have a lot. You can try a question. I assume you're interested in the progress that Chairman Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres had been making.
Q Can you tell us anything specific about what was agreed upon?
MR. McCURRY: You won't be surprised. I won't say much of anything specific, but I'll mumble some general phrases of encouragement here.
We're pleased that the parties themselves have overcome some of the obstacles to the agreement on security issues that are related to the implementation of the declaration. I think that's very positive.
It brings them closer, we feel, to implementation of the declaration which certainly has to happen. The implementation of the declaration and changing the realities on the ground is what will demonstrate to both Israelis and Palestinians that there are true benefits for taking the risk of peace.
We have been encouraged, for that reason, among many. We've been encouraging the parties to work through the remaining issues that are going to exists so they can begin to implement the declaration and then get on with changing these realities on the ground.
They have got a lot of work left to do. I don't think anyone has any other assessment. They are attempting to take the many difficult issues that will arise as a result of implementing the declaration and discuss them and deal with them now in the context of this negotiation that they've had underway. They are going to prepare, as you know, a very detailed, complex document related to implementing the declaration. That is going to take some time for them to produce. But I think our view is that there shouldn't be any lengthy delay in producing that document because they need to get on with the business of changing realities on the ground.
That said, their desire to ensure that there is no ambiguity in the declaration is something that certainly is a worthy exercise, and we believe that some of the impediments to making that type of progress may have been cleared away by the Chairman and the Foreign Minister in their discussions. We believe, for that reason, that that's quite encouraging.
Q Does the U.S. Government feel that this signing will be an impetus for progress on another track -- for example, the Syrian track?
MR. McCURRY: I don't want to speculate on that. There have been separate discussions underway, as you know, on the Syrian-Israeli track. I don't want to link the two.
Q Mike, the President said yesterday or the day before -- I can't remember which -- that Syria needs to do more in the peace talks. Can you --
MR. McCURRY: I'm sorry, who said?
Q The President. The guy over on Pennsylvania Avenue.
MR. McCURRY: That would be President Clinton you're referring to, our Commander-in-Chief? Yes.
Q Can you give any substance to that sort of nebulous -- general comment?
MR. McCURRY: I think that was a general comment that was designed to encourage the parties in their discussions here in Washington to make the progress that they can, and a reminder that the President himself, as a co-sponsor of this discussion, does hope that the parties can build on some of the momentum we've seen in the peace process.
Q Does he think the Israelis can do more? Does the Administration think the Israelis need to do more?
MR. McCURRY: I think the Administration feels the parties, collectively defined, need to continue to work hard to try to make progress. I don't think I'll carry it beyond that.
Q Mike, the report of Israeli re-enforcement in the security zone, is the Administration concerned about the tension there and the impact that this tension can have? Are you doing anything to try to appease the tension in --
MR. McCURRY: We've been following that closely, and watching it closely. We've discussed it regularly with the governments involved, but I don't have anything new or on anything your suggestion -- re-enforcements in recent days. I'll see if there's anything that we can offer that reflects any recent discussion on that.
Q Mike, Kurtzer is up in Canada on the multilaterals. Negotiations are going on in Taba. There's a report Washington negotiations and bilaterals will start up again by the 15th.
I'd just like to read -- I'm getting very confused because of the different agreements that being negotiated in different parts of the world. The agreement that was signed in Cairo, according to a report by Reuters, says that the "Early empowerment agreement will be negotiated in Taba," etc., etc. "The interim agreement, including modalities for elections and redeployment of forces on the West Bank will be negotiated in Washington, D.C.
Could we have a briefing on who's on first, second, and third base on this at sometime in the next ten days?
MR. McCURRY: I'll check in and see if that's possible. I don't want to instantly promise it up for the exact reason that there are many discussions that are underway. It is a correct assessment. The Middle East peace process now is a symphony with many parts to the orchestra because you've got multilateral discussions that are underway in a number of different venues, increasingly, in Arab countries which is very encouraging to us.
You also have the bilateral discussions here and you have the talks directly between the PLO and Israel that are related to implementing the declaration. It's easy to understand that those issues that are part of the framework of the Declaration of Principles, that have been under direct discussion between Chairman Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres and will continue to be negotiated by their experts, have implications and then become part of the discussions that have occurred in Washington that relate to the longer-range issues..
Sorting that out. The problem is that because there are on-going negotiations, it's very hard often for us to provide a lot of detail. But if there is a possible way of at least sorting out the scope of each of these negotiations, we'll see if we can arrange that.
Q Especially -- an off-the-record --
MR. McCURRY: No off-the-record, says UPI. We'll see if we do something.
Q Can we go to another area -- North Korea?
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Are the Permanent Five meeting in New York today on the question of North Korean nukes?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know that they are meeting today. I think there had been some informal meetings at the United Nations to discuss the current state of the issue. But the Security Council action has not been proposed, and I don't believe there are any Permanent Five meetings planned today.
Q Are the four putting pressure on China to take a larger role?
MR. McCURRY: I would describe it differently. I would say that China has made its views known on the general issues that are at play in the discussions, but there has not been a specific discussion, or formal discussion, of sanctions that have been proposed because, of course, sanctions have not been proposed.
I think that the discussion among the members of the Permanent Five was designed to elicit their views on the best way to approach the issue and the best way to use their good offices to attempt to address what is a very real concern to the world community.
Q In the informal discussions that have taken place on sanctions, have the Chinese indicated that they would oppose them?
MR. McCURRY: As I say, they've made some of their general views known but they have not indicated a formal position on sanctions. We'll assume that China will make its position on sanctions known at whatever point.
There has been a need to return the issue directly to the Security Council; and, obviously, we'll remain in close contact with China on the importance of encouraging North Korea to accept the type of inspections necessary at the requirement of the IAEA, which would avoid the need to turn the matter back to the Security Council.
Q Uncharacteristic as it might be, would it be possible for the State Department to answer directly whether or not the Chinese have said they are against the idea of sanctions, informally?
MR. McCURRY: In their informal discussions, have they taken any view different from the one that they have said publicly? I'm not aware of that. I am just not routinely in a position where I comment on the positions of other governments. I don't think that's good for us to do.
Q I believe there was a story in the paper today that said, "sanctions aside, there was an effort to get members of the Security Council to issue some sort of statement encouraging the North Koreans to agree to IAEA inspections."
MR. McCURRY: That's right.
Q The Chinese did not want to go along with that.
MR. McCURRY: I really do think that the Government of China needs to speak for the Government of China. I can describe the U.S. understanding of their view is that they believe it's better for individual countries to work through their bilateral discussions with China and others to try to make progress on this issue. That's my understanding.
Q Can you say if the Chinese are being helpful or unhelpful on the Korean issue?
MR. McCURRY: I think that they have participated in many of these discussions in a very constructive way and clearly share many of the goals of the world community, to wit, they believe that the status of North Korea's nuclear program is something of very real concern that needs attention by the world community.
Q Mike, does the U.S. think that the credibility of the IAEA is fundamentally at stake on this issue? And, if it is, is there any question that come February 21 if the Board of Governors says they can't assure that the material is being diverted, is there any question that the U.S. won't go and push for sanctions despite all the debate over whether sanctions will be helpful or not?
MR. McCURRY: I think we've made pretty clear what our course of action would be if the IAEA made that determination.
Q And is the IAEA's credibility at stake, in your view, on this?
MR. McCURRY: No, because I don't think their credibility has been challenged or questioned.
Q Is our credibility at stake?
MR. McCURRY: I don't believe so. I think we've been very clear about what we would do.
Q Is there any thought of pushing back the Board of Governors deadline for the IAEA?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of, no.
Q Is there any scheduled or possible discussions between the IAEA and the North Koreans between now and then?
MR. McCURRY: It's up to the IAEA to decide when and how they're going to meet. I'm not aware that they have any planned meetings with the North Koreans at this point.
Q Have we started drafting any language on a resolution yet?
MR. McCURRY: That, I don't know the answer to. As we said, obviously, we are in a position where we're beginning to discuss informally with some of our counterparts in the United Nations the status of the issue. We've expressed our strong desire that the diplomatic effort be the path that produces progress and results here. But we've tried to be realistic in assessing the degree to which we are making progress diplomatically.
Q The South Korean Foreign Minister is supposed to be on his way to Washington. Is the Secretary going to see him today? Are there any plans to draw in the Japanese Foreign Minister?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not sure when we are meeting. Certainly, the Secretary does plan to have a meeting. We do understand, or we have heard through press accounts that there may be a meeting bilaterally between the Japanese and the Koreans, but I'd really refer you to their embassies to get more detail on that.
There was a question yesterday about whether there was any plan for a trilateral meeting, and I said not that I'm aware of. I checked further, and I'm not aware of any meeting planned of that nature, but it certainly is something, as the Secretary indicated early and as I said earlier in this briefing, it is something that we've discussed with the Japanese. Certainly, the views of South Korea, which are very, very important to us and which we consult very regularly with them in order to understand fully their view of this problem, it's something that we take into account at every step along the way in this discussion.
We have been in very close contact with them. We treat their views as something enormously important in guiding our own thinking on this issue.
Q Thank you. (###)To the top of this page