Return to: Index of 1994 Daily Briefings || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage


                      DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                      DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                           I N D E X

                    Wednesday, March 9, 1994

                                      Briefer:  Christine Shelly

    Human Rights Commission Meeting in Geneva ......   1-2
    --  Denunciation of Anti-Semitism ...............  1-2
    --  Cuba Condemned for Human Rights Violations ..  1

    Possible Rotation of Troops/US Role .............  2
    Status of Bosnian-Croat Federation ..............  3-4
    --  Prospects for Serbs Joining .................  4
    Activities of Ambassador Redman .................  3
    Efforts to Open Tuzla Airport ...................  4
    Update on Fighting/Ceasefire ....................  4-5
    Spanish Aircraft Fired On Over Croatia ..........  5

    IAEA Inspections ................................  5-6
    Talks with South Korea ..........................  6-7
    US Conditions for Third Round of Talks ..........  6

    Nixon's Meetings During Visit ...................  7-9

    American Citizen Sentenced to Prison/Corporeal
      Punishment/US Protests ........................  9-10

    Russian Proposal for International Conference/
      US View .......................................  11-12
    US Contacts with Parties ........................  11-13
    Security Council Discussions re:  Palestinian
      Security ......................................  13-15

     Reported Protest re: US Prisoners Making
      Products for Export ...........................  15-16


DPC #37


MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today, in Geneva, the U.S. Delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, led by Geraldine Ferraro, has achieved a long-sought goal. For the first time, the U.N. Human Rights Commission has agreed to include reference to anti-Semitism in its annual resolution on racism. This represents the first official denunciation of anti-Semitism by the Commission. This is an important achievement which is the result of a long, concerted effort waged by the United States with the support of a number of other governments.

I would also like to note -- also at the Human Rights Commission today -- that by a vote of 24 to 9 margin, with 20 abstentions, the Human Rights Commission voted to approve a U.S. drafted resolution condemning Cuba's systematic violations of human rights and its failure to cooperate with the Secretary General's Special Rapporteur.

Only Iran, Iraq, and Cuba have chosen not to cooperate with such envoys. From every continent, a record-high number of 31 nations, some of them non-voting members of the Commission, supported this resolution as co-sponsors.

The United States calls upon the Cuban Government to adopt the eight measures to improve human rights as recommended by the Secretary General's Envoy and seconded today by the world community of nations.

As the UNHCR resolution puts it, the Cuban Government should take steps to bring the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cuba up to universally recognized standards in accordance with international law and applicable international human rights instruments and to end all violations of human rights, including in particular the detention and imprisonment of human rights defenders and others who are engaged in the peaceful exercise of their rights.

I'd be pleased to take your questions on this or any other subjects.

Q Do you have any breakdown how the vote on anti-Semitism resolution went?

MS. SHELLY: Interestingly, this resolution was actually passed by consensus. There was not an actual numerical vote on it. There can be exact role-call votes on this and they can also adopt a resolution by consensus. This latter one was passed by consensus.

Q Christine, there are murmurings around the U.N. that the United States is considering sending 400 more troops to what used to be Yugoslavia. Do you have anything on this?

MS. SHELLY: Let me see on that. I don't think I have anything specific on that. I know that the idea of some possible troop rotation to meet some of the requirements of UNPROFOR has been discussed, and there may be some discussion of moving some of the different elements around which I think has already been done.

On the specific question of additional U.S. troops on that, I'm going to have to take that. I think the issue is under discussion about the possibility of something like this, but I'll have to check on this and post an answer.

Q Would be rotation of the troops that are already there, or what?

MS. SHELLY: You know we have some troops there.

Q Yes, in Macedonia.

MS. SHELLY: It may involve some question of rotation of some of those troops out and maybe --

Q They rotated out three months ago, I think -- two or three months ago.

MS. SHELLY: Which troops?

Q The ones in Macedonia.

MS. SHELLY: The U.S. presence in Macedonia is part of a broader presence. It may be that there is some consideration being given to a slightly larger U.S. presence in that context that would then free up those troops to go someplace else.

This really would not be -- I'll check and see what we can say on this, and then there may be something more to report on this this afternoon, although actually this is something on which I think the Pentagon would actually have the lead. I'll see what else we can find out.


Q Do you have anything else on the inspections in North Korea?

MS. SHELLY: I don't have -- sorry, you want to keep going on Bosnia?

Q One more on Yugoslavia. Yes, Bosnia. Do you have a better reading yet from Redman or anybody else on what the Bosnian Serbs -- what the Serbs thought of joining the negotiations or talking about a confederation?

MS. SHELLY: Yes. Let me bring you up to date on Ambassador Redman's travels. I think I'm going to bring you up to date on his travels. Yes, sorry.

Just generally, to cover what he's up to, what's happening in Vienna; where is he, with whom he's meeting, and readouts we have of meetings so far.

The parties remain in Vienna where they are continuing the process of drafting the constitution for the Bosnian-Croat Federation and the agreement documents for the confederation between the new federation and Croatia-proper. The drafting is continuing to go well, as we reported yesterday.

Ambassador Redman was in Zagreb last night where he met with President Tudjman to discuss the on-going Vienna negotiations. Their meeting, reportedly, went well.

Ambassador Redman has left Zagreb and today is in Sarajevo for bilateral consultations. He's in Sarajevo and Zagreb. He's meeting with various officials, including representatives of ministries of defense in preparation for the first session of the military transition group which will be convening in Split, Croatia, late this Friday.

Yesterday, in Belgrade, as I mentioned yesterday, he met with Serbian President Milosevic and representatives of the Bosnian Serbs. He briefed the Serbs on the Federation agreement between the Bosnian Croats and the Bosnian Government and on the need for the Serbs to show flexibility in arriving at a comprehensive settlement.

The exchange was not in the nature of a negotiation. It was very much in the nature of a briefing. The reports that I've received on the Serb response on that is that they listened very carefully and they basically responded to that briefing in a constructive spirit.

As I mentioned, it wasn't a negotiation. It was simply a discussion with Ambassador Redman bringing them up to date. And, as I said, their response was one which we felt was in a constructive spirit.

Q And the next step is what, as far as the Serbs are concerned?

MS. SHELLY: I think the next step on this is that they want to keep the discussion going and they want to know ultimately how the federation and the confederation come out. And I think that when there is actually agreement on those texts, which I think we expect to happen sometime next week, then those would be shared, I would guess, more formally with the Serbs and then with a view to eliciting what their ideas might be about their own relationship with what is being decided on right now in Vienna.

Q Christine, wasn't there more shelling in Tuzla today -- mortar shelling?

MS. SHELLY: On Tuzla, I'm not aware, I don't think, of shelling in Tuzla. Let me tell you what I've got on fighting and then also what I've got on Tuzla, specifically.

As you know, the effort underway by the U.N. to get the Tuzla airport open -- and it's still not open -- the logistical requirements are still being worked out to try to get it open to accept the humanitarian assistance flights.

My understanding, again, is the U.N. representatives are still working out details of this with the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Government. There still is no date for the reopening.

As to the situation on fighting. What I understand in Bosnia, fighting apparently continues between the Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Government forces around Zepce in northern Bosnia and Maglaj in north central Bosnia.

I understand that there were some incidents of sporadic arms fire in the vicinity of the Jewish cemetery in Sarajevo overnight.

UNPROFOR reports that the cease-fire between the Bosnian Government and the Bosnian Croat HVO is holding in Mostar in southern Bosnia as well as in central Bosnia.

Now, in Croatia, there are reports of increased Krajina Serb military action in the sector north, the area over which the incident involving the Spanish aircraft occurred. I understand also that Croatian and Krajina Serb forces exchanged artillery fire in Zadar, the hinterland along the Dalamatian Coast.

Anything else on Tuzla, I'll have to look into that because in the updates that I got on fighting, it didn't mention anything on that specifically.

Q Was there anymore on the aircraft and who took a shot at it?

MS. SHELLY: Yes. I think you've probably seen some of the reports that have come out of this, both out of the Pentagon and I believe out of the AFSOUTH -- Allied Forces Southern Europe -- that there was also a press release there.

What I can tell you is that the Spanish transport aircraft -- it's a CASA-212 -- flying over the Croatian town of Plasci in the Serb-occupied region of Krajina in the U.N. Sector North, south of Zagreb, it was the target of what we understand of both gunfire and hand-held SAMS. The plane was enroute from Zagreb to Split. The plane was damaged. And, as you know, an emergency landing took place at Rijeka -- if I'm saying that correctly -- airport on the northwest coast of Croatia.

The aircraft was carrying Spanish UNPROFOR troops as well as visiting officers from a number of the NATO countries -- U.K., France, the Netherlands, and two U.S. officers. Four passengers, including a U.S. citizen, received minor shrapnel wounds and were treated in Rijeka.

Initial indications are that it was the Krajina Serbs who fired two portable anti-aircraft missiles and several rounds of anti-aircraft machine gun fire at the aircraft.

The Croatian Ministry of Transport is heading an international investigative team that is looking into the incident. I would also note that a NATO observer will be included in that investigation team.

There may be some more details on this out there. I think you probably would have to get them from the Department of Defense, but that's pretty much what I can tell you at this point.

Q Another subject? Do you know if the American Embassy in Moscow --

MS. SHELLY: I think actually Korea is the next non-Bosnian topic.

Q Christine, do you have anything more on the inspections that are going on?

MS. SHELLY: As you know, the inspections commenced on March 3. They're expected to wrap up sometime next week. We remain in close and continuing contact with the IAEA on the nuclear issue. We're being kept informed about the inspections. But I think it's really up to the IAEA to give the characterizations of them.

I think you know what our position is on this. The questions about what needs to be done to fully implement the current inspections and about the continuity of safeguards really can only be addressed, I think at this point, by the IAEA.

Q Have you been alerted of any irregularities that would hit on our plans for talks or other things that we agreed to?

MS. SHELLY: I understand that there have been some difficulties in the inspections reported. I'm not really in a position to get into the details of those.

From what we've heard so far we, of course, regret that they have not proceeded as smoothly as we would have liked up to this point. We still feel that there is time left in the inspections and that the things that the IAEA inspectors say that they need, that there still is time and opportunity to get those things.

The IAEA sorted out, I think very carefully, with the North Koreans what their requirements were before they left, and we certainly would hope that by the end of the inspection, the North Koreans will have met the commitments that they made.

Q Could you tell us whether these were problems with access or with what they were finding?

MS. SHELLY: Going beyond that, I think I would really have to refer you to the IAEA.

Q The talks between the North and the South Koreans apparently went very badly today. Is that the reading that you have, too?

MS. SHELLY: On the talks, we heard also that they met earlier today, and I don't think they have come to full term yet. The resumption of this dialogue is like the satisfactory conclusion of the inspections. This is a key element in opening the way for another round of negotiations, which is scheduled to begin on March 21.

We still expect that the exchange of envoys between the South and the North would take place before the third round of talks would start. North Korea understands perfectly well that the U.S. agreement to begin that third round of talks was based on the premise that the inspections would be completed and that the discussion on the nuclear issue would resume through the exchange of envoys.

Q So how did the talks go?

MS. SHELLY: I'm sorry?

Q So how did the talks go?

Q I was referring to the talks at Panmunjom -- the North-South talks.

MS. SHELLY: Right. I know that. They met, and I understand that they're supposed to meet again, I think, on Saturday. So they're still continuing.

Q And how did they go today?

MS. SHELLY: How did they go today?

Q Yes.

MS. SHELLY: As I said, they met; they came back to positions that they each had articulated last week when they meet. The discussions will continue. I'm not of the impression that there was a full meeting of the minds, but, again, since we're not engaged in those talks, it really wouldn't be up to us to characterize them anyway. They're still going on.

Q Can I get to something on Russia. There's been a --

MS. SHELLY: Barry, was your question on Korea.

Q No, no. Please. Thank you, I'm sorry.

Q There's been a flap, as you know, over the Nixon visit in Russia. Did anybody on the United States side -- here or in the Embassy or in Russia -- inform the Russian Government that Nixon was going to go to see Rutskoi, or was that left up to him alone?

MS. SHELLY: On that particular point, I'm really just not in a position to say. I think you would have to talk with members of President Nixon's travelling party to know the exact exchanges about the set of appointments that he was seeking to have.

I think President Nixon's party, essentially, made the arrangements for these appointments. I addressed this yesterday in the Press Briefing about what we knew about those appointments and what our feeling was about them as well.

We have, of course, seen the most recent reports indicating that President Yeltsin had declined to meet with President Nixon. On this one, I just have to note again, his visit is a private trip; it's not official. And as to the precise answers on contacts with them and their knowledge of who he was going to be meeting with, I think I'd have to refer you to either Nixon's travelling party or the Russians.

Q Although it's private and personal, he did -- Nixon did speak with the President of the United States who says that Nixon was to report back. So it's sort of an unofficial emissary but an emissary nevertheless. I just wonder whether it's wise for the President to have an emissary seeing the men who tried to blast down the doors of government there with force just a couple of months ago?

MS. SHELLY: We talked about this a little bit yesterday, which is that his desire in going there was to have meetings with people from the entire range of the political spectrum. It was his decision to decide that he wanted to see Rutskoi. So I think that's completely up to him. I'm sure that he knew that by meeting with all of the different people that he wanted to meet, that there might be some reaction to that by some of the others. This is not something which kind of takes place in a vacuum.

I've seen the press reports that have come out of Moscow on Yeltsin's version of this and also the White House vis-a-vis contacts with President Clinton. The White House addressed this this morning, and it's not my job here to get into what the President did and didn't do with President Nixon.

But I think in just reading the reports, both what was said at the White House this morning and what came out of Moscow, those two sets of reports don't have a completely consistent picture on this. I think you need to look at the White House statements of what they've said and look at what's come out of Russia on that. I think then you have to draw your own conclusion.

Q Did I misunderstand. When the subject was Zhirinovsky, didn't the U.S. have prior knowledge that he was going to see Zhirinovsky?


Q And said we would be happy to hear what he says to you?

MS. SHELLY: Yes, exactly. That was exactly our position on his meetings. First of all, it's a private visit and he is a private citizen, and he's free to meet with whom he wished. We indicated to him that we would be very interested in meeting with him on his return and hearing what he had to say, including on his meeting with Zhirinovsky.

Q Right. But at that point we didn't know about Rutskoi. So I guess the question is, did we know he was -- did the U.S. have prior knowledge that he was going to see both characters?

MS. SHELLY: Yesterday, I said very clearly that he was also meeting with Rutskoi. I said that yesterday.

Q And the U.S. knew before he did. And it was the same arrangement -- "Hey, anything you care to tell us about the meeting, we'd like to hear?" There's no distinction between the Zhirinovsky meeting or with Rutskoi?

MS. SHELLY: I'm not going to get into a distinction between one or the other.

Q I don't mean distinction. We had the same prior knowledge, the same interest in hearing later?

MS. SHELLY: To my knowledge, I don't think there have been any surprises for us on this one. I believe that we knew the full range of people with whom he intended to have meetings. There were discussions about that. And, as I said, where we were on this yesterday was indicating interest in knowing what his impressions were from those meetings.

Q But, Christine, we don't know whether our embassy -- I know that Pickering's office was in touch with the Russian Government on what Nixon intended to do and, indeed, helped make arrangements. I just wondered whether the Russian Government was informed of Nixon's intention to meet Rutskoi?

MS. SHELLY: I honestly can't help you on that one. I don't know.

Q Christine, on another subject. In the strong protest that was mentioned by President Clinton on Monday to Singapore about the American kid, I gather your counterpart in Singapore has said publicly that it's none of the American Government's business and that the flogging or caning will go ahead as planned. Do you have a comment?

MS. SHELLY: I'm not sure we've actually addressed this at the press briefings, so if I can just step back for a second on what it is that we're talking about. It's the case of Michael Fay, an American citizen who's been sentenced for vandalism in Singapore.

He was charged with vandalism, mischief and dishonestly retaining stolen property for allegedly spray painting vehicles and having street signs in his room.

The Singapore court sentenced him on March 3 to four months of imprisonment and six strokes of the cane and also a $3,500 fine.

As a general policy, the U.S. Government recognizes that American citizens overseas as guests of that host country are subject to the laws of that country. However, we see a very large discrepancy between the offense of the individual in question and the punishment which was rendered.

The cars were not permanently damaged. The paint was removed with thinner. Caning as a punishment is something which leaves permanent scars. The accuses is a teenager. This is his first offense. And, as I said, we consider that the punishment was really rather severe.

The State Department has followed this case extremely closely since Mr. Fay was arrested. Our Embassy has been in close contact with the parents, with appropriate elements of the Government of Singapore to inquire about the welfare of Mr. Fay, and all along the process to attempt to ensure that his legal rights under Singapore law were accorded to him. This is, of course, the standard practice of what an Embassy does for American citizens who are arrested overseas.

We have protested the sentence. We have made our concerns very clear to the Singapore Government regarding this type of punishment, particularly for a youthful first-time offender. The President himself also addressed this earlier in the week. He indicated that we had made our concerns known, and we have continued to make our concerns known. This was not just a one-time expression. This is something we have done out there, but we have also expressed our concerns here in Washington as well.

Earlier this week, a representative from the U.S. Embassy in Singapore called on a senior official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, again to discuss the Fay case. This is something that we're continuing to push and continuing to urge the Singapore Government not to proceed on this basis, and that's really about all I can tell you at this point.

Q The question I was asking was --

MS. SHELLY: That is what they've said, but we're still continuing to work this.

Q The question I was asking originally was that apparently the answer was given publicly today by your counterpart in Singapore, which was that it's none of the U.S. Government's business.

MS. SHELLY: What happens to American citizens abroad clearly is the U.S. Government's business.

Other subjects?

Q Russia called today for a new international conference immediately after the massacre of Hebron to be able to (inaudible) the peace process. Do you have anything about that?

MS. SHELLY: I'm sorry. Are we back to Bosnia?

Q No, no. It's about the peace process.

MS. SHELLY: I'm sorry, the Middle East. Okay.

Q The Russians have called for a new international conference on the Middle East today, and I was wondering if you had anything on that.

MS. SHELLY: I think I've got a little bit on that. I understand that their Deputy Foreign Minister has been talking about convening a kind of Madrid II conference. As you know, the United States and Russia are the co-sponsors of the Madrid process.

We coordinate very closely with the Russians on this, but it doesn't mean that we always have a complete identity of views on every single issue.

As to the long-term possibility of this, I think it's certainly something that we would consider. But I think in terms of where we are right now, our focus at this point in time is on getting the PLO and Israel negotiations reconvened and moving toward a prompt implementation of the Declaration of Principles.

So it's the bilateral track, which is resuming activity on the bilateral track, which was what our focus is right now, not necessarily going ahead with something on a multilateral track.

Q Do you think it would be a distraction, then, to have a Madrid II?

MS. SHELLY: I don't know whether it's a question of characterizing it as a distraction. I think that it's a question of trying to determine what is the best form and structure to try to make progress in the talks and particularly to try to get back to the implementation of the Declaration of Principles.

Again, we had discussions, as you know, that were occurring in Washington on all four tracks in a somewhat different approach. It was a kind of lower-key, quieter, more informal kind of way, and up until the recent events in Hebron, we were quite satisfied with that progress and believed that that was a way which was yielding results.

Again, I have just so far only seen a press report on this, and certainly, we're very interested in coordinating with the Russians and certainly want to hear what they have to say about this. But I think just for a quick reaction on this, which is what I'm in the position of doing right now, I think it's our feeling that resuming a Madrid II or a multilateral forum to try to move the process forward, that that is not necessarily the way that would yield the best result right now.

Q I take it they didn't tell you in advance they were going to float this idea.

MS. SHELLY: Oh, I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying --

Q Well, then let me ask you: Did they tell their co-sponsor that they were going to go public with such a proposal?

MS. SHELLY: Barry, their ideas for going forward on this have been under continuous discussion with us. So, no, I'm not going to tell you that this comes as a big surprise to us. But, again, in terms of what I can do at this briefing, we do our best to come in here with the answer to every single question we can anticipate you might ask, but their announcement on this came right before the briefing, and other than being able to get a kind of quick reading on this -- which is the only thing I'm in a position to do right now -- that's what I've conveyed.

Q Is there any other movement on the process there or any movement on the process?

MS. SHELLY: Give me a, you know, like --

Q Rabin is coming to Washington to meet with the President the first of the week.

MS. SHELLY: I believe he's supposed to be here next week. I think that's right. The members of our peace team are continuing their contacts with the parties on a virtually continuous basis to try to get the negotiations back on track. Those discussions are continuing.

Q Sort of about where it was yesterday, in other words.

MS. SHELLY: Yes, I think pretty much we are. There are some bits of pieces of information that come out on this, and we try to be prepared to react to the latest news. But I think that this really hasn't moved much since yesterday. Our contacts are continuing, and their contacts are continuing as well, and I don't really have much else to report.

Q Are there any further meetings between the PLO and the Israelis, even on a lower level?

MS. SHELLY: Yesterday I reported on the meetings that had -- just what we knew about the meetings that had taken place in Cairo, and I can't categorically rule it out, because on that one you'd really have to put that question to the parties. I'm not aware of any additional meetings since that one. Can't rule it out.

Q A few days ago you had some guidance on some threats that had been made to Syrian Jews, and the State Department was checking them out. I wonder if there's any advancement on that. There was a letter or a memo or something that had been put out.

MS. SHELLY: I'll have to look into that again. I don't have anything with me.

Q How about the negotiations at the Security Council on the resolution? How are they going?

MS. SHELLY: I think that again we're kind of where we were on that yesterday. I don't think there's agreement among the parties yet on the text, but I would not rule it out. They've been working this fairly actively, and so it's possible that something could come up on that, I think, within the next day or so.

It's very hard for me to go into details on this, because I don't have what the exact latest state of play is on discussions back and forth. But I think it's the expectation that this will come to the table fairly soon.

Q There are reports that the United States is following the tactic of breaking it into paragraphs, and the United States would abstain on the paragraph referring to Jerusalem and like one other paragraph. Is that how things are progressing?

MS. SHELLY: Yes. I hate to admit it, but it sounds like you might be ahead of me on this one. I don't have anything in particular on that. The modalities of how they're going to approach this, I'm not in a position to categorically rule that out, but I don't have any information to that effect.

Q Let me put it in question form, and maybe someone can give you an answer for us for later in the day, the question being: The Secretary three weeks ago, two weeks ago, said the U.S. proposes any reference in the resolution to Jerusalem or anything in the resolution that says the "occupied lands" or Judea and Samaria belong to the Arabs. The U.S. will oppose that.

The question is, is the U.S. still opposing it, or is the U.S. not willing to abstain?

MS. SHELLY: As to the latest state of discussion on the resolutions, I don't have anything.

Q No, no, I know you don't have. I'm asking you if you would put the question in -- whether the U.S. is still fighting tooth and nail, hammer and tong, to keep this out of the resolution, or whether the U.S. has tumbled and now will simply abstain.

MS. SHELLY: I'll try to find a --

Q That's about as clear as I can put it.

MS. SHELLY: I'll try to find a slightly simpler formulation for the question, Barry, but I'll see --

Q Have you bugged out.

MS. SHELLY: -- if we can say something else. Well, that may be a little too simple, Barry, but we'll see what we can come up with.

Q Okay. It happened once before, but only once, in a prior Administration.

MS. SHELLY: Thanks for the information.

Q Where you abstained instead of opposing something that was against policy.

Q That was during the last Democratic Administration, by the way.

MS. SHELLY: Okay, thanks.

Q Most of the people are here again, you know.

MS. SHELLY: Barry, do you want to change places?

Q Oh, no, no.

MS. SHELLY: I'd like my turn at asking the questions.

Q No, but I don't expect you to have these things right at your fingertips, because how can you anticipate all these questions.

Q Do you think he should be caned after the briefing? (Laughter)

Q I still don't know --

MS. SHELLY: Well, actually, he's an American citizen, so I think I can only pronounce myself on that if we go abroad.

Q You know, I still don't know if Russia took you by surprise by proposing a Madrid II. You say you talk about these things to the Russians all the time, but then again this happened just moments before you came in.

MS. SHELLY: Barry, I thought I told you that it didn't come as a complete surprise. How much farther do I need to go.

Q A big surprise. No, you said, "We talk to them all the time about these things."

MS. SHELLY: They have also discussed --

Q So they told you.

MS. SHELLY: -- their own ideas on what might be the best way and some approaches to go ahead, and they've indicated they would like to continue to be engaged, and we know that, and we are in discussion with them on a regular basis.

Q Could I ask a really far-out question?

MS. SHELLY: Absolutely. The farther the better.

Q I understand that China has protested that the use -- that two states, Oregon and California, are using prison labor to make various items that apparently have become fashionable, like jeans, in Oregon -- prison jeans -- and are sending such things, items, to places like Japan and China. And the Chinese, for whatever reasons, have protested against this, and I wonder whether the United States has been in touch with the States of Oregon and California about these possible violations of human rights.

MS. SHELLY: Juridically, I don't know if it's up to the Department of State to get in contact with individual states about those practices. I suspect it would fall under somebody else's jurisdiction.

Again, this is something where a ready response that would both be factually accurate and presumably also respond to your question -- I don't have one handy here, so I'm going to have to look into that and see if there's anything we can say.

Q Thank you very much.

MS. SHELLY: Anything else?

Q Thank you.

Q We talk to Oregon all the time.

MS. SHELLY: No, only Michigan.

(The briefing concluded at 1:35 p.m.)


To the top of this page