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US DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MAY 18, 1994


                       U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                         DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                             I N D E X


                        Wednesday, May 18, 1994

                                  Briefer:  Michael McCurry


MALAWI
   Elections Peaceful ..............................   1

IRAQ
   UN Continues Sanctions/Conditions for Lifting ...   1-2

MIDDLE EAST PEACE
   Meaning of Arafat's Use of 'Jihad' ..............   2-4
   --  US Charge's Discussion with Arafat in Oslo ..   2

TURKEY
   US Discussions on Flushing Oil Pipeline .........   4

CHINA
   Prospects for MFN ...............................   4-8
   --  Congressional View ..........................   8
   Prime Minister's Meetings in US .................   13-14

PAKISTAN
   US View of Nuclear Program ......................   9-10

NATO
   Prospects for Russian Membership in Partnership
     for Peace .....................................   10-11

HAITI
   US Policy re: Boatpeople/Implementation .........   11
   William Gray's Activities .......................   11-12

YEMEN
   MR. Attas' Visit to Department ..................   12-13

NORTH KOREA
   Arrival of IAEA Inspection Team .................   14
   Shutdown of Reactor for Refueling ...............   14-15

BOSNIA
   Tuzla/Close Air Support .........................   15

RWANDA
   UN Discussions re:  Peacekeepers/US View ........   15-16

ARMENIA
   Diplomatic Negotiations re: Nagorno-Karabakh ....   16





U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPC #78

WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 1994, 1:09 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon, everybody, and a special hello to Mary Curtius of the Boston Globe for a special and rare guest appearance.

I'd like to start with two statements today, both of them, I think, encouraging news.

First, as some of you know, there have been elections in Malawi underway. The parliamentary and presidential elections that are now being held in Malawi mark an important milestone in that country's transition to multiparty democracy. It's gratifying to see the people of Malawi going to the polls in such great numbers and in such an impressive atmosphere of calm and purpose. That the elections were carried out in an orderly and peaceful manner is a tribute to both the government and opposition parties and is an example to other countries in the region about to embark on the same process. I think the election results, if I'm not mistaken, are scheduled to be available tomorrow.

On Iraq, I think some of you know that the Security Council yesterday maintained sanctions on Iraq without change at their regular 60-day sanctions review period, when they periodically update the sanctions enforcement regime.

The members of the Security Council agreed it was not the time to lift or modify sanctions. All members who spoke at the meeting also stressed that Iraq must authoritatively recognize the sovereignty of Kuwait and accept Resolution 833, which confirmed the demarcation of the Iraq-Kuwait border.

The United States welcomes this reaffirmation by the Council that Iraq must meet requirements imposed by the Security Council. We remain determined that Iraq meet all such obligations to the United Nations and the world community.

I'd also note, I think as some of you know, Secretary Christopher worked this issue at some great length during his most recent -- no, his second-most recent trip to the region when he met with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and others in Riyadh, and it's been a subject of a great deal of work within the Administration to continue to remind others in the world community of the obligations Iraq has to the United Nations that are not being fulfilled.

Those are my two openers and now your questions.

Q Is there unanimity in the Council with the U.S. view that Iraq must also protect the rights of the Shi'ites and the Kurds?

MR. McCURRY: Unanimity that there are declared U.N. resolutions to that effect. I think the differing points of view come on other aspects of sanctions enforcement, George, specifically what type of progress is being made on weapons of mass destruction programs, and I think there are some differing assessments on that. But I think that's all the more reason why it's important to note that they agreed unanimously. At this point, you certainly can't say that compliance has been achieved and that there is no reason at this point to do other than maintain the sanctions that are in place.

Q Mike, since your statement on -- I'm sorry, one more?

Q Sorry.

Q Since you put out your statement on Yasser Arafat, he has publicly spoken and offered an explanation for his use of the word "jihad," which among others Shimon Peres seems to have accepted. What is your reaction?

MR. McCURRY: I'd review a little bit of that. We did earlier, I think, just to keep you abreast of some of the things the Secretary has been working on while on the road. I believe in my statement earlier today, I said that we had instructed the Ambassador in Oslo to meet with Chairman Arafat and seek a clarification. I now understand that it was actually the Charge in Oslo who meet with the Chairman. That's Charge William C. McCahill who met with the Chairman and delivered, I would describe, a fairly stiff demarche on the nature of the remarks as reported and as came to light yesterday.

I think you've now seen the Chairman's remarks. The Chairman indicated that his remarks, using the phrase "jihad" was misunderstood. We understand that Foreign Minister Peres expressed his own satisfaction with the Chairman's reaffirmation of his peaceful intent in his reference to the peaceful nature of the transformation that he was describing and his commitment to both a peaceful resolution of issues in the territories and a renunciation of violence itself.

I would say we also agree with Foreign Minister Peres that the most important issue is that the commitment made by the PLO to Israel and the world community and the documents that were made public in September of 1993, the PLO's fulfillment of these and subsequent agreements will be the measure by which we judge the PLO's commitment to the peace process itself.

Q Is a peaceful "jihad" consistent with the September agreement?

MR. McCURRY: Consistent --

Q The phrase that Arafat used?

MR. McCURRY: The phrase -- if it is followed through with a determination to peacefully implement the provisions of the Declaration, then that certainly would be consistent with the Declaration. Under that Declaration the PLO, with Chairman Arafat in the lead, have obligations, and that is, as I say, the measure that would be used in judging whether that rhetoric is furtherance of the peace process itself.

Carol.

Q Have you, yourselves, listened to the tape and seeing his remarks in context, ascertained for yourselves whether in fact he drew this kind of nuance, distinction?

MR. McCURRY: We have seen transcripts of the remarks. We've seen news accounts about the remarks. I think that's why the Secretary thought the most important thing was to raise the issue directly with the Chairman, which our diplomat did in Oslo today, and we've received an explanation that I think is very similar to the one that the Chairman has delivered publicly.

Q Is it accurate to call you satisfied with that explanation?

MR. McCURRY: I think we're satisfied, but as I would stress again our measure is not just an exchange of words. Our measure is what are the parties doing to follow through on these very solemn commitments that they've made to each other that are central to lives of their citizens, central to the people of the territories and of Israel, and following through on those commitments is what any rational party would use as the measure of the commitments of the parties themselves. And that's what I think we will certainly be watching.

Q Flushing of the Iraqi oil from the Iraqi pipeline, could you confirm if the United States gave a 60/30/10 proposal to transfer the funds -- the proceeds to the United Nations?

MR. McCURRY: No. I can't get into the substantive aspects of the discussions we've had. As I think I've indicated, we've indicated on several occasions there are discussions underway with the Government of Turkey. I'd decline to comment on any of the specific elements of that discussion.

Mary.

Q Michael, on another subject, on China MFN: Is it safe to say now -- I mean, it seems to be common wisdom, you're seeing it reported everywhere, that the Administration has essentially decided to extend MFN and now people are talking in terms of the Administration preparing the public for this decision. And we had a background briefing from a senior Administration official, talking about the technical team and every day there seems to be a new report of some progress the Chinese have made.

Is that a fair statement to say that the Administration is preparing the public for extending MFN?

MR. McCURRY: No. Because that would imply that a decision has been made finally, and I'm not aware that the President has made a decision, because I'm aware of the fact that the Secretary has not sent a recommendation to the President. I think there are elements that we have seen in the evaluation of the seven criteria within the President's Executive Order that certainly represent progress in some of those categories.

There are also some things that would represent setbacks, and I think the Secretary is determined to give a candid and factual assessment of the human rights situation in China to the President in the context of evaluating the Executive Order, and I believe that his recommendation will then be considered carefully by the President, and they will announce a decision on the subject. But it would be inaccurate to say that essentially the Administration has decided the question, and now it's just a matter of rolling out that decision.

I think among other things, in some of those categories, including -- just to review a little bit, there are two mandatory conditions, and I think it would be accurate to say that there are growing signs that those two mandatory categories have been largely satisfied. But I think within the five categories in which we have to measure significant overall progress, which is more of a subjective standard, there are additional things that China could do to satisfy some of our concerns.

Among them, as I think you see reported today, is accepting a technical team from the Voice of America to talk about some of our concerns about jamming of broadcasts. That's the type of thing -- that meeting, my understanding, is scheduled to occur two days from now. So there are some things that could happen that would certainly relate very materially to the criteria in the Executive Order and might change the nature of the recommendation that the Secretary would make.

We would welcome any progress that China would contribute, even at a late date like this, to some of the things that we've already seen develop. So the book is not closed. The case is not closed, and the recommendation has not gone to the President.

Q But you wouldn't object to the characterization that the Administration is leaning towards renewing MFN with some limited penalties?

MR. McCURRY: I have never talked to the President of the United States on the question, and I don't know which direction he is leaning on the subject, and he's the one who makes the decision, after all.

Betsy.

Q There are reports that one element in this decision could be that certain goods like those manufactured by the Chinese army could be forbidden entry into this country. There has been some sort of side agreement on that so far, but that could be expanded. But there seems to be a great deal of difficulty in identifying these goods.

MR. McCURRY: I would not change anything I've said here on several occasions that there are technical aspects of any of these suggested remedies or any of these suggested tools for advancing our human rights concerns that are problematic. I think one of the things that the Secretary has asked experts in the Department to look at is how would you shape some of the tools available to advance our human rights concerns. What would be effect and what would be a sensible and reasonable way for us to advance our human rights objectives.

You've mentioned one example that I think is frequently cited. In fact, if I am not mistaken, Congresswoman Pelosi has talked a lot about the effectiveness of that type of approach involving enterprises that are sponsored or maintained by the People's Liberation Army. That might be an effective approach, but by no means is that a direction the Administration is headed. I would say only that the Secretary has asked experts to look at a wide variety of options and tools that might be available. To my knowledge, they haven't fashioned in a sense that would say this is the way you should do it as against this other way.

Q Can you verify that this is one of the things that is being looked at?

MR. McCURRY: I wouldn't want to suggest that it's not under consideration. I would suggest there are a wide variety of tools and ideas that are under review.

Mary.

Q Mike, is there any sort of unannounced delegation that's gone to China recently to pursue questions of how they can make progress in these last remaining days?

MR. McCURRY: There are delegations there all the time. I've seen some reports that I think Dr. Brzezinski was there, Mr. Oxenberg was there, I think Dr. Kissinger was there recently. I think there are a variety of exchanges that occur on a fairly regular basis, and I would imagine that members of these delegations meet with Chinese officials from time to time, and from time to time they have contact with us before people go on that type of trip and say, "Is there anything that we could say or do that would be helpful," and we tell them essentially what we tell you: that here are some things that we hope you would raise in your own private dialogue. So I guess the answer is yes, there are delegations that go back and forth all the time.

Q In other words, a high-level official delegation representing the President.

MR. McCURRY: I would say that there have been many aspects of quiet diplomacy that we have been pursuing since the Secretary was in Beijing in March, and I think the Secretary was very determined to see that the communication circuits would be open and available as we continued to work many of these issues with the Chinese, and I wouldn't comment at any great length about all the aspects of that diplomacy.

Q That sounds like a yes.

Q That sounds like a yes (inaudible).

MR. McCURRY: Good.

Q Another subject?

MR. McCURRY: Yes.

Q Can we have one more on this? When you said that there were a number of things for the Chinese to do to satisfy your concerns in these coming days, is that to suggest that the concerns thus far are not satisfied, and that if there aren't some other things forthcoming, the Secretary would recommend against renewal of MFN?

MR. McCURRY: I think a candid assessment, which is what the Secretary will provide the President, would suggest there have been some positive developments in certain parts of those elements of the Executive Order, and there have been, frankly, some setbacks or some negative developments as well. And there certainly are things the Chinese could do that would address some of the negative features.

I think some of you are aware that they interfered with an NBC crew that was conducting an interview yesterday. There are people still under detention that could be released. I think there are a number of things that could be done that would address some of our concerns within the Executive Order itself, and we don't want to rule out the possibility that they might want to take some steps.

Certainly, as I indicate, there's a very specific exchange that will take place concerning VOA jamming, which is one of the seven elements of the Executive Order discusses. So that's why I think it is very prudent to say that some of these questions are still open for examination.

Barrie.

Q Have the Chinese had any recent discussions with the International Red Cross regarding visits to prisoners?

MR. McCURRY: I believe they have, and I would leave it to the Chinese and to the ICRC to characterize that. It wouldn't be our place properly to comment on the discussions that they're having.

Q Something since Christopher was there.

MR. McCURRY: I believe they have, yes. That's my understanding that they have. I may be wrong about that, but it would be more appropriate for them to comment on that in any event.

Mary.

Q Michael, what's the reading of the Department about how this is all playing with Congress at this point? Did you detect a sea change in Congress where there's a growing tide of opinion for dealing with this whole issue of MFN and human rights, and that we're talking about getting into a completely new relationship with the Chinese, whatever the decision now?

MR. McCURRY: I think there is a growing appreciation within the Congress of the complexity of the issue, but I'd say there has been no diminution of the will of Congress as expressed many times in the measures that Congress itself has passed to express very strong concerns about human rights conditions in China and to encourage the Administration to pursue that effectively in our dialogue with China, and I believe that's almost a bedrock concern that runs throughout Congress, even amongst those who have different points of view on the MFN decision.

As people begin to understand more some of the complexity of the MFN decision, I think they may adjust some of their own thinking or their own comments about the decision to link MFN renewal and the human rights situation in China, but I'm not in a position where I can comment for all 535 members of Congress. Certainly, that range of opinion spans from those who are very adamantly insisting on measures even beyond the President's Executive Order and people who certainly think that it would be more appropriate at this point to de-link the two questions; to de-link Most- Favored-Nation status and human rights issues.

Q New subject?

MR. McCURRY: New subject. You had your hand up earlier.

Q Thank you, Mike. Concerning conflicts and crises, this is a bit of a general question. By my analysis, we have the present three crises in strategic locations, if I may count that as Korea, Croatia and Haiti.

We have two very bloody civil wars going on currently, and I can't tell you how many lower intensity wars around the globe. I have two questions here basically.

Can you recall a time since World War II where there has been so much trouble, so much war, widespread war going in the world? And, secondly, what might be the significance of this situation? Why is it happening?

MR. McCURRY: That would require a very lengthy answer on my part, and I'm not sure within the room at the moment there's sentiment for the lengthy answer I would be prepared to deliver. So I'll give you a very short answer to the question.

I think that there have been moments of enormous danger in the Cold War era in which the risk to citizens of the United States and indeed the risk to citizens around the world have been very substantially greater than they are today. One hopeful aspect of the period that we are now in is that the risk of thermonuclear war and the risk of major superpower confrontation has subsided. I think that's a very positive, optimistic aspect of the new era we're in.

On the other hand, precisely because we're in that situation, many of the countervailing forces that have impeded regional conflicts, fighting, ethnic rivalries, ethnic confrontation in the past, many aspects of those have now come forward as a result of the hopeful end to bipolar conflict, and those present very difficult, dangerous situations that the United States must deal with through very effective diplomacy. It's not an easy task, but it's one that the Administration pursues diligently.

Q Thank you.

Q On a different subject.

MR. McCURRY: On a different subject.

Q Pakistan's Foreign Minister (inaudible) says now that the United States is satisfied that Pakistan is not producing nuclear weapons and says that Pakistan would allow non-intrusive U.S. inspection.

MR. McCURRY: We are satisfied that they are not using nuclear weapons?

Q Not producing.

MR. McCURRY: Oh, producing.

Q Pakistan is not producing nuclear weapons. He says that Pakistan would allow non-intrusive U.S. inspections. Has there been any change in the U.S. attitude toward Pakistan's nuclear program?

MR. McCURRY: There has not been a change that I am aware of. It is a subject that we remain in very constant dialogue with the Government of Pakistan on, and that we will continue to raise in our bilateral contacts with them. I'm not aware of the comments that you're referring to. I'd have to look at them more carefully to provide a more thorough response, but my understanding is that we continue to raise issues related to proliferation and related to weapons of mass destruction in our bilateral dialogue with the Government of Pakistan.

Betsy.

Q Do you have any more information on this -- the reported special relationship which NATO is going to accord the Soviet -- whoops -- Russia?

MR. McCURRY: Actually, the information I have is that I think some of the characterizations of the decisions that were made, or the discussions that occurred, at the North Atlantic Council today may be a little inaccurate at this point. I'm not aware that NATO has made any decision or taken any decision to fashion any type of special relationship.

What they've been talking about at Brussels today is how to construct a partnership for peace arrangement with Russia that would be consistent with Russia's desire to have a special relationship with NATO, but that would be consistent with the criteria that NATO itself has developed in formulating the Partnership for Peace program, which is criteria that's well known. It's available to all the former members of the Warsaw Pact, and I think they've had a discussion of that today. There will be further discussions with the Government of Russia about the partnership formula that's appropriate.

I guess what I would say is, you've watched each of the new members of the Partnership for Peace construct their own agreement with NATO, they have all been unique, and it is obvious in the case of Russia that it would be especially unique, given the enormous stature of Russia in the world scene. So we look forward to working within NATO to develop the relationship both inside and outside the partnership.

I think that Russia will have a unique contribution to make, and we will see how the discussion develops as it relates both to the partnership and to other elements of cooperation that Russia will have with the West.

Q You're not aware of this decision being taken finally on structured fora?

MR. McCURRY: My understanding is, at the meeting today the Council did not decide to pursue any special relationship with Russia. It decided to carry on a dialogue on how best to develop the constructive relationship that we hope will develop between Russia and NATO.

Q Haiti.

MR. McCURRY: Haiti.

Q The New York Times is on your case this morning for lack of progress on Haiti and --

MR. McCURRY: I saw that. How rude. (Laughter)

Q Can you say anything new on, for example, the question of repatriation of refugees?

MR. McCURRY: I can say that we are pursuing actively, through diplomatic avenues, a variety of contacts with countries that we would like to have assist us on those questions. We've also been developing some prospects for doing that offshore. I think that some of you are aware the Ukrainian passenger vessel, the Gruziya, is available to be chartered for that purpose. There's, I think, another Ukrainian passenger vessel that's available later on in the summer, too.

So they've got a platform where they could do some offshore processing. That would be in furtherance of the President's policy. But I think as the President said on May 8, we expected that it would take some weeks to put a new system in place to handle some of the processing procedures that we will use to examine the applications of individual Haitians.

There's a very intense high level interagency group working on that to carry out the President's policy.

Q What about the possibility of using the Turks and Caicos Islands?

MR. McCURRY: I would imagine that that's something that might have been discussed by the President and the Prime Minister of Great Britain. I'd leave it for others to comment on that.

Q Is Mr. Gray anticipated to be going to Haiti at any time in the near future?

MR. McCURRY: I haven't had an opportunity to ask him whether he would expect to do so.

I wouldn't be surprised if he concluded that would be one way to advance his own role as Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State. You can imagine the situation he's in. He's come in now taking on a very important role on behalf of the President and the Secretary.

This has been a very enormously complicated process with a great deal of history, dating back through the Governor's Island process, some of the discussions that have been held with both Haitian military authorities and with President Aristide himself. I think Mr. Gray had been very directly involved in getting up to speed on many aspects of that discussion. I think once he's done that -- my understanding is, he's hit the ground running and is really moving into a lot of those types of discussions already.

I think he will then begin to move onto a number things, including perhaps a meeting with President Aristide, perhaps a visit to Haiti. I think he'll just have to develop his program as best as he sees fit.

When we can properly do it, we will have him down here so he can talk to all of you as he sorts out exactly how he's going to define and structure his role.

Q That phrase, "Hit the ground running" has been used by a couple people, including Sandy Berger. But where is he running to? He hasn't even managed to see Aristide yet.

MR. McCURRY: He's been a doing a lot of work on the issue. I don't know that the measure of his diplomacy ought to instantly be whether or not he's met with President Aristide.

Q Or talked to him on the phone.

MR. McCURRY: We've talked to President Aristide with the Deputy Secretary; Tony Lake; talked to the President fairly recently. They have very regular contact with the President's team. I've got a lot of confidence knowing how Bill Gray operates in situations like this, that he will pursue this diligently.

Q The Cyprus talks is over in Vienna. Could you comment on the outcome, and what's in store as far the Administration's concern?

MR. McCURRY: I have not seen a readout on that. I'll have to get you one. I was aware that there were discussions underway, but I haven't seen anything wrapping that up; and I'll see if I can get a readout on that.

Q Can you give us some details about Mr. Attas from south Yemen here? Any contact?

MR. McCURRY: Yes. He's been here. He is the Prime Minister, or the would-be Prime Minister. He has been meeting, I believe, with Assistant Secretary Pelletreau here. He met with Assistant Secretary Pelletreau Monday here in the Department. Assistant Secretary Pelletreau stressed the importance of an immediate cessation of hostilities in Yemen and the resumption of a political dialogue towards a peaceful negotiated resolution of Yemen's problems.

The Assistant Secretary also raised with the Prime Minister the issue of the safety of civilians, including American citizens and Somali refugees who are in Yemen.

I think he also noted that obviously we support the effort that's underway by the Gulf Cooperation Council and members of the Arab League to address this diplomatically and to bring an end to the fighting.

Q What is the position of the U.S. on this conflict?

MR. McCURRY: On the --

Q On this conflict?

MR. McCURRY: On the conflict itself? We think it ought to end. There are no advantages to the parties of trying to advance their own agendas through fighting. They're going to have to seek reconciliation. There should be now a mediation effort to bring the conflict to an end. Most importantly, some of the fighting that's occurring now, as it moves closer to populated areas, ought to stop right away because that would most inflame and endanger the prospects for any type of long term reconciliation between the parties.

Q So in a way, you're blaming north Yemen, which started the war?

MR. McCURRY: I'm not blaming one side or the other. I'm saying it would be advantageous to both the north and south if they would end the fighting and begin efforts at reconciliation.

Q By July 15, the Administration must report to Congress on child labor practices around the world. Has this issue been discussed with Prime Minister Rao of India?

MR. McCURRY: I don't know. The Prime Minister's meeting with the President occurs tomorrow. He has been having some sessions with others in the United States Government, and I don't have a complete readout on his discussions.

In any event, the report you're referring to is one that is an overall assessment that will be done in connection with other international bodies. That's not due, I believe, until later on in the summer.

Barrie.

Q Have you got any even preliminary reports from the IAEA regarding their first look at Yongbyon?

MR. McCURRY: I don't think we've had any formal report from the IAEA about it. There are technical experts who remain in contact with the IAEA. I don't know what level of information they've got beyond to say that they will obviously stay in close contact. At some point we will get some type of formal analysis from the IAEA that gives us their preliminary report on what they are learning in their visits.

If I'm not mistaken, I think the inspectors have just only arrived today at Yongbyon.

Q Do you know for sure that the reactor in question -- Number 5 -- has actually been shut down? We would know that. So is it or isn't it?

MR. McCURRY: We would know that. We would know that through the ways that we have of knowing certain things. I do think that we believe that the reactor is shut down. That's correct.

Q How long has it be shut down?

MR. McCURRY: There have been conflicting reports from Korean officials themselves about what's going on at the reactor. Over the weekend, one Korean official said that they were discharging fuel. That was then contradicted by a Korean diplomat yesterday, and I think that's all the more reason why we are awaiting a formal account from the IAEA on their assessment of the activity at the reactor.

Q Would you be able to say when it was shut down?

MR. McCURRY: I would not be able to, no. But I think that they would have some indications of when they think the reactor had cooled down, indicating that it may have been shut down.

Q How many days does it take between the time that it's shut down and the time that it's possible to begin removing fuel rods?

MR. McCURRY: That is a technical question I don't know the answer to. It's not a matter of days. I think it's a matter of weeks. Your question is probably, has sufficient time passed, and I think the answer is yes.

Q Just to pin that down. Sufficient time has passed --

MR. McCURRY: For the reactor to --

Q -- for them to be able to begin to move fuel rods out?

MR. McCURRY: That's correct.

Q Yes, Mike. Has there been any news regarding the Balladares administration in Panama -- the new government that's coming -- with regard to relations with the United States -- or any changes?

MR. McCURRY: I have to confess to say, I have not seen an assessment yet. It's a good question to take up maybe later in the week. I'll see if we have anything on it.

Howard.

Q Can you shed any light on the incident at Tuzla where a U.S. plane apparently was coming to the rescue and wasn't allowed to --

MR. McCURRY: I cannot any shed any light on it, other than if you've seen the accounts provided by UNPROFOR, I think the indication is that General Rose dispatched -- I believe it was Nordic APCs out to investigate the tanks that were firing on the airport. UNPROFOR has provided an account of the discussions concerning close air support, and I don't have anything to add to it, other than to say -- obviously, there was no request relayed to NATO by UNPROFOR for close air support.

Mary.

Q Michael, is it fair to say that the Administration is now in a blocking mode at the Security Council in terms of blocking new peacekeeping missions?

MR. McCURRY: No, it's not fair to say that. We are now applying very strict criteria consistent with the President's decision directive, Number 25, on when and how we participate in international peacekeeping efforts, including by funding such operations.

We've had one example now -- the discussion in recent days on Rwanda. I think Ambassador Albright made it very clear that we have great concerns about injecting a mythical U.N. force, since all they've done, obviously, is to authorize a force but there's no force present and ready to go anywhere at this point. We've raised concerns about putting that type of force in the midst of a situation in which parties are clearly determined to continue fighting.

That's consistent with the criteria as developed and outlined in the President's decision.

Q There was a report of artillery fire at the airport in Sarajevo.

MR. McCURRY: Just a report of a mortar shell, is what I've got. It's a report that there is a mortar shell of undetermined origin. That's all I've got on it at this point.

Q Is there any American support to the Russian peace plan for Nagorno-Karabakh, which is almost done (inaudible).

MR. McCURRY: There has been extensive U.S. support for the efforts underway by the CSCE to address the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh -- that is, we feel properly and over time the effort is going to result in a satisfactory resolution of the conflict.

Q Thank you.

(Press briefing concluded at 1:44 p.m.)

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