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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
Taken Questions of April 4, 1994

1. FYR OF MACEDONIA

Q: What is the U.S. view of the reported Greek military plan to create a "safe zone" 20 miles inside the territory of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia?

A: GREECE HAS NOT CONSULTED THE U.S. GOVERNMENT ABOUT ANY ALLEGED PLANNED MILITARY ACTION AGAINST THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA.

OUR SPECIAL ENVOY FOR THE ISSUE OF THE GREECE-F.Y.R.O.M. TALKS, MATTHEW NIMITZ, HAS JUST RETURNED FROM THE REGION AFTER CONSULTING WITH THE LEADERS OF BOTH COUNTRIES IN SEARCH OF A SOLUTION THAT IS MUTUALLY AGREEABLE. WE CONTINUE TO CALL FOR BOTH SIDES TO RETURN TO THE UN NEGOTIATIONS AND TO SHOW FLEXIBILITY IN THEIR SEARCH FOR A SOLUTION TO THIS DISPUTE.

2. HAITI

Q: Does an increase in violence in Haiti change the criteria used in adjudicating applications for the U.S. refugee program?

A: THE BASIS FOR GRANTING REFUGEE STATUS IS THE SAME WORLDWIDE, I.E. A WELL-FOUNDED FEAR OF PERSECUTION BASED ON REASONS OF RACE, RELIGION, NATIONALITY, MEMBERSHIP IN A PARTICULAR SOCIAL GROUP, OR POLITICAL OPINION.

-- SENSITIVITY TO HUMAN RIGHTS AND KNOWLEDGE OF COUNTRY CONDITIONS IS CENTRAL TO THE REFUGEE ADJUDICATION FUNCTION. THE IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE (INS) OFFICERS, RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ADJUDICATION OF REFUGEE APPLICANTS IN HAITI, RECEIVE SPECIALIZED TRAINING IN REFUGEE LAW AND COUNTRY CONDITIONS.

-- WE ALSO CONTINUE TO WORK WITH NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS, CHURCH GROUPS, INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, AND OTHERS TO REACH THOSE HAITIANS WHO MAY BE IN NEED OF RESETTLEMENT.

3. PANAMA

Q: Does the U.S. have any comment on the upcoming elections in Panama?

A: PANAMA IS HOLDING ITS FIRST TRULY DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN MORE THAN 25 YEARS. IF THEY ARE FREE AND FAIR, AS THEY ARE EXPECTED TO BE, IT WILL SHOW HOW FAR PANAMA HAS PROGRESSED TOWARD BECOMING A TRUE DEMOCRACY SINCE THE DAYS OF THE NORIEGA DICTATORSHIP.

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