US DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING JUNE 6, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, June 6, 1994 Briefer: Christine Shelly YEMEN Gulf Cooperation Council Calls for Ceasefire .... 1 Report North Announces Ceasefire ................ 1 US Calls for Political Dialogue ................. 1-2 NORTH KOREA Joint Statement by US/Japan/South Korea ......... 2 UN Discussions/IAEA Report/Sanctions ............ 2-6,9-10 US Consultations with DPRK Officials/Allies ..... 2,7-12,22 IAEA Board of Governors Meeting In Vienna ....... 2,23 Defueling Reactor/DPRK Statement ................ 3 Peter Tarnoff's Visit to Region ................. 7-11 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS US-Israeli-Jordanian Economic Meeting ........... 12-13 Prospects for Secretary's Visit to Region ....... 13-15 Israeli Statement re: Value of US Participation 15 TURKEY Talks with US re: Flushing Oil Pipeline ......... 14-16 HAITI Boatpeople/Processing for Asylum/Jamaica/Turks and Caicos .................................... 16-17 Sanctions Enforcement/Dominican Republic/at Sea . 17-19 CUBA Gunboat Fired on Freighter of Refugees .......... 19-20 INDIA Report of Missile Testing ....................... 20-21 BOSNIA Presence of Iranian Terrorists .................. 21-22
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, JUNE 6, 1994, 1:05 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your patience. I have a short statement I'd like to read on Yemen, after which I'll be happy to take your questions on this subject or any other subject of your choosing.
The United States welcomes the June 4th statement of the Gulf Cooperation Council, expressing support for U.N. Security Council Resolution 924 which seeks an end to the crisis in Yemen. We agree with the Gulf Cooperation Council that Yemen's problems cannot be solved through military means.
We join the GCC in calling for an immediate cease-fire in Yemen and adherence to all provisions of U.N. Security Council Resolution 924.
We urge both sides to facilitate the efforts of the United Nations Secretary General's fact-finding mission to Yemen. The United States looks to the GCC to continue its positive role in the Yemen crisis.
The U.S. strongly believes that all parties in Yemen must begin to work together to achieve reconciliation without which peace and stability in Yemen are not possible.
Q Didn't I read this morning that the north has announced a cease-fire?
MS. SHELLY: We have seen a report to that effect and certainly hope that that is true; and, if it is true, we welcome it and we urge that both sides would implement fully that provision and others of Security Resolution 924.
Q How does the United States feel about Yemen splitting up again into two countries?
MS. SHELLY: On that particular point, I think we've addressed that already, but basically on Yemen's unity, while we support Yemen's unity, we believe that unity and reconciliation cannot be based on military force.
We continue to call on both parties to halt the fighting immediately and to agree to resume their political dialogue, representing all Yemenis, which we believe can begin the process of reconciliation.
Q North Korea?
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q Could you update us on the talks and so forth?
MS. SHELLY: Just to bring you up to date on the most recent developments. As you know, there were talks which took place in Washington over Friday and Saturday. There was a joint press release which came out, which I'm sure you saw on Saturday, referring to the discussions of the U.S., Japan and the Republic of Korea.
Basically, at the end of that statement it indicated that all sides had agreed to consult closely as the U.N. Security Council considers its next steps on the North Korean nuclear issue.
The International Atomic Energy Agency Director Hans Blix briefed the Security Council, as you know, on Friday afternoon on the North Korean nuclear safeguards issue. Consultations among the permanent members of the Security Council are continuing.
We've had useful and productive consultations so far with officials from Japan and the Republic of Korea, and at this point no draft resolution has been circulated or distributed in the Council.
I would also note that our Special Envoy, Robert Gallucci, has also gone up to New York, and he'll be meeting with the South Korean Foreign Minister up there to continue these consultations.
I have a little bit more on Hans Blix's report to the Security Council. We basically support his report which was based on his earlier letter to the Security Council which, as you know, was made a public document. We believe that his report to the Council should form the basis for any further Security Council action on the issue.
I think you also know there is a Board of Governors meeting this week in Vienna. Among other matters on their agenda, the Board will consider a response to the North Korean situation.
We would hope to see a resolution by the Board of Governors informing the U.N. Security Council of further North Korean non-compliance and supporting further U.N. Security Council action.
The only other thing I think I really have to add on this is that there has been a reaction out of North Korea to the IAEA's latest set of requests on the inspections. And on that particular reaction, our position remains clear. When North Korea made it impossible for the IAEA to conduct field measurements to verify its reactor's operating history, as you know, they undercut the basis for a third round of U.S.-North Korean talks.
We've now returned the issue to the U.N. Security Council for consideration of further action, including sanctions.
One of the objectives of the further U.N. Security Council action is to convince North Korea that it must take immediate corrective steps to cooperate with the IAEA requirement. As President Clinton said, there's still time for North Korea to change its course.
Q How much time?
MS. SHELLY: Unfixed at this point, but hopefully they would soon --
Q Undetermined? I mean, it could be weeks, months, days, what?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have a precise indication for you. It's not a question of one hour, one day. It's certainly in the very near time frame.
Q Over the weekend, I guess yesterday, there was talk on the television here in this country about there being -- I believe Mr. Dole said that he did not understand what the policy on Korea was or would be, and from what you just told us I take it there is no news insofar as coming from the U.N. or this trilateral meeting with Japan and Korea and us about the next step insofar as possible sanctions are concerned? And I have a follow-up.
MS. SHELLY: What was the question?
Q The question is, is there any news or development to respond to Mr. Dole saying he doesn't know what the policy is?
MS. SHELLY: I think our policy is very clear, and we've been articulating that from the first moment that this crisis first began to emerge, and I don't think that there has been any policy shift or basis otherwise for that kind of a criticism.
We did have Bob Gallucci here on Friday at the press briefing, and he gave a very detailed explanation of exactly where we were on the issue and what U.S. policy is with respect to the next steps ahead.
He said very clearly at that briefing that what we were doing now was having consultations with key allies, which we began with the Japanese and the South Koreans -- it took place here in Washington on Friday and Saturday. It's clearly essential to get their views. They're the two countries with whom we've been working this issue most urgently, certainly in particular in terms of our diplomacy in the most recent time frame. And we also indicated very clearly after having those consultations, that we would then be taking up the issue, and particularly the sanctions strategy, in the U.N. Security Council. So I think that's a very clear statement of where we are.
We have declined to get into a discussion of the specifics of our sanctions strategy, because we feel that that was something that was appropriate to discuss first with the Japanese and the South Koreans and then with our colleagues in the Security Council, and those are the discussions that are beginning now. As these unfold and we also hear the views of other members of the Security Council, the way in which the action of the international community will form and will take shape I think will become clear, and sanctions is certainly very much a possibility and I think one which has been addressed in terms of the other countries that would be party to this kind of decision; and the thinking clearly will develop and will form, and then I think we'll be in a better position to discuss what types of elements might go into a Security Council resolution which would then presumably be put on the table at some point before too long.
Q And to follow up, if I might, just briefly: Mr. Perry reiterated in an article in The Times today that -- he reminds us of the desperate condition, situation in North Korea as far as their economy is concerned, and my question to you is would economic sanctions make their situation more desperate and would that be wise to push them toward desperation?
MS. SHELLY: I think the issue of sanctions and their impact is one that we've addressed on several previous occasions. It is a country which is relatively closed to the outside world relative to many countries. It is a country that has existed under repression. The state of economic development is certainly low.
Sanctions are a tool which is available to the international community as an expression of its feeling about the positions that the North Korean Government has taken on the nuclear issue, and it reflects -- if a sanctions decision is adopted -- the will of the international community to proceed on that basis.
So, yes, sanctions has an impact. It's a tool designed to have that end, and it is a blunt instrument. We've discussed that before as well, and there are, of course, expected to be adverse economic consequences.
Q Christine, just to clarify, though, our policy right now is that we should go to sanctions. Regardless of what the rest of the world thinks, the U.S. policy is that the U.N. Security Council should apply sanctions on North Korea.
MS. SHELLY: Our policy is that if certain things occurred, which we outlined very clearly, that did not enable us to permit the -- to continue with the basis for our dialogue and also for the international community to know what happened on the reactor's operating history, that then the issue would revert to the Security Council. So that's where we are on that, and the sanctions -- we certainly support sanctions in this context that we are proceeding with in tandem with the other members of the international community to shape that.
Q Our policy then is to have Security Council discussions, not to move to sanctions.
MS. SHELLY: Our policy is to have discussions for the entire way ahead for the international community, one element of which is sanctions.
Q You can't say that our policy now, as the President has said in the last few months, if those things happen, we don't get back information we need, then we should go to sanctions. That's not our policy anymore. The policy is we should go to discussions?
MS. SHELLY: Clearly, in order to get agreements on the elements for a U.N. Security Council resolution, we have to take into account the views of the other parties involved in taking that decision. So sanctions is what we are discussing or beginning to discuss now with other members of the Security Council.
Q It is our position that there should be sanctions. I mean, I know you have to discuss it, but is it the U.S. position that there should be sanctions now applied to North Korea?
MS. SHELLY: I think Bob Gallucci said very clearly last Friday that this is where we are; this is what we support.
Q Earlier you said that at this point, if I am quoting you correctly, no draft resolution has been circulated in the Council.
MS. SHELLY: That's right.
Q Is there a draft resolution circulating?
MS. SHELLY: Not that I'm aware of. I think at this point it's still discussions on what form that might take, but I'm not aware that there is any draft floating around, either informally or on any other basis at this time.
Q Christine, Secretary Perry seemed to have made news over the weekend by stating the obvious, which is that if things don't work out in the Security Council, the United States would proceed on a unilateral basis to try to organize other members of the international community in sanctions.
I'm wondering if in the consultations you're having now with the Japanese and the South Koreans, and so on, that this is also a matter that you are discussing; that indeed if, for example, sanctions were to be vetoed in the Security Council, whether you will -- whether and how you will proceed.
MS. SHELLY: I think I'm not going to be able to answer that really very fully. We are asking the Security Council to consider action at this point, including sanctions. I don't think it's helpful at this time to speculate about what form these measures might take, either in the U.N. context or outside of it, should, for whatever reason, the U.N. Security Council decides not to act.
We certainly saw Secretary Perry's statements on that, and really anticipated that we would ask that, but I think at this point I'm going to not get into the specifics of the "what if" question.
Q Do we have any meetings scheduled with our other allies or with other concerned parties -- scheduled at this moment along the lines of our trilateral meetings this weekend?
MS. SHELLY: What I can tell you about other high-level meetings, one of which I've just mentioned, is that Robert Gallucci is up in New York today and will be having consultations with the South Korean Foreign Minister.
We also our Under Secretary State of Political Affairs Peter Tarnoff is also gong to be traveling to the region within the next week and will be visiting Tokyo and Seoul.
We are also continuing our exchanges up in New York via the Security Council mechanisms and discussions in that context. We also continue to discuss this in bilateral channels as well. So I think there's a very full range of exchanges on this right now, some of which involve travel and other parts of which are occurring through our normal channels.
Q (Inaudible) China. Are there discussions with China?
MS. SHELLY: There are discussions with China.
Q What is your sense -- the sense of the Department on whether they would go along with sanctions or at least not oppose them?
MS. SHELLY: Bob Gallucci also addressed that last Friday, and there isn't any change in that since then.
Q Are you talking to the Chinese? You have not mentioned until the question was asked -- you didn't mention the Chinese in any of these discussions. Could you tell me, please?
MS. SHELLY: We have mentioned -- I think I got into this a little after Bob finished on Friday, which is that I said to my knowledge there were not any high-level exchanges, visits planned in connection with this, and nothing new has come to my attention in that regard.
But, yes, in the context of discussions up in New York, we've had conversations with the Chinese.
Q Who is having them? Is Ambassador Albright, Gallucci, who?
MS. SHELLY: Ambassador Albright has had discussions, and I certainly wouldn't rule out that others may have as well.
Q Ambassador Albright has talked with her counterpart?
MS. SHELLY: I think there have been some informal meetings of the Perm Five up there, so I know that she would have met with them in that context. Whether she's had any separate bilateral meetings with them, I just don't have that information.
Q This is a decision that has to be made in Beijing, at least the Chinese decision. It's not going to be made in New York. It's going to be made in Beijing. Who has been in touch with Beijing, if anybody?
MS. SHELLY: We have had exchanges through our Ambassador in Beijing.
Q Christine, sanctions is a very wide kind of term, embraces a whole huge range of different options. Have you narrowed down at all what those options are, and could you tell us what the aim of the Tarnoff mission to Tokyo and South Korea is, given the extensive talks that have already taken place and those that you've announced involving Mr. Gallucci?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything more detailed to give you on the precise sense of the Tarnoff mission, except that he is making the travel in connection with discussions on the Korean nuclear issue. I'll see if I can get anything more for you on that.
As to the first part of your question, our policy at this point is not to get into a public discussion of the different types of sanctions that might be adopted, but basically to begin our consultations with the Security Council first before we would get into a discussion of that in specificity. So unfortunately I can't at this point.
Q Japan and South Korea are on the record of saying that they back the idea of sanctions without being specific. Could you say that the United States and those other two countries are in any kind of accord on the kind of sanctions or rather the principle of sanctions that would be adopted?
MS. SHELLY: I'd like to be able to answer that, but I'm really not in a position to do that. We have had the exchanges with them that occurred Friday and Saturday and obviously are also continuing in several different locations. But I think I would just have to decline to speculate on which aspects of sanctions that they have expressed support for.
Q Is there a change that Tarnoff would also go to Beijing?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any information that suggests that he will, but when I look and see if there are any other details we might be able to post, I'll check. But at least not that I'm aware of.
Q I assume he's welcome there, and he could find something to talk about.
MS. SHELLY: I'm just not going to make a presumption on that.
Q Christine, do you have any information on the talks today between the Jordanians and the Israelis --
MS. SHELLY: Wait. I don't think we're off of Korean yet --
Q Okay, sorry.
MS. SHELLY: As soon as we get off, you can have the first question.
Q Does the United States -- I know the United States is having discussions toward the possibility of sanctions. Does the United States intend one way or the other, in spite of discussions, in spite of the possibility of some problems, intend to introduce a sanctions resolution?
MS. SHELLY: I think that's what the point of these discussions are, to participate in the building of a consensus within the international community and specifically within the Security Council about what the elements of something like that might be.
We have asked very clearly the Security Council to consider actions. Sanctions are part of those actions, and at this point it's a question of I think the diplomacy designed to determine exactly which type of sanctions there would be agreement on and then to try to develop a basis for a resolution, a draft that would reflect those discussions that we've had so far.
Q We are talking about the eventuality of sanctions for sure, rather than something less than that. The reason I ask is because the last time we attempted to achieve a consensus, but because of the Chinese what happened, that the United States had to be content with a Presidential statement rather than a resolution.
Now I'm wondering since we're now again in negotiations with our colleagues, whether we would be satisfied with anything less than sanctions.
MS. SHELLY: I don't know whether negotiation is really exactly the right term to use. We indicated very clearly where we were in this process last Friday, and the process began with a specific set of consultations with key allies on this, and then it was to be expanded to the Security Council.
So since that's only where we are today, and that those discussions are beginning today and are clearly going to take some time to play themselves out, I think as much as I'd like to be more indicative of this, I think that's really about as far as I can take it today.
We need to hear the views of others, and I think that that's an essential element in terms of them being able to put down in print what it is that we might like to put on the table.
Q Is sanctions a likely outcome of this exercise?
MS. SHELLY: I think it depends completely on ultimately how these discussions go up in New York and in the Security Council context. I think that you can -- you know what some of the public statements have been on this that have come from some of those who are involved in this, and I think there is a measure of support for some kind of sanctions which has been emerging over the last couple of days.
But again I'm really not in a position to be more specific in my characterization of it.
Q Is Gallucci meeting with the South Korean Foreign Minister today, and how long does he plan to stay in New York?
MS. SHELLY: I think he's going to meet with him today, as far as I know, and I don't know how long he intends to stay in New York.
Q What's the current status of our knowledge about North Korea's nuclear material? Would you have any idea where it is or --
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything to add beyond what Bob was able to describe on Friday.
Q Was there a discussion between the United States about the possibility of setting a deadline in (inaudible) on North Korea?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any information on that.
Q Back to my previous question, the North Koreans have said again sanctions mean war, and there is no mercy in war, and their desperate economic conditions and economic or any kind of sanctions that would make those more desperate certainly would be very risky. Have we even thought -- has there been a discussion of trying to buy their nuclear material and buy their bomb?
MS. SHELLY: As to that specific aspect, I don't have any light to shed on that last one, and I don't have a ready and clever quip for you. I think all of the different possible contingencies have certainly been thought about. There are things that we have to be prepared for as this issue unfolds.
But we have also learned, as we've had more and more experience in dealing with this issue, is that we don't respond to and react to every single public statement which is made by the North Korean Government.
Again, there has certainly been some hyperbola, some exaggerated statements. Sometimes things are said that then they find a way to walk back, and we have long since learned not to overreact to any single particular statement on their part.
Q Christine, I know you said that Under Secretary Tarnoff is not going -- you don't know whether he's going to Beijing or not. Is there --
MS. SHELLY: No. I said that my information was that he was going to Tokyo and to Seoul.
Q Will he meet with Chinese officials in either of those capitals?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. I don't have that information.
Q Could you take that question?
MS. SHELLY: I'll look into it.
Q Could you take the question.
MS. SHELLY: I'm not going to formally take it, no. I will look into it and see if there's anything else about his trip that we'd like to say.
Q Christine, I think at the beginning of last week, among the different kinds of contacts you had with the Chinese, that Secretary Christopher had written to the Chinese Foreign Minister. Did the Secretary ever get a response?
MS. SHELLY: I think that was about five or six days ago we indicated that Secretary Christopher had communicated with his Chinese counterpart. Yes, we heard back from them. To my knowledge, it was not in a formal kind of way, but we heard back from them certainly orally in response to that, and it was all part of the exchanges that we had with them here as well as out in Beijing on the issue.
Q Could it be described in any way definitive on the issue?
MS. SHELLY: I think it was a general response in terms of what their soundings with the North Koreans had reflected, and certainly they also indicated their desire to continue to work the issue with us, and they have also indicated their desire to try to find a resolution of this through dialogue. But beyond that I don't think I could be any more specific.
Q Could I change the subject?
MS. SHELLY: Not yet. You're not first in line. Next.
Q I was wondering if you have any update or information on the Jordanian-Israeli talks today, and is this marked change in policy from the multilateral format to a bilateral format for peace talks in the Mideast?
MS. SHELLY: Today and tomorrow the Department is hosting the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Jordanian-Israeli Trilateral Economic Committee. President Clinton announced the formation of this group on October 1, 1993, after a meeting at the White House with Israeli Foreign Minister Peres and Jordanian Crown Prince Hassan.
The purpose of the committee is to address common Israeli-Jordanian economic development issues. The group will meet in plenary and will continue its work in two subgroups: one on trade, banking and finance, and one on economic cooperation and development.
Special Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Tony Verstandig will lead the U.S. delegation.
As to any departure regarding the modality of these talks, no, I don't think there is any change reflected in this. These talks certainly form part of the peace process. They have not replaced bilateral Jordanian-Israeli talks. The talks are an added opportunity for the parties to meet and to discuss a wide range of issues.
There were some informal consultations that preceded these on Sunday. These were preparations for the talks which are going on right now, but I think there is nothing different or unusual or reflecting any kind of policy shift in the format in which these are occurring.
Q While we're on this topic, I'd like to ask you an unusual question. Is the Secretary planning to come home after Istanbul, or does he have any plans to continue on to the Middle East?
MS. SHELLY: As far as I know, we are exactly where we were on this one on Friday, which is that we don't have anything to announce at this point, and the Secretary will return to the Middle East when he feels it's meaningful to do so. And until such time as he's made that determination and is announcing his travel plans, I think, will probably be at the same point.
Q Christine, on the talks, is it fair to say that it's a resumption of the Middle East peace talks -- this meeting here today -- or is that --
MS. SHELLY: I mean, it's a resumption of this particular trilateral mechanism for holding these discussions.
Q But not the peace talks that no one has agreed to come back to yet.
MS. SHELLY: The progress on this and the decision to meet is something which -- a decision which was taken on its own merits. I don't think it has a direct and explicit implication for other tracks of talks that are going on, but simply that this one was -- the parties determined that they wanted to meet and meet on this basis, so that's what's going on. I'm sure we'll be in a position to give a little bit more of a readout on this, probably tomorrow; or, if not tomorrow, then on Wednesday. As they essentially started this morning, I don't really have a lot of additional details.
Q Christine, on a slightly different area of the Middle East, can you tell us anything new about the discussions between Iraq and Turkey with regard to flushing the pipeline?
MS. SHELLY: I have a little bit on that. Last week, as you know, senior officials from the Turkish and U.S. Government met to discuss the situation related to the preservation of the Turkey-Iraq oil pipeline. As you know, also Turkey had expressed some serious concerns about its ability to preserve the pipeline, and we've been working together to try to address this issue in a manner which is consistent with U.N. resolutions.
Both sides have been approaching this matter in the spirit of partnership and cooperation. We've had very good discussions, and we have been encouraged by them. The talks are continuing. They're going on up in New York at the moment and directly with the Turks. As you know, on our side the principals involved were Sandy Vershbow from EUR, Mark Parris from NEA and Martin Indyk from the NSC.
For the Turkish side the participants were Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs Sanberk. He was the head of the delegation, and it included the Turkish Ambassador, officials from the Turkish Foreign Ministry and other experts.
I'll be happy to see if later in the afternoon we can provide some kind of an update on that which reflects what happens up in New York today, but I don't have details beyond that.
Q Where in New York, just out of interest.
MS. SHELLY: I don't have that information. I don't know.
Q Going back to the Secretary's potential for travel or lack of that, being as how a decision hasn't been made in the case that there is some sort of dialogue that could change that decision in mid-trip here, could you talk about that dialogue? What's going on? Who's talking to whom about what?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have really any details to share with you on that. In the aftermath of the Secretary's last trip, we've continued to have a lot of bilateral exchanges with the parties, with a view to taking stock and seeing where we are in trying to determine the moment when it would most appropriately suit everybody for the Secretary to return to the region.
So I think it's certainly his general expectation to return in the not-too-distant future, but again the contacts on this are continuing, and I can't rule it out at this point that it might come at the end of this trip. But it also might come sometime after that.
Q As part of those bilateral contacts, did you ever take up with the Israelis the remarks attributed to Prime Minister Rabin that the Americans and the Secretary were exhausted by the process? We talked about it a bit last week.
MS. SHELLY: Yes. We did have discussions with them on that and basically to try to seek clarification, and I think that the Israelis themselves addressed that publicly several times, indicating that that was -- I think the Israelis indicated that there had been some taking out of context of those particular remarks, and it was not in any way meant to imply that the United States had somehow become tired or tired out by the process in question.
I think there was every confirmation by the Israeli public statements of that that they continue to value U.S. role and participation very highly, and that nothing had changed.
Q What was the direct context of those remarks, since we journalists collectively managed once again to misinterpret it.
MS. SHELLY: Since they were not American remarks in the first place, I will refer you to the Israelis for that.
Q Christine, on the pipeline, just a clarification. Does the U.S. support -- as long as it's done in the appropriate way, support purging the pipeline?
MS. SHELLY: The U.S. supports an approach to this and eventual action which are consistent with the U.N. resolutions. But as these discussions are still unfolding, I'm not going to get into any more specifics.
Q You can't say simply whether we -- you can't say whether we support it or not? I mean, can you translate that into --
MS. SHELLY: No, because it doesn't -- in my view this issue does not -- it is a complex issue that involves the jurisdictional basis under which that type of action might be able to take place. As you know, for some weeks this has been under discussion with the Turks about their desire to do this and under what circumstances they might be able to do it. It doesn't boil down into a simple yes/no question, and as the issue is still under discussion and is not yet resolved, I think I would be doing a real disservice to the state of our contacts and discussions with the Turks to try to boil it down to a yes/no type comment.
Q Christine, since -- let me try a different area where talks are still ongoing, but maybe you can have some more definitive answers.
On Haiti, the Turks and Caicos and Jamaica. Do we have any logistical startup times, processing, any places, any kind of real information?
MS. SHELLY: There is not a date fixed yet for the startup. If you'd like, I can give you a little bit of -- give you some details on how the processing center in Jamaica will work, if you're interested in that. And then, as I think you know, we had some guidance on the Turks and Caicos, where that came out last Friday. I can get into that as well.
As to how the processing center in Jamaica will work, Haitians interdicted at sea will be brought to the processing center aboard the vessels which will be off the coast of Jamaica, as you know. There they will undergo refugee processing to determine whether or not they meet the criteria -- specifically, the well-founded fear of persecution.
The procedures will follow those used in our own refugee processing programs worldwide. Those who fail to establish a claim to refugee status will be repatriated to Haiti. Those approved by the INS will be moved to a site outside of Jamaica for final processing, and this involves medicals and sponsorship -- that type of thing -- for then admission to the U.S. or for resettlement or refuge in other locations, other countries, for example.
I'd like to stress that in-country refugee processing at one of the three processing sites in Haiti still, in our view, remains the best and safest alternative to those Haitians who believe that they have a claim to refugee status.
We mentioned also that the representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and particularly those involved in providing international protection, as you know for refugees, they will be present at this facility. They are going to be providing information and counseling to Haitian migrants and will also be monitoring overall the process.
As to the new information from the discussions with Turks and Caicos, following talks between Administration officials and representatives of the governments of the U.K. and Turks and Caicos Islands on May 23-24, the Legislative Council of the Turks and Caicos met last Friday to discuss processing Haitian migrants in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
It has agreed to the U.S. proposals subject to confirmation of some of the practical and legal aspects. Proposals include the establishing of a migrant processing center on a maximum of five acres of land on Grand Turk. Today, I would note that a U.S. team traveled to the island to conduct a feasibility study.
Q Nothing specific on time, when you think it might happen on Turks and Caicos?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have a timeframe yet.
Q And back to Jamaica. You said those who are approved will be moved to another site before processing back to the U.S.?
MS. SHELLY: Right.
Q Do you have a site?
MS. SHELLY: Not one that I have with me and that I'm prepared to name at this moment. But I'll check and see. It may be simply that in the efforts of the Department of State to prepare an exhaustive quantity of materials on Haiti for me for every single day, it may well be that that is a slight oversight, but I will check.
Q Do you have anything else on Haiti? What is the status of approval of the equipment and supplies, and other such things, for the monitoring of the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti? I understand the State Department is in charge of that at the moment.
MS. SHELLY: I'm not sure that the State Department is unilaterally in charge of that. Where the thing stands, generally, as you know, last week the U.N./OAS Special Envoy Dante Caputo met in the Dominican Republic and came to a basic agreement with the Dominican authorities on the form and mission of the international team which would assist the armed forces of the Dominican Republic in implementing U.N. Security Council Resolution 917.
What they've agreed to is a multilateral team which involves a maximum of 60 persons who will be working very closely with a similar number of Dominican officers to assist the latter in their task of controlling smuggling across the border. Special Envoy Caputo and President Balaguer also agreed to a program of maritime cooperation against smuggling.
This team of experts is going to be drawn from U.N. member states on a voluntary basis.
The international team is expected to provide equipment and logistical support to help support these joint operations. My understanding is that a group of experts will be back in Santo Domingo this week to try to work out the final details on this. When we have those, we certainly will be glad to share them with you.
I know there have been some reports that have been coming out about very specific types of military equipment or support that the U.S. has been considering or possibly going to provide.
There aren't any decisions on this yet, but we have had some informal discussions with the U.N. on their report which will presumably identify what their needs and requirements are. I think we have a general idea of what some of those types of things might be. So we've been looking into what types of support equipment to support that team, that we might ultimately be able to provide them.
My understanding, from my colleagues over at the Pentagon on this, is that no decisions have been taken on this yet.
Q Will the U.S. be volunteering for this mission?
MS. SHELLY: The U.S. will certainly expect to participate in the international effort. If the maritime cooperation aspect is also handled with U.N. members participating on a voluntary basis, I would guess that we would probably be a participant in that as well.
Q We'll have troops, or whatever -- experts on the ground in the Dominican Republic, is that what you're saying?
MS. SHELLY: As to troops, or specifically any military personnel, that one, you'd really have to address that to the Pentagon.
Q It doesn't have to be military personnel.
MS. SHELLY: What we've talked about so far in terms of the monitoring -- we had been talking about the provision of civilians who would participate in the monitoring. But as we embark down the path of looking at what support requirements we can assist them with, whether that would require more technically trained personnel that might come from the Pentagon in some way, shape, or form, again, we're not there yet so I don't know. But I'm certainly not going to rule that out.
Q Christine, the lawyer, Frank Rubino, made a flying trip to Haiti over the weekend. Was he carrying any messages to the military rulers there?
MS. SHELLY: To --
Q Cedras and his friends?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. I don't have any information on that travel at all. I'm going to look into it and see if we want to say anything on it.
Q Also, on the Caribbean. Have you been in touch with the Cuban Government about the incident a few days ago in which a refugee vessel was fired on by a Cuban vessel, supposedly?
MS. SHELLY: I've been trying to get an updated set of information on this about this firing on a freighter which took place on Saturday morning, June 4.
According to the passengers, the freighter Rene Bedia Morales departed the Cuban port of Mariel with 61 people, including women and children, shortly after 4:00 a.m. on June 4.
A Cuban patrol craft apparently pursued the freighter and fired shots, but then subsequently abandoned the chase. Seven people were injured, four from gunshot wounds. One of the injured is apparently in stable condition.
The U.S. Coast Guard treated the incident as a normal search and rescue operation. A Coast Guard medical team boarded the vessel in international waters approximately 50 miles south of Key West. That was about 9:30 in the morning on Saturday. They took the four gunshot victims and one child to the Keys Memorial Hospital in Key West. The others were taken on to a Coast Guard cutter and taken to Key West where they were then interviewed by the INS.
The vessel remained in international waters. Two of the 61 people -- and specifically this was the engineer and the first mate -- apparently wished to return to Cuba. After determining that the vessel was seaworthy and that the two crewmen I've identified could sail the vessel, it was allowed to return to Cuba yesterday.
Additional details of this may be available from the Coast Guard. This is basically the information that I have.
Q What about the other passengers? Have they been admitted to the United States?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any further information on what's going to happen to them.
As far as I know, just the interview by the INS and beyond that, I think it's --
Q Where are they now?
MS. SHELLY: Where are they now? I believe -- didn't I just say? They went to Key West, Florida, where they were interviewed by the INS.
Q Are they still there?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any information to suggest that they have left Key West. That's what I was able to get before the briefing.
Q I have a couple of questions on South Asia.
MS. SHELLY: Yes.
Q Despite Deputy Secretary Talbott's reasoning with the Indian Government and Ambassador Frank Wisner's cautioning a couple of weeks back, India went ahead and tested its ballistic missile, Prithvi. Have you got any reaction to that?
MS. SHELLY: I've seen the report. I don't have a reaction, but I'll take the question and we'll post a reaction to it this afternoon.
Q A couple of years back, when India tested another ballistic missile called the Agni, the State Department came down pretty hard and revoked the licenses for high technology transfer which had been granted to India. Is the State Department equally concerned this time? Is it thinking of -- will it complicate the transfer of high technology to India, dual-technology?
MS. SHELLY: It's obviously an extremely important issue to us, and would touch upon our concerns generally about proliferation. But I don't have guidance with me on it, and I'm not going to speculate on that. But it's an important question, and I'll see if we can post an answer to that as well.
Q And you'll take the question on that?
MS. SHELLY: And I will take the question.
Q Does this show any defiance on India's part for American sensitivities and non-proliferation concerns? Because it has come immediately after Mr. Rao's visit to the United States last month.
MS. SHELLY: I'm certainly aware of the timing of that. Again, I'll look into that question as well.
Q On what I call the Iran-Bosnia terrorism scandal. The article, I believe, was in Thursday's paper and the Washington Times about possibly being as many as 400 terrorist teachers sent from Iran to Bosnia. I asked over at DoD about that, and they could not confirm the numbers or the activities of these terrorists because they had intelligence sources who were drawn upon in that article.
I wanted to ask, (1) can the State Department confirm that there is active teaching of terrorism by Iranian instructors; and does the State Department condemn this activity, this teaching of Muslims -- condemn this inflammatory activity?
MS. SHELLY: We're exactly where the Pentagon is, which is that we're aware of the presence of the Iranians there. As to the numbers that they represent and the types of activities they're engaged in, again, I can't get into it. Our information comes from intelligence channels.
Q But the State Department does condemn the teaching of terrorism in the Bosnian situation, I take it?
MS. SHELLY: The State Department's position on terrorism is very well known.
Q You say there are Iranians. On Friday, the guidance was foreign forces, not Iranians. Today it's Iranians?
MS. SHELLY: There are foreign -- not restricted to Iranians, but we also know that there are Iranians who are present.
Q What are they doing?
MS. SHELLY: I can't say. Our information comes from intelligence sources.
Q A Balkan tour group?
MS. SHELLY: Balkan tour groups? Maybe.
Q One more -- back to North Korea, please. I'm trying to find out whether there is the sense -- last week, the Administration talked about intense discussions this weekend. I must say, from what you've said -- that there was no deadline, no time period, consultations, not necessarily sanctions, although a possibility -- I wonder how much urgency there is in this issue in getting sanctions?
MS. SHELLY: Saul, the pace of our consultations with key allies and with those who would be involved in reaching a decision on international action is very intense. I don't think there's any way to characterize it in any other way. There are messages -- discussions to take place in capitals. There are discussions that have been taking place here.
There had been the visits that we pointed to as well. But I think, again, it's something that you have to proceed step-by-step with within the context of the international community. We indicated -- even when it became clear that this was likely to be the findings that the IAEA would come up with and would be likely to report to the Security Council, from that point on we indicated that it was going to take some days, perhaps longer than that, to actually walk through the process whereby a Security Council resolution that presumably would include sanctions and perhaps other things as well, would be acted on.
So I can certainly assure you that the pace of diplomatic activity on this is very intense. But it is simply going to take time because it's important that the international community do this together through the best possible mechanism which is clearly the Security Council, and that's where it is.
Q So are we looking for a Security Council resolution to go before the Council this month?
MS. SHELLY: I honestly cannot predict how long it's going to take. By not saying, yes, this month, doesn't mean that it's not going to proceed at the fastest possible pace. But, again, it's way too early to predict exactly how long it's going to take to get a resolution in some draft kind of form and then to bring it eventually to a final vote.
Q Christine, would you mind reviewing, or repeating what it is, we expect and hope will come out of the Board of Governor's meeting of the IAEA? And is that meeting today? I thought originally it was supposed to be on Monday.
MS. SHELLY: Originally, it was supposed to be today. But I don't know if the exact timing of the meetings was affected by the fact that Hans Blix had to come back here and do the informal meeting with the Security Council last Friday.
So I'm not trying to hedge, but I simply don't have the exact hour that the Board of Governor's meeting was supposed to commence.
Again, they had a very full agenda. This is part of their -- I believe that they meet quarterly -- it might be every two months. I'm not sure. Anyway, it's every two or three months, and they review a range of issues. This was one of the issues that they were going to be discussing and certainly are discussing. We would expect them to take some action which would presumably also be in parallel and in tandem with Blix's own statement of where the issue stood and in terms of any recommendation on action that they might choose to make, going back to the Security Council.
But this is one issue, among several, that they will be discussing. As far as I know, they're still going to be taking it up. It could have been today or it might be going into tomorrow as well. I just don't have anything more precise.
Q Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:52 p.m.)
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