US DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING MAY 26, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Thursday, May 26, 1994 Briefer: Michael McCurry ANNOUNCEMENT Secretary's Trip to Europe/OECD/NATO Begins 6/1 . 1-2 VIETNAM Cooperation re: US POWs/MIAs .................... 2 Opening of Liaison Offices by GoV/US ............ 2-4 -- Ownership of former Diplomatic Properties ... 2-4 RWANDA Secretary General's Statement re: Inadequate Aid 4-5 CHINA Agreement to Disentangle VOA/Domestic Frequencies 5-7 MFN/Secretary's Recommendation .................. 6-7 MIDDLE EAST PEACE Implementation of Declaration of Principles ..... 8-10 -- US/Other Assistance to Palestinians ......... 8-10 ALBANIA Arrests of Greek-Albanians ...................... 12 -- Ambassador's Demarsh re: US Statement ....... 12 NORTH KOREA Working-Level Contacts with US in New York ...... 14 Conditions for Third Round of Talks with US ..... 15 IRAQ US Expulsion of Diplomat for Political Activities 13-14 TURKEY Governments Activities re: PKK ................. 12-13,20 BOSNIA Meeting of Contact Group in France .............. 15-17 HAITI Dominican Republic Pledges to Seal Haitian Border 17-18 William Gray's Discussions in Dominican Republic 17-19 Report of UN Border Assessment Team ............. 18-20
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
THURSDAY, MAY 26, 1994, 1:03 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon everybody. I'll start with an announcement that's no surprise. The Secretary of State is going to Europe next week. I think you knew that. But I'm telling you that because we are going to post in the Press Office a sign-up sheet.
The Secretary will be leaving June 1 to participate in the World II commemorative events in Italy, the United Kingdom, and France that the President will be attending. Then he will continue on. June 8, he will be in Paris for meetings of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. From there he will travel to Istanbul for meetings of the North Atlantic Council and the NACC. The schedule beyond that is uncertain at this point although there is a possibility he would just return here to Washington.
I know a lot of you are awaiting some further clarity on that schedule. When we can give it to you, we will. But there is a likelihood we'll depart without knowing the ultimate destination. So come fly with the Secretary of State and just see where we end up.
In light of the OECD meetings and the NATO NACC meeting, I thought it might be good on Tuesday next week before we depart to get some folks here who might be able to help you walk through some of those meetings. We're attempting to arrange that now.
I think over at the White House they have been doing some briefing on the President's trip. I encourage you to touch base over there so you can get a better sense of some of the President's participation in these historic commemorative events.
Now, where shall we go in the world?
Q What's the earliest he would be back?
MR. McCURRY: (TO STAFF) Mary Ellen, what's the earliest?
STAFF: The 11th.
MR. McCURRY: The 11th is the earliest we would return.
Q You had an announcement earlier on Vietnam?
MR. McCURRY: Yes, sir.
Q At the time of the February 3 announcement, there were promises that Vietnam would continue cooperation on MIAs and POWs, and perhaps even enhance that cooperation. Do you have any update on how things have gone since February?
MR. McCURRY: Not a numerical update, but there has been extraordinarily good cooperation with the Joint Task Force operations that have been operating within Vietnam. There have been a lot of cooperation from the government in addressing cases that we raise.
We most certainly continue to press our argument to Hanoi that we need everything possible to achieve the fullest possible accounting of POW/MIAs. Indeed, the announcement of just opening Liaison Offices is designed to be part of that process and to facilitate that process as will the future contacts we have through those offices.
There has been good cooperation. Our sense is that the teams that have been working in Vietnam have been able to get access to territory in areas that are very, very important. We certainly would expect that that type of cooperation would continue.
Q How about the Vietnam human rights record? Is that a glowing example of democracy?
MR. McCURRY: We are not talking in this case about full diplomatic relations that would allow a full range of bilateral relations to be explored. Our concern about the human rights issues related to Vietnam is known, as we address it annually and will continue to do so and raise it as we can in our discussions.
Q Do you have anything on the status of the American diplomatic properties in Vietnam?
MR. McCURRY: You'll see in some of the documents that we release today an announcement that we have formally established a procedure for exchanging these Liaison Offices; one of the relevant issues for us was seeing that Hanoi implements the agreement to return U.S. diplomatic property in Vietnam. They have agreed to do so.
The United States is entitled to recover diplomatic real property the U.S. owned in Vietnam prior to 1975. The U.S. has also agreed that the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is entitled to the diplomatic property formerly owned by the Republic of Vietnam.
The U.S. and Hanoi have agreed that these properties will be occupied on a reciprocal basis. We're now discussing with the Vietnamese a plan to implement the agreement that was announced today.
Q You see all of this falling into place. Can you put this into a time perspective at all?
MR. McCURRY: It's hard to do that. We're prepared to open the Liaison Office as soon as the plan has been satisfactorily implemented. It will depend, I think, on some of these issues related to the transactions around the diplomatic property. But certainly we would hope and expect to proceed quickly to opening the offices themselves.
Q Just to clarify, Mike. The Vietnamese have agreed to give back the buildings they seized during the war and we have agreed to give them theirs back?
MR. McCURRY: Yes. That's correct.
Q And what about the business -- the other American business assets that were seized?
MR. McCURRY: There have been on-going discussions about claims adjustments and discussion of claims. I don't have a status report on those, but that's a separate dialogue that will continue. There's been some progress in that dialogue.
I recall -- maybe now two months ago -- that we had said some things here on it. I'd go back and check what we said at the time. I believe we had been having on-going dialogue with Vietnam on a range of issues related to our claims.
Q But that's not in any way an impediment to the opening of the Liaison Office?
MR. McCURRY: No. The issue, as you'll see in the document and in the Minute -- that is, the formal exchange between those who negotiated this agreement -- that was more directly related to the real property issue.
Q Before '75, we had an embassy in Saigon and we had nothing in Hanoi. What are we going to do now? Are we going to take that former embassy and make it a consulate and buy new property in Hanoi?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not sure exactly how they're going to do it. The intent is to open the Liaison Office in Hanoi. We did have our embassy, and I think several dozen other diplomatic facilities in what was south Vietnam. Those are recovered as a result of the agreement that was reached today.
I believe that Vietnam had one diplomatic property, if I'm not mistaken which was the embassy here. That's the property affected on their side of the equation. But it would be our intent to open the Liaison Office in Hanoi.
Q Is there a dollar amount attached to our buildings over there?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know the answer to that. There probably is, because I think they're talking about a specific set of properties. I'll see if I can get that.
Q Do you have any comment of Boutros-Boutros Ghali yesterday concerning what he says is the inadequate response to the crisis in Rwanda?
MR. McCURRY: I think that is borne of the utter frustration and appalling horror of the situation in Rwanda itself. We certainly understand that.
The stories of the atrocities being committed there are just awful, and the catastrophy in Rwanda itself is clearly unacceptable and the killing must be stopped.
We have been taking steps at the United Nations directed towards working within the international community to address that killing and also the humanitarian crisis that has erupted as a result. We have also monitored and been supportive of the work of the U.N. Envoy, Mr. Riza, who has been in Kigali just within the past several days, attempting to work the parties into a cease-fire.
We've expressed our concerns to the Secretary General, and I think he is aware of our thinking on the prospects of a U.N. related effort to do something about the killing in Rwanda.
Q Mike, there's a published report that the Rwandan Ambassador to Washington was soliciting funds from Rwanda's residents here for the army; and, beyond that, he had been called to the Department last Friday. Do you have anything on that? And beyond that, any action that might be taken on that front if that's the case?
MR. McCURRY: Steve, I'm sorry, I didn't know. I'll check into that.
Q The Hartford Courant?
MR. McCURRY: The Courant. I'll look into that and see what we know about it.
Q On China. You said that the U.S -- that China was talking to a team from here about VOA jamming.
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Is there any information about that?
MR. McCURRY: I did. Actually, I just got something on that. There was a good cable that just came in that summarized some of the work that that technical team had done. If you bear with me, I will fish it out.
We've covered this in the past couple of days. I think you knew that there was a team from the United States there to look into some of the technical issues related to the frequency problems VOA has been having.
Representatives of the United States and China held technical discussions from May 20 through May 26 concerning the problem of frequency interference between Voice of America broadcasting in Chinese and domestic radio broadcasts. Both sides understood that the problem is complicated and not easy to resolve.
The dialogue began with an exchange of technical data, and there was a clear willingness on the part of both sides to search for solutions. That has now resulted in what these technical folks are calling a "disentangling" of two frequencies. They have disentangled the frequencies.
By that, I understand it means that at some point on the radio spectrum VOA will migrate to a new frequency, and whatever was the interfering frequency from the domestic broadcast will no longer occupy that portion of the spectrum. So there should be non-interfered broadcasts.
Q Does this mean that the broadcasts were indeed jammed or that there were technical problems?
MR. McCURRY: The problems, as the two sides agreed to address it, was a problem of entangled frequencies. So they've now agreed to disentangle their frequencies.
Q Does "disentangle" translate to significant progress in this area?
MR. McCURRY: If the result of this agreement is unimpeded the broadcasts by VOA -- it doesn't result in frequency interruption -- that would certainly be a step forward in bringing Voice of America broadcast to the people of China. That would constitute progress; but significant overall progress, as you know, is something that I'm not in a position to address here because there are others more senior than I addressing it at this very moment.
Q Do we know when this might take place?
MR. McCURRY: I am told that they need some time to evaluate. They've had these discussions and a lot of them have been, in fact, very technical discussions. They need some time to evaluate the results of that. A time and place for setting up some additional discussions to really resolve that will happen very soon.
They are going to, through normal diplomatic channels, go back to the Chinese at some point after they digest some of the exchanges they've had over the last week and set up a time when they can actually finalize whatever arrangements they make to disentangle the frequencies.
One more on this subject?
Q How does the State Department feel President Clinton has made his decision on MFN without receiving the Secretary of State's formal recommendation?
MR. McCURRY: We have absolute confidence that there's been a very full exchange of views between the Secretary and the President. There have been meetings, there have been a lot of discussion, and I think the President and the Secretary are very familiar with the thinking of each other on these issues at this point.
Q But he hasn't received his formal recommendation.
MR. McCURRY: His formal paper that will go to the President at some point -- it has not gone yet -- will reflect a lot of the discussions they've had over the last several days.
Q This entangling of frequencies, does the United States see this as a deliberate attempt to block the Voice of America's transmissions to China?
MR. McCURRY: I prefer not to address that. I like to look on the bright side at this point. They've successfully disentangled these frequencies or about to. We'll leave it at looking at the good news.
Q Before you completely disentangle from this issue, in terms --
MR. McCURRY: I feel like disentangling right now.
Q You should have kept the mask on. In terms of the Secretary's views and the President, it's been reported from the White House that the President has heard various views and asked for more options and more reports. Is the Secretary, or has the Department been asked for more? Or is this from other people in the Administration?
MR. McCURRY: I can't confirm what the President has or has not requested of those that he's been meeting with over the last several days on China.
I can reliably report to you that those who have been working on this issue have been working extensively to address issues that have come up during some of these meetings. I feel very confident; I believe they feel very confident that they've been able to provide a very extensive analysis to all of those within the government, including the President, that have been examining this issue.
Q Do you expect the Secretary to go to the White House this afternoon for any meetings on China?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know the answer to that question.
Q A couple of questions. What are some of the measures that the United States Administration is taking in order to facilitate dispensing operational funds to the Palestinians and government authority? There are several complaints that there is not enough cash to run the daily affairs of the Palestinians and government authority. I'll have another question.
MR. McCURRY: I had some prepared answer to a question similar to that earlier in the week. But the gist of it was that we have been working within the donor community -- in fact, I believe there was a gathering of the donor community here earlier in the week that was aimed at exactly that problem: How do we get some of the start-up money that needs to flow quickly to the Palestinian authority into the territory so they can begin to be used effectively by the authority itself.
We've made a very large pledge, as you know, through the Donor Conference here back in October. But we had followed up with that by taking some funds that we have described as start-up funds, things that can used very quickly and receive very quickly by the Palestinian authorities. If I'm not mistaken, it was $15 million plus an additional $5 million being available for a total of $20 million that we were going to, in very short order, make available to the authorities for things like paying the start-up costs of the police force and some related operational cost. I can get you some more detail on that specifically.
Again, I would stress that what we have in turn made clear to the Palestinians is that they need to structure, whether it's the PECDR or whatever entity or whatever institution is available, they need to structure that effectively so that the world community can now come in and begin to get the funds flowing -- get the funds flowing effectively -- to those projects and programs that can make a difference on the ground.
So part of this is, one, getting the start-up funds so that they are available so they can be used quickly in time of very urgent need, because we've heard that -- we've heard it, in fact, from the Government of Israel that they think it is important to make sure that the international community responds to some of these needs, in addition to the Palestinians.
We need to get that start-up fund flowing and then we need to establish the permanent structures that can make that type of assistance effective over the long term. That will require some work by the Palestinians to fulfill the commitments that they've made to structure exactly those types of entities.
Q What are these things that the Palestinians ought to or should have to finish or complete in order to facilitate things?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know that I know all of the things that they need to do. But there needs to be cost-accounting measures, there needs to be formal structures, the identity of individuals who will be in decision-making authority. There are a lot of issues like that that I believe the Palestinians are now in the process of addressing; but they need to finalize those arrangements so that we can then proceed and begin to get the assistance where it's badly needed.
Q What is the announcement that they are really delegating Morgan, Stanley Financial Investment Company in the United States to handle the funds? It could expedite the situation?
MR. McCURRY: I wouldn't want to comment on their retention of any particular firm. But I think getting that type of expertise and getting the type of help that they need to carry forward is exactly the kinds of things that others in the donor community are looking for.
Q Same area, another topic. How will the United States, or how would you look or feel about suggesting or proposing to Israel to enact a temporary moratorium on the entry of Israeli settlers to the self-government areas until the (inaudible) national authority takes place on the ground the Palestinian police will be deployed in order to avoid any confrontation which happened in the past 48 hours between the Palestinian police and the Israeli settlers in the territories?
MR. McCURRY: As I indicated yesterday, I think it is very, very important for the parties themselves to remain in very close contact and dialogue as they go through the initial stages of implementing the Gaza-Jericho agreement.
I think they understand that both sides have made significant commitments that need to be followed through on. What they need most of all is to exchange information and work closely together to make sure that the implementation goes smoothly.
We've seen some evidence. The Secretary, during his visit to Jericho, and his most recent trip, has seen some evidence that that type of cooperation between the parties is working effectively. What we need is more of that to avoid the type of confrontations and violence that the Gaza-Jericho agreement is ultimately designed to prevent.
Q Just back on the funding question. There either has been there will be a World Bank meeting in which they will discuss the release of some funds to the Palestinians. We were told when we were in Jericho that the Secretary, or some of his staff, is going to make a recommendation on whether those funds should be released. Did the State Department make that recommendation to the World Bank, and what was it?
MR. McCURRY: Sid, I'll have to check. That's a good question. I'll take it and I'll check. I don't know that they have addressed it yet. But if they have, we'll see if we can get an answer.
Q Apropos of the Secretary's recent trip to Jericho, there is a story on the wires -- an AP story out of Jerusalem -- quoting Palestinian sources that says Chairman Arafat will be in Jericho on the 12th for two or three days. It further quotes sources saying he plans to meet with Mr. Christopher at that time.
MR. McCURRY: I hear that one. I don't know about that one.
Q Do you know of a requested meeting? Has Chairman Arafat requested a meeting? Or is there any talk about such a meeting?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware of any request for a meeting, but I will check further on that. I think as members of the Secretary's travelling party indicated to you, it would not at all be a surprise for the Secretary to return to the region some time in the not-too-distant future. That's, frankly, no surprise at all, the notion that the Secretary would go back to the region.
But this particular suggestion that he might make a stop in Jericho and see Chairman Arafat there, it's just not something that I'm familiar with. I'm reasonably confident that -- in fact, I'm reasonably certain that there have been no plans at this point made for a visit to the region beyond the schedule that I just announced earlier with the stops in Paris and Istanbul.
If there were a schedule that had us in the region -- in Jericho on that date -- I would have told you that earlier in the briefing.
Betsy and then Lambros.
Q Let me try once more on China.
MR. McCURRY: China. Squeeze the turnip.
Q I'm trying, I'm trying. Would you say that the Secretary is done with the phrase of making this decision of consulting with the Hill and other people and that he's now sort of in the writing stage?
MR. McCURRY: No, I wouldn't describe it that way at all. There's been a lot of preparation and work that's gone into this decision today. But I would say equally important, there will be a lot of work in the aftermath of whatever decision the President takes to see that it is effectively implemented, to see that we continue to effectively raise our human rights concerns as they relate to China. That will require on-going consultation with Congress.
In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if direct consultation with Congress continues beyond whatever point the President makes a decision because we will need to. We're working cooperatively with them as we address the issue of human rights and human rights progress in China.
MR. McCURRY: Say again?
Q You just said this decision today?
MR. McCURRY: No. I said "as of today." I didn't say - -
Q That's not what you said.
MR. McCURRY: If I thought the President of the United States was going to make a decision today, I'd tell you. I don't know what he's going to do.
Q Mike, you have also welcomed the Chinese to make further gestures. Have any further gestures been made?
MR. McCURRY: We just discussed the issue of the VOA broadcast, which is one of the criteria in the Executive Order. Beyond that, there will continue to be dialogue on many of the issues that were reflected in the Executive Order and continue to be discussions about specific cases where we have direct concerns about certain individuals. That type of work on the issue of human rights will continue.
And will there be progress? That, frankly, depends on the Chinese Government.
Q Can we do Iraq?
MR. McCURRY: No. I promised Lambros back here.
Q Mike, do you have any comment on today's arrest of 30 members of the Greek community by the Albanian Government? And could you please clarify once again the U.S. position vis-a-vis to the continued violation of human rights of the Greeks and Alabanians by the Albanian authorities?
MR. McCURRY: Let me also pick up on a question you had yesterday. We are aware of reports from Athens that Albanian authorities have arrested, detained, or taken into custody a number of ethnic Greek Albanians on unspecified charges.
We have been in touch with the Albanian Government about the six previous cases that I described to you, I guess the day before yesterday, who were formally charged with espionage. But at this point we cannot confirm any new arrests. We're looking into those reports.
The preliminary reports we have heard indicate that between four and 30 ethnic Greek community leaders have been arrested or detained thus far.
You had a question yesterday about whether or not we had a demarche from the Greek Government. I'm told, yes, that we did. The Greek Ambassador met with State Department officials to express his government's concern with my statements here regarding the status of the Greek minority in Albania.
We provided the Ambassador with a very detailed explanation of our policy on this issue consistent with the statements I made earlier in the week. As to those statements, those statements stand. I don't know that there's any reason to change what I said earlier in the week.
Q Anything on the meeting between the Turkish Ambassador, Mr. Kandemir, and the Assistant Secretary, Mr. Oxman?
MR. McCURRY: On that one, I did get something on that. During Ambassador Kandemir's meeting, which occurred on May 20 with Assistant Secretary Oxman, various topics, including the PKK, were discussed.
We've seen reports that PKK elements had been trained in Greece, but we have no confirmation of their veracity. We're checking into them in the context of our international efforts to combat terrorism, and we've raised our concerns about PKK activities with the Greek and other European governments on various occasions.
Q Can you clarify those reports since you mentioned you have seen the reports -- they are press, governmental intelligence -- what type?
MR. McCURRY: The reports of it? The information I have here doesn't specify the nature of the reports. There have been press reports, though. I know, because we have seen some of those.
Q Can you tell us about the expulsion of an Iraqi diplomat, please?
MR. McCURRY: We expelled an Iraqi diplomat, Adnan Malik, who is the head of the Iraqi Interests Section here in Washington. He was asked to leave the United States because he engaged in activities incompatible with the limited mandate of the Iraqi Interests Section -- the agreement that establishes the activities of the Iraqi Interests Section.
There's a protecting power arrangement which was agreed to by Iraq in April 1991 that spells out exactly those activities which the Interests Section may engage in. The type of activity that the Interests Section is allowed to conduct under that arrangement includes government-to- government communication but only through the State Department and general consular matters.
The arrangement prohibits all other activities unless expressly authorized by the Department of State in writing. We never authorized -- the Department, that is -- never authorized Mr. Malik to engage in any other activities. And, in fact, expressly warned him to cease his political work which fell outside the scope of the permissible activities under this arrangement.
For those reasons, after warning him appropriately, we decided to ask him to leave.
Q What kind of political work was he up to?
MR. McCURRY: He has done a variety of things. He issued press releases on the Iraqi Parliament's invitation to Kuwaiti Parliamentarians to come to Baghdad for talks on the World Trade Center bombing. He has also contacted others outside the authorized government-to-government contacts that are allowed under the agreement. There was a pattern of activity beyond the scope of activities permissible under the arrangement itself that we felt violated the agreement that we had with Iraq from April 1991.
Q When did he leave, or has he left yet?
MR. McCURRY: I would have to check, George, on when he left. I've seen a press account, I believe, that said we have allowed his family to stay here so that a school age child could stay through the end of the school year, but I believe that he, himself, has left. I'll double-check that and see. Maybe we can find that or post that later on.
Q That was it? There was nothing more nefarious in that pattern of activity?
MR. McCURRY: No. It was political activity that we would describe as being an attempt to operate as would, frankly, any full-fledged diplomat, but in this case he had very correct restrictions on his activity based on the agreement that we have. And his activity was clearly impermissible and outside the scope of that agreement.
Q Will you permit him to be replaced by another Iraqi diplomat?
MR. McCURRY: That will be something that we'll have to address at a later date. I don't know the answer to that.
Q Have they asked?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know whether they have asked to replace Mr. Malik or not.
Q North Korea? Can you confirm that there was a working level meeting up in New York today?
MR. McCURRY: Sure. Why not?
Q Have you gotten a response?
MR. McCURRY: They did. They had a working level meeting this morning in New York, North Korean Mission. No detail. I don't have any details that I can make available on that.
Q Do you have anything on a third round?
MR. McCURRY: No. No change in what we've said about the third round, and to my knowledge -- let me double-check -- no update on what we hear from the IAEA. The IAEA is in North Korea at the Pyongyang facility now. Those talks are still in progress, and the IAEA will have to be providing you details on the progress of those talks.
Q As long as the subject of Iraq came up, we haven't asked in quite a while about activities in northern Iraq. Is there anything new with that situation, Iraqi trouble making, etc.?
MR. McCURRY: That's a good question, Howard. I haven't looked into it in recent days, but I'll do that and see if I can get something maybe for tomorrow on that. We've addressed that fairly recently, but not in the last several days, and I'll see if there's anything new.
MR. McCURRY: Bosnia.
Q Tomorrow, by my counting, would be the deadline for a cessation of hostilities as laid down by the Contact Group. Question one: Is there any sign that said there's any movement on that? Question two: Is there any growing frustration within the Administration that perhaps the Bosnian Government is the one at this point dragging its heels on that?
And a third question: Suggestions that not only Iran but now Turkey and Malaysia are moving arms and munitions into the area for the Bosnian Muslims.
MR. McCURRY: Let me, one-by-one, take them. First, we've been following, as you know, the talks that the Contact Group has been conducting in Tailloires the last several days. They are winding up now. Our latest report is that they don't expect any concrete results. They have had serious discussions with both sides on some of the territorial issues that would arise in a peace settlement, but those talks have not resulted, as of this moment, in any cessation of hostilities agreement or anything like some of the progress envisioned by the ministers.
I don't have for you at this point any assessment on what type of reaction there would be from the ministers to the most recent meetings. I think the Contact Group is going to have to report formally back to each of the individual governments and I expect that the governments will be in contact with each other as they assess what's happening at these talks in light of the ministerial communique that was issued in Geneva.
I do believe that there were some hopes that the parties might continue to address these issues in future discussions, but as of now there are no plans for the resumption of talks that I'm aware of. I believe there's some discussion and some reports from Tailloires that indicate that the parties are indicating there might be some future talks in the near future.
Q On the issue of Turkey and Malaysia sending arms?
MR. McCURRY: That one I don't have anything on. I'd have to look into that. I haven't seen anything to that effect, but I'll look into it.
Q Mike, so the foreign ministers' communique -- decision, whatever you want to call it -- has failed completely to achieve any results with the warring parties, and they're starting to build up -- wind up for a new battle, and they have not committed to meet again. So there's been absolutely no progress made after this big shindig in Geneva?
MR. McCURRY: There have been simultaneously fighting in Bosnia and discussions aimed at the peace process in France. Given the desire of the Contact Group and the ministers to achieve a cessation of hostilities, those are mutually contradictory developments.
Q I'm sorry. Mutually -- gearing up for fighting and - -
MR. McCURRY: Right.
Q -- and the talks.
MR. McCURRY: As I say, simultaneously peace discussions underway and fighting on the ground and fighting in and around various pressure points in Bosnia that would be affected by a peace settlement.
To your question, who is the most responsible for this? I don't have a judgment. There are different types of reports about fighting now going on on the ground in Bosnia, and some accounts -- there are reports of the Bosnian Government and Bosnian Croat forces together operating in tandem. There are other places in which there are indications of probing and offensive fire by Bosnian Serbs. So it's a mixed report, and I don't know that it's possible to give an overall assessment, but I think that, clearly, on behalf of the United States, there is ongoing fighting, and our view is that now is the time to stop the fighting and to get serious about these discussions that have been underway in France and to move them now to a level on which we can get a peace settlement.
You're were all aware, earlier in the week, of the comments that President Izetbegovic made about his willingness to begin exploring something that would approach a political solution, and we remain hopeful that the parties will continue the type of dialogue that will lead to an end to this war.
Q So do you see the Muslims as the main problem in these talks?
MR. McCURRY: No, I just answered that question. I said that you see different types of things going on on the ground, and that the parties have different positions in the dialogue. I don't know that we hold either party culpable for a lack of progress, but the important thing is that there has not been the type of progress that we need in the discussions, but that doesn't mean that it's not impossible to achieve that type of result. The parties need to continue to work, and we'll hear a full assessment from the Contact Group as we see what plans there can be for further discussions in the future.
Q Several weeks ago -- or was it just last week -- the French were sponsoring a U.N. resolution that talked about basically interposing U.N. forces around Brcko and essentially separating what seems to be a point of tension and pressure between the two sides.
The U.S. was supportive of that. Whatever happened to it?
MR. McCURRY: Chris, I'd have to check and see what the status -- I haven't checked into that in recent days. I'll have to look into it. I don't know what the status of that discussion is at the United Nations.
Q Mike, do you have any comment on the blunt message of President Mubarak regarding his warning about Iran's nuclear weapons and its threat to Asia, including the United States?
MR. McCURRY: I don't. I'll have to look into those comments and see if I can develop something on that. I hadn't seen that, but I will look into it.
Q Do you have anything on Bill Gray's talks in Santo Domingo?
MR. McCURRY: I do. He had what are described as very productive talks last night, and then has reported both to National Security Adviser Tony Lake and to the Secretary about those discussions, and we've today been analyzing what steps we can now take with the Dominican Republic to enhance sanctions enforcement.
Let me just go through a little bit about President Balaguer's -- about the meeting that occurred last night. First of all, Bill Gray, who is our Special Adviser on Haiti, was accompanied to this meeting by Dante Caputo, the U.N./OAS Special Representative. I neglected to mention that he would be present the other day, but he was there.
President Balaguer assured both Special Representative Caputo and Special Adviser Gray that the Dominican Republic would seal its border with Haiti, in conformity with U.N. Security Council Resolution 917. And I think in turn, both Mr. Caputo and Mr. Gray indicated to President Balaguer that the world community and the United States would stand ready to assist the Dominican Republic in enhancing enforcement of the sanctions themselves.
They agreed that they would review the report of the U.N. Assessment Team -- which I've described the last several days -- has been in Haiti looking at problems with traffic back and forth across the border. That assessment team, by the way, I believe is now or is getting ready to make its report to the United Nations, so we will be able to see a little bit more publicly at that point about the type of recommendations. They have to shut down some of the traffic across the Haiti-Dominican Republic border that many of you have asked me about in recent days.
The important thing, I think, is that they did agree that when those recommendations come in, the Dominican Republic would work with the OAS, the U.N. and with the United States, specifically, to implement the recommendations and to tighten the enforcement of the sanctions. They also agreed that they would remain in very close contact in coming days. In fact, today the people working on Haiti are working out exactly how they will proceed to follow up on the meeting last night and put in place some of these measures that will more effectively administer the sanctions program authorized by the United Nations.
Q You don't have any details on what kind of measures they're talking about?
MR. McCURRY: No. I don't know whether they talked about specific measures. There were some ideas that I have seen discussed, but I'd prefer to wait and see what this assessment team, the experts who went down there and looked at those types of issues -- what did they come up with, what are they recommending -- because we now have got a commitment to see what we can do about implementing exactly those kinds of recommendations.
Q Where is Mr. Gray now, and does he have any specific plans to go to Haiti?
MR. McCURRY: He returned last night. He is considering, I am told, another trip down, perhaps as early as next week, and he would go to a variety of stops in the Caribbean and perhaps Haiti as well. But that is not -- my understanding as of yesterday -- was not definitely laid on at this point.
Q What would be the purpose of him going to a number of places in the Caribbean?
MR. McCURRY: It would be to pursue our overall policy. And I think, as I indicated yesterday, with Deputy Secretary Talbott going down there, we have got an extensive effort with governments in the region to assist us in enforcing the U.N. sanctions program. There are a lot of issues related to sanctions enforcement that are important, and frankly there are a lot of issues that remain concerning our policy on Haitian migrants that need to be addressed, and that dialogue needs to continue. We are working this issue very aggressively with others within the OAS, and we need to continue to do so.
Q But Gray's not going with Talbott?
MR. McCURRY: There's some prospect of them crisscrossing, I think, in some of their travels, but they're working separate agendas, I believe.
Q Mike, is it conceivable that the U.S. military in some fashion would be used to enforce the sanctions on the Dominican border -- the Dominican Republic?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know. I would have to look at -- I mean, I don't know enough about what specific recommendations this U.N. Experts Team will come up with. I'd prefer to wait and see what types of things they recommend.
Q But was that offered to Balaguer? Did Gray offer that to Balaguer?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know whether that was offered or not. I can check and see whether it was discussed.
Q A follow-up on the Oxman-Kandemir meeting. Did the Turkish Ambassador submit any evidence to Mr. Oxman or just press reports?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know whether they had a formal exchange of evidence or not. I think they had a dialogue about the issue, but I don't know whether they exchanged any formal paperwork.
Q One more question: Could you please clarify the U.S. position to the Kurdish-Turkish fighting in southeast Turkey, since the Turkish sides present the Kurds' rebellion as an act of international terrorism, and the Kurdish side presents the Turkish fight as an act of state terrorism against innocent people?
MR. McCURRY: We are aware of reports about activity directed against the PKK in that region by Turkey. I would prefer not to characterize that one way or another without checking. I think we've expressed our feelings to the Government of Turkey and have had discussions with them about this campaign, but I would want to do some checking before falling on one side or other of that rhetorical divide that you just described.
Q Can you confirm if the United States has suggested the date of the third round of talks between the United States and North Korea on 2nd of June?
MR. McCURRY: No, I can't confirm or deny that they have offered a date. But, as I said earlier, there has been a working level contact today, so you can judge accordingly from that.
Q Mike, you said the U.N. Assessment Team had been in Haiti. It was my understanding they were only in the Dominican Republic. Did they look at this at both sides of the border?
MR. McCURRY: That may be right. I think they went to the Dominican Republic. They worked the border area. I don't know whether they have had any crossover into Haiti or not. I'd have to double-check that. If I said Haiti, that was probably -- inadvertently -- the wrong thing to say, because they did go to the Dominican Republic. I'll see if I can get anything. Although we'll know from the United Nations later today. If they make the report or some summary of the report public, we'll know the answer to that question. Since it's a U.N. assessment team, I'd prefer to kick it over to the United Nations. But that report -- I think they'll describe in that report exactly what they looked at and what types of things they examined.
Q Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:47 p.m.) (###)
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