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________________________________________________________
 
 
 
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
August 1, 1994
 
 
                      U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                        DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
 
                             I N D E X
 
                       Monday, August, 1 1994
 
 
                                Briefer:  Michael McCurry
 
 
HAITI
   UN Authorizes Multinational Security Force ....1-4,7-9
   --  Countries Participating ...................1
   State of Siege Announced ......................3
   Report of Incident at US Processing Center ....4
   US Policy on Departure of Military Leaders ....3-7
 
BOSNIA
   Contact Group Peace Proposal ..................9-15
   --  Consequences of Rejection/Arms Embargo ....9-15
   Update on Fighting/Status of UNPROFOR .........10-13
   US-Russian Cooperation ........................13-15
 
RWANDA
   US Recognition of Government ..................15-16
 
 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPC #112

MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 1994, 12:40 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We will now officially commence the State Department's daily briefing. Only nine minutes late today, you will note, for the record.

Mr. Gedda, do you have any questions?

Q What can you say about the plans to establish a secure environment in Haiti, to use your euphemism?

MR. McCURRY: What I can say about it is that we very much welcome the decision of the U.N. Security Council yesterday which authorized a multinational force to do exactly that -- establish a secure environment which then could lead in a second phase to the presence of a U.N. mission that would help assist in the transformation of that country, the return of democracy, and the return of the democratically elected government.

Q What can you say about your recruiting effort to enlist other countries to participate?

MR. McCURRY: It is on-going. We have had other contacts with governments. I'm not going to spell those out. We have had very productive discussions within the hemisphere on the issue of a multinational force should that be an option that is later exercised. We will continue to have within the hemisphere discussions not only on the decision of the Security Council yesterday but also the importance of the U.N. mission itself.

Steve.

Q The Argentines apparently are signing up, but it's not clear from what I read on the wires that they're planning to participate after a would-be invasion or if they are, in fact, part of the planned invasion force if it happens.

MR. McCURRY: I imagine they have said some things publicly. I've seen some of those reports on the wire. It is best for us, I think, to leave it up to individual governments to comment appropriately on their own view of the U.N. action yesterday.

Individual governments will assess their willingness to participate both in the U.N. mission; and if, in fact, there is a call for a multinational force at some point, individual nations that would like to contribute pursuant to U.N. resolution 940 will have that option and will so state.

Tim.

Q Mike, why is the Phase Two force in the resolution so much smaller than the force Boutros Ghali talked about in his report to the Security Council?

MR. McCURRY: I don't know the answer to that. Six thousand is the size force authorized by the U.N. action yesterday. That is a size force consistent with the mission that is defined within U.N. Security Resolution 940, which is to assist in the professionalization and modernization of the security forces in a permissive environment within Haiti, created in the so-called secure environment created by, if need be, a multinational force that would go to establish those conditions.

Q Is that a number that was consulted with him? Because in his report, he talked about 15,000 troops in an environment in which the regime stepped aside, so reasonably permissive. So I'm just curious what -- did we talk with him about the 6,000? How did that number come out?

MR. McCURRY: I would have to check with our folks at the U.S. Mission at the United Nations to see what type of consultations occurred with the Secretary General. We have had many consultations with him on this subject. So I'm rather certain that the subject arose, but I'll check further at the U.N. or you may want to call Ambassador Albright's folks and see what level of detail they got into in that. But the Secretary General's report is referenced clearly in the resolution adopted by the Security Council itself, and I know that it was -- at least within the informal deliberations of the Security Council -- part of that debate.

Q Do you know if the 6,000 is our number or anyone's number?

MR. McCURRY: It's now the United Nations number, codified in the resolution adopted yesterday.

Q What message should the Haitian military leaders be getting from yesterday's Security Council vote?

MR. McCURRY: The same message that has been consistently delivered to them by the international community for many, many weeks: It is time for them to go. And as Ambassador Albright said yesterday, one way or another, voluntarily or involuntarily, they are now on notice from the international community that their days are numbered.

Q What kind of message are you, in turn, getting from the Haitians. Yesterday, for example -- or I guess this morning -- the announcement of the state of siege? Have you seen any other response or reaction from them?

MR. McCURRY: That, we are aware of -- that proclamation made at 3:00 a.m., which is the only time that the de facto government apparently can stomach the courage to address the citizens of Haiti. Among other things, that action itself by the illegal de facto government is illegal in and of itself, because under the Haitian constitution only the National Assembly can declare a state of siege.

So the illegal government's taking a legal action is about what you would expect from this crowd.

Q When he announced the state of siege, he also promised this hard and implacable fight. There don't seem to be many signs of wavering in what he said. Have you got any other signs, from whatever sources, of indecision within the leadership?

MR. McCURRY: Not in the time sense that the U.N. took its action yesterday. But, in any event, the effective response to that type of action or that type of rhetoric is the response delivered by the United Nations yesterday.

Saul.

Q Do you have any explanation for their demeanor these days, their defiance, seeing as how we've rattled a lot of sabers their way and demonstrated some of our strength? Why are they doing this?

MR. McCURRY: Defining their motives is not something that I'm in a position to do. They are acting in defiance of the expressed will of the international community, and the international community yesterday indicated that they're prepared to take further measures to do something about that.

Q Is it possible that they have some doubts about whether to believe this threat?

MR. McCURRY: I do not know. I'm not familiar with their thinking.

Steve.

Q I heard a report -- not confirmed from Port- au-Prince but from around here that the Haitian military -- the thugs, or whatever -- are openly now harassing people who are standing in line to make application for asylum. Is that --

MR. McCURRY: We got a report very early today that there may have been an incident outside the in-country processing center in which apparently there was some roughing-up of people who were waiting to apply. That obviously concerns us very greatly. We're getting more information on it, but we would clearly condemn in the strongest possible terms any action by those who are interfering of the right of Haitian citizens to seek application for refugee status at the centers that we have so designated in Haiti. This has not been a problem in the past. It makes this report this morning from Port-au-Prince all the more troubling.

Q Is there anything you can do about that?

MR. McCURRY: There are ways in which we do get cooperation in running some of the programs that we have there, both humanitarian programs, the processing centers themselves, the direct return policy. There are people we can talk to and things that we can do to determine what the problem is here. But right at the moment, I believe the Embassy is checking out this report and trying to find out more about what happened.

Jim.

Q With the air transport cut off from Haiti, it might be difficult for the military guys to leave even if they chose to do so. Would the United States be prepared to facilitate their departure?

MR. McCURRY: We have not had a reason to address that type of question. It's rather hypothetical to do so.

We're interested in seeing them comply to the obligations they have. We would have to examine the question of how to assist them to live up to their responsibility should they choose to do so at the time that that question arises. It has not arisen as of today.

As a general proposition, with the end of commercial air traffic in and out of Haiti, there are steps taken through the International Organization on Migrants -- that can be taken -- to charter aircraft. That is all consistent with the U.N. sanctions regime because the U.N. sanctions regime envisages ways that you can, for humanitarian purposes, allow people to leave the country.

I think it would probably be safe to say, it would be humanitarian if General Cedras was to live up to his obligation to depart and leave the country.

Q The U.N. sanctions specifically deal with what Cedras and a couple of the other top leadership have to do to resolve this. At the same time Clinton and other people in the Administration talked about, well, just taking care of them isn't necessarily taking care of the problem.

Can you just reiterate exactly who has to go where for this problem to be resolved, from our point of view?

MR. McCURRY: Who goes where, though, has been an issue addressed within the context of the Governors Island framework, and that was specifically the departure of General Cedras and the designation of a new chief of police and reconfiguration of the leadership. I don't want to get too specific in describing who goes where when, but it is certainly envisioned within the context of the resolution adopted yesterday that there would be a dramatically different attitude by the leadership of both the Haitian police and the Haitian military, and that that would extend to the officer ranks that would be responsible for establishing civil order and security within Haiti.

That's part of what the U.N. addresses in its resolution is the desire to configure a new institution that can keep public order in Haiti itself.

Q If I'm not mistaken, the Governors Island accord allowed Cedras and Francois to retire and stay on Haiti. Subsequently we've called for their departure from Haiti. I mean, you're not saying now that they can retire and stay on Haiti, are you?

MR. McCURRY: I think that you've heard Special Representative Gray address that issue just within the last several days. He's made it clear that their departure from Haiti is what is envisioned.

Q And we don't envision -- I mean, we're not thinking about other people below their level that also need to be taken care of in certain ways?

MR. McCURRY: I don't know how elaborately we've addressed the question of how you reconfigure and professionalize the Haitian military. I don't know how deep into the officer ranks that issue has been addressed.

Q You've been saying for weeks, along with Ambassador Albright and Bill Gray, that the sanctions will work -- ever since the tightened sanctions were approved in late May, that they would do the trick. Are you still as confident that the sanctions will work?

MR. McCURRY: I don't know that we have ever -- I'd have to go back and check, George, to see if we ever actually said for certain these sanctions will do the job, because simultaneously, as you know, we've very often said we haven't ruled out other options, specifically the use of force. And there is a reason for many, many weeks indicating publicly that we had not ruled out that option.

But in any event, the pressure building on the Haitian military leaders to do what they must do, which is to leave, is growing. It's growing part because of the actions taken by the United Nations yesterday, but it's also growing because of the impact of the sanctions themselves.

I can't say we remain confident that they will do the trick, but we certainly remain hopeful that that pressure will lead the Haitian military leadership to do what it must do one way or the other.

Steve.

Q Well, that's the question I was going to ask. No one has said yet that if these guys don't leave by -- pick a date -- then an invasion is inevitable. Can you say that?

MR. McCURRY: No. No one has said that, and I think you've heard from the Administration within the last 24 hours a fairly consistent view that we now have the Haitian leaders on notice of what action the world community is prepared to take; and when that might happen is, as many people have said, it's soon.

Q Do you remain confident that come October 1, the leadership will not be there?

MR. McCURRY: We're at a point now where I'll just step back from that question a second and tell you, I think, where the Administration is going to prefer to be on this and similar questions in coming days.

The United Nations has now authorized the very specific use of force -- a multinational force to establish a secure environment in Haiti. And given that and given, as you know, that the President has indicated that that option is on the table for his consideration and ready to be chosen, if he so desires -- given those facts, the Administration spokespeople are not likely going to speculate about what type of force might be used when. It's probably best at this point for us not to telegraph any punch that might be delivered.

Barrie.

Q Mike, in spite of the fact that the vote was 12 to nothing yesterday, Brazil did abstain and four key Latin American countries -- I believe Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela and Cuba -- spoke strongly against American intervention.

Do the views of these countries who oppose such a move still count for anything? Will they be factored into any subsequent decisions you may make, or do you consider you now have a carte blanche from the international community?

MR. McCURRY: No. Acting with support within the hemisphere has been a key objective of our policy, and it is one reason among many why the action yesterday was gratifying. It was supported within the hemisphere, and I should point out that much of the discussion was aimed at unilateral action by the United States. Since the objections have been raised to unilateral action by the United States, this resolution specifically authorizes a multinational force; and we will be working within the hemisphere to build support for any course of action that the President and others deem necessary.

Q Did we make any informal commitments not to act before a certain time? There was a lot of pressure to let the sanctions work for a while.

MR. McCURRY: As I just tried to indicate, we're not going to lay out a calendar and a timetable for you.

Q We could go tomorrow, though, you feel, if we wanted to.

MR. McCURRY: Say again.

Q We could go tomorrow -- you feel free to go tomorrow if you so chose.

MR. McCURRY: The "all necessary means" provision within the resolution adopted by the Security Council yesterday does give authority to conduct operations that are necessary, and I'm just not going to speculate on when, how or under what circumstances.

Bill.

Q Thank you. Why does it become the responsibility of the United States when the mandate comes from the U.N. and when we're trying to draw an OAS nations to join us, why does it become our primary responsibility to recruit other countries in this particular matter? And with regard to the question that was asked about Mexico and Brazil, Mexico specifically rejects the use of force, it said. I think that was their statement. They really don't want force used here by multinational of unilateral or any other force.

MR. McCURRY: Stop for just a second there on that. We don't want force to be used either. We would much prefer to see the Haitian military leadership do what it must do and live up to the obligations they have taken on in the past, which is specifically to depart so that democracy can be returned and the elected government can be returned, including President Aristide.

That is not the situation that arises at the moment. The situation that does arise is one in which the United States, which has very clear interests as defined by the President with regard to Haiti, and now must be in a position, as we so often and are the world, to lead in putting together those groups of forces that would be available, should it be necessary to take the steps authorized by the United Nations yesterday.

That is the lot of the United States so often now in the world in which we live, to provide that type of leadership, and we are prepared to do so.

Q If I may, "all necessary means" is a phrase that's known in another context. Why is it that this one should be taken more seriously by Cedras?

MR. McCURRY: He's aware of the action in the Security Council yesterday. I'm not going to be able to say anything here that is going to threaten him any more so than he's been threatened now by the United Nations; nor are we in the business of doing that. We are going to be in a very determined way carrying out our obligations as a member of the Security Council and acting consistent with the interests that the President has defined which relate very directly to the national security of America.

You're aware of that, and if General Cedras wants to blithely ignore those concerns, we'll just have to see what happens.

Q Can we move on to Bosnia, if there's no more Haiti?

MR. McCURRY: Go.

Q The Bosnian Serbs have asked to reopen negotiations immediately with the Contact Group. Do you have a response?

MR. McCURRY: Along with the other major powers that have addressed that today, the United States believes that's a non-starter. The Bosnian Serbs have before them the proposal of the Contact Group, and they now have before them the determination of the Contact Group members to bring further consequences to bear on them for their rejection of the Contact Group plan.

Those were the steps authorized by the Ministers when they met Saturday in Geneva. Those consequences include a tightening of sanctions and urgent planning for the extension of the exclusion zones, and that is the path that the Contact Group is committed to.

It is not now envisioned that we would reopen negotiations over matters that have been concluded by the Contact Group and that remember, have been agreed to by the Bosnian Government. It's up to the Bosnian Serbs now to agree to the plan put forward to them by the Contact Group.

Sid.

Q Mike, coming back from the Middle East a week or so ago the Secretary said that if the parties wanted to go back to negotiations, it was fine with the United States. Are these apples and oranges I'm comparing?

MR. McCURRY: No. It's very clear what the Secretary said. The Secretary said, as the Ministers themselves said back in May when they launched the Contact Group effort, that if there were modifications in the plan that both sides wanted to make, the Contact Group would be open to that type of modification. That is not the situation that arises here.

The Bosnian Government has accepted without conditions the plan of the Contact Group, and the Bosnian Serbs now apparently are trying to stall or change the subject. That's not what is foreseen by the Contact Group.

Q Can you give us an update on any threatening maneuvers the Bosnian Serbs are performing with relation to convoys or Gorazde? There were some reports that there --

MR. McCURRY: There are reports of sniper fire resuming in Sarajevo; numerous, in fact hundreds, of violations of the cease-fire agreement within Bosnia. On Sunday there was an incident in which Bosnian Serbs fired on the French UNPROFOR battalion headquarters without casualties. So there's a pattern here of provocation by the Bosnian Serbs, and that is one more reason why the Contact Group felt determined to proceed on the path that they launched Saturday.

Steve.

Q I've heard that the UNPROFOR troops are ready to get out of there right away. Can you comment on that?

MR. McCURRY: UNPROFOR consists of a lot of different countries that contribute troops --

Q The force itself.

MR. McCURRY: The entire force, I have not -- the only discussion that I've seen on that is within the context of the letter that I think you know Secretary General Boutros-Ghali sent around to members of the Security Council, I believe -- just under what circumstances would you have to look again at UNPROFOR's mandate and its mission?

But there was certainly sentiment expressed by Ministers of troop-contributing countries when the Ministers gathered in Geneva on Saturday that would indicate that there is thinking going on about the advisability of withdrawing UNPROFOR, that is clear.

But equally clear was the determination of the Contact Group to press forward to see if we cannot, through the package of consequences adopted, convince the Bosnian Serbs that they should agree to the proposal that would lead to a peace settlement in Bosnia.

Q Mike, apropos of that, going into this whole process it was frequently stated publicly that if the Bosnian Serbs were not willing to sign onto the agreement, that this would almost inevitably lead to pressures to lift the arms embargo, and that would, of course, result in the withdrawal of UNPROFOR troops. Where are we in that scenario now?

MR. McCURRY: Right where Secretary Christopher indicated we are when he spoke to that subject on Saturday --that if there is continued failure on the part of the Bosnian Serbs to accept the Contact Group proposal, the Contact Group Ministers themselves say that lifting the arms embargo could be unavoidable at that point. And on the part of the United States, Secretary Christopher made clear to his fellow Ministers that the pressure to lift the embargo here in the United States would surely be irresistible.

He went on to address the question, should that embargo be lifted multilaterally as opposed to unilaterally, but I think he made very clear that by being irresistible one way or another, the embargo would have to come off.

In fact, the work of the Contact Group itself, to advance every possible avenue that would allow these two parties to conclude some type of settlement that would bring the war to an end is most likely a necessary precondition for any lifting of an arms embargo. Lifting the arms embargo really does suggest that the only answer left is to try to change the equation through additional fighting or through the threat of additional fighting, and that certainly, as the Ministers say, has to be a last resort.

It would be far preferable, as we have said over and over again, for these parties to conclude their fighting so that reconstruction of Bosnia can commence.

Q But, Mike --

Q What's -- I'm sorry --

MR. McCURRY: Barrie and then Sid.

Q What seems to be unclear to me is how long the Contact Group is willing just to sit and not have the Bosnian Serbs adhere to the agreement and have the cease- fire break down and fighting resume, and so on.

MR. McCURRY: Well, they've already answered that question in a sense, Barrie, by beginning to put into place those consequences that they said, in the middle of last month, that they would be willing to pursue. They're now pursuing those consequences, and there are, as suggested in the reference to lifting the arms embargo, additional consequences that could come into play.

So they are not sitting, waiting for anything at this point. They are now moving forward with the consequences that they've outlined.

Sid.

Q Mike, you're saying that the United States -- the Clinton Administration is willing, if necessary, to unilaterally lift the arms embargo?

MR. McCURRY: There would come a point, if there is continued intransigence on the part of the Bosnian Serbs, where the pressure so to do would grow within the Congress, and the Administration would certainly -- the Administration, believing that there are aspects of that arms embargo that have been inequitable since the very beginning of that U.N. ordered arms embargo, we would certainly take into account those views as we addressed our own future course of action.

Q Hold on, Mike. Could you just answer the question? Would this Administration be willing to unilaterally lift the arms embargo?

MR. McCURRY: Sid, certainly, there might come a point in which that would be a course of action that we would have to seriously consider.

Saul.

Q Any idea when that point comes? It's been a while now.

MR. McCURRY: I don't want to set any type of timetable on it. We are on a path now, through the work of the Contact Group, where the consequences that have been outlined are clear. The next step in bringing that type of pressure on the Serbs includes tightening of the economic sanctions, as ordered by the Contact Group. These things will proceed sequentially, it's safe to say, and our view is the one consistent with the view expressed by the Contact Group Ministers that any lifting of the arms embargo is a last resort.

Q But the "all necessary means" authorization is already there to prevent or to defend against such attacks as on the French and twice on the British which have now killed a peacekeeper. Why is not UNPROFOR or the allies or NATO responding? That's what I don't understand.

MR. McCURRY: I am not the person to direct that question to. That is a question you should direct to UNPROFOR, but I will tell you that as a participant in the NATO operations over Bosnia, we are prepared to meet any obligations that we have and certainly would expect NATO to meet any obligations it has to carry forward on requests that come from UNPROFOR.

Q (Inaudible)

MR. McCURRY: I cannot answer that question for you, Saul. There have been instances when I am sure UNPROFOR commanders on the ground have looked at the question of whether or not a response, particularly the use of air power, might be appropriate. Why they have not so requested from UNPROFOR, I would leave to UNPROFOR to address.

Q Have the United States or the American representatives at NATO suggested that they might?

MR. McCURRY: There have been discussions at NATO, it's my understanding. There have been discussions at NATO within the North Atlantic Council about more vigorous enforcement of the measures adopted by the North Atlantic Council.

But, again, you'll recall that the ability to respond is based on close coordination with the United Nations and with UNPROFOR commanders on the ground. That's for good reason, obviously, because they have got troops on the ground that have to be taken into account.

Q (Inaudible).

MR. McCURRY: Who are being attacked. That is correct. Steve.

Q Did Kozyrev, when he went to Belgrade after that meeting, go with a message to Milosevic: Seal that border and stop giving arms and guns and everything else you need to run this war, or else?

MR. McCURRY: I'll leave it to the Russian Federation to describe any message they delivered to Milosevic. But you've probably taken note, and we took note of the comments that Milosevic has made publicly, I guess either today or late yesterday.

We certainly feel, if he's really serious about that pressure that he would seem to be seeking to bring on the Bosnian Serbs, that he should, if serious, immediately end Serbia's support for the Bosnian Serb war effort; in particular, by cutting off the provision of military equipment and financial and other material support.

Q Is that what he's told the Contact Group he was going to say? You could answer that.

MR. McCURRY: He did not preview for the Contact Group the public comments that he was going to make after meeting with Minister Kozyrev.

Mr. Kozyrev, by the way, on Saturday, was very explicit about what message he intended to take to Milosevic which is, that it's time for you to end your support of the Bosnian Serbs. How explicitly he went beyond that in his meeting with Milosevic, I just do not know.

Q Was there an "or else?"

MR. McCURRY: There was not an "or else" beyond the one that was publicly addressed in the communique by the Minister, as far as I know.

Tim.

Q Given Milosevic's comments, have we proposed or are we planning to propose that he allow us to station monitors or people along the border of Serbia?

MR. McCURRY: I don't know that that question has arisen yet, but there are sanctions enforcers that are available who have been part of the sanctions enforcement regime within the Balkans. That sanctions enforcement effort would be available to cooperate with the Government of Serbia if that is, in fact, something that the Government of Serbia wants to do. We'll just have to see.

Q Just on the arms embargo. When you talk about the possibility of pressure to lift it unilaterally, does the Administration see any way to do that legally? Or if you do that, do you accept that that is breaking a U.N. Security Council resolution?

MR. McCURRY: That's a question that would be a good question for international lawyers to address. I'm sure if they got to the point where they looked at that issue, they would want to do it in a way that they felt was consistent with our interpretation of international law.

But, again, I would say that has not arisen yet. The question Sid asked earlier, "Is there a point at which that issue -- is there a point at which it gets addressed?" I say, yes, there's a point, given the situation we're in, where there would have to be consideration.

Q You haven't gone to your lawyers yet to ask them their opinion?

MR. McCURRY: No. Again, I would say, the sequence of pressure that we are on at this point includes the sanctions tightening, which is authorized by the Ministers on Saturday. You see that there would be a logical progression here of things that would happen, and they are consistent with those things that are in the communique of the Ministers on Saturday.

Q Has the Secretary linked support for withdrawal of UNPROFOR to lifting of the arms embargo explicitly? In other words, is it fathomable that we would support pulling out UNPROFOR and not have a lifting of the arms embargo?

MR. McCURRY: I wouldn't say they have been directly linked in that fashion. I think the discussions of the Ministers have made it clear that any point at which it becomes necessary to lift the arms embargo would be inconsistent with UNPROFOR's current mandate on the ground in Bosnia. There's been a lot of discussion around that point.

It's hard to envision a way in which UNPROFOR could continue its current deployments in Bosnia in an environment in which the arms embargo was about to be lifted. I guess I'd leave it about there.

Q Again, a little more on the Russian's role. Is this nation, and our policy, are we in full concord with the Russian's policy with regard to the Bosnian Serbs? And have we heard back yet from Kozyrev about his visit on Saturday?

MR. McCURRY: Second question first. I don't believe we have had a complete readout of his meetings in Belgrade yet. I'll check again later on today to see if we've gotten anything further.

On the first point, the answer is yes, to the degree that our work, in concert with the Russian Federation, is defined by the work of the Contact Group.

It is important to keep these major powers, who are participating in the Contact Group effort, and which includes Russia, working together on a problem in the Balkans. It was Minister Kozyrev himself who pointed out on Saturday that there is ample, historical proof of what can go wrong in the Balkans when major powers do not work in concert and that that is one advantage to the Contact Group process itself.

Q Are we ready for another subject?

MR. McCURRY: Move on.

Q Rwanda.

MR. McCURRY: Rwanda.

Q I'm a little puzzled as to what our diplomatic recognition status is towards Rwanda. There was a little confusion on Friday.

MR. McCURRY: I don't know it was a big deal. That was very ably handled by the spokesman here on Friday.

Q If it could just be cleared up for me. Probably everybody else understands this, but --

MR. McCURRY: Everything the able spokesman said stands. What's the question? We recognize --

Q Have we officially extended diplomatic recognition to them?

MR. McCURRY: Yes.

Q Are all parts of the government in accord with this?

MR. McCURRY: Yes.

Q Even the National Security Council?

MR. McCURRY: Is there someone over there who doesn't understand what the deal is with the Rwandan Patriotic Front? They are, in effect, in control of the country, and we're working with them to address these humanitarian issues.

There may have been someone at the NSC who is all caught up on, "What does that mean in terms of diplomatic relations or something?" But that's not, frankly, the most urgent issue at the moment. The issue is working with people who can help us try to save lives in the midst of an urgent humanitarian crisis.

The question of recognition is, frankly, not as important as some of the other issues that we're working on right now.

Anything else? Thank you.

(Press briefing concluded at 1:15 p.m.)

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