US DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING MAY 31, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, May 31, 1994 Briefers: Stephen Oxman Michael McCurry SECRETARY'S TRIP TO NAC/NACC/OECD Secretary Oxman's Opening Remarks ............... 1-5 NATO/Non-Proliferation .......................... 5 Bosnia/Ceasefire/Diplomatic Efforts ............. 5-7 Partnership for Peace/Russia .................... 7 Greece/Macedonia ................................ 7 NORTH KOREA Security Council Statement on Refueling Reactor . 7,9-10 UN Discussions on Sanctions ..................... 7-8 US Contacts with China .......................... 8-11 Contact with US ................................. 10 Report of Missile Test .......................... 11 INDIA Amb. Wisner's Statement re: Missiles ............ 11-12 MIDDLE EAST PEACE Secretary's Role in Israeli/Syrian Agreement .... 11-12 HAITI Report re: Prospects for US Invasion ............ 12-13 William Gray's Meetings in Region ............... 13-14 Dominican Republic/Sanctions Enforcement ........ 14 Boatpeople/US Processing for Asylum ............. 14-15 Humanitarian Aid/Report of Difficulties ......... 15-16 NARCOTICS US Suspension of Intelligence Sharing ........... 16,18-19 RWANDA Prospects for UN Peacekeeping Force ............. 17 Agreement in Principle for Ceasefire ............ 18 Humanitarian Aid ................................ 18
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, MAY 31, 1994, 12:33 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon, everybody. We'll get started.
I think many of you know the President and the Secretary of State will be leaving for Europe tomorrow. The beginning of a trip deals in large part with commemorating events of the past. But, beyond that, the Secretary of State will be looking to the future in very important meetings in Paris at the OECD and then on to Istanbul for meetings of the North Atlantic Council and the NACC.
I thought, in light of those meetings, it would be very important for you to have some sense of some of our key objectives in the second part of this trip that the Secretary will be participating in. Over at the White House, I think, over the last several days, they've had some briefings about the President's travels, but I think the Secretary's portion is something we'd like to call some attention to, and for that reason I've asked Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs Steve Oxman to do the duties here today and to give you some sense of what the Secretary will be doing as he goes from Paris on to Istanbul.
So I'll turn it over to Steve. He's on a short leash. He has to dash over somewhere else, but I thought maybe at least l5 minutes or so we can have some of your questions.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OXMAN: Good afternoon. I will have to leave in about l0 to l5 minutes. I'm sorry; I've been asked to go over to the White House. But I wanted to talk with you about the NAC Ministerial the Secretary will be going to -- the NACC Ministerial -- and also the OECD Ministerial.
I'll cover the two NATO events first and touch upon the OECD. After I'm done, if you have any technical questions on the OECD side, Deputy Assistant Secretary Tom Weston will be here to answer your questions.
Let me just say that on June 9 the Secretary will represent the United States in Istanbul at NATO's spring meeting of the North Atlantic Council -- the NAC -- which is the principal forum, as you know, for consultations and decisions by the l6 NATO allies.
The next day the Secretary will, with his NATO Ministerial counterparts, meet with the Foreign Ministers from the other members of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, the so-called NACC. The NACC was established at the November 1991 NATO Summit in Rome to institutionalize NATO's outreach to its former adversaries. The Foreign Ministers of Finland and Sweden and Slovenia, which are not NACC members but have joined the Partnership for Peace, will attend the NACC meeting as observers.
Let me comment on the themes of these meetings.
The principal focus of the June 9 meeting will be to review progress on implementation of the decisions taken at the NATO Summit in January and to give direction to and impetus to further work. In particular, as you know, the Summit endorsed several major U.S. proposals: the Partnership for Peace, the Combined Joint Task Force concept, and intensified work against the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
Other subjects of attention will include NATO's relationship with Russia and current regional security issues, including I'm sure the situation in Bosnia.
At the June l0 meeting, the next day, the Ministers will I think again focus on implementation of Partnership for Peace, progress in other areas of NACC activity, and regional security issues.
On mechanics, the opening session on June 9 will run from 9:30 to 9:50 a.m. and will be open to the media.
Following the afternoon sessions, the Deputy Secretary General will hold a press conference at about 6 p.m., and Secretary Christopher will hold a press conference thereafter at about 6:30 p.m.
The next day the NACC Ministerial opening session will be open to the media, and that will be starting at l0 a.m. for, as I understand it, 20 or 30 minutes opening session, open to the media. And then there will be press conferences that afternoon.
In terms of the issues, let me go into that just a little bit more.
On PFP, at the NATO meeting on June 9, really the centerpiece of the Summit was the Partnership for Peace. It is intended to intensify practical political and military cooperation between NATO, former European Communist states, and some of Europe's traditional neutrals. And I'm pleased to say that after just five months the Partnership is indeed up and running. As of today l9 countries have joined. We expect the 20th country, Kyrgyzstan, to join tomorrow. The central organs of the Partnership for Peace have been established, and this week partners will move into new offices at NATO Headquarters. We expect individual Partnership programs to be agreed by NATO and several of the partners by the time of the Ministerials. Partnership for Peace military exercises will, in fact, begin this fall, as was anticipated. The Netherlands will host a field exercise. Poland has also offered to host a field exercise later this year, which would be the first Partnership activity in the East. SACLANT is planning a Partnership for Peace maritime exercise, and NATO allies will invite observers from partner states to a number of previously scheduled bilateral and multilateral exercises.
We expect the NATO Ministers to endorse the work done to date on the Partnership and to urge continued rapid development.
On the Combined Joint Task Force concept, I will try to just simply summarize by reminding you that this was an idea for making NATO military structures more flexible. NATO is working with the WEU to develop this concept, and the Ministers will receive a report regarding the ongoing work on the Combined Joint Task Force.
On non-proliferation, the Summit directed immediate work to intensify and expand NATO's political and defense efforts against the spread of weapons of mass destruction. And NATO has, in fact, in the intervening months, agreed on a political framework for actions in this area which the Ministers will be asked to endorse and approve on June 9. And on that basis consultations will go forward on specific allied political and defense steps to combat and defend against the proliferation of these weapons.
On Russia and the relationship of Russia to NATO, Russia is and will remain a major factor in European security. At the NAC, Ministers will discuss how we can develop constructive interaction between NATO and Russia. We expect Russia to join the Partnership for Peace soon, and we very much welcome Defense Minister Grachev's assurances that Russia will join without preconditions.
Like other partners, Russia will develop with NATO a cooperation program to meet its own interests.
The Partnership for Peace will be the main vehicle of NATO's relations with Russia and with other partners, but it is not the totality of the relationship. NATO is ready to discuss how to develop a dialogue in other areas of mutual interest, especially where Russia or a given partner state has particularly important contributions to make. Of course, neither Russia nor other states will have a veto over NATO decision-making or NATO's relations with other countries.
With respect to the regional issues, of course I think Bosnia will be on the agenda, but we don't know at this point how issues will stand by the time the Ministers meet. As you know, there's a good deal happening this week and next week on Bosnia, which we can comment on.
At the NACC meeting the next day, I think the focus again will be on the Partnership for Peace. Sixteen of the 22 NACC members have already joined and more may do so before the Ministerial.
With respect to the NACC activities as such, the Partnership for Peace was established within the framework of the NACC. The NACC has other activities, and there will be a NACC work program that the Ministers will review and be asked to approve.
With respect to the OECD, the Ministerial, which occurs on June 7 and June 8, comes at a crucial time. The United States will be represented by several Cabinet members.
Secretary Christopher will be there on June 8, when the focus of the meeting shifts to the OECD's role in an increasingly interdependent world.
He will demonstrate the United States interest in and represent U.S. views on a series of key Ministerial events, welcoming Mexico as a new member; the signing of an OECD cooperation agreement with Russia; urging the OECD to move quickly to open membership discussions with the Visograd Four, namely Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia; and more generally helping focus the OECD on an active outreach and dialogue program with Eastern Europe, plus the dynamic economies of Asia and Latin America.
That's just a thumbnail of the OECD. I would say that's part of a broader picture of viewing this trip, and our policy generally, as seeking to extend to the East the benefits of these really historic institutions that were created in the wake of the Second World War, whether it be NATO or the OECD.
That's really the overall theme of what we are pursuing.
So, I'll be happy to take your questions, based on that. Barry.
Q Maybe I should remember, but I don't. On proliferation, NATO -- does NATO deal with only European problems? Does it deal beyond Europe -- you know, India, Pakistan, Korea, etc.?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OXMAN: It will focus mainly on the European dimensions of the non-proliferation.
Q Could you take a half a minute and tell us what the problems are in Europe on proliferation?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OXMAN: Well, I think the basic question is, how can NATO better organize itself to address these threats, both under the rubric of non-proliferation and also possibly under the rubric of counter-proliferation, when and if the threat is more real.
The work on this, Barry, will proceed within NATO in two groups, and there is a work program basically designed to examine how NATO can be helpful in this area without duplicating the work being done in other bodies.
Q I didn't hear you say what the proliferation threat was.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OXMAN: Well, we are not identifying any particular threat other than the general concept that it's in the mutual interest of the members of NATO to work to avoid proliferation and to consider together what to do to counter that threat when it becomes more real. But I can't give you more specificity on that right now.
Q Do you think Bosnia will be on the agenda? Whether it's on the agenda or not, can you go on a little bit about what the situation is with the peace talks now?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OXMAN: Sure. I think it will certainly be on the agenda. What I meant to imply was, given the changing circumstances, we don't know exactly in what context it will be presented.
The fact is that we are in a very important period now. Our efforts to invigorate the peace process have moved forward. The contact group will be resuming its meetings with the parties early next week in France, at which time there will be a rather more intensive discussion of some of the territorial ideas that have been developed and which the parties have been asked to look at.
With respect to the other dimension, which is the effort to achieve a cessation of hostilities on a nationwide basis, which was also a major thrust of the Ministerial statement in Geneva on May l3, this effort is moving forward. There is a meeting scheduled in Geneva later this week to be chaired by Mr. Akashi, and we hope that this meeting can move forward and make progress in achieving that nationwide cessation of hostilities.
Q Are you confident that the Bosnian Government will be there?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OXMAN: Well, I can't really speculate on that. They have raised a concern all along. It's not a new issue on their part. They raised the question of the situation in Gorazde, and particularly with respect to the three-kilometer zone in Gorazde, which still has some Serb military personnel in the zone, and the Bosnian Government has said that they want to see this zone cleared of these personnel, and this is an important factor in their decision-making on whether to attend the meeting.
So we hope that that can be worked out. The U.N. is seeking to work it out. We believe the number of personnel is coming down, and we very much hope that that can be resolved so that the talks on a cessation of hostility can proceed in Geneva later this week.
Q Where do we stand with the idea advanced by the French some weeks ago of a possible meeting in Geneva after Istanbul on Bosnia? Is that still at all implied?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OXMAN: There is nothing scheduled in that regard. As the Ministers made clear in Geneva on May l3, they are holding themselves available to meet as necessary. There is no point in just having a meeting to have a meeting. So right now, the key focus is on the meetings I have described, both in Geneva this week and in France early next week, and then we'll just have to make a judgment on whether a new Ministerial meeting makes sense.
I think it's quite clear that the Ministerial meeting on May l3 was positive. It gave impetus to the peace process, and I think it was an important occasion.
Q One more, if I could quickly, you said Russia is expected to join the Partnership for Peace soon. "Soon" meaning possibly before Istanbul?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OXMAN: I think more likely it would be after. We don't have a firm date, but we've had indications of probably late June or early July.
Q Steve, one more. Are we any closer to getting an agreement between Greece and Macedonia to end their dispute?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OXMAN: Well, we are here to talk about NATO and NACC, but we are working on that, Steve. Mr. Nimitz will be returning to the region very soon. He and Mr. Vance have stayed in close touch with all of the parties involved. We are giving this a very high priority, but we'll just have to see how those further discussions go next week.
Q Thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OXMAN: Thank you.
MR. McCURRY: Thank you, Assistant Secretary Oxman. Any other questions other places in the world before we call it a day?
Q Do you have anything on Korea?
MR. McCURRY: Korea. The most important news about the Korean nuclear problem, I think, is the statement that you have all seen from the Security Council. Last night, a Presidential statement was adopted unanimously expressing the Council's grave concern at North Korea's action in discharging the fuel at the five megawatt reactor.
The Council strongly urged that North Korea preserve the possibility of the fuel measurement of its reactor in accordance with requirements that the IAEA has. The Council believes, and the United States believes, that this very strong unanimous expression of the will of the international community is both an appropriate action and one that will resonate in North Korea.
The Council remains actively seized of the matter, as it said in the statement, and further Security Council consideration will take place if necessary in order to achieve full implementation of the safeguards agreement that does exist between the DPRK and the IAEA.
Q How do you (inaudible) sanctions? Is the U.S. more inclined now to seek sanctions?
MR. McCURRY: Barry, we will proceed, as we have throughout the North Korean issue, in addressing it and working with others in the Security Council on a step-by-step basis those measures that we think would be most effective in encouraging North Korea to live up to its obligations to the international community.
I don't want to speculate at this point, but the Security Council, by having discussed this matter at some great length yesterday, and by again issuing the President's statement, has made it clear that it has certain views as to the obligations North Korea has with respect to the defueling.
Now, I'd like to go back a bit. You recall last time the Security Council addressed this issue March 31st, it encouraged North Korea to live up to the agreement that it had made between North Korea and the IAEA to complete the continuity of the safeguards inspection program necessary to assure that there had been no diversion of nuclear material since the last round of inspections, and in fact those inspections were completed.
So I think now we would expect to see what type of reaction there is to the Council's statement last night, which was very clear and unambiguous in what it expects of the DPRK.
Q Any communication between the Secretary and the Chinese on this issue?
MR. McCURRY: There have been a variety of contacts with the Chinese Government. This is an issue that we continue to work with them very closely on. The Secretary did send a written communication to his counterpart, Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, over the weekend and at a variety of levels, including Ambassador Albright's consultation with her counterpart in New York, at the Embassy in Beijing, and here we continue to monitor the developments very carefully and work with the Chinese.
Q Are you trying to say a consensus is building that would carry over, should the U.S. think it's the appropriate thing to move to sanctions? You seem to be feeling more comfortable with what's going on in New York but --
MR. McCURRY: A consensus exists on the statement that was issued last night, and it will require, I think, very careful step-by-step diplomacy as we continue to address this, especially if the venue moves to the Security Council. At any point that the IAEA notifies us that there's no longer an ability to understand the operating history of the reactor, that that has effectively been destroyed, the premise for our dialogue with North Korea will similarly have been destroyed, and the issue then is referred to the Security Council where we will have to address other measures.
Q Mike, what's the timing of the next step in light of the speed with which the North Koreans are moving?
MR. McCURRY: The defueling of the reactor is continuing and occurring now at a somewhat faster pace. I would leave it to the IAEA to notify us when the ability to understand the operating history of the reactor has evaporated, or effectively evaporated, but that is something that I think the IAEA has made clear could happen very shortly.
Q Mike, I think that the Board of Governors of the IAEA is supposed to meet a week from -- or, I'm sorry, next Monday --
MR. McCURRY: June 6, that's correct.
Q So is that in any sense a trigger day, or would they know by that point whether the red line has been crossed, as it were?
MR. McCURRY: They could conceivably know by June 6. It will be up to the Director General to report to the Board of Governors on June 6 of their understanding of both the inspections that have been completed related to continuity of safeguards and also the status of the defueling of the reactor.
But I wouldn't want to anticipate or speculate on what action the IAEA Board of Governors might take.
Q What's open to them?
MR. McCURRY: They could refer the matter directly to the Security Council for appropriate action.
Q Is there any possibility that the New York contact will be held soon, between the United States and North Korea?
MR. McCURRY: That we would have contact with them?
Q No. Is there a possibility that the New York contact -- New York collateral meeting will be held soon?
MR. McCURRY: There were working level meetings held at the end of last week. It was the end, wasn't it?
MR. McCURRY: Middle of the week? At the end of last week, we did have an exchange with them at the working level in New York. I'm not aware of any plans to have a further working level contact with them through the so-called New York channel.
Q Does the United States have a position on the continuing repatriation of dollars from North Koreans living in Japan to North Korea?
MR. McCURRY: It's an issue that we have had direct discussions with the Government of Japan about. I wouldn't want to get into the details of those discussions.
Q You don't want to say whether the United States is encouraging the Japanese to cut it off?
MR. McCURRY: It's a matter that we discuss with the Government of Japan. I just would decline to get into the substance of that dialogue right now.
Q The South Koreans said last week that we would be willing to open up a liaison office in Pyongyang if we were satisfied on these issues. I don't believe I heard you all comment on it. Could you do so?
MR. McCURRY: That is the idea of a more extensive diplomatic contact through something like a liaison office. It's an issue that appropriately would be discussed if it's possible to achieve a third round of high-level talks between the United States and the DPRK. There's a range of issues that could be considered at a high-level round of talks, but first and foremost of them would be to get a broad and thorough understanding of the nuclear issue that would lead to resolution of some of the outstanding questions about the nuclear program in North Korea.
Q Mike, have you heard anything from the Chinese that differs from their often stated position that they don't believe economic sanctions and pressure on North Korea is the way to go?
MR. McCURRY: No.
Q Do you have anything further on the reported missile test that the North Koreans were about to engage in?
MR. McCURRY: Not much. Obviously, we follow developments very closely. We have repeatedly drawn attention to North Korea's ballistic missile program. I can't comment on any reports concerning specific tests, because that forces me into an area I just can't discuss here. But it is obvious that a North Korean missile test could only add to tensions in the region at this time.
Q Mike, can I move to India's missile? There has been some excitement in India over a report that Ambassador Frank Wisner during a second confirmation hearing warned India against deploying the Prithvi missile. Now, could you react to that, and could you also set out policy on such missile deployments?
MR. McCURRY: My understanding is that Ambassador Wisner was reiterating the longstanding conviction of the United States that along with the retention of a nuclear weapons option, the acquisition of ballistic missile delivery systems by India and Pakistan is destabilizing and thereby undermines the security of both countries. That is something we have stressed in our bilateral consultations with both governments, including those consultations that occurred very recently.
We've encouraged both governments to enter into an agreement not to deploy ballistic missiles, and President Clinton indicated certainly to Prime Minister Rao that the United States respects the security needs of both India and Pakistan, but we also believe that an agreement not to deploy ballistic missiles would improve the security of both sides.
Q On a topic on the Middle East. Two questions. First, do you have any comments on Prime Minister Rabin's statement that another shuttle by Secretary Christopher will not be useful at this particular moment since the Israeli- Syrian talks are blocked?
And the second question: Is the U.S. seeking extradition of Mustafa Dirani, the Muslim fundamentalist captured by the Israelis in Lebanon?
MR. McCURRY: The second question -- I don't know the answer to that. I'll have to look into it.
On the question of the Secretary's diplomacy and his work as an intermediary between the Government of Israel and Syria, we remain in close contact with the parties. I was not aware that Prime Minister Rabin had said anything publicly, but we are in very close contact with them and we do not have at this point any schedule that reflects a trip by the Secretary to the region.
Q Mike, he supposedly said that he thought that the Americans were exhausted by this whole process.
MR. McCURRY: I would find that highly unlikely, given the Prime Minister's close working relationship with the Secretary and the degree to which the Prime Minister has called frequently upon the Secretary to participate--as you know he has, in helping facilitate an exchange between Syria and Israel. That would be a surprising remark, and I doubt that it's reflected in the close discussions we've had with the government and with the Prime Minister.
Q Mike, on something else -- it's sort of hard to ask this kind of question -- but there's an article today in a Washington newspaper that suggests basically on Haiti the Secretary of State is not, you know, really very actively engaged and it is being handled mostly by the NSC, and this raises implications, according to the article, of an invasion because the NSC allegedly is more inclined in that direction than other parts of the Government.
I don't know how you can deal with this, but I thought I'd try you. With all the things going on in the world, how much is Haiti on the Secretary's agenda?
MR. McCURRY: Barry, I saw that article. That was in the same one that had the story about the l2 U.S. Senators who are space aliens. Was that -- (laughter).
Q No, no. That's the National Explorer.
MR. McCURRY: Different publication.
Q This is in a Washington daily morning newspaper. It's not the Post.
MR. McCURRY: I got the two articles confused. But they share something in the credibility, I think.
Q I thought it was a favorable article.
MR. McCURRY: The Secretary -- (laughter).
Q It didn't call for his resignation. (Laughter) But it just suggests that Tony Lake is the power driver, as U.S. News once aptly called the person with the basic responsibility for an area.
MR. McCURRY: I think that is not an article that reflects the working relationship that exists between the principal officers in the U.S. Government that work on foreign policy concerns. It doesn't reflect, certainly, the Secretary's schedule. His schedule has been replete with meetings on Haiti and discussions about Haiti.
It is true that Deputy Secretary Strobe Talbott has had the lead within the Department here in addressing that issue, and maybe that is a source of some confusion on the part of this news organization. But I don't think that's an accurate account of either the working arrangements that are being pursued within the government to address Haiti, or the level of attention that's being given by everybody from the President on down.
I think you all know the President's direct involvement and concern on this. The Secretary has had numerous discussions with him about Haiti, and those will continue and will continue -- my guess, will intensify as we go into a period now where we hope to see the sanctions begin to work their influence on Cedras and others in Haiti.
Q But they will not be eased as -- I forget who they're quoting -- they're quoting some Senator, I think, who's suggesting they be eased as a way to --
MR. McCURRY: That would be inconsistent with the recent decision of the United Nations.
Q Mike, a simple question. Are there any direct developments that you can report to us, including the trip of the envoy to the Dominican Republic.
MR. McCURRY: Several things. Special Adviser Gray gave you a pretty good briefing here on Friday, I understand, on some of the things he's pursuing. He did indicate that he was expected to go back to the region this week, and in fact he did leave yesterday afternoon for Turks and Caicos. He's now in Barbados and will leave for Jamaica this afternoon. He'll return to Washington on Wednesday evening.
Obviously, he will continue -- as he has been doing -- he will continue talks with leaders in the region about our efforts and our plans relating to the restoration of democracy and the return of President Aristide. He'll be discussing also the U.N. sanctions program, how to make the sanctions more effective. That's been part of his discussions, as you know, from his presentation here on Friday, and he'll be talking about refugee processing issues, particularly as they relate to the implementation of the President's new policy.
I believe there will be more things said on that subject as the week goes on from some of the governments that we've had discussions with.
Q Mike, are these countries or islands that you mentioned candidates to the processing centers for refugees?
MR. McCURRY: In some cases, yes.
Q Mike, what's the situation on the border with the Dominican Republic?
MR. McCURRY: There have been some sporadic reports that the enforcement of sanctions along the border has improved. Over the weekend, there was reported from Port-au-Prince some interesting information about the price of gasoline and just how that has fluctuated as the effect of the sanctions appear to take hold.
There have been commitments, as you know, made by President Balaguer to the Special Adviser that he appears to be making good on. Although I don't have a complete accounting at this point, there does appear to be some effort to strengthen the enforcement of the sanctions regime along that border.
Q Could you sum up that answer a little bit that you gave before?
MR. McCURRY: No. We've said we've had a lot of contact with a variety of governments in that region. At any point that we've got something that we can announce or that we can say publicly, it would come after one of those governments indicates what steps they might take to cooperate with us in an effective processing of those who are attempting to leave Haiti.
Q You're saying that first word that country X is going to be willing to serve as a processing center would come from them instead of from here?
MR. McCURRY: We will cooperate with said country and respect whatever desires they have as to a public announcement of any steps that they're taking to cooperate with us. Obviously, we would welcome any such cooperation.
Q If country X is willing to serve in that capacity, how long do you think it might take before a center is actually up and running -- begin to deal with --
MR. McCURRY: It would be our desire to do it as quickly as possible. There has been, by the way, since May 23, a noticeable drop in out-migration from Haiti. There have not been any interdictions reported to us since May 23. There had been, as you know, somewhat of an increase in the period after the President's May 8 announcement. That appears to have subsided, but it doesn't remove for us the urgency of getting in place effective steps that we could take to ensure that Haitian migrants are effectively processed according to U.S. law.
Q Can you say when these chartered vessels might become operational?
MR. McCURRY: In a matter of days, my understanding is. I think over at the Pentagon today they plan to brief on ships that could be underway or additional contracts that they might let on that, so I'll put that over to them, because I think they were prepared to deal in more detail today with what they were looking at on that.
Q A couple of questions on humanitarian aid. There are some missionary groups in Florida that are complaining that they're having trouble getting proper permits from the U.S. Government to flights to Haiti, and that they have stuff rotting in warehouses -- food and medicine, etc. (a) do you have any comment on that, and I have something else on a statement made last night.
MR. McCURRY: I will look into that. That would be a source of very real concern to us, because the United Nations sanctions regime specifically exempts humanitarian goods -- food and medicine -- from reaching those who clearly are suffering in Haiti. Any time a new sanctions regime goes into effect, it takes some time to develop the proper procedures. I imagine in this case there's some licensing arrangements that have to be worked out, but we will certainly look into that and see what type of problem these groups are encountering. I wasn't aware of the report, but we'll look into that.
Q (Inaudible) .
Q Secondly, last week some time the Ambassador in Haiti, Ambassador Swing, told some reporters that they would be -- the United States would be providing food for 1.4 million people. Can you clarify whether we're talking in total, whether we're talking a day, whether we're talking -- unless you know. And also medicine for one out of every three Haitians.
Those numbers reflect what is being provided through a variety of assistance programs in Haiti. It had ranged almost up to a million prior to the announcement of the President's new policy on May 8th. We were feeding roughly 900,000 per day, and if I am not mistaken, that was the number of meals delivered per day, one meal per person. At the time it was 900,000; we have taken steps now to increase that humanitarian assistance so the figure would rise to l.4 million, but I do believe that is meals delivered per day per individual.
Q What is the status of diplomacy with Cedras and others? Is anyone handling -- is anyone talking with Cedras from this government?
MR. McCURRY: There are contacts from time-to-time, and there may be contacts in the future, but the status of diplomacy regarding Mr. Cedras is the expressed will of the world community through the United Nations, and the sanctions regime in place, designed to force him to live up to his obligations.
Q In the region, but a different topic, did the U.S. cut off all intelligence-sharing with Peru and Columbia (inaudible) the State Department without telling the Defense Department?
MR. McCURRY: That is a long, exhausting article that would exhaust my ability to respond. It involves -- there was a story over the weekend in the Washington Post about an inter-agency disagreement. To my knowledge, there is not a policy that says there is a cut-off of data going to these countries, but there was a cut-off, I believe, effective May l. Somewhere in here, I've got some more on that. There is now an inter-agency discussion about the policy itself. There have been some meetings and some discussions about legal aspects of this intelligence-sharing.
We -- I've made clear that we want to pursue an active narcotics interdiction program, and that involves working in many cases with governments in the region. But that program must be consistent with the President's overall anti-drug strategy, U.S. criminal law, and international law.
There was a radar intelligence-sharing program that was in existence for four years, and that program was suspended by the Defense Department on May 1st.
They have looked at some of the legal aspects. They are looking at the policy, and my understanding is that there will be some further inter-agency meetings on the subject, perhaps as early as today.
Q Could it be corrected that Administration legal folks are concerned that these two countries' shooting down of civilian drug traffickers goes against U.S. law?
MR. McCURRY: I think that is an accurate reflection of the views that have been expressed in a variety of agencies by attorneys who have looked at that question.
Q Can I ask one more?
MR. McCURRY: Two more, Steven.
Q Are you able to update us any on the situation in Rwanda? I understand that Ambassador Rawson has just returned from the region. Are the two parties at all any closer to a cease-fire? And also, has the U.S. changed its stance at all with regards to deploying U.N. peacekeeping troops to the area?
MR. McCURRY: Take them in reverse order. We have not changed our views as expressed at the United Nations. There has been consideration there and authorization given for a certain size force. The force doesn't exist. The problem is that there aren't troops ready to go into the situation nor does it appear to be any type of environment there in which you could go in with a force as equipped and sized -- according to the discussions they've had at the United Nations -- that would be able to accomplish its mission.
On the first question, the Rwanda Patriotic Front and government leaders did meet yesterday in Kigali under the auspices of UNAMIR. They agreed in principle to a cease- fire. They've had these discussions, however, in the past, but they did yesterday agree in principle to a cease-fire. The fighting, meanwhile, has continued. There are some additional talks scheduled for the day after tomorrow in Kigali.
Part of the issue here is that the RFP is insisting on some assurances from the government that there be not only an end to the massacres that have been occurring but also closure of a radio station which has been inciting mass killings, according to some of the RFP leadership.
We are continuing a fairly extensive relief program. I think many of you are familiar with that. We've talked about that here -- providing humanitarian assistance in and around some of the areas which are seeing, you know, huge flows of refugees as a result of the killing. And the United Nations continues very serious discussions about the best way to address this crisis in the context of two sides that are continuing fighting. It seems very clear that any international presence in Rwanda would be most effective if the fighting between the RFP and government forces and some of the other ethnic fighting -- inter-ethnic fighting -- would subside. There would be a more permissive environment then, in which an international mission could be effective.
And, Steve, you had --
Q Just one more question -- the Colombia/Peru thing? You said that the "intel" was cut off, but there's no policy dictating that. So what -- who ordered the cutoff and why, or was it just sort of an interim thing while they're deciding on the legality of the --
MR. McCURRY: It's not entirely clear to me. My understanding is the Defense Department took that step, but that was, you know, pursuant to some understanding of the law; and it was not the result of any decision-making at a senior level within the Government at an interagency basis.
Q But DOD is sort of conducting its own foreign policy on this one, is that correct?
MR. McCURRY: Well, you can read in there all you need to read about the various news.
Q This isn't a source mine (inaudible)
MR. McCURRY: Right.
Q You've got your sources, so could you comment on them?
MR. McCURRY: I've got a lot of sources on that and I've told you what I can tell you.
Q Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:17 p.m.)
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