U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING Monday, March 28, 1994 BRIEFER: Michael McCurry STATE DEPARTMENT Awards Ceremony for Ambassador Deane Hinton ..........1 ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES Election of New Secretary General, Cesar Gaviria .......1,2 U.S. Activity in Election ............................................................2 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Jordan's Role in Peace Process ..............................................2,3,4 MIF Inspections and Impact on Jordanian Economy .......2,3,4,5 IRAQ Enforcement of Sanctions ........................................................3,4 Humanitarian Concerns ..............................................................3,4 HAITI Governor's Island Accord ..........................................................6 Plan to Restore President Aristide .....................................6,7 UN Sanctions ..................................................................................6,7 TURKEY Municipal Elections. ....................................................................7 NORTH KOREA Security Council Resolution ....................................................8,9 China's Role .....................................................................................8,9 UKRAINE Parliamentary Elections ...........................................................10 SOUTH AFRICA Johannesburg Shootings ............................................................10,11 JAPAN Reaction to U.S. Travel Advisory ...........................................11,12 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Exclusion Zone ...............................................................................12 Bosnian-Serb Position on the Federation ..........................12,13 (###)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, MARCH 28, 1994,12:38 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon, everybody. I'd like to start with some happy news. Deputy Secretary Strobe Talbott just a short while ago presented Ambassador Deane Hinton with the Wilbur J. Carr Award, which is given to the Department of State's most senior and respected Foreign Service Officers as they complete their careers.
I think many of you know that Ambassador Hinton, who retired effective March 3, 1994, was our longest serving Foreign Service Officer. He had served under every President since Harry Truman in his government career that spanned 50 years. There were a lot of people there who wish him well and congratulate him, and he was presented with an award citation that read:
"In recognition of a career of unparalleled distinction that spans the entire World War II era and includes service in virtually every corner of the globe. Your standard of professionalism and honesty in public service will remain the model for future diplomats to emulate."
I thought that was a nice occasion that I wanted to draw your attention to.
Second, on the subject of the election yesterday at the Organization of American States, yesterday, I think as you know, the OAS elected Colombia's President Cesar Gaviria to be its new Secretary General. We were happy to join other countries in supporting President Gaviria in voting for him. We congratulate him, obviously, on his election.
OAS member states have chosen a strong, courageous leader whose commitment to democracy and sound economic policies has remained steadfast during a dangerous and critical time in Colombia's history. That unwavering commitment along with his decisiveness, proven managerial skills and hemispheric vision will serve the OAS well as it enters its own crucial period of renewal and revitalization.
We look forward to having a productive working relationship with Secretary General-elect Gaviria to further our common goal of a stronger OAS and a stronger inter- American system.
With those two items to start with, we will go to any questions. George.
Q Do you have any comment on the suggestions that the United States used strong-arm tactics to get Mr. Gaviria elected?
MR. McCURRY: I think those suggestions may have come from the candidate who lost the race and his personal resentment over -- the outcome of the election will not affect our working relations either with the OAS or with Costa Rica. I think several delegations, as they took note yesterday of their own votes, made it clear that the United States Government had pressured no one.
We did assert a strong interest in this election because of our belief that the Organization of American States is a very important institution, promoting stability and democracy in the hemisphere, and I think our activity in the election is a reflection of our own belief that we want to play an important role in the region.
Q Mike, do you have any comment on King Hussein's comments this morning that they would not resume Middle East peace talks unless the Aqaba blockade was lifted, and did he indeed pass that message to the U.S. Ambassador in Amman?
MR. McCURRY: First, let me give you a little context. Jordan has overall played a constructive role in the peace process, and we believe that Jordan will continue pursuing peace through the Middle East peace process. That's manifestly in Jordan's interest.
We've been engaged in discussions with the Jordanian Government and with other partners in the coalition about ways that we might be able to improve and maintain the integrity of the sanctions regime while responding to concerns that the Jordanian Government has about the adverse effects of multinational interdiction force inspections that Jordan maintains has a negative impact on the Jordanian economy, and we are exploring some proposals at this time.
The coalition remains committed, obviously, to effective enforcement of U.N. sanctions on Iraq, and that consideration will be paramount in our examination of proposals to alleviate the burden on the Jordanian economy.
I am not sure how the actual contact occurred, relevant to your question. I think the King, as I understand, may have called in the Permanent Five members of the Security Council -- their Ambassadors -- to make his point. But I really don't have any details on that meeting.
Q That was his message? "We're not going back to the peace talks unless the blockade is lifted."
MR. McCURRY: I think his remarks are consistent with what I said, that they will play a constructive role in the peace process, and they are raising the issues about the MIF inspections that do have impact on the economy, and we think that we can continue to discuss those with the Government of Jordan.
Q According to Jordan's state news agency, which I think speaks for the King, it's pretty clear cut: stop the searches of the ships immediately, or we don't go back to the peace talks. What sort of proposals or approaches are you --
MR. McCURRY: As I say, pursuing peace is manifestly in Jordan's interest, and we think that that commitment to a comprehensive and just settlement in the region is one that Jordan will continue to work on in discussions here in Washington and elsewhere.
Q Mike, on Friday the Turkish Government also called for the lifting of the blockade -- the Ambassador did -- and I can't -- I may be wrong, but I can't think of anyone in the region who actually supports the blockade. Why does the United States -- along with the Security Council continue to push this thing three years later? What are you --
MR. McCURRY: Simply because the United Nations Security Council has placed very specific requirements on Iraq, and Iraq to this point is not in full compliance with those relevant measures passed by the U.N. Security Council. That triggers both the effort to enforce the sanctions, and those measures will remain in place while Iraq is in non- compliance.
Q What do they still have to do -- Iraq?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have a full readout, but you know from the relevant resolutions, there is a long list of measures, and in virtually every category there's been insufficient progress on the part of Iraq to merit considering lifting those sanctions.
Q Has there been any recent reading on the effects Iraq is having on -- the embargo is having on the civilian population, the health of the children, for example?
MR. McCURRY: There have been assessments of that nature, and I would point out that two very important U.N. Security Council resolutions would allow Iraq to engage in limited oil sales that would generate revenue to take care of the humanitarian concerns of its citizens. Among other things, those are two of the resolutions that have not been complied with. So the negative effect of those sanctions could be met if Iraq would follow through on the commitments that it needs to make to the world community.
Q Yes, but what you're saying is that the children are being held responsible for the policies of the President -- of the head of the government.
MR. McCURRY: The citizens of Iraq do suffer under the policies of Saddam Husayn. That's correct.
Q It's been an American policy not to let -- try not to let embargoes hurt innocents, as seen, say, in Haiti.
MR. McCURRY: As I say, that's why there's a specific policy on the part of the United Nations Security Council to allow Iraq to receive oil-generated revenue that can be used to address these humanitarian concerns.
Q How about simply allowing Iraq to receive the kinds of things that are necessary to alleviate the suffering of the people who are innocent?
MR. McCURRY: I will look at the impact of those related sanctions on humanitarian efforts. I think there may be some such measures in place, but I'd have to look more carefully at that.
Q I'm sorry, but I don't understand your response to the question. Are you saying that the U.S. believes there are ways to satisfy Jordan on this issue? Or, I mean, I just can't draw the answer out of your --
MR. McCURRY: What I'm saying is that we believe that Jordan will remain overall committed to pursuing the objectives of peace in the region through the discussions that are occurring to advance a comprehensive peace settlement.
Q Are you saying the U.S. will not at this time lift the -- favor of lifting the blockade? Can you say that?
MR. McCURRY: As I just said, there has not been a judgment on our part that Iraq has complied with the requirements of the U.N. Security Council sufficient to justify a change in that regime.
Q You seem to be saying possibly that there could be changes in the way that the embargo regime is done that would address some of the Jordanian problems.
MR. McCURRY: That's correct.
Q Sort of a middle ground between lifting it or not lifting it.
MR. McCURRY: Their concern is about the effect that inspections have in the Gulf of Aqaba, among other things, and we think there are ways of addressing those issues in discussions that we are already having with the Government of Jordan, and consistent with the requirements that other members of the coalition have as well.
Q Have there been during the period of time in which these searches have been taking place -- has contraband been uncovered? Have there been attempts uncovered to smuggle things through Jordan to Iraq, and how is Jordan complying otherwise?
MR. McCURRY: I think by and large, as we've reported from here, there has been a high degree of cooperation on the part of the Government of Jordan with efforts to enforce the sanctions. I don't have the most recent rundown of what these inspections have done. I'll see if I can get something further on that.
Q Is there a sense that the searches and the slowdown of shipping and everything is harming Jordan's economy?
MR. McCURRY: We have taken note of the statements by the Government of Jordan that it has had an adverse impact on their economy.
Q Perhaps not searching ships and stopping them but maintaining the blockade?
MR. McCURRY: I've said what I'm going to say on that. We are discussing with them some specific proposals that might address some of their concerns, but I'm not going to get into which kind of proposals or what.
Debbie, did you have one?
Q Could we go to another subject?
MR. McCURRY: Another subject.
Q I've been out of the loop for a little while, but are we changing our policy towards Haiti somehow, given reports that we are --
MR. McCURRY: No. You haven't been out of the loop.
Q No change in policy?
MR. McCURRY: Same policy.
Q Same old policy?
MR. McCURRY: The framework of our effort to address the political crisis in Haiti remains the Governors Island accord and permutations thereof. They call for the essential same elements, and they are all designed to bring about both the return of President Aristide and democracy to Haiti, using a combination of economic sanctions that bring pressure to bear on Haitian military and police authorities, combined with a viable political process that attempts to resolve the crisis by building on the Governors Island framework. That's the same policy -- has been the policy.
From time to time, we try to enhance the policy or try to get some forward movement, because frankly there hasn't been much forward movement recently, but that's the path we're on.
Q Yes, but can you address yourself to the reports that the United States is seeking simultaneity, the stepping down of the military leadership, coupled with the appointment of a new Prime Minister, coupled with an amnesty for the military?
MR. McCURRY: Without going into all the elaborate discussions that have been underway, I think as many of you know, Vice President Gore met with President Aristide on Friday. The White House put out some detail on that meeting. But I would say that to address some of President Aristide's stated concerns that grow out of this recent effort that we had involving some of the Haitian parliamentarians, we have offered assurances that would provide certain simultaneity and the first steps that would have to be addressed.
These are the steps that are reflected in the Governors Island framework -- the naming of a new Prime Minister, the retirement of General Cedras, passage of an amnesty law, and assurances regarding the circumstances of his return to Haiti. If those were acceptable to President Aristide, the United States would be prepared to push for increased United Nations sanctions should the military not fill its obligations under the initiative.
Q Did you get a reaction from President Aristide?
MR. McCURRY: I don't believe I should provide that. I think it would be more appropriate for the President or his representatives to provide it.
Q Are you pushing for more sanctions soon?
MR. McCURRY: We have said for some time that we are willing to push for expanded sanctions, particularly if there is not a willingness on the part of the Haitian military authorities to move forward with what would seem to us to be a reasonable process that might result in a resolution of Haiti's political crisis.
Q New package? How is it new?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know that it's new. I think these just represent some fine-tuning in the effort to bring about some resolution of the political crisis. I think that what's new is that we have been meeting with the other members of the world community that we work on Haiti with in New York. We've also met -- as I said, Vice President Gore met with President Aristide Friday, and I think that all of those are aimed at some process that would bring about a settlement of Haiti's political crisis.
Q Another subject?
MR. McCURRY: Another subject. Back here and then Saul.
Q Yesterday in Turkey their local elections were called, and the results showing that one of the Motherland Party win Istanbul's biggest team in the country, mayorship, and also they doubled their support in the people. Do you have any reaction on this?
MR. McCURRY: We don't have any official reaction. Yesterday I think there were a lot of interesting results in Turkey. Certainly Prime Minister Ciller's party and the result that the True Path Party had in some of the voting, particularly outside of Istanbul, is of interest to us, but the official result probably will not be known for a week to ten days, and we are going to prefer to withhold any official comment until we have a more final accounting of the elections results themselves. The returns that are available at this point are still pretty sporadic.
Q And also, the last week, I know the U.S. policy may not admit terrorist organization or the representative of a terrorist organization. The last week, two Turkish parliamentary in which they are of Turkish origin, they visit the State Department. With them is one of the guys -- his role as a translator -- he is the representative of the PKK terrorist organization in Washington, D.C. How do you accept of him?
MR. McCURRY: I'm totally unaware of that. I'll have to find out more about that.
Q Can you take this question?
MR. McCURRY: Yes. I'll find out about that. Maybe you can provide some additional details to our press office staff so we can ask the right question of the right people.
Q Sunday I guess the London Times had a story about Russia developing -- reports that they might be developing some new germ warfare agent that we don't have an antidote for. Do you have any comment on that?
MR. McCURRY: I heard something about that account, but I don't have any formal answer worked up on that yet. These people were looking into that. I don't think it's consistent with anything that we were aware of, but we are trying to find out some more on it. If I can get more later, I will post it.
Q But you're not prepared to dismiss it yet, at this point.
MR. McCURRY: I'm not prepared to comment at any great length on it until we look at the report a little more carefully.
Q I'm just trying to find out if there's anything new on the timetable for the resolution on North Korea at the United Nations?
MR. McCURRY: I don't believe so. I think that we tabled, I think, a draft resolution. We're working with other members of the Security Council, including the Chinese, to come up with an appropriate response. But I think that those discussions will continue at the Security Council this coming week.
Q Have the comments from China discouraged you from -- discouraged the United States from putting that forward at this point or --
MR. McCURRY: No, because I think that we have certainly made clear publicly, and I know we have made clear to the Chinese, that we are following a very patient and deliberate path when it comes to dealing with the North Korea issue, and it's something that the Chinese themselves have asked us to be mindful of.
Q Do you have any comments on the latest statements out of China that we ought to be talking instead of doing resolutions?
MR. McCURRY: We agree that there needs to be a very careful effort to address this within the context of the work that's being done at the United Nations, and in that sense talk and dialogue continues. The steps that are available to North Korea to re-enter high-level discussions with the United States continue to remain valid.
Q How much are we depending upon China to exercise its influence with North Korea?
MR. McCURRY: We have said often that we think that they could be helpful and can play a constructive role in helping to address this issue, and we have urged them to do so.
Q Is there any assessment on what their influence might be, because there are some experts on the region who say that the Chinese influence is not all that great?
MR. McCURRY: There are a variety of assessments by different analysts on what their influence might be.
Q What's our assessment?
MR. McCURRY: Not one that I will share. I think we made it clear that we have talked to them and believe that they can play a constructive role, so that sort of speaks for itself, I think.
Q They can play a constructive role, but are they?
MR. McCURRY: They have, and we expect that they will.
Q Have they ever specifically asked the North Koreans to abide by the IAEA requirements?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know that I know the answer to that. That would be a question that you could appropriately put to the Chinese, I think.
Q Well, Mike, it's not clear to me what your feelings are about the possibility that this resolution will be reduced to a statement from the President of the Council. Is this a possibility; and, if so, would we consider that a satisfactory response?
MR. McCURRY: I think that we remain, at the moment, working in New York on a draft resolution. Presidential statements are very significant, reflect the sentiments of members of the Security Council as stated by the President. Draft resolutions, or resolutions of course, have additional impact; and the work that we're doing in New York today involves a draft resolution.
Q Mike, how does the State Department view events in Crimea -- the elections?
MR. McCURRY: The vote -- the vote over the weekend?
Q The vote, and the general trends towards separation.
MR. McCURRY: We don't have a different view of Crimea than the one that we stated often here. The statement -- you know, our concern about the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea -- is something that we've commented often upon here.
The election results in Ukraine: I think many of you know there was a sufficient turnout at the local level to make this a valid election. There had been some speculation the voter turnout would be below the 50 percent requirement that exists district by district, so it does appear that they have elected a new Rada. But I think it's interesting that in Crimea that some of the parliamentary vote tallies were somewhat lower than in other parts of Ukraine -- but above 50 percent. There had been, I think, as you know, by the head of the autonomous area, Mr. Meshkov, an overall boycott of the election. But the initiative, I think, didn't have any legal bearing or any legal standing under the constitution of Ukraine, so we would take it as a reflection of some sentiment on the part of those who voted but not in any way changing the U.S. view on the territorial integrity of Crimea as it pertains to the overall territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Q So as far as the Administration is concerned, Crimea is part of Ukraine and that's that
MR. McCURRY: It has, but it's not only as far as us. It's as far as Ukraine, Russia, and the United States feel Crimea is part of Ukraine; and it's so stated in agreements that we have reached in the past.
Q New subject: Do you have anything by way of a reaction, or perhaps interpretation, of the latest bloodshed in South Africa?
MR. McCURRY: Only that, obviously, the violence itself interferes with the effort to conduct the elections; and in that sense it's something that the United States clearly deplores in the strongest possible terms.
That violence, we believe, is aimed at derailing the transition process that's underway. Provocation, intimidation, and violence cannot be permitted to deny the South African people their opportunity to join the community of democratic states.
We do think there should be an investigation into acts of violence like this so that the culprits can be brought to justice, and the transition council does have means by which they can investigate acts of violence of this nature.
I believe we had some good reporting from our Consulate in Johannesburg confirming, I think, what a lot of the news accounts are indicating as well.
Q For this most recent violence in South Africa, President Clinton went on national TV last week and said he still cherished hopes that Chief Buthelezi would take part in the elections. Is that a hope that we still cherish; is that something that we're losing?
MR. McCURRY: I think it's a hope that we do still cherish. We think the broadest possible participation in the elections will contribute to the transformation taking place in South Africa, and we have not given hope that Inkatha and Chief Buthelezi will participate.
Q In Japan, Ambassador Mondale issued a formal apology for the carjacking deaths of two Japanese students in Los Angeles. That story, apparently, is getting very big play in Japan, with headlines about violence in the U.S. Are we worried about the impact on Japanese tourism or any other aspect of our relations because of this incident?
MR. McCURRY: I think that we are. A deplorable and senseless act of violence like this does give a very distorted and one-sided view of the United States abroad, and that does cause us concern. I think that's why Ambassador Mondale's comments were very important and very appropriate. They were carried widely by Japanese organizations, which we appreciate.
We don't believe that acts of violence like this will harm the opportunities that the United States and Japan have to develop a fruitful and close working relationship, and we do think it's important for the Japanese to understand that crimes like carjacking are things that are not tolerated in the United States. Carjacking was made a Federal crime in l992, and the Administration is currently working on an anti- crime bill in the United States Congress that would make car- jacking punishable by the death penalty.
So I think that that is also important information that the Japanese need to have in addition to the obvious -- which is that it is safe to travel and to explore the United States and to visit the United States as a tourist or on business and take advantage of the many opportunities here.
Q Mike, why --
MR. McCURRY: Sid.
Q -- why has the carjacking presented a "distorted and one-sided view" of life in the United States. It seems to me like it happens like by the minute in most major cities in the United States.
MR. McCURRY: I think that it's easy to get statistics on crime and it would be easy to establish that most Americans are not victims of that crime.
Q Then why did we enact a law to address it?
MR. McCURRY: To demonstrate how thoroughly repugnant that crime is and how completely determined the United States will be to punish those who carry out such a crime.
Q A different subject?
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q The Serbs are refusing to put guns that are in the exclusion zone under U.N. control. Do you have anything on that?
MR. McCURRY: I think -- my understanding is that the Serbs are in negotiation with UNPROFOR over how to carry out the obligations they have under the terms of the NATO ultimatum. There have been discussions recently about how you interpret the radius of the exclusion zone, from what point it's measured. Now there are discussions under way about how exactly you live up to the requirement to put certain types of weapons under control.
We believe UNPROFOR, on the ground, dealing with local Bosnian Serb commanders, are attempting to resolve this through the dialogue that they're having. But there are very clear mandates that NATO and UNPROFOR are placing on weapons inside that exclusion zone, and the Bosnian Serbs are well aware of them.
Q I know I heard about Redman over the weekend and saw part of his speech in Sarajevo. What incentives is the United States offering Karadzic and the Bosnian Serbs and Milosevic to sign on to the Federation?
MR. McCURRY: Well, I don't know that it's an encouragement or incentive, but they think they know, as the United States has stated often, that the likelihood that there would be any relaxation in the sanctions that are currently in effect on Serbia -- and it have a considerable impact on Bosnian Serbs as well -- are not likely to change unless there is a peace settlement that is being implemented, and is being effectively implemented, in the eyes of the world community.
I think that at this point, given the ravaged condition of the Serbian economy, that might be a fairly significant incentive.
Q Thank you.
MR. McCURRY: You're welcome.
(Briefing concluded at l:06 p.m.)
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