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 OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING AUGUST 29, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, August, 29 1994 Briefer: Michael McCurry HAITI Assassination of Father Jean-Marie Vincent ...1-2 Support for UN Military Force for Phase I/II .2-3 US Representatives to Attend CARICOM Meeting .2-3 UN Discussions re: Mission to Haiti .........3-4 CUBA Discussions with US in New York ..............4-7 Migration to US ..............................4-5,13 Boatpeople Picked Up/Safehavens/Costs ........11,16-17 US Conditions for Easing Embargo/Dialogue ....12,13 BOSNIA Serb Border Closing/Sanctions ................8-9 -- Visit by Russian Foreign Minister to Serbia .....................................8-9 -- Secretary's Contacts with Russian FM .....8 POPULATION Cairo Conference/Terrorist Threats ...........10-11 CHINA Status of Human Rights .......................13-14 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS US Aid in Implementing Declaration of Principles .................................14-15 NORTH KOREA Reported Rejection of Light-Water Reactor by South ......................................15 Discussions with US re: Expert-Level Talks ...16
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, AUGUST 29, 1994, 12:47 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon, everybody and welcome to the State Department. I've got a statement I would like to start with on Haiti, and then we will take other questions.
This is based on a report from our Embassy. We understand from our Embassy in Port au Prince that Father Jean-Maria Vincent was assassinated last night around 8:30 by unknown assailants using automatic weapons. Father Jean-Maria Vincent was a supporter of President Aristide.
We condemn this murder in the strongest terms. There is a pattern now of violence, intimidation and human rights violations in Haiti that the Haitian military and police allow to continue with complete impunity. That is utterly deplorable.
Human rights are being pervasively violated in Haiti. Human rights abuses have both quantitatively and qualitatively worsened in recent months, often including senseless violence directed against ordinary citizens.
Last year's brutal assassinations of prominent pro- Aristide activist Antoine Izmery and Justice Minister Guy Malary were clear attempts to destroy key leaders and intimidate their followers. The assassination of Father Jean-Maria Vincent follows this tragic pattern.
Our message to those who continue these inhuman and senseless assassinations is clear. You cannot intimidate the international community. Your crimes only increase our outrage and strengthen our resolve to rid Haiti of your abuses.
Make no mistake, outrages such as these reinforce the determination of the international community to take all necessary means to bring about the early restoration of democracy in Haiti. We are actively working with other governments now to this end.
The international community will not get tired, will not give up, will not look away. Jean-Maria Vincent and the other victims of your abuses will not be forgotten.
Q Can you give us (inaudible) an accounting? Names would be preferable, of course. How you are doing in your three rosters, the nations that would be willing to participate in an invasion, the nations that would monitor the sanctions and the nations that would pick up afterward and be peacekeeping forces?
According to a newspaper account today, you know, the invasions had to be put on hold. But when it speaks of drawing up the support, it sounds like you don't have as much support as you might want.
MR. McCURRY: Well, I think we are doing better than those reports indicate in getting support both for the multinational force, which is outlined in Phase I of U.N. Security Council Resolution 940, and also in recruiting participants for the follow-on U.N. mission, the UNMIH, which would be there to carry on the other aspects of activities outlined in Phase II of the resolution.
You all know that Deputy Secretary of Defense John Deutch and Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott are going to Jamaica tomorrow to meet with CARICOM leaders. I would prefer to leave it to them -- I think tomorrow they are going to be focused precisely on this question, talking about support within the region and within the hemisphere for our efforts to bring about a return of democracy to Haiti, and I will defer to them. But I can say that we do expect to see support within the region, and we are confident that a lot of our patient diplomacy these recent weeks to build support for this multinational force will be successful, and is proving to be successful.
Q: How about the notion that Phase I may be deferred until after the elections here?
MR. McCURRY: I gave my answer some time ago to this question, which is: I'm not going to get into questions of timing. I not going to telegraph the type of punch that the world community is ready to deliver.
Q: When will Talbott and Deutch be available? You mentioned they will focus on it tomorrow. Where?
MR. McCURRY: Well, on this trip tomorrow they will be, I think, meeting with the press at several points during their visit. Isn't that correct? David Johnson will be going with them. So you might want to check with him afterwards. They have got some time set out that they are going to be doing --
Q: Will one or both be available when they come back?
MR. McCURRY: We'll see if we can make them available. If that's possible, we will, but I think they will probably have some things to say during the course of the day tomorrow, too. I'll check with both of them.
Q Will either of them be available today?
MR. McCURRY: No, they are not -- they are working on a variety of things today and will not be available today.
Q Will they be on McNeil/Lehrer or anything of that sort? I mean, they will not be public today before they go?
MR. McCURRY: I don't believe so, no. Not that I'm aware of. I can't actually -- I can speak in the case of Strobe, but I'm not sure about John Deutch. You would probably want to ask over at the Pentagon.
Q I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Your phrase that you are prepared to use "all necessary means," does that -- do you mean to address the reports that Barry referred to, which is that the invasion plans have gone off the fast track and are now put on a back burner?
MR. McCURRY: Well, that is just entirely incorrect. The planning has continued. The diplomacy to build the force that would be capable of implementing U.N. Security Resolution 940 has continued. It is the preference of the world community not to use all necessary means, as you well know, because we prefer to see a peaceful resolution to this crisis. But events such as the one we were discussing today, the murder of an innocent cleric and the types of human rights abuses that continue, do lend urgency to the need to put together those measures that are defined by the United Nations in Security Council Resolution 940.
Q Do you have anything on the activities of a U.N. mission in Santo Domingo? A representative of the Haiti's generals is in Santo Domingo, as I understand it, to receive a letter from Boutros Boutros-Ghali?
MR. McCURRY: There has been discussion at the United Nations about the possibility of a mission that would be in furtherance of peaceful implementation of Security Council Resolution 940. I believe that was to be conducted under the auspices of the U.N. Secretary General. And I would direct you to the United Nations for any comment on that mission.
Q Do you have a date for the U.S.-Cuba talks?
MR. McCURRY: We understand, I think, subject to travel arrangements, we believe that the Cuban delegation will be arriving, I think, on Wednesday in New York. They are looking for, probably, a U.N. venue, and we expect those emigration talks to, you know, commence sometime towards the middle or end of the week, probably lasting two or three days is our best guess.
Q Would that be coming around the middle of -- the level of the U.S. official who (inaudible).
MR. McCURRY: Our delegation will be headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Inter-American Affairs Mike Skol. These talks have been conducted at various points in the past, either sort of the equivalent of the office director level, what we call a coordinator for Cuban affairs, and sometimes at the deputy assistant secretary level. In this case, it will be our Deputy Assistant Secretary.
Q Who will be on this delegation, Mike? INS people or -- ?
MR. McCURRY: There will be some INS folks. There may be other Justice participants, as well. They have done some work in the Inter-Agency Working Group on issues related to these talks in the past, and will continue to coordinate with other agencies as they prepare for the talks.
Q Did I understand you to say it would be at the U.N., the venue?
MR. McCURRY: I'd say a U.N.-related venue. There has been some discussion about using one of the missions up there, but I don't know that they have finalized those details yet.
Q The Secretary spoke yesterday about the possibility of enlarging the number of Cubans who might come through in-country processing. Could you give us a better idea about how that might be done?
MR. McCURRY: Well, there are, as you heard, I think, over the last week, a lot of long briefs, about immigration policy as it has developed concerning Cuba and as it flows from this bilateral dialogue we have had with Cuba since 1984. There are anywhere -- the number has been 20 up to 28 thousand slots or transfers that have been negotiated, and there are ways in which we believe you could, as the Secretary suggested yesterday, enhance the legal, safe, orderly migration of Cubans who wish to come to the United States.
There are things that we can talk about with the Cuban Government that would relate to that. There are also steps that the United States could take to enhance or increase the number who immigrate legally and lawfully from Cuba.
We are interested in that because we are precisely disinterested in seeing any continuation of the unsafe migration that we have seen in the Florida straits. It is enormously dangerous. Even today the weather has cleared somewhat, but the seas are three to six feet, and the wind is blowing, and individuals who take to the high seas in flimsy craft probably are going to end up drowning, and our interest is in a very humanitarian way aimed at stopping that type of reckless behavior.
Q Mike, in the New York talks, will the U.S. bring up -- what is it? -- some 125,000 criminals, the Mariel people? Are they part of the agenda?
MR. McCURRY: In the previous, I believe, 11 sessions that we've had with Cuba in this bilateral dialogue, the status of cases dating all the way back to the Mariel boat lift, including a number that are currently incarcerated in U.S. penal institutions have been part of that dialogue. We would expect to continue to press that part of the discussion. Indeed, we have discussed that in the past with the Government of Cuba and we'd expect to continue doing so.
Q Will the procedures for people who want to voluntary repatriate themselves be also high on the agenda? Or have you worked that out already?
MR. McCURRY: We have had a process in the past by which we voluntarily return those who wish to be voluntarily returned to Cuba, and we would hope those would remain in place. We're not aware of any change in the Cuban Government's view on that. Indeed, we've had some cases of people expressing an interest of those who are currently at Guantanamo.
That subject may come up in these talks, but our view is that we already have an established procedure that works well in those types of cases.
Q (Inaudible) of them actually using the northeast gate to get people just to file out of there on the way home?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not sure exactly how they do it. My understanding is they do have a gate -- we have a way of notifying the Cuban Government when we would like to see it open to accept the voluntary return of individuals. That's the way it has worked in the past.
Q Of those who have asked -- are those presently at Guantanamo?
MR. McCURRY: I haven't checked as of today. I should check later. We'll put that down, and we'll check and see how many have expressed an interest. I was told it was a couple of hundred over the weekend.
Q Mike, I'm wondering about an agenda; I mean in a strict sense. Presumably, when people sit down at a table, they can talk about whatever they want to talk but you want to have fairly restricted talks. Will there be an agenda agreed upon before they sit down? Or will you just go in and make your point about what it is you're here to talk about, or what?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware that we've had any pre- negotiation with them on the agenda. We did make the Cuban Government aware of our statement that we issued on Saturday, indicating our desire was to solely focus these talks on the question of legal safe and orderly migration from Cuba and to embody those types of discussions that we've had in this same format in the past. They are certainly aware that's our view, and we are aware they believe that there are issues that may be pertinent to this discussion. So we expect that they may bring those up.
From the point of the United States view, our determination is to keep these talks focused on the one subject that we can some type of dialogue with Cuba about, and that is the subject of migration.
Q Do you have any comment on the Cuban decision to prevent (inaudible) and boats, etc., with children aboard from leaving?
MR. McCURRY: If such a policy by the Cuban Government is designed to discourage those from taking a very unsafe journey and to come to the United States illegally, we would welcome steps to discourage that type of immigration.
We are in favor of legal, safe, and orderly migration, and steps to discourage illegal immigration that is highly unsafe would be welcome. We will watch to see how this order, apparently from Castro himself, we will watch to see how it is implemented in coming days.
Q Ever since the policy changed on Cuban migrants, have the number of people walking in in Havana, has that changed at all? Trying in-country --
MR. McCURRY: Those seeking in-country process? I have not seen -- I don't have a workup on that. That's a good questions, and I don't have anything on the numbers that -- I don't believe I have anything on the numbers.
We'll get some reporting out of Havana from our Interests Section on that. The process is available, and we have a process -- you can check later -- we've got some indication of the numbers that have been done in the past. We had about 2,300 admitted to the United States from that processing so far in FY-94. I'll see if there's been any increase in recent days as a result of us indicating to the people of Cuba that there is a safe and legal way to immigrate.
Q Last week, you all were saying that the blockade around Haiti, to try to prevent smuggling to that country, was not being affected by ships being pulled off for use in Cuba.
MR. McCURRY: If you will rephrase the question and use the word "embargo," I'll be much more comfortable.
Q Insert "embargo."
MR. McCURRY: Insert "embargo."
Q That that operation was not being affected by the Cuban operation, would you like to re-evaluate that?
MR. McCURRY: That the --
Q That the smuggling -- that you all have been able to control the smuggling into Haiti of gas and other goods?
MR. McCURRY: I'll check with the Pentagon on that. They judge what they need to deploy in the region and work with the Coast Guard to see what type of deployment they've got both around Haiti and the waters off Haiti and in the Florida straits to deal with Cuba.
I've heard the Pentagon officials say several times that they're determined to keep afloat what is necessary to do the job.
Q There are persistent reports that the smuggling has increased?
MR. McCURRY: We'll look into those reports. I know they take every step they can to provide the resources necessary to both fulfill our obligations to the world community, as it relates to the U.N. order sanctions against Haiti, and then also to protect our own borders as it relates to an attempt at illegal immigration by Cubans.
Q Also, Mike, do you have anything on the refugees that we have been trying to get out of Haiti?
MR. McCURRY: They are working on that problem. There's not much that I will say about it out of concern about the safety and security of those who we hope will be beginning their journey to the United States shortly.
Q On Bosnia? Things appear to be heating up a little bit. There's been some letters back and forth between Moscow and Washington.
Mr. Kozyrev went to Belgrade yesterday and reportedly asked -- told Milosevic that they might ease the ban on commercial traffic and participation in sporting events in advance of stationing monitors on the border. Could you talk a little bit about that exchange and whether we support that approach?
MR. McCURRY: We haven't had a full readout of Foreign Minister Kozyrev's sessions in Belgrade as of briefing time today.
Secretary Christopher did send a letter to Foreign Minister Kozyrev just to reaffirm some of our own strong views on what needs to happen now as we pressure the Bosnian Serbs further to reconsider their refusal to this point to accept the Contact Group proposal. We apparently will have results soon on the referendum that occurred over this weekend that will likely indicate a continued refusal to support that proposal by the Contact Group.
But, in any event, our understanding of Foreign Minister Kozyrev's mission to Belgrade is that he was going to reiterate many of those things that the Contact Group itself agreed to in Geneva. Among them was the idea that there would not be any easing of sanctions on the part of Mr. Milosevic's regime or any sanctions on his regime until we could verify that there was a determined effort on his part to close that border.
There are different reports on the degree to which Belgrade is currently shutting down that border. There is some indicating that he has been prohibiting certain types of traffic. Part of the problem is, we don't have a way to really monitor that type of border activity.
One thing, as a result, the world community would like to see, the Contact Group would like to see, is some type of international presence in that monitoring. So we've suggested that would be a very useful way for Mr. Milosevic and the regime in Belgrade to indicate that they are serious about keeping that border closed.
Foreign Minister Kozyrev, I believe accurately, indicated that if they took those types of steps and agreed to those types of steps, there might be some possibility of easing sanctions.
Q Michael, just to follow up. What about the approach by Kozyrev that says, let's ease it a little bit to get him to let us verify it? Whereas, this Administration thinks you need to verify it first and then ease a little bit.
MR. McCURRY: We'll see how he structured the argument. It is pretty clear that we need an agreement from Milosevic to allow some verification, some presence, some international presence, that understands what's going on on the border in order for there to be any significant lifting of sanctions.
I'll have to learn more about Foreign Minister Kozyrev's discussions with Milosevic before I can comment on what he might have offered by way of encouraging that type of agreement.
Q Do you have any sanctions left to impose on Nigeria for their bad behavior? There are suspicions down there you're about to do something additional. There isn't much left to do, I don't think.
MR. McCURRY: Since the election was aborted last June, we had taken a lot of steps to withhold certain types of assistance, and we remain very concerned about the actions of General Abacha. But I would have to go back and look and see if there are any other diplomatic tools that are available to us at this point.
Those types of assistance that are easily withheld as a signal of our strong objections to the conduct of the government, we've, in a sense, used. I'll have to check and see if there's anything left.
Q (Inaudible) real quick. What is Mr. Holbrooke -- why is he going to Sarajevo and --
MR. McCURRY: I've got a note here that says, "Do not confirm that Holbrooke is going to Germany," ON THE RECORD. But, if you can do it ON BACKGROUND, if you have to. So you can ask me later.
MR. McCURRY: To the Balkans. I'll just leave it at that. Does that confirm it? Who knows. We'll see. That's a journalistic dilemma, not a briefer's dilemma.
Q There's a wire story this morning saying that Saudi Arabia would not participate in the population conference in Cairo. Do you have any reaction to that?
MR. McCURRY: No, I had not heard that. I'll get something on that. This is a statement from the government?
Q I believe so.
MR. McCURRY: Okay. I had not heard that. I'll check and see.
Q Are you concerned about the threats of violence in connection with that conference?
MR. McCURRY: Yesterday, I believe, from an Islamic group a statement -- similar to statements they've made in the past -- that they would attempt to interfere with the conference. But we have been, as you can imagine, very concerned about security arrangements and believe that the Government of Egypt is committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment for this conference and indeed has taken necessary precautions to ensure that the conference can be conducted safely.
But we will be monitoring that situation very, very carefully out of concern not only for delegates participating in the conference, but for any Americans who are there. But again we would stress that the Government of Egypt had been addressing this question very forthrightly.
Q Mike, on the population conference, some Arab papers have been publishing reports in the last week that the USAID has been sending out cables to the Embassies saying that the population issue is very important in terms of U.S. foreign policy, and therefore future U.S. aid commitments to countries around the world will be linked to their support for population stabilization measures and backed by the United States. Is there anything to that?
MR. McCURRY: My understanding is there have been some misleading comments made about the position of the U.S. Government on matters like that. Jim, I'd like to check on that, because there is a specific cable, I think, that many of these critics point to, and some of the folks who are working with us on the population conference have addressed that issue. I believe Under Secretary Wirth has addressed it, too.
I want to go back and check with him and get it. But I'll take that question and let's pass it on to Mary Ellen, because she actually has something on that that we can use. But we'll post an answer, because I believe Under Secretary Wirth has responded directly to that and so has Administrator Atwood, too, I believe.
Q Could I go back to Cuba for a second? Did we ever ask the basic question on what is the situation with rafters today? Do you think it's over?
MR. McCURRY: No, you didn't. The 10 o'clock report was 44 who had been intercepted by the Coast Guard, I am told. But the weather was expected to get better during the day. That's what we are watching to see what happens. But again the seas are still pretty rough, and the voyage under any circumstances is dangerous, and that those who attempt to make the voyage are wasting time, because they're not going to wind up in the United States of America.
Q Any of the 44 children?
MR. McCURRY: Excuse me?
Q Any of the 44 children, do you know?
MR. McCURRY: I'll check -- good question -- and we'll see if we can get an answer to that.
Q Is that from midnight?
MR. McCURRY: That's the figure since -- yes, they roll it over at midnight, so that would have been since midnight last night. There were zero, Barry, though -- zero as of 6:00 a.m. this morning. So that's all activity since 6:00 o'clock and 10:00 o'clock this morning.
Q Yesterday, Secretary Christopher was asked what would be the steps that Cuba could take that the U.S. would view as positive, and he said he really didn't want to get into that right now. My question is why is that? And also if what you're saying is that he needs to dialogue with his own people, then what would he need to dialogue with them about that the U.S. would consider as positive steps in order to lifting of the embargo?
MR. McCURRY: It's exactly as the Secretary said yesterday, and Fidel Castro knows exactly the types of steps that he can take. He can take those steps towards political and economic reform that will grant his people some measure of the freedom and democracy that they seek.
The U.N. has commented on this over the years. There was a U.N. report last year that specified a number of steps that the Cuban regime could take if it was serious about protecting the rights of its own people.
Secretary Christopher's view, as he indicated yesterday, is that right now we have one subject that we need to resolve with the Cuban Government, and that's the subject of migration. That's why we have talks with them towards that purpose.
But he also indicated that that issue, if it is resolved successfully and we see the concerns of both governments addressed forthrightly, there is within our law, within the Cuban Democracy Act, ways in which we can have a carefully calibrated response to any positive developments that Mr. Castro chooses to pursue.
Q That's almost like Senator Lugar's idea. In principle, is the Administration not opposed to a little bit of lifting of the embargo in exchange for a little bit of democracy?
MR. McCURRY: Again, we're not specifying the ways in which we could respond to those developments, because that's not an issue at the moment. The issue right now is how do we make it very clear to the Cuban Government that through immigration policy they are not going to be able to change U.S. policy on matters related to the embargo, the sanctions, the pressure the exists to Cuba.
If that issue can be resolved successfully and if Castro demonstrates a willingness to get on the right side of history, then that response is possible.
Q How could he demonstrate that is what I'm asking.
MR. McCURRY: He knows how he can demonstrate it. He can give his people freedom. You know, it's not hard, Fidel Castro. Allow opposition to develop. Allow a debate to occur within your country. Allow people to enjoy the freedom to sell produce at markets. There are a whole range of things that he could take.
He could be creative. He could think of ways in which he could improve the lives of his people and give them the freedoms they deserve. That would be encouraging and perhaps as the Secretary suggested yesterday that, consistent with our law, could be something the United States would respond to. But, as you all know, we've seen nothing of that.
Q Yesterday, the Secretary said the Administration would consider enlarging legal migration if Castro decides to act more decisively to stop illegal immigration. Does that mean we are creating a direct link; that we will only do this if Castro acts?
MR. McCURRY: He was suggesting that within the context of these talks a willingness on the part of Cuba to discourage illegal and unsafe migration is something that would contribute to our ability to be able to enhance safe, legal orderly migration. Among other things, the universe of people who are leaving who desire to come to the United States would be precisely those who we could process through the legal process as they exist for immigration.
So there's a practical linkage between those two, Steven, even if there's not necessarily a diplomatic one.
Q Speaking of giving people freedom, Ron Brown is over in a country where the people don't have a lot of freedom either, and yet he's talking to the leadership and he's not talking much about human rights. We haven't sort of really visited this issue in several months. Do we still support human rights reform in China? How do we plan to present it?
MR. McCURRY: Absolutely, and we deplore the continuing human rights abuses that do exist in China. We have frankly witnessed no significant improvements in human rights in China since the President's May 26 decision which delinked the issue of most-favored-nation status and human rights practices.
It's not to say that we believe there's been any worsening of the situation, but the fact is that the abuses that we have seen since last May represent a continuation of exactly those Chinese practices that we have objected to in the past.
I don't believe it's accurate to say that Secretary Brown did not raise this. He indicated that he was going to raise this at the proper point during his mission, and we believe he has done so. He is also carrying with him a message from the President which indicates that while we seek a growing economic relationship with China that can take advantage of the potential that exists for commerce between our countries, we also at the same time know that the differences between us on human rights issues would prevent us from realizing the full potential of that relationship.
So I think that that's obviously a communication from the highest level that reaffirms our strong interest in seeing an improvement in the human rights conditions that exist in China.
Q But, Mike, I mean, in all due respect, those are his words. I mean, he's going over there with billions of dollars of contracts. He's talking about lifting decades-old trade restrictions. It's all carrots. There's no sticks. I mean, granted, I for one would have learned my lesson from that trip over there last March, but what are you doing to sort of compel -- to make them reform? What's the stick out there?
MR. McCURRY: Continue to make that a very vigorous feature of our diplomacy -- to continue to press it -- and to continue to remind the Chinese that the relationship they wish to nurture with the United States will never be fully realized in an atmosphere in which those types of abuses of human rights persists. That is, no matter how you look at, some type of stick.
Q Is there consideration being given to lifting the last of the sanctions imposed against China?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of. That is, there have been proposals from time to time in interagency discussion, but I'm not aware that any of those have advanced beyond sort of interagency discussions.
Q There's expectation in Damascus that the Secretary will return in September with some kind of a bridging proposal. Will he go in September? When, and will he carry a proposal?
Also, there is a notion that this week Arafat will get a package of about up to $40 million to start his administration. This will be presented to the donors. Will you back it up?
MR. McCURRY: Those are two separate questions. The Secretary has already indicated that he did think at some point in September he would make another trip. There's not one scheduled at the moment, but the calendar, if you look at it between the Jewish high holy days and the beginning of some of our discussions in UNGA, leaves a window that is pretty clear when you could schedule such a trip. But, as I say, there is not one scheduled at this point.
As to how he would conduct his diplomacy and how he would help Israel and Syria exchange ideas, as they have been doing, in this dialogue, I wouldn't want to speculate on that -- wouldn't want to comment on the suggestion that he might present some type of bridging proposal.
On the question of funding for the empowerment, our commitments have been very, very public and our pledges from the time of our donor conference here at the Department back in October of 1993 have been very, very public. We've committed, as you know, $500 million over a five-year period, beginning with $100 million in the first year, and that money is flowing. We've often talked about where that money is going to, what types of projects, but there's not any type of new package. It's all within the money that we have committed and publicly discussed in the past.
Q There has been a report that North Korea has rejected a South Korean offer to provide them with a modern reactor. Do you have any reaction on that?
MR. McCURRY: Yes. We do believe that building a light-water reactor system in North Korea would be something that could be considered as part of a broad and thorough resolution of the nuclear issue. We do believe it's a project that could involve a number of countries. We are discussing with allies in the region and others the context of how we would provide this type of technology, and there are a number of countries that could be helpful in providing this technology, including South Korea.
But the discussions at this point are very preliminary. There's a lot of work to be done as we look ahead to the resumption of the high-level talks in September -- September 23. Ambassador Gallucci is now back at the Department after a short leave and is continuing to work these issues, and I think we need some time diplomatically to work these issues before we accept the premise that certain countries either will or will not be a part of providing this type of technology. I would ask a little patience as we develop these ideas in our dialogue with the DPRK.
Q Do you have a date for expert-level talks?
MR. McCURRY: They are still discussing both venue and dates.
Q You did say light-water?
MR. McCURRY: I said light water.
Q I was just checking.
MR. McCURRY: I don't think I've ever uttered that other name here.
Q I read a puzzling an item recently on the Cubans and the Haitians in Guantanamo. It's been on some opinion pages. It is reported that Haitians can still apply for political asylum from Guantanamo and that Cubans cannot. Is that correct or incorrect?
MR. McCURRY: That is correct, that the Cubans who have arrived at Guantanamo are not being processed for refugee status. The Haitians cannot apply either but they could request direct return --
MR. McCURRY: They could request either direct return or safehaven status.
Q The Cubans can, too.
MR. McCURRY: Of which the Cubans can, too, although the status of safehavens is different.
Q Is there any difference?
MR. McCURRY: The difference is that there are more venues available at the moment for safehaven status for the Haitian refugees who are at Guantanamo. But, as you know, we're working on trying to expand some of those safehaven agreements so that they would be useful for the Cuban population at Guantanamo, too.
Q I think Senator Dodd was saying yesterday, he thought that the cost of keeping all the Cubans at Guantanamo is going to be $100 million by the end of September. Is that a figure that's coming from the Administration?
MR. McCURRY: There were some figures given out at the Pentagon last week that estimated the cost of setting up the Guantanamo facility and then operating it. I believe they were in line with that. It was something like $100 million in just facility costs and then $20 million a month in operating cost.
It was a good brief. Dennis Boxx over at the Pentagon did a good job of running through what the military running the facility estimates. Hold on for a second.
This is the answer back. Ken brought down for me the AP, the answer on the other sanctions. It just says the same thing: "While we're continuously reviewing developments in the U.S.-China relationship, we have no plans at this time to lift these sanctions." These are the additional sanctions against China, including the ban on trade development assistance and OPIC operations that currently exists.
Somebody out there listens to the briefing. Thank you.
Q Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:25 p.m.)
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