U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING JULY 20, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Wednesday, July 20, 1994 Briefers: Winston Lord David Johnson EAST ASIA/PACIFIC/ASEAN/NORTH KOREA Opening Remarks by Asst. Secretary Lord ......... 1-5 North Korean Nuclear Program .................... 5-6 Cambodia-Thailand Border/Aid to Khmer Rouge ...... 5 Resumption of North Korean Talks with US/South .. 6-11 North Korean Leadership Succession .............. 7 Asst. Secretary Gallucci's Visit to Region ...... 7-8 APEC/Other Regional Organizations ............... 9 Meeting Between Deputy Secretary and Chinese FM . 9-10 US/ASEAN Policy on Human Rights/Drugs in Burma .. 11-12 COLOMBIA Helms Amendment ................................. 12-13 Colombian Ambassador's Meeting at Department .... 14 RUSSIA US Announcement re: Safety of Aeroflot Flights .. 13-14 BOSNIA Status of Peace Proposal ........................ 15 HAITI UN Report on Restoration of Democracy ........... 15-18 -- US Consultations with Secretary General ..... 15-18 Boatpeople Interdictions/Processing/Repatriation 16,18 Congressman Richardson's Visit .................. 16-17 JORDAN American Murder Suspect's Flight to Country ..... 18-19 RUSSIA Reports of Stolen Nuclear Material .............. 19
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, JULY 20, 1994, 1:07 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. JOHNSON: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm pleased to welcome Ambassador Winston Lord, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Ambassador Lord will open our briefing today with remarks on the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference and the ASEAN Regional Forum, after which he will be happy to respond to your questions.
Following Ambassador Lord's remarks and questions, I will take your questions on other subjects outside of Ambassador Lord's Asia-Pacific portfolio. Ambassador Lord.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: I'm disappointed. I thought I was going to handle Haiti and Bosnia and a few other things, but, in any event, it's good to be with you again.
Let me make a few opening remarks to set the upcoming Bangkok meetings in perspective, and then I'll be glad to go to your questions, either about those or about Asia-Pacific issues in general.
As you know, the President has elevated the Asia- Pacific region in terms of our priorities in foreign policy and developed the overall concept of working with others to shape a Pacific community.
A major part of that effort are regional structures and dialogues on top of our important bilateral relationships. On the economic side, you had a historic meeting last November in Seattle where the President hosted for the first time leaders of the Asia-Pacific economies with respect to APEC. That's a major economic regional dialogue and organization, although there are many other important multilateral fora like the South Pacific Forum and ASEAN, and so on.
Similarly, you will be seeing on Monday a historic meeting in Bangkok on the regional security side -- the ASEAN Regional Forum -- where for the first time, in addition to the ASEAN countries, the six and their dialogue partners -- and I can give you the names, if you'd like, of the seven, it includes us and Japan, Australia, and so on -- we will be joined in these security discussions by Russian, China, Vietnam, Laos and Papua New Guinea. The latter two have been observers of this and firstly, of course, the major nations that we believe should be involved in the security dialogue.
There will be several hours of meetings followed by a working dinner. Last year this group did get together at a dinner, but this is the first substantive meeting. This is in line with our approach to security in the region which is based on our alliances and our forward military presence which we have been maintaining despite defense budget cuts, and its purpose is preventive diplomacy to head off problems before they arise. This is not the traditional security dialogues where you have a common enemy or a common threat.
This will be followed by two days of meetings of the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference. I'm using a lot of jargon here, and I can get into it, but it's essentially the seven dialogue partners plus the ASEAN countries, discussing both security and economic issues. And we'll also have a bilateral dialogue between us alone and our ASEAN partners.
Deputy Secretary Talbott will be representing the United States. Secretary Christopher, to his considerable chagrin and regret, is not able to go, as you all know. I have talked to him personally about it, and I know of his personal distress. He was very much looking forward to this meeting, both on a personal level and his friendships out there, but even more importantly, of course, the historical significance of the ASEAN Regional Forum and the importance we place in this region. He'll be going out again shortly to the region, of course, with the President.
But because of his central role in the Middle East, the President has asked him to stay here for the equally historic meeting of Rabin, Hussein and the President. It was the only day this week to get their schedules together. Even as we talk, the Secretary's working on this problem, so therefore he has to be there for that.
But that's the bad news, and it's disappointing, of course, to the Secretary and to our Asian friends. The good news is that the Deputy Secretary, who's very articulate and close to the President, will be going out, and I think his importance is recognized by our partners; and it has the added advantage of getting the Deputy Secretary, who has spent a good part of his time on Europe, on Russia or on Haiti, fully involved in Asian- Pacific affairs.
I'd say we have three broad objectives for these meetings. The first is to once again underline our engagement and our interest in the Asia-Pacific region, including in these regional security dialogues, both to our partners in the region and also to the American domestic audience.
Secondly is the successful launching of this ASEAN Regional Forum. Very frankly, when you're integrating new participants like China, Russia, Vietnam, the nature of the dialogue will change somewhat from the previous years, and therefore it will be an accomplishment in and of itself to integrate these new members in a way that everyone feels comfortable with.
Nevertheless, we believe that over time there has to be more than dialogue. There should be some concrete work. So I think it's fair to say that to a large extent in this first meeting, the meeting is the message -- historic gathering -- but we will be working with others within a framework of consensus to try to have as significant a statement at the end of the meeting as we can and as concrete a work program in the coming years as we can.
The third objective will be both in the ASEAN PMC meetings following the ASEAN Regional Forum meetings and in the various bilateral discussions, both formal and informal, that the Deputy Secretary and others of us will have, is to treat some specific issues -- whether it's the Korean issue, whether it's the Cambodian issue, whether it's building further momentum for a successful APEC series of meetings this November.
Finally, I think it's fair to say that these meetings come against a backdrop of what we consider a rather successful period in U.S. relations with the region in the last couple of months. We believe that several steps have been taken that have given us renewed momentum on our policy toward the Asia-Pacific as we head to this set of meetings in Bangkok and as we head toward the APEC meetings in November.
There's the China MFN decision. We will continue to pursue human rights vigorously but with other instruments, and our comprehensive engagement with China we believe gives us a foundation to build a stronger relationship, and I think it's been greeted warmly by the nations of the Asia-Pacific region.
We have re-engaged Japan in negotiations. Of course, because of the continual change in Japanese governments, we've been unable to make major progress on the trade front, but the very fact we're back talking to the Japanese again is important for our bilateral relationship, but also it's been greeted warmly by our Asian-Pacific partners.
I have recently been to Vietnam and Laos, and in the case of Vietnam we have reached agreement on all the essentials of opening up liaison offices. It's now just a matter of finding appropriate property and ironing out the property swap. We would expect the liaison offices to open up within a few weeks.
With respect to Korea, we, of course, had one day of the third round talks before Kim Il-Song's death. The North Koreans have been in continual touch with us over the last couple of weeks to assure us that they will continue the policy of Kim Il-Song, that they want to resume the third round, and we expect to set a date for another meeting in Geneva within the next few days. I mean, we'll be setting a date within the next few days. How soon the meeting will be, I don't know, but I don't imagine it will be more than a matter of a few weeks at the most.
I might add here that we think it's very important that the North-South dialogue also be resumed. It's up to South Korea, together with the North, to figure out the exact modalities, but it's very important that the two Koreas talk to each other. That's where the ultimate fate of the peninsula will be determined.
In addition, the President met with Prime Minister Mahathir, who's a leading exponent of certain approaches in the region. We've been working quietly with other countries on some of our issues. So you put all that together in just a period of a few weeks, and we think there's considerable momentum as we look to the remainder of 1994 in our Asia-Pacific policy.
Finally -- then I'll end on this note -- I, myself, together with some of my colleagues, will be going on after Bangkok on an extensive trip through the region. I'll be going to Malaysia where we have major economic and security interests and where the President recently met with the Prime Minister, as I said. Then on to Indonesia, the host of APEC, the largest nation in ASEAN, and one of the largest nations in the world.
Then on to Australia, not only to meet with some Australian friends but also to attend the South Pacific Forum, which is our annual dialogue with the key nations of the Pacific -- not only Australia, New Zealand, but Papua New Guinea and all the others in the Pacific out there.
Then on to New Zealand as part of our new contacts policy with New Zealand. Admiral Larson was recently there. The Foreign Ministers have met here. I'm going to New Zealand to continue to improve our political and security relationship as best we can.
On to Papua New Guinea, one of the largest and most important Pacific countries. Then a swing through Hong Kong to underline American interests and stakes in the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, and then I'll be back on August 8. So with that introduction, I'll be glad to take your questions.
Q Could you tell us about the relationship between the Thai military and the Khmer Rouge and whether this will become an issue at the ASEAN meetings?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: The whole question of Cambodia and helping the freely elected government and opposing the Khmer Rouge will be a very important issue in the plenaries and in our bilaterals, and it certainly is an important issue to us.
The Thai are making a very concerted effort to close down that border. The government recognizes the government in Phnom Penh. It is declared policy to cut off assistance and to close the border in terms of helping the Khmer Rouge, and that is true of the military as well has made those pronouncements.
I think even a Thai would admit there is some leakage along the border at times, and we are urging them and encouraging them to seal that border as tightly as possible. So this will be an issue. We do believe the government is making a major effort, and we hope they will work to seal that border very firmly indeed.
Q What are you going to tell these people that you regard as the chief regional stability or regional security issue facing that region right now?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: I'd say the Korean nuclear issue.
Q What can you tell us at this point that you're going to try and tell them in terms of an overview where we are?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Right. First I think we will, as we have been trying all along, and I think with some success, to explain that this is a global interest and regional interest. It's not just the U.S. and perhaps Japan and South Korea and a few other countries that have an interest in this issue, although obviously we have some of the most direct interests along with China and Russia and the Perm Five. But the general issue of stability in the world and nuclear weapons and the non-proliferation regime, which is coming up for review next year, should be of concern to these countries.
So we will underline the stakes, but secondly we will fully explain, as we've been trying to all along as well, our policy of patient diplomacy, now to be conducted against a background of a freeze of North Korea's nuclear program. We have pretty wide support out there in any event. We would like to solidify and even strengthen that support.
Clearly, with South Korea and Japan, we go into greater depth than with other countries, and indeed there will be bilaterals with those two countries. The full schedule of Deputy Secretary Talbott is still being arranged. We obviously had to put this together at the last minute. But it is fair to say that with Japan and South Korea, we will be meeting both with allies and because of this particular issue.
Q I guess what I meant was since last week when you mentioned to us that things were sort of in a holding pattern waiting to see how things settle out in Pyongyang, has that changed at all since last week? Is there any further assessment?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: I think there are further indications that the North Koreans are ready to come back to the table quickly. I would expect that we would have contact within the next couple of days, now that the funeral is over, and that we ought to be able to set a date within a few days, as I said earlier, for the next round. So that much continuity is suggested. We see no signs of any change in that. It doesn't mean that the talks won't be very challenging and even difficult. It does mean that the positive first day that we had will be continued.
So we are continuing to consult particularly with South Korea and Japan about our approach to these talks. We're also keeping China and Russia, in particular, and the British and French and others closely informed.
So I think when we're out in Bangkok, I would think that while we're there, there should have been a date set for the next round which does put us back into a more active phase. Therefore, we will be briefing these governments on our intentions; and to the extent we can, consistent with negotiating tactics and privacy, indicate our general approach which, as you know, is to try to have a broad and thorough resolution of the nuclear problem in exchange for engaging the North Koreans more diplomatically and economically in the global community.
Q The succession of Kim Jong-Il, I take it that that is proceeding smoothly, at least for North Korea. What can you tell us about the type of government that he will bring? Will he simply be representing those who have been in power? Will there be any changes? And then I have a brief follow-up to that.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: If anybody gives you flat assurances or predictions or analyses of what's happening in North Korea, immediately distrust him or her. Because the honest answer is, it's a very opaque society. We cannot be confident of what is going on and even less so what will go on. That's not a State Department fudge- factory hedging. That's just intellectual honesty.
Having said that, every sign is that Kim Jong-Il is consolidating his position. There was some momentary puzzlement of why they postponed the end of the funeral mourning period for a couple of days. But in terms of who he appears with, in terms of the titles that have been bestowed upon him, in terms of background talks, and so on, we have no reason to believe that anybody but Kim Jong-Il will become the successor.
With respect to his policies, and even who is in the government, that becomes more pure speculation. It's possible -- and this is strictly personal speculation -- that the couple days extension, in addition to perhaps allowing more mourning, which they claim is the reason and which perhaps they feel is also useful for other reasons, that they're sorting out some of the positions in the government, but I have no evidence of that. I'm just saying that might be a natural thing they're doing.
So how much will be immediately announced beyond the head of the party, the head of the government, and the head of the military after the funeral period, I just don't know.
To tell you what kind of policies or what kind of government would be speculation. The only thing I'm relatively confident about at this point is that they're anxious to get back to the nuclear talks in Geneva.
Q And just to follow on that. They have indicated that they want to reschedule with us, and quickly. And I understand Bob Gallucci is in South Korea today.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: That's correct. He's going on to Tokyo, Beijing, and Moscow, by the way.
Q He is. He's going to continue his trip. But they have not rescheduled with South Korea.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: That's correct.
Q I was told by Mr. Lilley -- James Lilley said that may mean, the interpretation may be that they want to talk to us much more badly than they want to talk to South Korea.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: That's possible. First of all, obviously, there will be a different interlocutor on the North Korean side. So the South Koreans themselves, although they're anxious to continue the dialogue, have indicated they want to reassess the modalities and so on; there are some details they want to work out. So it's both Koreas want to work this out.
There's no question that over the years, one North Korean objective has been to create some division between us and our South Korean allies and to emphasize their direct contacts with us. We've always resisted that. We continue to resist it. We're ready, of course -- we've demonstrated -- to talk directly to North Korea. We understand, with the obvious encouragement of South Korea and Japan and others, that this is one way to solve this problem.
But we have been equally emphatic -- and I want to repeat that today -- that we think the North-South axis is fundamental. We will not be doing anything in Geneva that would intrude on subjects that ought to be discussed in that channel. We will encourage North Korea to resume its dialogue with South Korea. It's up to South Korea, together with North Korea, to figure out how they do that. But we believe that both tracks must be pursued. And, indeed, the ultimate destiny and fate of the peninsula must come from dialogue and negotiations between South and North Korea.
Q You mentioned twice -- you mentioned once that there are further indications that the North really wants to get a date for a third round of talks, and then you mentioned again recently about how it looks like they're really showing that they want it. What kind of evidence are you talking about?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: The evidence is that through New York working-level contacts, they've been in touch every few days to say, "We'll be back in touch with you to set a new date for the next round." That's the primary evidence, as well as whatever media and other reports coming out of North Korea.
Q At the Foreign Press Center yesterday, you mentioned that you were surprised at the elaborateness of the latest proposal on the East Asian Economic Caucus. My question is, what is it in that proposal that is surprising to you? And how much support is there for that proposal? Do you intend to pursue this with the Malaysians again?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: First of all, I don't think it's probably appropriate for me to describe their proposal in public in any specific detail.
What I was referring to is, as part of our annual dialogue with the ASEAN countries -- and this took place several weeks ago -- there were further details presented about the concept of the EAEC, in an illustrative way. This was not a take-it-or-leave proposition.
I did say honestly at the time to our friends that this seemed to be a more ambitious concept than we had been led to believe. That's what I meant by "elaborate." It has to do with the agenda, the numbers of meetings, purposes, and so on.
Our ASEAN friends, including Malaysia, have indicated that they want to continue to talk about this as well as to other Asian countries. We believe APEC is the most promising organization for freeing up trade and investment in the Asia Pacific region. We believe that all the countries out there want us to be in the Asia Pacific region.
We don't want to see anything develop that would have a dividing line down the Pacific. That's why we've been open-minded about any new structures, but we've indicated we want to make sure they're open and inclusive and that they don't in any way harm American interests.
So we'll pursue this dialogue. We've tried to do this in a non-confrontational way. The President met with Prime Minister Mahathir, as you know. We have chosen to try to work this out among friends in a way that meets our mutual interests, and that will continue to be our approach.
Q Is Strobe Talbott going to meet with the Chinese Foreign Minister in Bangkok, and --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: We're still working -- excuse me. I'm sorry.
Q I was just going to say, what is your agenda in those talks?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: The answer is yes. We don't know the exact time and how long, at this point. The Foreign Minister of China is getting there ahead of us and he has to leave after the first day. So there isn't much time on his schedule when we overlap. They've indicated they would like to get together, as we have. He's disappointed that he doesn't see his old friend, Secretary Christopher. They've met five times in five different cities. This would have been six times in six different cities.
They've indicated they would like to meet with Mr. Talbott. Very frankly, when it became clear that Christopher couldn't go and before Talbott was announced - - and we didn't know who was going -- I think some possible meeting times were let go by the Chinese; understandably so. We're still trying to work out the schedule. They will certainly meet. But how long they can meet, it's not clear.
With respect to the agenda, this would be the first, sort of high-level political meeting after the MFN decision. So the main purpose would be, in addition to discussing the ASEAN Regional Forum and Korea -- which would clearly be two aspects of the agenda -- would be to sketch out where we go from here with respect to our bilateral relations in the wake of the MFN decision, both pursuing our multiple interests, whether it's regional security, global problems, trade, or non-proliferation -- and specifically, also, pursuing human rights, because that will remain an important part of our dialogue even though we're pursuing it with non-MFN instruments.
Q Are you looking for another meeting of Assistant Secretary Shattuck in Beijing, or something like that?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: We will continue the dialogue. One thing we would probably discuss, if we have enough time in Bangkok -- or certainly through diplomatic channels -- when we resume that dialogue, whether it's Beijing or Washington or perhaps around the edges of the United Nations meeting in the fall, these still have to worked out. But we do see further meetings. Absolutely.
Q Do you expect -- I'm going back to North Korea -- do you expect on their possible third round talks in Geneva next time, to get some firm commitment from North Korea to freeze their nuclear program? Because you said, and Mr. Gallucci said, that you had a very good conversation with the North Korean delegation in Geneva. And now you said that there seems to be a continuity of policy on the North Korea side.
What kind of commitment, or what kind of result do you expect from the next round of talks?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: There's two issues. One, what is happening as we talk? We entered into a third round on the firm assumption, which the North Koreans corroborated, that their program would be frozen. We are assuming, of course, that they understand that to resume these talks, that will have to continue. There's no indication to the contrary. That means no reloading of the reactor. That means no reprocessing, and that means the continual activities and presence of the IAEA inspectors. So that will have to continue as we talk.
Then the second problem, of course, is the more fundamental resolution of the nuclear problem. This is just to make sure that the situation does not evolve, even as we try to solve the basic problem. That, of course, will take considerable time. We will move as fast as the complexities of the issues dictate. We will continue to consult very closely with our allies.
There, of course, we hope to fulfill our overall objectives of their formal adherence and re-entry -- well, they're still in -- but the formal adherence, again, to the NPT, full IAEA inspections, and the implementation of the North-South denuclearization agreement. Those are all broad nuclear goals. In exchange for, as I say, more engagement with them on the diplomatic and economic front, which we think is in their self-interest -- that they be integrated into the global community -- and that they get some help on their economic problems, etc.
Q Just to follow up on that. The U.S. and the North define the nuclear freeze the same way, or is that going to have to wait until you get back to Geneva?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: No, no. We've defined it the same way -- along the lines of what I just sketched.
Do we have one more? That's always the one that gets you in trouble but --
Q ASEAN appears to -- on Burma. ASEAN appears to believe in something called "constructive engagement." I don't know where they picked up on that phrase, but anyway. The United States appears to differ with them on how to carry out such an engagement. What are the differences? What does the United States --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: There is a difference. We respectfully agree to disagree.
We have the same goals and objectives -- namely, an improvement of the human rights situation and an improvement in the narcotics flow situation and improvement in the refugee situation, making Burma a more open place, a more open country and integrating it into the Asian and global community.
Recently, ASEAN has shifted its emphasis, believing, as you say, in what they would consider constructive engagement, to pursue these goals. We don't believe we're isolating Burma. We think Burma, through its repressive policies, is isolating itself. Nevertheless, it is fair to characterize our policy as somewhat more one of ostracism than the ASEAN policy. We're for an arms embargo, etc.
Just today, the President is releasing his statement on the fifth anniversary of the jailing of the freely elected winner of Burma's elections, Aung San Suu Kyi. She's been in now five years. We think it's important that the regime talk to her to try to work out a political future. She is the freely elected representative of the people. There are other repressive issues.
It does not mean we don't engage Burma. We have an embassy headed by a Charge. We do have some cooperation on the drug front. But we also believe there must be progress, and we have no real signs of progress in human rights. We think there's some dangers to overly engaging them and perhaps suggesting legitimacy versus our policy.
But the ASEAN countries are closest to Burma geographically and historically. As part of our dealings with ASEAN -- a mutual respect -- we acknowledge a different tactical approach, but we do believe we share the same goals.
Q Are they proposing selling arms to Burma?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: I don't believe they're proposing to selling arms. China sells arms, as far as we know. I do not believe anybody in ASEAN is proposing that. We would certainly oppose that.
Thank you very much.
(Following the above briefing, David Johnson resumed the regular Daily Briefing, commencing 1:32 p.m.)
MR. JOHNSON: I don't have any prepared statements, but would be pleased to take your questions, as best I can, on non-East Asian subjects.
Q I would like to refer to the Helms amendment and Colombia. First of all, I would like to know the position of the State Department on this amendment? And, second, the Colombian Government has officially said that if this amendment is approved and that if in order to get this assistance, this money, from the U.S. Government for the fight on drugs, it is necessary -- if the certification process goes on as it is proposed on the amendment -- they will simply give this assistance up. What is the State Department's opinion on this?
MR. JOHNSON: I would only say that we believe that the present certification process addresses the objectives sought in the amendment that you describe; that it is an amendment that has been passed on the Senate side, but is not law. We hope to work with the Congress to work effectively to craft a drug control program with countries around the world which will be effective in limiting the flow of drugs to the United States.
But, I'm not in a position, and I'm not going to address directly from this lectern, the Colombian Government's position. I don't think that's appropriate. We'll be doing that bilaterally with them.
Q On Monday, you all released a statement, an announcement, on the use of Aeroflot. I'd like to know, generally, why you did that? Specifically, why now? Have there been any specific incidents? And why not an advisory, as you say, in this -- private citizens might want to take it into account in their own travels?
MR. JOHNSON: Your second question, could you repeat that? I was not clear.
Q The announcement on the use of Aeroflot by U.S. Government employees. Generally, why that announcement was made? Specifically, why now? Have there been any particular incidents that provoked the announcement? And if, as you're suggesting in the announcement, U.S. citizens who are travelling in that area avoid the use of Aeroflot, why not an advisory?
MR. JOHNSON: The reason we made the announcement was because, consistent with our "no double standard" policy, we elected to make known to the American public a decision that we had made on behalf of our own employees about which they had been notified.
The statement speaks for itself, in terms of the reasons that decision was made. It also notes that the FAA is working with the Russian authorities to evaluate their civil aviation system. Until that evaluation is completed, this notice to the employees in Moscow remains in effect.
Also note that in that notice, we'd point out to you, it doesn't forbid travel. It just suggests that routine travel should be deferred; and on a case-by-case basis, it may be approved.
Q Were there any specific incidents that provoked this?
MR. JOHNSON: I'm unaware of any specific incidents. I would just note that we have an on-going survey with the FAA. Until that's completed, we're not going to be in a position to move from what we have right now.
Q Do we have time for Colombia?
MR. JOHNSON: If you wish.
Q The Colombian Ambassador, Gabriel Silva, was here yesterday at the State Department. Can you tell us who he met with, and what were the matters discussed?
MR. JOHNSON: I don't have any information on exactly who he met with. I do know that he did meet on Friday here. I'm not going to get into the substance of our exchange.
I would note that we made it clear to President-elect Samper, when we stated publicly before, that the key to the Colombian-American relationship is effective in cooperation against narcotics trafficking, and that would continue along the successful relationship in that endeavor that we have enjoyed with President Gaviria's administration.
I would also note that President-elect Samper has indicated his intention to continue that cooperation.
Q Ambassador Silva has said that at the State Department he was told, as reported, that the U.S. Government had confirmed that Samper received drug money were false.
MR. JOHNSON: I'm not going to get into the substance of our exchanges with him.
Q Back to North Korea. Now the mourning period for Kim Il-Sung is over. Do you expect to contact with the North Korean counterparts through the New York channel tomorrow or later this week?
MR. JOHNSON: I think Ambassador Lord addressed that question. So I will leave it with his words and not attempt to embroider on them at all.
Q On Bosnia. Have you gotten any hint of what's really in that pink letter?
MR. JOHNSON: I can't say that I have any hint. We're aware of the reports that a decision has been taken. We've made clear it's incumbent upon the Serbs to give a clear and unqualified acceptance to the Contact Group's proposals. But until I know what's in the envelope, I'm not going to be in a position to speculate about what it might say.
Q Any reporting from Ambassador Redman?
MR. JOHNSON: No, I have none.
Q On Haiti. Can you say anything about contacts at the U.N. regarding U.N. approval of some sort of military action against Haiti?
MR. JOHNSON: I would tell you that Ambassador Albright and Under Secretary Tarnoff talked with Secretary General Boutros Ghali on Tuesday. They had a discussion with him about his July 15 report on UNMIH.
Q Keep going.
MR. JOHNSON: You want to be more specific?
Q I mean, there was a story this morning, suggesting that for the first time the Administration is raising with U.N. officials the possibility of a U.N. green light for possible military action.
MR. JOHNSON: I'd note that in the Secretary General's July 15 report, he recommended a two-staged international approach to the restoration of democracy in Haiti. A first stage could be a U.N.-sanctioned coalition force with a mandate to establish a secure and stable environment.
Stage two would be undertaken by a U.N. mission to Haiti, the UNMIH, with a mandate to preserve that environment and to carry out the training and professionalization activities foreseen in the Governors Island agreement.
We see merit in this approach, and we're giving it careful thought, including yesterday's consultations. We're continuing our consultations with the Friends of Haiti and with other member states in regard to their possible contributions to the UNMIH.
We've been in contact with more than a dozen countries, as has been previously reported, and the contacts we've had thus far have been very positive. We've had indications of interest in joining that endeavor.
Q But it would be under a United Nations flag.
MR. JOHNSON: The UNMIH?
MR. JOHNSON: Yes.
Q Do you have any new boat people figures?
MR. JOHNSON: Certainly. The Coast Guard picked up 37 Haitians in two boats yesterday. It brings the total number of Haitians picked up since the processing facility on the Comfort began operations on June 15 to approximately 20,790.
Q Do you have any further speculation or ideas on why the numbers remain so low?
MR. JOHNSON: No, we're not in a position to speculate, but I'd say that we are encouraged that fewer Haitians feel the need to risk their lives by taking to sea in small unseaworthy boats. There are lots of ways to attribute this, but it could be that the message may be taking hold in Haiti that the options for Haitians who leave by boat are either temporary protection and safehaven or voluntary repatriation and not refugee status in the United States.
But I would note that with the continuing deterioration of human rights in Haiti, an event such as the recent murders in Leogane, we cannot discount the possibility of an increased flow in the future. We do continue to appeal to those Haitians who fear persecution to use our in-country refugee processing program.
Q Did the Administration receive any input from Representative Richardson's talks with Cedras?
MR. JOHNSON: Could you say it one more time?
Q Yes. Representative Richardson -- he talked with Cedras yesterday or the day before, and did the Administration receive any report on what the talks were?
MR. JOHNSON: I note that Representative Richardson held a press conference this morning. I haven't seen a complete text, but I note that in this conference he declined to discuss the details of his assessment, based on his trip, until he had briefed the White House -- something we expect to take place soon.
I'd also like to note that it remains our policy that democracy must be restored in Haiti. Cedras, Francois and Biamby must go, and that Aristide must be returned to the Presidency.
Q Two quick related: One, just a clarification: Were you saying that in its July 15 report, the Secretary General by calling for this first stage, that the United States interprets that as a green light for U.S. military action under U.N. sanction, or are you saying that further discussions need to be held?
MR. JOHNSON: I was only attempting to describe what the report was than talk about the fact that we are discussing what type of options might be available with the Secretary General.
Q So that's still moving.
Q You're talking about what his policy is instead of what your policy is.
MR. JOHNSON: I'm talking about our consultations with him yesterday, and our continuing consultations with him as well as others. But, no, I'm not trying to foreshadow what our eventual decision is going to be.
Q Would you disagree with the spin in the Post story today that those talks yesterday are beginning to lay the diplomatic groundwork for a U.N.-sanctioned military action?
MR. JOHNSON: I would only go back to say that our preference -- our strong preference is for this to be resolved by diplomatic means, and that we would hope that the military -- the three individuals I mentioned a few moments ago -- would go.
Q But that wasn't the question. The question has to do with the reality of what you're actually doing now, and do you take issue with the representation of that story?
MR. JOHNSON: My recollection of that story and yours might be different, so I'm not going to try to jump to a conclusion there. We're continuing to talk to the Secretary General. We're talking about this two-staged approach that is described in his report. But I'm not going to try to foreshadow where that's going.
Q Ambassador Gray was quoted today as saying that the three stooges would be out by October 1. Is that now official reference to the leadership in Haiti? And, two, is there an official October 1 deadline?
MR. JOHNSON: No. I think if you would read that interview in its context and totality, you would note that it was in reference to the end of the planned service of Representative Gray under the rules by which he's been brought on board government service, and that's the context of October 1. It was not any sort of a -- we hope and we expect them to be gone soon.
Q Back on the boat people. Do you have any idea what the weather's been like there, since this is a very relevant part of the equation?
MR. JOHNSON: I've heard various reports of white caps, calm seas. I don't think the weather is terribly bad, but I don't have specific reports of wave height or anything like that.
Q Did you get the weather forecast for Thursday for the Caribbean?
MR. JOHNSON: I think the Associated Press would be a good reference point to pursue such information.
Q On the same general subject, how much of a factor in the decreased number of boat people is intimidation by the authorities? Are they actively trying to keep people from putting to sea?
MR. JOHNSON: I don't have any information about that, so I'm not going to speculate on what the various calculus is, only to go back that we continue to encourage people to use the facilities that are available in Haiti.
Q As to Richardson and the killings are those the ones that we've already known about?
MR. JOHNSON: Yes, they are. It's not new information as of today, as far as I'm aware.
Q Apparently there was a Jordanian man who was, I guess, accused of killing his wife in New York and then fled to Jordan with two children. Do you have anything on that?
MR. JOHNSON: I would first of all point you to a press conference that the Secretary of State and the King held jointly this morning in Amman. The Secretary noted that Ambassador Egan had told him that he'd raise this issue with the appropriate authorities in Jordan, and that he has been urging in the strongest and appropriate way that some action be taken. I would note that the King's response was that that was an area where he would like to do something, and that he said, "We will do everything we can to help in any way we can to resolve this problem."
Q David, just one more. On the subject of nuclear material smuggling, specifically as it regards Russia, the Director of CIA and I believe our FBI Director have both made comments that this is one of the most dangerous things happening concerning world security. And there is a story from the Monday Washington Times alleging that Russian officials -- there has been complicity on the part of some Russian officials in smuggling plutonium, and a figure that was used by Der Spiegel -- reported by Der Spiegel was 330 pounds; and we had reports earlier in the summer that there were as many as 50 thefts of nuclear materials in Russia that the Russians had reported.
Do you have any guidance, or can you make any comment on these reports?
MR. JOHNSON: I'd make two points. First of all, the information that I have seen puts the amount in question in terms of the German activity as reported in Der Spiegel at something measured in grams -- in a small number of grams and not pounds. I'd also say that on Monday I had voluminous and rich material to use on this, but I did not bring it with me today. If you'd give us a call later in the afternoon, I'll try to fill you in.
Q Thank you.
MR. JOHNSON: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:48 p.m.)
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