US DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING MAY 13, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Friday, May 13, 1994 Briefer: David Johnson FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Reported Receipt of Iranian Arms by Bosnia ...... 1-2 US View of Arms Embargo ......................... 2 Russian Parliament Vote to Lift Embargo on Serbs 2 NORTH KOREA Talks with US in New York re: Nuclear Issue .... 3 Arrival of IAEA Inspection Team ................. 3 RWANDA Discussions at UN on Civil Strife ............... 5 CHINA Human Rights/MFN ................................ 5 HAITI OAS Agreement on Haiti Policies ................. 5-6 Tightening Sanctions ............................ 6 William Gray's Role/Title........................ 6
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, MAY 13, 1994, 1:04 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. JOHNSON: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I don't have any prepared statements. So if you have questions, I'll do my best to answer them for you.
Q Do you have any comment on the story about Iranian weapon sales in Bosnia?
MR. JOHNSON: Just something very brief. Since any information on this issue would come through intelligence sources, I can't, of course, confirm or deny the reports.
I would say it's the policy of the United States to respect the U.N. arms embargo on the nations that formerly comprised Yugoslavia. And although we do favor lifting the embargo on Bosnia, we continue to believe serious risks are involved in lifting it unilaterally. We believe it's important that U.N. Security Council resolutions be fully observed.
Q Is there any consideration being given to reprimanding the Bosnian Muslims for taking this shipment or trying to bring any action against Iran?
MR. JOHNSON: I really don't have anything beyond what I've said about it. I don't have anything on any further actions that might be planned.
Q Can you take that question? Iran is a U.N. member.
MR. JOHNSON: I'll look into it, but I'm going to have to be quite circumspect today on any comments I make on anything in Bosnia because the Secretary and a number of your colleagues are with him, and that's the subject of discussion in Geneva. I won't make any promises to you, but I'll look into it.
Q David, when this happened earlier, the State Department was willing to talk about it. As I gather from the news reports, some of the information is not coming from intelligence sources but from diplomatic sources, including American diplomatic sources in Vienna, for example. I'm wondering why you can't therefore discuss, at least, what they've been able to discuss with reporters at the Embassy in Vienna?
MR. JOHNSON: I don't have anything for you on what may or may not have been said in Vienna. What I said was that any information that we would have to confirm or deny the reports would come through intelligence sources.
Q Yes, but I'm saying that The Post apparently got some confirmation or denial, or I think some statement, on the transshipment of this shipment from the U.S. Embassy -- from State Department people in Vienna. If they can get confirmation from them there, why we can't we get confirmation or denial here?
MR. JOHNSON: I simply don't have anything beyond what I've said.
Q I'd like to ask a difference angle on the embargo issue. The Russian parliament today voted on a first reading of draft law to unilaterally break the embargo against the Serbs and start trading with them. Do you have a comment on that?
MR. JOHNSON: The only thing I would say is that this raises, again, the necessity of operating in concert in the U.N. on changing the nature of embargoes that have been adopted by U.N. action and underscores what we've been saying for the last 24 hours about needing to do this with our allies and not unilaterally.
Q To go back to Saul's point, which I think was a good one, the last time this issue came up, the United States was only too willing to sort of publicly take credit for having a role in intercepting this shipment. Were you not aware of it beforehand? Was there no way that this could have been prevented?
MR. JOHNSON: I'm not in a position to review the prior history with you. I've really said all I can say on it. Because if we were to have any information on it, it would have come through intelligence sources.
Q What's the latest of what's going on in Geneva? Anything?
MR. JOHNSON: I would refer you to the party in Geneva. I'm not in a position to comment on what the traveling party is doing. They are in a position to do that themselves, and they've got 13 or 12, I guess, of you along with them to report on that.
Q What can you say about talks in New York yesterday with the North Koreans?
MR. JOHNSON: I can confirm for you that working-level officials from the State Department met with representatives from the North Korean mission to the U.N. in New York on Thursday afternoon in connection with efforts to resolve the nuclear issue. It was similar to meetings which have taken place before.
In that respect, we have not commented on the contents of those exchanges.
Q At the point at which the North Koreans reneged in going forward with the inspections, the United States ended its working level talks, or said it ended working- level talks with the North Koreans. How many working-level talks have there been since that point?
MR. JOHNSON: I believe there had been three, but I would like to check on that for you, because, I think, we have confirmed all of them that have taken place. I just have to go back and take a look at that.
Q Can you say anything -- are you talking about a date certain for the North Koreans to permit completion of the inspections that was interrupted in March, I think it was?
MR. JOHNSON: We're expecting a team from the IAEA to be departing some time during the weekend. They're going to be arriving in the next few days. I think the exact time of their arrival is not yet fixed, just due to airline schedules and some things like that.
I'm going to refer you to the IAEA for details on when exactly they're going to arrive.
Those inspectors are to carry out the activities remaining from the inspections agreed to February 15, and to service cameras, check seals, and perform other necessary activities in conjunction with continuity of safeguards.
Q Do we have a prospective beginning of a third round of U.S. --
MR. JOHNSON: Not until after we've heard from the IAEA will we be in a position to talk about those issues.
Q Does this mean that the North Koreans have now accepted IAEA sampling these refueling rods?
MR. JOHNSON: What I'd say is, that we're waiting for them to get there and for them to carry out their activities before we start making pronouncements on what exactly has been accepted.
Q Wasn't it a condition of their departing that they would be allowed to do what they thought was necessary once they arrived?
MR. JOHNSON: That was, according to some news reports, a condition that the IAEA itself had laid out. I'd refer you to them to reiterate or to modify anything that they've said in that respect.
Q Just to follow, David. Will they be going to the 5-megawatt reactor to the site of interest?
MR. JOHNSON: I would refer you to the IAEA to describe in detail exactly what they plan to do when they arrive.
Q As I understand it, the IAEA was going over there to talk with the North Koreans to see what it is they can do. Is that --
MR. JOHNSON: The information I have is that they are there to carry out the activities remaining from the inspections agreed to February 15.
Q Have they been given permission to do that?
MR. JOHNSON: That's my understanding.
Q There has been a report that the New York contact of yesterday was not optimistic. Could you be more specific?
MR. JOHNSON: Could you say that one more time? I'll listen more closely.
Q There has been a report that the New York contact of yesterday was not optimistic.
MR. JOHNSON: I would go back to what I said earlier. We have declined in the past and will this time to characterize the working-level exchanges. So I'm not going to be able to give you any help with modifying or confirming that report.
Q Is it now up to the IAEA to decide, when you hear from them, whether sort of the crisis has passed or not, or are we still taking, or are we still awaiting something beyond what may happen this weekend --
MR. JOHNSON: It's up to the IAEA to determine whether they are able to carry out their inspections and whether or not they can assure themselves of the continuity of safeguards. We've said all along that we respect their opinion on that, and we'll be waiting to hear from them before we determine what next steps are appropriate.
Q David, do you have anything on the North Koreans' response yesterday at the meeting?
MR. JOHNSON: No. We are not going to be characterizing the exchange itself.
Q The U.N. is going to discuss the possibility of a peacekeeping force for Rwanda, I believe later today. Do you have anything on where the U.S. stands on that?
MR. JOHNSON: All I know at this point is that those discussions are continuing, and that there are various drafts that are under consideration. I don't have anything in detail on what our position is on what the drafts are.
Q David, yesterday your office put out a statement, saying that there have been some visits allowed in Chinese prison or state enterprise places. Does this now satisfy that mandatory condition in the Executive Order referring to forceful prison labor goods?
MR. JOHNSON: I'm not going to be in a position to evaluate that for you. I would refer you back to Michael's comments, I believe yesterday, where he said that the Secretary was taking all of that under consideration and was not going to try to foreshadow or provide any sort of checklist of things taken care of as we approach the end of May.
Q And on a similar subject, have you seen a report that the Chinese Government has released several religious dissidents, Christian leaders?
MR. JOHNSON: No, I haven't. I'm unfamiliar with that.
Q Do you have anything on The New York Times' story today on Haiti and the deliberations at the OAS, and the question of whether there is some reference to military intervention should have been made in the OAS Declaration on Haiti, which was approved by the OAS two days ago?
MR. JOHNSON: We take a bit of exception to the article. We think the OAS meeting on Wednesday was remarkable for its unanimity on several points that are critical elements of U.S. policy on Haiti. There was an extraordinary degree of agreement in harmony among the delegations. A number of statements were actually made, hailing American leadership on this issue.
For example, members were united in their condemnation of the latest anti-constitutional move to install a provisional president in Haiti. In reiterating the urgency of restoring democracy to Haiti, in their sharp criticism of the human rights record of the de facto regime and in their support of the U.N. resolution tightening sanctions, which the U.S. introduced and the Security Council has passed.
While I'd say and underscore what the President said, that we have not ruled out the use of force, we are now focusing our efforts on working with the OAS and the world community to bring international pressure to bear on the regime through stiffer sanctions and other measures adopted by the Security Council.
Q But you don't see July 4th as the anniversary of Governors Island as sort of a mark, that something that you should shoot for, that the United States should shoot for in enforcing the Governors Island accords or accomplishing what the Governors Island accord celebrated to promise last July 4th?
MR. JOHNSON: I'd say that we hadn't fixed any deadlines or milestones for ourselves, except to say that we're pressing forward now on tightening sanctions, which will take place in the next few days.
Q Maybe I missed this in briefings I haven't attended, but maybe you can explain. Can you tell me how Congressman Gray fits into State Department and the interagency process in dealing with Haiti? I'm not sure how he fits in with the diplomatic effort.
MR. JOHNSON: I can tell you something fairly briefly on that today. He will be working here at the State Department on the 7th floor; will be directing the activities related to Haiti. I'd also note that he is at the White House today, meeting with a number of officials and beginning his work. He just arrived this morning at 9:00 o'clock, I believe.
Because he's meeting all day at the White House today, I think I'd refer you to them for further comment on what his program is to come into full control of our Haiti policy.
Q He's not a Foreign Service Officer working here. Does he have a special ambassadorial rank?
MR. JOHNSON: I believe his title is going to be Special Adviser to the President and to the Secretary on Haiti.
Q So he has a different title from Pezzullo.
MR. JOHNSON: I believe so, yes.
Q And he's also moving three floors higher than Pezzullo. What significance can be attached to that?
MR. JOHNSON: I would only say that it underscores his importance for the issue and the President's confidence in him.
Q Thank you.
MR. JOHNSON: You're welcome.
(The briefing concluded at 1:18 p.m.)
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