U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OCTOBER 18, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, October 18, 1994 Briefer: Michael McCurry SUDAN US Condemns Slaying of Demonstrators ............1 NORTH KOREA Agreement with US on Nuclear Issues .............1-5 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Agreement between Israel and Jordan/US View .....5-6 -- US Aid ......................................5-6 Secretary's Visit to Region .....................6 BOSNIA UN-Escorted Convoy Attacked .....................7
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 1994, 12:45 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Hello, everybody. Welcome to the State Department briefing. I'd like to start today by telling you about a statement we'll post. I won't go through the whole thing, but it involves the Government of Sudan which has for some time been forcibly resettling squatters who have fled the civil war in the south of Sudan and relocating them to some camps in the Khartoum area.
They have been more or less running these folks out of these camps since last June. Khartoum municipal authorities have razed thousands of homes, removing occupants to some fairly inhospitable areas that are far outside of Khartoum.
There was a particularly bad incident October 15 in which riot police shot into a crowd of unarmed protesters, including women and children, injuring and killing some; and we've got a statement that strongly condemns the slaying and wounding of these demonstrators and points some public attention to what we think is a very unjustified act by the Government of Sudan.
Anyhow, that statement will be available in the Press Room after the briefing.
Q Will you quiet a rumor that the Secretary will go to Geneva for the signing Friday of the North Korean agreement?
MR. McCURRY: Yes, I'll quiet that rumor, because he will be here preparing for the President's trip to the Middle East next week. There will be later today some further public discussion of the work that Ambassador Gallucci has been doing in Geneva.
I'd direct you over to the White House. I don't think that's firmed up yet, but you might want to check with them and see if they can tell you more about it.
I'm going to be in pretty much the same position Ambassador Gallucci was in last night, because we've got an agreement at this point that is ad referendum and it's hard for us to do details.
Q Do you have any idea of the timing on this discussion later today at the White House?
MR. McCURRY: Late in the day. Ambassador Gallucci is due back in time for a meeting in the 3:30 neighborhood over there, so it would be after that. So we're talking about late in the day, just for your planning purposes.
Q Without going into detail, though, could you just sort of deal with a theoretical question, and that is, what does this kind of an agreement say to other states that the international community might consider problematic, who may want to thwart the NPT and get some sort of deal with light- water reactors or other kinds of reactors, like Iran?
MR. McCURRY: For over five years, this issue has been front and center for the international community, and it has been at more or less a crisis level since March of last year when North Korea announced that it intended to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to refuse to abide by the procedures and safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
So it has presented a unique situation in which an NPT member threatened resignation, and it required 16 months of very tense and difficult negotiations to achieve what Ambassador Gallucci described last night as an agreement that is not only acceptable but very positive from the point of view of the United States.
What we've got now is an agreement that again must be reviewed by the U.S. Government and by the DPRK and approved by those two capitals before it is an agreement that is in force and ready to be signed, since it's an ad referendum. But the agreement as it's been described by Ambassador Gallucci certainly meets the central objectives we had in the dialogue to freeze and eventually eliminate the indigenous nuclear capabilities of North Korea, to clear the way for a non-nuclear Korean peninsula, to contribute to a very strong non- proliferation regime monitored by the international community, to obtain from North Korea compliance with its full-scope safeguard obligations to the IAEA and to implement aspects of the North-South denuclearization agreement that had been agreed to in the past between the Republic of Korea and the DPRK.
It also will promote dialogue between North and South. No agreement can be perfect, and no agreement like this comes without some measure of negotiation in which both sides in good faith have to negotiate positions that they have. But I think what we've got is an agreement that made a very dangerous place in the world at a very dangerous moment a lot safer -- arguably much safer -- and I think that that's an agreement that is well worth the terms of the agreement as negotiated.
Q But a follow-up: I noticed that Iraq is looking to also acquire reactors. Is the United States now in a position to sort of look at Iraq -- I mean, Iran -- and say, "Yes, we'll help Tehran acquire some sort of nuclear technology."
MR. McCURRY: No, absolutely not. I mean, each and every situation as it's negotiated and as it relates to obligations that individual members have within the Non-Proliferation Treaty require different diplomatic approaches. The arguments, as they would relate to Iran, given Iran's activities and proliferation activities, are much different than the precise concern about the nature of the North Korean nuclear program and the capacity of that program related to their past activity. There's just no way of comparing those two.
Q Is this a hard sell to South Korea and to other allies?
MR. McCURRY: Secretary Christopher had a very good conversation with Foreign Minister Han yesterday afternoon. He woke Foreign Minister Han up to kind of review the agreement in its final version and I think, based on Foreign Minister Han's public comments which I'm sure you've seen, you'll see that the Republic of Korea, with whom we consulted very closely throughout this negotiation, seems to be very well satisfied with the agreement, as is Japan, as are other members of the international community, we believe, as they become more familiar with the details of the agreement itself.
Q Does it also, as far as you can tell us, satisfy the objective of finding out what North Korea has done in the past?
MR. McCURRY: It certainly addresses that. The question of the how the IAEA can understand the past activity and assure that there are full-scope safeguards compliance by the DPRK is a feature of the agreement, yes.
Q You say it addresses that, but --
MR. McCURRY: I can't go into detail, Saul, about how it addresses it, but it is addressed, and it's certainly true, as Ambassador Gallucci said last night, that among other things the agreement does make it possible to understand over time more about the past activity of the program.
Q (Inaudible) that the U.S. and North Korean talks that South and North Korea dialogue should be resumed before the end of this year. Do you have anything?
MR. McCURRY: It's long been our view that the North-South dialogue should begin as soon as possible, and we have said that as we make progress in our discussions to resolve the nuclear issue, it is equally important for the North and South to move forward on the denuclearization agreement and in their own dialogue. Certainly we would hope that dialogue could commence as soon as possible.
Q Could we switch to the Middle East for a little bit?
MR. McCURRY: Actually one more here.
Q When you talk about the approval and the review process in this country, does that include the Congress?
MR. McCURRY: Members of Congress are being consulted very closely now. Even as we speak, they're being apprised of some of the central elements of the agreement. They will make their own statement. I'm not aware that the agreement has to be ratified in any formal sense by the Senate or reviewed by Congress.
Given the enormous importance of security and stability on the Korean peninsula, given our own investment of troops and our obligations to our treaty ally, I'm sure this will be a subject that will be under careful review by Congress. We would welcome that because we think there's a very positive argument to be made about the agreement itself.
Q Just one other thing. Does it also have to be approved, since we're doing it in a sense as somewhat of an agent of the United Nations and the IAEA?
MR. McCURRY: The terms of it, as it relates to IAEA obligations, will be reviewed very carefully with the IAEA. They have their own requirements. They have their own stipulations for NPT members, and they will be interested in what type of commitments are made to their own safeguards regime as it pertains to their safeguards agreement with the DPRK.
But we believe as they are briefed and become familiar with the agreement, they will most likely find it very satisfactory.
Q On the Middle East --
MR. McCURRY: Middle East.
Q The agreement between Israel and Jordan seems to be running into some criticism, like from the PLO. Does the Administration have a position? You welcome the agreement. Is that an unqualified approval of the agreement, or are they moving too fast and leaving others behind? What's your view of this situation?
MR. McCURRY: We believe it's an enormously important achievement, a credit to both King Hussein and Prime Minister Rabin, that through their courage and determination they have achieved this treaty. We look forward to President Clinton's participation in the formal signing of the treaty itself. But we will at the same time continue our very hard work as a participant in the peace process to build a comprehensive and lasting peace for the entire region.
That involves not only the dialogue between the PLO and Israel, but also, as you know, the dialogue between Syria and Israel and the dialogue between Lebanon and Israel as structured in the Madrid Conference.
Q The Jordanian and Palestinian interests sometimes overlap, territorially and in other ways -- religious -- access to religious places, etc. Is there any feeling by the Administration that this is precluding things, cutting the Palestinians out of discussion at least to various problems and issues?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware of anything about this agreement that precludes dialogue between the PLO and Jordan or that disrupts the status of issues that are to be determined under the Declaration of Principles and dialogue between Israel and the PLO.
Q Mike, what about aid to Jordan as a result of this agreement? There are some rumors floating about that it'll be in the neighborhood of $400 million a year for the next 10 years. Can you comment on that?
MR. McCURRY: You mean in terms of debt relief? In additional bilateral assistance? I've not heard anything of that nature. We have made commitments to provide debt relief, as you know, I believe an FY 1994 allocation of $90 million provided debt relief up to about $220 million total. It is anticipated that we would provide additional debt relief for Fiscal Year '95 in amounts that would be somewhat less than the '94 amount.
We do have bilateral assistance programs, but I'm not aware that any of them come up to that type of number.
Q (Inaudible) military sales?
MR. McCURRY: Military modernization, we've agreed with the Government of Jordan that as they conduct their own review of their military force posture and examine their needs, that we would consider a request to modernize and upgrade certain aspects of their own military capability. Nothing has been submitted to us in the form of a formal request because they're in the process of doing their own review of their own military capabilities.
Q Mike, (inaudible) close to $3 billion a year each as a result of their agreement? Are you saying it's not even being considered -- increasing Jordan's aid as a result of this?
MR. McCURRY: There are enormous economic needs for the region. There's also a very strong desire on our part to involve private sector investors in rebuilding things like the Jordanian Rift Valley. Those are all subjects that will be under discussion when the Secretary goes to Casablanca at the end of the month.
I'll check further into the status of our assistance programs, but I'm not aware of anything that represents a new commitment of that size to Jordan.
Q How does this Casablanca trip -- how will it be affected by the President's trip?
MR. McCURRY: My guess is, the Secretary will go out sometime next week, perhaps in advance of the President's own travel -- travel with the President as he makes his way through the region over several days. And then most likely he'll stay. It wouldn't make a lot of sense to come back and then go to Morocco again. So my guess is, he will stay in the region and then head over to Morocco, probably for the beginning of the conference on October 31, Sunday.
MR. McCURRY: This is best as I've got. We're still working plans, contingent on what the President's own travel plans are. Those are -- Dee Dee (Myers) tells me -- not finalized at this point.
Q Just on Bosnia. The latest round of Bosnian Serb violence. There appears to be some question as to whether the United Nations -- or Rose -- wants to respond to that. This comes on the heels of Secretary Perry's trip over there. I know that there are some meetings going on between NATO and the U.N. I just wonder what the United States view is of this seeming reluctance to respond -- attack the U.N. people?
MR. McCURRY: As you know, in our capacity as a leader within the NATO Alliance, we've been meeting with U.N. officials to review the question of how we support militarily the activity of UNPROFOR on the ground. Those are not discussions that have led to any formal agreement with the U.N. on how to establish military procedures or any change in procedures.
I think you're probably referring to this incident today in which apparently a UNHCR assistance convoy -- humanitarian convoy -- that was being escorted by British UNPROFOR units was attacked. There was apparently a skirmish in which there had been some casualties.
There was a close air support that was requested from the convoy; but we're trying to get more details now about how that was actually examined by the U.N. officials.
NATO was willing and ready to respond to any request that came to them through the UNPROFOR chain of command, as far as I know.
Q What is the problem here? Is it a problem of U.N. pacificism?
MR. McCURRY: It is a question that you would properly direct to UNPROFOR officials. I can't speak for them. I have no idea.
Q The United States has no idea why the United Nations --
MR. McCURRY: The United States has no idea why there was not a request in this case. We need to know more about the details of the incident.
It's the shortest ever briefing. Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:03 p.m.)
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