U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OCTOBER 11, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, October 11, 1994 Briefer: Christine Shelly DEPARTMENT Acting Secretary Talbott's Participation in the Secretary of State's Kennan Lecture, 10/13 ...1 HAITI Cedras and Biamby Resignations/Departure Plans .....1-2 Possibility of Secretary Accompanying Aristide to Haiti/Date for Return .........................2 Situation in Haiti/Violence/Incidents ..............2 Overall Security Situation in Haiti/Safety of Aristide Upon Return .............................2,3-4 Status of Aid Program for Haiti ....................2-3 Lifting of Economic Sanctions/Conditions ...........3 --Status of Frozen Assets ..........................3 IRAQ Update on Iraqi Troop Movements ....................4 Possibility of Pre-emptive Strike ..................4 Diplomatic Contacts with Iraqi Government ..........4 Next Steps/Secretary's Stop in Kuwait/Meetings .....5,6-7 Iraqi Non-Compliance with UN Resolutions ...........5-6 --Issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction .............6 Reported Russian Mediation between Iraq & Kuwait ...6,7-8 Contacts with Foreign Governments re: Iraq..........7-8 NORTH KOREA Readout/Status of US-North Korea Talks .............8-9 SOUTH KOREA Reaction of South Korea re: US-NKorea Talks ........8-9,10 CUBA Possible Announcement on US Visa Slots for Cubans ..9 CHINA Whereabouts of Chinese Dissent Wei Jingsheng .......10
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 1994, 1:18 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have one short announcement to begin with and then I'll be happy to take your questions.
First of all I'd like to draw to your attention the Secretary of State's Kennan Lecture, which has been scheduled for October 13, 1994. Acting Secretary of State Strobe Talbott will introduce Professor George F. Kennan, who will deliver the inaugural address at the Secretary of State's George F. Kennan Distinguished Lecture at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center on Thursday, October 13 at 3:00 p.m. The Training Center is located at 4000 Arlington Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia.
The event is open for press coverage, and if you are interested in attending, I would suggest that you contact the Press Office for details. We'll be posting a notice with those details immediately following the briefing.
I'll be happy to take your questions.
Q Do you have anything on U.S. efforts to find a place for Cedras and Biamby to find refuge?
MS. SHELLY: Well, first of all, as you know, over the course of the weekend, General Cedras and General Biamby decided to step down, which they did. We view the resignation as a welcome and important step in the resolution of the crisis in Haiti.
It helps end three years of military rule and is another step forward in bringing the peaceful and orderly return of President Aristide, and, of course, to facilitate the re- establishment of democratic institutions.
We do understand that Generals Cedras and Biamby plan to depart prior to President Aristide's return to Haiti, but as to the specific destination, I don't have any details for you at this time.
Q Well, could you say who he has been in touch with?
MS. SHELLY: No. I will decline to get into a detailed discussion of those exchanges.
Q Christine, it has been reported that -- well, I take it back -- I'm not sure it has actually been reported, but I understand that the White House has suggested that Secretary Christopher might be going with President Aristide to Haiti on Saturday. Can you help us at all with that?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything that I can confirm for you at this time. The possibility of having the Secretary accompany President Aristide is -- this is a possibility, but the exact composition of a U.S. delegation which might accompany President Aristide is still under discussion.
Q What is the situation like today in Haiti? Is it calm? Any incidents?
MS. SHELLY: What I understand to be the case is that the situation there is relatively calm. There still are some sporadic incidents of violence which have taken place.
You know, of course, over the weekend, on Sunday, there was this one incident of the truck running down some demonstrators, swerving into a group of pro-democracy demonstrators in the town of Dimisaine. Fourteen people were killed and another 17 injured. With the exception of that one major event, my understanding, from our reports from down there, is that the overall situation is calm and that the outbreaks are limited to kind of sporadic ones where there continues to be some looting and what is probably a bit of politically-motivated activity or violence.
Q Do you expect any resistance, organized or otherwise, to coincide with Aristide's return home?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not really in a position to make that call from here. Certainly the overall security situation is one which is being monitored extremely closely by General Shelton and others on the ground, and I am sure they are taking all necessary precautions.
Q Is the Administration and Aristide still at odds over the aid program that you are going to put into effect? There was some report from an Aristide ally that there is still some disagreement over conditions?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any specific information to that effect. I think, overall, in this most recent time-frame, we have had very, very good relations with President Aristide, and those exchanges have certainly addressed the whole situation of the humanitarian assistance and aid that we have been working with the international community on. I expect that as we get closer to the date for Aristide's return, we'll probably have some more details on that, including in the early days after President Aristide's return. But I'm not aware of the fact that there has been any particular problem.
There may have been some exchanges on that, but to my knowledge, any difficulties that we may have had have been largely overcome.
Q Christine, what will the sequence be with lifting the economic sanctions that are still in place in Haiti? Do they -- do Cedras and Biamby have to be out of the country and then they will be lifted in accordance with Resolution 940, or how will it work?
MS. SHELLY: Well, I don't have any new information on that for today. My understanding from guidance that we had on this last week is that the lifting of the sanctions was specifically linked to the return of President Aristide. I think that that is still the key event which will be the trigger for the lifting of the sanctions.
Q And do you know if the financial assets of Cedras, Biamby and company are still frozen?
MS. SHELLY: To my knowledge, those have not yet been removed or even particularly addressed except to say that they remained in place. I don't have any announcements for you on that score, but certainly when we have a change on that, we'll make those details available.
Q Is the Administration confident that it is, in fact, safe for Aristide to return now?
MS. SHELLY: Well, again, the judgment on the safety factor is certainly one in which the commander on the ground would be heavily involved in, and also in having various exchanges with other officials.
I'm not aware that there are any particular indications at this point that suggest that there is an unsafe environment, and, again, I'm sure that all reasonable security precautions will be taken prior to President Aristide's return.
Q Will it be Saturday?
MS. SHELLY: I certainly wouldn't rule it out. I think that's a good possibility, but I don't have a formal announcement for you at this time.
Q Can we talk about Iraq now?
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q What's your current read on the troop movements?
MS. SHELLY: I was trying to get the latest on this before coming out because I think there has been a little bit of news moving on this. Actually, as we speak, I think General Shalikashvili is giving a briefing over at the Pentagon, and also Madeleine Albright addressed this just a little while ago. I think her remarks were carried on the wires.
What I can say is that we have not seen conclusive evidence which supports that the Iraqi troops have withdrawn as has been claimed by Baghdad. But there has been, in the most recent hours, some indication of some movements. We have these under observation. It's not absolutely clear what exactly the movements are and exactly where they're going. It's obviously something we'll be watching very closely.
Since the Pentagon has the lead operational responsibility in this, I would guess that news, as we are able to confirm it or to come to any harder conclusions about exactly what's going on, that would be more likely to come out of the Pentagon.
Q In recent days, Madeleine Albright and other officials have talked about the possibility of a pre-emptive strike against Saddam.
Is this idea of pre-emptive strike something that would happen only if he does not move the troops? Or could he still be subject to this kind of contingency planning if, in fact, he is moving his troops away from the border?
MS. SHELLY: I think at this point I would just have to follow behind statements by other more senior officials, which is that we have not either ruled in or ruled out any particular course of action. We'll be following the developments extremely closely over the next hours and days to see exactly what happens.
But as to the possibility of a strike, I'm afraid I'm simply not in a position to get into that.
Q Have we attempted diplomatically to be in touch with the Iraqi Government through our interlocutor there?
MS. SHELLY: I think that we have expected that various statements by senior officials, including, of course, the President's own remarks on this, have reached senior Iraqi officials. As to whether or not we've sent them messages via any other channel, I simply don't have that information.
Q Christine, let's assume that the Iraqis do pull back to a non-threatening position. What happens next?
MS. SHELLY: I think that there are a number of things which certainly will be looked at, not the least of which will be, what is going to happen on the ground tomorrow in Kuwait.
As I think you know, the Secretary is going to be out in Kuwait tomorrow. He's participating in a meeting with the Kuwait Foreign Minister, which will also include Gulf Cooperation Council Foreign Ministers. It's also my understanding that there may be some other regional and Gulf War Coalition partner country representatives who would be participating in that.
The Secretary will use that opportunity to share our assessment of the gravity of the situation in light of the Iraqi troop movements and certainly also in light of the bellicose statements that were made over the last several days by Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council.
But I think I can't get into further detail at this point about "what next." That's clearly something that the Secretary will be working tomorrow. I expect that there will probably be some news coming out of that as to what would happen next.
Q Christine, what is it exactly that the Iraqi regime did not do to comply with the United Nations resolutions?
MS. SHELLY: There's been a lot that's come out in the last day or so. I think Madeleine Albright has done a pretty successful listing of that.
I looked into the possibility of trying to actually prepare a sort of "tick list" of that. I determined that I really didn't have time to get that by today's briefing, so I've asked our International Organizations bureau to actually prepare a fact sheet, which will be available here later this afternoon on that.
I think I can probably not do much more than tick off a couple of the other things which have already been touched on. There is the whole question of the long-term monitoring of the weapons program. This is beginning in some areas but it is certainly far from complete.
As you know, Iraq has never recognized Kuwait's borders or it sovereignty. They have not accounted for the hundreds of Kuwaitis who disappeared during the invasion. They have not returned hundreds of millions of dollars of Kuwaiti property which was captured during the invasion.
There is quite a long list of things that are laid out in a variety of Security Council resolutions. So I think I'll leave it at that and refer you to the fact sheet that we do intend to post later today.
I think it's very clear, though, from the resolutions what those obligations are and that they do not leave any doubt about Iraq's obligations.
Q On the key issue, though, of weapons of mass destruction -- I don't have the quotes in front of me -- I had the overall impression that Mr. Ekeus said that the Iraqis had been substantially cooperative?
MS. SHELLY: There is a report, which I understand is to be submitted to the U.N. Security Council today by the UNSCOM Chairman Ekeus, and that he will at least indicate that the weapons monitoring regime is provisionally operational.
My knowledge is that we haven't actually seen that report yet. So I think I'm going to probably have to let that one sit a day or so, or maybe we'll have something to say about that later, but we've got to look at the report.
The key issue for us, of course, is the issue of long-term compliance. Other than saying that we obviously have to take a look at that report and see what's in it, I would just say just as a general point that the most recent actions by Iraq certainly call into question some of their longer-term intentions.
Q Can you make a comment on the report that the Russians are mediating within Baghdad and Kuwait? How do you view the Russian mediation?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything specifically for you on that. We have had contacts with the Russians, including a group of other countries on that. Just most recently before coming into the briefing, I had seen a couple of reports suggesting that they were thinking about the possibility of dispatching an envoy, or something like that. I'm going to have to look into that and see what further details we might have on this and see if there's anything on this that we'd like to say.
Since I don't have the details of what mediation efforts they might or might not have, I think I've really got to refrain from commenting provisionally.
Q Christine, first, a follow-up to an answer you gave and then one other question. You mentioned, with regard to meetings in Kuwait, that there may be some other regional partners who may participate. Could you be any more specific in terms of any Middle Eastern countries?
MS. SHELLY: On the Middle Eastern countries, the only hard information I have is that the representatives of the GCC will be there. I also understand that Secretary Hurd has also indicated he will be there.
The Secretary has been working this very actively out of his traveling party, which you know is in the region for Middle East peace talks; and, of course, the Secretary announced right before he departed that he would also visit Kuwait. So I think most of the news on that -- and particularly on commitments from others on participation -- will be coming out of the party and probably not coming from here.
Q And the question I did want to ask, have we asked any governments in the region for permission to overfly their territory either with American aircraft or cruise missiles?
MS. SHELLY: I just wouldn't be in a position to comment on that. I think that would be a Pentagon question, in any case.
Q Do you know if Christopher has been in touch with Kozyrev?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. I don't have that information with me.
Q To what extent has this Administration had conversations with other governments about sharing the costs of this operation?
MS. SHELLY: As you know, when the last Gulf coalition was put together, there were a lot of discussions on that and we did make an effort to solicit contributions from other countries.
I don't know what the current thinking on that is as of yet. We are having some Congressional consultations on this issue already, including the issue of cost. I don't know what kind of assessments have been done, and it's probably up to the Pentagon at this point, vis-a-vis the estimates of what kinds of costs overall this might entail. But I think that certainly is a possibility, but I'm not sure it's an issue which has been addressed in specificity yet or that decisions have been taken.
Q Would you label the Soviet attempts at mediating as helpful?
MS. SHELLY: I think I would have to duck one-word characterizations of them since I don't have the details of them. I will endeavor to see whether we want to say anything more about them at this point.
I think just generally speaking, the idea that somehow Saddam Hussein could profit from what he's done so far to try to gain some kind of advantage or to get some kind of reward as a consequence of the troop movements, I think that is not a likely scenario. Certainly, we'll be working very, very closely with Russians and others as to the next steps.
Q I'd like to turn to a meeting between your country and the North Korea in Geneva, Switzerland. Concerning those meetings now of a couple of days ago, South Korean President Yong-sam Kim has shown a displeasure as far as your negotiations is concerned.
What's your comment? And what made him so furious and disappointed?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have a specific answer to your question. Certainly, the talks are continuing in Geneva. Our delegations met on Saturday, yesterday, and are meeting again today.
In the context of our talks, and also in every step of the way, we have remained in very, very close contact with Seoul about the negotiations and our talks and, certainly, our thinking on the North Korean nuclear issue.
We remain convinced that we are working toward the same ends. We believe that our goals are the same. I also believe that in today's Wall Street Journal, President Kim affirmed that our goals are the same and that we are working in the same direction. So I think there was a somewhat different interview today that I think put the general views -- his views -- in a slightly different light.
The Secretary got asked the question -- since he departed for the region a couple of days ago -- and was asked specifically about the remarks that were reported in the New York Times story. He said in response to that that we were responding through appropriate channels. I think that I would have to leave it at that.
One final thing, if I can reference what Secretary Christopher did say on Saturday also when asked about this, and that's that we have complete confidence in Ambassador Gallucci who is a very tough negotiator. We firmly believe that he will be able to reach a positive solution in Geneva.
Q Can I just try this one other way? There was a report today that the South Korean President has urged President Clinton to slow down the United States movement toward an agreement with North Korea. Has this Administration received a formal request from President Kim to that effect? And do you see any value in what's apparently saying?
MS. SHELLY: Carol, that's certainly a very good question and I'm going to have to check because I don't have the answer to that with me.
Q Do you have any announcements today on the 20,000- visa situation for Cubans?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any announcements on this. As a matter of fact, about a week ago last Friday, I think I indicated when I was briefing that we expected to have an announcement fairly shortly, like within a week or so. So I think we've now entered the "or-so" category. I think we are still expecting that there is going to be some kind of announcement on this within the next few days, but I think we're not there quite yet.
Q What's holding it up?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. Interagency process.
Q You're still leaning toward a lottery, right?
MS. SHELLY: We actually did not use the term here, "visa lottery," but we indicated that there were a number of different proposals about how to meet the 20,000 figure that were being looked at. When we actually roll out the announcement on this, I think we'll be explaining on how this is going to work.
But there will be the normal provisions for applications based on family relationships. There will also be, of course, the refugee application possibility which will remain open. Then I think the feeling is that there will be, certainly, a significant number of uncommitted slots at that point. I think this is more on the question of the eligibility for parole.
But the idea in coming up with a system for those slots, which would bring it up to 20,000, was to make immigration a possibility for those who might otherwise not be able to apply or be eligible.
Q As an alternate to the word "lottery," what are you using?
MS. SHELLY: I'm going to check on that, George, and see if we have any cute phraseology that responds to that.
Q (Inaudible) reaction to the idea of a lottery was negative. Anyway.
MS. SHELLY: Duly noted.
Q On another subject, Christine. Does the State Department know the whereabouts of the Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng, I think it's pronounced -- Jingsheng?
MS. SHELLY: Let me check if I've got something on that. I was looking to see if I had anything on that. I don't think I do. We had heard reports, I remember, last week about his release. But I think that the last information we had was that there had not been any -- that since the news of the release, that he had not been in contact with family members. So I think we have not been able to confirm that information, or at least that report, as of yet. But it's something that we're still tracking and trying to see if we can confirm.
Q Was his release, or impending release, a commitment made by the Chinese Foreign Minister or members of his party?
MS. SHELLY: I'd have to check on that.
Q May I turn to Korea for one more time. Mr. Gallucci, your Ambassador, is regarded as a non-appropriate person -- not a suitable person -- to negotiate with North Korea. According to the South Korean Government, Mr. Gallucci is regarded as only a nuclear expert. He doesn't know North Korea; he doesn't know how to handle the Korean problem.
That kind of news was reported by the New York Times. What's your comment of that kind of news?
MS. SHELLY: I think I just answered that already, which is that we believe that he is a tough and experienced negotiator. We think that he has the knowledge and the information to be able to approach the issue with a full set of information and judgment and certainly understandings about the situation, including all of the sensitivities involved. We continue to have full confidence in him as a negotiator.
Q Thank you.
(Press Briefing concluded at 1:42 p.m.)
(###)To the top of this page