U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING Wednesday, March 30, 1994 BRIEFER: Michael McCurry STATEMENT/ANNOUNCEMENT Breakthrough in Guatemalan Peace Process......... 1 Release of ACDA Publication "World Military Expenditures & Arms Transfers". 1 NORTH/SOUTH KOREA Process to Resolve Nuclear Issue................. 2-4 Consultations on "Team Spirit"................... 2-3 IAEA Analysis of Inspection Results.............. 3 Russian Deputy Foreign Minister's Statement on 1961 Defense Treaty............................ 4 GUATEMALA Incidents Against U.S. Citizens.................. 4-5 U.S. Statement Issued on March 16................ 5 CAMBODIA/THAILAND Repatriation to Khmer Rouge Zones................ 5 ITALY Election Results................................. 6 MIDDLE EAST U.S. Reaction to March 29 Gaza Incident.......... 6-7 Status of Cairo Discussions...................... 7 PAKISTAN/INDIA Deputy Secretary Talbott's Trip to Region........ 7-8 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA Dispute with Greece.............................. 8 Process Toward Diplomatic Relations with U.S..... 8-10 Secretary Christopher/Foreign Minister Solana of Spain's Discussions on Greek Blockade.......... 9 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA U.S. Reaction to Ceasefire Agreement Between Croatian Government and Krajina Serbs.......... 11 MEXICO U.S. Support for Elections....................... 10,11 (###)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 1994, 12:36 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon, everybody. I'd like to start with a statement.
The United States Government welcomes the breakthrough achieved in the Guatemalan peace process through the signing of a human rights accord in Mexico City March 29. We congratulate the Government of Guatemala and the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity guerrillas on this important achievement. We also congratulate the United Nations which moderated the talks.
The United States, as a member of the six-nation Group of Friends of the peace process, supported the talks by direct contacts with both sides in coordination with the U.N. moderator. The United States was pleased to join the other friends yesterday as a witness to the signing of the agreements in Mexico City.
The two parties have committed themselves to reaching a comprehensive peace accord by the end of this year. We are encouraged by the political will and flexibility that both sides demonstrated. Difficult issues certainly remain to be negotiated. We will look forward to working closely with the U.N. Moderator Jean Arnault and the Group of Friends to help the parties achieve a definitive settlement.
Second, housekeeping item: I would note for your attention that the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency today has released the latest edition of its publication, "World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers." I haven't had a chance to go through the document, but it's jam-packed full of numbers, which is the kind of thing reporters like.
Copies of the publication and its accompanying press release and fact sheet are available here in our Press Office, and I think if you've got further questions, you can follow up with some of the ACDA folks.
Q Can you hold up the rifles so TV can use this? (Laughter) The South Korean Foreign Minister's visit, speaking on the one hand of confidence that China would not block sanctions -- block the resolution -- but speaking of a resolution that would have minimum requirements, is how he put it.
That kind of sounds like the U.S. approach is for a very mild resolution in order to make sure China's aboard. Can you tell us what that resolution you have in mind might accomplish by itself?
MR. McCURRY: I think that you've heard the Secretary and others describe the process we're in now as one by which in a very deliberate, careful way, in a step-by-step way, we begin to make clear the international community's determination to successfully resolve the North Korea issue.
The resolution that we've been discussing at the United Nations is certainly one that would represent a first step in that effort to begin to, in a careful and deliberate way, address the responsibilities the North Koreans have to the world community.
That's been certainly consistent with what the Secretary has been telling you for the last several days. That would be the initiation of a process by which the United Nations begins to review and take up and become seized of the matter of the North Korea nuclear issue.
Q That sounds like it's kind of weak.
MR. McCURRY: It can sound like anything it wants to, but I think North Korea has expressed itself very strongly, in strong terms about how meaningfully they consider this action. Certainly, other governments that we're working with in the region, including China, South Korea and Japan, have been addressing this issue with the utmost seriousness, and the beginning of this process by action at the U.N. Security Council is in itself a very important and significant step.
Q Mike -- I'm sorry.
MR. McCURRY: Do you want a quickie?
Q They're both Barry (Barrie).
MR. McCURRY: Barrie I and Barry II. Mr. Dunsmore.
Q Okay. I wanted to ask, first of all, if any decision had been made on "Team Spirit."
MR. McCURRY: No. It was a matter that was discussed between the Secretary and the Foreign Minister, and we will continue to consult closely with South Korea on questions related to scheduling.
Q Just to continue, going into Beijing, the President of South Korea, Kim Yong-Sam, seemed to be in a rather tough mode. He was saying that they were running out of time, running out of patience with the North Koreans.
Since he has been in Beijing, there has been a new emphasis now on dialogue and anything that's -- and steering away from anything that might cause tensions, such as sanctions.
Is it a correct inference to draw that there is a softening of the positions of both South Korea and the United States on this issue?
MR. McCURRY: No. I think, as I've just indicated, there is a very careful, deliberate, step-by-step process by which we will begin to make clear the will of the international community as it addresses the North Korean issue, and this is the first initial step, and that is in and of itself a very significant and important development.
Q I was going to ask you, can you give us some idea of the timetable for this process, beginning with the initial resolution, but also do you have a judgment as to whether the North Korean suspect program is now static? In other words, do you have the time to go along this measured course?
MR. McCURRY: Let me answer that in a roundabout way, because it's a tough question for the following reason: The International Atomic Energy Agency, when they conducted the inspections in March, gathered information that's very relevant to exactly that question. They are now in a process by which they analyze the results of the inspections, the data that they were able to collect at the six sites they visited, and the analysis of that data will then be presented formally in a report that will be made to the IAEA.
That does take some time and involves a scientific analysis of the data that was gathered. During that period, of course, it would be a very grave concern to the United States if there was any indication there had been a change in the status of North Korea's nuclear program, but I'm not aware that there has been any change in the status of that program while these discussions have continued at the United Nations and elsewhere.
Q And could you provide some notion of a timetable for moving with this resolution?
MR. McCURRY: Do you mean when it might formally be acted upon?
Q When the others might kick in?
MR. McCURRY: My understanding is that the U.N. will take the matter up today. Whether or not the Security Council will begin to consider formally a resolution today or tomorrow is unclear, but it certainly seems to be something that they're moving towards action, sooner rather than later.
What steps then follow, I suspect there will then be some time. I wouldn't want to speculate on how much time but probably a matter of weeks, a matter of maybe a month in which a lot of this analysis occurs and a lot of things happen related to determining more about what has happened to the program itself.
That might, I think, even be stipulated in the resolution that the United Nations takes up.
Q Just to follow on Barry's first question: How can the United States and the Security Council know anything about North Korea's nuclear program in this interim period? I mean, how can you say whether they're going forward with development of nuclear weapons or not, without the kind of inspections you want?
MR. McCURRY: There have been inspections. First of all, there have been inspections that were successfully conducted at some of the sites in North Korea and data was collected. It's up to the IAEA to examine that data and to report to the international community on the results of the inspections. So that's one step. And then there are, of course, other means that we have of understanding what is occurring at some of the facilities, but those are means that, of course, I can't get into here.
Q How do you read the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister's statement yesterday that Russia considered itself still bound by the 1961 Defense Treaty with North Korea?
MR. McCURRY: My understanding is he was responding to a question about whether or not they still honored a treaty obligation that was in effect since 1961, and the answer was yes. I'm not aware that we read any great significance into that.
Q Can we go back to Guatemala?
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Do you have any advice for Americans planning to visit Guatemala, in light of the fact that at least three Americans have been greeted by hostile mobs this month alone in Guatemala?
MR. McCURRY: Let me review a little bit. Some might not be familiar with the incident you're referring to, George. But a U.S. citizen that was visiting the town of San Cristobal was severely beaten by a mob yesterday that accused her of trafficking in children. She is now in critical condition at a hospital in Guatemala City. There was a very quick response to her situation by the U.S. Embassy staff.
Another U.S. citizen was also attacked and beaten, suffering lesser injuries, at the same time. This incident occurred after the American woman was accused by townspeople of involvement in the disappearance of a local child. A mob grew, threatened the woman. There was an effort, I think, to try to get some troops to respond to this quickly, but they did not arrive before the incident occurred.
Many of these incidents arise because of rumors that have circulated in Guatemala that claim that U.S. citizens participate in the abduction and trafficking of children, and there's been a great deal of sensational media play within Guatemala about these incidents.
We have examined these rumors. No evidence has ever been found to support the claims that are made in some of these sensationalist accounts. The stories themselves, though, I think have generated high emotions, and those emotions, I think, do account for some of the incidents we've seen.
As to your question specifically about Americans who are traveling there, we issued a public statement on March 16 that really examined this issue and some of the conditions that are arising. We are also working with Guatemalan officials and the media to try to address the hysteria that has come about by some of these accounts, and I think that we also make clear to those U.S. citizens who are traveling in Guatemala that they do need to be aware of this situation and to take appropriate precautions.
Q What is your position on the repatriation of the Khmer Rouge -- of Khmer to the Khmer Rouge zones by the Thai army?
MR. McCURRY: I have not actually had a chance to look at that. I will have to take that question. I was aware of that and have seen some reports on it, but I don't know that we've made a formal assessment on that, but I'll look into that.
Q Mike, on the subject of the Italian elections, it seems now in the aftermath that the traditional party structure in Italy is now just totally destroyed, and you probably will have coming into power a coalition which includes the MSI, the Fascist MSI, in Italy.
Is there concern on the part of the U.S. Government over developments in Italy?
MR. McCURRY: Sort of the same response that we had yesterday on that. We'll be awaiting the actions of the newly formed government, however the government is formed, whether it's coalition or otherwise, and we'll be judging the government by what policies they pursue.
Q Mike, on the Middle East, does the Administration have an assessment of the shootings in Gaza yesterday, specifically on the actions of the military -- the Israeli military -- whether they appear to be justified or whether, as some Palestinians have claimed, it was street executions?
MR. McCURRY: We've seen the comments on this by the Israeli authorities who acknowledged that the killings were a tragic mistake, and we clearly believe that these incidents should not have happened. We expect the Israeli authorities to take appropriate actions regarding this incident and to prevent further incidents of this type.
But I'd reiterate once again that obviously the path to progress in avoiding these types of incidents are directly related to the peace process itself, and to the critical importance of the dialogue taking place in Cairo between the Israelis and the PLO.
Q Just to follow up, you say they shouldn't have happened. Is that because Palestinians shouldn't be wearing camouflage masks and carrying guns at night, or Israelis shouldn't be dragging them out and shooting them in the head?
MR. McCURRY: It's because the Israeli authorities have the responsibility to take actions to prevent that type of incident.
Q (Inaudible) the Israeli authorities? I mean, this is the army. There's a big difference between Baruch Goldstein and the army.
MR. McCURRY: Right. The Israeli authorities, meaning the Israeli Government, has responsibility for incidents of this type, and they need to act to prevent it.
MR. McCURRY: Do you have another one?
Q This isn't the first time that the Israeli army has been masquerading in disguise and shooting people. It's been going on for a couple of years at least during the Intifada. Do you have any comment on the general practice of underground units doing this kind of --
MR. McCURRY: We had considerable comment on that in our human rights report that was issued earlier this year.f
Q There seems to be some confusion about the Cairo talks. There were reports that there had been agreement on the number of police to go into Hebron. Now the PLO is saying that an agreement has not been reached on security. Do you all know what exactly has happened?
MR. McCURRY: We know a great deal about the conflicting accounts, and we know a great deal about the status of the negotiations through contacts we've had with the parties, through, I think, the Secretary had a conversation with Shimon Peres earlier today. But our peace team has been in very close contact with the parties themselves, and we understand that they have these matters under close consideration, but I'd refer you to them. They're the ones that are talking face-to-face directly, and they are the ones that need to comment in an authoritative way about the status of their discussions.
Q Thank you.
MR. McCURRY: One back there.
Q Mike, the Administration seems stronger in its plan to deliver F-16s to Pakistan in return for capping off its nuclear program, and some Senators like Pressler and John Glenn and others immediately determined not to let that happen, to the extent of starting a filibuster. Now in that point, the Deputy Secretary is going to the area next week. Could you tell us something -- give us an idea of what his agenda will be? What does he hope to achieve there?
MR. McCURRY: His agenda certainly will include non- proliferation and regional security in South Asia. You are correct, though, in pointing out that there has to be an agreement reached between Congress and the Administration on the effect of our initiative as it relates to sanctions -- the so-called Pressler sanctions. Those consultations have been ongoing. We don't believe that they prevent our dialogue that will be conducted by Deputy Secretary Talbott, and that was recently conducted in both India and Pakistan by Robin Raphel.
But I do think that the importance of including this item on the Deputy Secretary's agenda has not been changed by some of the reaction to our initiative that we've heard from Capitol Hill.
Q Mike, this question keeps coming up. I think you've addressed this in some sort of a way, but you're making a similar request of India and yet there's no F-l6 at the end of the road for India. What are the incentives besides, you know, the real incentive of fewer nuclear weapons around? I'm sorry -- fewer smart technology around. What is in it for India?
MR. McCURRY: I think we answered that question the other night in a taken question, but the answer was that there are some specific incentives for India that we just are not in a position that we can unveil prior to the Deputy Secretary's trip.
Q Do the Indians know what they are yet?
MR. McCURRY: Well, I don't know whether they do or not, but that's one purpose of the Deputy Secretary's trip.
Q Mike, I know you don't comment on columns, but there is a column today which alleges that the White House has stymied a State Department effort to make full diplomatic relations with Macedonia and that the White House did so because of pressures from the Greek-American lobby. Without asking you to comment specifically on those allegations, what is the status of the present relationship with Macedonia? Do we have full diplomatic relations? If not, why not?
MR. McCURRY: Well, you know, it was just fairly recently that we recognized the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. We've now got our Special Envoy, Matt Nimetz, who was just recently appointed in Athens as part of our ongoing effort to not only promote stability in the Balkan region but address specifically some of the issues that we want to see addressed with the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.
There is a dispute between Greece and the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia that is ongoing. There is an embargo in place that Greece has initiated against the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. So it's a situation in which there are a number of diplomatic contacts under way.
What we have discussed with the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia is some of our concerns and our willingness to proceed towards diplomatic relations and some of the things that we would like to resolve step by step as we move towards that goal.
Q Well, when the blockade was imposed, as I recall, the State Department seemed to be concerned about Greek actions of this nature. What is your thought on the blockade at this moment?
MR. McCURRY: Well, it remains a source of concern. In fact, it's one of the things that Secretary Christopher just discussed earlier today with Foreign Minister Solana of Spain. When the Foreign Minister was here, he had just come from the EU meeting and it was a subject that was under discussion there as well. So it's something that I think both within Europe and in our contacts with the Europeans that we've been discussing and attempting to resolve.
Q What specifically do we want the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia to do in order to rate a full Ambassador?
MR. McCURRY: We've discussed with them a variety of things connected to our bilateral relations -- how they would proceed, how we would begin to conduct full diplomatic relations. I don't have, Barrie, a full reading here of what some of those things are, but I think we've got a number of steps that we're pursuing with them that would precede full diplomatic relations.
Q Does the Greek-American feeling on this matter have any bearing on your final decision?
MR. McCURRY: We take into account the views of Americans when we formulate foreign policy, of course.
Q I'm just curious as to what you might know about the effects of that embargo a couple of weeks ago.
MR. McCURRY: (Inaudible)
MR. McCURRY: I haven't seen anything recently. I've seen some indication on what type of impact it's having. Of course, President Gligorov has been quite outspoken on the impact that it's having, and the Macedonians themselves have said a great deal on it.
Q Let's go back to Barrie's question. The story mentions two people in particular -- George Stephanopoulos and Nancy Soderberg at the White House.
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Can you say whether it was due, in large part, to their efforts -- that the Administration's plan to establish full diplomatic relations with Greece were put on hold?
MR. McCURRY: No. I have no information about what role they played. You'd have to check at the White House.
Q Is Secretary Christopher meeting again with the South Korean Foreign Minister later today?
MR. McCURRY: I don't believe he's planning to meet later today. The Foreign Minister does have some additional meetings scheduled. While he's here in town, I think he's seeing Secretary Perry on Friday and I know he has other meetings scheduled. I believe he might even be over at the White House for some meetings with NSC folks. So he does have a full schedule.
The Secretary did offer to be available to him if there was a reason to have an additional meeting during the period he's here in Washington.
Q So it was just this morning -- the meeting.
MR. McCURRY: The meeting was this morning, but I think the Secretary did indicate that he would be available if there was a good reason to pursue some additional contacts. And, obviously, with a lot going on in New York, that might conceivably happen.
I think the Foreign Minister -- I know he was on his way to New York, I believe.
Q He said he was going up there.
MR. McCURRY: Yes, he was going to New York for appointments, I think at the U.N., today. So he does plan to return to Washington at some point.
Q Do you have anything new to say about the situation in Mexico?
MR. McCURRY: You went overtime here.
No, I think you guys called around. I'm happy to do this.
Q No, no,no. Stay till one o'clock.
MR. McCURRY: O.K.
Q Do you have anything new to say about the situation in Mexico, now that they have a new official candidate?
MR. McCURRY: No. I think we did, upon Mr. Zedillo's designation yesterday, issue either a statement or a response, indicating that they are now proceeding with elections as mandated by Mexico's long constitution.
The United States, of course, takes no position regarding the candidates of the various parties; and we do strongly support Mexico's commitment to fair and effective elections -- a commitment which is shared by all candidates in the August presidential elections.
Q With respect to that formulation, is this --
MR. McCURRY: If says here "fair and transparent elections"; -- but "transparent" -- "fair and transparent" -- what on earth does that mean? "Transparent elections."
I'll go back to ARA. I'll tell them to modify that.
Q Can we go back to former Yugoslavia? Any comments on the apparent agreement over Krajina?
MR. McCURRY: We did, I think, but just to catch people up, this happened today. The Croatian Government and Krajina Serbs reached an agreement early this morning on a comprehensive cease-fire that extends along, I think, the perimeter of the confrontation line through the four U.N. protected areas.
The United States welcomes this important agreement, encourages the parties to continue to resolve their differences at the negotiating table.
I think, as many of you know, Deputy Foreign Minister Churkin from Russia conducted these talks at the Russian Embassy in Zagreb, but Ambassador Peter Galbraith -- the U.S. Ambassador to Croatia -- was also very heavily involved in the discussions and welcomed the agreement as it was announced today.
Q Thank you.
MR. McCURRY: Thank you.
(Briefing concluded at l:08 p.m.)
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