Wednesday, 6/29/94 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING JUNE 29, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Wednesday, June 29, 1994 Briefers: Timothy Wirth Michael McCurry GLOBAL AFFAIRS Population ....................................... --Beyond the Numbers Conference ..................1-2 --Cairo Conference in September ..................2-4 DEPARTMENT Secretary Christopher's Schedule/ Congresssional Testimony .......................4,5 Press Briefing Schedule ..........................4 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Report from Amb. Redman on Work of Contact Group..5-8 The Arms Embargo................................. 6-7,18 EconomicSanctions ............................... 8 Gore/Christopher/Ganic Meeting ...................9-10 Recent Pattern of Fighting .......................11 MIDDLE EAST PEACE Funding Commitments ..............................10-13 COLOMBIA/PERU INM/ARA/Samper Meeting in New York ...............13-18 Intelligence Sharing .............................14-15 HAITI Proposed Radio Broadcasts ........................19,24 Sanctions/Enforcement ............................23-24 REFUGEES Haitian--Processing of Boat People ...............20-25 Chinese ..........................................21 Cuban ............................................21 JAPAN Election of PM Murayama...........................25 U.S./Japan Consultations .........................26
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 1994, 12:52 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon everybody. This evening the State Department will host the opening session of a Public Policy Forum on Population, which will be held tomorrow at the National Academy of Sciences. Sponsors of the event are the National Academy of Sciences, the Turner Foundation, the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center at Harvard's Kennedy School and the Pew Global Stewardship Initiative. President Clinton is speaking here at the Department tonight at 8:45.
The Press Office, I believe, has given you some information, some kits about the event itself. It strikes me as an interesting opportunity to learn more about some of the population issues that we've been exploring in the runup to Cairo. For that reason, among others, I've asked Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Tim Wirth, to give you a better sense about the conference and some of the things coming up.
So I'm pleased to welcome once again to the podium, Tim Wirth.
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: Thank you, Mike. I'll be very brief. As all of you know, the issue and concern related to population stabilization is at the top of the agenda of our national security concerns, particularly as we focus in this post-Cold War world, and this Administration has taken a number of very aggressive steps on this. Obviously, the first steps taken the first day of the Administration in getting rid of the old Mexico City policy, the gag rule.
We have sharply increased the contributions of the United States to international family planning programs by about 50 percent in the 18 months that we've been in office. We have led efforts to engage the rest of the world, increasing their contributions, and that has been remarkably successful. We've developed these new organizations, including the Under Secretary for Global Affairs and our Population Office, and we're embarked upon a very aggressive approach on the road to Cairo, which will be held at the Cairo Conference in early September. It will be for population what the Earth Summit for the environment, bringing world leaders together to focus on the issue of the environment.
Leading up to Cairo, we have a series of town meetings across the countries -- a dozen of those -- very successful, very well attended in attempting to work through the position of the United States. We are undertaking a whole series of other efforts. The conference being held here, starting this evening and tomorrow, is another step along this way.
Tonight, the President will be here addressing the conference, which is the Beyond the Numbers Conference, that Mike McCurry spoke about. That's being co-sponsored by the National Academy of Science, the Pew Charitable Trust, the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Turner Foundation.
President Clinton will be addressing the group tonight, and the group will then be meeting tomorrow morning for a very intensive panel program which will be filmed by CNN, among others, focused on the population. The Vice President, tomorrow morning at 10:00, will be kicking off that discussion.
We are very pleased to have this highest level of support in the United States Government that continues in an unabashed fashion committed to the question of population stabilization and how enormously important that is to everything else that we are attempting to do around the world.
So I think all of you have a packet -- the packet that's being given to everybody for the conference tomorrow. That includes a series of statements and other background information on the importance of the issue, on various steps that have been taken to date, and on a number of the other things that we're doing.
Let me stop at that and get to any questions that any of you might have.
Q Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Regarding the objections that have been raised by the American Catholic Cardinals, now the College of Cardinals, and in concert with the Pope regarding the agenda for the Population Conference, has there been, in your consultations with the four Cardinals -- I believe, that you have met -- has there been any movement, reconciliation? Has there been any concession on the part of the U.S. Government or, for that matter, on the part of the church - -
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: I think to suggest a need for "reconciliation" or whatever it may be, is to suggest some kind of a deep rift. Let me point out very clearly that the document being drafted by the United Nations is in almost complete agreement among all parties. There remain and will remain, I'm sure, disagreements on a few issues. This is not a conference about abortion. This is a conference about global population stabilization, and this is a conference about the involvement and engagement of women in that process -- the education of girls, the full range of reproductive health care services, and the responsibilities of men in the process of helping to nurture families.
We continue to focus on the central theme of this, despite efforts that are made on something of a steady basis to divert the attention from the central issue of population.
The central issue of population remains one if we do not intervene aggressive and effectively in the spiral of global population growth, all of the opportunities that we might have for giving individuals a chance to participate in the societies around the world will be overwhelmed by numbers and declining standards of living; political stability will be eroded dramatically, and any opportunity that we have for the preservation of the environment or, as I have termed it for a long time, the preservation of God's creation, will disappear.
This is a central issue. To continue to attempt to wrap the issue around the axle of abortion is to wantonly ignore the importance of how extremely important the fundamentals of this issue are.
Any other questions?
Q Mr. Secretary, if you don't wrap it - - you might not wrap it around abortion. Abortion might not be an issue. But contraception is certainly an issue, right?
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: Of course. I don't know if contraception is an issue. I think most people in the world agree --
Q It is not an issue with the Catholic church?
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: Excuse me?
Q Contraception is not an issue with the Catholic church?
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: There are various methodologies. I don't intend nor do I think that these broad efforts to wrap around the perspectives of a few or one or two. We have a broad policy initiative that, I think, is broadly accepted by almost every nation in the world and every group in the world, and we want to continue to push and advocate that.
Q (Inaudible) in the Catholic church?
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: I think if you look at the document again, overwhelming amounts of the final document being drafted for Cairo have been agreed to by all parties.
Other questions? Thank you all very much.
(Under Secretary Wirth, having concluded his briefing, Spokesman McCurry continued with the Daily Press Briefing at 12:59 p.m.)
MR. McCURRY: I have another statement for beginning. I have to report a very troubling rift that developed between us and Great Britain. We have long felt that certain repeated acts by the British were unjustified.
We petitioned the British for redress on numerous occasions and appealed to their sense of justice and magnanimity. Our judgment is that the British were deaf to these protests. We condemned and deplored these unacceptable acts in language that was far more powerful and elegant than is usually our custom.
Tomorrow night, Secretary of State Christopher will depart for London on a private journey, and perhaps the best indication that that was then and this is now is that he will mark the public delivery of our protest Monday by enjoying the company of British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, with whom he has a special relationship, much like the special relationship that now exists between the United States and Great Britain 218 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
That's another way of saying (Laughter) --
Q The occasion of July 4th?
MR. McCURRY: That was another way of saying, there will be no briefing here at the Department on Monday. And in honor of the July 4th weekend, we'll not have a briefing on Friday either. So enjoy a nice long holiday weekend.
Q He's going --
MR. McCURRY: He's going to London for a vacation weekend. He'll be spending some time socially with Foreign Secretary Hurd.
Q He doesn't want us with him on vacation?
MR. McCURRY: He's not taking anybody, including none of us.
As some of you know, the Secretary is testifying tomorrow before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at 10:00 a.m. in Dirksen, Room 419. As we usually do with the Secretary's -- on days that he's testifying up on the Hill, there won't be a briefing here tomorrow either. So the next regular daily briefing here will be on July 5 with Christine (Shelly) at the podium. We'll most likely be on our way to Riga at that point with the President. The Secretary will be traveling with the President, as part of the President's travels in Europe, and for the G-7 next week.
When we get more information about his travel schedule, which -- we still don't have any sense of a ministerial meeting related to Bosnia. We also don't have any details yet on a Middle East schedule. As soon as we have those, we'll make those available so we can do a sign- up.
Q But there will be a Middle East schedule?
MR. McCURRY: As I said yesterday, we were saying that the prospects were favorable for a Middle East schedule, but I just don't know when.
Q And what about Geneva? Is that still likely, possible?
MR. McCURRY: It's going to depend on our review of the work of the Contact Group which met yesterday in Paris. Ambassador Redman reports that they made a lot of progress. They now are in a position where they're finalizing the details of the proposal that they have worked out. I would describe it as fine-tuning of the proposal that they intend to present to the parties. That will most likely take a day or two.
Ambassador Redman is on his way back from Paris to the United States, and he will sit with some senior folks here at the Department this afternoon and talk through the issue of when the ministers might want to gather. But I wouldn't rule out the possibility that there would be a ministerial meeting some time shortly.
Q Does the fine-tuning relate to the details of the map or is that -- after the Contact Group met, pretty well lined up and their fine-tuning instead relates to the combination of carrot and stick or incentive and threat, I suppose, in trying to get the parties to go along with this plan?
MR. McCURRY: My understanding is that territorial issues are largely resolved. There might be some minor aspects of that, but I don't believe there are any disagreements on that, nor do I believe there are any disagreements, in a large sense, on the incentives and consequences to the parties for both accepting or refusing to accept the proposed settlement. But they are doing some adjusting and fine-tuning, as I would describe it, and not dealing with any major disagreements.
Q Yes, on Bosnia. The other day in a colloquy with Senator Levin, Secretary Talbott seemed to back away somewhat -- I mean, it's a fine point -- from the Administration's support for a multilateral lifting of the arms embargo. What he said was that it's not necessarily so that the United States is for a lifting of the embargo. Now it remains an arrow in our quiver should the Serbs reject a peace plan. Does that mean that we're sort of suspending our support for a multilateral lifting of the embargo until such -- or until or unless there is a peace plan and a Serbian refusal?
MR. McCURRY: There's been a great deal of speculation that lifting the arms embargo might be featured in a proposal made by the Contact Group that would arise as a consequence if the Bosnian Serbs failed to agree to a settlement that had been put forth by the Contact Group and that had been agreed to by the Bosnian Government.
I think that's most likely what the Deputy Secretary was reflecting, probably some sense that a lifting of the arms embargo in connection with bringing pressure on one of the parties to accept the peace settlement would be the approach we would take.
I think that's consistent with what has been our policy and certainly consistent with our view that this war has got to come to an end, and lifting the arms embargo is an option that sends you in precisely the opposite direction: that is, for more fighting, for more conflict between the parties.
Q But the President has always said he favors the lifting of the embargo if everybody else would go along with it.
MR. McCURRY: The United States has always acknowledged that there have been unfair consequences as a result of the U.N. imposition of an arms embargo on the former Yugoslavia.
Q But, I mean, does the President no longer favor that?
MR. McCURRY: The President favors the work of the Contact Group, and the issue of lifting the arms embargo is now part of the discussion of the work the Contact Group is proposing to the parties. So I think that his position and our position on the arms embargo is in the context of the overall work that the Contact Group is doing.
Q Well, that is a slight change in at least timing of the lifting of the arms embargo.
MR. McCURRY: Remember, you're dating back to an option pursued by the United States well over a year ago, and much has happened in the intervening year, and most importantly, hanging by a thread at this point is the prospect that we can bring this war to an end with the settlement that the parties can agree to and begin to implement.
Q This is a policy of the Administration just a couple of months ago when the House voted on the McCloskey Amendment.
MR. McCURRY: Right. There's no change in our view that lifting the arms embargo would have made a difference, and it is in fact a policy that we pursued, as you know, well over a year ago.
Q You talk about the consequences of the incentive on the other side, which has been over-shadowed a little bit. I mean, what's the policy now on easing economic sanctions on Serbia?
MR. McCURRY: No different from the way that the Secretary and others have described it, but given the nature of the settlement as it has been speculatively described, since it provides much more territory and meets some of the very reasonable needs of the Bosnian Government, the likelihood that you would face the reverse situation, with the Bosnian Government failing to accept it, we don't think is much of a -- there's not much prospect of that, so it's not - -
Q That's on the table as a consequence?
MR. McCURRY: It would certainly be included. I mean, they have to consider that hypothetical possibility, but I don't think anyone thinks that's a very realistic possibility.
Q Administration officials have said all along that lifting economic sanctions on Serbia would require significant changes on the ground, changes in behavior. Is that no longer the policy?
MR. McCURRY: No. We've said all along that any lifting or staged lifting or easing of sanctions on Serbia would depend on a fairly dramatic change in Serb behavior, including implementing a peace agreement agreed to by the parties. There's no change of that, and I'm not aware of anything about the work of the Contact Group that would change that.
Q I'm sorry. Did you say there wasn't much prospect that the Bosnian Government will reject this peace accord? Is that what you're saying?
MR. McCURRY: No. We're saying that we didn't see it as a very likely outcome of the work of the Contact Group, that you'd have a situation in which the Bosnian Serbs would accept the agreement and the Bosnian Government would somehow fail to accept.
Q If you're now on the verge of having a completed plan to present to the parties -- I guess on a somewhat urgent basis in terms of a take-it-or-leave-it sort of thing -- I guess that raises the question of whether you are ready to move in additional peacekeeping troops -- U.S. peacekeeping troops as part of a NATO force on fairly short notice at this point. Are preparations being made to mobilize the designated NATO troops and others to move them on short notice, in anticipation that this plan is going to be accepted and is going to go into effect?
MR. McCURRY: Terry, "mobilize" is the wrong word, because that would imply that we believed we were on the verge of an acceptance by both parties and the beginning of implementation. Through NATO there have been plans drawn up for the role NATO would play, and, of course, that would include a U.S. role within NATO of what would happen if a peace settlement was implemented.
They've looked at that question, but again that's just done, at this point, as a planning exercise.
Q And in the current thinking, in the context of the plan you're presenting, how many U.S. ground troops would be involved in a peacekeeping role?
MR. McCURRY: It entirely depends on the judgment that military experts made, looking at the settlement, so why don't we wait until we've got a settlement before we look at that issue.
Q I'd just follow up on that: But if there's a settlement, time is of the essence, otherwise you still get fighting among themselves again. I'm just wondering whether there's anything going on in anticipation of moving people in rather rapidly?
MR. McCURRY: I'd be very careful with Terry's question, because there's no plans that I'm aware of to mobilize, to dispatch, to deploy, that kind of thing, but the planners have looked at that issue of how would you begin to implement and what would be required, of course; because you're right, it would take expeditious action by NATO, which would serve as the implementing force, and the United States' role within NATO would be done subject to the analysis of NATO commanders.
Q Vice President Ganic, who saw Tarnoff today and Gore, can you tell us about what they talked about?
MR. McCURRY: They had a review of his sessions here in Washington recently and had a fairly sober conversation about where things stand now and the need to again, as I say, reach a settlement that can bring this war to an end.
Q By sober, do you mean that he was not terribly receptive to what is going on at --
MR. McCURRY: I thought that was an elegant choice of words.
Q It was an elegant word, but it's not clear.
MR. McCURRY: Leave it at that.
Q Was the United States explicit in telling the Prime Minister that there was a need for the Muslims to either halt the fighting or stop their offensive or go back to a cease-fire, or however you want to say it?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have a detailed readout on all of the meetings, but I understood that they were to have a thorough review of what the situation is on the ground and also a discussion of various public comments by both sides, by all the parties, that indicate that there is still some desire to pursue advantages on the battlefield rather than at the negotiating table.
Q Are we -- speaking -- I'm not sure if we need to review what he told -- but are we assuring Mr. Ganic and the Bosnians that we're talking to, of the things that the United States would do to guarantee the integrity of this new state to help it economically as well as militarily? Is that what we're talking about with them?
MR. McCURRY: We are and we have, and we've done some of that publicly. We've indicated we are interested in helping Bosnia reconstruct. We are interested in seeing reconciliation that can lead to economic revitalization and some effort to rebuild a society that's been badly ravaged by the civil war and by the fighting, yes.
Q The reason I'm asking is because I've been paying attention to the DoD authorization bill and the State Department authorization bill -- appropriations bill going through -- and there's not much money there for either the peacekeeping bill that would be incurred or the economic reconstruction aid that would be necessary.
MR. McCURRY: There is not much money for the conduct of U.S. diplomacy, and that is something that I think we think about; we hope the American people think about. The ability of American diplomacy to prevent war, to deal with the consequences of war, which is what we're talking about in Bosnia, is something that is part of the budget process and the commitment of resources is exactly as you see in the budget proposed and as it's been described by those who testify on the Hill.
But one thing we think we know for certain is that it's a lot cheaper to pay diplomats to prevent war than to pay militaries to fight wars.
Q I grant you, but if I were a Bosnian and I took a look at the American budget, would the American word have a lot of credibility if Mr. Ganic was here listening to promises of what would happen if he accepts this deal?
MR. McCURRY: The best answer to that is the one given not far from the Balkans, in the Middle East, where a donor effort is underway to help Palestinians and Israelis do the work of economic revitalization within the occupied territories. That's a commitment that's been made good on. To answer Sid's question from yesterday, they have had discussions with the World Bank, although the numbers go back -- you have to go back to Abu Alaa on the numbers. I'm answering his question from yesterday for you.
But, look, that's an example that I think we can point to. We point to that international conference that we held here in October of 1933 where we pulled the donor community together and got significant pledges from the world community to help the PLO implement aspects of the Declaration of Principles; and that's the type of thing that's available in the context of peace that's not available when you see the parties in Bosnia continuing to fight.
Q This budget is being honored --
MR. McCURRY: Say again?
Q As long as you sort of shifted to the Mideast and the donors, how have those pledges been honored or lived up to?
MR. McCURRY: Did you want to go one more on Bosnia?
Q Just a follow-up on Bosnia. I read a dispatch today -- I believe it was in the Washington Times -- about the Bosnian Muslims taking to the offensive in a particular corridor, and what can you report about the ground situation insofar as the heating up -- or is there a heating up -- of military activity?
MR. McCURRY: We have seen a variety of fighting that reflects different patterns, different probing activities by the parties. Some of that has been, it looks like, offensives that have been initiated by the Bosnian Government. Some of them are other types of fighting. Some of it around the Bihac area is very complicated in that there are different separatists factions that are fighting each other.
So it's a different pattern, but the best information we have from UNPROFOR reflects a widely disparate pattern of fighting, some of it initiated by Bosnian Serbs, some of it initiated by the Bosnian Government, all of it seemingly connected to trying to gain some advantages that are not disconnected from issues that are under review by the Contact Group, which is one of the things we -- is the point that I'm making is, that it seems to us far more sensible to settle this at the peace table rather than to try to do it in armed conflict.
Q Yes, I'm just curious, I mean as long as the subject got raised, how are the pledges being honored?
MR. McCURRY: They are doing well. I think the issue that's been under discussion and my understanding is that the World Bank has been exactly how you move that assistance out and what type of arrangements are in place. But there's not been, to my knowledge, any trouble with the commitments made. The discussions have been more about how you effectively get the money into the pipeline, and how can you guarantee that it's going to the destination for which the aid is intended.
Q There is money actually being channeled? Is there an appropriate authority to receive it? What's the view of that?
MR. McCURRY: There have been a lot of discussions about that, and I think you've seen some of the steps that the PLO has taken to establish structures for exactly that purpose. Maybe some of you had a chance to see Abu Alaa while he was here and review some of that with him, but I think he described in some detail the steps that they are taking.
Q While we're on the subject, there are some reports that Yasser Arafat may return or wants to return to the Gaza Strip as early as Friday. Does the State Department think that would be a good idea and that would advance the Middle East peace process in terms of Israeli- Palestinian relations?
MR. McCURRY: We've seen some of the reports that he is making those plans, but I really would leave it up to the Israelis and the PLO who are consulting together about the arrangements to discuss what types of steps they're taking to facilitate that. At this point I don't have details on that or don't have any view that I would express on it.
Q Can you go back to those Abu Alaa figures? Are you saying that there's some discrepancy apparently between your understanding and what he --
MR. McCURRY: We suggest you check with him to get precisely into the figures that Sid asked about yesterday. We believe he was talking about elements of commitments that have already been made before.
Q Is he referring to the Peres talks, that $620 million, $70 million of which is U.S., and he was saying that yesterday the World Bank had agreed to let -- cut it loose? Is that your understanding?
MR. McCURRY: I think we'd need to check with him and clarify that a little bit. I think that we'd need to run that through the World Bank one more time, I believe.
Q On Colombia, how is the -- in which stage is the U.S. investigation on the accusations against the new President of Colombia, and also will you make a comment about an article in the Washington Time magazine that said that the U.S. knew about the tapes before the elections took place.
MR. McCURRY: Knew about the tapes?
Q The tapes.
MR. McCURRY: I'd say that we continue to make our own assessment of some of the information that has come to light, and that by no means is the only information that was available to us, as has been indicated.
Q But you knew before the elections?
MR. McCURRY: That --
Q I mean, the U.S. knew?
MR. McCURRY: You ask about the tapes. I don't know that we were aware of these specific tapes prior to the election. I would have to go back and check on that. The information reflected in the tapes or the general subject of the allegations is something that we have acknowledged that we had information about, and that we raised with Mr. Samper prior to the election, yes.
Q Have we drawn any conclusions now about whether the Cali cocaine cartel contributed to his campaign, and what implications that may have for the relationship with Washington?
MR. McCURRY: Allegations, if proven, of that nature would have very serious consequences, and the allegations themselves caused us to raise this issue. In fact --
Q Can you (inaudible).
MR. McCURRY: That's what I'm going to do right now, if you can hold on for a second, if I can find the right piece of paper. What color are we looking for here? (Laughter)
There's a meeting going on today. I want to make sure I've got the right people participating in it.
Today senior State Department officials from the Bureaus of International Narcotics Matters and Inter-American Affairs are meeting up in New York with President-elect Samper, who's in the United States on a private visit.
We hope to have an exchange with the President-elect on a full range of issues, but that's going to depend entirely on our ability to resolve the concerns that we do have about the allegations that he has ties to Colombia drug trafficking organizations. That's the purpose of the meeting today is to address very specifically those charges.
We're going to reiterate to Mr. Samper in the context of this discussion today our hope that he will continue Colombia's long history of cooperating with us on counter-narcotics cooperation; and that we will certainly tell him we hope that they will become a partner in some of the efforts we have internationally to combat illegal drug trade and the Colombian cartels that dominate much of that trade will be a major feature of that discussion today.
Q Where and when is that meeting?
MR. McCURRY: They're meeting up in New York today, and the participants are -- I don't know. Does anyone know?
MR. McCURRY: No, no. I know who's meeting. You don't know where they were meeting? Were they meeting at the U.N.? I don't know where they were meeting, but they were meeting in New York, right around noon time, I believe, and the participants were Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics Matters Chris Arcos, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs Michael Skol.
Q Is there anything in the agreement with the Government of Colombia about the ground- based radars? I mean, are they going to --
MR. McCURRY: We have met with them. Assistant Secretary Gelbard was down there and had a discussion with the Government of President Gaviria.
Q You say that last week he could reach an agreement with both governments in order to start the --
MR. McCURRY: I have not seen anything that indicates we have reached any agreement with them. We were exploring with them after the shut-off of the intelligence-sharing that we were doing with them. We explored with them the prospect of some way of continuing our cooperation with them, consistent with both international law and with U.S. law; and the effort was designed in the interim, until we could seek a legislative remedy by going to Congress, that we would try to negotiate some type of an agreement by which we could continue to work with them to combat drug trafficking. But I have not seen anything that indicates they've finalized that. We need to check on that again, though, because I think they were doing work on that.
Q Where does that whole issue stand with the interagency process within the U.S. Government? The reason I ask is that CIA Director Woolsey was on the Hill a couple of days ago, and he made it very clear that it was his feeling and his agency feels that it's important to go back to what we were doing, basically.
MR. McCURRY: I would say that's an assessment that's shared, because it really represented an important element in our fight against drugs, but it has to be done consistent with the requirements of U.S. law and international law, and that's what we are now going to address. They are trying to find some way that they can continue to cooperate until such time that we can get a legislative remedy that makes clear what we can and cannot do.
As I say, the obvious point is that anything we do would have to be consistent with the international requirements that attach to safe civil aviation. The issue involves information that relates to non-commercial civilian aircraft, so we have obligations that do present themselves under international norms and international law.
But that's where it stands. There were several stories on this earlier in the week that I saw. I didn't see any major -- I didn't hear anyone squawking that any of those articles were terribly wrong.
Q Just to go back to the Samper meeting, who requested the meeting?
MR. McCURRY: We requested the meeting when we learned that Mr. Samper was going to be in the United States on a private visit.
Q And I'm still a little unclear on what you're trying to get out of this meeting, or you just want him to promise that he didn't do it?
MR. McCURRY: We want some very precise clarifications about allegations that have been made and about information that we might raise with him.
Q If I can just get you to back-track to your initial response on that. You said you "continue to make our own assessments," and I think you said something you have information beyond the tapes?
MR. McCURRY: Two things on that. The Government of Colombia has indicated that they are investigating some of these allegations, and we await some sense of what the outcome of that investigation is. That's an important one, because we'd expect that would be done with an eye towards getting at the truth and determining the truth of the allegations.
And then secondly we are assessing our own understanding of the information about the tapes from the information that we have.
Q As I recall, the U.S. Ambassador already had talked with him to discuss the very specific kinds of questions the U.S. has.
MR. McCURRY: That's correct. We have talked about that maybe a week or so ago.
Q Right. The fact that you are subsequently having high-level officials meeting with him in New York to go over these questions yet again -- or additional questions, suggests that you were not satisfied from the information you received initially that you still have reason to believe some of these allegations may be true?
MR. McCURRY: I think Ambassador Busby's session with the President-elect covered a range of issues, and certainly the range of issues that we would hope would be part of the dialogue that we would have with the Government of Colombia, that we currently do have with the Government of Colombia.
But there were aspects of that discussion that I believe we have our two officials following up on today, and they relate to some of the allegations concerning alleged ties to narcotics traffickers.
Q Mike, if you find that those allegations turn out to be true, what are you going to ask the President to do?
MR. McCURRY: That would be a very serious matter, and I don't want to speculate right now about how we would deal with that.
Q Could we have a readout on this later?
MR. McCURRY: Yes. Let's find out how the meeting went and any comment that we have from either the two officials (inaudible) about the meeting.
Q Would it be correct to assume that when you met with Busby, Busby presented him with a set of questions, and now he's going to be meeting with these officials in New York with answers to those questions?
MR. McCURRY: I would think it would be more accurate to say he raised some concerns. Mr. Samper reacted to those concerns, and the meeting today is a further exploration of some of those issues.
Q So we feel that it's necessary to -- we were not satisfied with the -- completely satisfied with the Busby meeting, and we feel the issue requires additional clarification from the other side?
MR. McCURRY: We obviously saw a need to raise the issue again.
Q Is this issue important enough and so fundamental to the relationship between the two countries that you're committed to publicly giving your conclusion once you reach one in the near future?
MR. McCURRY: Are you asking me once we look into this matter and resolve it, will we announce publicly what we think about it?
Q Will you be prepared to say that if you believe the allegations are true, that indeed you believe that they're true?
MR. McCURRY: In my never-ending attempt to be forthcoming, I don't know how forthcoming we will be once we get to that point. We would attempt to do everything we could to share what we can say publicly. You may have gathered from the way I'm talking about this, there are some things we cannot share publicly, but I think the important thing is for the proper law enforcement authorities in Colombia who are investigating this matter to conclude their investigation, and they are the ones that should be in a position to report further to the world about these allegations.
Q Is there anymore on this topic of Colombia? Could I revisit, then, the embargo on Bosnia, the arms embargo? I understand --
MR. McCURRY: Shortly.
MR. McCURRY: One question. Shortly.
MR. McCURRY: We sort of did that already. Go ahead.
Q Speaking to the issue of the Congress, I understand that the legislation, the Dole Amendment, has been deferred for consideration after the recess, the July 4th recess. That's what I was told yesterday. Can you confirm that?
And, secondly --
MR. McCURRY: I can't confirm that. That may be true. I haven't had a chance to check on that. The Dole-Liberman Amendment on that embargo?
Q Yeah. That's what the cloakroom people told me yesterday. They had deferred it.
MR. McCURRY: They know.
Q Which is good news. And, second, Mike, this -- this alludes, of course, to something I've been asking you about. If the U.S. Government discovers and can prove to its satisfaction that another government is supplying arms in violation of the embargo, is it not our duty to strongly condemn that? Isn't that the duty of the State Department?
MR. McCURRY: The process by which information involving violations of U.N. sanctions, the process by which that's dealt with, is to go through the United Nations Sanctions Committee for that particular sanctions regime, and that's where the matter would be addressed. That's the context in which we would address it to.
Q Haiti, or have you got something?
MR. McCURRY: Haiti. Go ahead.
Q Does the United States Government feel equally sober about President Aristide's refusal to go on the air and suggest that his countrymen don't leave the country in boats?
MR. McCURRY: You're referring to the radio broadcasting that's been proposed. There's been a lot of speculation about that. We are working with Aristide on completing arrangements for a system of direct broadcasting to Haiti. This capacity to communicate directly with the Haitian people without the risk of censorship by Haitian military authorities is crucial.
I think Gray testified to that yesterday, and I think I just probably didn't dodge your question.
Q I think so. Has his arm been twisted at all to convince --
MR. McCURRY: We think these programs should be done -- if and when they actually begin these broadcasts, they should be done by joint authority of the U.S. and Haitian Governments. Their representatives from both sides will review the broadcast before they are made.
Q You said direct broadcasting. I understood that Aristide wanted to actually do live things but that the United States Government doesn't think that's such a good idea?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know enough about it, Chris, to know.
Q What does "direct" mean?
MR. McCURRY: Unjammed or not through a commercial carrier somewhere near Haiti.
Q Mike, who would the U.S. -- who would review on behalf of the U.S., these broadcasts?
MR. McCURRY: We would here at the State Department. The operation side of the broadcasts would be done over at the Defense Department, but we'd have a point of contact on looking at the broadcasts themselves. That's done, again, in the spirit of what we hope will be a collaboration with President Aristide as he attempts to communicate with the people who elected him in the first place, something he has not been able to do and something that we certainly believe is important for him to do so that he can send both a message of reconciliation and a message of hope and some sense of what his own plans are going to be for reconstructing Haiti once the inevitable occurs and General Cedras and his pals depart.
Q Captain Blanchard of the Coast Guard, yesterday at the DoD, reported that there have been 25 boats, I believe, over the weekend -- over the last several days -- Haitian boats that had been rescued; over 1,000 Haitians had been plucked from the waters. Not a one had been lost as far as they knew. He also reported that since the first of the year 3,600 Cubans, I think, had been taken out of the sea. Some remarkable number -- 3,600, the Coast Guard had rescued.
It seems like the Coast Guard is doing a marvelous job.
MR. McCURRY: What's the question?
Q The question is, don't you feel the Coast Guard deserves an accolade for their performance?
MR. McCURRY: The Coast Guard is doing extraordinary work and doing it under very difficult circumstances, and they clearly are being pressed by the increase and the outflow we've seen from Haiti. Yes, indeed, we do tip our hats to the work the Coast Guard is doing.
Q Mike, do you have anything new on numbers today?
MR. McCURRY: What was that? I missed it. It sounded like --
Q Are other services doing a good job? (Laughter)
MR. McCURRY: We should tick them all off, I think; right? Go ahead, Charlie.
Q Do you have any update today on numbers and/or different characterization than might have been made yesterday about whether this is a spike, a surge, a wave, or we still don't know?
MR. McCURRY: Why don't I just do the numbers and then you can figure out how you want to spike it or surge it.
The Coast Guard picked up 755 Haitians yesterday; intercepted a total of 33 boats. That is significant or lower than the day before but it certainly represents a number that will put some strain on the facilities in Jamaica aboard the Comfort.
I think, as some of you saw in the paper today, they're going to activate Guantanamo as an overflow facility if they need that additional capacity. I believe Dee Dee (Myers) has talked a little bit about that already today.
By the way, in case this hasn't circulated already, Representative Gray, it's my understanding, is going to do a briefing around 4:00 today over at the White House, probably on Background. So I just blew his cover, but he will be over at 4:00 today.
Q Why don't you do those over here?
MR. McCURRY: We do stuff here all the time. We had him here one day.
Q He's been here once.
MR. McCURRY: When was it? He was just here fairly recently, and they want him over at the White House. They get the --
Q I haven't been here for a couple of days. Is Guantanamo also being used for these would-be Chinese immigrants?
MR. McCURRY: Yes, they are. I should have brought that in. I got asked that yesterday. They have been transshipped to Guantanamo, and they will be repatriated to China from Guantanamo.
Q And where are the Cubans going? Is that Florida?
MR. McCURRY: The Cubans are processed -- those Cubans are processed at Guantanamo are processed consistent with the Cuban Democracy Act. There are different requirements under U.S. law written by Congress which are involved in the processing of those who are attempting to immigrate from Cuba.
Q The Administration has had weeks preparing for the policy changes announced by the President of not immediately repatriating the Haitians who are fleeing in boats. In all that preparing, did you -- clearly, after just a few days of this policy, you're already hitting capacity problems of having to activate Guantanamo.
Had you anticipated that the numbers would, whether it's a surge or a spike, once this policy went into effect, and, if so, why is it you so quickly (inaudible) capacity problems and basically have fallen back on an arrangement that was considered totally unsatisfactory the last time it was done?
MR. McCURRY: Terry, look, you know that's not fair. We are in a process of building an additional facility at Turks and Caicos that will be open shortly as well, which is one reason why we activated Guantanamo. Why did we take those steps? Why was there a lot of very careful diplomacy done to get the support of Jamaica and Turks and Caicos? Because, yes, we did anticipate certain consequences as a result of this policy. That question, I don't think, is fair.
Q Will Turks and Caicos, once it will be open, be able to accommodate whatever -- the numbers of people who you expect to come?
MR. McCURRY: It depends entirely on what their flow rates are. But we've got different contingencies for different possibilities.
Again, though -- I mean, how many times can I say this, and I want to say it clearly. We still believe and see and know that the processing done on Haiti at those three centers can produce exactly the same outcome as getting in an unseaworthy craft and setting out to sail.
So we, again, as the President did yesterday, encourage Haitians to take the opportunity to go into one of these centers that's being run for expressly this purpose within Haiti.
Q Yes, Mr. McCurry. The capacity of the Turks and Caicos, do you have any idea what that's going to be?
MR. McCURRY: No, I don't. I don't. In general, I don't want to suggest various capacities. There are different ways they can look at that. I can tell you that they're doing everything they can to expedite the construction of that facility on Turks and Caicos.
Q Can I ask about Somalia?
Q I think the Pentagon has used the "capacity of number" on Turks and Caicos. I think it was 2,000, roughly. Is that your understanding here also?
MR. McCURRY: That doesn't sound right to me. They've talked about the capacity on the Comfort of being around 1,000; perhaps up to 1,500.
Q I think Kathleen DeLaski said 2,000 yesterday.
MR. McCURRY: She did? I'll go back and check. She's thoroughly reliable. So if she said it, she meant it. Because we Spokesmen never say nothing that's not right. We say a lot of stuff that doesn't get reported.
Q I just want to ask, the year anniversary of the Governor's Island accord is coming up. I know what your goal is, but is there an end point at some point? Does this stop?
MR. McCURRY: We've reached --
Q Have you reached a point where you say, no, we can't go on any further? Have you planned for that --
MR. McCURRY: We've reached that point. The military leadership that is causing so much hardship to the citizens of Haiti and preventing a return of democracy have got to go. That's simple. It's now reflected in the combined will of the international community as reflected in the actions of the Security Council.
Q Mike, the President said six weeks ago it's time for them to go, but it seems that the Haitians are the ones who are going. At what point -- does the United States have in mind a point at which this policy has to be re- examined?
MR. McCURRY: No. The policy itself -- the policy we're implementing is the one that the President set us on back in May. It is clearly having some of the desired effect in that the pressure is clearly growing on the military leadership to live up to their responsibilities.
At what point do you apply additional measures? Maybe today. We've discussed some of the additional things that we can do to squeeze harder; and probably by now Dee Dee has done some stuff on visas that we're going to do. There are additional steps we can take, that we'll continue to take to get the job done and to force those who have broken their commitments -- specifically General Cedras -- to live up to those things that he lied to the world about, that he would --
Q Is there any further new evidence that you discussed a week or so ago that the elite or people -- elements of the military are moving to accomplish the ouster of Cedras and company?
MR. McCURRY: Beyond saying that we do have reports from time to time of friction growing within the military for the reason that the Haitian -- we see that type of information from time to time.
Q Is the United States any closer to invading Haiti than it was three or four weeks ago?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have anything different to say to that than what Representative Gray said when he testified yesterday. He's made it clear that we are on a diplomatic path, but he also cited the President's observation that there are certain options that are not ruled out.
Q Yesterday, you mentioned -- I didn't follow up -- tightened sanctions enforcement. Could you be more specific about how that would happen?
MR. McCURRY: I can't. I'll try to get some more on it. It goes back to the U.N. team of experts. We're looking at specific things that could be done along the border. I just haven't had a chance to check on what they're doing to implement some of that.
Q And more directly -- I was trying to get back to that question -- is the United States disappointed that Aristide wouldn't go on the radio and tell his people not to go to sea?
MR. McCURRY: I'll be very honest. I don't know to what degree that was ever an element of the discussion that they had with President Aristide. I have not heard that. I've heard that there was speculation; that maybe that was one thing that they would try to use these broadcasts for.
I don't know for a fact that was ever suggested to President Aristide or that we put before him the idea that that's something we want to do. We have found ways of getting that message out.
This guy has looked into this microphone and done that many many times and willing to do it again, if anyone would actually put it on the air.
Q A change of subject?
MR. McCURRY: Go.
MR. McCURRY: One more. Brief.
Q A quickie. Captain Blanchard said yesterday, when I asked him, he did not know why they were taking the boats in such numbers. Does the State Department have an idea, in interviewing these people, why they're going out and risking the sharks?
MR. McCURRY: It's a combination of many different things, and it's a case-by-case situation. It's a combination, really, of two things. One, our policy is humane and it's possible for Haitians to get adequate processing. In some cases, when they get aboard a Coast Guard cutter, they can get food and shelter that they've been denied by the repressive regime in Haiti. Secondly, it's a product of the inhumane policies in Haiti.
Q So it's a better chance for them?
MR. McCURRY: It's an opportunity to deal with the consequences of those in Haiti who currently deny to the people of Haiti democracy and the rightful government that the people of Haiti elected.
Q Does the U.S. have any response to the election this morning of Mr. Murayama from the Socialist Party?
MR. McCURRY: Not one beyond Dee Dee Myers delivered on part of -- Dee Dee Myers, already on behalf of the United States, has said that we look forward to working with Prime Minister Murayama and his Cabinet and anticipate a broad dialogue with him on not only the economic issues that we continue to discuss in the context of the framework talks but also our continued cooperation on things like the common agenda and our work together on security issues that are so important in Asia.
As to the disposition of the new government on those issues, we expect that there won't be any change in their approach on various foreign policy issues, but we certainly will hear more about that. I think, as you know, we plan in coming days a fairly intense series of consultations with the Japanese, first, on the subject of North Korea.
Ambassador Gallucci will be meeting with the Japanese tomorrow here. The President himself will be most likely meeting with Prime Minister Murayama when they gather for the G-7 summit in Naples.
Q Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:45 p.m.)
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