U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE ________________________________________________________ The State Department does not guarantee the authenticity of documents on the Internet. If for legal or other reasons you require the original version of a document in hard copy, please contact the Office of Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs. Note that State Department information is not copyrighted unless indicated and can be reproduced without consent. Citation of source is appreciated. Permission to reproduce any copyrighted material (including photos or graphics) must be obtained from the original source. ________________________________________________________ U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Friday, August, 26 1994 Briefer: Michael McCurry HAITI US Representatives Attend CARICOM Meeting/Visit Dominican Republic ......................... 1,6-7 SOMALIA US Mission Moving to Nairobi ................. 2 Lack of Progress in Peace Process ............ 2,5 Travel Warning ............................... 2-3 Prospects for UNISOM/UN Study ................ 3 Humaniterian Assistance ...................... 4 CUBA Safehavens/Rafters Picked Up/Repatriation .... 7-13 Contacts with US ............................. 9-10 Embargo/Economy .............................. 13-15 DEPARTMENT Secretary Returns to Washington .............. 15-16 ARMS CONTROL Statement on Nuclear Smuggeling by Russia/Germany 16 KOREA Discussions with US re: Expert-Level Talks ... 16-17
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 1994, 1:03 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the State Department. I've got two things to start with today.
The first is to tell you that Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Deputy Secretary of Defense John Deutch will travel to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic on Tuesday, August 30 A one-day trip.
They will go at the invitation of the Caribbean Community, CARICOM. CARICOM is having a meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and heads of military and police forces. They've called this meeting in Jamaica to discuss the contribution that they can make to the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 940 which deals with Haiti, as you all know.
Following their visit to Jamaica, the Deputy Secretaries -- plural -- will travel to the Dominican Republic to look at the status of enforcement of the U.N. sanctions against Haiti. They also plan to discuss with President Balaguer and others the steps being taken to implement the "Pact for Democracy," which is an agreement reached by Dominican political leaders to resolve some of the problems that stem from the May 16 elections in the Dominican Republic.
They are travelling on an aircraft that might, in fact, have a few seats available for press. So if anybody is interested in making that journey, contact David Johnson or Nancy Beck in our Press Office today. I do believe the Pentagon is going to making a similar announcement and probably a similar offer. So speak first and beat your Pentagon colleagues to the few seats that might be available.
The second item that some of you are already aware of: The United States Liaison Office in Mogadishu, Somalia, will relocate to Nairobi, Kenya, by September 15.
The decision to relocate USLO is a direct result of the continuing absence of progress towards national reconciliation in Somalia. The lack of progress has created dangerous conditions in Mogadishu which have made it increasingly difficult for our diplomatic personnel to do their work.
The relocation of the Liaison Office in Mogadishu does not affect our intention to maintain a program of assistance for the Somali people or to support the UN's efforts in Somalia. These activities will be carried on from Nairobi. In fact, most of those activities, in a humanitarian sense, do get coordinated from Nairobi now.
We remain committed to helping the Somali people achieve political reconciliation and preventing a return to the conditions that prompted the original action by the international community to intervene in Somalia.
The Liaison Office personnel will remain in touch with the situation in Somalia while they are based in Kenya with periodic visits to Somalia. And when conditions permit, we look forward to the resumption of a permanent diplomatic presence in Somalia.
Q Does that mean that the U.S. military presence off the shore that's still there will be withdrawn?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not sure of the status. There was a (inaudible) at one point there and it was moving -- it may have moved off shore. I'm not sure whether they're there now, but they were there in connection with the presence of the diplomatic personnel. My guess is they might be doing some redeployments, but I'd ask you to check at the Pentagon on that.
By the way, also on Somalia, we are replacing our existing travel warning on Somalia, to take note of the fact that we will cease operations at USLO and relocate to Nairobi. We have already got a fairly strong travel warning in place that advises American citizens not to travel. This warning will advise them to leave the country immediately and to contact USLO, if they're there, to make arrangements accordingly.
Q The usual question: How many Americans might be there?
MR. McCURRY: I'll run through. There are 25 --
MR. McCURRY: I'll do both. I anticipated that question. There are 25 diplomats currently attached to the Liaison Office. It was already in a drawdown state. There were 55 Marines as part of the security detail there. That's a total of 80. There are several hundred Americans presently in Somalia, including about 300 who work directly for UNOSOM or for UNOSOM contractors.
There are an additional 50 American relief workers that we know of in Somalia, but there are probably an unknown number of Somali-born American citizens. But we estimate, as I say, several hundred total.
Q American relief workers should withdraw as well?
MR. McCURRY: The warning advises all U.S. citizens presently in Somalia to leave the country.
Q If all of the relief workers withdraw, how are they going to continue with their humanitarian assistance?
MR. McCURRY: There is a U.N. mission still there -- UNOSOM. Countries will make their own decisions about the troops they have contributed to UNOSOM. UNOSOM itself, as you probably know, is going to be examined by the United Nations during the course of September. The Secretary General has asked for a report on the status of the mission and its future.
The current mandate for UNOSOM, I believe, expires at the end of September. So there will be a discussion coming up next month in the United Nations on the future of the mission itself.
Q Do you have anything there that tells you --
Q (Inaudible) the mission be withdrawn?
MR. McCURRY: The overall mission? We think that they have done very important work. Obviously, they've saved hundreds of thousands of lives during the course of the U.N. mission in Somalia. But the conditions that exist now in Mogadishu do not allow for the type of work towards national reconciliation that has been one of the purposes of that U.N. mission.
We will have to continue to assess the situation. We'll look at this U.N. report, discuss the future of UNOSOM with other members of the Security Council during the course of September.
The important thing is what we've said all along: the conditions depended on the willingness of the people of Somalia to take on their own responsibilities for self-government and for trying to create the institutions that would allow a civil government to operate. There's not been much progress on that front.
Q Mike, you're talking about the political unrest. The initial reason was economic. In October, when the Administration decided to draw down, Somalia was described as having recovered considerably economically, but there's still relief.
Do you have anything that tells you what the economic situation is now?
MR. McCURRY: By "economic situation," if you mean the conditions themselves --
Q Yeah, can they grow their own food?
MR. McCURRY: The famine has largely ended. That's been a very important success of the U.N. mission in Somalia. We were able to head off the famine. They have had conditions in which they've moved a lot of supplies there. But it's very clear that the humanitarian assistance will continue to be necessary, and we will continue to provide as much as $24 million worth of humanitarian assistance during the course of the current fiscal year and will likely continue that humanitarian assistance simply to help people stay alive.
They are going to continue to need that type of assistance because, among other things, they've not been able to develop the type of civil institutions that will allow for them to carry on anything resembling a normal life.
As I said, a lot of the humanitarian effort is currently based in Nairobi anyhow. That's where the U.N. coordinates a lot of their assistance efforts. So, in some sense, the Liaison Office personnel that will be based in Nairobi will be able to work very closely with the U.N. folks and non-governmental organizations, that will continue to work there.
Q Will the U.S. continue flying supplies into Somalia? They've been the backbone of that effort.
MR. McCURRY: We will continue our efforts to assist the United Nations. I'm not sure to what degree that involves transshipment of goods, but I can find out more on that.
Q State wanted to hang around for lots of reasons but one is so as not to discourage other countries so that they didn't pull out. You say, in September, this is going to come up for discussion at the U.N.
Aren't you concerned that other countries will fold their tents, too?
MR. McCURRY: I think other countries will make their own decisions on their contribution of troops to the United Nations, but I'm sure that our decision will have impact on their own thinking.
I'll make it clear, we have believed and do believe that the presence of that mission has made a difference in the life of Somalia. There has just not been sufficient progress towards reconciliation to justify keeping that mission there. There's been fighting in the capital in recent days. There's been some deaths of UNOSOM personnel, I believe, as you know. There have been harassment of relief workers and harassment of some of the shipments of goods moving around the country.
Unfortunately, there's just very little sign at this point that the faction leaders themselves are going to make the kind of compromise that is necessary to make any progress in a peace process.
We have been working closely with the Pentagon and looking at this situation. Secretary Christopher and Secretary Perry are of like mind about this and have been watching the situation. But we've said all along that at any point we determine that the conditions just did not exist for our own efforts there to be successful, we would have to reconsider the presence of our own mission there. That's what we have now done and determined that we need to withdraw the mission to Kenya.
Q The message to the Somalis is basically, "We warned you."
MR. McCURRY: We have said all along -- in fact, even when we notified Mr. Aideed of this within the past several days. He even acknowledged that we have made clear all along that the responsibility lies with the people of Somalia to take some responsibility themselves for their own lives. That includes those who are leaders of the clans and the sub-clans. Unfortunately, we haven't seen that happen.
But the premise of our participation within the U.N. effort and what we've said all along is that at some point the future belongs to the people of Somalia themselves. They have not taken up that responsibility.
Q But unfortunately the fate of millions -- those millions of people rests in the hands of a few leaders like Aideed.
MR. McCURRY: That is correct. I wouldn't say we don't have a lot of optimism about it, but there has been an effort within the largest of the five clans in Somalia to keep some type of reconciliation process moving. This has been done courtesy of Imam of Herab and we have encouraged that process, encouraged that type of dialogue, and it is within the capacity, we believe, of the leaders of the clans to achieve the type of reconciliation that would allow a more normal life to take root. But we have not seen it.
Q Mike, I believe that the Pentagon announced that it was going to take out these so-called "fast Marines" by the 14th of this month. To what extent was the desire of the Pentagon to get these people out of there a factor, or did it force the State Department to have to make this decision?
MR. McCURRY: No, Barry. As I said, you may have heard some indications along the way of that, but the important discussions between Pentagon and State occurred between the two Secretaries, and the two Secretaries have worked the problem and seen it in much the same light. I'm not aware that there was any disagreement between them over how we ought to proceed.
They had concerns about the fast units, fast Marine units that were there. They worked out an arrangement by which they could stay, but we agreed, too, that we needed to assess the situation on the ground in Somalia and be cognizant of what could be done and wouldn't ask the Pentagon to provide protection for our diplomats if there was no purpose in having the diplomats there. And I think that's the assessment that the two Secretaries made.
Q On your Haiti announcement, is it fair to say that at least in part this trip is trying to show Cedras and his group that we haven't lost focus on them despite the Cuban crisis currently going on?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not sure when the meeting of the CARICOM Ministers and others was planned or when the invitations went out for that, but this has been in the works for some time, I think, before the recent exodus from Cuba that has kept Cuba in the news in the last several days. But it might serve that purpose, and that would be a useful purpose.
Q Do you expect formal announcements by Caribbean countries with specific numbers in terms of contributions to Phase I?
MR. McCURRY: If I expected that, I wouldn't say so. We'll just have to wait and see. We don't know. Clearly, an item of discussion will be those aspects of the U.N. resolution that deal with the multinational force. That will clearly be part of the agenda.
Q That's the multinational peacekeeping force afterwards or the multinational invasion force?
MR. McCURRY: No. They will talk both about, as we call it, Phase I and Phase II -- the multinational force outlined in Phase I, as explained within the resolution, and then UNMIH, which is the U.N. mission that would follow any work done by a multinational force.
Q But what the Administration (inaudible) though, without doubt, is that other countries will imminently announce their intention of taking in Cubans. That was Monday and then Tuesday.
MR. McCURRY: Those announcements, should they occur, would be welcome.
Q But, I mean, now it's something that might not happen?
MR. McCURRY: Well, we'll have to see. Maybe they can get some work done in that direction as part of this journey.
Q No, I mean, has there been some change in logistical planning where you'll pack as many as you can into Guantanamo and now you don't need other countries, or they weren't willing to cooperate, so you have to pack more people into Guantanamo?
MR. McCURRY: Let me shift gears. You're talking about --
MR. McCURRY: -- the discussions that have been underway with some of the countries in the region on safehavens.
Q Yes. That's what I meant. I'm sorry. I thought --
MR. McCURRY: I thought you were talking about contributions to --
Q No, no, no.
MR. McCURRY: -- to the U.N. force.
Q The haven announcement was coming Monday, was coming Tuesday, was coming Wednesday, and it's Friday and it hasn't come. So I wondered if you're having a problem.
MR. McCURRY: No. We're not having a problem. We just don't have announcements. (Laughter)
Q Would those announcements still be welcome? (Laughter)
MR. McCURRY: Those announcements would also be welcome. We have to leave it up to individual countries to make those announcements. I believe the Government of Mexico may have indicated today earlier that they were going to be willing to take some relatives of people. So you are seeing, I think, some individual governments stepping forward, and we hope several more will step forward shortly, but I'm not aware that there's any problem in that respect. There are just some things that -- we will not make those announcements on behalf of countries that should properly make those announcements themselves.
Q Mike, regarding Phase I, has there been any country, apart from Argentina which then withdrew its idea, to participate in Phase I?
MR. McCURRY: There have been good, productive discussions with other countries, yes.
Q No country has publicly committed itself to participate, apart from Argentina which then withdrew its commitment, is that right?
MR. McCURRY: I am not aware that anyone else publicly has made an announcement. I can double-check that and see if there's any change. (TO STAFF) Do you guys know, by any chance? We can check on that.
Q Do you have the latest numbers, and do you have any indications that the message is getting through?
MR. McCURRY: It's hard to tell. The latest numbers some of you got yesterday -- yesterday's number I'll do first. One thousand six hundred sixty-three Cubans rescued by the Coast Guard yesterday. But so far as of 10 o'clock this morning -- that's the latest batch of numbers I have -- there have only been 87 retrieved in the straits so far as of 10 o'clock today.
A couple things: Obviously, we continue to urge Cubans not to risk their lives at sea. There is very bad weather in these seas now and expected for the next several days, and the type of weather we're seeing could instantly capsize some of these flimsy rafts that people are using to risk their lives as they make this voyage. It's not a good idea under any circumstances, but it's an especially bad idea now with the weather that they're experiencing.
We also continue to stress that the legal course to immigration that's available in Cuba through the Interests Section, the in-country process, is the right way to go. That results in safe, legal and orderly migration which are the objectives that we're pursuing.
By the way, I know I'm starting late and cheating you out of this, but some of you know that there's a BACKGROUND briefing over at the White House at 1:30. This is on the regulations concerning some of the issues that the President discussed Saturday on remittances and limited air travel that we've been talking about. But we have a couple of people who are going to outline some of that later on.
Q Have the Cubans shown an interest in resuming migration talks?
MR. McCURRY: We've indicated to them that we are prepared to discuss immigration issues, as the President said yesterday, and they have -- you ask if they expressed interest. I think they have expressed interest.
Q They have? But not exclusively. What, a limited -- they've expressed interest in talking only about migration?
MR. McCURRY: I wouldn't say that. Have they expressed an interest in having those talks? I think the answer is yes, they've expressed some interest.
Q But they're interested in broader talks. Is the U.S. still implacably opposed to broader talks?
MR. McCURRY: We are exactly where Under Secretary Tarnoff had us yesterday on that.
MR. McCURRY: We have discussions with them through the Interests Section from time to time.
Q So they (inaudible) are willing to consider it or --
MR. McCURRY: They've just expressed some interest. That was the question.
Q No date set or anything like that.
MR. McCURRY: No, no. Nothing like that that I'm aware of.
Q On the question of cost, the Pentagon put out some figures yesterday -- I think $100 million for Guantanamo and $20 million a month. At what point does the cost of this operation become a factor in the policy- making or this policy? Is there a point at which cost becomes a factor?
MR. McCURRY: This policy, because it deals with the question of immigration and what happens to people when they are intercepted at the high seas cannot be driven by costs. We are certainly painfully aware of the costs that will exist to house these people indefinitely or however long at Guantanamo. But that cannot be the motivating factor in deciding how to deal with those who would attempt to illegally enter the United States. We have to be very firm and clear about that, as the President indicated yesterday.
Q Could we go back to (inaudible) have expressed some interest. Are you waiting to hear more from them on that?
MR. McCURRY: We'll see how things go.
Q What is the state of play? Who speaks the next words?
MR. McCURRY: I will check and get exactly the sequence of how that goes. Through the Interests Section we have contact with them from time to time.
Q Who runs their Interest Section? Who runs the U.S. Interest Section? I mea, what country? Where's it housed? Switzerland?
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Back to a previous issue raised. Is Argentina -- have they indeed withdrawn their participation in Phase I of the planned Haiti operation?
MR. McCURRY: I would have challenged the premise of Barry's question, because I think they have said some things publicly subsequent to the initial announcement that they made, and I'll go back and check on that. But I believe that there was some additional things that they said publicly after the initial announcement that they would participate, and we continue to have good discussions with them, I might add.
Q If I could move to the topic of Cuba and ask about safety in the water and the weather -- the tropical weather situation -- does the United States Government have a plan to advise, to warn, the Cubans? Are we cooperating in doing this through the Interests Section with the Cuban Government to keep the people out of the water when, say, there's a couple of days notice on a tropical system, and they don't know where it's going?
MR. McCURRY: We are doing everything we can to make sure that the danger of this voyage is made very clear to those in Cuba who might attempt it. Through our own international broadcasting, we certainly are making citizens aware of the likelihood of very bad weather. Of course, some of that, I think, will be obvious to the citizens of Cuba themselves. But we are attempting to get that message out.
More importantly, we're consistently sending the message that there is no prospect of entering the United States by getting on a raft and heading out into the Florida straits. From the Attorney General, the President on down, that message has been going out very loud and, we hope, very clearly.
Q Mike, are they continuing to block Radio Marti?
MR. McCURRY: I believe they've done some things to boost the signal and to get some additional lines on the spectrum available, but I would refer you over to -- USIA would be the best place to do this. We've done some things, I think, to try to make sure that those broadcasts can be received.
Q But are the Cubans still attempting to interfere with it?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know the answer to that. USIA would be able to help on that.
Q Mike, the INS Commissioner yesterday expressed some optimism that over perhaps even a short period of time a lot of Cubans would get fed up with the austere conditions at Guantanamo and opt to be repatriated, but nobody over there could really explain any kind of mechanism for getting them back to Cuba. Do you have any information on that?
MR. McCURRY: I don't. I know that in the past they've used -- there is a way that you can -- or there's a walkway there, but I'm not sure how they would effect that. I've heard some discussion of that, but there are ways that they can be transported through some kind of passageway that does exist, but I don't know how they would carry that out.
Q I gather in the past, that was a sort of surreptitious middle-of-the-night opening and one or two people could go back home. But there's no situation where like Coast Guard cutters could deposit these people on a beach or a dock somewhere?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of, and they would have to make arrangements. When I checked on this yesterday, no one was able to make it clear to me how they would do that, if there was a desire to be voluntarily returned back to Cuba.
Q I believe the INS Commissioner said that a small number had indeed been repatriated, but she wasn't sure of the details. Do you have a number?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have a number, no. I'll see if I can check and get from either INS or from the Pentagon some more on that, and add to it how that would actually happen, if they've figured that out. I don't know that that has been resolved at this point.
Q This is a technical question that you may or may not have an answer to. Regarding those people who have managed to get to this country and are now in detention at Krome and other places in detention. It has been said that they are theoretically eligible to apply to be refugees, and that other aspects of immigration law will apply to them.
In that umbrella -- the other aspects of immigration law that would apply to them -- would the option of legal immigration be included in that, or does that have to be something that's done in-country?
MR. McCURRY: I will have to check on that, Barrie. My understanding was that there was a benefit available as a result of the Cuban Adjustment Act.
Q No. Actually, it's not under the Cuban Adjustment Act.
MR. McCURRY: This is a separate question.
Q At least according to what Ms. Meissner said and also what Janet Reno said. They said that they would be detained, that they could apply to be refugees, or they would be dealt with under general immigration law. So my question is under that umbrella is legal immigration one of the possible options?
MR. McCURRY: One of the possibilities. We'll get an answer from INS on that. I believe it has to be. (TO STAFF) Anyone?
These are folks who have gone through Consular training over here that are better on that kind of question than I am.
MR. McCURRY: Yes. We're going to go to INS to get the answer, so we don't botch it.
Q Secretary Tarnoff has made it clear that internal conditions in Cuba are not something that the United States has any interest in negotiating, and this is the reason why there's no reason for talks right now. On the other hand, we do have an embargo in place against Cuba, and there doesn't seem to be any outstanding foreign policy or bilateral issues between these two countries.
Can you say what precisely is the objective of the embargo, and what does that indicate about our concern about internal conditions in Cuba?
MR. McCURRY: The embargo that's been in place is consistent with the efforts to isolate Cuba diplomatically, has been an effort, a mechanism of pressure on the regime to realize that changes are necessary.
Q Internal changes.
MR. McCURRY: It is also no doubt a way in which some of the conditions that would lead to those changes can be exacerbated. That has been one of the premises of the policy for all these many years, but the embargo itself, even as recently as the Cuban Democracy Act, has been recodified as a principal tool to bring pressure on that regime to change, which is what we seek --
Q To make internal changes --
MR. McCURRY: -- as a way to bring peaceful pressures to bear on that regime to change.
Q Are we talking about changes within -- so on the one hand, we are concerned about thinking about internal changes to Cuba but not to talk about it.
MR. McCURRY: There is nothing that Under Secretary Tarnoff said that indicated we don't have concern about the conditions that exist in Cuba, nor is there any reason that we would not want to see things happen that would indicate change in Cuba -- a range of things that we've talked about so often in the past, from freeing political prisoners to allowing commerce to develop, to allow people to have some freedom of expression and freedom of assembly -- in short, enjoy those benefits of freedom and democracy that now almost the rest of the world yearns for and is getting.
That's exactly the change that we would expect a communist country to consider, if it in fact wanted to be on the right side of history. But that is not at the moment, unfortunately, the type of change that Fidel Castro seems to be willing to embrace, and that is the reason why there doesn't seem to be any point in talking to them. He has to get in touch with the citizens of his country. That's the dialogue that needs to occur, as the Under Secretary suggested yesterday. And, if he were in touch with the citizens of his country and understood how they're suffering under his brand of totalitarian command style economics, the likelihood that he would see the need for the types of changes that we've encouraged through the embargo and through our diplomatic efforts would be manifestly clear to him.
Q Do you think the economic embargo has been effective?
MR. McCURRY: It has had its effect. It hasn't been effective because the purpose of the embargo is to achieve the change in Cuba that we seek. That's the purpose of it. It hasn't been successful in the sense that it has not provoked the type of change in Cuba that we expect. It might over time, and it clearly may be one of those things contributing to the sense that change is about to happen in Cuba.
Q It is effective, then. All of Cuba's economic problems are not domestic in origin? At least, some of them, if it is the effect of the embargo, are external; right?
MR. McCURRY: Cuba has enormous trade opportunities with other countries. The U.S. embargo is, as you know, a unilateral one. There are other countries that freely trade with Cuba. Castro cannot point to the U.S. embargo as the reason why his economy is in shatters. The truth is, as he most likely knows, that it's his brand of communist economics that has put that economy in shambles.
We've seen this all over the world now. There's not a functioning communist-style, totaliatarian-style command and control economy that is rational and that works. They have all failed.
The only thing that you can do with that type of economy is to try to liberalize it or reform it. Those that make those steps towards change are the only ones that have much prospect for improving the lives of its own citizens.
Q Are you encouraging other countries not to trade or invest in Cuba?
MR. McCURRY: We have. Cuba is a regular subject of discussion. Any time there is a OAS meeting -- often, when there are U.N. meetings. When there are diplomatic discussions about the hemisphere, they always include a review of the situation in Cuba, almost as a matter of routine. Not all countries share our point of view, as you know, George. But we do press our view that we need to continue to press for the type of change we're describing.
Q Well, that's one thing. It's another thing to ask them to refrain from trading with Cuba or making investments in Cuba.
MR. McCURRY: They are aware of our policy. We have encouraged other countries to consider the merits of our policy. I don't know if we have specifically recently encouraged countries not to conduct trade with Cuba. I can check on that. I'm not aware of any diplomatic overture of that nature.
We have certainly urged other countries to consider the merits of our policy.
Q Now that the Secretary is back, do you find --
MR. McCURRY: He's over at the White House this morning, as you know. He came back -- I think there sort of an agreement simultaneously at the White House and here at the Department that it didn't make a lot of sense for him to try to spend vacation on the telephone. He thought it wise, and I think the President thought it wise, for him to be back here; among other things, to participate today in the regular Friday working meeting that they have with the President and the Vice President on foreign policy issues. So that's where the Secretary was this morning.
I understand that, in addition to Cuba, I believe that Special Advisor Gray was there and they did some work on Haiti this morning. Most of this was just sort of a review of the events of the last week and discussion of some of the aspects of the sanctions regulations that are being discussed over at the White House now.
But beyond that, the Secretary plans to do a little work on a variety of problems while he's here -- Cuba, Bosnia will certainly be on the agenda.
Q Might he return to California for a few days?
MR. McCURRY: I think he would like to. He would like to try to get back with his family by Labor Day; so he could spend Labor Day out there. I believe that's his plan. We are encouraging him to do so.
He will certainly take account of what the press of business is here and make a judgment as we get into next week.
Q The question has to do with the visit of Herr Schmidbauer and his fellows to Russia. The topic, of course, is of fissionables out of control. Has the United States Government been advised about the results? It's been over a week since they've met and I haven't seen much.
MR. McCURRY: I saw something. I didn't have anything today on it. (TO STAFF) Did you guys have anything on that earlier in the week?
I believe we have had some contact with him. Certainly, they had a very public statement that they issued about the cooperation that Germany and Russia plans to deal with the issue. They, as you know, had some statements about the source of the material that was in German possession. They had a statement to cover that aspect of it, but I'll check and see if we've got anything more on that.
Q Can I just sneak one last one in? I gather it's already happened, but do you have anything on this Saudi diplomat who apparently has been given asylum?
MR. McCURRY: The Press Office has got some. I didn't bring it in with me, but we had a little piece on that yesterday.
Q One more, please. Could you give us an update of the further talks of the working groups concerning North Korea?
MR. McCURRY: There was not much new on that. They met yesterday. This was a working-level meeting to discuss some expert level talks that will be held before the resumption of the high-level talks on September 23. They had a good session yesterday but there wasn't a decision on dates or when they will actually do the expert talks. I believe they're going to continue to do some work on that. They were going to go back and consult with some of the more senior people in both governments and then resume the discussion of when they will have those expert talks.
Q When is the North Korean representative coming to Washington, D.C. in preparation for talks with the United States about the installation of the Liaison Office?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware of that. I'll have to check on that. Have they said that they are coming to do that?
Q Yes. One of the representatives is coming.
MR. McCURRY: Is there a representative coming here?
Q To Washington, D.C. for reported talks in Geneva or somewhere?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware of that. I'll have to check on that.
Q Can you comment on that?
MR. McCURRY: I'll check and see if we can something.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:40 p.m.)
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