US DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING INDEX Friday, March 4, 1994 Briefers: Christine Shelly Joan Spero Spero on Executive Order Reinstituting Super 301.... 1-6 U.S. Economic Policy.......................................... 2, 6 State Department Involvement, Contacts................ 2-3 Japan Pledge of Action on Market Access............. 3 Applicable Countries............................................ 4-6 Effect on Trade Practices...................................... 5 Sequencing of Actions Uder Section 301................ 6 ANNOUNCEMENTS Apointment of James Steinberg as Policy Planning Director............................................................ 6-7 China: Statement on Detention of Dissidents......... 7 CHINA U.S. Interpretation of Detentions of Dissidents....... 7 Effect of Detentions on Secretary's Trip................ 8 Secretary's Agenda............................................ 9 MIDDLE EAST PEACE TALKS International Security Force on West Bank........... 9-12,15-16 Readout of Shaath Meetings at State................... 9-12,14-15,19 Violence in the Occupied Territories..................... 12 U.S. Citizens' Contributions to Violent Organizations................................................... 12-13 Resumption of Talks............................................ 13-14 Secretary's Further Actions.................................. 14 UN Resolution, Albright Instructions...................... 16,19 SYRIA Threat Against Syrian Jews.................................. 14 WORLD TRADE CENTER BOMBING Convictions of Perpetrators, Effect on Americans.... 15 RUSSIA Troop Withdrawals from Baltics............................. 17 SOUTH KOREA National Security Law........................................... 17-18 LIBYA Construction of Gas Factory.................................. 18 GEORGIA Shevardnadze Visit, Meetings................................ 18 Call for International Monitors................................. 18 NORTH KOREA Nuclear Capability, IAEA Inspections...................... 19 Third Round Talks with U.S., Team Spirit '94........... 19-20 South-North Talks, Exchange of Envoys.................. 20
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 1994, 1:17 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm pleased this afternoon to turn to our Under Secretary for Economic and Agricultural Affairs Joan Spero. She's been with us before, and actually today I caught her on kind of short notice and asked her if she would come down for just a few minutes and make some remarks about the Super 301 fund decision, and I thought it would be interesting particularly for her to give you a little bit on the foreign policy aspects of yesterday's Executive Order.
She should have time to take a few questions on this and then, unfortunately, she'll have to go off, and then I will proceed to give the rest of the briefing.
I do have two announcements that I'll be making at the beginning of the briefing, one of which will be on China. So if you want to try to drag her into the China MFN questions, you'll probably have to wait. I don't know how far she'll get into that, but I'll be making an announcement on that shortly.
So, with no further ado, I will turn the microphone over to Joan Spero.
Q I was just suggesting that if you made your announcement on China, we would then at least know what we were going to find out later and would know how to ask questions --
MS. SHELLY: Joan's here -- we've put out a Notice to the Press on this -- and she's going to address the Super 301 decision for a few minutes, and then we'll go into the regular press briefing.
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: And I think you can ask Christine questions about China. You'll have that opportunity.
MS. SHELLY: Joan.
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: Thank you. I will start on the assumption that you're all familiar with Ambassador Kantor's announcement yesterday that the President has reinstituted Super 301 by Executive Order. I will be happy to answer any questions about -- if you have them -- about what exactly the announcement was all about.
I thought I would give you a very brief perspective from the State Department.
First of all, we were deeply involved in the process leading up to that decision, and I want to stress that we support it fully. Let me briefly explain.
The Secretary of State has placed economic security at the heart of U.S. foreign policy. The central thrust of our trade policy within that larger context of our foreign economic policy is to open markets and to expand trade.
We're pursuing this objective in a variety of ways. We have a multilateral strategy which is focused on the GATT and the Uruguay Round, now in the final negotiation and implementation stages. We have had a regional strategy focusing on NAFTA and on APEC in particular, and we have dealt with international trade, market-opening issues, on a bilateral basis as well.
We have ongoing negotiations. The State Department leads, for example, with Korea, and we have been heavily involved -- I head up one of the so-called "five baskets" of the Japan trade negotiations.
So we think the Clinton Administration has a very clearly articulated open market strategy that we're pursuing in a variety of ways.
It is in that context that we see Super 301. For us, it is a tool to open foreign markets and not to close U.S. markets. We think it does that, in the way the President has done it through the Executive Order, in a very flexible and measured way that complements these other multilateral, regional and bilateral approaches. It provides for consultation and negotiation with our trading partners to eliminate practices which unfairly limit the export of U.S. goods and services. And, as I said, if you have any questions about how it would operate, I would be happy to answer them.
It does not establish a regime of automatic retaliation or automatic sanctions. In fact, it does not even at this point name any particular practices of any foreign countries. So we've added this tool, if you will, to the tool chest of trade measures, and on September 30, we will be announcing those foreign practices which we believe are significant impediments to U.S. exports.
I want to stress also that while it is flexible, while we see it as one dimension in a fairly complicated trade agenda, nevertheless we are resolved to move forward, as necessary, to open markets and to expand trade. That's what the President has been doing since the day he took office.
In order to ensure that our trading partners understand all of these goals, understand the purpose of Super 301, how we intend to use it, the way it operates, we here at the State Department took the lead in advising the world, if you will, of the President's decision. I personally contacted the Japanese, Korean and European Union officials. Similar contacts were made by Assistant Secretary Lord and other State Department officials and Administration officials. We had a cable which went to all of our Embassies abroad so that they are fully briefed, and they could brief interested governments around the world.
I think by doing that, we conveyed both the way this fits in our trade policy and our firm intention to open markets and, when appropriate, to use the tools that we have to continue the process of opening markets around the world.
That is sort of the general thrust. I'll be happy to answer any questions.
Q The Japanese Prime Minister today made some comments about pledging effective action, and I wondered if you saw anything in his remarks that was encouraging or useful?
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: What I am aware of is a statement that was made by Mr. Takemura, who's Chief Cabinet Secretary. I think we're talking perhaps about the same thing. I think that his response was quite measured, as I saw it, and I think there were some positive signs, particularly in saying that the Japanese recognize that they have to move ahead with their market opening.
That is the point. That's the point of our Japanese negotiations -- it's not only the point of our whole strategy, but it is the point of the negotiations with Japan that they need to move ahead and increase market access; that they are behind the eight ball compared to the rest of the developed countries.
So the fact that they are putting the emphasis on their responsibility to open their markets -- frankly, not just for us, but in the interests of the Japanese people -- we read as a positive sign. We'll have a better sense -- the Secretary will be there next week. I will be accompanying him on the Japan leg of the trip, and I expect we'll have a better sense or a little bit of a window on the substance. It depends what the substance is of their policy.
Q You mentioned the trip to Japan by the Secretary and yourself. Was the timing of the announcement on the Super 301 designed to put some muscle in the message that the Secretary is bringing to Japan?
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: It wasn't specifically linked with the Secretary's trip, but it certainly is designed to indicate to Japan and to all the countries around the world that the U.S. is serious about market access. This is not a tool that is aimed particularly at Japan, but of course the decision was made in the context that we are having difficult trade problems now with Japan.
So I think the Motorola decision -- which again was not part of the framework; it's a separate negotiation -- but it's an indication of the kinds of problems that many of our industries face in Japan, and our willingness to go ahead with that. And the Super 301, I think, indicates that this President is serious about opening markets.
Q What other countries would we be having problems with we might address under this -- under Super 301?
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: I want to stress that there has been a decision, as I say, to sort of create this tool. But there has been no decision about which countries or practices would be applicable.
Let me just make a couple of comments about that. One is that the emphasis here is on the practices. The way the language reads -- I hope I've got this right -- is priority foreign country practices. So the emphasis is on those practices. The potential list of no-no's, of bad things that countries are doing, shows up in the national trade estimate.
That is published on the 31st of March by the U.S. Trade Representative's Office. It's a nice thick document, and it's a fairly comprehensive list of all the major barriers faced by U.S. goods and services exporters abroad. That is the universe from which the analysis will be done as to the major barriers.
So between March 31, when the NTE comes out, and September 30, which is in the Executive Order the day that will identify these priority practices, we will be doing an analysis of those practices which most disrupt or most impede U.S. exports.
So the removal of those practices would provide the greatest opportunity for U.S. exporters. So that the answer is there is no decision, but there's a process in place, and the National Trade Estimates is sort of the kick-off of that process.
Q But Japan is the only country that you all are talking about.
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: We're not talking about Japan either. What we've done is to create a mechanism by which we can identify these practices. Japan has been linked in the public's eye, in the press' eye, understandably, with Super 301, but there is no explicit link. There is no country or no practice named in this Executive Order.
Nevertheless, because we have had a pause, an interruption, in our negotiations with Japan, people are saying, "Well, you know, Japan might be one of those countries."
I should say we have ongoing negotiations with many countries, and there is no decision -- let me mention one other thing. In that Executive Order it also says that if were in the process of a promising successful negotiation with a country, or if we have a trade agreement with a country, or if we are pursuing certain other remedies under our trade laws, we don't necessarily have to name that particular practice.
So if we are in the process by some mechanism of successfully resolving or on the way to successfully resolving an issue, it does not necessarily have to be named under Super 301. So, for example, if the framework negotiations should resume and make progress and be moving effectively, that would be a successful or a promising negotiation and might -- even though the practice still has not been fully resolved -- might be reason to say, well, let's not institute Super 301. So there's a lot of time between now and September.
Q There is a lot of time between now and September. I'm not clear. Does this process, therefore, preclude the President acting on trade barriers that may come up on other Motorola kinds of decisions?
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: Absolutely not. What this does is to give us a mechanism to highlight certain practices, but there is no reason that we cannot proceed as we are with Motorola, as we are in a variety of negotiations with China, as we are in umpty-ump other negotiations around the world, to continue to use all the trade authorities we have, all the multilateral mechanisms in existence. So, no, it does not interfere with that at all. That's why we think it very much is just another -- it's a complement to the rest of our strategy.
Q Is China among the countries that you hope will be getting this message?
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: We don't have any particular country identified. That is the truth. And, as I say, we have many negotiations with many countries.
Q Even if the USTR identifies a country in September, will the negotiations, discussions, analysis and so forth, take about a year to 18 months before specific action can be taken?
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: Let me briefly explain how this operates. Let's say it's Upper Moravia, okay, which doesn't exist. Problems with widgets in Upper Moravia or Lower Moravia, and we announce on September 30 that barriers to import of widgets in Upper Moravia is a big problem.
Then what happens is that our regular Section 301 legislated authority would kick in, and we would enter first into a dialogue with Upper Moravia to see -- and hopefully negotiations -- to see if there is a way to resolve the problem with Upper Moravia. And then all of the Section 301 provisions would operate.
For example, after a certain period of time, if we are not successful in those negotiations, we could announce possible sanctions. Then you have to have under Section 301 certain hearings about those sanctions. So there are regular procedures. And I should say in those areas where we have GATT agreements and where either the GATT or the new -- assuming it's in place -- World Trade Organization has coverage of a particular sector, we would also have to go through the GATT dispute settlement processes, should those kick in.
So again this is a way for us to highlight particular practices and, if you will, to trigger existing trade legislation authority. That is why legally it could be done by Executive authority. Okay? Thanks.
MS. SHELLY: Thank you very much, Joan. As I mentioned earlier, I have two announcements to make. The first is a personnel announcement. Secretary of State Warren Christopher is pleased to announce that James B. Steinberg has accepted the position of Director of the Department's Policy Planning Staff.
Mr. Steinberg is currently our Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, and he has had a distinguished career in national security policy issues. Immediately prior to joining the Department in 1993, I would note that Mr. Steinberg was a senior analyst at the Rand Corporation. He has also held a variety of other positions. More biographic information is available on him in the Press Office.
I would also note that in the Carter Administration, Mr. Steinberg served as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General after clerking for Judge David Bazelon of the District of Columbia Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals. He's also the author of a number of papers and books on U.S. national security, principally on U.S. European issues.
As I said, more biographic information, if you would like it, will be available from the Press Office.
I also have another statement on the detention of Wei Jingsheng and other Chinese dissidents.
We have read with great concern the reports that Wei Jingsheng and other leading Chinese dissidents may have been arrested or detained during the past several days. We do not have direct and reliable information on the status of Wei Jingsheng at this moment. We have accordingly instructed our Embassy in Beijing to seek clarification urgently from the Chinese Government on his status.
We deplore the detention of any individual for the peaceful exercise of freedoms enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Mr. Wei's personal courage, his commitment to non-violent expression of political views, his lengthy incarceration under particularly harsh conditions are very well-known to the world. We look with particular gravity on any decision by Chinese authorities to subject Mr. Wei to additional suffering for the exercise of fundamental freedoms recognized by the world community.
If the reported detentions of Mr. Wei and the four other dissidents for non-violent activities prove to be true, it would represent a most unfortunate setting for Secretary Christopher's planned discussions in Beijing later next week. Such detentions or harassment of individuals like Mr. Wei have a direct bearing on the human rights matters which have been at the center of our dialogue with the Chinese, and most recently during Assistant Secretary Shattuck's visit.
I'd be pleased to answer any questions on this or other subjects.
Q Does the State Department think this is a slap at the Christopher or Shattuck visits, timing being the way it is?
MS. SHELLY: Certainly, with Assistant Secretary Shattuck having just been there and having had very detailed and lengthy discussions, it is not the kind of gesture that we were certainly looking for.
We also feel that, given the timing of the Secretary's visit -- and, as I mentioned, the impact that this will have on the setting for that visit -- that it is certainly viewed as a setback.
The actions, unambiguously, I should say, represent a setback, particularly in two ways: to our efforts to see the human rights progress necessary to sustain a positive recommendation on China's MFN renewal; also, to our interests in putting U.S.-China relations on a much healthier and longer-term footing.
Additionally, of course, we would like to make sure that we have as much domestic support in the United States for the kind of bilateral relationship which we have described.
Q But the Secretary is going to go through with his trip, isn't that correct?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any information to suggest the contrary at this point. Certainly, as I said, we view the situation with utmost gravity. We are expressing in very clear terms to the Chinese Government what our position is on that.
I don't want to speculate at this point about a change in the travel plans. I would simply state that it certainly will cast a pall over the planned visit at this point.
Q Is it fair to say that the Secretary is re-evaluating his stop in Beijing?
MS. SHELLY: The Secretary is keeping abreast of the current developments and will certainly be interested to know what responses our Ambassador gets to the queries.
Q He has not ruled out a change in plans that would leave Beijing off his schedule?
MS. SHELLY: As I said, I'm not going to speculate further than what I've gone. I think I've laid out what the backdrop for the visit is, but certainly we will be watching -- we will be looking for some explanations on this and watching the developments closely.
Q But you are saying that a cancellation is one possibility?
MS. SHELLY: No, I didn't say that. I think I said very clearly what I wanted to state, which is what we think that these latest reports mean and what the implications would be for the visit and exactly how we think it would impact on the visit. But I'm not going to be taken a step farther than that.
Q What other items are on the agenda besides human rights? If that's off the agenda, what is there left to talk about?
MS. SHELLY: I think that Assistant Secretary Winston Lord covered that very fully yesterday. He gave a complete backgrounder as a kind of scene-setter for the trip, and he talked about what our expectations were in each of those stops. I can't take this any farther than that, than he did. So if you didn't see the transcript of his remarks yesterday, I would refer you to them. He laid out what the objectives are quite clearly.
Q Can we ask about the PLO visit?
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q We haven't had a chance to ask the American official anything. Mr. Shaath has come down and given us his version. He said several things. He hasn't announced an opening of the talks, and he says he has U.S. support for an international presence -- U.N. resolution providing for an international presence on the West Bank. And he says he doesn't mean historians or psychotherapists. He means security people.
Is the U.S. now prepared to support a force -- sending -- deploying troops on the West Bank, and what does that do with your relationship with Israel?
MS. SHELLY: Let me give you as much of a readout as I can. This meeting, as you know, took place late this morning, and his meetings -- the Nabil Shaath meetings in Washington are still continuing. So I can't give you, I think, a complete readout on the state of play, as the talks are still continuing.
The Secretary did have an opportunity to meet with him for about 50 minutes this morning. They discussed the importance of resuming the negotiations, and the Secretary heard from Mr. Shaath about the whole range of Palestinian concerns, and particularly as they relate to security.
The Secretary emphasized the U.S. view that it's very important to get the negotiations resumed and to get the implementation completed as the surest way to change the realities on the ground.
As to some of the points that you have raised specifically about monitors, about armed monitors, about security, certainly there is a very broad recognition of the need to provide adequate security for all Palestinians and Israelis as they work toward the peaceful resolution of their differences.
The Secretary has said on various occasions that the matter of monitors is something that we view in the context of the Declaration of Principles, which contains a provision regarding a temporary international or foreign presence as agreed on by the parties.
I would just note on that, that the particular reference to this is in Annex 2 of the Protocol on Withdrawal of Israeli Forces from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area. It's within that portion of the annex where it refers to a temporary international or foreign presence as agreed on.
As to the reference to armed monitors and what Nabil Sha'ath addressed in his comments to the press, at this particular point I'm not really in a position to get into detailed discussions of that because the whole issue of the temporary international presence -- and precisely the modalities which might relate to that -- are something that have to be agreed by the parties.
So that's really what I can tell you at this point about the Secretary's meeting and what's been discussed. And, as I mentioned, his talks with our peace team headed by Dennis Ross will be continuing this afternoon.
Q But you're not taking issue with what he's saying in terms of claiming to have U.S. backing for armed security people?
MS. SHELLY: What I'm telling you is that the subject of monitors, the subject of security, and all the range of Palestinian concerns and their ideas on this were things that were discussed. But where that actually came out and what might have been conveyed to him about our response to this, our support for this -- the principal point on this is that the details on this are being worked out between the parties.
But we heard what they had to say. We also conveyed our own thoughts on this as well; but I don't really want to get any more specifically into that particular point. I've seen what he said in response to the questions to him, but I'm just not in a position to take this any further.
Q Can you try to, because he has made an assertion of what he understands the U.S. position and policy to be. It's rather fundamental to the situation.
MS. SHELLY: I know. But I'm also not going to get dragged into a point-by-point, word-by-word, either acceptance or rebuttal of what he said. I've given you as much of a readout as I could on this. I've also indicated to you that these meetings are still continuing, and that's all I'm prepared to say.
Q Well, do you want us to write stories saying that he said the United States supports this, since the State Department refused to contradict him or deny that that was what he said?
MS. SHELLY: I think I've given an accurate picture of what our position is.
MS. SHELLY: Okay. The Secretary also has addressed this subject; he had testimony earlier in the week. He also indicated when asked about this particular question that we would certainly be in discussion with the parties, we would hear what they had to say. If there was something that we felt we could do to be helpful on this, we certainly would be.
But the key point here -- if I can stress this again -- is the details on this would be something to be worked out between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Q No, but the key point right now is that we have an assertion that the United States is in favor -- is agreeable -- to armed monitors if both sides agree. That's what we have from him, and that's what we're trying to find out. If that's so, that's so. If not, it's not. But what we have from him is that the United States is agreeable to having armed monitors if, as you say, both sides can work it out.
MS. SHELLY: I'm just not going to characterize any further what we have conveyed to him.
Q Christine, we heard on the Hill, either from the Secretary or from Pelletreau, rather than say the U.S. would convey its "thoughts" to the parties -- I think we heard something like the U.S. might convey "suggestions" to bring the parties together, and you use the term "thoughts." I'm asking, did the United States suggest anything to the parties over this international presence?
MS. SHELLY: Again, "thoughts", "suggestions" -- I don't want to get dragged into a nuance between the description of particular words. It's very clear that in these discussions it's a dialogue. We hear from them. They also hear from us. Again, I think I've covered where we are on this. "Thoughts" versus "suggestions" -- I don't see the point.
Q Is the United States prepared to take part if there were going to be monitors? Is the United States prepared to partake in this?
MS. SHELLY: I just don't have an answer for you on that. I can't tell you.
Q Christine, I want to shift gears slightly -- the World Trade Center verdicts. Is there any concern --
Q Can I stay on this? I want to find out whether anything else was discussed as a way of security, like settlements or settlers, or anything further than that? Did they ask anything, and how did the United States respond, if you can tell us?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any details on that.
Q Do you know --
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. I don't have that.
Q Do you know if the Secretary took the occasion to take up with the Palestinians the fact that on the average one Israeli civilian a day is killed by Palestinians? Was this an opportunity to ask the Palestinians for some restraint? Did he ask anything or suggest anything or make a point of it?
MS. SHELLY: As to your very particular question, I'm not going to sit here and read you the Secretary's talking points on this. I think that the subject of violence in the territories is one in which we have regular discussions with both the Israelis and the Palestinians, and our position on this is that what's necessary is restraint on both sides.
Q On other subjects being brought up, did Mr. Sha'ath -- either in the meeting with the Secretary or with Mr. Ross -- bring up the possibility of the United States inhibiting financial contributions by American citizens to radical Jewish groups in the occupied territories?
MS. SHELLY: There is a press report on this which cites a State Department official as saying that the Department has asked the Justice Department to examine whether or not the Administration might be able to ban contributions by Americans to militant settlers.
On that particular point, I'd say that we have been in touch with the Justice Department on this matter; that is for possible options for dealing with the overall question -- the broader question of U.S. private support for extremist groups abroad.
Domestic law enforcement agencies are specifically responsible for enforcing U.S. laws on this, and we maintain close liaison with these agencies. In the context of this general problem, we are engaged in contacts with them.
We're reviewing options under existing laws as well as considering whether new laws or new regulations would be appropriate in order to deal with this issue. As this is a subject which is under discussion now, and it's being looked at in terms of the broader context -- although as I've mentioned, the specific issue has been discussed as well -- we may have more to tell you on that in the coming days. But that's the state of play at the moment.
Q Did this come up since the Hebron massacre, or has this been under consideration before?
MS. SHELLY: The regulations that exist on this existed before, but there have been some specific discussions on this in the recent time frame.
Q Does that mean Gerry Adams' supporters in the United States might have some concern about whether they can make contributions?
MS. SHELLY: As to that specific question, I don't have any precise answer I can give you here. I think that the regulations that have been in force on this have affected that type of contribution. That has been the case in the past.
Q Christine, did the Secretary ask for and did he get a commitment to return to the peace talks on a date certain?
MS. SHELLY: As to restarting the talks here and when that might occur, I don't have a lot for you on that. I can tell you that they have discussed how to get the talks going again. Certainly, both the Secretary and Mr. Sha'ath recognized the importance of getting the negotiations moving again.
Our consultations with them about exactly when those talks can reconvene are still continuing, so there isn't a date fixed at this point.
Q That's the U.S. position on talks? The U.S. two weeks ago invited the Israelis and the Palestinians to hold their talks here, and the PLO --
MS. SHELLY: I think that was actually about a week ago. One week ago today.
Q Was it a week? All right. The PLO has not said yes -- it hasn't said no -- and that's the flat response. I mean, Mr. Christopher didn't say something like, "Hey, you know, how about getting these talks going," because he was rather fervent on the Hill how this is the best way to proceed, the best way to have new realities on the ground.
Didn't he use this occasion to make a hard drive, a hard push, to get the PLO to come to the table?
MS. SHELLY: The Secretary certainly has indicated the importance of it, his very strong personal view and certainly the view of this government that that is the way ahead -- to get the talks going again. But this is obviously also a very complicated situation. When the Secretary called Arafat and talked to him, he got a commitment from him to do that; and the discussions that are going on now relate to the concerns that the Palestinians have indicated they'd like to discuss. Those discussions are going on, and certainly they are occurring with a view to getting the talks restarted. But they are things they want to discuss, and that's what we're doing right now.
Q Christine, can you tell us anything more about what the United States know about what Syria did to protect the Jewish community in Damascus after the threat?
MS. SHELLY: I'll have to take that question. I don't have any information with me.
Q Statement -- written statement put out by the State Department last night.
MS. SHELLY: I'll have to look into that. I'll see what we can post.
Q How about the talks, are they --
Q Did the Secretary talk with any Israeli leaders following his discussion with Mr. Sha'ath this morning?
MS. SHELLY: As the discussions on this finished up only a short while ago, I honestly can't tell you. He's involved in the Kravchuk visit, and he was participating in the luncheon in connection with that visit. Then, of course, as you know, he's leaving early this afternoon to head off on his trip.
We have had virtually daily contact with both the Palestinians and the Israelis over the course of the last week, either by the Secretary or by members of the peace team. I can't tell you specifically if he has done something since 12 noon today, but I'll look into that and see if there's anything I can post on that later.
Q Christine, you talk about the talks this afternoon. Are they just going to run through this afternoon? Will they continue into tomorrow? How long will they run? Is he just meeting with Dennis? Are there other people involved?
MS. SHELLY: As I mentioned to you, he will be continuing his discussions with members of the peace team. I think you all know who the members of that team are. The expectation is they'll continue this afternoon. As to what might happen after that, I just don't have any other information with me on that. They could continue, certainly.
Q Will we be able to get a read on that this afternoon?
MS. SHELLY: I'll check and see.
Q Can I turn to the World Trade Center verdict? Any reaction to that? Does that send any kind of message to groups abroad, perhaps? And, also, is there concern of retribution against Americans abroad?
MS. SHELLY: We just got the news of this very shortly before coming out here. We do have a short statement on this that we'll be posting a little bit later. I can give you a preview of what's in that.
The March 4 conviction of the followers of Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman and the World Trade Center bombing trial in New York may precipitate strong reactions from Islamic extremists in Egypt, including possible attacks against U.S. citizens and interests.
Although Islamic extremists have made generalized threats against foreigners in Egypt, at this time we have no specific information about potential actions linked to this conviction.
Americans overseas, especially those living or travelling throughout the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa should be alert to continuing developments. Travellers should consult the Department of State's country-specific travel warnings, consular information sheets, and regional travel brochures. U.S. citizens abroad may contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate overseas for updated information.
Q Could we go back to -- I hate to go back to it, but there are too many holes in this story. Two days ago -- three days -- first of all, your reference to Israel being willing to have an international presence. As you know, they're talking about civilians in Gaza and Jericho to observe the implementation of self-rule. This is a broader thing.
This is a long-standing Palestinian drive to interpose the U.N. between Israel and the Palestinians there.
Now, the Secretary, two days ago, was asked about that U.N. resolution that was being written. He recited that the U.S. would oppose any change on Jerusalem in it, anything to call the territories "Arab-occupied." The resolution seems to be the focus now -- you know, the attempt to find a way to reopen the talks.
Do those statements by the Secretary still stand, or is there going to be some change in the resolution? Has the U.S. dropped its opposition to any of these other Arab demands -- as it is yielding, apparently, to sending security forces to the West Bank?
MS. SHELLY: The Secretary's comments on this are certainly the best articulation we have on what our policy is and, certainly, also reflect his thinking on this. The U.N. Security Council resolution was discussed in the Secretary's meeting. The discussion focused on how to move forward with what we would consider to be an appropriate resolution.
The discussion on the resolutions are continuing. There may be more to report on this a little bit later; but other than being able to tell you that it was discussed -- how to move forward on it and what would be appropriate language in it on which we would agree are all things under discussion.
Q Would it be appropriate to include references to Jerusalem in the resolution?
MS. SHELLY: Barry, I don't have anything for you on this.
Q I don't know what "appropriate" means. Two days ago the Secretary said it would be inappropriate. I'm asking if that is still State Department policy, or if it's changed in the last couple of days?
MS. SHELLY: I have no reason to believe that our policy on that has changed.
Q Christine, even if the language of the Declaration of Principles is adopted as part of the Security Council resolution, and there is no need to renegotiate the Declaration of Principles, as the United States believes, do you believe that the language, as you recited just a little bit ago, could include armed monitors?
MS. SHELLY: Again, I'm just not going to any further than I've gone at this point. I've given you what I could. This meeting took place this morning. I got a preliminary readout. The subjects are still under discussion, and I'm just not prepared to go any further.
Q New subject? Russia has reneged on its commitment to withdraw troops from Estonia by the end of August. Some several European countries are protesting this. The talks are stalled. There's no new date set for another round. Do you have any comment?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any comment for right now. I'll be happy to look into the latest reports and see if we can post something this afternoon.
Q Can you comment about the United States position on the Republic of Korea's national security law?
MS. SHELLY: I'm sorry -- on Korea's national security law?
MS. SHELLY: Actually, the Secretary, in an interview with the WORLDNET yesterday morning, addressed this point particularly, including some remarks that were made by a State Department official in a speech earlier in the week.
As he has addressed this yesterday morning and the text of his remarks on this are available through the Press Office, I don't have anything to add to that. I would refer you to the Press Office to get exactly what he said on that yesterday.
Did you want to follow up?
Q We understand that the United States would hope that the Republic of Korea will repeal the national security laws. So why does the United States hope the Republic of Korea will repeal the national security law and not just recommend, or revise the amendment?
Isn't it a kind of interference of domestic politics?
MS. SHELLY: Again, if you haven't seen the Secretary's remarks on this, I really think you should see them. I think that some of the play on what was said by our Deputy Assistant Secretary in a speech at American University earlier this week -- I don't know if this is being misrepresented or taken out of context.
The statements he made are consistent with positions that we've also taken as things that we've said in our own human rights report, which found that the national security law, as it stands, is something which is potentially subject to abuse. We feel it stands in contrast to the impressive democratization and greatly enhanced respect for human right in the Republic of Korea, which we have seen in recent years.
Again, the Secretary did address this, and there is nothing that I can say that is more definitive than this. He was asked about this point and he addressed that and said what the official position of the U.S. government was. I'd really like to have you take a look at his remarks. I think that's the best statement of the U.S. position on this.
Q On Libya: Has the State Department seen a report of yet another poison gas factory being constructed near Tripoli?
MS. SHELLY: Not that I'm aware of.
Q Could you look into that, please?
MS. SHELLY: Sure. I'll look into it.
Q Next week the President of Georgia will be in town. Is he seeing anyone in this building? What is the U.S. position on his request for U.N. peacekeepers in Georgia?
MS. SHELLY: I have a little bit of information for you on the visit. President Clinton has invited the Georgian Chairman, Eduard Shevardnadze, to make an official visit to the U.S. March 6-8. The two leaders will be meeting at the White House on March 7.
It's Clinton's first meeting with Chairman Shevardnadze. The President is looking forward to discussing the U.S.-Georgian bilateral relationship, political and economic reforms in Georgia, and events in the region.
He's also going to be meeting with members of Congress, with U.S. business leaders and with the press. Deputy Secretary Strobe Talbott -- who, I would note, will be Acting Secretary at that point -- will be hosting a dinner for Chairman Shevardnadze at the Department of State on March 7.
Following the conclusion of the official portion of his trip to the U.S., he'll travel to New York on March 9-10 to meet with officials at the United Nations and to hold a series of private meetings.
The second part of your question, I don't have anything precise for you on that, and I'll look into it and see if we can post something.
Q Christine, can I go back t the U.N. for just one second? Who gives Madeleine Albright her marching orders? Is it the President of the United States or the Secretary of State on this resolution that we were talking about earlier?
MS. SHELLY: She is in contact and consults with the President, obviously, and the National Security Council staff. She also maintains an office here in the State Department and works very closely with the Secretary.
When instructions go to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, those are instructions which come out of the State Department.
Q Do you expect that resolution? Sha'ath indicated that that resolution might be ready today. Do you expect that?
MS. SHELLY: I don't expect anything. I can't tell you. I told you, it was under discussion still. He said what he has to say.
Q Christine, a retired Chinese General, who is active in strategic studies in China and who is now here on a fellowship, said in a briefing the other day that the reason North Korea is against inspections is not because they're afraid the world will find out about their nuclear capacity or capabilities, but they're afraid the world will find out they don't have a capability and what they have is very primitive.
Do you have anything on that? Or do you have any firm information that the nuclear capability of North Korea is now a threat or will be a threat in the immediate future?
MS. SHELLY: Lots of different people have gotten into the act in characterizing the North Korean nuclear capability. I think that that is exactly what the point of the inspections is -- to see exactly what the situation is with respect to possible diversions of fuel, the reprocessing, and all of the questions there.
There is absolutely nothing that I could add to the discussion of the nuclear capability question. Exactly where things stand right at this moment is very much what we hope the IAEA inspections will shed some light on. So I just can't take this one any further.
Q The North Koreans are accusing you of putting some kind of a condition on these March 21 talks. Are these talks definitely going to be held, as far as the United States is concerned? Will "Team Spirit" definitely be cancelled, or are there conditions?
MS. SHELLY: I think in the statement which we issued on this -- which went out yesterday morning -- we made clear exactly what our position on this is. We talked about -- in light of the commencement of the inspections and the discussions which began yesterday between North and South Korea -- that the U.S. had agreed with the North Koreans to meet in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 21 to begin a third round of negotiations.
Again, also the announcement on "Team Spirit" was an announcement that the Republic of Korea made, and the United States indicated that it was in full accord with that decision.
The undertakings of the U.S. regarding "Team Spirit '94" and the third round of the talks are based on the premise that the IAEA inspections will be fully implemented and that the South-North nuclear dialogue will continue through the exchange of special envoys. That's the exact statement of our position. In our statement yesterday on this where we laid out what our agreed conclusions on this were, this was all made very clear. It's all in writing, it was all in our press announcement on this.
As to any other specific things, I'm not really sure what they're referring to.
Q I might be mistaken, but I think the one point that they were concerned about was the idea that envoys would have to be appointed or set up before the talks take place. You're saying that a special envoy would have to be appointed on either side? And what if a special envoy is not appointed on either side? Then, will there be no talks?
MS. SHELLY: It's our expectation that the exchange of envoys will have occurred, as I said, as an understanding for the initiation of the U.S. talks. They're having talks now about the exchange of envoys; but we're expecting that the exchange of envoys will occur.
Q What if it does not?
MS. SHELLY: Hypothetical question.
Q Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 2:05 p.m.)To the top of this page