U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
Taken Questions of March 4, 1994
1. Korea Q: What is the U.S. view of the Republic of Korea's national security law? Is the U.S. seeking repeal of that law?
A: As Secretary Christopher said in an interview yesterday, we recognize that this is basically an issue for the Korean government and the Korean people. On the other hand, since we're good friends and have many relationships, we feel that we can express a view about particular practices or laws within the context of our good relationship.
--We feel that the government of Korea and the Korean people have made great strides in the human rights field in recent years. We think, as was emphasized in our 1993 Human Rights Report, that the Korean security law is still subject to abuse. We would hope that the Korean government and the Korean people might find it appropriate to no longer have that law in effect because it's subject to abuse and it seems to be a reflection of an earlier time.
2. BALTICS Q: What is the status of Russian troop withdrawals from the Baltic States, and what is the position of the United States Government on the status of the talks?
A: RUSSIA TOTALLY WITHDREW ITS TROOPS FROM LITHUANIA IN AUTUMN, 1993. LESS THAN 2,600 RUSSIAN TROOPS REMAIN IN ESTONIA, AND ACCORDING TO THE LATVIAN AND RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRIES, LESS THAN 10,000 RUSSIAN TROOPS REMAIN IN LATVIA.
--WE ARE ENCOURAGED BY THE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS RECENTLY ACHIEVED BY THE LATVIANS AND RUSSIANS IN REACHING AN AGREEMENT ON TROOP WITHDRAWALS.
--RUSSIAN AND ESTONIAN NEGOTIATORS CLAIM THAT MORE THAN 90 PERCENT OF THE ISSUES AFFECTING A TROOP WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT ALREADY HAVE BEEN RESOLVED. AT THE SAME TIME, WE WERE DISTURBED TO HEAR THAT THE RUSSIAN SIDE REOPENED A NUMBER OF PREVIOUSLY SETTLED ISSUES AT THIS WEEK'S ROUND OF NEGOTIATIONS.
--AS A MATTER OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, THE UNITED STATES FULLY ACKNOWLEDGES THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE BALTIC STATES AND THEREFORE NEVER RECOGNIZED THEIR FORCIBLE INCORPORATION INTO THE FORMER SOVIET UNION.
--RUSSIA AND PRESIDENT YELTSIN OFTEN HAVE REITERATED TO US AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY THEIR COMMITMENT TO WITHDRAW RUSSIAN TROOPS FROM THE BALTIC STATES PROMPTLY. AS PARTNERS, WE ALSO FULLY EXPECT THAT THEY WILL HONOR ALL THEIR INTERNATIONAL AND BILATERAL COMMITMENTS.
--WHILE THE UNITED STATES UNDERSTANDS THE NEED OF ALL THREE PARTIES TO RESOLVE OR ADDRESS THEIR BILATERAL CONCERNS, INCLUDING THOSE INVOLVING RUSSIANS RESIDING IN ESTONIA AND LATVIA, WE REFUSE TO LINK ANY ISSUES TO THE NEED TO WITHDRAW THESE TROOPS. WE HAVE ENCOURAGED THE ESTONIANS, LATVIANS AND RUSSIANS TO CONTINUE NEGOTIATIONS AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS AND TO AVOID BOGGING DOWN IN SECONDARY OR UNRELATED CONCERNS.
--SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER WILL BE SEEING FOREIGN MINISTER KOZYREV ON MARCH 14 AND WILL DISCUSS THIS ISSUE, AMONG OTHER CONCERNS.
3. GEORGIA Q: What is the U.S. position regarding U.N. involvement in Georgia?
A: USG POLICY TOWARD GEORGIA, AS TOWARD ALL OF THE NEWLY-INDEPENDENT STATES, IS BASED ON THE RESPECT FOR THAT NATION'S INDEPENDENCE, SOVEREIGNTY AND TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY. --WE FULLY SUPPORT UN-SONSORED PEACE TALKS, WHICH HAVE BEEN UNDERWAY SINCE NOVEMBER, AND WHICH ARE AIMED AT RESOLVING TWO KEY ISSUES: THE POLITICAL STATUS OF ABKAZ REGION OF NORTHWEST GEORGIA AND THE SAFE RETURN OF OVER 200,000 PEOPLE DRIVEN FROM THEIR HOMES BY THE FIGHTING THERE.
4. LIBYA Q. Do you have reports of a chemical weapons facility under construction in Libya?
A. WE HAVE INFORMATION THAT LIBYA IS BUILDING AN UNDERGROUND FACILITY AT TARHUNAH, 40 MILES SOUTHEAST OF TRIPOLI. WE BELIEVE THIS IS INTENDED TO BE A CHEMICAL WEAPONS PRODUCTION FACILITY.
--LYBIA HAS ANOTHER LIBYAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS FACILITY AT RABTA. IT HAS BEEN DORMANT FOR SEVERAL YEARS. (###)To the top of this page