Tuesday, 7/5/94 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING JULY 5, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, July 5, 1994 Briefer: Christine Shelly HAITI Processing for Asylum/Number Granted ............ 1-2,4-9,17-18 Safe Havens/Capacity ............................ 2-4 Flow of Boatpeople/Sanctions .................... 9-12,19 Commercial Aircraft Flights ..................... 14 NORTH KOREA Third Round of Talks with US .................... 12-13 RWANDA Reports of Conflict between French and Rebels ... 14-16 Humanitarian Assistance/Safe Havens ............. 16-17
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, JULY 5, 1994, 1:03 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I'll start with your questions.
Q Just one sort of clean-up question on Haiti, Christine. The refugees that they pick up and take to third countries, they will not be given any sort of asylum hearing? They're just going to be taken there?
MS. SHELLY: I have probably as many details as you have on this, having listened to Bill Gray as well. I don't have a lot of additional details. I'm going to have to take some questions on this.
My understanding is, from he said, is that it's those who apply through the in-country processing and are screened and determined to quality for the refugee status, that they will have the potential of being brought to the United States or third countries. That has always been a possibility. Of those others who had been picked up in the boats and who have been taken to various locations, that the expectations is that they would be brought to Panama and the other locations that he referred to.
It's my understanding that details relating to screening, certainly the intention is still very much to be able to identify those who have the well-founded fear of persecution. So the exact mechanisms of that screening since what we're talking about now is obviously a substantially greater number of people. The details of the exact process of how all of those were picked up would be screened so that those with the well-founded fears of persecution can still be identified, that the details of that are being worked out now with the UNHCR.
The expectation is that those who meet the criteria for refugee status and particularly those various things that we've identified before as meeting the criteria, that that would still go on so that those people can ultimately be relocated in other countries.
Q So no one is going to somehow be excluded from applying for asylum under this new scheme?
MS. SHELLY: Not that I'm aware of. The idea, of course, is obviously to concentrate on those who have the well-founded fear of persecution.
Q But you've got to figure out who those are first?
MS. SHELLY: Right.
Q Christine, we're trying to figure out what the capacity of all the various safe havens -- Panama, Antigua, Dominica, whoever else steps forward -- how many Haitian migrants can these refugee places hold, in addition to Guantanamo?
MS. SHELLY: There isn't a simple answer to your question. As I think you know, last week, and I think the week before, there was some discussion about the potential capacity at Guantanamo, for example. As I think you know, this was developed in a way so that there would could be increases in the capacity to accommodate based on additional days and weeks having transpired. So it's my understanding that in -- I think in Guantanamo, the numbers at this point are something around -- I think it's around 4,000 now, and the expectation was that within a few days it would be up to something like 6,500. That would be --
Q That's how many they can hold?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. I think that the Pentagon itself has also addressed this; that they have different phases that they can accommodate. They've indicated, I think, a figure that even goes up to as high, I think, perhaps 10,000 or 12,000. That capacity does not exist yet at this point in time.
As you know, the capacity, I think, for the boats off of Jamaica is still in the range of around 2,000. The Panama capacity, as indicated by Bill Gray, is something -- well, it's not an established capacity yet, but the agreement is that ultimately they could take up to about 10,000. But, as you know, there's an interim arrangement where before a camp would be constructed or made fully operational so that some of these refugees would be brought to military facilities, that the United States is operating there with Panama.
As to the exact capacity that exists in those facilities right now, I don't have that number.
With respect to the other two locations identified by Bill Gray, I don't think that they're in a position yet to announce what those capacity numbers might be.
Q So the natural next question, I guess, is, what happens when all of these get filled up? How long might it take? Everybody is wondering when or if there might be an invasion, and if all of these safe haven places have limits?
MS. SHELLY: That's why we've been working very, very intensively with other countries in the region, to try to make sure that there would be the potential available necessary correspondent with the circumstances and the numbers of those taking to the high sea.
As you know, that's also one of the reasons, particularly because there are dangers and also because there are -- clearly, in terms of having the process be fair, be transparent, and to identify those who are most needy, the process itself is not something which we can put a fixed time line on, exactly how much time it's going to take to process a certain group of refugees.
I think all of the questions that you just raised now -- they're certainly very valid questions but they're not really questions that we're in a position to answer at this point.
We have capacities. We're trying to work with governments in the region to identify additional capacities and also try to hope that in managing the kind of flows that there have been in the last few days, that it can be handled in a way, working very closely with the UNHCR to make sure that those people who are the most in need still can be identified and then ultimately resettled in additional locations.
They're good questions, they're valid questions, but I'm not sure that they're questions that we have precise answers to yet.
Q Mike said on Friday that there had been some Haitians that have been caught in Haiti when the air embargo went down and that there was going to be a flight arranged to take these people out. Do you have numbers and whether this has happened or if the flight has been arranged?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any update on that, and I'll look into to see if anything new has happened. I think where we were last Friday is there would about 200 people who had been approved for refugee status in-country who were waiting to get out. We have been working with the International Organization for Migration -- the IOM -- on the means for these people to be able to get out. Because basically once they have been identified and they have a place to go, I understand that it's really the IOM that's taking over the responsibility for getting them out.
I know that the possibility of chartering flights to get into Haiti with a view of being able to take some or all of these out was under investigation. I'll check and see if there's anything more to that since last Friday.
Q Anything more on Radio Democracy?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything new on that.
Q A couple of basic questions. What are the other two locations that you mentioned other than Panama and Guantanamo and the Jamaican boats?
Q Turks and Caicos.
MS. SHELLY: Turks and Caicos was already identified before, and then Bill Gray, I think, referred to two others -- Dominica and Antigua. Is that the other one -- second one? Yes, those the other two. These were just really agreements that were reached in principle over the course of this past weekend. I know that they've been working up some announcements to make on this, so there are not a lot of details but those were agreements in principle.
Q And the underlying principle of this is, as I understand it, that there will be no more repatriation of boat people; is that right?
MS. SHELLY: No. I wouldn't read the announcement that way.
Q Who is going to be repatriated to Port-au- Prince, and who is going to be sent off to these other locations?
MS. SHELLY: There is going to have to be some kind of a screening process so that those who do not meet any of the criteria for refugees -- in fact, it's understanding -- and, again, I'm not sure that I have a complete picture, because as you know this was being discussed at the White House in meetings this morning. But my reading of what Bill Gray said was not that there would be no more repatriations. I believe it's a question of making that determination for those who are picked up if they qualify, or potentially qualify for the refugee status based on the fear of persecution; and others who did not meet that would continue to be repatriated. I will check on that and see if that's correct. But he didn't specifically address that question.
Q Now you've got me confused because you said earlier that those who do meet the criteria of a reasonable fear of persecution would be able to come to the United States. Is that --
MS. SHELLY: We always said that those who had qualified for refugee status would be eligible to come to the United States or to third countries. It wasn't ever strictly -- only the United States as a possibility.
Q This process that you talk about, this will take place at several locations now. Is that your understanding of it? In other words, they'll be brought to Panama and that's where the determination will be made as to whether they qualify for refugee status?
MS. SHELLY: I think that that is exactly -- I'm not sure that there is going to be an absolute blanket formulation for every single refugee that's picked up -- I'm sorry -- every single boat person that's picked up. Where they're picked up, the numbers in question -- even including what the medical condition of some of the people is.
As you know, the facility off the coast of Jamaica is a hospital ship where people who have very urgent medical needs can and are being brought. So I'm not sure that I can make an absolute blanket characterization of that all are necessarily now going to Panama. I think the expectation is a large number of them would go to Panama. The degree to which they could not be fairly screened, reviewed, interviewed, whatever -- I'm not sure what the exact correct term is on this -- that the degree to which that could and might be done in other locations, it's my impression that could still be done but with a view to -- once that determination is made, again, it's my understanding that they would either be held in the safe haven areas, or else those who are determined not to meet any of the qualifying criteria, that they could still be sent back to Haiti.
Q Is the reason that these additional locations have been set up now because you need more capacity for processing these people, whether it's to send them back or to allow them to immigrate to here or go to other countries?
MS. SHELLY: When you have the kind of situation that you had over this past weekend, which was something like almost 6,000 Haitians being picked up since Friday, it's very, very clear you have a severe capacity problem.
There was a surge yesterday where the number reached 3,247. That brought the total number of Haitians picked up since the processing facility got up and running, the USNS Comfort began its operations using the June 15 as a starting date, that raised the total number of Haitians who had been picked up to 11,000 people.
So, obviously, there has been a surge and there has been a real requirement to identify additional locations in order to handle the kind of flow that has been going on. Certainly, it is our hope that the number of people taking to the high seas will begin to come down so that the process can be -- so that we're not faced with those kind of numbers. But, again, when you see that kind of a trend, you clearly need to try to identify as many different places as possible.
Q The other question I have in mind is, I suppose, an international or legal one. If someone applies for asylum in the United States and is found to have reason to believe that he or she will be persecuted, what right do we have to send them to Panama?
MS. SHELLY: Again, Bill Gray addressed the degree to which we -- what we can really tell you at this point, which is that we have set up a process, we've been working very closely with the UNHCR, we are trying to identify the people who qualify for the refugee status. Also, other countries in the region are obviously very concerned about the flows as well and do consider that this is a regional problem and not just a burden to respond to the situation that is imposed only on the United States.
So I think that several others have expressed a willingness to participate in this with a view, hopefully, that for those who are permanently resettled in other locations, that the point will come where they can go back to Haiti.
Q I understand that. But these are people asking for asylum in the United States, not in Panama.
MS. SHELLY: I'm not sure that necessarily all of them are asking for asylum in the United States. The point is, we also have our own laws that we have to follow on this. There are criteria which are established in order to be able to make the determination for those to be able to come into the United States.
If you look at the total picture, just in terms of how many Haitians have come -- for example, since 1981, over 200,000 Haitians have been granted legal residency in the United States, which is certainly a rather considerable number. But people have to qualify before they can be considered for refugee status and resettlement in the United States.
But, clearly, the magnitude of those who have gone out on the high seas in the recent timeframe is such that, one, clearly but not all of them qualify, but, secondly, the United States is going to have to work with other countries in the region in order to try to resettle all of those who may qualify.
Q Maybe it's a fine point, but if the Panamanian Navy picked them up and they qualify for status, then I could see where the Panamanian navy would take them to Panama. But if the United States Navy or the United States Coast Guard picked them up, takes them into custody, finds that they're qualified for refugee status, aside from the fact that it's a makeshift way of doing things, why are they sent to some other country and not brought into the United States?
MS. SHELLY: Because it reflects the agreements that we have entered into with other countries and also it reflects the involvement by the UNHCR to try to identify as many possibles to try to meet the short-term nature of the problem.
It's clear, there aren't answers to all these questions yet. It is a situation whose dimension has dramatically changed in terms of last Friday in terms of the number of people, and the international community -- countries in the region: the United States, the UNHCR, the IOM, and all those others who are involved in this are obviously trying to get the best procedures and mechanisms in place to try to fairly be able to identify those who qualify for the refugee status.
Q Do I understand, the Panamanians have only agreed to have these camps -- for what? -- six months or a limited period of time. What is their understanding of how long these people would be there? Is it their understanding that some of these people would become Panamanian residents?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know if there is an answer to that question yet. As to what the Panamanians themselves actually think about what the likelihood of it is of some of the Haitians being there beyond that, I'd have to refer you to the Panamanian Government.
Q Christine, since June 15, when the Comfort went into operation, you've been giving reports that so many out of those picked up were granted refugee status. The impression was given that a portion of those people were directed toward Guantanamo Bay to be onward at some point to the United States for resettlement. Another smaller group were being kept at other places for third-country resettlement.
Is it the case that those people up until today, or whenever this new policy was developed, who were granted refugee status in the United States, will then go to the United States immediately or after some holding period? Or are those people now thrown back into this pool that are going to be distributed throughout the Caribbean and not be taken into the United States?
MS. SHELLY: We have been giving numbers about those who had been actually approved. It's not my understanding that any of those had actually finished the refugee processing and actually arrived in the United States. I'm going to have to check on exactly what happens to those who are at Guantanamo right now and have been approved and had been in the final processing. I don't know the answer to that, but I'll try to get that for you.
Q Christine, this is just unfolding right now. Could you take the question as to exactly how we plan to process all these thousands of refugees that are going to be taken all over the Caribbean to apply for asylum in the United States? And if we don't know now, could you just say that hasn't been decided yet?
MS. SHELLY: The only thing I can tell you right now is that I know we are engaged with the UNHCR right now in trying to work out the details of how that would work. When we have those details worked out, I'm sure we will be very happy to say exactly what those are because that's what we have done in terms of establishing things like the processing facilities off the coast of Jamaica.
So as soon as we have reached agreement with them on how this is going to work, we certainly will say exactly what that procedure is.
Q So would it would be fair to say that the policy announced this morning was with no idea of actually what we're going to do with all these people other than to send them to a third country?
MS. SHELLY: No, I don't think that's a fair statement at all.
Q Why not?
MS. SHELLY: Why? Because it's very clear that the dimension of the situation changed very dramatically between Friday and Monday. Whereas there had been a lot of planning and thinking in this government about the possibility of a surge and the need to respond to that and also to keep the process transparent and fair, to make sure that all of those who obviously had taken to the high seas with the hope -- perhaps the expectation -- that they might get a credible hearing to determine whether or not they could have refugee status, we are trying to make sure that all of those who are picked up have the opportunity to get a fair hearing on this.
Those were very careful procedures, carefully orchestrated procedures, agreed with the UNHCR. What might have worked for a situation where you had a couple of hundred a day or 500 a day is clearly not necessarily the same procedures that you will be able to have, or the same locations you can have, limited to one or two locations if you're talking about 3,000 and 200-something per day.
So it is responding to this latest phase and the fact that there has been a surge that has occurred over the last several days to identify additional places where people go until such time as they have the opportunity to get screened and get a fair hearing.
Q Is it possible that other countries and possibly the U.N. will be helping in the screening of these people, or will all of the screening be done by the U.S.?
MS. SHELLY: The UNHCR has already been involved in the screening. The arrangements that were set up for the ships off the coast of Jamaica had UNHCR present at the interviews.
Q I thought that was all U.S. --
MS. SHELLY: No. UNHCR was present at those interviews.
Q Christine, while you're talking on the hand of the logistical change over the weekend, does it not point up, perhaps ironically, the policy problem that you find yourself in now, that the military leaders in Haiti are getting rid of thousands more daily now of the people who they don't need to deal with any longer, giving the U.S. and its allies a bigger problem, relieving them of a lot of their problem? The sanctions seem to not be having much impact.
MS. SHELLY: I'm not quite sure what the point of your question is. What is --
Q It's a question of whether the policy has to change not only in the logistical arrangements being made but whether it has to change in the basic way you're trying to attack the military government there.
MS. SHELLY: If you're inferring from your question that somehow the sanctions are responsible for the outflow, Bill Gray, I think, addressed that in his remarks. He said very clearly what he considers and what the U.S. Government considers is responsible for that outflow. It's only going to be the restoration of democracy to Haiti that is likely to result in a turnaround of that.
The economic conditions in Haiti were already very dismal prior to the imposition of sanctions. The sanctions that have been adopted and supported by the international community are those which are targeted, as best as possible, to the military, to those in Haiti who have supported the military. There have been measures that have been very carefully tailored to try to have as much of an impact as possible on those responsible. That is certainly one element of it.
Certainly, there is a growing fear of persecution. I think the kind of thing you saw last week -- bodies of people with their hands tied behind their back showing up in the streets of Port-au- Prince again, the types of harassment and persecution, the episode last week of boat people being fired on -- certainly a very clear indication of the kind of repression that continues in Haiti.
I think that the evidence suggests that those factors are far more important in terms of influencing behavior than the sanctions of the international community, per se. If there was no humanitarian element coupled with sanctions, then perhaps the poor would be harder hit. But, as you know, the international community -- the USAID, with non-government organizations -- are supporting, are feeding about 1.4 million people a day; medical assistance is being provided to -- I'm not sure what the latest number is -- a significant number of Haitians as well. Those were all elements put in place, designed to offset, to mitigate adverse impact that there might be coming from sanctions to Haiti's poorer people.
Q But the bottom line remains that the people are fleeing in bigger numbers than seem to be anticipated. The combination of efforts on the part of the U.S. Government to tighten sanctions against the military leadership and its wealthy supporters does not seem to be having the effect you wished?
MS. SHELLY: Again, I can't add anything more definitive to what Bill Gray has said on this. He said very clearly for what we believe the reasons are for the outflow. He also identified what we're trying to do to deal with the situation.
Q Christine, is there any way to get a cost estimate, an amount of this whole Haitian operation, a fiasco -- whatever you want to call it -- has cost the American taxpayer over the last year and how much it's likely to end up costing them until something happens?
MS. SHELLY: I'll look into that. I don't have anything with me.
Q The Pentagon earlier was reporting that four amphibious ships are going down to Haiti from Norfolk to protect American personnel, perhaps at the Embassy or other designated nationals. Do you have any reports that any of them have been endangered in recent days?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. Again, Bill Gray addressed why they were going down there and what the mission was and what our general view of the situation was. I know the Pentagon also will probably have a few additional details that they'll be addressing in their briefings. So I don't have anything in particular on that.
Q What exactly constitutes a threat to the American community in Haiti? Is one person being injured, is that grounds to invade Haiti? Or do they have to take hundreds of hostages? Has President Clinton decided what is the definition of a "threat" to the American community Haiti which will trigger his threat of an invasion?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, that's just a question that I'm not in a position to answer here. I think it's an appraisal that would have to be made based on all of the information and events which were occurring. It's a determination that would be made, presumably at the highest levels in this government. It's certainly not one that I'm in a position to give you something categorical on today. It involves an appraisal of the situation, and obviously the type of -- whether there was any indication of acts specifically being targeted against American citizens. Beyond that, I can't tell you. There is no fixed definition on that.
Q Didn't President Clinton promise that before U.S. troops got involved in something like that, that he would spell out exactly for the American people what the conditions were that required it?
MS. SHELLY: You're asking me a very specific question about the President. That's the White House prerogative. You need to put the question there.
Q Could you go through the numbers since Friday?
MS. SHELLY: The numbers since Friday: The Coast Guard picked up 5,884 in a total of 131 boats over the weekend. I'm including Friday, July 1, through Monday, July 4. On July 1, it was 1,365 in 23 boats. It was 588 in 17 boats on Saturday, 684 in 21 boats on Sunday, and 3,247 in 70 boats on Monday.
So that brings the total number of Haitians picked up since the processing facility on the Comfort began operations, as I mentioned, on June 15 to almost 11,000.
Q Do we have any idea why they went from 600 one day to 3,000 the next?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. Without being able to have individual interviews, I think, with each of the boat people, I think it's a mixture of reasons; very difficult to know or to predict why the fluctuations occur.
Q Do you think it was because of the 4th of July? (Laughter) Seriously.
MS. SHELLY: I know. But I can't speculate on that. I'm not sure that anybody is really in a position to know.
Q Could we go on to North Korea?
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q Do you have a specific schedule of the meetings between the U.S. and North Korean side in Geneva?
MS. SHELLY: Do you mean in terms of the third round, the initial phase of the third round?
MS. SHELLY: Not really anything more than we indicated last week. The third round is still scheduled to begin on July 8 in Geneva. The first session will be taking place July 8 and 9. We do expect that this initial session will continue into the beginning of the following week. As to what happens after that, it's not fixed at this point.
Q An agenda -- can you go over an agenda for the talks, please?
MS. SHELLY: We indicated last week and the week before just a little bit about what our general -- the issues where it would be on the table. I don't have anything beyond that. That's simply the same things that we said last week, and there isn't anything new.
Q Are they still living up to the freeze? Doing anything provocative?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not aware that we have seen any particular activities by them that is inconsistent with the assurances that they had made to us.
Q How about the preparations of the U.S. for the talks with North Korea? Have you had a consultation with Japan and Korean side?
MS. SHELLY: I think you know we had a very full round of consultations with the Japanese and the South Koreans last week, and that was just generally on our mutual effort to try to resolve the nuclear issue. We certainly will stay in very close touch with those governments as the third round commences and as it unfolds. But I'm not aware of any other formal exchanges that have been set up at this point.
Q Christine, getting back to Haiti for a minute, there seems to be on the surface either a very flexible American policy or an ad hoc policy that seems to change day by day. Which is it?
MS. SHELLY: Saul, I'm not going to answer that question. Bill Gray talked about this a short while ago at the White House. He indicated what we were doing. He indicated in his view what the reasons were for the additional facilities in order to address the refugee problem, the safe areas and all of that. There was absolutely nothing that I could say beyond this point, beyond what he said at the White House.
Q Aside from the fact that the seas are calm this time of year, the Haitian people seem to have been voting on American policy, wouldn't you say?
MS. SHELLY: No, I wouldn't say that.
Q Then why are they coming, aside from the fact that the seas are so calm, because American policy is working.
MS. SHELLY: Saul, I have done my best to address the other questions that have come up that presumably complement those questions which came up at the White House. As to that question, I'm simply not in a position to answer that.
Q There was a report that the Air France flights into Haiti would be cut off on the 15th, and now I believe last week the Acting OAS Secretary General said that those flights might continue through August. Do you have anything new on when the Air France flights will stop?
MS. SHELLY: I don't. As I think you know, we certainly -- for the purposes of having international solidarity in the flight ban, it's certainly something that we would like to see happen. We have urged the French to join those other countries that have announced the suspension of the commercial passenger flights. Canada has done so. Panama has done so. The Netherlands has done so, in addition to the United States.
We understand that the French are still reviewing this possibility. I expect that they will certainly make an announcement when they have something to say. The ban on commercial flights, as you know, of course, was something which was originally recommended by the Friends of Haiti, which includes France and includes all of the OAS Foreign Ministers as well.
So we understand it's under review, and we hope that that is a decision that they'll take.
Q Christine, speaking of France but to change the subject to Rwanda, do we think the French troops there are acting appropriately; that they're fulfilling the mandate as it was represented to the Security Council and to us, and, if not, what should they be doing or not be doing?
MS. SHELLY: Certainly, we have seen the same reports that you have about their being clashes between French troops and rebel forces. As you know, since we don't have people on the ground, it's very hard for us to confirm precise details relating to some of these reports. We're awaiting an update on the reports of conflict between French forces and rebel forces.
We do understand that the RPF itself has denied that any kind of exchange of that type had taken place. We certainly want all of the parties to respect the French mission there, which is basically a humanitarian one. We feel, generally speaking, on the French actions there -- we continue to view the French intervention as a temporary measure. We do think that it's vital that the French-led forces be replaced as soon as possible by the blue-helmeted forces of UNAMIR. We think that that is the best way to get an end to the killing of civilians and to try to achieve the cease-fire.
So we're continuing to work very closely with the U.N. and with troop contributing countries and equipment contributing countries to try to get the UNAMIR forces deployed as soon as possible.
Q Given the ethnic mix of that country, do we think there is -- let me rephrase that -- would we like to see a coalition government there that involves both Hutus and the Tutsis? Is that realistic?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know if it's realistic, and I don't know that we've actually taken a position publicly on exactly what we would like to see happen in the longer term over the --
Q (Inaudible) chance?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, by chance. But again what I'm prepared to address now is the issue that you first put on the plate, which is where we are with respect to the reports most recently about France and the actions that it's undertaking.
We certainly would like to see the fighting stopped. We certainly would like to get the talks started with a view to achieving reconciliation, but I think it would be very premature to pronounce ourselves on exactly what type of government we would like to see emerge in the aftermath of the crisis.
Q Also on Rwanda, as it now stands, do you think the French forces are playing an essentially neutral role?
MS. SHELLY: I think that we are looking upon what they are doing as their efforts to try to fulfill a humanitarian mission. We recognize the difficulties that they face there, and certainly had a lot of sympathy for their desire to step in and try to bring -- fill an interim gap to try to get the fighting stopped and certainly get the massacre stopped as well.
So since we don't have an in-country presence, I'm not sure that we would be in a position to evaluate or make a judgment on every action or activity that has taken place. But I think overall we feel that the French are going in with the intent of staying within the general guidelines that were included in the U.N. resolution which was authorized with respect to which laid down what the purpose was for the French mission.
And I think our general picture is that the French are doing their best to try to meet exactly the conditions in that stated mission.
Q But, Christine, it appears that the French are going in to protect their former client, who they've armed, and these are the people who the Secretary just on Friday said the world might want to consider a genocide tribunal to judge whether the Hutus, these people, were guilty of these acts?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, the French went in under a U.N. Security Council approved mission.
Q So look what they're doing.
MS. SHELLY: Again, I'm not in a position. I've seen some reports about some activities that have taken place. We're simply not in a position to be able to provide a judgment or a readout or some kind of an independent view. We are confident that the French will do their very best to stay within that mission. If there are changes in that or other information which comes to light and we want to change that statement in any way, we certainly will do so.
The human rights situation and generally speaking on that side, as you know, the U.N. Security Council did take action on this last Friday. They adopted a resolution, 935, which establishes an impartial commission of experts to collect and analyze the evidence of violation of international humanitarian law.
The U.S. co-sponsored that resolution. We certainly fully support it, and we certainly want all states to support the commission's effort, assisting the commission's members and staff in carrying out investigations and by voluntarily providing as soon as possible the funding that the commission itself would need.
So this is clearly the mechanism which will deal with the human rights situation in Rwanda, and it's something which we support very strongly.
Q Does the United States support the setting up by the French or anybody else of safe havens for the Hutu Government, and is that within the purview of the Security Council resolution?
MS. SHELLY: I think that this precise issue is one which is being looked at right now, and I think the issue of safe havens, per se, is going to be under discussion in the Security Council, specifically with a view to determining whether or not the existing mandate really -- that this kind of activity or statement fall within the mandate. So I don't have an answer to that for you, because there isn't an answer to that yet, but it's an issue that's out there and we're looking into it.
Q So there is some question as to whether they have the right under the mandate to set up safe havens for government forces and then vow to defend them with tanks and artillery?
MS. SHELLY: The idea of declaring safe havens in any particular territory not linked to the question of specifically they might be protecting, I understand that that is an issue which is under discussion now.
Q Return to Haiti quickly, a follow-up: Do you know how many of the 11,000-plus have been processed to this point and how many have been granted refugee status?
MS. SHELLY: Let me see if I've got that. The only processing figures that I have are the ones for the processing on the Comfort, and that is 1,705 have completed processing; 515 have been approved for refugee status. That leaves 1,190 who have been denied refugee status. That's still operating at about a 30 percent approval rate.
Four hundred fourteen approved refugees have been flown to Guantanamo to await the completion of final resettlement arrangements. Eight hundred forty- two of those denied refugee status have been repatriated to Port-au-Prince.
Guantanamo: 4,903 of the Haitians interdicted by the Coast Guard have gone to Guantanamo. I think those are the numbers that I have at this point.
Q But it's still not clear that that 414 who have been sent to Guatanamo after being granted refugee status, whether they're going to the United States or some place else.
MS. SHELLY: Again, I don't have an answer with me, and I don't want to speculate on that, so I'm going to take that question and try to find out, if I can, what the answer to that is.
Q One of my colleagues, listening to Bill Gray, came away with the interpretation that henceforth only refugee -- I'm sorry -- only boat people who -- I'm sorry -- only Haitians who went to in-country processing in Port-au-Prince -- those were the only people who had a possibility of coming to the United States if they were granted refugee status.
Is that true or false?
MS. SHELLY: I'm going to check on that. That was my impression, listening to the briefing as well, but it wasn't possible for me to check on all of the other points to confirm that prior to coming out here. So I will look into that and see if that -- I think that that was what Bill Gray said. That's what I would take from the briefing.
Q So all that stuff you said at the beginning, we can forget it. All the people who go to Panama and everywhere else are not going to get any sort of interview. The only ones who are going to be interviewed with asylum requests are those who go to the in-country processing centers in Haiti.
MS. SHELLY: Sid, Bill Gray addressed this over at the White House. My understanding of what he said was that those who had applied through in-country processing and were determined to be refugees, that those people would be going to the United States. Whether eventually any of the other ones who -- I don't know, and I don't have -- I listened to his briefing, as you did. It's a very complicated issue. The numbers are extremely large. We will try to get answers to specific questions that you may have. If you want to put that one, we will try to do it as a taken question. I'll try to find out. I know there's still a lot of questions out there.
But again the announcements that were made this morning were the result of meetings which had occurred, and it's simply not possible for us to have answers to every other question that's out there. If you want to give me a specific question, I will do my best to get an answer to it later this afternoon.
Q But that's not every other question, that is THE question.
Q Yes. What happens.
Q You know, are the -- the only Haitians -- the question is, are the only Haitians that will now be considered for asylum in the United States are those who go through the in-country processing centers.
MS. SHELLY: Okay.
Q That's a very simple, basic question underlying, by my assessment, the entire policy. Can you take that question?
Q If they get into boats, they can't come here. That's the point. Is that what the United States is saying?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything to say beyond what Bill Gray said on this.
Q Is that a "yes" or a "no" on that? If they get into boats, they'll not end up in the United States. Is that true?
MS. SHELLY: Saul, I've got to stick with what I understand to be included in the announcement that came this morning, and I will check and see if that understanding is correct; and, if it's not correct, then we will put up an answer to that this afternoon.
Q Christine, that would seem to be the basic issue if you were going to write a story. Don't get -- the warning is, "Don't get into boats, because you're not coming here. You'll be going to Panama or some place else." That seems to be implied in what was said in the session. That's what I thought the policy was all about, to discourage people from getting into boats. If there's a question about that, I think it ought to be cleared up.
Q Last week, you said that this week direct radio broadcasts would commence in Haiti, some of them put together by, I think, in cooperation with the U.S. Government and Aristide. Have those begun, when are they going to begin, and on those messages would some of these new processing policies be part of the content of those messages?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything new on that. I took that question already earlier in the briefing.
Q Bosnia. Is there anything you can say on the Foreign Ministers' meeting today?
MS. SHELLY: There really isn't, because I don't have a readout on that meeting yet, except that they have been meeting, and we expect to get a readout, I presume, some time later today. I don't have any details of the meeting.
Q So we don't know what the response of the parties is.
MS. SHELLY: I don't have a readout on the meeting yet.
Q Thank you.
MS. SHELLY: Thanks.
(The briefing concluded at 1:45 p.m.)
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