U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING Monday, March 14, 1994 BRIEFER: Christine Shelly BURMA US Efforts to Establish Dialogue between Parties .....1-2 CHINA Secretary's Meetings During Visit ......................................2,6-7 Human Rights/MFN/US Policy ................................................2-4,6 -- Washington Post Article Inaccurate in Reporting Compromise .....................................................2,4 -- Goods Made By Prison Labor for Export .....................4 US Contacts ...................................................................................5-6 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Efforts to Resume Talks by Secretary/Dennis Ross.....7-8,10 -- Secretary's Contacts with Russian FM .......................7 -- Ross' Meeting with Arafat ...............................................7-8 UN Negotiations on Hebron Resolution ...............................8,10-11 US Studying Israeli Groups Linked to Hebron Massacre/Other Terrorists Acts .......................................9-10 SLOVAKIA Prime Minister Receives No Confidence Vote ................11 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA French Request for Help/Response Time ..........................11-14,16 Bosnian-Croat Federation/Signing Ceremony ................14-15 Bosnian-Croat Military Agreement .....................................15 (###)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, MARCH 14, 1994, 1:05 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have no announcements to read, so I'll be happy to take your questions.
No questions. Nice try.
Q On Burma: There were reports in the New York Times today that the U.S. is considering seeking perhaps an international arms embargo on Burma to endeavor to pressure for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. Do you have any comment on that?
MS. SHELLY: The Clinton Administration has reaffirmed the importance that the U.S. attaches to human rights abuses and the establishment of a representative and democratic government and serious efforts by the SLORC -- that's the State, Law, and Order Restoration Council -- to stem the flow of heroine from Burma.
The Administration is also seeking to take a much more activist approach in trying to achieve its policy goals in Burma. We're working both unilaterally. We're also working within the international community to try to achieve these objectives.
We've urged the Restoration Council to try to enter into a dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi at the earliest possible time. As I think you know, this question has come up from time to time, and we've had guidance on this particular point; and our position on this -- several times we've articulated this over the past couple of weeks.
We would like to try to get this dialogue going at the earliest possible time, and also to obtain her release unconditionally.
We understand that the Restoration Council has not ruled out the possibility of discussions on this in the future, but we believe that a genuine dialogue between the regime and the Democratic Opposition Forces, and also including the major ethnic groups, that all of this offers the best means for trying to break the political impasse in the country and to try to improve the respect for human rights and, generally, the promotion of democracy.
Q Is there some kind of a compromise that's been offered to China wherein they would get a break on linking human rights with MFN in the future?
MS. SHELLY: On this particular question, I don't really have a lot for you, as the Secretary has just wrapped up his meetings there. After his brief stop in Vladivostok, of course, he's on his way back.
He held lengthy meetings while he was out there with the Chinese President, the Premier, the Vice Premier, and the Foreign Minister. The two sides in those discussions addressed the broad range of bilateral issues, including human rights, non-proliferation, and trade.
The Secretary presented U.S. views on all of these subjects to the Chinese leaders. As you know, the major focus of the talks was on human rights and the Most Favored Nations treatment.
The Secretary expressed these points very clearly during the visit. He, himself, also said that he felt the Chinese officials certainly had a very clear understanding of the positions and views of the U.S.
There was a story this morning in the Washington Post on the meetings in which it stated that the U.S. had soften its trade stand and had offered a compromise to China on MFN renewal. This inaccurately reflects the substance and the tenor of the Secretary's eight hours of discussion with China's leaders over the last three days.
In these meetings, the U.S. offered no compromise on the Executive Order's requirements on human rights progress which would be necessary in order for MFN to be renewed this year. The Secretary made clear in a frank, detailed, and direct fashion that absent overall improvement on human rights as required by the President's policy that he will not be able to recommend MFN renewal to the President this Spring.
The U.S. seeks a broad relationship with a strong, stable, and prosperous China.
During the meetings in Beijing, some of the differences on human rights issues were narrowed. However, more work must be done. We intend to continue our dialogue and our negotiations with China on the human rights issues, and we will be evaluating human rights progress as we near the June decision date on MFN.
Q You mentioned that there's not going to be a compromise on the Executive Order. Does that preclude some discussions he might have had with them about the future years? Can you tell anything about what was offered regarding MFN and human rights linkage down the road?
MS. SHELLY: I think the Secretary himself, most recently -- and several times at Congressional testimony -- he was asked questions about farther down the road, what things might take place or might not. I think, in his own words, he always said that in the future lots of things might be possible but the policy on China and on MFN and on the human rights linkage, that that is the policy, and this is -- it's our policy now; I'm not implying in any way that there is some change underway.
I think the point the Secretary tries to make is that we're dealing with China in the here-and-now. This is our policy. We intend to pursue it; we intend to implement it. He intends to watch this very, very closely to see what happens on the human rights front and see what kind of progress there is between now and the time, he has to then make his recommendation on MFN.
Q Christine, are you flatly denying that in his discussions with the Chinese, the Secretary put forward a future scenario that would not link human rights to MFN renewal on a direct -- on a year-by-year basis but would allow for general progress to be made in the future as the only condition for MFN?
MS. SHELLY: Certainly, the Secretary would like to see progress now, and he'd like to see progress continue.
What I wanted to address specifically on this was exactly where we were on the Executive Order's requirements and MFN renewal. I particularly consulted with the Party on this to get something to say because it was the obvious question out there with this morning's story in the Post.
However, I think you can also appreciate that as to exactly every single item that is in there, I wasn't in those meetings, I wasn't a party, and I don't really want to move beyond -- and I don't think you should read anything into that. The point is that I need to comment on those things which either I've gotten precise information on or that I know that the Secretary himself has addressed, and I'm not in a position to take this a step further to try to either tell you what's in the future or to get categoric.
I think the impression created by the article is not correct, and therefore the feeling was that we should say what we could today. The Party, as you know, is on the way back. If we want to either add anything to what I've said at this moment relating to any other detailed aspects of the discussion, I'll certainly endeavor to put something else up.
The general impression, and the points made in that story, they were not accurate, and that's what I've tried to address.
Q The facts, you're not disputing; the atmospherics conveyed by the article, you are?
MS. SHELLY: I've told you exactly what I want to say on this. I addressed specifically a couple of points that were raised in that article. That's what I want to share with you now. But, again, you've got to recognize that I can't be chased around on every point on this because I wasn't a party and it's something that the Secretary, up until this morning, was working.
This is the point where I'm prepared to take it up to right now. But to go beyond that, I'm going to have to come back to it at a later time.
Q Christine, human rights aside, as I understand it, the Executive Order gives no wiggle room on the issue of forced labor and the export of forced labor goods. Am I right in that?
MS. SHELLY: My understanding on the Executive Order - - and I don't have it at my finger tips, but there are two categories where I think fairly specific criteria were laid down and those absolutely have to have progress recorded, and then there were five other areas that were identified where it was indicated that progress in those areas would also be highly desirable in terms of the conclusion or recommendation that the Secretary would come to.
My understanding is that the prison labor question -- if that's what you're talking about -- that that's one of the first two.
Q On that specific issue, has this Administration either had an opportunity to check the alleged forced labor prisons, and has it come to any conclusions on whether those goods are being exported to the United States?
MS. SHELLY: I think I'm going to take that one, because I'm just going to have to check. I don't have that information with me.
Q Speaking of taking questions, I raised, I guess, last week, do you -- and I have not received an answer -- the Chinese press has made notice of two prisons in the United States -- in Oregon and California -- that either are making or plan to manufacture clothing for export to China and Japan, among other places. I asked you about that, and I remember that was a taken question. I wonder if you have any comment or anything on that?
MS. SHELLY: Actually, when you asked me the question, you also told me that it was in the range of the very far out. You recall having prefaced it with that?
I have been looking into this, and I don't have anything more to say on this at this point. There are Federal regulations and there also are state regulations involved in this. So to try to find out what kind of labor laws and things that operate on the Federal side as well as what individual states can and can't do and what they might be doing in practice, this is not from one day to the next. We're working on that.
I hope in short order to be able to give you a better response to that question. We've been looking into it but it involves a number of players, including a couple of other government agencies that are also involved in it, too. It's a request that we have taken seriously, and we're working on it.
I'm sorry, I'm just not in a position to add anymore to it today.
Q Does the Secretary intend to go back to China between now and the June determination on MFN extension or will other high-level officials press this issue again in a visit or just in regular channels? And then not to belabor the point and give you the sense of being harassed, did I understand you accurately to say that at this time you do not know in what context the Secretary raised the possibility of a future option or fewer or more general conditions?
MS. SHELLY: On your latter point, what I said was, I was addressing the here-and-now, and I wasn't going to get into the question on the future because I did not feel that I had all of the information at my fingertips on that. I mentioned, there is a general impression created by the article. It's my understanding, from what I've been told by the party, that that impression is not correct. And, at least, in terms of a couple of points I addressed, at least I want to be explicit on those points.
As to travel, I'm not aware that the Secretary has -- I'm not aware of any further plans by him at this point to make any future trips to China between now and the June date by which he has to make a recommendation.
When we embarked upon the broader policy toward China that the President articulated -- I think it was last September -- it entailed the stepped-up pace of activities, both visits by Chinese here and by Americans out there. Certainly, if you look at the track record of visits, there have been quite a few since last September.
I'm certainly not going to rule out any other visits between now and the coming months by officials in one direction or the other, but we also continue the dialogue on the human rights issue in Beijing; we continue it here in Washington via the respective embassies. I certainly expect that the issues will continue to be worked very actively, whether this is done by officials in place or done by visits. I would expect it probably is a combination of the two.
Q The Middle East?
MS. SHELLY: Were there other questions on China?
Q Yes. Is there any reason to think that Christopher, in his meetings with the Chinese, wouldn't have restated what some officials have already said publicly, and perhaps a story could be based on that, which is that in future years the United States would like not to have linkage between MFN and human rights?
MS. SHELLY: Again, you're asking the exact same question that I've told you I'm not in a position to answer. You're just asking it another way. I can't help you.
Q I've got one more thing. Clinton, today, said he was very disappointed with Christopher's trip. Christopher himself didn't say that. He indicated that there had been some steps. I guess I'm just wondering, was this trip, from the State Department's point of view, a disappointment?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have a particular characterization. Certainly, we would have liked to have had more progress on the human rights front. I think the Secretary, in his own remarks on this, was certainly quite clear on that point.
The trip, as you know, was about more than just the human rights dialogue, although obviously that was certainly a dominant element within the talks. A number of other subjects were also discussed as well. Again, I think I would have to hear back from the Party before coming up with a kind of bottom line satisfaction measure.
Q Just noticing that the Chinese position seemed to harden as the Secretary got closer to China, and more people were sort of detained or sent out of town in order to avoid the Secretary. I wonder how you would respond to the suggestion that maybe Christopher's trip and his going there actually made for further political complications and deepened the Chinese position?
MS. SHELLY: I think the Secretary himself focused very closely on the events which preceded his arrival and also occurred to some extent after he got there. I think it was his own feeling that it's not the sort of situation that you run away from. It was important that he go there and he make sure that there is absolutely no misunderstanding about the U.S. position. In that context, he made his own decision about that and his belief that these issues are best addressed in a face-to-face setting so that there could be a frank, full, and candid exchange of views on the subject matter. I don't think that there's any regret by the Secretary to have made that trip and to be able to have the exchange that he did and also to be able to convey very clearly what the U.S. views were on the human rights issues and all of its aspects.
Q The Middle East?
MS. SHELLY: Still China?
Q Just one more on this, on the timing of the trip. The Secretary's trip coincided with a major conference in China, and there's been speculation that at the occasion of that conference the Chinese leaders particularly didn't want to see any dissidents getting out of control. As a result, they were harsher in their crackdown that they might otherwise have been just prior to a visit by the Secretary. Do you have any response to that?
MS. SHELLY: I've seen those reports also, but I'm really not in a position to shed any further insight on that.
Q Do you have something about a meeting between the U.S. envoy and Mr. Arafat in Tunis?
MS. SHELLY: I can tell you a little bit. Again, hopefully, by tomorrow, I won't in the position of being constrained.
Generally speaking, what's happening on the peace process and Dennis Ross' travel and meetings and things. Since I last briefed, because of the fact that the Secretary himself has remained fully engaged on this, I think there's probably not an hour or two have elapsed on this Asian trip where he has not been engaged in working this one way or another. But the efforts are continuing in various locations. I probably can't give you a definitive readout from here.
As you know, the Secretary met with Foreign Minister Kozyrev today for a wide-ranging discussion, including the efforts by the co-sponsors to encourage the PLO and Israel to reconvene their talks.
The Secretary continued is contacts with the leaders, including Chairman Arafat over the course of the weekend. The Secretary asked Dennis Ross to travel to Tunis yesterday.
As you know, I've been indicating from here and it has been indicated from the Party, we have been engaged in very intensive contacts with all of the parties.
The purpose of this brief trip by our Special Middle East Coordinator is to continue those discussions which are still aimed at getting the negotiations back on track.
Dennis Ross and the members of his team met with Chairman Arafat and other PLO officials today in Tunis. They have been discussing issues surrounding the resumption of the PLO-Israel negotiations. I understand that those meetings are continuing even now, so I'm not in a position to give a detailed readout of those discussions at this time.
Q How are the negotiations going in New York over the resolution?
MS. SHELLY: Up in New York at the U.N., we're still continuing to work on an appropriate Security Council resolution. As you know, there was a brief meeting on Saturday. I guess it was at the Russians request. There was a possibility that -- I guess the Russians seemed to believe that perhaps the issue is ready for a vote although it was not the consensus of the Security Council members that that was where the parties were at that point.
I guess at the Saturday meeting, from what I understand, it was decided that further discussions on the Hebron resolution would be postponed until Monday, which is today. What I've heard this morning is that their meetings to take this up this morning have also been postponed.
It's not clear yet. There might be a possibility that they would meet later this afternoon, or there's also a possibility that there may not be meetings on this until tomorrow. I think the situation up there is still somewhat fluid as a result of some of the discussions and diplomacy that has been taking place.
Unfortunately, at this moment, I'm not in a position to predict for you when actually a vote would take place.
Q Over the weekend the Israeli Government banned two extremists organizations in Israel as terrorists. Does that make it any easier for the United States Government to halt the flow of contributions from U.S. citizens to those organizations?
MS. SHELLY: I guess the first thing I would say is that, in terms of the Israeli Cabinet decision, we think it should be seen in the context of the overall efforts by the Israeli Government to address the security concerns of the Palestinians. It is our view that by their words and actions, members of the Kach Party and Kahane Chai have advocated and engaged in terrorism and violence.
As to what the U.S. is considering doing in its own context, all I can really say at this point is that we're looking into the question. The U.S. condemns acts of terrorism and those who commit or condone them. We specifically condemned the abhorrent act of terrorism that was committed in Hebron on February 25.
Q When you say the United States is looking into the question, you mean the United States is considering putting the Kach group on the terrorist list?
MS. SHELLY: We have a mechanism for looking at groups and for making identifications of that kind. It's my understanding that this report, which is prepared and looked at annually, that this is actually something which is under - - the whole report is under preparation right now.
The angle on the -- the terrorism thing also -- I guess the short answer to your question is that the process by which we examine groups and re-examine groups and then determine what to do with them, that process is underway. There may be more to say on that.
One problem with that report, I understand, I think it's supposed to address 1993 -- what actually transpired during the year. So since this is an event that took place in '94, that's why I'm not absolutely clear. It's not supposed to cover that timeframe. But, on the other hand, we do have a mechanism within the U.S. Government that looks at particular groups and their activities and then makes that determination.
The issue on the fund-raising has also come up. That is one which involves U.S. domestic laws. As I said a couple of days ago, the Department has been discussing and researching that matter with officials from other agencies.
I also mentioned we had an informal interagency working group which has been looking at whether useful steps could be taken under existing laws and regulations. Those are meetings which are continuing to take place, and I expect to have more information on that before too long. That's still where that one is.
Q Christine, is there anything, from a policy or legal standpoint, that automatically flows from your words that Kach and Kahane Chai advocated and engaged in terror and violence? Are the words in and of themselves a determination of some kind?
MS. SHELLY: I honestly don't know. I'll have to check and see on that point. We've looked at this in terms of when the question was coming up a week or so ago in the context of the fund-raising activities. And then, of course, the Israeli Cabinet decision, and its own actions, also triggers the U.S. reaction, the U.S. view question. In terms of some of the activities which have taken place, and the most recent of which was the Hebron massacre, again, it's the type of act in question and what we consider it to be.
I think my statement addresses specifically that incident. Whether there's a longer term implication or whether this determination or this use of words actually triggered something else, not specifically that I'm aware of. I think this was simply a reflection of our view related to the action of the Israeli Cabinet.
Q And can you perhaps put on the record what I gather officials have said on background, which is that the United States will not move forward at the U.N. for a vote on the resolution condemning the Hebron massacre until there is a commitment -- explicit commitment from Arafat to return to the peace talks?
MS. SHELLY: As to the resolution, we've talked about that. And as to the precise issues or conditions which are under discussion, the resolution itself is still under discussion, and what issues have been raised relative to that, I just think it's not terribly useful for me to get into that.
So I don't want to get any more active than that. The Secretary himself, when asked some questions about this in his -- I think in his last press appearance in Vladivostok -- he was also asked some questions about this, exactly what conditions there were for resuming the talks and things.
We've made it very clear, of course, that we would like Arafat to agree to resume the discussions as soon as possible. But I think that it's the Secretary's view and certainly one very much shared by the briefer, that it's not terribly useful to go into these issues in very much detail, because they are sensitive, they're being worked very actively, and I think that people want to be very, very cautious in terms of categoric statements they might make about linkages or other issues so as to not jeopardize the discussions which are underway.
I think you've gotten characterizations from them, from some of the other parties, and coming from the region, and other than being able to -- on Friday, as we mentioned also the resolution is not just an action which is taking place in isolation. It's part of the broader efforts to get the Israeli and PLO talks reconvened as quickly as possible. And I think that's the backdrop for what we're trying to do, and that is to address the resolution in the context of the broader efforts. But I think to go beyond that is something that I am not prepared to do right now.
Q Could we change the subject?
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q There has been a no-confidence vote in Slovakia for Premier Meciar. Could you comment on this?
MS. SHELLY: On the vote of no-confidence in Slovakia?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, I think I've got some guidance on that. Last Friday the Slovak Parliament passed a no- confidence motion against Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar with a majority of deputies -- I understand 78 of 150 -- voting for the motion. Discussions on whether to hold early parliamentary elections are set to begin Wednesday, March 16.
In our view, this is a normal part of the process of parliamentary democracy. We note that constitutional procedures are being observed there, and that Slovakia's president and the leadership of the parliamentary parties are already involved in discussing formation of a new government.
We are confident that Slovakia will maintain its commitment to democracy and economic reform and to closer relations with European and transatlantic institutions.
Q Bosnia. Over the weekend, French peacekeepers came under fire, called for help. At least one U.S. gunship was overhead at the time, and it took three hours before the approval was granted. Is that the way the U.S. envisioned that scenario playing out?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have information about it having taken three hours. Our understanding is that the Department of Defense has actually done a chronology, outlining exactly what happened, and I think they've made that available to the media. So I would just have to refer you to them.
Q Well, they have, and they said it took three hours and went up the chain of command as had been specified, I guess, in the resolution. But did the U.S. consider at the time that it would be delayed to that extent?
MS. SHELLY: Three hours, two hours, 30 minutes. Certainly, it was our impression or our hope, given the rather extensive discussions about chain of command that took place, that this is something that could be responded to in as timely a fashion as possible.
But I think to try to actually put -- draw a line and say everything under this is fine and everything over that isn't -- the particular incident in question, I think, in each case has to be looked at on its own merits and to see whatever other complicating factors might have occurred.
This isn't one in which the State Department has the operational lead, so I'm just not sure I can shed any more light on that than what the Pentagon may have done earlier.
Q Yet this does represent, does it not, the first time that U.N. forces in Bosnia have asked for an airstrike? So it's the first time this has ever been attempted, and the military logistics part seemed to work, but the political authorization part did not seem to work.
MS. SHELLY: What I understand is that this is the close air support category of incident. And, as you know, the way this was set up was that the U.N. Secretary General or his designee -- in this case it was his Special Representative, Mr. Akashi -- that they would have to authorize the first use of air power in the theater. Then after the first use of air power, that subsequent close air support missions would be flown in cooperation with UNPROFOR. Is that what you're talking about?
Q No. I don't think this was done under that. The first use, I believe, was just on the Sarajevo safe zone. I don't think there was -- there was supposed to be U.N. authorization, but I don't think it was a first-use --
MS. SHELLY: No, I think the decision regarding close air support -- and if this is not correct, I'll correct it after the briefing -- but my understanding is that when -- I think it was in June of this past year --
Q (inaudible) It's not just the first time.
MS. SHELLY: Right. Well, if this is specifically the category under which this falls, which was the decision about UNPROFOR being able to call in close air support, and I think that that relates to the June 1993 Athens Ministerial decision.
It's my understanding that in that type of -- because there have been a number of different circumstances under which -- I think there are four different categories now that have come up at different points in time about when air power might be used -- air power, air support or airstrikes -- and my understanding is that this particular event -- and again I may not have all the facts, but this falls into the close air support subject matter that was -- the decisions that were taken last June. And I think in that case that this is still the -- in this particular category that the first use of this did involve the U.N. chain of command that I just described.
Q I think it is all uses of it, not just the first time, but I may be wrong about that. But you are saying, yes, this is the first time a U.N. unit has asked for close air support, correct?
MS. SHELLY: It's my understanding that under close -- that this particular episode -- and again I'd be happy to check the facts on that -- I think this was the first case that fell into that category with a decision having gone up to a higher U.N. political authority -- then with the expectation -- say, for example, that the problem was continuing and that the issue, the violence, the encounter, the exchange -- that it was only that first use, and then after that it was a question to be worked out in cooperation with UNPROFOR on the ground.
Q But I'm not clear. Are you saying anything about the fact that it took three hours?
MS. SHELLY: No, I'm not. Without all of the facts at my fingertips, I think it would be extremely irresponsible of me to make a value judgment about whether three hours is acceptable or not.
Q I understood that the Defense Department said that it was three hours. You were referring to the Defense Department, and the Defense Department said three hours. Isn't that too long?
MS. SHELLY: Again, I'm not going to prejudge or judge or postscript the chain of events which occurred. Clearly, the fact that the Pentagon has addressed this and has put out the chronology on this and -- is this too long, and is it something we're satisfied with, is this an appropriate amount of time? Again, it's not an issue for us. It's not just a political call here. It's something which is obviously very complicated, and one doesn't want to make that pronouncement unless they have all of the facts at their fingertips, and they can look at all of the different actions that were taken and judgments that were made.
Q This is not exactly a hypothetical, but if it took three hours, isn't that too long under the arrangements that the United States carefully got from the United Nations on the political side to help the folks on the military side?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not going to answer that.
Q You mean this is perfectly legitimate. The Pentagon has put out facts that say that essentially getting gunships in the air over this area was not a problem; that it happened quite quickly. The gunships loitered over there waiting for a political decision to be made, which took a long time to make, and by the time it was made the situation was over.
So I don't understand why you want to refer a political decision to the Pentagon. It is a political decision. We're not asking you to judge it, but what was the hangup? Was it a military hangup, or was it a political hangup?
MS. SHELLY: I'm just not in a position to answer your question. I mean, if the implication from this is that there was a lot of time involved in working its way up the U.N. chain of command, then clearly you need to address that question to the U.N. But I'm not going to tell you that three hours was too long on the basis of one scanty report or two. I just don't think that would be responsible on my part.
Q Actually, Christine, under various circumstances airstrikes or air support has been called for and, as I recall, not a single shot has been fired in spite of fairly - - a number of, several, requests by commanders on the ground, because the political permission was not given. Is that your understanding?
MS. SHELLY: I'll have to check.
Q Would you, please? I mean, could you, please, check on this issue?
MS. SHELLY: If this is an issue which is appropriate for State Department to answer, then I will look into it, and we will put up an answer. If it is something which is also much more appropriately directed to the Pentagon or to the U.N., I will also say that.
Q Terrific. Okay. I'd like to ask something else on Bosnia. Are we going to have some sort of ceremony here this week on the signing of the Croatian-Bosnian accords?
MS. SHELLY: As to the parties reached agreement, as I think you know, on a draft constitution for the Bosnian Government, Bosnian-Croat Federation, yesterday -- that's March 13 in Vienna -- the delegations continue negotiations on a detailed accord which sets forth the principles for confederation between the new federation and Croatia proper.
This agreement can only be finalized after the Bosnian Serbs have been brought into the arrangement. We expect that the parties will come to Washington at the end of the week for a signing ceremony that we are provisionally expecting will take place on Friday, March 18.
I don't have any more details for you about that. That's just the planning at this moment based on the agreement having been reached yesterday.
Ambassador Redman remains in Vienna. He will be returning to Washington tomorrow. Over the weekend he continued his talks. He met with Bosnian Prime Minister Silajdzic and Croatian Foreign Minister Granic, which resulted in the parties resolving the few remaining outstanding differences that I understood that they had.
As you know, the military talks had also been going on in the last few days, March 11 and 12, between the military representatives of the Bosnian Government and the Bosnian Croats, and retired U.S. General John Galvin and his team presided over the signing of an agreement that outlines how these forces will be integrated into a single federation army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
I understand the agreement expresses support for the UNPROFOR brokered peace accord between the Bosnian Government and the Bosnian Croat forces. It also outlines military confidence-building measures and sets out organizational precepts and time lines for establishing a federation army that would be under joint command.
So that's, I think, where we stand on the political talks, signing ceremonies, Redman's whereabouts, military talks. Hopefully, that lets you know where we are.
Q I would like to revisit China for just one moment basically. I only wanted to, I guess, clarify one thing. There has been no change whatsoever in the Executive Order, first of all. And also while Christopher was over there, was there any mention of adding China into GATT?
MS. SHELLY: There's no change in the Executive Order, and on GATT I'll have to check.
Q Just a quick follow-up to an earlier statement you made. You said there was some progress on human rights during the Secretary's visit. Can you elaborate a little bit of what that progress constitutes?
MS. SHELLY: I can't right now. I'll check and see if I can later or, if not, I assume we would be prepared to come back to that at tomorrow's briefing.
Q May I reword an earlier question? Does the State Department believe that American interests are advanced by the chain of command situation as it now exists, or is it the view --
MS. SHELLY: Mark, what is the point of the question?
Q The point of the question is --
MS. SHELLY: Yes.
Q -- to find out whether officials in this building are satisfied that the chain of command works the way Americans believed it was supposed to have worked.
MS. SHELLY: The United States signed on as a party to the agreement which specifically created these mechanisms and also established what the chain of command was. Again, the quality characterization to that, whether it worked sufficiently well in this case, I think I've made my position clear.
Q Thank you.
MS. SHELLY: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:45 p.m.)
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