US DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING MAY 23, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, May 23, 1994 Briefer: Michael McCurry NORTH KOREA Meetings with US Today at Department/in New York 1,3 IAEA Inspections/Defueling of Reactor ........... 2-3 Prospects for US Resuming Dialogue .............. 2,5,7 Purchase of Submarines from Russia .............. 4-5 Status of North-South Dialogue .................. 4-5 US Negotiating Strategy ......................... 6-7 RUSSIA Sale of Submarines to North Korea ............... 4-5 Prospects for Membership in Partnership for Peace 21 UKRAINE Territorial Integrity re: Crimea ............... 8-10 -- Secretary's Letter to Foreign Minister....... 8,10 -- Russian Support ............................. 9 Transfer of Nuclear Arms to Russia .............. 9 HAITI New UN Sanctions in Effect/Humanitarian Aid ..... 10-11,14-16 UN Assessing Tightening Border with Dominican Republic ...................................... 11-12,14-16 Boatpeople/Implementing US Policy .............. 12-13,17 Drug Trafficking ................................ 13 CHINA Prospects for MFN/Secretary's Contacts .......... 17-21 ALGERIA US Policy ....................................... 21 NATO Prospects for Russian Membership in Partnership for Peace ....................................... 21 BOSNIA Contact Group ................................... 21 -- Russian Cooperation ......................... 21 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Israeli Airman Rod Arad ......................... 22-23
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, MAY 23, 1994, 12:58 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Where in the world would we like to start today?
MR. McCURRY: Excellent choice.
Q Tell us about the unannounced meeting that was held this morning and where it will lead?
MR. McCURRY: The unannounced meeting is still underway, I believe. I think Ambassador Gallucci, as the head of our senior steering group on Korea, has been having a variety of meetings today with an official from the Republic of Korea. I think he plans additional meetings -- I believe in New York later today -- with some of those that were working with the North Korean nuclear problem very closely -- Japan, other officials from the ROK. All of these are to review the situation as we know it and understand it from the reports we've received from the IAEA and explore what prospects now exist to continue our dialogue on resolving the North Korean nuclear issue.
Q Are there very preliminary low-level talks going on with the North Koreans already in New York?
MR. McCURRY: As you know, we have a working channel in New York and State Department officials and members of the North Korean Mission to the United Nations are meeting in New York today at that working level. I don't have any details on that meeting.
Q Minor. I think the Japanese are tomorrow; not later today.
MR. McCURRY: I stand corrected. I think that is right. I think that the Ambassador plans meetings over the next several days.
Now, to step back a minute, I think you know we heard from the IAEA over the weekend that they have now sent a team of officials to North Korea to discuss safeguards procedures for the discharge of the fuel from North Korea's reactor. If my understanding is correct from the IAEA, that's not likely to happen much before Tuesday in North Korea when the team arrives.
We certainly urge North Korea to agree to the procedures the IAEA needs as soon as possible and not to jeopardize the IAEA's ability to conduct activities necessary to maintain safeguards on the spent fuel.
Q Mike, will you just tell us and spell for us the name of the individual with whom Mr. Gallucci is meeting?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have that with me, but I think we can get it. I'll come back to that later in the briefing.
Q What are the prospects now for a high-level meeting between Gallucci and the North Koreans?
MR. McCURRY: As we've said in the past, the IAEA's ability to conduct the activities it needs to maintain safeguards on spent fuel, as long as that is preserved, we would see no obstacle to a third round of high-level talks. However, if discharge of the fuel from the reactor continues, without any of the IAEA's proposed steps in place, then North Korea would inevitably undermine the basis for our dialogue, and we would have no choice but to return the matter to the United Nations Security Council.
Q If the inspectors, when they get there this week, are permitted to watch discharge of fuel, or at least monitor what they want to monitor, that would open the way now for a Gallucci-level meeting with the North Koreans?
MR. McCURRY: They need to conduct activities that would be related to maintaining safeguards on the spent fuel, so that the historic record of that spent fuel is preserved. If they successfully achieve that agreement, then there would not be an obstacle to a third round of talks.
Q Are there any other conditions? There had been some other conditions --
MR. McCURRY: The principal other condition was the successful completion of the inspection activity related to a continuity of safeguards and assuring that there had been no diversion of nuclear material since the last inspections. It may be a point that we did not stress enough last week. Those inspections have, I think, largely been completed. There may be some of that activity still underway. The IAEA would know better. One outgrowth of the visit by the IAEA observers to the facility was to complete that February 15 agreement between the DPRK and the IAEA on continuity of safeguards inspections.
It was one of, I think, seven inspection sites. There was one remaining that had not been completed. That has now been completed. That inspection activity has proceeded satisfactorily as far as we understand. That was a principal condition as well as the willingness of the DPRK to continue in dialogue on North/South denuclearization.
Q Is it your understanding that the discharge of fuel is at a pause at this point? Or is it continuing? There, supposedly, are some technical problems. They've stopped taking the fuel out although their intention apparently is to continue.
MR. McCURRY: I believe that they had continued. I think, for technical reasons, there may have been a pause in some of the defueling activity. But our understanding as of today is that the fuel discharge is continuing.
Q So once again, they're pulling fuel rods in violation, because there is no IAEA presence there?
MR. McCURRY: The IAEA reported that their activity, absent safeguards measures in place, was a serious violation. That would remain the case.
I've got the name of the -- Ambassador Gallucci is meeting with Ambassador Kim Sam Hoon -- H-O-O-N, as in Nancy -- who is the Ambassador-at-Large for the nuclear issue from the Republic of Korea.
Q So I understand this absolute clarity, it is your understanding that fuel rods are again being pulled as of today; right?
MR. McCURRY: As of today, our understanding is that the fuel discharge is continuing and that IAEA inspectors are present.
Q And they are present?
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Mike, I have several questions regarding dispatches over the weekend. One, Sunday in the Washington Post from Reuters. It quotes, "The U.S. said Friday that North Korea had not diverted nuclear fuel recently unloaded from the reactor to the nuclear arms production, but the IAEA spokesman said he was unable to confirm this statement."
In today's -- I believe the Washington Times today -- the defector, the North Korean defector, Kim Dai-Ho claimed that there had been 26.4 pounds of plutonium.
MR. McCURRY: Why don't we just take them one at a time.
Q How about that first one?
MR. McCURRY: The first one, I have nothing to add further to what Ambassador Gallucci said on Friday. I understand the IAEA has had -- Thursday, that's correct --
MR. McCURRY: -- (Inaudible) said some things on Friday. I don't have anything beyond that. I'm not aware of the IAEA comment that you're referring to.
On the second point, the comments of a defector, I don't have any comment on that. Did you have another dispatch?
Q Yes, there was. There was the business of Korea buying submarines from the Soviets. Here are some inconsistencies and possibly troubling news. Why are we so easygoing on starting negotiations?
MR. McCURRY: Our understanding on the submarines, North Korea purchased some submarines from Russia last year that are to be broken into scrap metal. We have raised that issue with the Russians. The Russians have assured us that the submarines didn't have any weaponry or navigation equipment on board and could not be restored for military use.
Q Mike, what about the North/South talks, which was one of the things that you were insisting on before the talks -- our talks with the North Koreans (inaudible).
MR. McCURRY: That is no longer a condition placed at the recommendation of the Republic of Korea; no longer a condition placed on a third round. Although the importance of that dialogue to the future of the peninsula remains. We continue to believe that there needs to be that dialogue to resolve the nuclear issue and to carry forward on aspects of denuclearization.
Q Why did we drop that condition?
MR. McCURRY: We did not drop it. It was a recommendation of the Republic of Korea.
Q Do you see any impediment now to a third round?
MR. McCURRY: The impediment or the obstacle that would exist to the third round would be if the discharge activity continues without IAEA safeguards present. That is the issue that the IAEA and the DPRK will discuss beginning as early as tomorrow.
Q When was this inquiry made to the Russians about the submarines?
MR. McCURRY: I think at the time of the sale last year.
Q Are you interested in any kind of inspection or verification that indeed is going to be turned into scrap metal?
MR. McCURRY: I'll have to check on that. I don't know how we follow up on that. But we have, as I say, received assurances from the Russian Federation on the nature of the sale.
Q Just to be clear, the IAEA inspectors are monitoring the discharge -- the taking-out of the rods -- and now what you're looking at is for the IAEA team that's on the way there to somehow assure that there is continuity of safeguards so that the plutonium on these rods is not reprocessed or at least monitored; is that right?
MR. McCURRY: That would all be correct and, in addition, that the historic record that is available by examining a certain portion of the rods would be preserved for further analysis. That, however, would be an issue that we've indicated all along we'd be willing to discuss with the DPRK at a third round of high-level talks.
Q Can that plutonium be reprocessed if it's done under the eye of the IAEA? What do we want to happen? What do we want to happen to the plutonium on those rods?
MR. McCURRY: We want it to be maintained consistent with the safeguards requirements of the IAEA. I'm not sure technically how that is done or what, if any, reprocessing activity can occur. I'd have to check. I just don't know the answer to that, Saul.
Q Is there any thought being given to changing the format of the meetings with the North Koreans? A lot of the Administration's critics on the North Korea policy say that by withholding the meetings, we're giving the meetings sort of a carrot or a stick; you're not really offering the North Koreans much, and that there should be continuous dialogue with this regime that many fear is isolated.
MR. McCURRY: There has been the willingness expressed on the part of the United States to engage in a broad and thorough discussion of the issue and a resolution of the nuclear issue in the talks that we do have. That is, in fact, one purpose of a third round of high-level talks between the United States and the DPRK.
I think the possibility of engagement on other issues is a subject that would be identified and raised in a third round.
Q Can we have a new subject?
MR. McCURRY: Maybe one back in here.
Q If the IAEA consultations cannot reach any agreement with North Korea this week, how will those other long talks be?
MR. McCURRY: I'd prefer not to speculate on what the outcome of those discussions will be. Let's see what happens when they have those discussions and address that issue at that time.
Q Mike, on the same subject. Last week, a senior Korean diplomat in Washington spoke to several journalists and commented that the issue is really not a question of North Korea versus the United States but rather it's North Korea versus the IAEA and it's a global issue.
Have you heard anything from our South Korean friends in terms of the United States getting too far out in front on this; where is the rest of the international community on the issue?
MR. McCURRY: We have a very active dialogue with the Republic of Korea on those questions, and we work very closely with them. I'm not aware that that's an assessment that is shared by the government. I'd say that the reasons to be supportive of the IAEA, as we have been, relate to their capacity in ensuring that international safeguards are maintained, and they, in that capacity, operate with the authority of the world community. That's important. We certainly recognize it; it's important that other governments recognize that as well.
Q Just one more. The other criticism that you hear is that the United States is taking a step-by-step approach to the North Koreans rather than offering what it is that some experts say the North Koreans want, and that is assistance with a light-water reactor access to world markets and money.
Can you tell us what specifically the United States is prepared to talk about at these high-level talks?
MR. McCURRY: First of all, in fairness, Saul, you hear criticisms that range the spectrum. There are some people who say, you shouldn't have any dialogue; you should just end this now and proceed to sanctions and proceed to whatever military options might exists. There are others at the other end of the spectrum who say, well, you're not being clear enough in the package of incentives available to the DPRK should you continue this.
My judgment is, given that range of criticism, we've probably got it just about right in the way we're pursuing this very patient dialogue. But, specifically, on the incentive you've raised, which is the civilian uses of light-water reactors, we have,in the past, indicated that that is the type of subject that would be available for discussion in a third round of high-level talks. That is, in fact, an incentive that would exist for the DPRK if they wish to modernize and improve their own civilian nuclear program.
Q Mike, just to clarify a point. Is it correct to say that you won't announce the date of the third round of talks until you see the results of the talks between the IAEA and North Korea?
MR. McCURRY: I think it's correct to say that we wouldn't proceed to announcing a date without a full range of consultations with others that we share an interest in this subject with. That would include the Government of Japan, obviously the ROK that we're already talking to, the Government of China we've talked to on numerous occasions about this issue. I think there are other things related to the activity of the IAEA, as I've mentioned earlier, that are central to our decision process as well.
This will not be news to the DPRK. Through our working-level meeting with them today, they will certainly understand the aspects of our thinking on a third round of high-level talks.
Q So that's what this meeting tomorrow in New York is setting up, since you're meeting with the Japanese and the South Koreans. After that, you will announce the third round; is that correct?
MR. McCURRY: As I said earlier, there's a number of things going on this week that relate to that question, but there has been no date set for a third round nor could there be until a number of things are clarified.
Q Can we turn to a different subject now? On the situation in Crimea and the crisis brewing between Russia -- the Crimea Russians and Ukraine with military and Ukraine and so forth. Can you tell us something about the letter the Secretary sent to President Kravchuk and what the United States position is on this?
MR. McCURRY: Let me just tell you what I can give you on that. Our Embassy in Kiev reported last Friday that the parliament's decision to adopt measures intended to loosen Ukraine's authority in Crimea, which is a move that contradicts the Ukrainian constitution.
Later that same day the Ukrainian parliament ordered Crimean lawmakers to rescind their illegal measures within ten days. President Kravchuk has now stated that Ukraine would take appropriate measures to preserve Ukraine's territorial integrity. The territorial integrity of Ukraine within its present borders is something that the United States has consistently affirmed consistent with our commitments to the CSCE.
On your specific question, Secretary Christopher reiterated United States position, as I've just outlined it, in a letter delivered to Ukraine's Foreign Minister -- Foreign Minister Zlenko. That letter was delivered today.
The Secretary recognized the responsible and conciliatory approach that Ukraine has adopted in dealing with developments in Crimea thus far and urged the Ukrainian Government to continue to exercise restraint.
Russia has also made clear its continued support of Ukraine's territorial integrity. That would be consistent with the trilateral agreement signed by the Presidents January 14 in Moscow. We believe that Russia's position on that issue is unchanged.
Q There have been some statements in Kiev that Ukraine might stop returning the dismantled nuclear weapons if Russia intervenes in Crimea. Anything to say on that?
MR. McCURRY: We believe that those reports are baseless. Ukraine is fulfilling its commitments under the terms of the January 14 trilateral statement. We have no reason to believe that Ukraine will not continue to do so.
Q Do you happen to know the schedule of delivery. Of many of them have been shipped out?
MR. McCURRY: How they have done? The last time I checked, Barry, it was a number in the hundreds that had been dismantled and returned to Russia. I can't remember -- I think someone told me it was a third, but I would want to go back and double-check that. It had been proceedings satisfactorily. In fact, it was a source of encouragement that this very important agreement would result in the denuclearization of one of the states of the former Soviet Union. It was proceedings according to the trilateral statement that President Yeltsin, President Kravchuk, and President Clinton signed in Moscow last January.
Q What obligation, if any, does the U.S. have under the trilateral arrangement in terms of the territorial integrity of Ukraine?
MR. McCURRY: We have the offers of security guarantees and consultations that are specified in the document.
Q So therefore under a circumstance like this, what does that mean in a practical sense?
MR. McCURRY: In a case in which any of the three states feels threatened by the action of another, they have a right of consultation and a right for further -- I just blanked on the exact wording. But it was a public document that we released in January. There's a very specific phrase that refers to the right of consultation and the right of each state to fulfill security obligations to the other under the trilateral agreement.
Q So unlike other various conflicts in the former Soviet Union, this is one in which the U.S. has at least some commitment, some stake?
MR. McCURRY: We have a very specific guarantee that is included in the trilateral statement. That's correct.
Q The Ukrainians say they want to take the issue to the United Nations. Does the United States feel that will be a helpful move? And what could the United Nations accomplish that perhaps this security guarantee will not?
MR. McCURRY: I would want to check on that. I'm not sure how they've suggested that that ought to be reviewed; whether it ought it ought to be discussed within the Security Council which may be entirely appropriate or whether they're looking for some other action. I'd really want to check with the USUN Mission and get something further on that. I wasn't aware that they had made that request.
Q Mike, you mentioned the Secretary's letter to Zlenko. Was there any similar communication to the Russian Government or were there any sort of message. Was there any sort of communication with the leaders of the Crimean parliament?
MR. McCURRY: I don't believe we've had contact with members of the parliament. I do think we have had discussions diplomatically with the Russian Federation on this, but I'd have to check to get the exact nature of that contact.
Q New subject?
MR. McCURRY: New subject.
Q How is the embargo going?
MR. McCURRY: The embargo went into effect --
Q Serbia? Oh, sorry.
MR. McCURRY: Haiti. We're going to do Haiti. We're doing Haiti if I can find anything.
The trade sanctions against Haiti that were mandated by the U.N. in Security Council Resolution 917 went into effect Saturday, as you know. The Executive Order prohibits importation into the United States of any goods -- actually, the President signed an Executive Order on behalf of the United States which implemented the trade sanctions that were approved by the United Nations. Those took effect at midnight Sunday.
They prohibit the importation into the United States of any goods of Haitian origin except for informational materials. It also prohibits exportation of any goods to Haiti except for information materials, medicines and medical supplies and certain foodstuffs, such as rice, beans, sugar, wheat, and flour, designed to ameliorate the effect of the sanctions on dispossessed populations.
There's a multinational coalition authorized by the U.N. Security Council resolutions which was already enforcing the U.N. arms and petroleum embargo. That maritime interception operation was expanded over the weekend to take into account the new U.N.-ordered sanctions.
The Pentagon has got some more information on how that force is working. There eight vessels, six of them U.S. patrolling the waters around the major ports of Haiti.
We have seen -- I think probably the same thing you've seen -- reports that the embargo itself is being run by people who are crossing the Dominican border. I think you'll recall -- I told you last week that we've got an expert team that is down, at the invitation of the Government of the Dominican Republic, talking with the Dominican Republic about ways in which we can more effectively enforce that embargo along the Haitian-Dominican Republic border.
They've got, I think, a Customs official from the U.S., a Customs official from Canada, and a U.N. sanctions expert, who are down there reviewing with the Government of the Dominican Republic, specific steps that can be taken to improve the enforcement of that embargo along that border.
Q Have they come up with any ideas?
MR. McCURRY: I haven't heard a report from them. They just were down there this week. When the report is analyzed, it will be given to the international community which will then be able to pursue various recommendations.
Q But there's some question as to exactly who is the government in the Dominican Republic?
MR. McCURRY: They had an election there; that's right. But we don't expect the election controversy to have any affect on the international community's resolve to use U.N. Resolution 917, nor do we feel that the Dominican Republic can fail to miss the importance of its responsibility as a member of the international community to assist in enforcing those sanctions.
Q Mike, how confident are you that these sanctions will work?
MR. McCURRY: They are designed to pressure the Haitian military authorities. They can be, if properly enforced, an effective means of pressure. But it is ultimately going to be the Haitian military who decides whether they live up to their obligations as expressed by the international community. As the President and others have said, other options are not ruled out.
Q How are you doing with the boat people? Is the flow continuing? Any interesting cases over the last two days like the eight that ended up in Guantanamo?
MR. McCURRY: There have been new cases. I don't know enough about the cases you're referring to at Guantanamo to talk about them. I was trying to get some more information about those myself.
There's obviously been an increase in the number of boat departures from Haiti over the course of the last ten days. I've got some numbers on them, but I wouldn't say that they're much different from when we covered the subject last week.
Q Mike, on the eight that you're also seeking more information on, do you have anything; how unusual this is? Very unusual? Slightly unusual?
MR. McCURRY: There have been some processing; in some cases, processed in a somewhat different manner over the course of the last ten days. But by and large the pattern of interdiction and direct return has held very firm and will continue to hold firm.
Obviously, we are seeking new procedures that we can put into place to protect those who might have a well- founded fear of persecution. But until those measures are in place and working effectively, we have no choice but to return directly to Haiti those who have been interdicted or to consider those cases, as we consider them based on medical emergencies.
We had a case I think several weeks back where there were some medical emergencies involved. I think they just have to use their best case-by-case judgment.
Q When will the policy be implemented finally -- the screening process?
MR. McCURRY: They are working on it. It's, as the President said, within a matter of weeks.
Q Can you give us information on the dimensions of the narcotics traffic from Haiti to the United States?
MR. McCURRY: Saul, I had some worked up on that last week and don't have it here now, but I can get that for you tomorrow. We had some workup on it.
Q Were you asked about it? Did you say anything from the podium?
MR. McCURRY: No, I didn't get asked about it. We can take it as a question because we did have an answer on that.
Q Could you, please? Has this narcotics traffic continued during the period of the embargo? And is it continuing today?
MR. McCURRY: I believe that the answer that we worked up indicated that it had. It was proportionately not as great as other problems that we see in the region, but it was a source of concern that was being looked at by the United States.
Q Is it true, as I've heard, that some of the people who were involved in Noriega's narcotics operations are also involved?
MR. McCURRY: I'll have to go back and look at the answer. I don't remember whether it addressed that point or not.
Q If you do have more information on this tomorrow, could you include some order of magnitude compared to other countries in the region, other ways that the drugs coming -- transfer points to other points so that we can have some order of magnitude here?
MR. McCURRY: As a question of drug trafficking, it was not as urgent as other cases that we looked at in the region. I recall that the answer did address that point directly, but we'll fish it out and get it to you.
Q Going back to Alan's question, until now the Haitian military has been fairly impervious to the sanctions but the average Haitian has been hurt. Can you go over again what steps are being taken to cushion the blow to the population?
MR. McCURRY: A number of things that we do to try to protect the population itself. One, the sanctions, as they are ordered, eliminates certain food and medicine and things that are necessary for survival; (2) there's an extensive humanitarian operation within Haiti that feeds up to a million people a day that tries to protect them against some of the consequences of the embargo itself.
These are steps that the world community takes upon itself. But let's not forget that those responsible for the conditions in Haiti are the military authorities who continue to refuse to meet their obligations to depart. That's the reason why the United Nations has ordered these increased sanctions. It does require us to make a humanitarian effort to try to protect those who should not suffer. But sanctions are never designed to work in any other way than to be a blunt instrument of pressure on a recalcitrant regime like Haiti's.
Q Mike, you referred, yourself, to the crucial importance of the Dominican Republic. Can you tell us if there are any new mechanisms in place along that border that weren't there before?
MR. McCURRY: They are looking at that question, as I indicated earlier.
Q So what you have is a resolution, but you don't have a mechanism at this point to block the main source of leakage?
MR. McCURRY: We have three experts working with the Dominican Republic now to see what precise steps can be taken to improve the enforcement along that border.
Q Was there a U.S. team in Turks and Caicos this weekend to look into that as a possible point for docking the ships that have been hired to process refugees?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of, although there are some officials from Turks and Caicos here at the Department now who have been discussing that.
Q Is William Gray planning a trip to Haiti or the region this coming week?
MR. McCURRY: There have been various suggestions that he might travel in the region, but I don't know that he's set any definitive plans.
Q Mike, could I just take you to the Dominican Republic's role again? You talk about the experts being on the border, but do you really feel that it's because the Dominicans don't know how to enforce this, or is it that they lack the will to enforce? And, if they lack the will, three or 30 experts, what difference will they make?
MR. McCURRY: If they lack the will, then they face the resolve of the international community to see that they live up to their obligations, and that they know there are consequences for not living up to those obligations.
President Balaguer has never indicated that they oppose the sanctions. There is a willingness on the part of the government to receive these experts, to talk about things that they could do to improve enforcement. I don't know whether that's an issue of increasing border patrols. I don't know whether it's a question of resources available to monitor that border. But that's the type of thing that I think those who are more expert in the issue will then examine.
Q What sort of sanctions would they be exposing themselves to if they don't cooperate?
MR. McCURRY: I don't want to get into that. The individual member states of the United Nations have a variety of responsibilities under the terms of the resolution, and there are steps that the United Nations can take when there are cases of willful violations of a U.N. Security Council resolution.
I don't think that's been raised in this case, so I wouldn't want to speculate on it.
Q Nothing has been spelled out in the U.N. resolutions about punishing violators at all.
MR. McCURRY: There is nothing in the specific resolution, but there are accepted procedures that the U.N. can use in cases of persistent violations of sanction regimes. We've seen that used in other cases, other resolutions, other places, and that's a U.N. issue.
Q Are you able to quantify in any way the impact of the violations on the Dominican border? I mean, does it mean, effectively, that these sanctions cannot work if the Dominican Republic does not cooperate?
MR. McCURRY: I can't say that. I mean, there's an awful lot of maritime traffic within the region that's been shut off by the interdiction effort around Haiti. That has a substantial impact in and of itself, but gasoline is clearly the principal item that is being run across the border, in violation of the U.N. sanctions regime, and I haven't seen any economic quantitative measure of that activity.
Q Mike, is there a sanctions committee that will review the Dominican Republic's conduct?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know the answer to that, Mark. I would have to check with the U.N. on that.
Q Could you take the question of what possible consequences the Dominican Republic faces if it fails to cooperate with the sanctions?
MR. McCURRY: Okay, I'll take that.
Q The U.S., if my memory serves me correctly, is trying to gin up support in the OAS for a possible international military intervention if that becomes necessary.
MR. McCURRY: I don't know that that's an accurate statement.
Q Well, how would you characterize it, and have countries been at all receptive to the possibility?
MR. McCURRY: I think the United States has explored within the OAS support for the President's policy and support for aspects of the U.N.'s adopted procedures, which has included some type of international mission to be present in Haiti. But I'm not aware that there's been any definitive consulting about intervention, as your question would suggest.
Q Mike, can I go to Russia?
MR. McCURRY: One more? Charlie.
Q Have you had any report of any shots being fired in anger, preventing ships from coming to Port-au-Prince?
MR. McCURRY: I've heard something to that effect, but I don't have enough to get into the subject with any specificity.
Q And earlier you said that you had some figures in terms of overall traffic. Could you just give us what you've got on it?
MR. McCURRY: Yes. As of May 22, the multinational force working in the waters off Haiti has boarded 991 vessels and diverted 72 for carrying prohibited and/or inaccessible cargo. That dates back to when the operation went into effect October 18, 1993.
As I said, there are now eight -- the force consists of eight vessels -- six of them U.S., one Argentine, one Canadian -- and there were two Navy vessels which joined this interception force during the course of this past weekend.
That's all I had here. I think the Pentagon may have had some more on which vessels were underway.
Q Mike, in the recent days, the Albanian Government systematically violated the human rights of the Greek minority in Albania against the function of the Greek Church and all activities of the Greek organization (inaudible). I'm wondering, do you have any comment in the framework of human rights?
MR. McCURRY: I've seen a little bit about that situation but not enough to make a definitive comment. We will see if we can get further on that for maybe a comment tomorrow, if that's acceptable.
Q On China, the Secretary's decision, recommendation to the President. Can you give us a readout on where that is? Has he ruled out any options? Has he --
MR. McCURRY: He's working the issue diligently. He started, I think as some of you know, working on the issue of China during his most recent trip to the Middle East and has really been honing in a lot of his personal work on the decision related to extending MFN status for China upon his return.
Over the course of the weekend or going back to Friday, he's made about -- roughly 16 calls to members of Congress just to measure their thinking on various aspects of this issue and also to get their overall sense of sentiment in Congress. This continues a practice of the Administration to work very closely with Congress on this issue and the Secretary, as he often does, has taken the time to talk to a lot of the leadership in Congress about various aspects of the decision itself.
I would describe him as, at this point, shaping the decision that he will recommend to the President, and I wouldn't want to speculate about when and how he might deliver that to the President. He's talked to the President several times. He has talked to other senior members of the Administration, informally, one on one, to sound out their thinking, and he will proceed accordingly.
Q In this shaping, though, has he ruled out any options at all?
MR. McCURRY: I think as you begin to shape and narrow a decision, you almost logically have to do that. But I'm not going to tell you much about his decision-making process.
Q In addition to talking to members of Congress, though, what are his feelings on what China has done in terms of the Executive Order, meeting the --
MR. McCURRY: I think he believes that more could be done. I wouldn't rule out -- you know, we continue, as I told you last week, to work this issue very carefully and deliberately with the Government of China and will continue to do so.
Q Actually, yesterday the Vice President seemed to suggest that there might be more forthcoming from the Chinese before the final decision was made. Do you have reason to believe that there is something imminent from China?
MR. McCURRY: I have no reason to believe that, but there are areas in which the Chinese know of our concerns, and they could in fact, if they chose, to take certain steps. But that would be up to them.
Q Mike, is there a suggestion here that the Secretary's holding back to see what the Chinese do in the very last days, because that would lead to the question of why are you impressed with last-minute derring-dos instead of looking at the whole year's record?
MR. McCURRY: I think it might add --
Q It's fairly obvious --
MR. McCURRY: His analysis of the seven areas within the President's Executive Order is largely complete at this point. I mean, the Chinese could conceivably add to that record in the coming days, but in looking back on a year of activity, the Secretary, as he analyzes it, I think has a good sense of how the Chinese have performed in each of the categories contained in the Executive Order.
He certainly would not want to rule out adding to that record, should there be anything that occurs in the next several days that would be important to note in connection with an evaluation of the Executive Order, and he could in fact add that in to the analysis as he prepares it for the President. But beyond that I wouldn't want to speculate that there's anything imminent.
Q Is he talking to any of the human rights organizations on this?
MR. McCURRY: I believe the Secretary has had correspondence with them, has had some discussions with them, but there have been others in the Department that have had a very active dialogue with members of the human rights community on the issue.
Q Will we get the Secretary's findings by the end of this week?
MR. McCURRY: No.
Q Mike, do you have any readout of the team that went to talk about the jamming of VOA, which is one of the seven criteria?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have a readout on that. No, I know that I should have gotten that. I'm sorry that I didn't. They were scheduled to meet last week, and I haven't seen anything reported in yet, but I'll chase that one later today for use tomorrow.
Q Just a very quick follow-up. Is the VOA still being jammed?
MR. McCURRY: That was part of the question, whether or not they were being jammed to begin with. There are mixed reports on that. I'd want to go back and look. That's a broad area and a broadcast pattern that I'd want to get a more detailed answer to that question.
Q How does the Secretary plan to make his findings public about China?
MR. McCURRY: In cooperation with the White House.
Q Do you think that a compromise proposal would be workable, such as revoking MFN on certain government imports?
MR. McCURRY: I've seen a wide variety of comment by people more expert than me on that question.
Q Mike, could you clarify --
Q Is a compromise workable?
MR. McCURRY: I've seen mixed opinions on that from experts. I think that would lead me into a discussion that speculates on which direction the Secretary might go one way or another. It's not a useful area to go into.
Q About Russia --
Q Wait. Can I get one more on China.
MR. McCURRY: One more on China. Sid.
Q Could you just clarify something for us? It's my impression that the Secretary was -- what he was going to give to President was flat, "China has met the seven criteria or not." I've been out of town for a week, as you know. So has it now gone to the Secretary is going to give him that information as well as his recommendation for how to renew or not to renew it?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not familiar with what the Secretary is going to be sending to the President. I wouldn't want to speculate that it would take one shape or another.
Q What he was theoretically supposed to do has now been broadened, beyond a general make-or-break announcement.
MR. McCURRY: What he theoretically is supposed to do is very precisely addressed in the Executive Order, which is to render a subjective judgment about a variety of criteria as outlined in the Executive Order, and the Secretary has a great deal of latitude within the terms of the Executive Order to make the type of recommendation that he feels is warranted. You're assuming that this was going to be of one shape or another, and I'm not aware that it was ever supposed to be in any certain form, other than the form suggested by the Executive Order itself, which is worded in a way that could give the Secretary a broad range of latitude.
Q Algeria. According to the Washington Post from last Thursday, the United States shifted policy toward Algeria. Could you tell us something about that?
MR. McCURRY: I would say that that was a report that was based largely on testimony that Deputy Assistant Secretary Mark Parris gave from our NEA Bureau, and I commend that testimony to your attention. I think very precisely in that testimony he spells out the parameters of U.S. policy towards Algeria, and it reflects, I think, sophisticated thinking about the political situation in Algeria, and it's well worth reading to get a better handle on it. The article was focused on that testimony which was given in front of Congress, and that constitutes the full range of our approach to Algeria, as contained in the testimony.
Q About Russia.
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q With the NATO conference coming up and the continued efforts to draw the Russians into the Partnership for Peace, has the Department anything to report about progress here? And, secondly, are the Russians helping us -- helping the situation directly in Bosnia, as it would seem, as things are so quiet?
MR. McCURRY: Two separate questions. On Partnership for Peace, we do continue to believe there are advantages both to NATO and to Russia of participation by Russia within Partnership for Peace. I don't really want to get too much into the detail of that area this week, because I think, as you know, Secretary Perry is going to Brussels for some meetings with, among others, the Russian Defense Minister, Mr. Grachev, and those discussions, we hope, will touch -- they're I think aimed at a review of Russian military doctrine. We hope, perhaps, that they will discuss Partnership for Peace as well, so that I really would like to withhold in light of the Secretary of Defense's upcoming travel.
On the question of the Contact Group and the Russian Federation's participation in the Contact Group, it has been very important and instrumental in the work we're doing with the others in the international community to have the partner in the Contact Group, and that work will continue -- will most likely continue this week in France.
Q Can we jump to the Middle East?
Q Go ahead.
Q I have a few questions concerning the Middle East. During the Secretary's trip, in discussions in Damascus, was the subject of the Israeli Pilot, Ron Arad, raised, and what kind of response did the Secretary get? And do you also have any statements on the incident at the Gaza checkpoint, with the murder of the two Israeli soldiers, plus the invitation extended by the Israelis to the Amal leader in Lebanon?
MR. McCURRY: The first question on Ron Arad. That is a subject that we have raised very often during the Secretary's travel in the region. He's met with members of the Arad family, as you probably know. We have used our good offices with countries in the region to obtain information, and we have also encouraged and helped gain the participation by congressional staff in some of those discussions. So the answer is yes, that is a subject that comes up. It's come up, I believe, if I'm not mistaken, on each of the Secretary's most recent trips to the Middle East.
On the question of the killing of the two IDF guards at the Gaza crossing, that is obviously something that the United States deeply regrets and condemns. It is another indication that there lurks in the territories those who would attempt to destroy the peace process and the antidote to that is the changes that are in fact taking place now as the Israelis and the Palestinians work to transfer some aspects of authority to those who have become responsible for security within Gaza and Jericho.
Q Mike, when we left Damascus, we were told that the Secretary instructed Ambassador Ross -- Chris Ross -- to raise an anti-Semitic article in the Syrian Times with the Syrian Government. Has he done that yet? What was the interplay?
MR. McCURRY: Sid, he did raise it, but I have not seen a report back from Ambassador Chris Ross as to the result of that conversation. I'll get one. The Secretary did raise it, yes.
(TO STAFF) Let's make a note. I'd like to get into that for tomorrow.
Q Going back to Ron Arad and the incident with the leader of Amal who was brought back to Israel, do you have any comments on that incident? And, in addition, there has been some discussion that the lack of progress with Ron Arad is linked to that particular episode.
MR. McCURRY: The answer is no, I don't have any comment on it.
Q Thank you.
MR. McCURRY: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:46 p.m.)
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