US DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING APRIL 11, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, April 11, 1994 Briefer: Michael McCurry NORTH KOREA Amb Gallucci Travel to China, South Korea, Japan..1-2 -- Talks with the Chinese.........................1 -- Meetings with North Koreans....................1-2 HAITI Policy Review.....................................2-3 --Direct Repatriation of Refugees, Alien Migrant Interdiction Operation Agreement..............2-3 --Sanctions.......................................3 Human Rights......................................3-4 CUBA Migrants Returned to the Bahamas..................3 MEXICO Secretary Christopher's Travel to Bi-National Commission Meeting............................4 INDIA/PAKISTAN Talbott Briefing on South Asia Trip...............4 ISRAEL U.S. Sale of F-15s................................4 CHILE Blocking of F-16 Display at Air Show..............5 RWANDA Situation Update..................................5 --Status of American Citizens.....................5-6 Restoration of Order / U.S., U.N. Roles...........6-7
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, APRIL 11, 1994, 2:52 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Ambassador Gallucci who is, I think you know, the Chair of the Administration's Senior Policy Steering Group on Korea, will leave tomorrow on a trip to Asia. He will be traveling in an order that is not yet entirely determined to Beijing, China, and to South Korea.
The current plan is to join Defense Secretary Perry in Seoul on April 17, and then he will accompany Secretary Perry to Tokyo on April 20. So he will be in China, South Korea and Japan.
In all three capitals, Ambassador Gallucci plans to meet with government officials to discuss the North Korean nuclear issue and international efforts to resolve that. And obviously we will continue what has been a very extensive dialogue with all three governments on that issue.
Q Not North Korea?
MR. McCURRY: No indication at all that he plans to go to North Korea.
Q How about any plans to meet North Koreans in Beijing?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of, no.
Q Can you be more specific about what he's going to talk with the Chinese about?
MR. McCURRY: I think they'll talk about several things: One, the status -- everyone's understanding of the inspections and the report that I think the IAEA is looking at, and then also the diplomatic efforts that have been underway at the United Nations, including the agreement by all of those countries, including China, to join in a statement issued by the President of the Security Council addressing the situation.
Q Have the North Koreans asked to meet with him at all?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of, no.
Jim, you were trying --
Q Korea's okay. I wanted to ask about Haiti.
MR. McCURRY: Change the subject.
Q The Secretary said yesterday that, or he suggested there was a current policy review on Haiti. I wanted to know whether there is such a formal review.
MR. McCURRY: I think the United States Government is currently reviewing its Haitian policy, consistent with our overall commitments to bring democracy back to Haiti and to facilitate the return of President Aristide.
I'd make it clear that our policy of direct return of refugees is now continuing, because it does serve the overriding purpose of saving human lives, and certainly we are concerned about any of those who would depart Haiti under circumstances that would put their own lives in danger, and that would include traveling on the high seas in boats that probably can't make that difficult journey.
Q Is that policy under review as well -- the repatriation policy?
MR. McCURRY: I think I made it clear that that continues. I think what we're looking at is the effectiveness of the process in place within Haiti to examine individual cases by those who have returned via the Coast Guard: What situation is available to them as they go into the in-country processing centers that we maintain in three locations in Haiti; what type of follow-up is done on those cases; and what steps the INS takes to screen applications.
I think we've been reviewing how that process works in light of what is clearly a very troubling and escalating series of human rights abuses in Haiti.
Q Are you aware of a letter sent by the National Labor Committee, which represents a large number of labor unions and raises the case of the federal government buying baseballs and softballs assembled in Haiti by U.S. companies which are assembled at plants where women are earning as little as two cents an hour?
MR. McCURRY: No, I'm not aware of that letter. I'll check into it.
Q On the review, the Secretary also said yesterday -- suggested that we may need tougher sanctions. Does the review encompass the question of whether the U.S. should now go to the U.N. and ask for tougher sanctions without requiring Aristide to sign on to any particular plan?
MR. McCURRY: I don't think we find it at the moment useful to rule any particular options in or out, but, I think as the Secretary did indicate yesterday, they are looking at the question of tougher sanctions.
Q Mike, you mentioned that we're going to continue the return policy because we think it saves lives. What's the State Department's judgment on the legality of doing that after the six months expire from Aristide's notification?
MR. McCURRY: There are lawyers that are examining that question now under our Alien Migrant Interdiction Operation Agreement with Haiti. I think there are provisions that address that question, and I think that there are some specialists who are examining that now.
But you do make an important point that I would re-emphasize that even the indication by President Aristide that Haiti does intend to withdraw from that agreement does have a six-month trigger within the agreement itself. So there is no change in our policy now, and six months from now we will look at that question. But, of course, we had hoped there would be some progress on the overall goals of our policy which remain the return of President Aristide and the return of democracy to Haiti.
Q A related matter: Have you addressed questions on the return of Cuban refugees or the turning back of Cuban refugees in the last few days? And I understand the government of the Bahamas refused to accept these people.
MR. McCURRY: That was not my understanding. My understanding was that the Government of the Bahamas had cooperated in the return of those Cubans that had departed from the Bahamas. My understanding of the information I had last week was that they had been very cooperative, but I'll look into that.
The answer -- we are not looking into that particular policy. That is pursuant to an act of Congress, which we are enforcing -- which the Administration is enforcing.
Q Any particular reaction to the "America's Watch" and "National Coalition Report" that came out on Sunday?
MR. McCURRY: I think that we certainly recognize that the internal humanitarian situation in Haiti is deteriorating, and that human rights abuses are increasing. We have denounced those violations in the strongest possible terms. We've called upon the Haitian military to respect internationally recognized human rights, and I think as many of you know, we have an ongoing and very serious dialogue with President Aristide on exactly these questions.
Q Mike, the Secretary just announced that he was going to be in Mexico City on -- I believe he said on May 8. Can you tell us what he's going there for and if he's going anywhere else?
MR. McCURRY: I think he probably did announce that a little --
MR. McCURRY: -- abstrusely. I will check and see whether we are officially announcing that, but I think that the Secretary is probably referring to meetings, that I understand will occur in Mexico City May 8 and 9, of the Binational Commission. These are the annual and very important meetings we have with the Government of Mexico on a range of bilateral issues. Many of you recall the session we had here last year and this is the 1994 Annual Binational Commission meeting. We'll get you some more information and details on that trip appropriately now that it is no longer a secret.
Q Michael, on another issue. Is there a possibility of a briefing perhaps by Deputy Secretary Talbott on his India-Pakistan trip?
MR. McCURRY: Strobe, I think I roped him into doing some type of briefing upon return since we weren't able to do one prior to his departure. He said he would certainly favorably consider that request. He'll be back, I understand, later in the week, and we will see if we can have him available. You've probably followed some of his progress through South Asia and he's now in Europe, as you know.
Q Can you offer any details on the F-15 sale to Israel?
MR. McCURRY: No. I'm sorry, I don't have anything worked up. I'll see if I can get that tomorrow.
Q Texas Governor Richards today at the Pentagon was sharply critical of the State Department for blocking the showing of the F-16 at a Chilean air show. She calls it shortsighted to block the U.S. from selling jets when competitors can be there. Can you give us some understanding as to why that happened?
MR. McCURRY: I'm sorry I can't. I just don't know about the situation. I'll have to look into it and find out some more. We'll see if we can something for it.
Q Can we have brief Rwanda update?
MR. McCURRY: Yes. I'd say that virtually all of the Americans -- I think, as you know, from the Secretary and the President's comments yesterday -- virtually all Americans are now out of Rwanda. Most of the 258 Americans that were known to be in the country left Rwanda in convoys, coordinated by the U.S. Embassy in Kigali.
Those convoys made their way from Kigali south to Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi. Other Americans that were scattered around the country in different locations, some have left by other routes. Some of them went into countries other than Burundi. They went into neighboring Tanzania and elsewhere.
From Burundi, those Americans who have wanted to are being flown to Nairobi, Kenya, using planes that were provided by the U.S. Air Force. I think two planes left yesterday with a total of 142 passengers, 112 of whom were American. One plane flew today so far. There may have been one later. But I think as of around noontime today, one plane flew carrying 68 passengers, 31 of whom were American citizens. There's a plane remaining on the ground in Bujumbura which will take remaining Americans who wish to leave.
Ambassador Rawson, who by the way -- as I think you know -- has just done an incredible and very courageous job organizing these convoys. He remains in Bujumbura now where he is overseeing some of the operations relating to Americans who might still be in Rwanda.
The Embassy has been in contact with all the Americans who were known to be in Rwanda. As some of you know, not all of them have chosen to leave the country. There are some who were attached to various U.N. agencies of the ICRC, and they are going to be included in any evacuation plans that those organizations conducted.
There are some who have not been able to work out a way to get to a collection point for convoys. There are about eight Americans who are outside of Kigali in a rural part of Rwanda. We're trying to figure out an appropriate evacuation route for them. There may be several other Americans who are in isolated places around the country who either have chosen not to leave yet or who are making plans.
To our knowledge at this point, all the Americans who are in Rwanda -- and we're talking about a fairly small number -- they are safe. We have been able to have contact with most of them, if not all of them.
Q On Rwanda: Does the United States, as the world's only superpower, have the responsibility to lead any sort of international effort to restore order to Rwanda?
MR. McCURRY: There is a United Nations. As a participant in the United Nations, we work cooperatively with other members of the world community. In the peacekeeping effort, UNAMIR, through our support -- it is largely, I think, Bangladesh and Belgium which have provided most of the forces that have been attached to that operation.
As you probably know, that operation itself has been endangered in some of the fighting recently, and there have been deaths of U.N. peacekeepers there. So it is a situation, I think, as you've heard from Madeleine Albright, our U.N. Ambassador, that will be under review at the United Nations. That's appropriately the place where that discussion will occur.
Q With all due respect, the question was, does the United States have the responsibility to lead an effort to try to restore order? Not that we're part of the great world of nations at the U.N.
MR. McCURRY: I think the United States has a responsibility to work cooperatively within the United Nations, and we certainly lead within the United Nations on a variety of peacekeeping efforts, and that's where that issue will be addressed.
Any other questions? Mary.
Q To follow on that question: What's the position the United States is taking? There's some debate, as you know, at the U.N. Security Council about should you just pull out UNAMIR and say, obviously, there's no point in a peacekeeping mission being there. What position has the U.S. taken on that?
MR. McCURRY: It's very clear from the events of the last several days that the U.N. mission that was in Rwanda cannot operate effectively because it was under attack at various points in the last couple of days. But the status of that mission and what it might do and how it might proceed in the future is something that will be under discussion at the United Nations.
Q I know, but I was asking what the U.S. position is?
MR. McCURRY: We'll be discussing it at the United Nations.
(Press briefing concluded at 3:05 p.m.)
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