U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OCTOBER 19, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Wednesday, October 19, 1994 Briefer: Michael McCurry MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS US Condemnation of Terrorism in Tel Aviv ........1-5,9 US Contact with Arafat ..........................4 BOSNIA US Discussions at UN on Lifting Arms Embargo ....6 Response to Attack on UN-Escorted Convoy ........6-7 Monitoring of Serb Border .......................7-8 Possible Increased Sanctions ....................8 Exclusion Zone Enforcement ......................8-9 CUBA US Chief Diplomat Interviewed on State TV .......9-10 IRAQ Members of the Coalition ........................10-11 HAITI Detention of Criminals ..........................11-13 NORTH KOREA Agreement with US on Nuclear Issues .............13-16 Korean Energy Development Organization ..........14-15 Liaison Contacts with US ........................16-18 RUSSIA Nuclear Smugglers Apprehended ...................18-19
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 1994, 12:33 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Hello everybody. Let's have a briefing. Barry Schweid, why don't you start us with a question.
Q If you promise not to use the phrase "enemies of peace," I'd ask you to reflect on what's happened in Tel Aviv, and whether you think this speaks to some inability of Israel to really secure its people as the United States and the Israeli Government progress along the path that will have Israel surrender more and more territory?
MR. McCURRY: I will only add to the strong condemnation of this act that's already been expressed by the President. Obviously, the Secretary of State shares the sentiments expressed by the President, the repugnance and horror that we feel at this type of attack and which is, unfortunately, not uncommon.
But I'd make the following point: The accelerated activity, that we're seeing on behalf of the enemies of peace - - it could be Hamas -- we will find out more from Israeli authorities about who accepts responsibility. The increased activity by those who would attempt to poison and destroy the peace process is precisely because the peace process is working and moving ahead with greater momentum.
These are acts of desperation by people who see that the citizens of this region want peace and desire peace and are making peace. That is precisely the reason why they continue to wage war on the peace process. It's for exactly that reason that the United States, in the strongest terms, condemns not only the violence but suggests that others in the world community now have to take a stand against this type of violence. Those who have lent either encouragement or financial resources or support, tacitly or directly, to groups like Hamas and others who would destroy the process, now is the time to bring that to an end. We're making that clear in our diplomatic contacts.
Q (Inaudible) to you besides the Government of Iran? Do you care to identify any of these people?
MR. McCURRY: I don't care to identify them.
Q Or to any governments to which you're friendly?
MR. McCURRY: I don't care to identify them, but I do tell you, in no unmistaken terms, that we are raising this issue in a host of capitals today and suggesting in a variety of way, diplomatically, that those who believe they might have some influence on this type of activity ought to use that influence to bring this to an end.
Q One last one, but this might belong to the Justice Department. The notice that the new Crime Bill, the new crime law, gives new powers to this government to control the borders --
MR. McCURRY: Activities which are --
Q -- to control fund-raising. Does the State Department have any idea -- or maybe if you don't, off the cuff, we could find out -- how much money is raised for Hamas within the United States?
MR. McCURRY: We don't. The money is not typically raised directly for Hamas. There are collections that are taken for a variety of entities. Given our own rights under the Bill of Rights and the Constitutional guarantees that exists for citizens in the United States, some of that type of activity is beyond the scope of law enforcement.
It's not clear what law enforcement can do. I know that at Justice or the FBI, or other places, they might be able to tell you more about what they can do -- the types of law enforcement and investigative efforts that they do conduct. Some of this is beyond our purview, given the constitutional liberties we enjoy in this country.
But, again, I'd say it's not the case that people go out and raise money -- as far as I know, go out and raise money directly for Hamas or for these types of terrorist activities. It's usually done under the guise of other philanthropic pursuits.
Q Mike, Hezbollah has been described as an "enemy of peace" from the podium. Hezbollah is, through the good graces of Syria, allowed to operate and receive safehaven there. Can one conclude that Syria is one of the nation's, one of the host of capitals you've asked to use their influence?
MR. McCURRY: You can conclude that we have regular and direct conversations with the Government of Syria on the subject of terrorism; yes.
Q Have you heard from Syria on this latest incident and what Damascus thinks of it?
MR. McCURRY: We've expressed our views to them. I haven't seen a report back yet on what type of response we've received.
Q You haven't heard that they have expressed their views one way or the other on it?
MR. McCURRY: I have not heard whether they expressed a view one way or another.
Q Mike, I've taken to review the 1993 Patterns of Global Terrorism Report. Without going into the details, as regards Syria, Hezbollah, Iran, Hamas, on the State Department's own words, would it not at this point be rather unseemingly at the very, very least if the President or the Secretary wind up in Damascus in the next week?
MR. McCURRY: I don't want to speculate on the President's travel schedule. That's not a decision being made in this building.
Q Can I follow up on that, please?
MR. McCURRY: Sure.
Q Rather than speculate, is the State Department recommending that the President go to Syria or stay away from Syria in light of what happened in Tel Aviv?
MR. McCURRY: The predictable answer to that.
Q Did the recent acts of terrorism pose a threat to PLO aid or other money in light of the next compliance report is due in a couple of months?
MR. McCURRY: The compliance report is due. The issues associated with compliance, we will review at that time. I would note in Chairman Arafat's very strong words today condemning this attack, which is his obligation both under the Declaration and also just as a simple matter of justice and as a matter of leadership, he has taken responsibility for that which he must take responsibility for, which is to do everything possible to deter and to thwart this type of incident.
Q Does the Administration think Arafat could be doing more to reign in Hamas that operates in territory, at least in part, that he has responsibility over? Has that message be given to him today?
MR. McCURRY: It is clear from the event today that everybody could do more. I guess that's the message we are imparting today, that not only the United States but the world community must rise up at this point and make clear that this type of incident cannot be tolerated. Everything should be exhausted in pursuing an anecdote to this type of violence. That's certainly what we will do; it's certainly what we would expect of others, including the PLO.
Q Have you had any telephone calls for the Secretary today that you want --
MR. McCURRY: There's been a lot of discussions, in part, because of the President's trip, but also because of the incident today -- a lot of discussions back and forth. I don't know that I've got a complete detail. The Secretary's been out of the building. He's been over at the White House.
Q Particularly about any discussions -- any connections to Israel, any conversations? Any expressions of sympathy and expressions of resolve?
MR. McCURRY: The sympathy for the victims and the families extended by the President was, I think, very clear in his statement. We share that sense of sympathy for the victims and their sense of outrage at the incident.
Q Did he talk to Chairman Arafat today?
MR. McCURRY: I believe we've had contact with him via our consulate in Jerusalem. I'll double-check. Maybe we can get a rundown on what contacts we've had with him today.
Q Has the Secretary or Dennis (Ross) or anyone else made any personal calls to people --
MR. McCURRY: I'll have to check. I'll have to check. He may very well have. They talk very frequently.
Q Mike, the President of Israel was quoted on CNN late this morning as saying something to the effect that "Israel will find the roots of Hamas and rip them to pieces." Would you care to respond to that?
MR. McCURRY: What's the context of the statement?
Q They quoted the President of Israel, without saying it was Ezer Weizman. He was quoted as saying, in response to this attack, that "Israel was going to find the roots of Hamas and rip them to pieces." Would you care to respond to that?
MR. McCURRY: No, I wouldn't. I'm not sure I know what that means.
Q He said --
MR. McCURRY: I'm not going to try to interpret the comments without having a more complete description of them.
Q Thank you, Mike. Doesn't this series of events bode ill, and perhaps there's an indication of escalation between the radical Arabs and the Israelis? I'm talking about one event that happened here on the Seventh Floor. The Secretary and the Foreign Minister of Syria had to retire because of a shouting match that was very full animosity?
MR. McCURRY: I think that was an incident that involved competitive journalistic instincts but nothing anywhere closely resembling the type of violence we've seen in the region. I wouldn't draw any parallel to there --
Q But a sign?
MR. McCURRY: -- as vicious as some of you can be from time to time.
Q A forerunner, perhaps, of the violence that occurred while the Secretary was in Jerusalem, close to his hotel. The signs, once again, of Jihad, of movement of the Iraqis down south toward Kuwait, and then this incident -- those four incidents, do they not perhaps show us that we're having an escalation?
MR. McCURRY: Setting aside the photo opportunity with the Secretary, those events are related because there is, as I suggest, momentum and progress in the dialogue towards peace. I think that those who are enemies of that process have risen up in a desperate way to attempt to thwart that momentum towards peace.
Another subject? Jim.
Q Another subject. How goes the trial and error process up in New York with the Bosnian arms embargo resolution?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know what you mean, "trial and error."
Q Christine was saying that a draft was being floated. Is it flying?
MR. McCURRY: There are Contact Group meetings underway up there, and they've been augmented today, I believe, at the Political Directors' level. We've got Assistant Secretary Holbrooke up there.
They are exploring the question of what fashion an arms embargo resolution could take. As you know, it's our desire to introduce -- it's the President's commitment to introduce that resolution by the end of the month which we certainly expect to do, and the discussions of how to shape that resolution and fashion it are ongoing.
Q And what has been the initial reaction of the other members?
MR. McCURRY: A predictable one, but I'll leave it up to those governments to address themselves to that.
Q Mike, does the Administration enthusiastically endorse lifting of the arms embargo on the Bosnian Government?
MR. McCURRY: As the Contact Group itself has so stated and each and every member of the Contact Group has indicated, we believe that lifting the arms embargo is a last resort that could be unavoidable. And, as you know, from President Izetbegovic's desire to delay the lift for a period of six months, it might become unavoidable some time next spring, depending on events on the ground.
Obviously, our strong preference would be to see the Bosnian Serbs comply with the Contact Group proposal and the map and to get along with the business of building peace. There doesn't seem to be a lot of movement in that direction at the moment.
Q Mike, yesterday you expressed, I guess, astonishment that the U.N. had not followed through on a request from the ground for close air support.
MR. McCURRY: No. I indicated I had no idea why they had not.
Q Well, that might have been attributed, at least by some, as a kind of astonished -- I mean, when you say, "I have no idea why they would" --
Anyway, my question today is the following. (Laughter)
MR. McCURRY: I haven't heard your question, Barrie.
Q Do have an idea today -- have you found out why they did what they did?
MR. McCURRY: We are told that consideration was given to requesting NATO close air support, but following consultations between UNPROFOR General Rose and the Bosnian Serb military, the matter was not pursued because the UNPROFOR APCs, which were engaged in the incident, had "stabilized the situation." That's what we were told.
Q Are you satisfied with that?
MR. McCURRY: That's the only information we have. It's hard to be satisfied or dissatisfied.
Q Mike, is there anything new on the status of the closing of the border?
MR. McCURRY: Are you astonished with that answer?
Q I'm astonished with your answer, yes. (Laughter)
MR. McCURRY: All right. I tried to do that as smoothly as I possibly could. Mr. Hurst.
Q Anything new on the status of the border closing and the flow of arms back and forth?
MR. McCURRY: I heard a report earlier today and I frankly didn't get time to check it, but there had been another report from the international monitoring mission along the border, indicating that they were still seeing evidence that there were efforts to monitor the border by Serbian authorities and to deter shipments that were specifically exempted by the U.N. Resolution.
I think our own assessment is that it's difficult to monitor the full length of that border with a mission of the size of the one that is now deployed. And it's probably true that there are ways to evade some of the monitoring that is taking place.
Q As the Contact Group meets in New York to apply strategies to get the Bosnian Serbs to sign on, could you tell us what the United States might propose?
MR. McCURRY: What type?
Q And incentives.
MR. McCURRY: Additional pressures.
Q Additional pressure or incentives.
MR. McCURRY: On the Bosnian Serbs?
Q On the Bosnian Serbs.
MR. McCURRY: Those that are foreseen in the U.N. resolutions that have been passed are stricter enforcement, both of the exclusion zones that exist which would bring some form of military pressure to bear on the Bosnian Serbs as they violate various aspects of the exclusion zones that have been declared by NATO and consistent with U.N. resolutions; then there's also stricter and tighter enforcement of the existing embargoes and economic sanctions that are in place.
Those all have been addressed by the United Nations, and we think they can be effective to a degree, but we also believe concerted pressure by the international community, such as that that the Contact Group has tried to assemble will also have its effect. We also think that Serbia, the government in Belgrade, can use their own influence and their own pressure to try to force an acceptance of the proposal by the Serbs.
Q Everything is in place now so that a difference could be made over the next six months.
MR. McCURRY: We're not going to assume that everything is in place, so we believe -- and we have discussions underway with other governments now that we have to use the six-month period to do everything possible to bring about a peaceful resolution of this conflict. And there may be other things that can be done, and we are exploring those types of ideas with other members of the Contact Group and with other members of the U.N.
Q But I understand that NATO has agreed that there should be stricter enforcement of the exclusion zone, but the U.N. doesn't seem to agree. So what does the United States propose to do to get the U.N. to agree?
MR. McCURRY: Discussions continue between the United Nations and NATO on the measures that were recommended by the NATO Defense Ministers at their recent meeting in Seville. We do think that they ought to consider stricter enforcement of those exclusion zones. We have argued very strongly for that, both within NATO and to the United Nations and in our participation in the discussions that are going on between NATO and the United Nations; and I suspect there will be some very direct admonishments to the United Nations and to the Secretary General on this subject.
Q A final thing: Does the United States have confidence in the job that Mr. Akashi and General Rose are doing?
MR. McCURRY: I haven't heard an expression of lack of confidence.
Q Do I detect a note of frustration of impatience with their lack of action?
MR. McCURRY: I think you detected that in Seville when the NATO Defense Ministers met, yes.
Q What's going to be the consequence of this feeling?
MR. McCURRY: Exactly the dialogue that I was just referring to in response to Saul.
Q Mike, can we go back to the beginning of the discussion of Hamas. I wondered if there was a little nuance there that we should have picked up on. You made some reference to not knowing officially that Hamas was the perpetrator. Is there any message there, or are you just -- the usual caution, you'd like to hear it from the Israelis.
MR. McCURRY: We were hearing from Israeli Radio that they had had calls from individuals purporting to be associated with Hamas taking credit. The IDF and other Israeli authorities have not reported any calls to Israeli authorities. They may have by now. I haven't seen --
Q But the U.S. has no information about that.
MR. McCURRY: No. On this question we would rely on our contacts with the Israeli Government.
Q The Chief of the Interests Section in Havana gave an interview to the Cuban television that was aired yesterday. He was very friendly, speaking about everything possible to bring our countries together.
MR. McCURRY: I think he said "bring our peoples together." I think he was referring to the Cuban people.
Q Bring us together.
MR. McCURRY: Bring us together.
Q He spoke in Spanish, so it's a second translation --
MR. McCURRY: The translation I have is that he said, "We want to do everything possible to bring us together." I think he was referring to the people of the United States and the people of Cuba, and certainly our quarrel is with the totalitarian government of Cuba, not with the people of Cuba.
Q But the interview was extremely friendly. It's a big contrast between the usual interviews, and I think it's the first time ever that it's been granted. Maybe after New York it's been a change in --
MR. McCURRY: I wouldn't suggest that Joseph Sullivan, who is our Interests Section Chief down there, said anything newsworthy, but I think you're correct in saying that it is unusual that the Cuban Government would offer an opportunity for a high-ranking U.S. diplomat to address the Cuban people. As you very well know, we take steps to try to get the truth to the Cuban people and, when we have an opportunity to communicate with them directly through government-owned news organizations, that's a welcome opportunity.
Q Do you know this for sure that this is the first time that such an interview was held?
MR. McCURRY: I'm told that it's highly unusual and nobody can recall a time in which our chief diplomat in Cuba was afforded an opportunity to speak, courtesy of news organizations under the control of the Cuban Government.
Q Can we switch -- go to Kuwait for a second, if I may?
MR. McCURRY: Sure.
Q And since I wasn't able to fund my trip with the Secretary, you may have answered this elsewhere around the globe. Who comprises the coalition that's referred to, for example, in the joint statement of Foreign Ministers? What countries?
MR. McCURRY: I'll get you a whole list. I mean, there are a variety of participants who have been within the coalition and who have participated, but we can get you an up- to-date accounting of that. It's not necessarily the same. I mean, there have been various levels of participation since the time of the Desert Storm war. Obviously, not everybody continues to participate at those levels associated with the Gulf war, but there is strong international backing for the steps that the world community is taking to deter Iraqi aggression.
Q May I ask a second question? There was a country, Syria, that was part of the coalition in the past. I asked this when you were gone, and I believe Christine couldn't answer the question. Did the United States Government request overflight privileges, either aircraft or cruise missiles over Syria?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know whether we made that request of Syria. We made requests involving bed-down and overflight for Gulf Cooperation Council members and were granted that when we met with the GCC in Kuwait.
Q But would you be willing to take that question?
MR. McCURRY: I'll check and see if we can get an answer, yes.
Q Mike, since we're visiting the past, this sounds almost left field, but (inaudible) a promise during the Russian summit here that I would ask periodically, so I'm asking now: Do you now have -- does the U.S. Government now have a list of the items in the pipeline to Iran? You remember, they promised no new contracts, and that could mean everything or nothing, depending what's on the pipeline.
Have they informed -- has Moscow informed the U.S. Government yet what it intends -- like, for instance, submarines to sell Iran? That's really left field, but --
MR. McCURRY: Let me take the question, because it is not one that I'm prepared for. But I'll ask Dr. Davis, who is responsible in our government with following up on those discussions about what they actually will do as they follow through some of the obligations made.
Q On Haiti, Mike, why does the U.S. Government not recommend arresting Toto Constant?
MR. McCURRY: That's a decision that the duly elected Government of Haiti now in place will have to make. They're responsible for enforcing laws and bringing to justice those they suspect of crimes.
Q Numerous officials were reported in newspapers today as saying he isn't breaking any crimes currently, so they're not going to arrest him.
MR. McCURRY: I don't know that they're the proper authorities to make such judgment. The proper authorities are the legitimate Government of Haiti and their law enforcement apparatus.
Q And what about the situation where people are being apprehended by the Haitians, turned over to the Americans and turned over to Haitians and then released back into the community. Is there anything you all were trying to do with that or do you just intend to let it go forward?
MR. McCURRY: No, we are trying to make sure that the most notorious individuals who are known by our own forces and by our own information to have been involved in serious crimes, we get them to a U.S.-run detention facility.
There have been cases like that. In most of the cases, when there are attaches who are brought to U.S. forces, they can't be detained by our forces if there's lack of credible evidence. So what we do is we try to work in cooperation with the Haitian police to determine those who we suspect, based on our own information, are guilty of serious crimes and detain them so that they can be properly prosecuted. But we can't conduct ourselves in a foreign country as we would not conduct ourselves here in our own country. We can't detain people with lack of evidence.
Q So you don't think Constant is guilty of serious crimes?
MR. McCURRY: You ask two separate questions. Constant is a known individual and his activities have been commented upon, and it will be the responsibility of the Haitian Government to decide whether or not he should be prosecuted; and, if so, how and when he should be apprehended.
Q Mike, as you know, there are no functioning courts, there is no functioning police, and there are no functioning jails, so it's rather difficult to turn that over. But my question is this --
MR. McCURRY: That situation is beginning to change as many transformations begin to take place in Haiti.
Q There have been some who have suggested that a process right now that would be useful would be the formation of a truth commission which could begin to deal with some of the allegations and could begin to look at the past.
What is the United States Government's position on such a commission?
MR. McCURRY: I've heard that idea discussed before. I believe it's one that there may have been discussions between President Aristide and U.S. officials about. But I'd have to check and see whether we've taken any position or recommended that they do so.
You're correct that such an approach has proved useful in the past, but this is ultimately something that we would want to and expect to have a discussion with President Aristide about.
Q Mike, Korea. Correct me if I'm in error, but doesn't this agreement that we have -- this first step of the agreement -- mean that North Korea -- we will not be able to discover by analyzing the waste dumps whether there's enough plutonium to make weapons; we will not know if there are in fact weapons in North Korea for perhaps as long as five years?
MR. McCURRY: Manifestly wrong. The commitment made by the DPRK in this framework agreement allows -- requires the DPRK to come into compliance with its own full-scope safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. They will do so over time as the acquisition of light-water reactor technology offsets some of their critical energy needs.
Part of this agreement was in fact, as Ambassador Gallucci indicated last night, to address that question sequentially, to take care of the most urgent issues for us which were, again, freezing that current reactor, so that it couldn't operate again and thus produce additional plutonium; discontinue the construction of two much larger reactors that would have generated much more fissile material and presented a much greater danger to the world community; and ending any prospects of reprocessing the spent fuel that's already been removed from the five-megawatt reactor.
Those were the most urgent items of concern. They were addressed immediately. The issue of how the IAEA gains access to the sites that they would like to inspect is one that we believe could legitimately, as part of an agreement that had to be negotiated, be postponed because here's nothing about the physical properties of those sites that change in that time. So that was something that we could in effect do, and if the argument that came to us from North Korea was, "We want something that we can point to that says you will honor your obligations as we move through this phased process," and I think they believe -- or you would hear them say that they believe that the prospect of those inspections occurring as light-water reactor technology comes available, is something that is an important aspect of the agreement that they receive.
They know, and we would make clear -- and I think Ambassador Gallucci made clear yesterday -- that no component part of the light-water reactor technology that is on the trigger list of the nuclear suppliers group conveys to North Korea until such time as those questions of the past are satisfied and they come into compliance with their agreements with the IAEA.
That is a very important feature of the agreement from the point of view of the United States. As some have reported, that was a concession. I personally -- and I think Ambassador Gallucci may have said this, too -- I don't consider that a major concession, given all the other things that North Korea at one point indicated they wanted to bring into this dialogue, including the U.S. military presence on the Korean peninsula -- a number of other issues that they signaled that they were going to press in this dialogue. There were things that I think would have been considered major concessions on the part of the United States that were not given up by the United States.
We think we struck a good bargain that was as a result of honest and good-faith negotiating.
Q Mike, does the Administration have a handle on how much it's going to cost the United States' taxpayer?
MR. McCURRY: As part of --
Q Just this deal.
MR. McCURRY: We are putting together the Korean Energy Development Organization, I believe is what they're calling the international consortium, that would structure the financing of the light-water reactor technology project, we are actively securing other partners. We clearly have got acknowledgment that the Republic of Korea and Japan will play central roles in the project.
We are in discussion with other allies and friends to get additional participation because our belief is that we could certainly share the burden and share -- if not all, perhaps most of the cost of the project.
Q I ask because Bob Dole is criticizing the billions of dollars the U.S. taxpayer will be asked to pay. Is that accurate or not?
MR. McCURRY: He's been out of town and maybe hasn't had a chance to read the fine print in the document yet. (Laughter) He should know, and we would say we are making a strenuous effort to attract additional participation on the part of others in the world community. And we think it's in the interests of the world community to provide funding and assistance for this project.
This is going to make the world a much safer place, and it's probably at least $4 billion safer.
Q One thing: One criticism that's been made is that the reactor, the graphite reactor in question, will not be dismantled for a number of years. Am I to understand that -- does that mean it's going to continue operating or is it going to stop operating?
MR. McCURRY: No, no. The most urgent of priorities that we had in this negotiation was to ensure that the DPRK would not restart the five-megawatt reactor.
As a result of this agreement, that reactor is frozen and will not generate additional plutonium. That was a central element of our strategy in the negotiation and it's one that --
Q Is it verifiable?
MR. McCURRY: -- we have achieved. It is verifiable by the presence, remember, of the IAEA. The continued presence of the IAEA at the facility is guaranteed.
It's also true, Saul, that discontinuing operations of the radiochemical laboratory -- anything associated with the reprocessing of the spent fuel is an aspect of this agreement, as is discontinuation of the construction of the two larger, additional reactors.
So in a variety of ways, the current North Korean nuclear program is frozen as of the date of this agreement. That is a very important achievement as a result of this accord. It means there is no way under this agreement that the DPRK can enhance its nuclear capability. That, you'd have to argue, is a key feature.
The question of resolving the past activity of that program is one that will unfold over time. In a sense, if you want to look at it this way, the card that they could play was, what have we done in the past? This agreement, in a sense, allows them to play that card in slow motion as they acquire the light-water reactor technology.
But again, I stress, nothing goes or conveys that is a critical component of that technology until we resolve the issues of the past.
Q I didn't read all the briefings, and maybe this question has been asked and answered. But is there any timetable for the establishment here of the North Korean Liaison Office and the one in Pyongyang?
MR. McCURRY: There's not a hard-and-fast timetable in the agreement. The agreement suggests that they'll immediately commence expert level talks on establishing those liaison offices to resolve some of the consular and technical issues that are to be associated with opening those offices. A rough guess might be that that's six months down the road.
Q This is probably a quasi-legal question. There's a state of war. There's only a truce, and then sort of a state of war between the United Nations and North Korea; and certainly between South and North Korea, and the United States and North Korea. What does this do -- establishing liaison offices with a country with which we are at war?
MR. McCURRY: It's a good question. I think as Jordan and Israel most recently have proven, you can have diplomatic contact with parties that are technically in a state of war. I guess the real question, "Could you move to full diplomatic relations in the exchange of Ambassadors until such time as there is a peace treaty that is in force?" I don't know. I'll take a look at the question. Maybe we can work that up.
Q Mike, to the funding issue. Since North Korea also sits on the U.S. Terrorism List, will funding require any change in U.S. law or any Presidential waive or Presidential determination?
MR. McCURRY: Not to my knowledge. I don't think the technology that is proscribed within the agreement is covered by IAEA standards and the Nuclear Suppliers Group trigger list, which is the one that is governing the transfer technology. I don't believe that those are impacted by terrorist listings.
Q What isn't clear to me, Mike, who is going to supply the oil -- half a million tons, supposedly, each year? Who is going to finance that?
MR. McCURRY: I believe we've taken the obligation of doing so under the agreement. I can work up and get a concrete answer to that. I think that part of the agreement is, the United States takes on that responsibility to address their energy shortages.
Most of you probably know that there is a very critical energy shortage in the DPRK that has had some impact on their economic infrastructure. The sense that they are looking for ways to make electricity is a real one. That is the stated purpose for the construction of the other two reactors that they had underway. One of their desires was to compensate for the loss of those graphite-moderated reactors and the electricity they would generate and, thus, our willingness to consider compensating them, in the short term, in the form of the heavy fuel oil that we would provide, mostly for heating oil; and, secondly, our willingness to provide them with the technology that would help them generate electricity over time, which happens to be much safer from a proliferation perspective, too.
Q I also didn't hear all of the briefings. Did anybody cover -- if they didn't -- can I ask, does this agreement do anything about their provision of missile technology, etc., to countries like Syria?
MR. McCURRY: It doesn't address that specifically. It is understood by both sides that there are a range of bilateral issues that would be within the province of the Liaison Office, as we move into a dialogue with them through the Liaison Office.
Among the issues that we would expect to raise are not necessarily confined to -- human rights concerns-- proliferation concerns, including other aspects of arms transfers and additional economic issues that would arise that kind of grow out of some of our economic concerns. But those are not specifically addressed in the agreement. They are foreshadowed, in a sense, by the establishment of the Liaison Office.
Q As you know, the Geneva agreement will be signed by the DPRK and the United States this coming Friday. May we believe that regular diplomatic relationships are touched from that day between the United States and the DPRK? And, if so, when will the North Korean Embassy be inaugurated in Washington, D.C.?
MR. McCURRY: No. The date of that agreement is not the commencement of full diplomatic relations. The only thing that is agreed to in that framework accord is that both sides would conduct talks that would lead to the establishment of liaison offices. And, as I said, this is not in the agreement, but it is estimated that the consular and technical talks that would take place to establish those liaison offices might take as long as six months. So we'd say in roughly six months there would be an exchange of liaison offices. That is not full diplomatic relations in the sense of diplomatic parlance.
I want to go back and correct the record. I'm looking more closely at something now. We don't take on the sole responsibility, Barrie, to provide the heavy oil. We would take a leading role, as Ambassador Gallucci said yesterday -- a leading role in supplying heavy oil over the next ten years. But this would also be part of the activity of the international consortium.
Q That's part of the consortium. Okay. That's what I wasn't clear about.
Q Another subject? Is that okay? I was just wondering if you had any information on the status of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's application for a visa?
MR. McCURRY: I don't. Did you handle that while we were gone, Christine (Shelly), at all? As of last week, no decision, but we can check and see and maybe work up something for tomorrow on that.
Q To follow on Russia, if I might. There was some very bad news -- and I think some good news -- in the last two days. What can you comment on the assassination of the journalist, the investigative reporter in Moscow, Mike?
And then I understand there were 60 pounds of industrial- strength U-238 recovered by the Russians -- that apparently was their material?
MR. McCURRY: On the first issue, it's obviously a tragic and unfortunate death. I don't know that we have developed any independent details on that. It's something that law enforcement officials in Moscow are investigating.
On the second question, I believe the Russian Government has made some public pronouncements about the most recent episode of nuclear smuggling that they have addressed. It's a case in which they've apprehended individuals who they thought might be attempting to do some smuggling. But I'd direct you to the Russian Government for more details.
Q You have no details on the origin of that material?
MR. McCURRY: We'll follow up. We have a mechanism for following up on that. That falls within the province of the dialogue we have with them about the overall issue. I don't know whether we've looked at that particular incident.
Q Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:13 p.m.)
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