U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING NOVEMBER 4, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Friday, November 4, 1994 Briefer: Michael McCurry SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS Press Credentials ...............................1 BOSNIA UN Vote on Lifting Sanctions ....................1-2 Reports of Missile Attack .......................2-3 RWANDA US Concerns re: Conditions in Refugee Camps ....3-4 CUBA Refugees/US Litigation re: Repatriation ........4 CHILE Foreign Minister's Meeting with Secretary .......4-5 IRAQ Compliance with UN Resolutions/Embargo ..........5-9 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Governance by PLO ...............................8-9 Regional Development Bank .......................10-11 KOREA US Diplomatic Contacts ..........................11-12 ALGERIA Violence against Westerners/Journalists .........12 SAUDI ARABIA Prepositioning of US Military Equipment .........12-13
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1994, 12:38 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Let me start today's State Department briefing with the following announcement.
The deadline for applications for press credentials to cover the Summit of the Americas, which is, as you know, scheduled to occur in Miami December 9-ll, is today -- today being Friday, November 4th. That sounds' about right. Applications are still available through the Press Offices at the White House and the State Department, as well as at the U.S. Information Agency's Foreign Press Center in the National Press Club building. Please note that photo credentials for members of the press will be required for all Summit events, including admission to the International Media Center, where all briefings will take place, such as briefings that occur while we are in Miami.
Please contact USIA's Foreign Press Center for additional information at 202-724-l640 -- to repeat, 202-724- l640.
Now to the news of the day, the Associated Press.
Q Mike, when do you think you might bring up in the Security Council the resolution to lift the arms embargo against Bosnia?
MR. McCURRY: Soon. Certainly prior to November 15th.
Q And what does this vote in the General Assembly project or pretend to?
MR. McCURRY: Well, I think that we are gratified that the position, certainly, that the United States Government has received widespread approval in the world community when the General Assembly voted 97-0 to resolve the conflict in Bosnia, if necessary, by bringing pressure to bear on the Bosnian Serbs through the lifting of the arms embargo against the Bosnian Government and Federation.
We will obviously continue our own efforts to achieve the adoption of a resolution by the Security Council, which is the body that would have to actually lift the embargo, the General Assembly vote having been in a sense an advisory opinion.
But I would note that the Assembly resolution was even stronger and more direct in its admonition to the Security Council to lift the arms embargo, than the similar resolution adopted last year.
Q The Russians spoke against it. Do you have any assurance from Russia that it will not veto the resolution?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of.
Q Are you going to bring it up even if you are aware of a possible veto?
MR. McCURRY: That will be determined by Ambassador Albright in consultation with other officials in our government. We'll just have to wait and see.
Q You say you were gratified by the 97 to nothing vote in the General Assembly, but there was an unusually high number of abstentions -- 6l, I think, or 67, something like that.
MR. McCURRY: There was a high number of abstentions. I think that does reflect the fact that there are some who continue to have grave doubts about the wisdom of lifting the arms embargo.
Q And how well are the consultations going? Do you feel that you do have a fighting chance to get it through the Security Council?
MR. McCURRY: I wouldn't want to predict that, but I think the consultations are going well, as well as they can go, given what I think are the publicly stated positions of many of the other members of the Security Council.
Q Have you got anything on the Serb missile attacks on Bihac? Any reaction or any more details?
MR. McCURRY: I don't. I have been in contact with folks up at the U.N. earlier today to see if they have developed any independent information. They have seen some reports, I think mostly news reports, that there may have been surface-to-air missiles that landed within Bihac, not used for any military purpose that a surface-to-air missile is used for, so that it would be, as a U.N. official said, likened to mostly a terrorist attack. But we are trying to develop further information on that attack.
Q Any news today about the status of Mr. Gergen?
MR. McCURRY: One David Gergen, Counselor to or Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State, and a fine gentleman?
MR. McCURRY: No. I read somewhere it was reported that in a newspaper that always gets 99 percent of its facts correct, reported that he intends to leave government service by the end of the year. I don't have any reason to think that that's wrong, because I think Mr. Gergen has stated earlier in the year, in fact, at the time that he took the assignment that the Secretary and the President offered him, he stated that it was his intention to leave government service for other pursuits by the end of this year.
I would say that those of us who have worked with him have come to appreciate his skill not only when it comes to communications but the enormous insights that he has brought to the making of foreign policy. I certainly hope that some way is found to continue having available his very wise counsel. But I would have to leave that to the White House and others to announce formally at a time that is proper.
Q Mike, what is the U.S. position on trying to bring peace and calm and stability to the Rwanda camps? There have been reports of a sort of terrorist scare, the former government officials scaring people in the camps. The NGOs are saying they will pull out.
MR. McCURRY: We have been enormously concerned about those reports. They have been raised frequently at very high levels with the Rwandan Patriotic Front and others.
Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Tim Wirth is in New York today and holding a series of meetings related directly to that question. So he may have some additional information to report.
But it has long been a very firm position of our government, and we have made it clear to the Rwandan Patriotic Front that everything possible needs to be done to create conditions within the camps and within a variety of places in Rwanda where populations can return and live in safety in the places that used to be their homes.
Q Are we in favor of possibly troops being placed in these camps to stop the --
MR. McCURRY: Well, there is UNAMIR presence in some locations there, but I'm not aware -- that is, related to the deployment of the U.N. Mission, I would have to check into that, Betsy, to really know more about how they are using the U.N. peacekeeping forces there.
Q Where do things stand as far as the repatriation of Cubans from Guantanamo?
MR. McCURRY: I'm still sort of handicapped in talking about it because there was, you're probably aware, a U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta yesterday that suspended the temporary restraining order on voluntary repatriation of Cubans from Guantanamo. They've also got a hearing. That was the TRO. They've got a hearing on the case itself that's scheduled for this afternoon. The Justice Department might be in a position to offer you a readout on that.
Because we are in litigation real time on that, there is not much that I can say from here about that, but it's obviously something that we are watching very, very carefully. We will certainly comply with the rulings of the court, but we also will be looking to see how that affects our underlying policy.
Q Do you have anything on the Secretary's meeting with the Chilean Foreign Minister? Are they still pushing their drive to be a part of NAFTA?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have full readout on that yet. We'll see if we can get something later. They intended to talk about the trade liberalization generally. They intended to preview some of the upcoming work that will be done at APEC.
As you will recall, Chile will be participating in these discussions at APEC in Indonesia for the first time as a member economy of APEC. I believe they were reviewing the coming APEC agenda. But I'll see if I can get a more full readout and post it for later on.
Q To follow on that. Why were writers excluded today from this photo-op?
MR. McCURRY: Bill, it was a question of timing more than anything else. The Secretary, in what we have very euphemistically called his "brief rest stop" here in the country, in between trips, has been cramming an awful lot into his calendar. We realized we only had a total of half an hour for this meeting, and the Secretary wanted to maximize his time with the Foreign Minister and asked if we could just make it a camera's-only-thing so we wouldn't take up a lot of extra time for Q&A. That was the reason; that was the only reason.
Q Will we be invited to participate in the future?
MR. McCURRY: Sure. What we would normally do, the kind of ceremony that we have in the Treaty Room -- which is sometimes less than ceremonial --
MR. McCURRY: Ceremonious. Thank you, Jim. We will certainly be doing a lot of those types of occasions a long time into the future with Secretary of State Warren Christopher at the helm.
Q Will we permitted the to see him on television this weekend? Is he planning anything?
MR. McCURRY: You want to know if you're going to have work and --
Q Yeah. I don't have to work. I don't watch television. But other than in the office, I might want to watch. If we can't get at him, I just thought, should we turn on the tube and watch him on MacNeil/Lehrer, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, C-Span?
MR. McCURRY: Given all the travel schedule, why don't you watch some football games tomorrow.
Q I don't have to go on the trip -- Donohue?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware of any plans for the Secretary to be holding forth on the air waves this weekend. I think we're trying to give him some portion of a weekend off before he heads out on a two-week trip to Asia.
Q Mike, an unusual story developing. In September, CIA Director Woolsey gave a speech to the Washington Institute for the Near East. In it, among other things, he made a lot of charges about what Iraq is doing to violate the various United Nations resolutions, including "accelerating construction of deep underground shelters and tunnels to produce and store weapons of mass destruction."
Now, apparently, they've retracted that. I realize this is a CIA matter. But since the State Department and the rest of the Administration basis policy such as the threaten intervention in the Gulf on such information, (1) do you still believe that there were those underground shelters? And was that any element in the U.S. buildup?
MR. McCURRY: The Director of Central Intelligence generally talks about things that are intelligence matters which are exactly the things that we don't talk about here. So the specific information that he made available and what he had said about that since, I will leave it really to the CIA to speak to. It would be more appropriate for their Public Affairs officers to address the particular item that you may have seen in the newspaper today that you're referring to.
But let me make a general point. There was also a very interesting story in the Washington Post today about the compliance that we've seen by Iraq as it relates to working with the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq -- UNSCOM.
In the context of that article, you can see the kinds of problems that Ambassador Ekeus and his colleagues at UNSCOM have been having in trying to get to the bottom of a lot of the issues related to compliance by Iraq with U.N. Security Council resolutions. It's very clear that they have done remarkable work even though they've been subjected to almost constant harassment by the Iraqis -- obfuscation, deception, evasion, anything but a willingness to comply with the terms of the U.N. resolutions that require a thorough exploration of exactly that type of issue that the Director of Central Intelligence was addressing.
They've consistently failed to disclose details of their past efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. They hide evidence of their past activities. They deny the existence of certain types of facilities until they're confronted with direct proof. They then grudgingly give vague answers on occasion. They speak with half truths. Their behavior is anything but cooperative.
That same type of stonewalling, by the way, you see in connection with most of the U.N. resolutions that pertain to Iraq, including the issues involving Kuwaiti sovereignty, the demarcated border that Iraq still continues to fail to acknowledge; missing-in-action from Kuwait who are still not accounted for; the return of Kuwaiti stolen property taken during the occupation; Iraq's continued support of terrorism; repression of their own citizens inside Iraq. It adds up to non- compliance in a very real way and probably suggests, when the Security Council holds its next review of the Iraq sanctions question on November 14, there will be very little support within the world community for any change in the sanctions regime.
We're confident, in fact, that the Security Council will agree with us that no change in sanctions is warranted at that point.
Q Excuse me, could I just follow up? My question really comes down to this: To what extent are your actions based on U.S. intelligence rather than the findings of the Special Commission?
MR. McCURRY: We base our policy on all the information that's available to us. In that respect, intelligence can play a role, but so can the reports of the U.N. Special Commission. I wouldn't want to weigh one against the other because we take the total view of what we see are the facts on the ground and then make our policy accordingly. But that's why I thought it was important to set forth.
We don't see any evidence of the type of spirit of cooperation that would be necessary to alter that sanctions regime. That's why I cited, in a number of cases, the type of deception and evasion that we're seeing. That is consistent with the thrust of the Director's remarks, to be sure. If not to the specifics, the specifics I would really leave it to the CIA to address.
Q It could be said, Mike, that enumerating these concerns that you just have, that the true intent and the true activity of the Iraqi Government is suspect based on their behavior?
MR. McCURRY: That would be exactly what you would say.
Q You said there's very little support in the world community for doing anything about the embargo. Have there been defections by some of Iraq's friends based on what happened last month?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not sure how many friends they had. They may have had some that were interested in exploring what the contours of what type of relationship might be available. We do detect some change in attitude based on what was most recently a very troubling and provocative move by Saddam Husayn. That's why we suspect that November 14, when the Security Council takes the issue up again, there's probably less enthusiasm that will come to play for any immediate change in the sanctions regime.
Jim, go ahead.
Q Without going into specific intelligence information, does this episode shake any confidence in this building about the quality of the intelligence coming from other agencies?
MR. McCURRY: We have numbers of ways to gather and collect information that help policymakers make the right decisions, and we're confident in those procedures.
Q Arafat had something of a bad day yesterday. He apparently got thrown out of the mosque.
MR. McCURRY: He got caught in the rain, too.
Q Are you worried that Palestinian authority is lacking authority?
MR. McCURRY: The Palestinian authority is the entity structured under the Declaration of Principles, and it continues to do a lot of work. We continue to work with them to make sure they carry out the functions that they have been given by the Declaration.
Chairman Arafat has a very difficult and delicate political position, but then so does every other leader in the region. I think Prime Minister Rabin has a very difficult and contentious political environment to deal with as well, and you see evidence from time to time that these are very dynamic political cultures in which leaders have to do their best to lead. Other than that, I don't know there's any way to assess what happened yesterday.
I think it was significant that one group apologized very quickly afterwards to Chairman Arafat, but he continues to be the person with whom we can work to try to improve the quality of life for people in the territories; and we will continue to do so, because he is the authoritative voice when it comes to the Palestinian authority.
Q How could you say that when so many Gazans went out into the street and, you know, besides giving Arafat a hard time, they seemed to be unhappy with the agreement with Israel. I mean, is this agreement made in some hypothetical vacuum? These people -- are you going to lump them in as enemies of peace and dismiss them outright?
MR. McCURRY: No, Barry. Having seen the dynamic change and the climate change so clearly in the region and having seen the extraordinary moves towards peace that we've witnessed in the last year, people now want to see that there are dividends, that there are rewards for having taken these risks to make peace. And there is inevitably frustration when they don't see that type of improvement in quality of life.
That's why we were just in Casablanca. That's why we will continue to press those who have made pledges to help support the Palestinian people to make good on those pledges, so that we can begin to get the type of improvements in the quality of life that will speak to the natural frustration that people feel when they don't think that their lives are getting better.
Q Do you think they're protesting their bad economic situation and not the killing of somebody maybe they consider more their leader than Arafat?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not going to plumb the depths of what motivates people to protest, but it's clear that the type of -- from our own reporting and from our own assessments of the situation on the Palestinian street, we feel that people are anxious to see changes in their lives -- changes for the better.
We want that to happen, and the Government of Israel wants that to happen.
Q Does the U.S. have any idea who did this?
MR. McCURRY: No.
Q This engineering editor, student, or whatever?
MR. McCURRY: We have no idea, no.
Q Mike, could I follow on Jim's original question concerning the CIA and this perspective of the Department of Defense as an important cooperating sister agency with CIA and the reports have been persistent for months of morale being sub-basement level -- the insubordination due to the awarding, etc.
MR. McCURRY: Bill, I mean, these are CIA issues. I can't really speak to those.
Q But it wouldn't be a matter of concern for the State Department and the Clinton Administration that morale and effectiveness over there has just dropped to the floor?
MR. McCURRY: I don't believe that we share that assessment. We think the Director has done a number of things -- Jim's earlier question was, 'Do we have confidence that we get the information we need to make the right decisions,' and I indicated that we do. I think that's the only important question that I need to address from here. Questions about how the agency functions and performs -- that has to be addressed by agency officials.
Q Mike, watching the situation in the West Bank and the Palestinians, one of the key things seems to be this Mideast Development Bank. Yesterday you clarified some misconceptions which were in The New York Times concerning opposition to it.
The other question I have is, what are the Europeans saying about this? I heard today that Pete Meier, the head of the Bundesbank in Germany, was opposed to it because he says it would take too long for anything to get into motion, and obviously we want to get something in as quickly as possible to deal with the situation that was discussed in the earlier question.
What have the Europeans -- what have the British said? What have the French said?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have the detailed formulations from each of those governments. I was not aware of the statement by the German banking official, but we did have very good discussions with Jacques Delor while we were in Casablanca, and I would describe the European Union's view as being very supportive of that which was contained in the Casablanca Declaration, which is that there should be immediately an effort by a committee of experts to structure the type of bank that the President proposed, and that we begin the work necessary to establish that type of bank.
I have not seen anything reported from any of the European capitals that indicate that they are opposed to that. There are questions, and we have acknowledged that, and I think I did so earlier in the week. There are questions about how you structure that type of bank, how you synchronize it with other lending institutions, and how you make sure that the lending standards conform to -- desire to make sure it is an effective institution and gets the job done.
We certainly know that those are the issues, and those are the issues that would be addressed by the committee of experts. But I have not heard any government say flat-out that that's something that we ought to just oppose at this point. I'll check further and see if we've got any specific things.
Q But the time schedule -- it now looks like something in the middle of next year that --
MR. McCURRY: That was by design. We suggested, and our suggestion was from the beginning that what we should do is look at structuring this bank and getting a report back when Casablanca II takes place, and Casablanca II will take place in Jordan some time in the first half of 1995. That's exactly what we had wanted to see happen. We wanted to see the experts look at this issue, come back with some proposals or structures, and then present that at the time that we meet in Jordan.
Q Secretary Christopher is going to make a stopover in Seoul, Korea, on his way to Jakarta, Indonesia. Does he have any current issue to discuss with the South Korean side? Otherwise, it's a kind of a certain -- what does he call it? He calls it -- as you know, he was once criticized by South Korean Government since the Clinton Government inaugurated, he didn't have any time to visit Seoul, Korea, even though this nuclear -- North Korea (inaudible) but --
MR. McCURRY: That is not accurate, because the Secretary accompanied the President to Seoul. I would describe his working relationship with Foreign Minister Han as being one of the most extensive of any foreign minister colleague that he has anywhere in the world. So he spends enormous amounts of time working on the issues of concern to our two governments. But his stop in Seoul will be very significant, because it's an opportunity for us to continue the very close coordination that we have with the Republic of Korea on not only the nuclear issue, not only their impending -- whatever discussions that they are entertaining with the North -- but it's also an opportunity for us to review a host of bilateral concerns and also the conventional military balance on the peninsula.
So there are very fundamental and important issues to our close relationship with a treaty ally, South Korea, that need to be developed and explored, and that is why the meetings will be very, very significant. I would describe them as -- though they will be very courteous, they are certainly beyond being just a courtesy call. They will be very significant and important bilateral discussions.
Q Mike, what are the discussions entertaining with the North? Does the U.S. think they ought to talk to the North like --
MR. McCURRY: Oh, no.
Q -- (inaudible) of China just said today?
MR. McCURRY: That is envisioned, remember, in the statement agreed to in Geneva, that there would be continued dialogue and continued progress in the North-South discussions. That's embedded in the agreements that were reached between the U.S. and the DPRK.
Q On Algeria, Mike, could you as Spokesman speak out strongly against the terrorism and the atrocities that are going on in Algeria, I think on the part of the fundamentalist Moslems -- the killing of journalists. I believe 25 so far in this war and six or more in the last couple of weeks.
MR. McCURRY: The violence that continues in Algeria has been of very deep concern to us, not only because they're directed against Westerners and foreigners -- including diplomats, including journalists -- but also because they've been so fundamentally damaging to the people of Algeria. And our strong desire to see that conflict brought to an end and to see the parties engage in discussions that can bring an end to the violence has been stated repeatedly by the U.S. Government, and we've got a host of statements. In fact, not just today but many times recently have spoken to the need to end that violence.
Q Also on Algeria, I mean, you've always argued from this podium, as have other Administration officials, there's a need for greater dialogue with the more militant elements. Yet when the chief of police in Algiers tried to go and talk to them, he was shot dead. I mean, the Algerians seem to have a feeling that the Americans are asking them to talk to people who it's impossible to talk with.
MR. McCURRY: We don't believe it's impossible for them to have that type of dialogue with those who reject violence. That's been our call all along. We do believe that there are ways in which you can expand the political dialogue and expand the circle of contacts without including those who espouse terrorism as a way of addressing the conflict.
Q You say they're not doing enough at the moment?
MR. McCURRY: We've encouraged them to do what they can. There's not been that type of dialogue that we have envisioned.
Q On Saudi Arabia, has Saudi Arabia refused to accept the prepositioning of American equipment for American use?
MR. McCURRY: No. That is a question that remains under discussion with the Saudi government.
Q When the Saudis say something is being considered, does the U.S. interpret that as meaning they're not rejecting the idea? Is that the way you interpret the Saudis like your favorite newspaper does?
MR. McCURRY: No, not necessarily. We don't need to second-guess, in many cases, because we have very direct and very useful exchanges that are to the point. So we don't have to imagine what the motives or the answer might be.
Q Is the U.S. trying to pressure them to buy weapons they can't afford?
MR. McCURRY: We are having a lot of conversations with them related to security in the Gulf. Some of those include what type of configuration, military configuration, they have. But those are issues that I think we -- as suggested by the Secretary on the trip recently, those are issues that we develop and discuss with them in harmony and in the spirit of a very cooperative relationship.
Q Does going to the UAE to take up -- by going to the UAE to take up prepositioning, does that preclude any hopes of having the Saudis do the same?
MR. McCURRY: It certainly does not, but I think the question of prepositioning is one really that the Pentagon would be able to tell you more about. The other thing, we were talking about a very good article today -- well, very good -- very accurate and detailed article today in a major, leading newspaper, one of the world's great newspapers, one with an enormously impressive history in the annals of journalism.
MR. McCURRY: It circulates here, yes. Although sometimes they send down that early edition that's got too many typos in it. (Laughter) God, I was on the right track there. So let me get off.
Q Did Gergen tell you to say that? (Laughter)
MR. McCURRY: Thank you.
Q Have a nice trip!
MR. McCURRY: Thanks.
(The briefing concluded at 1:08 p.m.)
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