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________________________________________________________
 
 
 
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
August, 5 1994
 
 
                      U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                        DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
 
                            INDEX
 
                      Friday, August 5, 1994
 
 
                                Briefer:  David Johnson
 
 
BOSNIA
   NATO Air Strikes Respond to Bosnian Serb
     Removal of Heavy Weapons ..................1-7,14-15
   Closing of Bosnia-Serbian Border ............5
   Lifting Arms Embargo ........................6-7
   US Contacts with Allies .....................11-15
 
HAITI
   International Resolve to Restore Democracy ..8-11
   Departure of Military Leaders ...............8-9
   US Discussions with Countries to Participate
     in Invasion/Peacekeeping ..................9-11
   Departure of Haitians Certified by US as
     Refugees ..................................9
   Interdictions/Safe Havens/Returnees/
     Processing ................................10
 
NORTH KOREA
   Talks in Geneva .............................12
 
NIGERIA
   Update on Strike/Safety of Americans ........12-13
   --  US Mission to Assess Genocide Charges ...12
 
RWANDA
Update on Refugees/US Aid ......................13-14
 
 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPC #114

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 1994, 1:19 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. JOHNSON: I don't have any prepared statements that I'm going to be giving today. So if someone other than George has a question, I'll start with that.

Q David, there's a story out of Europe regarding capital flight from Russia, a television program in Germany which indicated that Robert Maxwell was operating on behalf of certain portions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party -- people who were involved in the putsch who, in order to try and pull together financial support for the Gorbachev regime.

There were certain things set up in Latvia which were used as money-laundering operations to get money from the Soviet Communist Party into Western European which is said today to finance the PDS campaign in Eastern Germany.

I know that capital flight from Russia was a report --

Q Do you have a question?

Q -- on G-7 and G-8 meetings. Is the State Department following up this problem now on Russia which is apparently becoming a big item?

MR. JOHNSON: I would say that we are, as you know, very deeply involved in an aid program for Russia. Part of that is to help them to create efficient and effective capital markets. But in terms of the rather complex chain of events which you are describing, I don't have anything in direct response to that.

Q Can you give us an update on what's happening in Bosnia? Did we bomb -- did NATO bomb or not bomb?

MR. JOHNSON: I can tell you what I know at this point. I can tell you that the United Nations requested today the use of NATO airpower to respond to Bosnian Serb violations in the Sarajevo exclusion zone.

NATO, in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolutions, and with the February 9 decision of the North Atlantic Council, has responded positively and immediately to UNPROFOR's request. This action was carried out under existing authority but is consistent with the communique issued by the Contact Group ministerial meeting last Saturday in Geneva.

I'd also note that the United States welcomes this determination to respond to such violations and calls upon the parties to adhere strictly to the terms of relevant Security Council resolutions and to the terms of the exclusion zones around Sarajevo and Gorazda.

We also reiterate our call that the Bosnian Serbs accept, without conditions, the territorial settlement proposed by the Contact Group.

In terms of what is actually taking place in the area, I'd suggest that we expect more information soon from NATO authorities in Brussels and in Naples. But until any operations are concluded, we're not going to be discussing their details.

Q Are the operations on-going?

MR. JOHNSON: I've given you everything I have. I believe we do have something that may be on-going, but I'm going to wait and let the folks in Brussels make those announcements.

Q Have you heard of any retaliation on the part of the Bosnian Serbs for the air strike?

MR. JOHNSON: I'm not going to be in a position to describe anything that may be going on on the ground.

Q Were any discussions during the night among members of the Contact Group? Or was this a completely separate chain of command and decision-making structure involving the air strikes? Did the Contact Group members have to come together and have any consultations or discussions or decisions?

MR. JOHNSON: That was made under existing authority from U.N. and NATO and is, as I said before, completely consistent with the communication by the Contact Group ministers. It was made in the U.N.-NATO chain of command.

Q Were there discussions during the night about the wisdom of going ahead, or was there no contact during the night among the ministers?

MR. JOHNSON: There may have been, but I would go back. This was a decisions which was made in the U.N. and NATO chain of command. But, again, it's completely consistent with the Contact Group efforts.

Q Has the Secretary been in touch with anybody in the Contact Group?

MR. JOHNSON: I know that the Secretary has made several phone calls and is making more prior to his departure with this Contact Group Foreign Ministers.

Q Did Moscow get a heads-up?

MR. JOHNSON: I'm not certain about all of the contacts that may have been made and all of their timing.

Q Has the Secretary talked to Boutros Ghali?

MR. JOHNSON: I'm not sure about that. I know he's had several contacts with Foreign Minister colleagues. I know Ambassador Albright is here today and has been speaking frequently with people in New York. She may have spoken with Boutros Ghali, but I cannot confirm that.

Q Did the United Nations make this request, in part, at the request of the United States?

MR. JOHNSON: It was made in the NATO chain of command. It was made by General Rose through General de la Presle, and then to the AFSOUTH commander for NATO who is an American General -- General Smith -- and he is the appropriate person to have made that to.

Q But there was no American contact with the U.N. -- that diplomatic contact with the U.N. as a result of Rose's request?

MR. JOHNSON: We, of course, have been having contacts all week. But I don't know anything specific about this activity, and it would have taken place in the chain of command which includes the U.N. and NATO.

Q There's a thinking here that the Serbs grabbed these weapons out of some sense of panic or desperation; that they are actually feeling very isolated right now?

MR. JOHNSON: I'm not in a position to try to give you a psychoanalysis of their motives.

Q Did it underscore any thinking here that Milosevic has cut them off; that that is for real; that it does put them in a more desperate situation?

MR. JOHNSON: I would go back and say that there have been some moves around those exclusion zones all week before any sort of an announcement was made. So it may be reaching to ascribe it to that.

Q On that point, what was the specific provocation that triggered the response?

MR. JOHNSON: My understanding is that late last night Bosnian Serbs removed heavy weapons from one of the Sarajevo cantonment areas. There were a total of five weapons reported moved. I've heard various descriptions of them, so I'm not going to attempt to clarify that. I think that's better done by the folks on the ground.

I understand that a Puma helicopter followed these weapons as they were removed and was fired upon but there were no casualties. It's my understanding that that was the proximate cause of the request.

Q Firing on the helicopter?

MR. JOHNSON: The removal of the weapons.

Q Did they hit the helicopter?

MR. JOHNSON: It may have been, but there were no casualties. I'm not certain about whether it was hit or not.

Q David, did you say there were enough movements through the week. Does that imply that there have also been other thefts?

MR. JOHNSON: I'm unaware of any other thefts, but there were reports earlier in the week of attempts and provocations around those cantonment facilities. That was what I was referring to.

Q And my question follows. Is there an assessment that there is a plan on the part of the Bosnian Serbs to go into the cantonment -- other cantonment sites -- to grab off their weapons? Has this been assessed, and has there been fighting going on around these cantonments?

MR. JOHNSON: There's only an assessment that the United Nations and NATO are determined to ensure that their decisions that the cantonments are complied with and the action that's on-going is in pursuit of that.

Q When you link this with the murder of the British U.N. peace-keeper two weeks ago and these other attacks, do you regard this as a pattern or not?

MR. JOHNSON: I'd hesitate to draw those type of extended conclusions for you. I'd say that the situation on the ground last night was the proximate cause of this activity that's taking place.

Q Also on Bosnia. Now that Milosevic has allegedly closed the border, does the United States have any intention of suggesting, as the Washington action plan proposed, putting monitors on the border to make sure that along with the food and medicines getting through, that there are no weapons or fuel?

MR. JOHNSON: I'd note that on many occasions in the past, that very question has been discussed among several in the international community and how it might help isolate the Bosnian Serbs.

I'm afraid at this point it's a little early for us to make decisions as to whether that would be helpful in this case, but it's something we currently have under study. We just haven't drawn a conclusion.

Q Is it duly being studied, David -- restudied?

MR. JOHNSON: Restudied.

Q Since it was part of the Washington action program?

MR. JOHNSON: Right. But this is something that just took place earlier this week. So it's, of course, become something that's of renewed interest.

Q Is the State Department satisfied that the border closing between Serbia and Bosnia is genuine and that there is a genuine rift between Milosevic and Karadzic at this point?

MR. JOHNSON: I'm not in a position to draw that type of conclusion for you, but there are some further signs. Authorities in Belgrade have apparently cut phone lines to the Bosnian Serbs as of today. We do also have information that Belgrade has closed some border crossings.

We know that a senior Bosnian Serb leader -- I don't have the individual's name -- was turned back at the border yesterday and two other Bosnian Serb politicians were denied entry into Serbia on Wednesday.

Q (Inaudible).

MR. JOHNSON: Two. We're watching the situation closely to see whether Milosevic's warning translates into concrete actions and whether it has any effect on Bosnian Serb conduct on the ground as well as at the negotiating table.

I'd also note for you, as the Secretary told several reporters yesterday, that it will be deeds, not words, by which we judge this activity.

Q Also, on Bosnia. In the Defense authorization bill now before conferees, the question is whether the United States wants to also use the possible lifting of the embargo as one of the consequences. I'm told that Chuck Redman was arguing there against the immediate lifting of the embargo, or against any legislation that would set any sort of a deadline except for months away. Could you clarify what the Administration's position is between the House bill which calls for a lifting and the Senate bill which sort of just warns of possible consequences?

MR. JOHNSON: I'm not in a position to describe attitudes on particular pieces of legislation. I'm just not prepared from this lectern to do that right now. But I would tell you that we have made clear all along that it is our preference to move multilaterally in this question; and we've also made clear, as have other foreign ministers in the Contact Group, that should the Bosnian Serbs not accept unequivocally the Contact Group's plan, then pressures to lift the arms embargo will become irresistible.

Q But you're not willing to put some sort of time limit on that at all? I understand that Mr. Redman suggested that this might not take place, these consequences, until November, long after Congress is gone.

MR. JOHNSON: No, I'm not prepared to discuss timing. I would only say that it's our preference to push forward now on the diplomatic track and to increase the pressure on the Bosnian Serbs and to --

Q What position does the Administration take on the legislation that's right now before --

MR. JOHNSON: I understand your question. I don't have anything that directly addresses that.

Q Well, one final thing on this. Nunn has suggested, apparently has proposed as a compromise that the United States simply call for the multilateral lifting, but suggests that if the U.N. doesn't go along, that the United States quit enforcing the arms embargo. That's what he has apparently proposed. Does the State Department favor that?

MR. JOHNSON: I'm not prepared to respond directly to that. I would note that we are working closely with our NATO allies in that, and that's something that we -- any sort of decisions in that respect we would want to be taking with them.

Q So the United States does enforce the embargo? I didn't realize that it was up to the U.S. to enforce this embargo over there. Do we?

MR. JOHNSON: Working with our NATO allies, we're working to enforce the embargo against Serbia, yes.

Q Well, not against Serbia. I'm talking about against the Muslims.

MR. JOHNSON: The entire area is under an arms embargo.

Q Earlier you had cited several loads of arms that had not been delivered, because of interdiction by this country and other countries. It tipped off the U.N. Are you aware of any other shipments that have been interdicted since that time? Any recently?

MR. JOHNSON: No, I don't have any information on that. Not today. I'm sorry.

Q Does today's action take us closer or further away from a lifting of the arms embargo?

MR. JOHNSON: I wouldn't want to describe it in those terms. I think it reinforces the will of NATO to act.

Q Does it add to pressure to lift the arms embargo?

MR. JOHNSON: I'm simply not in a position to give you that type of assessment. I think it just reinforces our determination to react along with our NATO allies to provocations and to violations of the Sarajevo exclusion zone.

Q Were any American planes involved in this action?

MR. JOHNSON: I don't have anything for you on aircraft. As I mentioned before, until all the operation is over, military authorities are not going to be in a position to describe for you exactly what has taken place.

Q Haiti?

Q Any more on Bosnia?

Q You don't know at this time if all the aircraft have returned to base?

MR. JOHNSON: That type of information is going to be coming from military authorities.

Q Haiti.

MR. JOHNSON: Please.

Q David, with regard to five Latin nations, big trading partners, some -- Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay -- desiring to go to Haiti to attempt to keep -- to prevent an invasion by working a deal, I presume, with the junta. I see today that these people have backed off. These nations have decided not to take any diplomatic action directly in Haiti, and I also saw a dispatch where Argentina has decided -- reversed their decision to commit any troops to an invasion of Haiti. They're not going to join us, at least in the invasion stage.

So my two questions are: Why is it a problem for this government, our government, to have these big five or big three Latin American countries attempting to intercede to prevent a war, to prevent an invasion?

And, secondly, who is going to join us? Who is on board to join us in an invasion now that Argentina has pulled out?

MR. JOHNSON: In response to your first question, I'd note that on July 31, the international community, by adopting U.N. Security Council Resolution 940, adopted a clear and forceful policy. We believe it remains important that the military regime in Haiti not receive mixed messages which would dilute the impact of this important step.

We're consulting with governments both in the region and without to ensure that the international community sends a clear and consistent message, and that is that we are united in our resolve to restore democracy and President Aristide to Haiti.

We're united in our belief that the situation in Haiti continues to constitute a threat to peace and security in the region, and it requires an international response. And then our message to the military regime is clear: You can leave voluntarily and soon, or you can leave involuntarily and soon.

In response to the second question that you raised concerning Argentina, I would just note that we're engaged in consultations with a number of countries about participating in both the first and second phases of the operation set forth in U.N. Security Council Resolution 940. We're not going to speculate on the possible outcome of those discussions or the contributors at this time, but I'd also note that according to the information I've seen, the stories in today's papers about Argentina appear to be a bit garbled, and I'd suggest you get in touch with the Government of Argentina for a fuller account of their position.

Q David, to follow, is anybody else on board with us at the moment?

MR. JOHNSON: I'm not going to talk about who may be contributing. Our discussions are ongoing.

Q David, this is a quick one on Haiti. The White House said yesterday that there's some thought of getting a charter plane to get some of the people inside Haiti who have been approved for U.S. asylum out. Where do we stand on that? Can you confirm that that's something that we're trying to do?

MR. JOHNSON: The International Organization for Migration has been making efforts to get a charter aircraft in. As we've said a number of times, it is they who are responsible for movement of the approved refugees. All of the permissions required from the country where the aircraft would originate, as well as the United Nations, have been approved. The only approval which remains is from the de facto government for takeoff and landing permission.

We are working in several ways to secure that permission, but we do not have it at this time.

Q They haven't been notably friendly towards this kind of thing. What alternatives are being looked at?

MR. JOHNSON: There are other alternatives that can be considered -- overland or sea departure -- but right now we're concentrating on getting that charter approved. We believe that's the best way to go.

Q Can I ask you about the Latin America initiative? It sounds like the United States did everything in its power to dissuade these Latins from going ahead with this diplomatic initiative. Is that correct?

MR. JOHNSON: I wouldn't characterize it that way. I'd say that we have consulted with them. We've made our position clear that we believe a united and unequivocal position from all the countries in the region is the best way to induce the military regime in Haiti to depart.

Q You say it's clear, but could you make a clear statement, suggesting that the United States opposed any such initiative because it would send mixed signals to the junta?

MR. JOHNSON: Our effort has been to begin consultation to enforce U.N. Resolution 940, and that's where we're concentrating our efforts and where we're encouraging all countries, both in the region and without, to concentrate theirs as well.

Q Does that mean that the United States Government is practically abandoning the opportunity of negotiations or any chance for our administrations with the military junta?

MR. JOHNSON: We've made very clear that the only thing we believe that we have to negotiate is the modalities for the military departure.

Q What is the total for the number of boat people intercepted this week?

MR. JOHNSON: This week?

Q Or in the last 24 -- however you measure it.

MR. JOHNSON: There were seven interdicted yesterday in a single vessel, bringing the total since June 15 to 21,160. I don't have weekly statistics, but I'll be glad to see if somebody can get those for you. Since you're a weekly magazine, you may be interested in compiling them that way.

Q Can I go back to Bosnia for a moment.

Q One more on Haiti.

Q Okay, sure.

Q If it were the case, David, that the Latin American countries were opposed to the operation in Haiti, would this not affect a re-evaluation in U.S. policy, since initially it was considered that there would be some of these countries at least on board in supporting the operation. Doesn't that have a different reflection for the effects of this policy in Latin America?

MR. JOHNSON: I'd refer you back in terms of who's in opposition to the U.N. Security Council vote on Resolution 940, which there were none opposing, and I think that reflects the international community's belief that this is the way to proceed.

Q But it did occur in Argentina, if there has been a shift, for instance.

MR. JOHNSON: I think I've made clear that it's our belief that the stories about Argentina are a bit garbled.

Q I just want to ask you, after the previous incident, before the incident of last night at Sarajevo, after the previous incidents -- the shooting at the convoy and the killing of the British and the shooting of the French -- was the Secretary or Redman or anybody dealing with this issue here in touch with the U.N. or NATO trying to urge that -- as you said, to show resolve on this matter to suggest the possibility that NATO should not stand for this, for such provocations any further or with the U.N.? Did that message go forth from here to the U.N. or to NATO?

MR. JOHNSON: I'd say that we have been consulting actively, and the Secretary does on a daily basis, with the Contact Group Foreign Ministers and with his NATO colleagues, many of which overlap with them about how to address the Bosnia issue.

I'd also say that the question of issues such as close air support and attacks for violations of the exclusion zone are something which comes through the chain of command from UNPROFOR who are the people on the ground. And when General Rose made a request through his chain of command, we reacted very promptly.

Q I just wondered how -- whether you can characterize at all Christopher's attitude in these discussions? Did he say, "Back off and give the Serbs a chance," or did he say, if you can tell, that we should not allow -- that NATO and the U.N. should not allow such Serb provocations to go unanswered?

MR. JOHNSON: I think the Secretary has made a number of remarks directly from his lips over the last several days in Geneva, yesterday to a group of radio reporters. I'd be glad to give you a transcript of that, which I believe is a better reflection of how he feels than I could try to paraphrase him from here.

Q Any readouts on Geneva on the North Korean- U.S. talks?

MR. JOHNSON: Probably not anything that responds directly to that question. The talks began today at the U.S. Mission in Geneva at 10:00 a.m. in the morning, Geneva time. They broke for a working lunch at 1:00 p.m. and resumed their discussions in the afternoon.

I would expect that at about the time we conclude here, Ambassador Gallucci will be exiting from today's session. He expects to have an encounter with your colleagues in Geneva and will probably be making a statement at that point.

Q Can you characterize the talks at all?

MR. JOHNSON: I'd only say that when we went in, he said he hoped to pick up where they left off, and that's what I believe has been going on today. But I think I'll leave it to him to describe that in any detail he wishes.

Q David, when will you have some information from Ambassador Gallucci for us?

MR. JOHNSON: He will be speaking to the press this afternoon.

Q He will have a press conference there.

MR. JOHNSON: Yes.

Q Another topic.

MR. JOHNSON: Certainly.

Q Africa. Specifically Nigeria. The Reverend Jesse Jackson is back in town, but we haven't heard -- I haven't heard, at least, anything with regard to his trip, his assessment of the situation in Nigeria, and could you bring us up to date on that, and anything you might have about Algeria. I understand that things are getting pretty rough there.

MR. JOHNSON: I don't have a readout from the Reverend Jackson. I believe he's engaged in some meetings over the past few days with several officials here and in the White House, but I'll endeavor to get you something on that. I'd note that the Nigerian Labor Congress decided to suspend their strike yesterday. It was aimed at facilitating negotiations with the Government of Nigeria, but that many Nigerian oil workers continue to be out on strike.

I have no reports of violence today, but public transportation is light and power stations are closed due to the fuel shortage. To the best of our knowledge, all Americans are safe.

I would remind you that we have asked all Americans to exercise caution if they choose to travel to Nigeria.

Q Algeria.

MR. JOHNSON: Do you have anything specific you would like to know about Algeria?

Q Well, I understand that it's becoming less stable, governmentally. That's one of the dispatches that I read, that it could go to civil war.

MR. JOHNSON: Do you have a question in that?

Q I just wonder if you had a readout, if you had any guidance about Algeria, the Algerian crisis.

MR. JOHNSON: Pages and pages, but I would prefer a little more specificity. I'm not sure what you'd like for me to get at.

Q Let me back off that question and ask you if you might be able to get -- ask Reverend Jackson to come brief us.

MR. JOHNSON: I'll look into that for you.

Q Anything on Rwanda, David, the effect of the U.S. relief there?

MR. JOHNSON: In terms of political issues, we see that there's been some limited progress on political reconciliation in Rwanda; but the process is going to be a very gradual one and will require a concerted effort by all sectors of Rwandan society.

We're gratified that the new government is working to create conditions which will give the refugees the confidence that they can safely return home.

I'd note that there have been some positive, concrete achievements, including joint RPF-UNAMIR patrols, a stated willingness to allow the deployment of human rights monitors, and confirmation that there's going to be no rigorous screening of returning refugees.

I'd note that we've contributed $300,000 to the United Nations Human Rights Center in Geneva to help finance technical assistance for human rights in neighboring Burundi.

In terms of refugee relief, we believe that the solution to this refugee crisis, as well as any other of course, is for the refugees to be able to return voluntarily to their homes. We're working on several fronts to help create a secure context for repatriation, and helping to equip the United Nations Mission in Rwanda to deploy more widely there.

I'd note that the UNHCR is using radio broadcast to counter adverse rumors and disinformation, and that non- governmental organizations have begun to set up reception centers and relief distribution points for the returnees inside Rwanda.

By the end of the weekend, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees hopes to have five of these waystations functioning.

Finally, I'd note for you that Assistant Secretary John Shattuck is in the area to participate in discussions concerning accountability for the genocide that has taken place inside Rwanda.

Q At your suggestion, David, I went back to the transcript here with the Secretary. I don't find very much talking about Bosnia; just a little bit.

Let me ask you this: Was the action yesterday, or this morning or last night there, part of what was threatened by the Contact Group -- that is, the stricter enforcement of the exclusion zone?

MR. JOHNSON: I think I said earlier that it was in furtherance of existing U.N. and NATO authority but entirely consistent with the communique issued by the Contact Group last Saturday in Geneva.

Q And the Secretary was in touch with the people in the Contact Group and with the U.N. as this unfolded, or after he got back from Geneva?

MR. JOHNSON: He's been in touch with them during the course of the week and even today.

Q I just wonder whether why we're so hesitant of simply saying we're enforcing what we said we're going to enforce?

MR. JOHNSON: I'm not being hesitant at all. I'm telling you that we did this in furtherance of existing United Nations resolution and NATO decisions. It was entirely consistent with what the Contact Group Foreign Ministers said after their meeting last Saturday in Geneva.

I'm trying not to be equivocating in any way, shape, or form.

Q As far as this can be expected if --

MR. JOHNSON: If we have further incidents on the ground and if the chain of command at UNPROFOR request it, yes, you can expect NATO to react.

Q Those are things that are necessary that NATO and the U.N. must take, or whether it would be in furtherance of the consequences? The consequences of the Serbs turning down the peace plan seems to me to go further than the rules of engagement which until now have allowed the Serbs to get away with literally murder.

I'm just wondering whether this is part of the ratcheting-up and now it would be more strictly enforced than it was enforced earlier this week, or last week when the Britisher got killed?

MR. JOHNSON: I'd say that it is completely consistent with what has been in effect all along, but that I would note that one of the things in the communique was stricter enforcement of the exclusion zones and possible expansion of them, and plans for those are on-going.

Q Thank you.

MR. JOHNSON: Thank you.

(Press briefing concluded at 1:51 p.m.)

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