US DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING JUNE 8, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Wednesday, June 8, 1994 Briefers: Strobe Talbott William Gray Christine Shelly HAITI Opening Statement by Deputy Secretary ........... 1-3 Opening Statement by William Gray ............... 3 Sanctions/Air Traffic/Dominican Republic/People . 3- 4,6,13-14 UNMIH Force/Participation ....................... 4-6 Support for Coup Leaders in Haiti ............... 4-5 Narcotics Trafficking ........................... 6 US Contacts with Haitian Leaders ................ 7-8 Refugees/Legal Counsel .......................... 13 INDIA Report of Missile Testing ....................... 8 NORTH KOREA IAEA Inspections ................................ 8 Prospects for Third Round of Talks with US ...... 9 Sale of Nuclear Materials/US View ............... 9 Defueling Reactor ............................... 8-10 NIGERIA Arrests Prior to Elections ...................... 10-11 BOSNIA Effectiveness of Sanctions on Serbia ............ 11-12 Agreement to One-Month Ceasefire ................ 18-19 COLOMBIA Earthquake Aid .................................. 13 TURKEY US/UN Discussions on Flushing Oil Pipeline ...... 14-16 CAMBODIA US Implementation of Genocide Justice Act ....... 16-17 Request for US Military Aid ..................... 16
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8, 1994, 2:05 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I apologize for the delay in getting started with today's briefing.
We will begin today with two very special guest briefers, Acting Secretary Strobe Talbott and Special Adviser to the President and the Secretary, William Gray.
They are here to brief you on the OAS ad hoc and Ministerial Meetings occurring this week in Brazil on discussions on Haiti and consultations in the region.
Due to other commitments of our guest speakers, the portion of the briefing on this will have to end at 2:20, after which I'll be happy to take your questions on other subjects.
I pass the floor now to our Acting Secretary. Thank you.
Q Christine, do the filing rules apply until the end of your briefing or after their briefing?
MS. SHELLY: It should be, I think, after the briefing, the whole briefing.
ACTING SECRETARY TALBOTT: I'm glad that wasn't the first question to me. I would have hated to start by saying "I don't know."
Good afternoon, and I also apologize for the delay, but, as many of you know, Special Envoy Gray has been up on the Hill.
He has been travelling extensively and intensively in the last week or so. He has been to the Dominican Republic, to several countries in the Caribbean, and he and I met up in Belem, Brazil, for the OAS General Assembly.
As for my own travels, in the past nine days I have been to San Salvador for the inauguration of the new El Salvadoran President, but while there, held bilateral meetings with the Presidents of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.
I was also in Kingston, Jamaica, just after Mr. Gray was there for discussions with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, and the opposition leader. And then I was in Caracas for meetings with the President of Venezuela and several of his Ministers, and from there on to the OAS meeting in Brazil. And then, on the way home yesterday, stopped in Bogota for a meeting with the President of Columbia, Mr. Gaviria, who, as I am sure you all know, is the incoming Secretary General of the OAS.
Let me just stress, as if it were in parenthesis, as for my own travel, I was conducting a good deal of business that did not relate to Haiti, bilateral relations, economics, trying to prepare the way along with Joan Spero, the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, for the Summit of the Americas.
So this was by no means a one-issue trip for me, but I will concentrate in my few remarks here on the Haiti issue.
We feel that this was an important and very positive week for our Haiti policy because it saw the hemispheric community coming together behind concrete measures that will, we feel, advance our goal of inducing the military leaders of Haiti to resign and leave the country and make way for the re- establishment of the democratically elected President of that country.
Our policy has three main components, and there has been progress in the last several days in all respects. Those three components are sanctions, migrant processing and international support for the task of insuring a peaceful transition back to democracy in Haiti.
On sanctions, I would just make two points. On existing sanctions, Bill Gray's visit to Santo Domingo produced a commitment by President Balaguer of the Dominican Republic to seal the border with Haiti, and, in addition, the OAS yesterday endorsed the call for tighter sanctions and more extensive sanctions, including a ban on scheduled air traffic to and from Haiti.
On migrant processing, again very effective work by Bill Gray has paid off. While I was in Kingston, I signed a memorandum of understanding with the Jamaican Government for them to let us use their territorial for on-ship processing, and we also had discussions proceeding with other states in the area.
And in Brazil yesterday, the Organization of American States unanimously called for a strengthening of so-called UNMIH, the United Nations Mission in Haiti, and the language of the resolution also makes clear the scope of what an expanded UNMIH will do once the three principal leaders of coup d'etat against President Aristide are gone; namely, the UNMIH will protect the legitimate democratically elected government. Once it's back in place, it will also serve to protect the considerable international presence, humanitarian workers and others. It will engage in the professionalization and retraining of the police and military, and it will provide for essential civil order on the island.
We feel that the OAS action with respect to UNMIH is important and positive in two respects. First, it sends a very clear signal to the de facto leadership in Port au Prince that the international community is absolutely serious about their getting out. And it sends an equally strong signal to the Haitian population in general that the international community is committed to helping in the process of assuring a peaceful transition back to democracy.
Before going to your questions, I would invite Bill Gray to add anything that he wants.
MR. GRAY: The only thing I would add to what the Deputy Secretary has said is that I would describe the last two or three weeks as an opportunity where we have seen our neighbors in the region and in the world community come strongly together, and make very clear their resolve that the coup leadership in Haiti must step down, and a willingness to work with our government in shaping those policies that will apply the kind of pressure that we hope will bring about that eventual end.
Q Strobe, one of the stories out of Brazil quoted you as saying that force could be used in Haiti if the exodus of Haitian boat people was serious enough. Did you say anything like that?
ACTING SECRETARY TALBOTT: No, I did not.
Q You don't recall saying anything even remotely resembling that?
ACTING SECRETARY TALBOTT: I don't recall anything remotely similar to that. When asked about force, I simply echoed what President Clinton has said; namely, that he is not ruling out the option of force, but not only are we committed to exhausting all political diplomatic and economic instruments available to us to achieve a peaceful multilateral solution to this problem, but as a result of what has happened in recent days, we have an even higher degree of confidence that that is indeed a possible, and it is certainly desirable.
Q How much time are you permitted, are you willing to see pass, before you go to the next option? How much time are you going to give the sanctions to work?
ACTING SECRETARY TALBOTT: Well, Bill may want to add something. I'm not going to specify a deadline, as it were, Jim, for obvious reasons, but as a general statement, I will say we do feel a sense of some urgency here, for the very simple reason that people are dying, both on the island and, of course, running a terrible risk if they choose to flee the island.
So we do not feel we have forever by a long shot.
Q There seems to be some confusion regarding this, what do you call it, the UNMIH force?
ACTING SECRETARY TALBOTT: UNMIH, is the way we pronounce it.
Q UNMIH force, whether it is to be used after the colonels leave peacefully, or whether it can be used, one, to force them out by our measures; or, two, to follow up if they have been forced out.
Can you clarify that?
ACTING SECRETARY TALBOTT: Yes. UNMIH will go in when they go out. But for the reasons that I mentioned, we feel that the mandate for an expanded strengthened UNMIH becomes yet another factor that we hope will induce them to leave. But the idea is that they will resign, leave the island, and the UNMIH will come in to help in the process of maintaining the essentials of order and the other functions that I mentioned, and, of course, President Aristide would come back as well.
Q Do either of you gentlemen see, or can you show us evidence of movement on the part of the coup to get out of the way, to get off the island?
MR. GRAY: I think the best evidence that I have seen has been the number of people who are reporting to me, other governmental leaders in the region, CARICOM leaders, that many people who have been supporters of the coup leaders are rethinking their position because of the strong position of the OAS and the United Nations and the United States. And whether or not Mr. Cedras and Mr. Francois or Biamby have actually started thinking, I cannot tell you that, but I can tell you that there is evidence that there are those who have been fairly supportive of the coup leadership who are now rethinking because of the very strong credible steps that are being taken not only by the United States but by our allies in the region and the world community.
Q How large a force is now being contemplated for UNMIH, and how would it be financed, and what is to prevent its simply coming ashore at the invitation of Aristide?
ACTING SECRETARY TALBOTT: Let me take the last point first. One of the more important moments during the course of the week was a major speech that President Aristide delivered to the assembled ministers at the OAS in Belem, and he quite explicitly called for a strengthening of UNMIH, and he called for it in almost verbatim the terms that were used in the OAS resolution.
As for the size, I don't have a precise answer for you on that, because the answer to that question will depend on several variables that are still in play. One of those variables, of course, is the degree of participation by other countries. We're committed and the United Nations is committed to this being a genuinely multilateral, multinational effort, and one of the things that both Bill and I have been doing in our travels is talking to countries about what their participation might be.
Of course, the timing and circumstances of UNMIH's deployment will be a factor in determining exactly what the size and composition should be.
As for the financing of it, the United States is prepared to participate in UNMIH. We've made that clear. But we also hope very much that other countries will participate in various respects, and without getting into specifics, because those discussions are going to be ongoing through bilateral diplomatic channels, I can tell you that we're very encouraged by the response so far.
Q Can you clarify which countries have been committed to this force today?
ACTING SECRETARY TALBOTT: No. I would rather not do that. In due course there will no doubt be announcements from both the United Nations and from the OAS and also individual countries are, of course, entitled to speak for themselves. Bill and I can speak only for the U.S. Government, but I can tell you that we have been in close touch with certainly many, indeed most, of the states in this hemisphere, and we feel that there is more than a critical mass of potential participation in UNMIH in order to make it effective.
Q Can you tell us what the Administration knows about the Haitian military's alleged involvement in the cocaine trade?
ACTING SECRETARY TALBOTT: Only that there has been such an involvement, and, of course, President Clinton mentioned that when he the other day listed a number of reasons for our concern. But the two principal ways in which the Haitian crisis, which is a humanitarian and human rights catastrophe of major proportions, impinges on the vital national interests of the United States are, first it represents an affront to and a potential reversal of the trend of democratization in this hemisphere, in which we have a very practical interest as well as a larger political interest.
And second, of course, because that catastrophe is so severe, one of its results is an outpouring of refugees, many of whom, of course, do want to come to the United States. And if all of them came, if they left their own country and came to our country, that would put a considerable burden on the United States. Those are the two principal reasons.
Q Should we expect quick unilateral action by the United States on the issue of commercial air traffic, now that the OAS has taken its stance?
ACTING SECRETARY TALBOTT: We are prepared to take that step. Certainly the President has made clear that he is more than prepared to consider it. But, as with everything else that we're doing, we feel that multilateralism is a key premise and a key objective, and we're in close consultation with other governments so that they will join in us.
I don't have the precise figures, but because American carriers, particularly American airlines, has such a large share of the traffic to and from and also the United States, of course, can ban the Haitian carriers from flying to the United States, we can all by ourselves cut off -- what is it? -- 80, 85 percent, I think.
MR. GRAY: (Inaudible) five carriers.
ACTING SECRETARY TALBOTT: But we would like it if other countries which make up the difference were to participate as well, and I think that there will be such participation.
Q Are there any channels of communication open between you gentlemen and the Haitian military rulers? I mean, there's a lot of talking to everyone else. Are you in communication, Mr. Gray, about where they might go or what the circumstances their departure might be?
MR. GRAY: Our Embassy is there in Port-au-Prince, and it's always open to conversation with any of the people in Haiti, in government and out of government. Also, there is the OAS Special Envoy Dante Caputo who is also the U.N. OAS, and all of the nations in the region. So the coup leaders have ways of talking with all of us at any time that they wish to.
Q Mr. Gray, what magic did you use to get President Balaguer to change course?
MR. GRAY: I did not use any magic other than to point out to the President how critical his support was if there was going to be an effective sanctions, and how the world community, his own neighbors in CARICOM, those in Latin America, Central America and the entire OAS family were hoping that he would be able to take effective steps to ensure that these sanctions would work.
Dante Caputo, who is the U.N. OAS Envoy on Haiti, accompanied me. We made a similar plea, and without hesitation, President Balaguer said that he would very, very strongly support the decision that had been made under U.N. Resolution 917. There had already been a team of U.N. analysts in to look at how you seal the border and make recommendations, and he agreed that when that team made its findings known, that he would be supportive, and the evidence seems to be that he is doing exactly that.
MS. SHELLY: Last question.
Q Could you go back to the question previously. I don't think there was a specific answer to the question of whether either of you two gentlemen have directly had any contact with coup leaders? I realize there are other channels, but -
MR. GRAY: No. I have not had any personal contact, if that is the specific question. I thought the question was 'Are there ways and are we talking and are people talking with the coup leadership?' But as for me personally, no, I have not had any personal contact with Cedras, Francois or Biamby.
Q Strobe, could I ask you?
ACTING SECRETARY TALBOTT: Nor have I, but Ambassador Swing in Port-au-Prince is available, of course, to talk about anything.
Q There's another story on the wire involving you. There was an Indian ballistic missile test within the past 24 hours. Do you believe that that was in contradiction to assurances that you were given when you were recently out there?
ACTING SECRETARY TALBOTT: All I will say on that score is that I'm convinced that an opportunity remains very much open for us to work with all the states in South Asia to advance the cause of non-proliferation, and that means not only weapons of mass destruction but also delivery means.
MS. SHELLY: Thank you very much.
(The portion of the briefing by Deputy Secretary Talbott and Mr. Gray concluded at 2:22 p.m.)
MS. SHELLY: Other subjects.
Q Have you seen reports, quoting the North Korean Foreign Minister in Kiev, I believe, saying that they're ready to revisit the whole idea of inspection teams in exchange for the third round of talks?
MS. SHELLY: I have seen those reports. I don't have a specific comment on them, except that I think that perhaps the North Koreans are thinking through exactly where they've arrived with this issue and perhaps are looking for some ways that they might be able to find a resolution to it.
As you know, they make a lot of public statements, some of which we do react specifically to. I only saw those a few minutes before coming out here, so I don't have a specific and more formal reaction for you, except that we've seen them. But I think that we've also signaled to them very clearly that this is an issue which has to be settled now by a different context. We want them to settle their differences with the IAEA and to permit those activities to go forward that can enable the history of their nuclear program to be determined. It's not something at this point that could be easily settled in having a third round of talks.
That's my sort of off-the-cuff one, in response to your question, and I'll see if anybody would like to add something to that.
Q Just to follow up, wasn't the meeting of Blix's statement in the briefing at the U.N. that it was basically too late to re-establish continuity of those safeguards and that avenue is now gone?
MS. SHELLY: I think that the gist of Blix's statement was that critical information had been lost. When Bob Gallucci gave his briefing here last Friday, he also indicated some other ways that could -- whereas information lost is largely irreversible, there are other ways to try to get at a fuller picture of the operating history of the reactor. To my knowledge, nothing has happened so far that precludes that.
So I think that other ways to approach this to try to get at the same finding are still out there. But whether or not that's the direction that things will go, it's certainly too early to tell.
Q Christine, there is no possibility for a third round of talks?
MS. SHELLY: My understanding is what we have said regarding third talks remains exactly where we are, which is that this is not the basis. The events have unfolded in a way that do not provide the basis for proceeding with that.
Q That was my question.
MS. SHELLY: Okay.
Q Christine, there was a dispatch today, referring to the sale by North Korea of nuclear materials and possibly bombs, possibly nuclear bombs, should they in fact have them assembled. Have you any comment or any other information regarding that particular story? I take it they were going to sell to Middle East countries.
MS. SHELLY: I only have a very general statement on that, and it's just on the subject matter, about the possibility that North Korea might engage in sales of this type of equipment to rogue states, shall we say, and that is that illicit or unsafeguarded sale of nuclear materials is an issue which is of great concern to us, and it certainly is one which we track extremely closely.
We're not aware at this juncture that North Korea is engaged in any nuclear commerce or cooperation of that type at this time. But again it's something we'll certainly track closely.
Q Is there any indication that they are making such plans or negotiations to do any kind of trading in nuclear material?
MS. SHELLY: Not that I have any information on at this point.
Q Do we have any information whether or not all the rods have been removed from the reactor in Yongbyon?
MS. SHELLY: My understanding is that we have -- I've been trying to check and sort of see if they actually completed the discharge of fuel. As far as we know, either the discharge has either been completed or is nearly completed at this juncture. The IAEA inspectors are still monitoring the activities at the nuclear facility in Yongbyon, so it's either almost there, if it's not completely there.
Q If it has all been removed, does that have any bearing on our relations on this matter or no relation whatsoever?
MS. SHELLY: They crossed the point, I think, of no return on this a couple of days ago, and I don't think reaching the 100 percent point changes anything.
Q Christine, there was another North Korean statement that was made since we last talked to you. One of their officials said that the North Koreans would have nothing further to do with international United Nations inspections or inspectors, but would deal only with the United States. Have you seen that, and what does that mean?
MS. SHELLY: We've seen the statement, but we don't have any particular reaction to it. Again, the point where they are now is not an issue for settlement in a bilateral channel. It's still a situation that they need to rectify with the IAEA.
Q New subject?
MS. SHELLY: Yes.
Q Nigeria -- there's been more arrests today of leading opposition figures in the runup to, I think on Saturday, the anniversary of the annulled presidential elections. Does the U.S. have any comment on the arrests?
MS. SHELLY: If you had asked me a day or two ago, I would have had a comment. We did work up some guidance -- not on specifically today's arrests, but there had been some other reports of this type. I'd like to refer you to the Press Office, because we do have some guidance on the most recent events in Nigeria.
Q On the Balkans. There was quite an interesting story in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about Romanian support for sanctions on Belgrade. Is the Administration completely satisfied that Romania is adhering to the sanctions regime?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, I'm going to have to take that. I'm afraid that I didn't see the story, so I'm going to have to check, and we'll post an answer to that.
Q It raises a question, because briefers have repeatedly told us that the sanctions are working, that inflation had gotten to millions of percentage, but now they have reformed their currency and there is no inflation, and they've pegged their currency to the German mark. So in the light of that, do you have any reflections on the effectiveness of sanctions in general on Serbia?
MS. SHELLY: Actually, we also had guidance on this on Monday, which was a rather full accounting of our latest assessment of how effective sanctions have been; also addressing the stabilization of the currency and otherwise. So I'm going to refer you to the Press Office on that, because I think you'll get a pretty full response.
I just would add one or two things to that, and that is that there certainly has been some stabilization in the Serbian economy. We certainly don't deny that, and they had taken some currency measures which of course brought the inflation in check.
However, the general assessment of exactly what that means for the economy and the short-term and long-term implications are addressed in that guidance. I think generally what the guidance concluded was that there has been short-term stabilization, but vis-a-vis the long-term impact of sanctions, that it still is over time going to have a very profound and negative effect.
On the other point about the effectiveness of the regime and whether or not nations have been complying generally, I think the general picture that we have from the most recent time frame is that there has been a considerable amount of leakage in the application of those sanctions and clearly room for a rather serious effort at tightening up those sanctions. We get into that a little bit in the guidance that I referred to as well. I'm sorry, I don't have that with me, but certainly it's been --
Q Can we get copies?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, absolutely. The picture of late has been one of probably a downward trend in compliance rather than stable or upward.
Q The tightening of sanctions was one of the things that was announced, one of the latest legs of the most recent policy reviews, so what has been done and what will be done to achieve that?
MS. SHELLY: That was addressed a little bit, as you know, in the ministerial meeting in May, and there were some mechanisms, I think, that were set up to try to determine ways in which the enforcement could be tightened. I'm going to have to go back and see where that is at this point.
There are discussions on this, I know, that have taken place between some of the ministers who are involved or the countries that have been involved in that ministerial meeting. I can't be more precise at this point, but I'll take your question formally.
Q On Bosnia. Another disturbing dispatch I read this week alleged that arms were coming from the military hardware left over from the Eastern regime -- the Eastern German regime, coming into Bosnia, being introduced; that I believe Saudi Arabia was involved in sending arms, in violation of the international arms embargo; and also it mentioned Iran sending arms and explosives, etc.
Can you confirm or have any comment regarding these allegations?
MS. SHELLY: No. I don't have any information on that for you.
Q The International Court of Justice has requested individual countries to submit their views on the legality of the use of nuclear weapons by Friday. And the question is, does the United States intend to submit its views on this matter to the ICJ? And, secondly, apart from the ICJ request, what's the view of the United States on the legality of the use of nuclear weapons?
MS. SHELLY: That's one I definitely don't have in my pocket today. I'll take that. I know you'd be really shocked if I had an answer to that, so I'll take that. I'll post an answer.
Q Does the U.S. have any assistance planned for the earthquake victims in Colombia?
MS. SHELLY: I'll also check on that as well. I don't know if we've received any requests yet, formally or informally, but I'll check and give you an answer.
Q A couple of Haiti questions, because the session was kind of short. One, is it correct that the United States Government has decided that applicants for refugee status will not be allowed to have legal counsel in the reprocessing centers?
MS. SHELLY: We addressed that yesterday off camera, and the answer to that was the legal counsel -- there is a juridic reason for that, but that legal counsel would not be present when the interviews took place. David, is that correct? Yes.
Q Even in though in the past at Guantanamo, in fact they had been -- I don't think they're present at the time of the hearing, but they advised them beforehand.
MS. SHELLY: I will check on the details of that. I just don't have them with me.
Q Another Haiti question: It has been reported that several of the Haitian prominent families are under consideration for being put on the list, whereby their assets are frozen and they're denied visas, and so on. Have any of those families been added to that list recently?
MS. SHELLY: I believe that last -- the end of last week 35 additional names were added to that list. I think there have been about five or six different lists which have been put out by the Treasury Department. This is their operational issue and not ours.
The list and names is something which is always under study. When names of people, family members, things like that come to our attention and particularly down in Port-au-Prince, the Embassy checks on the information because a lot of this information comes in in a very ad hoc kind of way. So they check on these names. Some of them it's obvious they're members of the new government which we of course don't recognize. They went on the list, and some additional other family members of previous people on the list went on the last group.
But they have a very careful checking and vetting process before they make a recommendation to the Treasury, so, as I mentioned, I think there have been five or six updates on the lists, and I think those are publicly available from the Treasury Department.
Q I think it's the June 2 list, that's the most current list?
MS. SHELLY: I think that's right.
Q Thirty-five individuals or 35 families?
MS. SHELLY: The way these lists work is each person is identified by name, so that was 35 additional individuals were added to the list.
Q Christine, can you bring us up to date on developments from the flushing of the Iraqi pipeline saga?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. I have a little bit for you to add. There has been one press report, at least, that indicates that this is a kind of a done deal, and despite this press report, we're not quite there yet.
There is U.N. Security Council action which would be needed in order for Turkey to be able to sell any oil in this pipeline. The Security Council would have to adopt a brief technical resolution to authorize the flushing of this. The specific arrangements for a pipeline flushing have not been agreed by all of the parties concerned, including the members of the Security Council. So I am not in a position to provide you with a detailed picture on what actually the technical terms of the resolution might be.
I was looking into this to try to get a little more information on this. You know from what we mentioned the last time when we briefed on this that we had talks in Washington on this last week. We had talks that were continuing in New York on this this week.
The talks themselves, the premise of the sale, was based on the assumption that any action taken would be done in a way which would maintain the integrity of the sanctions regime. We have begun consideration in the context of these discussions of elements that could become part of a U.N. Security Council resolution that would permit the flushing of the pipeline.
So I think we certainly are moving in that direction. I think there has been an agreement in principle that the flushing could take place. But the question of how that would take place, how much oil would be involved, under what conditions, and how to make that action occur in a way which would be completely congruent with the U.N. Security Council resolutions. These are the types of things which are still under discussion at this moment.
So that's probably the only additional light that I can really shed on it at this point, but that's the general direction that it's moving.
Q Who are the technical parties involved in these discussions?
MS. SHELLY: The principal parties involved in this discussion are obviously Turkey is the country that has been the main pusher behind this, for reasons which they have identified, which relate to the flushing of the facility and with a view to keeping -- I mean, the pipeline is an asset. They want to keep it operational, so they're obviously interested.
This has to also be done in a way that permits the Security Council resolution, so they're obviously all players in it as well. Iraq is obviously also -- there is an involvement of Iraq in this, insofar as they are presumably the recipient of this as well, so it also has to be -- presumably it's not the kind of thing that the flushing is going to take place without there being some kind of assent on the part of the Iraqis.
Obviously, the U.N. Secretariat involved in the administration of these types of regimes, that there are obviously talks with them as well. There may be others who are involved in the discussions. I would guess that certainly there probably have been some more detailed discussions with other members of the Security Council -- the permanent members -- probably France and Russia and the U.K., I would guess.
But I don't have anything beyond that general description of who the players would be.
Q What's the basis of the decision that the Iraqis or Iraqi people, Iraqi citizens, will benefit from the proceeds of this eventual sale, since the victims of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, to my knowledge, have still not had any of their reparation claims addressed, and that includes thousands of people who lost their homes or who lost family members, who lost assets, other countries that were damaged. Who decided that the Iraqis are going to get the benefit from this flushing?
MS. SHELLY: I think precisely how any financial benefits which would be derived from this would unfold and to whom they would go is exactly one of the things which has been still under discussion, and I think that the discussions have touched on exactly the type of thing that you have described.
I don't have that information available, as the issue has not reached closure yet. The only thing I can tell you is that those considerations have been a factor in terms -- as this issue has unfolded and specifically in terms of the talks in New York.
Q It sounds like you're a long way from placating the Turks on this one, reading between the lines. Are they threatening to suspend Operation Provide Comfort if their demands are not met?
MS. SHELLY: Not that I'm aware of.
Q Do you know when Operation Provide Comfort comes up for renewal?
MS. SHELLY: I think it's pretty shortly.
Q Christine, can you just check for the record, because I know that you wouldn't have this information, what is the status of claims against Iraq arising out of the invasion of Kuwait, and to what extent, if any, have those claims been satisfied?
MS. SHELLY: Okay, I'll do my best to get an answer to that.
Q I have two questions on Cambodia. I understand that there were State Department officials briefing private organizations yesterday on the possibility of investigating the Khmer Rouge for genocide.
The first question, can you tell us anything about that?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, I can. I know you are surprised. I have two -- a couple of things on this, I think. The first is that we have a plan of our own to establish a Cambodia genocide office. The Cambodian Genocide Justice Act is part of the State Department Authorization Bill for l994 and l995. The Act states that it is the policy of the U.S. to support efforts to bring to justice members of the Khmer Rouge for crimes they committed in Cambodia between l975 and l979.
The Act requires the establishment before July 30 of a State Department Office of Cambodian Genocide Investigation. The Act is quite specific regarding the purpose and the functions of the office.
The Department is complying with the Act, and has begun the procedures to actually establish the new office. To this end, we have solicited the views of knowledgeable non- governmental organizations concerning how the Department might most effectively implement that Act.
The Department has not made any final decisions regarding the structure or the operations of the office.
James Hall, the Director of the Office of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, met with representatives of non-governmental organizations on the 6th of June to specifically solicit their views on how the Department might best implement the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act.
So I think there has been a little bit of press coverage of this, and it is in that context that he had this meeting.
Q The second question is, if you can give us what the U.S. policy is on either selling or providing arms to the Cambodian Government?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. I have seen a couple of press reports on that this week, and I just have a short reply. The U.S. is currently considering a request for military assistance from - - I'm sorry, are you talking about the provision of arms to Cambodia?
MS. SHELLY: Okay. The U.S. is currently considering a request for military assistance from the Royal Cambodian Government. We are also in the process of consulting with other concerned governments.
No decisions have been taken at this time.
Q What sort of assistance have they requested?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any further details than that. Yes.
Q On Cyprus, the other day, I asked you if you have any comment on the U.N. recent report on Cyprus. Do you have any?
MS. SHELLY: I'm sorry. Did we post any answer on that one, do you know?
Q It's four or five pages, the report by the U.N. Secretary General to the Security Council.
MS. SHELLY: Yes. I'm sorry. We may have missed putting something up on that. Let me check on that again.
Q Thank you.
MS. SHELLY: Yes.
Q Do you have any reaction to the story of the Saudi Arabia diplomat who is hiding in New York City because he fears for his life after criticizing the regime, his regime -- I mean the regime of his own country?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. I don't have anything with me on that. I remember seeing a couple of press reports about that also, and I think in fact we had a little bit of guidance on that a few days ago, but let me check. Yes.
Q Christine, on the subject of the population conference coming in Cairo in September, this is a subject very dear to the heart of Catholic readers, and I want to ask in light of the letters that were sent, I believe, to the Secretary of State by Archbishop Keeler and the joint letter that the American Cardinals representing the old American Catholics sent to the United States Government, and in view of the visit of Mr. Clinton to the Pope, has the Administration changed its position, its population control agenda in any way that you can report?
MS. SHELLY: Well, Tim Wirth on several occasions publicly has laid out what our policy is on that, and I don't have anything that would either -- I am not aware of any changes to that. I think his recent statements, including several from this podium, still remain what our policy is.
Q What I am asking is, has there been a response on the part of the Clinton Administration to the criticism of those who represent one billion Catholics in the world to the policy so that there has been any shift or modification?
MS. SHELLY: Well, I'm not aware of any shift. We certainly do pay attention to criticisms that are levied and when we are asked to look into specific issues on some things, but I think our policy remains -- as far as I know, our policy remains unchanged.
Q Christine, is the Administration satisfied with the one-month cease-fire agreement in Geneva on Bosnia, and can you outline what are the next steps, please?
MS. SHELLY: I have a little bit on that for you. I don't have a lot. What I can tell you is that, as you know, there was an announcement this morning by the Special -- the U.N. Secretary General's Special Representative, Mr. Akashi, saying that as a first step toward a comprehensive cessation of hostilities through Bosnia and Herzegovina, that both sides of the conflict had agreed not to engage in offensive military operations or other provocative actions of any kind for a period of one month starting from June l0th.
This is really a kind of first step toward the cessation, the broader cessation, of hostilities that we have been trying to achieve, and for the talks, of course, which have been undergoing under U.N. auspices, and particularly under Mr. Akashi's auspices.
This, I understand, is what they were able to agree to today. It provides a kind of, I think, a breathing period for them to be able to get on with the cessation of hostilities, discussions, in a more fundamental kind of way. Certainly what it represents, and the commitments by the parties to this, it's a welcome development, and certainly is a good first step, and we certainly hope that they will be able to move on now to conclude the broader cessation of hostilities agreements.
As you know, the contact group, to which our representative is Ambassador Chuck Redman, they met over this weekend. They met amongst themselves, and also had separate meetings with the parties. Their next meeting has not yet been scheduled.
I know there are several -- lots of discussions that have been going on in bilateral channels. As you know also, there is the NATO Ministerial Meeting, which is coming up in Istanbul this coming weekend, and I know that will provide another opportunity for some additional bilateral discussions, and maybe some beyond that, but to confer on next steps.
The Secretary has had, of course, discussions with the French and with the British on this while he has been travelling with the party. But that's -- beyond that, I don't have any further details.
Q Thank you.
MS. SHELLY: Thanks.
(The briefing concluded at 2:49 p.m.)
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