U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, April 18, 1994 Briefer: Michael McCurry FORMER YUGOSLAVIA US Policy re: Safe Areas .......................1 Diplomatic Efforts to Resolve Conflict ..........2-8 -- Russian Activities ..........................2-4 -- US Contact with Russia ......................7 Conditions for Lifting Sanctions ................4-5 Prospects for Lifting Arms Embargo ..............5 Discussions at NATO/EU ..........................5-6 Status of Gorazde/Fighting ......................6,8-19 Reported Chemical Warfare by Serbs ..............7 UN Draft Resolutions ............................8 Status of Detained UN Personnel .................16 Status of Other Safe Areas ......................19 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Implementation of Declaration of Principles .....16 Resumption of Bilateral Talks in Washington .....15-16 Prospects for Secretary's Visit to Region .......14-16 CHINA Attempt to Smuggle Illegal Aliens into US Aboard the Jin Yinn No. 1.............................16-17,20 NORTH KOREA Deployment of Patriot Missiles to South .........17 Asst. Sec. Gallucci's Meetings in South.Korea ...17-20 US Conditions for Resuming Talks ................18
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, APRIL 18, 1994, 12:39 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon. Any questions you might have today? Mr. Rothman?
Q Could I do a question in two parts today? (Laughter)
Q Talk to us about options?
MR. McCURRY: No. Any other questions?
Q Yes. I guess a question, as always, I've been asked last week about whether we're committed to the protection of Gorazde and its civilians. Now I'd like to ask whether we're committed -- or the United States is committed to the protection of other eastern Bosnia safe areas or whether the policy towards them is going to be the same? That is to say, that we will not go in there with any air power to repel Serb aggression unless there are U.N. personnel involved.
MR. McCURRY: Two questions there, Saul. Our commitments are reflected in the United Nations Security Council resolutions that the United States has voted for and that are currently in force. The options, as they exist toward Bosnia, which is the second part of your question, are under review by the National Security Council at this very moment. Because of that there's really not anything I can do further to tell you about what steps we could take with respect to Gorazde, other safe areas or fighting in general in Bosnia.
Q One of the problems, that most people agreed on last week, is that possibly conflicting statements from various people may have encouraged the Serbs who are already on the move, and what I'd like to know is whether there are any words that can come from this Administration that would otherwise deter the Serbs from moving elsewhere in safe areas?
MR. McCURRY: You're asking the wrong person that question. You'd have to ask Mr. Mladic or Karadzic or whomever is a competent authority amongst the Serbs to answer that question.
Q Does that mean that Serbs are now in control of whether these things happen or not?
MR. McCURRY: We are in control of what happens, initiated by the United Nations and NATO. Your question is what their motives or their response or their understanding would be, and I don't know. You'd have to ask them.
Q Mike, one detail on one broader question. You said the options are under review by the National Security Council. Do you mean that (inaudible) the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, etc., or do you mean the staff -- the NSC staff?
MR. McCURRY: No. This is principals -- principals' level.
Q And how are they consulting? How are they doing this?
MR. McCURRY: They are discussing it in person.
Q Where? At the White House?
MR. McCURRY: I don't like to talk about meetings. They're not discussing it here. I'm responsible for the State Department.
Q And the broader question: The Secretary made it very clear that he considers the Serbs to be deceitful, liars and untrustworthy. How then does one negotiate? How does one deal with someone who's word you simply cannot accept?
MR. McCURRY: That's a very good question. It's difficult. We had some success, as the Secretary pointed out, in negotiating through the force of an ultimatum delivered by NATO, an exclusion zone around Sarajevo. I think our view has been that in a situation like this you marry force to diplomacy and use the two in concert, carefully balanced and used prudently, to address the situation. I think that's what they've attempted to do.
Q Mike, is the Administration completely satisfied with the Russian diplomatic performance over the weekend? Secretary Christopher's comments were certainly open to interpretation, and I think the record will show Sarajevo -- the Serbs didn't withdraw until the Russians became involved.
MR. McCURRY: I think that the Secretary is satisfied that the Russian Government made very careful and appropriate diplomatic steps -- or took very careful and appropriate diplomatic steps to attempt to address this, dealing directly with the Bosnian Serbs.
I think the Russian Government, some of the diplomats involved, have expressed themselves as to the degree to which they feel that was successful and the degree to which they feel like they were not dealt with in a truthful way by the Serbs.
Q But, I mean, I had gotten the impression that the United States was very much taking a cue from the Russians because for a period of time they were the only ones in direct contact with the Serbs.
Do you feel that the Russians were just naive about what the Serbs were telling them? Do you think that in hindsight it might have been not good judgment on the U.S. part to put so much trust in the Russians?
MR. McCURRY: I think the Russian Government itself, several members of it, have expressed their view that they were not dealt with in a truthful way by the Serbs. I don't think that we ever were under any illusions about the representations made by the Bosnian Serbs, but we were looking for ways to verify what steps they promised they would take and what changes would occur on the ground.
It was quite clear that those changes were not occurring on the ground, and I think that that was certainly equally disappointing to the West and to the Russian Government.
I think it was warranted to continue to remain in close contact with the Russian Government while they pursued this diplomatic discussions with the Serbs. They no doubt will attempt to continue that discussions, I would imagine. But it becomes very difficult, based on Serb behavior on the ground -- very difficult to understand how that diplomatic path remains to be a viable one.
Q Do you still see the Russians, though, as the main conduit to the Serbs?
MR. McCURRY: Not necessarily. I think there have been independent, separate conversations between the United Nations Special Representative in the area and the Serbs as well. I don't think that we were -- by the way, Carol, said that we are taking a cue from the Russians. I think we're working in concert with them, but we were pursuing our own diplomacy in the region as well and certainly working
very closely with both the United Nations and with Russia as they pursue their independent discussions with the Serbs.
Mark and then Alan. Mark.
Q Can you shed light for us on the Secretary's thinking over the course of last week about the idea of gradually lifting the sanctions against Serbia as an inducement to get them to cooperate further? Early last week, apparently, he was opposed to the French idea of doing that, and then on Saturday the Administration changed its thinking. Can you tell us what the Secretary --
MR. McCURRY: I don't think that's a correct characterization. The U.S. position has been and was then and remains that there can't be any movement towards moderating sanctions until some type of settlement had been reached, and the international community is seeing that it's being implemented.
I think the events in Gorazde in recent days more than adequately indicate that it's not appropriate to conduct discussions that would be aimed at reaching any plan for easing sanctions.
Q Correct me if I'm wrong; just to follow up. Wasn't it, in the past, the American policy that there had to be an actual agreement -- full agreement -- among the Bosnian parties before there could be a phased lifting of sanctions. Isn't it now the American policy that prior to such an agreement there can be a phased lifting of such sanctions?
MR. McCURRY: I think our view is as it has been, that a Bosnia settlement has to be reached and the international community has to have confidence that it's being implemented and that agreements are being implemented in good faith before you could have a discussion about sanctions.
Q Is that a full agreement on the whole of Bosnia?
MR. McCURRY: There's no agreement, so it would be speculative to talk about agreements or what type of agreements. They have not honored even basic commitments on cease-fires as they relate to Gorazde. So I think in that environment there's just no justification for talking about easing sanctions.
Q I'm interested in your assessment of where U.N. and NATO credibility stands after the events of the last week?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not the right person to assess that. Steve.
Q Do you think that the concept of safe havens is being disastrously underminded or do you think that it can still be sustained with regard to the other so-called safe havens?
MR. McCURRY: I think it can still be sustained. Steve.
Q Correct me if I misheard you. You said it's difficult to understand, given the events on the ground, how the diplomatic path remains a viable one. Does that then suggest that the policy of marrying force or threat thereof with diplomacy has lost one leg?
MR. McCURRY: Not necessarily. I just said it's difficult to carry out a diplomatic dialogue and reach agreements in an environment in which one party moments later doesn't honor any of the commitments reached. That does not mean that you forego any diplomatic effort or that you forego an effort to use force in concert with diplomacy.
Q Have we had any indications from the European allies that they have changed their position on the arms embargo against the Muslims?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of. In fact, there's some news reports to the contrary coming out of Luxembourg.
Q Mike, is there any way that the arms embargo can be lifted, not unilaterally by the United States and not through action from the United Nations? Is there a middle ground that will allow that to happen?
MR. McCURRY: It's just not useful for me to speculate on that. I'm not an international lawyer. It does involve the United Nations Security Council resolution.
Q Is the State Department lawyers considering that question?
MR. McCURRY: We have considered a lot of questions and we're looking at options. I don't say that we are looking at some versus others.
Q Mike, are there any other -- as the NSC or reassessment goes on, are there any other discussions going
on within NATO, for example, or at the Security Council that you know about that you can tell us about?
MR. McCURRY: There's a meeting occurring right now in Luxembourg of the European Union Ministers. I think you're seeing some reporting coming out of that. There are discussions all the time at the North Atlantic Council every Wednesday.
Q Do you have an update on what's happening now in Gorazde and what the fate or the circumstances of the people there is?
MR. McCURRY: The latest situation or report I have is very similar to what you probably have seen reported from the region. Some of our information comes from U.N. personnel that have been able to have some limited radio contact with folks in Gorazde. The report I had earlier indicated that there had been some shelling within Gorazde earlier today; that there were reports that shells may have hit a medical facility. That was pretty much all we had. It was similar -- there was a report, I think some of you are aware, that approximately one shell per minute was impacting the city and environs at a point this morning.
Bosnian Serb assaults over the weekend resulted in 35 deaths and over 200 injuries.
Still reports of tanks that are on the outskirts of the city.
Q What happens to the residents now, the people that have fled to Gorazde --
MR. McCURRY: They are in a situation that a U.N. official described as being one that could create a humanitarian disaster should there be any effort by the Bosnian Serbs to overrun the city.
Q Michael, what's Ambassador Redman doing today?
MR. McCURRY: What is he doing? Since about 4:00 this morning - - our time this morning -- giving reports to the Secretary and others here; certainly, monitoring what discussions are occurring between Mr. Akashi and the Bosnian Serbs and also he's been in very close contact with General Rose.
Q Where is he?
MR. McCURRY: He's in Sarajevo.
Q Mike, along those lines, the situation on the ground is falling apart. On Friday, the Bosnian Vice President gave a news conference after he met with the Secretary of State. He said that they have evidence that the Bosnian Serbs were using chemical weapons -- Russian-made poison gas grenades. Do you have any such evidence?
MR. McCURRY: That allegation has been raised from time to time over the months. I think in the past we've never been able to independently verify that it's true.
I know that we are aware of that report and certainly aware of the Vice President's comments. I know that they are attempting to find out what they can about whether there's any truth to that.
Q Mike, has there been any new contact with the Russian -- specifically Kozyrev or Churkin -- in the course of business today?
MR. McCURRY: I'll have to go back and double-check that. I believe the Secretary's last contact directly with Foreign Minister Kozyrev was by telephone last night our time, or late yesterday afternoon actually. I believe there's been some correspondence back and forth related to the situation in Bosnia.
Q Will he be called after the NSC meeting necessarily or not?
MR. McCURRY: I think that's one of the things that probably would be addressed by the principals at their meeting.
Q Michael, what's the situation -- you know, Akashi has talked about the possibility of just pulling all UNPROFOR troops out of Bosnia. Are there any formal discussions or informal discussions taking place on that possibility? And what is the U.S. position about just pulling them all out?
MR. McCURRY: That would be a United Nations discussion. There were informal discussions there yesterday and another discussion planned there today.
I think essentially what Special Representative Akashi said, he said that UNPROFOR and the United Nations is in Bosnia not to engage in warfare against the Serbs. They are there to try to help maintain a very fragile peace and to provide necessary humanitarian relief to hundreds of
thousands of victims of this war. They're not there to fight the war.
They're now engaged in a situation in which a NATO airplane has been shot down. There have been deaths to those peacekeepers, and I think Mr. Akashi indicated that the status of that mandate needed to be reviewed. I don't know whether that's an opinion shared by the Secretary General or other members of the Security Council, but that's where that discussion would take place.
Q But the U.S. briefing didn't weigh in on that at all?
MR. McCURRY: We will weigh in appropriately as a member of the Security Council on those questions.
Q The French are circulating a draft resolution in New York that would raise the UNPROFOR complement by another 5,000 or so troops. The last time that proposal came up in New York, the United States said that it couldn't get Congressional approval to pay for it. Is that still the American position?
MR. McCURRY: That's among the things that are being reviewed today, so I don't want to get into speculating on what type of mandate might be reviewed for UNPROFOR. There are other draft resolutions also under discussion. I understand there's one from the Non-Aligned Movement. I think there are several who are addressing that issue, and we have to just see where the discussion goes at the Security Council.
Q Back to the point about it's difficult to see how a diplomatic solution is viable. Does that mean that in the options meeting that's going on, that you've more or less given up on diplomacy, other than going through the effort, but the other options are going to be given more weight?
MR. McCURRY: No. I'm not going to try to tell you about a meeting that's going on that I'm not present at.
Q Do you still regard Gorazde as a safe haven -- a safe area?
MR. McCURRY: No.
Q What is its status?
MR. McCURRY: It's an embattled U.N.-protected enclave in which there are several tens of thousands of refugees at the moment that face an offensive by Bosnian Serbs.
Q Have you dropped the idea of getting Ukrainians in or others which was (inaudible) by --
MR. McCURRY: I don't believe that idea has been dropped at all. In fact, I think Mr. Akashi was attempting urgently to negotiate exactly that with the Bosnian Serbs yesterday, and I assume that they will continue to do that, and certainly we continue to feel that the presence of UNPROFOR troops in Gorazde would be very helpful.
Q I just want to clear up, the other safe areas are still safe areas, as you said, protected under U.N. resolutions of one sort or another. Given the possibility that the Serbs maybe want to try and straighten out the map, I'm just wondering whether those safe areas and the fate of those safe areas and the defense of those safe areas are among the things that are under discussion?
MR. McCURRY: I think those things are under discussion. And one thing I would point out, Saul, about each of those safe areas that you cited, there are significant numbers of U.N. personnel in each of them, unlike the situation in Gorazde where there were never more than a dozen-plus U.N. personnel. But in each of those other safe areas, there are significant numbers of United Nations personnel. So it represents a somewhat different situation.
Q Can we take a look at Sarajevo? There's been some scattered violence there, I guess, over the last few days. What's the situation?
MR. McCURRY: I did have one note on that, if you can hold on. Bear with me.
The only report we have on Sarajevo, Sarajevo came under sniper attack over the weekend. There were some press accounts, as you know, that UNPROFOR forces from the U.K. were fired upon by Bosnian Serbs and returned fire outside the capital, but we're awaiting more details on that from UNPROFOR.
Q Mike, on Gorazde, what happens to it now? I mean, if negotiations do get going again, does it become something that's going to have to be negotiated? Is it now permanently the Serbs?
MR. McCURRY: I don't want to speculate on its status. It's under assault, very clearly right now. It's not clear what the Serb intentions are as regards to the city itself and the people within the city.
Q Last Thursday, when you were asked what if the U.N. personnel were fired upon, and your response was, "Let them try," were the events of the weekend what you had in mind?
MR. McCURRY: I think the response that was delivered when UNPROFOR was attacked was the one that the United States carried out with NATO in response to the requests made to us by the UNPROFOR commander on the ground. We responded to each and every request made to NATO by the UNPROFOR commander.
Q Is the U.S. satisfied with the way the U.N. chain of command and that procedure has worked in the last few days?
MR. McCURRY: With the chain of command procedures, yes, we're satisfied.
Q Mike, you said a moment ago that there's more U.N. presence in the other safe areas than there was in Gorazde and that it presents a somewhat different situation. Could you clarify? We've already had U.N./NATO planes shot at -- shot down, a British troop killed, people taken shot -- kept hostage. What makes that different?
MR. McCURRY: I think that goes very directly into items that I imagine the principals of this government are discussing right now, so I don't want to get into that.
Q Is the United States satisfied with the level of force that was used last Sunday and Monday in the Gorazde area by the NATO planes when --
MR. McCURRY: Sunday and Monday?
Q The bombing by NATO?
MR. McCURRY: We are not satisfied for this reason: If my understanding is correct, there was a request for close air support made in connection with tanks. Even though a heroic job was done by the NATO pilots who flew those missions, because of weather and circumstances they could not effectively acquire targets. I think any time NATO warplanes engaged in action can effectively acquire a target and destroy it, we're not satisfied in that sense. We're certainly not satisfied with the performance of the
pilots who did a heroic job under very difficult flight conditions.
Q Would you have preferred that the U.N. had requested more force then?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not going to second-guess commanders who are on the ground.
Q Michael, it seems that the rules of engagement somehow changed for the pilots from the first weekend when they bombed and strafed, because they couldn't find the exact targets they were looking for so they took other targets. But this time when they couldn't find the exact tank, they didn't take any other target. Why did you have to go after one specific tank?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not in a position to discuss ROE in a public setting. I think you need to talk to Pentagon folks about that. I'm not sure what decisions were made about calibrating response on specific targets.
Q Mike, more generally, given this experience, does the United States believe that this arrangement whereby the U.N. has such power and authority to actually decide when military action is taken, does the United States feel, in retrospect, that that is serving your interests?
MR. McCURRY: I think making sure that our participation -- and U.N. peacekeeping efforts -- is something that reflects U.S. interests has been an exercise that has involved a lot of very hard thinking in the government. I think that hard thinking has resulted in a proposal to the Commander-in-Chief that's got that question about right. But the Commander-in-Chief has to make a decision about it.
Q Secretary Christopher is reported to have told Foreign Minister Kozyrev on Saturday that if the Serbs attempted to take Gorazde, the United Nations would have to respond. Is that still his position?
MR. McCURRY: I think he said the United Nations would have to respond if the Serbs continued their advance on Gorazde.
Q Is the response over the weekend the response that he was referring to?
MR. McCURRY: The advance on Gorazde and the status of the Serb advance is something that is changing minute by minute.
Q It may be changing minute by minute but it's only changing one way, and that's towards the city. Are
you trying to indicate that there may be some way the Serbs are going to turn back?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not indicating that we know what the intent is that the Serbs have regarding the city of Gorazde or its inhabitants, as I said earlier.
Q What are the options of trying to decide what the intent is?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not going to discuss options. We've been through that.
Q I'm not saying your options. What other intent could they have other than what people have seen over the course of the last week, which is --
MR. McCURRY: They could be acquiring strategic roads. They could be looking to lock up the Drina River. There are any number of things. I just am not an authority on Serb intentions. I'm not sure that anybody is, with the exception perhaps of General Mladic.
Q Are you suggesting, though, that it wouldn't be so bad as long as they don't go and massacre all the people in the city?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not suggesting anything of the sort. Any other questions?
Q Do you have something about last week's meeting between Mr. Christopher and the Macedonian Prime Minister Zhirinovsky?
MR. McCURRY: I don't. We can get something for you on that. I don't. I'll see if we can work something up.
Q Please, I have a question. Do you have any statement -- not statement -- any comment on the European Union's decision to sue Greece in the European Court of Justice because of the blockade against Macedonia?
MR. McCURRY: We had something on that last week. I think if you go back and check, we did have a statement that was available on that last week.
Q Something on Mr. Papandreou's statement that Europe is responsible for the development of events in Yugoslavia and that events is due by the conflict of Greek powers for new spheres of influence on the Balkans?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not familiar with that comment. I'd have to look into that further.
Q Please, can you take that?
MR. McCURRY: Okay.
Q Mike, just to go back to an earlier statement on Mladic. Did you mean to leave out Karadzic when you said that only Mladic knows what's going on?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know. Maybe it would be appropriate to, but I didn't mean to be selective.
Q Do you think Mladic is calling the shots and not Karadzic? Is that the analysis?
MR. McCURRY: I have no way of knowing.
Q Given that Serb shells are going into Gorazde at a rate of better than one a minute, at what point then do you make some sort of assessment on what their intentions are? I mean, what do you need to know?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not sure, by the way, that that's the situation currently right now. I think I should check again to see. That was the situation reported as of this morning. I don't know whether that's continued over the course of the last several hours. The question is, do they intend -- they run the city and roll it up and what would happen beyond that.
Q Why does that matter, Mike?
MR. McCURRY: Why does it matter?
Q Yes, what their intentions are -- what their actions -- we know what their actions have been.
MR. McCURRY: We are aware of their actions, that's right.
Q Why are their intentions important?
MR. McCURRY: I was asked the question. I'm not sure why.
Q No, no. But you've been talking about, "We have to wait and see what the Serb intentions are in Gorazde." Why?
MR. McCURRY: I didn't mean to imply that we need to wait and see what their intentions are. I mean, I said it was not clear what their intentions were immediately as regards to their offensive. I didn't mean to suggest that we needed to wait and see. Frankly, I think that's something that others in the government are looking at right now.
Q Then you still maintain some hope that they're going to stop short of overrunning the city entirely?
MR. McCURRY: I don't think you should lose hope that there might be an end to their offensive against Gorazde, and that they would comply with repeated requests from the United Nations, including the one made last night by the Security Council to withdraw from Gorazde and to allow the insertion of UNPROFOR troops.
I mean, perhaps they might see that that would be in their interests.
Q Another subject?
MR. McCURRY: Another subject.
Q The Secretary this morning seemed to be a little more -- slightly more definitive about the possibility of a Mideast trip, which he said might be in, I think, several days or several weeks.
MR. McCURRY: Was he talking about the duration of the trip or the starting point?
Q I wasn't quite sure but he said he will go to the Middle East, as opposed to considering it or whatever.
MR. McCURRY: We're getting there. Slowly but surely we're getting there.
Q Do you have any dates? Do you have anything else you can say?
MR. McCURRY: I think sometime soon is about all I can say. There had been plans for him. I won't be unnecessarily coy. There had been some plans for him to depart fairly soon -- you know, which would place him in the region during the course of next week. I'm not certain how any of that will be affected, nor was there any definitive itinerary at any point. I think we're still in very close discussions with the parties in the region about itinerary and what type of stops might be made. So as soon as we can clarify it, we obviously will do it.
Q Are you considering stops in Europe?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of, but that could conceivably change. They haven't put together the full itinerary of any trip in the region yet.
Q Just to clarify. He is planning to go to the Middle East next week, but you haven't firmed up the travel schedule.
MR. McCURRY: Yes, next week. His original plans were to have been in the region at some point next week, but we'll just have to wait and see how things go.
Q Does this Bosnia business affect that in any way?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know whether it will or not.
Q Are you waiting for a conclusion from the Israeli/PLO negotiations before departing, or is it independent of that?
MR. McCURRY: Not necessarily, Alan. I think that if you step back a little bit, you remember that we were hopeful that the parties would resume bilateral discussions here in Washington, and it certainly would make some sense for the Secretary to go over and do some work in the region, to help set the table for those discussions.
I think if we did that type of trip, everyone's assessment is that meetings at the Secretary Christopher level with the political leadership in the region might really stimulate the talks here, and that we are anxious to see the dialogue resume here as soon as possible.
So I don't necessarily think that you would have to wait until a conclusion of the implementation, although finishing the implementation agreement and moving on with the Declaration would certainly be helpful for the overall process.
Q Mike, the talks are supposed to resume here in April.
MR. McCURRY: Some time this month.
Q Is that not going to happen now?
MR. McCURRY: It might happen, but, as I say, I think it would probably be beneficial if the Secretary could have a round of meetings in the region prior to the commencement of talks. Whatever schedule we work on to get the Secretary over there to conduct this group of meetings and then come back here so that the talks could resume here is the calendar we will follow. That could conceivably happen this month or early next.
Q So the talks won't start until Christopher goes over there?
MR. McCURRY: I think it's our view that they would be more productive if the Secretary had a trip to the region first. If that changes, we could still get a lot of work
done here, but it stimulates the process if the Secretary could be over in the region.
Q Is the Secretary concerned about the fact that the Israelis and the PLO just don't seem to be able to wrap up this agreement, and does he think there's any role at all for the U.S. to play between them at this point, or is there not?
MR. McCURRY: The negotiators did go back to work in Cairo on the remaining issues, and we understand that they are working hard, and that we think they might in fact be making some progress. So I'll leave it up to them to characterize where they are, but I do think that we remain of the view that the importance of their discussion is that it be carried out face-to-face, and that they build some confidence in each other as they look ahead to many of the challenges that await them in actually implementing the Declaration.
Q Let me ask a Bosnia question again. Do we see the Serbs reinforcing their troops around Gorazde?
MR. McCURRY: I can't get into that.
Q One more on that same subject. What's the status now of the U.N. personnel in protective custody?
MR. McCURRY: There have been some -- as you know, some were released over the weekend. I believe 19 Canadians were released over the weekend. We understand that there are some who remain detained.
MR. McCURRY: No.
Q Mike, I have one more --
MR. McCURRY: UNPROFOR, I think, may have said some things about that today, though.
Q I have a question on an issue which came up last week, and that's the ship that was steaming out, I guess, near San Diego and was boarded over the weekend. The Coast Guard out in California is referring questions to the State Department as to what's happening to that ship.
MR. McCURRY: Yes. I know that they have indicated that after shadowing the Jin Yinn No. 1 for five days, they boarded the fishing vessel on Saturday, approximately 890
miles southwest of San Diego. They found a total of 121 persons -- ten women, 101 men and ten crewmen. The people aboard the ship appear to be Chinese nationals. The incident has all the same characteristics of an alien smuggling venture, similar to some that occurred last year that you'll remember.
As in past incidents, we intend to return those aboard the vessel to their country of origin as quickly as possible. We believe this is the best means of discouraging future attempts to smuggle illegal aliens into the United States.
Q Are they going to be returned via Mexico as in the past, or are they going to step foot on the soil of the United States?
MR. McCURRY: There's been no decision made on that yet.
Q Michael, one more Bosnia question. Last week the President's position and that of other senior Administation officials was to be tough but not provocative with the Serbs. They still have UNPROFOR troops. They're doing whatever they're doing to Gorazde. Is the policy still to be tough but not provocative?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware of any change in that. But, as you know, there's a meeting going on right now, so let's wait and see how that comes out.
Q Michael, on North Korea.
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Is the arrival of the Patriots in South Korea any indication of how successful Ambassador Gallucci has been on his current mission?
MR. McCURRY: No. We have said all along that the deployment of Patriots is a defensive measure, and it is a prudent step to improve the security of both U.S. personnel and U.S. folks in the Republic of Korea and of South Korean troops themselves, and of South Korea. So that is a defensive step, a prudent step, and one that we took upon recommendation of the theater commander.
Q And how does the Ambassador's trip (inaudible)?
MR. McCURRY: He met with Republic of Korea government officials over the weekend to discuss the North Korean nuclear issue, and the international efforts to
resolve it. Both the United States and South Korea agree that the February 25th agreement forms the basis for further diplomatic discussions. That was the agreement we had regarding a lot of the questions of what would happen and when.
North Korea must allow International Atomic Energy Inspections before a third round of talks can be held with the United States, and the North/South dialogue is essential to resolve the nuclear issue itself.
Gallucci will continue his discussions over the next couple of days in meetings and so on in Tokyo, and I think Secretary Perry is leaving on his trip today, if I'm not mistaken.
Q The South Koreans -- I believe it was Thursday or Friday -- said that there did not have to be an exchange of envoys as a precondition for these talks. Is there an opinion by this building on that?
MR. McCURRY: I think our opinion on that will be developed as Ambassador Gallucci continues his meetings, and certainly as Secretary Perry visits the region. But I think both the United States and South Korea agree that a South/North dialogue is essential to resolve the nuclear issue.
Q But how does is that going to be reflected in our message to North Korea, the South Korean decision that they don't have to have an exchange of envoys as a precondition, because that was one of the things that was part of that February 25th agreement.
Now were talking about the dialogue?
MR. McCURRY: I have not seen a reaction from the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea to the statements made by officials of the Republic of Korea.
Q Does this mean that there can be sort of a simultaneous or parallel tracks of the IAEA inspection, the North/South dialogue resuming, and talks between the United States and North Korea?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know whether that would be possible or not.
Q Can we return to Bosnia for one more question, please? This relates to the earlier question, "Do you still regard Gorazde as a safe area?" Your answer is "No. It's an embattled city."
Does the U.S. unilaterally take nations off this status which was set at the U.N.?
MR. McCURRY: No. I was answering a question. I was not meaning to imply anything about its status under the United Nations Security Council resolutions. It is a simple point of fact. I don't think anyone in Gorazde feels safe today. That is all I meant.
Q So it's descriptive.
MR. McCURRY: It's a descriptive. The U.N. would have to address anything related to safe areas or the status of safe areas under their, you know, under the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Q Are we aware of any Serbian troop movements around other so-called safe areas?
MR. McCURRY: We monitor very carefully what we do understand about movements of Bosnian-Serb units and Serbian army regular units. There is not much I can share with you on that. I would say that you have seen, you know, most of the fighting confined to Gorazde, and that's consistent with what we have seen.
Q Well, have we been able at least to identify where the Serbs might go next?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of, no.
Q There is no added fighting, as far as you know, around Tuzla or Zepa?
MR. McCURRY: No. There has been sporadic fighting from time to time around some of the other safe areas, but nothing that I've seen that approximates the situation in Gorazde.
Q What's the status of the opening of the airport in Tuzla?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know what the status is. I know that they were trying to negotiate some framework to assure that humanitarian flights could go in and out. I'm not sure what the latest is on that.
Last question in the back? Did you have one last one?
Q Yes. Back to North Korea. What is the next step in the whole process?
MR. McCURRY: The next step that would occur logically for there to be any development would be for the completion of the inspections of the one remaining facility that was not inspected by the IAEA, and that would fulfill the agreement made between the IAEA and the DPRK on February l5th. That is the next step in that sense. I mean, I guess diplomatically the next steps are the discussions that will be underway in Seoul and then in Tokyo this coming week involving Secretary Perry and Ambassador Gallucci.
Q Just back to the Chinese refugees, you say there was no decision taken on where they are going to be sent on from, but the ships, as I understand it, are currently being escorted East. Where are the ships going?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not sure. I'll check with the Coast Guard on that.
(The briefing concluded at l:22 p.m.)
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