U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING Friday, March 25, 1994 BRIEFER: Michael McCurry FORMER YUGOSLAVIA US Peace Efforts ................................ 1-3 -- Ambassador Redman's Discussions with Parties 1-3 -- Status of Sanctions ......................... 3 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Prospects for Secretary Visiting Region ......... 4 US Contact with Parties ......................... 4,6-7 Implementation of Declaration of Principles ..... 4-6 -- US Security Assistance ...................... 4-6 PAKISTAN/INDIA Sale of US F-16s to Pakistan/Nuclear Issues ..... 7-8 CHINA Status of Export License for Satellite .......... 8-9 Visit by Former Secretary Vance/Human Rights .... 12-13 NORTH KOREA Secretary's Meeting with IAEA Director General .. 9-10 Russian Proposal for International Conference ... 10-12 -- Coordination with US ........................ 10-12 MEXICO Assassination of Luis Donaldo Colosio/US Reaction 12 -- US Pledge of Cooperation in Investigation ... 12 (###)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, MARCH 25. 1994, 12:44 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon, everybody. No statements to start with today, so we'll go straight to questions.
Q Mike, the Serbs apparently are reacting negatively to the idea of incorporating themselves with the Muslim-Croat Federation, and I was wondering if you had a comment.
MR. McCURRY: I would not take that reaction as a final judgment on their part. I think Ambassador Redman intends to continue his discussions in the region. As you know, he's scheduled to be in Sarajevo tomorrow. I expect that he will continue to have discussions with the parties, and I think that they are certainly going to be talking about this concept -- the idea of a loose confederation with the newly federated Bosnian and Croatian entity. And I think we'll just have to see where the discussions go. I wouldn't take this as the last or definitive word.
Q How about -- an Albanian leader was in town this week and making a strong point that Kosovo should be included in all this peace talk that's going on now. What's the United States' opinion on that. You've supported efforts to try to bring peace to Krajina. What about Kosovo?
MR. McCURRY: I think that's right. I mean, the United States has, as you said, welcomed Croatia's offer of autonomy for the Serbian community in Krajina, and we feel that would be an important step in the peace process. And I think similarly we support a solution on Kosovo that would provide autonomy to the ethnic Albanian population living there.
Q But is anybody working on that right now?
MR. McCURRY: I think that's in the larger context of how you begin to bring the Serbian discussion together with the agreements that have already been reached. I think that has been a factor. And, of course, our commitment to Kosovo is well known and has been restated often, I think.
Q Different topic.
Q One more on this. When Redman began on this quest, he was going to get sort of the bottom line from the Bosnian Muslims and then try to use that as a starting point in negotiating with anybody. Does Redman yet have an idea of the kind of map the Bosnian Muslims would like to see?
MR. McCURRY: I think there have been very good, productive discussions between the Bosnian Government and not only Ambassador Redman but Secretary Christopher as well, as to the reasonable requirements that the Bosnian Government has to successfully conclude a peace agreement. I think there have been good discussions, yes.
Q What are those reasonable requirements?
MR. McCURRY: They will be talked about in the discussions that they're having. I mean, it's not for me here, now to try to tip the scales of the process of negotiation in which the parties need to be able to deal directly with each other.
Q Does it include -- I know the percentage that --
MR. McCURRY: Saul, I'm not going to discuss percentages or things "in case." They need to talk.
Q No, no. I know the percentage that Ambassador Redman talked about. I'm just wondering whether this map would include at least some of the areas that have been claimed by Muslims but were taken by the Serbs and were ethnically cleansed -- some of the cities and towns, for example.
MR. McCURRY: There are areas -- I think a feature of all the peace discussions concerning Bosnia have included Serb withdrawal from areas that would have been deemed to have been ethnically cleansed, yes. And, of course, they are concentrated around those areas that the U.N. has designated as safe areas. But I don't want to -- I can't get too far into that discussion of where the parties are for the precise reason that since our effort is to try to help the Bosnian Government with their reasonable requirements and the process of negotiation precludes a very public discussion of where they are in that process as is underway.
Q I'd like to sort of pursue just a little bit more the reason for your initial statement on taking the Serb rejection of the federation idea as a final word. Do you have any actual reason to believe that that's a bargaining position on their part. Are they sort of indicating to you privately that they're actually willing to talk, or do you just feel that with Ambassador Redman going out there to renew talks, that you just want to try to make your case?
MR. McCURRY: I think that's probably a combination of all those things. I think we need to make the case that we do expect that this will be a negotiation in which positions are staked out at first and then there's more give-and-take as the talks go on. But, of course, we have to see how that develops.
A good example of this is there have been conflicting statements from the Bosnian Serb leadership about whether or not sanctions would have to be lifted in order for them to have discussions. Some leaders say one thing. Other leaders indicate differently. The talks continue. This all becomes, I think, becomes part of the context of the discussion that's underway.
Q What's our position on lifting sanctions?
MR. McCURRY: Same as it's been. We are prepared to discuss the phased easing of sanctions once there is an agreement that has been reached and is in the process of being implemented and the international community is satisfied it's being implemented. The same position we've had.
Q Involving all three.
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Is the issue of war crimes also on the table along with the issue of sanctions?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of.
Q Middle East, Mike.
MR. McCURRY: Middle East.
Q The Lebanese Foreign Minister, Prime Minister, met with Ambassador Pelletreau today and afterwards said that Secretary Christopher is maybe going to the Middle East in early April. Is there any hint of truth in that?
MR. McCURRY: I think he was just speculating on what might happen next, but there are no plans that have been definitively made for a trip by the Secretary at this point.
Q Well, what might happen first? Negotiations or a trip?
MR. McCURRY: I think it's unclear at this point. There are discussions that will be underway next week, I think as you know, Barry, in Cairo, and that those discussions we expect to continue.
Q Well, would he conceivably go without another round of talks under his belt? I mean, what could he possibly --
MR. McCURRY: It's not useful to speculate at this point, because we don't have any answers on that.
Q Is convening another round a requirement before Christopher goes?
MR. McCURRY: Not necessarily, no.
Q Does the State Department have a position on Israel going beyond the Declaration of Principles to provide a couple of security measures or guarantees or whatever in Hebron?
MR. McCURRY: I'm sorry. I don't understand the question.
Q Israel has agreed with the PLO to allow foreign armed observers in and to have joint patrols, neither of which I believe is in the Declaration of Principles which you kind of click as holy writ, and I thought they did until they made this move.
Is this something that's for the parties to work with and change and refine and modify, or do you have a position?
MR. McCURRY: I think we want to be helpful. We certainly know a great deal about the agreements that they've been reaching, but we think we can be most helpful in providing some assistance on our own. For example, we're in the final stages now of preparing a package of I think 200 vehicles, mostly pickup trucks, utility vehicles, and things like that, that we will make available as sort of non- lethal aid that will contribute to some of the requirements to be able to move around and make this new police force mobile.
Q Are you talking about the Hebron area now?
MR. McCURRY: That's for the police force that's anticipated as part of the Declaration.
Q The Palestinian police.
MR. McCURRY: I think that the arrangements for Hebron are really what the parties themselves have been discussing.
Q No, no. I'm not sure, but I'm talking specifically about the American participation. That is in the Hebron -- in the Declaration mandated -- implementing the Declaration is what you're saying.
MR. McCURRY: Right.
Q It's part of that.
MR. McCURRY: Our helping with implementation -- but the parties themselves, if that assistance is available, the parties themselves can work out the arrangements for things that they've been discussing directly, whether it relates to Hebron or other issues.
Q They don't seem to have gotten to the point of deciding or even requesting particular nations to contribute to this foreign force. Is it too early to ask if the United States is available to provide troops, or whatever you want to call them, as part of this lightly armed -- described as "lightly armed" observer team or monitoring team?
MR. McCURRY: I think it is too early to discuss that.
Q Mike, the 200 vehicles -- those are the Humvees that the Secretary announced in Amman some months back?
MR. McCURRY: I think that. I believe that's the same thing. I think he made reference to it then as pulling together the actual package now.
Q And now that's getting ready to go out, is that what you're saying?
MR. McCURRY: Yes. That's getting ready, I'd say in the final stages of preparing to make that available.
Q And what kind of vehicles are they? How much money are we talking about?
MR. McCURRY: All I have is that they're described as pickup trucks and utility vehicles. We'll try to get some more on the valuation, how many, where they're going.
Q Could I ask also on these developments, whether they're rooted in American suggestions? You remember, there's that continuing question about exactly what is the American involvement. Somehow this Administration, like previous Administrations, speaks in terms of catalysts and, you know, helpful and suggestions but is very careful to say the U.S. doesn't propose things.
What the PLO and Israel have now agreed to -- is there an American ingredient in that, or did it spontaneously originate with the parties?
MR. McCURRY: It clearly did not originate spontaneously. There was a great deal of hard work that went into this. Certainly, there's credit that goes to the role played by the Norwegians. The Russians and the United States as co-sponsors of this process have been very directly participating in discussions related to this. But it is clear and important to note that the important work was done directly by the parties themselves, face-to-face in the dialogue that they are having that grows out of the signing of the Declaration of principles. And that is consistently the way we have felt it should be, for this reason.
The confidence that these parties will have in carrying forward the commitments they've made as part of the Declaration has to be a relationship built on trust they have in each other. The entry of third parties from the outside to try to resolve questions that they need to address themselves ultimately undermines the spirit of the agreement itself. That's why we have placed such special emphasis on them being involved directly themselves in discussions, face- to-face, and that's by and large the way they have been making progress. The progress they make is in the dialogue they have with each other.
Q You realize because I'm asking most specifically about these two developments, whether they're American ideas or --
MR. McCURRY: I think you know Ambassador Ross and our team has been there. They have tried to be helpful. I think they have played a useful role, as the parties themselves would say, but it really should be up to the parties to indicate what role they feel has been played by those who have participated from the outside; because, as I say, the important thing is that they have done this work together face-to-face.
Q Can I ask about another subject if we're still on the Middle East. It pertains to policy on India and Pakistan, the Strobe Talbott trip. Of course, that doesn't exist on its own. It's been part of a process, and I guess one of the main angles there is to offer Pakistan -- I just heard the old (inaudible) director again say, you know, if they will cap their development of fissile material, they could maybe get their F-16s, provided it's verifiable, and they're going to make a similar request, a capping request, of India. And quite honestly we were unable to get from him what incentives after Pakistan gets jet fighter planes for this.
What incentives could India have? Why press India -- or, if you're pressing India, what's in it for them, frankly?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have an answer to that question. I'll take that. I'm reluctant to get into that because of the Deputy Secretary's upcoming trip. He clearly will have some discussions with India on that point and point out some of the merits of advancing those non-proliferation objectives in the discussions he has with them.
It is clear that the initiative, as it's presented now, to Pakistan has a little more flesh on it, and for the reason that the Pressler sanctions apply. The Pressler sanctions have had a specific impact on the F-16 sale, and it's easy to identify what the incentive is.
With India, it's more difficult, although there are a range of things that I think could be available. But let me go and get some detailed guidance.
Q You know, there might be something in the pipeline that we're not aware, that's been held up or put on hold that maybe now could be freed up, or something new?
MR. McCURRY: There are some things, but rather than wing it on an answer, I'd like to get a little more detail on that.
Q Mike, does that set a precedent? It seems to me that what we're doing is telling Pakistan, get rid of your nukes and you can have conventional weapons from the United States, and we make money and you get rid of your nukes. Doesn't it set a sort of dangerous precedent to offer such things?
MR. McCURRY: We kind of covered this yesterday.
Q I wasn't here.
MR. McCURRY: The same question as yesterday. Our view is this a sale that's already taken place, in effect, because there had been a contract for sale, at least in the sense their planes had been bought and paid for; they've been withheld because of the specific effect of these sanctions. So I don't see that this sets a precedent, because it's in a sense a kind of unique circumstance.
Q But Barry's question brought it to mind. Barry asks what's in it for India, and --
Q I just want -- if you're building on my question --
MR. McCURRY: Well cap and reduce.
Q -- get rid of are different things.
MR. McCURRY: Right.
Q No, cap and verify.
Q They reduce.
Q Not in the first --
MR. McCURRY: A verifiable cap -- to get a verifiable cap - -
Q To get your F-16s.
MR. McCURRY: It leads to discussions down the --
Q Down the road.
MR. McCURRY: -- that include the goal of reducing the threat of the weapons.
Q Mike, can I just revive something that came up on the trip in Asia -- the question of the satellites for China. Was a determination ever made in the interagency process whether those satellites could in fact be given a license?
MR. McCURRY: The only one that was pending that I was aware of was the Hughes Opti satellite, and I'm not aware that there has been any determination in the interagency process. I can look and see if that's still the case.
Q On a related question. What can you tell us about the -- or on an unrelated question -- what can you tell us about the Secretary's upcoming meeting with Mr. Blix?
MR. McCURRY: With the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency? He will meet with him this afternoon. I think, as you all know, the Director General has made a public report on the recent inspections in North Korea. He has briefed the Security Council, briefed them yesterday. I think Secretary Christopher was interested in learning more about that report. He has seen the report himself, but he had several things that he wanted to learn more about as they related to both the inspections that were conducted and the inspection that was not conducted that led to the Director General's judgments about the program itself. So this was an opportunity with the Director General here in town today to learn a little bit more about the program.
Q But not a photo opportunity? Uniquely, there are three events today. This building has been somewhat open to the press; mostly through television but there are photo- ops now and then. And I wondered if we have to wait for the MacNeil/Lehrer program or could we have a question or two popped at the meeting this afternoon?
MR. McCURRY: The Secretary is interested today in having a good, substantive discussion with the Director General. It's not a news-making venue for the Secretary. The Secretary, as you know, before Congress just several days ago made a very lengthy statement on North Korea, and I don't know that we have anything more to add in terms of news. This is really a chance for him personally to learn more about the inspections. So I don't think it's a news-making event.
Q Mr. Blix might have something to say.
MR. McCURRY: He's welcome to have a chat with you.
MR. McCURRY: Wherever you'd like. It's up to him.
Q Is there a new attitude towards photo opportunities, in general?
MR. McCURRY: No.
Q Or is it just this specific one and the one that happened this morning and the one that happened yesterday and the one that happened the day before?
MR. McCURRY: We choose when and under what circumstances we make photos available. That's up to us to decide, and there's no change. We decide them on a case by case basis.
Q But could I footnote it briefly before you beat it to death? Obviously, that's an opportunity to ask on a broad range. It doesn't have to be the specific item. The Secretary is very capable of saying, "I'd rather not talk about this subject, but it's an opportunity to talk about another subject." That's why we welcome these. We don't get too many news conferences, but this is a semi-news conference.
MR. McCURRY: You have an enormous amount of access to the Secretary, and you have over the last several weeks. He's been available to you on many occasions. He's been here at this podium answering your questions in recent weeks.
He's entitled to have some meetings every once in a while in private without you all hanging around to snoop and to ask questions.
Q Oh, we don't go into the meetings with --
Q Mike, is the Secretary --
MR. McCURRY: Steve, I'm sorry, you had a question.
Q I was just going to ask if Blix and the Secretary would likely, as far as you know, talk about this Russian offer we talked about yesterday, the whole international conference? There's some suggestions around here that that might be viewed more useful 24 hours after it's proposal than it was initially, maybe a relief valve beyond the initial U.N. declaration?
MR. McCURRY: We did not indicate that it was not useful. We said that it should occur in the right type of context. As you recall, yesterday, I think we spent some time on that question under the circumstances in which it would be useful to have the type of international gathering that the Russians proposed. That may well be something that does come up in the discussion today. But, as I say, I think the Secretary's primary interest is learning more technically from the agency that is responsible for the inspections and the status of the NPT safeguards issue, to learn more personally about the status of those inspections and that effort.
Q Mike, can I have another question about this coverage business? Is the Secretary upset or disappointed, or does he feel that he's being unfairly treated by the media in recent weeks?
MR. McCURRY: No. Not at all. Sid.
Q Just to go back to the Russian proposal. A couple of weeks ago, the reporters were told by a U.S. official on the Secretary's airplane that he and Kozyrev had this lengthy discussion about consultations; that the Secretary talked about a card he kept on the desk at his law firm. It said something to the effect of, "It's important to consult with your partners." It's something to care more about than the outcome.
Now the Russians come again with sort of a surprise proposal. Do you think the Russians -- do you think Kozyrev got that message, or are you still a little bit miffed that they're freelancing?
MR. McCURRY: No, they had a good conversation at Vladivostok. I think they reached concurrence on a lot of subjects, including the need to keep close together on the issues in which we are working cooperatively to address certain problems.
I think it's incorrect and as you know, as I said yesterday, they did inform us in advance about the proposal that they were advancing. We didn't have a lot of time, frankly, to exchange views with them on that initiative. But they did inform us in advance. And, as I say, the initiative is one that we described yesterday and at some length. It's one that we would have to examine in the context of all the things we're attempting to get done as we relate to North Korea.
Q When you say they informed you, can you say they consulted with you?
MR. McCURRY: Consultation applies to a lot of back and forth. I don't think there was much time for a lot of back and forth. They certainly did tell us about it in advance.
Q Do you have any observations about the situation in Mexico beyond what you said yesterday?
MR. McCURRY: Not a lot. I think, as you know, most of the action that has been in the United States Government on that has been directed (1) to assistance on law enforcement. I believe the Justice Department had a little bit to say about that today. And then (2), the efforts that the President instructed Secretary Bentsen to carry out. I think over at Treasury they've been dealing with that today. So I don't have much to add -- beyond, of course, what the President said last night, too.
Q Secretary Vance is going to China later this month?
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Personal/private trip? Again, the usual questions. Will he be interceding on human rights on the Administration's behalf. Would you look for a report? He'll at least see the Foreign Minister and maybe the President?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware of what his schedule is nor the purpose of Secretary Vance's upcoming trip. I am aware that he was going. He called Secretary Christopher as a courtesy, and Secretary Christopher indicated that it would be helpful if Secretary Vance could convey the message that we conveyed directly to the Chinese, that it's important to make progress on human rights issues in the time between now and June. We hoped that he would reinforce that message.
Q Do you think that Vance can do that effectively, though, given the fact that he has publicly expressed a difference of opinion with U.S. policy?
MR. McCURRY: I have no way of knowing.
Q Did he tell the Secretary, "I'm sorry, I don't agree with the policy; I'm not going to advance it?"
MR. McCURRY: He didn't indicate that at all.
Q And presumably you'll hear from him when he comes back?
MR. McCURRY: Presumably, we will, particularly if he hears something that he would find interesting. He has the kind of relationship with Secretary Christopher that would make that exchange completely natural, obviously.
Q To what extent was President Nixon's trip to Russia and the people he choose to meet with coordinated with the Administration?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know the answer. I think that came up while we were out of the country. I believe they dealt with it during the time that we were out of the country. So I would look back at whatever they said at that point during the briefing.
Q Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:08 p.m.)
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