U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING JULY 22, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Friday, July 22, 1994 Briefers: George Moose Christine Shelly RWANDA Asst. Secretary Moose's Opening Remarks ......... 1-2 Efforts to Silence Radio Broadcasts ............. 2-3 UN Peacekeepers ................................. 3 Ambassador Rawson's Return to Country ........... 3 NORTH KOREA Resumption of Talks with US ..................... 4-5 Asst. Secretary Gullucci's Trip too Asia ........ 4 HAITI UN Report on Restoration of Democracy ........... 5-6 -- US Discussions with Others re: Resolution .. 5-6 Boatpeople Interdictions/Processing/Repatriation 6-7 GAMBIA Civil Unrest/Safety of Americans ................ 7-8
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, JULY 22, 1994, 1:35 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I heartily apologize for the delay today. The decision at the White House for the President to go public and then followed by the briefing that they had by other senior U.S. officials necessitated our starting our briefing later this afternoon, and so I do apologize for the delay in making you wait.
I just wanted to also take a few minutes at the beginning of our briefing and have Assistant Secretary George Moose, who has just come from the White House and those meetings. I just wanted him to be able to make a few remarks for you at the beginning of our briefing here to bring you up to date on the State Department and the political side of this. He'll be happy to take a couple of questions, but he's also under very tight time constraints. So I will bring him up here, and then after that I will take your questions on other subjects. I will not be doing Rwanda questions.
George, thank you very much.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY MOOSE: Well, I won't try to replicate the briefings that were held at the White House this morning -- the President's earlier and the President's statements, also the briefing by other senior officials which touched on the immediate response to the humanitarian crisis in Goma and in Bukavu and all of the facilities that will have to be put in place in order to respond to that.
The President also mentioned that we obviously have been and continue to be very active on the diplomatic front. Perhaps I can amplify a bit on that.
We have been in touch regularly with the leadership in Rwanda -- the RPF -- over the last several days and weeks. We will be dispatching Ambassador Rawson, who was our Ambassador in Kigali and who has since been serving as a Special Envoy. He will be leaving this evening to return to Kigali just as soon s possible. His purpose in his returning, obviously, is to facilitate our contacts and our discussions and dialogue first and foremost with Rwandan authorities in Kigali, the RPF, as well as with UNAMIR officials and U.N. officials -- the objective being to create the conditions that are required to encourage the most rapid return possible of this refugee population. I think everybody is agreed that the most important thing we can do, in addition to responding to the plight of people in Goma and in Bukavu is to try to create the conditions now that will permit their earliest possible return.
Part of that will be to continue the RPF to reach out to other political elements in Rwanda to form a broadly based government in Kigali, as well as local administrations, which will give some sense of confidence to other Rwandans. It will also be a question of cooperation between the RPF and UNAMIR to facilitate the earliest possible deployment of UNAMIR -- especially to those areas which have been depopulated as a result of the refugee outflow.
In addition to that, we continue our efforts -- and, in fact, are accelerating or efforts in current circumstances -- to work with the U.N. and with other troop contributors to accelerate the deployment of UNAMIR troops. Much of our discussion at the White House this morning and at noon today focused on that aspect of the situation.
So that, in general, is what I'd say by way of background. I'm prepared to take any questions you might have.
Q What about the radio that keeps telling the one sider, you know, to flee from the other?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY MOOSE: Yes. This has been a major focus of attention. Part of the problem in dealing with that radio is that it has been mobile. We understand it's been broadcasting from basically the equivalent of a station wagon, and it has kept moving around; and it has been extremely difficulty, therefore, for people to pin down its location and to get it off the air.
The French recently brought in equipment which was designed, if not to jam the frequency, to broadcast over that frequency. The news that we had this morning was that as of this morning they had heard no transmissions from that radio today.
I don't know that we solved the problem, but it is a problem that we are all seeking to address. Our own military has also indicated that it is prepared to provide a capability for transmission of radio broadcasts -- if nothing else, to counter the vitriol that has been coming out of these radios.
Q When would you expect to see the U.N. peace- keepers in place and operating?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY MOOSE: Some are already there. The Ghanaians have increased their presence. There are currently about 560 Ghanaians on the ground. As you know, we had agreed to provide APCs for them. Those APCs are slowly now being transported from Kampala, where they have been sitting, into Kigali so that that will facilitate the deployment of the Ghanaians.
There are other logistical problems, and I can't get into them in detail, associated with the deployment of other units. And we went through in some detail at our meeting at noon where that stands. We have formed a group which is designed to interface with the U.N. in order to sort out whatever the material or logistical problems are so that we can accelerate the deployment of those units.
I would think that within the period of l0 days to two weeks we will begin to see the arrival of other of these contingents. My hope is that that can be done even sooner.
Q How many people will finally be in country?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY MOOSE: Well, the original contingent was supposed to be for 5500, and that's the figure against which we're still working. Whether or not that figure needs to be revised is something that the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. Headquarters will have to deal with.
Q Will Ambassador Rawson be reopening our Embassy in Kigali?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY MOOSE: It is not his intention at this point to reopen the Embassy. His intention is to go out and engage in some direct discussions and dialogue with the authorities on the ground; and that includes the RPF, and it includes the U.N. and others. But I think his recommendation and report will determine how quickly we can reopen our mission.
Again, our primary objective here -- and beyond any diplomatic or political one -- is what we can do to facilitate the most rapid possible return of people from across the borders.
Q Refugees do start returning. What's the situation in Rwanda? Are there crops in the fields? I gather there is a food supply.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY MOOSE: Our understanding is that in the southern part of the country they have been affected by the same drought that has afflicted the entire region of eastern and central Africa. But I think it is everybody's belief that there is, at least, some support base -- economic, agriculture, and others -- for people if they return. And the sooner they can return the better, because otherwise that base begins to deteriorate.
Thank you very much.
MS. SHELLY: Thank you very much, George.
O.K., questions on other subjects.
Q North Koreans are saying that the date for the Geneva talks is August 5th, is that right?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. The U.S. and North Korea have agreed to resume the third round of talks on the nuclear issue in Geneva on August 5th. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Robert Gallucci will head the U.S. delegation and First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju will head the North Korean delegation.
Q Will Gallucci be coming back here from -- where is it -- Russia, I think -- and then going to Geneva, or is he going straight to Geneva?
MS. SHELLY: No. My understanding of his travel plans is that he is meeting today in Tokyo with Foreign Minister Kono and other officials. Those meetings are expected to continue tomorrow.
He will then travel to Beijing for meetings with Chinese Government officials and, as you know, then on to Moscow for meetings with Russian Government officials.
My understanding is that he will be coming back here before he would be heading off to Geneva for the August 5th resumption.
Q When is he coming back?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. I don't have the date. I don't have the rest of the details of his itinerary; I just have the stops he's making.
Q For the talks on August 5th, will they follow the same format: two days on, two days off?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not sure that the details on that have specifically been worked out. I mean they obviously will pick up where they left off. But as we have more details closer to the time about the expected format duration and pauses and things like that, we'll share them with you. I don't have any further details beyond what I've just announced.
Q In the date for the resumption of talks, was there any other discussion of the new political situation in North Korea? Did we receive any assurances about, you know, continuation of a policy that we had found somewhat satisfactory in recent weeks?
MS. SHELLY: I think the point of the contacts through the New York channel was simply to fix the date and work out the arrangements for getting started. I'm not aware that the exchanges went particularly beyond that. So I think it was mostly called for the purpose of fixing the dates and sorting out the details related to that. I don't think it was an especially substantive exchange.
Sorry. Go ahead.
Q Anything new on North/South Korean talks?
MS. SHELLY: No, I don't have anything new on that today.
Q How are the consultations going on the Haitian draft or proposal?
MS. SHELLY: O.K.
Earlier in the week, at State Department briefings, we commented on the two-phased approach that we're pursuing in New York, on which we had mentioned were based on the July l5th report of the Secretary General. We are continuing consultations in New York with the Secretariat, with other Council members, the Haitian Permanent Representative, and others on plans for a resolution which would endorse this two-phased approach to ending the Haitian crisis.
We're seeking a resolution that would authorize member states to take all necessary means to facilitate the restoration of the legitimate authorities in Haiti and would create a stable and secure environment.
We think the resolution should also authorize the Secretary General to strengthen and expand the United Nations' mission in Haiti and to allow for its deployment in Haiti as soon after Phase I as conditions would permit.
We at the State Department, senior State Department officials, will be meeting with ambassadors from other Security Council countries in Washington today to discuss these plans as well.
The initial responses from our soundings on this with other countries -- including Ambassador Albright's up in New York -- have been positive and indicate broad international support for this approach.
Q Is there any built-in time delay -- in other words, all necessary means could be used at any point -- or is there a waiting period?
MS. SHELLY: A draft resolution has not yet been circulated, and those types of issues are the types of things which have been under discussion in the contacts that we have had which have been going on on an informal basis.
When the Security Council takes up more formal work on the resolution in the next few days, I think we'll have more details of that kind to give you. But beyond what I've been able to tell you so far, I don't have a lot more at this point.
Q Figures on boat people?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. On interdictions: 70 Haitians in one boat were interdicted by the Coast Guard yesterday. That brings the total number of Haitians picked up since the processing facility on board the Comfort began operations on June 15, to about 20,860.
The numbers, as you certainly are aware, have been lower for about two weeks. We're certainly encouraged by the fact that fewer Haitians feel the need to risk their lives by taking to the sea in small and often very unseaworthy boats.
I've got a little bit -- do you want me to go over the interviews and voluntary repatriation -- those numbers -- as well? Okay.
On the temporary protection for the Haitian boat people, some 14,000 have now been processed for either voluntary repatriation or for temporary protection. 10,731 have been approved for temporary protection. 3,191 have volunteered to return to Haiti. Of all of those who have volunteered to return, they either have been repatriated or else they are en route as we speak.
The numbers at Guantanamo, I know you're always interested in that. We have approximately 16,140 Haitians who are presently at Guantanamo. Those numbers break down: 10,731 who have been approved for safehaven; some 4,900 who are awaiting processing for voluntary repatriation or for temporary protection; and 415 approved refugees from the Comfort who are awaiting departure for the United States.
Q Quickly on North Korea again. Was it confirmed yesterday in New York when both sides met that those conditions for the talks, like nuclear freeze and other things, actually confirmed by them?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any details on that.
Q Could you tell me any update on the inspectors still stationed in Pyongyang?
MS. SHELLY: That's a good question, and I don't have anything on that with me. I'm not aware, specifically, of anything that's changed relative to their status. I'll make sure that we have an update on that at Monday's press briefing.
Q Anything on Gambia?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. We've been watching this throughout the course of the morning, trying to get the best information that we can. We understand that soldiers and police have seized the airport and have surrounded the State House.
There have been some reports of some shooting. We are not aware at this point of any casualties. We're trying to get a better understanding about exactly what the nature of the disturbance is. We understand that it may be related to issues such as pay and working conditions, specifically for the military and the police.
Soldiers and police have reportedly asked to talk to the police inspector general. I'm not sure that they have, in any kind of public way, laid out what their specific requests or demands are.
In trying to characterize the nature of what's going on, it appears to be a kind of mutiny by at least a group within the military and the police. We have heard reports that the army and the police have not been paid in approximately three months.
Q What is the status of American nationals and American officials?
MS. SHELLY: I'm just trying to run down the numbers on this and what we know so far. There are approximately 380 American citizens in Gambia, including 143 U.S. Mission personnel and their dependents. Americans are all reported to be safe. The Ambassador has activated the warden system for notifications within the American community. The American Ambassador is Andrew Winter. He's a career Foreign Service Officer.
Q Are there any directives as to where Americans should go, or has anyone been moved out of the country?
MS. SHELLY: Not that I'm aware of so far. Certainly, through the warden system the point has been to alert Americans to the disturbances which have taken place, and I think that the general guidance to them has probably been to stay inside and probably, kind of hunker down where they are and not be out and moving about, since some of the violence certainly could be random in nature.
We certainly don't have any information suggesting that Americans are being targeted at this point, but we have, I think, a kind of mini task force set up in our Operations Center which is tracking developments very carefully. As we have more details on this, we'll certainly make them available.
Q Any American military presence in the area?
MS. SHELLY: My understanding is that there is a naval vessel which is in the port there that was there as part of a previously scheduled port visit. The name of the vessel, I understand from my colleagues at the Pentagon, is the U.S.S. Lamour County, and this vessel is there generally as part of a West African training course; and this was, as I mentioned, a previously scheduled visit there.
Q Another subject, Colombia. Do you have something on the scheduled activities next week of a Colombian delegation coming here on behalf of President- elect Samper?
MS. SHELLY: You know, I don't. I confess, I missed that. But I will check and see if we can provide some details on that at Monday's briefing.
Q Anything on the talks between Secretary Christopher and Rabin and Hussein on Sunday?
MS. SHELLY: No, I don't. Basically, since the Secretary has been out in the region on that, and they are not back yet, I haven't been in a position to get a reading on them. I would have to have that before I could say anything, and I just at this point don't expect that we're likely to put anything out.
Q Thank you.
MS. SHELLY: Thanks.
(The briefing concluded at 1:52 p.m.)
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