U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING DECEMBER 2, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Friday, December 2, 1994 Briefer: Christine Shelly NORTH KOREA Talks with US on Light-Water Power Plant ........1-2 CUBA US Immigration Policy/Children in Safehavens ....2 BOSNIA Ibrahim Rugova's Meetings at Department .........2-3 Reported Human Rights Abuses ...................3-4 Location of SAMs ................................6-7 UN Troops Held Hostage ..........................7 Fighting ........................................8 MEXICO Inaugural Speech re: Mexicans Expatriates ......9-10 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS U.S. Report on PLO Activities Released Today ....10-11 Secretary's Visit to Region/Expectations ........11 NATO Partners for Peace/Consultations with US ........11-12 THAILAND Arrest of Drug Traffickers ......................4-5
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1994, 12:45 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the State Department briefing. I have no announcements, so I'm happy to go directly to your questions.
Q The talks in Beijing and North Korea ended today. There was a statement -- I guess from the Embassy -- suggesting that you folks might have something official to say about it today?
MS. SHELLY: I have a very short statement that we're issuing both here and we also issued out in Beijing. I can read that for you. I don't have a lot of other details at this point.
As you know, Ambassador Gallucci testified on this yesterday, and so I didn't plan to really do follow-up questioning on that, but let me give you the readout I've got on the talks.
Delegations of the United States and the DPRK met in Beijing from November 30 to December 2 to hold talks on the supply of light-water reactor power plants to replace the DPRK's graphite-moderated reactors and related facilities.
Both sides reaffirmed their intention to cooperate to secure the conclusion of an agreement for the provision of a light-water reactor project to the DPRK within the timeframe and in accordance with the terms of the U.S.-DPRK agreed framework of October 21, 1994.
The talks address complex matters, and were serious and useful. The two sides agreed to meet again for further talks in January 1995.
Q There was some reporting to the effect that North Korea was continuing to object to a South Korean-provided reactor. Are you prepared to talk about that at all?
MS. SHELLY: No. I don't have anything on that with me. I'll be happy to check on that, but I don't have any details. Since we did open testimony on this yesterday, I didn't bring in anything on this, but I'll check on that for you.
Q Did they also talk about the supply of heavy fuel oil?
MS. SHELLY: No. My understanding is that this was simply on the light-water reactors. I think those are other talks.
Q (Inaudible) ask about the meetings from December 6, I think, here in Washington? Are they --
MS. SHELLY: Next week. I don't have more details on this at the moment.
Q Is there a change in how the U.S. is dealing with the Cuban children who are at Guantanamo?
MS. SHELLY: Right now, I think even as we speak, there is a press conference which is being done by Doris Meissner of the INS. I don't have a lot of details on this since these were basically going to be taking place at the same time. INS obviously has the lead on this.
One thing which has taken place is that there has been an announcement this morning by the Attorney General that at the direction of the President, the Attorney General will consider for humanitarian parole, on a case by case basis, Cuban children for whom long-term presence in these safehavens at Guantanamo and Panama would constitute an extraordinary hardship together with such immediate family members as humanitarian needs require.
Only families for whom there is full financial sponsorship in the United States will paroled.
That's the written announcement that was put out earlier today. As I mentioned, there is an On-the-Record briefing on this which is going on, I think, as we speak. So I have a little bit of information on that, but I think I would refer you to that in the first round and then maybe see if we can do any follow-up questions that you might have.
I'd be happy to try to do a few today. But since I haven't seen the text of their briefing, I probably can't take it very far.
Q Strobe Talbott is apparently meeting with the Kosovan President today. Is the United States going to tell him, or has it told him -- did it tell him late yesterday -- that the United States would insist that Belgrade ease up on Kosovo before sanctions could be lifted?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have a lot of details on this meeting at this point. As you know, Ibrahim Rugova is the acknowledged leader of the 1.8 million Albanian community in the province of Kosovo in the Republic of Serbia. He's in the U.S. on a previously planned visit. He is certainly a very important representative of the Albanian community in Kosovo, and his visit to Washington gives us an opportunity to exchange views about, obviously, on a range of issues, but in particular on the human rights situation in Kosovo.
He is meeting this afternoon with Acting Secretary Talbott. I understand he also has a meeting today with Ambassador Albright.
I don't know whether the meeting with Ambassador Albright has taken place yet, but I will try to get some kind of a readout on those meetings, if I can, to try to post later this afternoon.
Q What is current read on the human rights situation in Kosovo?
MS. SHELLY: I think we have expressed on many occasions the fact that we have very serious concerns about the human rights situation. I will also see, in the context of what we can report on this this afternoon, if we think there is any appreciable change in the situation there.
I don't think I have any other details on this at this point, but it is a situation that we monitor closely. We have a lot of concerns about the situation.
I think there have been some recent arrests that we have also been very concerned about, and this, of course, you know, we're always concerned about the possibility of spillover, of fighting in the region. I'm sure that's also something we'll be discussing.
But let me try to incorporate our assessment of the latest developments on the human rights front into what I can try to find out about the meetings for this afternoon.
Q One more point. Can I just follow up? On that last point about spillover, though, is it still the U.S. policy that the United States would respond militarily if the Balkan war spreads to Kosovo?
MS. SHELLY: Vis-a-vis previous statements that we have made on this, there isn't any change in the U.S. position on this. We are very concerned with spillover. We do have some U.S. troops along the Macedonian border, precisely for us to be in a position to try to determine if there's any change in the security in that area.
I don't have any other changes with respect to the previous positions on this that we've articulated before.
Q You're responding directly to that question of U.S. use of military force if the Serbs expand the conflict into Kosovo?
MS. SHELLY: We have always been extremely concerned about that. I'm not aware of any change in previous statements that we have made to that effect.
Q The human rights abuses you spoke about in Kosovo, those are directed at the Albanian communities?
MS. SHELLY: I think the Albanian community is something like 90 percent of the province's population. I think there had been some Albanian police and other officials that had recently been arrested by the Serbian presence there. I don't have the details on this. I was trying to find out something a little bit more on that to see if we could say something more on the human rights situation at the briefing, but I think I'm just going to have to do that later this afternoon.
It's still certainly is a problem. There are violations which continue to occur, and so it is something we're tracking very closely.
Q Violations by Serbians against the Albanians?
MS. SHELLY: Yes.
Q On Thailand and drugs, the Shan United Army -- ten arrests; ten people being sought. Is there anything new on that? Any further details?
Can you give me some sort of perspective on how important is what's happened there so far?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have a lot of details for you on this today. There are, of course, reports, as you know, that the Royal Thai police, in cooperation with the U.S. DEA, have arrested and are in the process of extraditing to the U.S. heroin traffickers.
As I think you know, it's not the policy of the U.S. to comment on extradition or other fugitive matters. So on that part, I can't say anything specific. But what I can say is that the U.S. Government takes this opportunity and the moment of attention that we have to applaud the efforts of the Royal Thai police to vigorously combat the production and supply of heroin which is currently flowing from and through Thailand to the world.
U.S. law enforcement representatives enjoy an on-going, close, cooperative relationship with Thai officials on counternarcotics issues. We commend the Royal Thai Government for its dedication and courage in taking vigorous steps to disrupt the activities of the world's largest heroin producers.
The U.S. pledges its continuing support for this effort and looks forward to continuing the excellent cooperation between law enforcement representatives of both countries.
For further details at this point, I think I'd have to direct you to the Justice Department.
Q Is there some sort of context as to -- is this a major deal going on then?
MS. SHELLY: I think we look upon what's happened so far as a major event. But again, as I said, I am really proscribed from getting into a lot of discussion and characterization. But certainly it is an important development.
Q The United States Postal Service is releasing a stamp next year to commemorate World War II with a mushroom cloud on it that says, "Atomic bomb hastens war's end, August 1945."
Yesterday, Foreign Minister Kono said that he did not have good feelings about the design, including the caption, and that "we would like to express to the U.S. in any way we can our feelings on this issue," which was also basically reiterated by the Prime Minister.
Is there any comment on the remarks or any response in general to the stamp?
MS. SHELLY: I'll check.
Q Different subject?
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q There was a meeting -- Summit of Americas -- there was a meeting this morning here at the State Department to finalize preparations, declaration and action plan. How was this meeting? Have they finalized all the issues pending?
MS. SHELLY: I think there was supposed to be some follow-up discussions, as I mentioned earlier in the week, on the trade issues. I am not aware that those discussions have yet finished. So let me check and see if I can do this up in our usual taken question format and try to post something for you this afternoon.
Q Also on the summit, is Cuba going to be discussed in the summit?
MS. SHELLY: I would expect that it will certainly come up in some context there. I don't think that it is formally inscribed in any way on the agenda, but certainly the lack of democracy in that one remaining country in the region I expect will be on leaders' minds and will come up probably in a variety of ways throughout the deliberations.
Q That's not an issue the United States wants to have discussed?
MS. SHELLY: I think the absence of democracy and the kind of reforms that we and certainly the other leaders in the region are looking for in Cuba, it is a source of concern to us; and certainly it is an element which does enter into our discussions with the other leaders. But again the particular form in which -- I mean, as you know, this is a summit, so in fact the White House would really have the lead on this, and we wouldn't have the lead on it in State. But I can just say it is a subject which obviously comes up in our discussions, and I would expect that it would come up in a number of different ways in Miami when the discussions actually take place.
Q When you provide the response on the matter of the trade issues, could you try to give a little detail?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, I will do my best.
Q Bosnia. Have you figured out yet where these updates SAM sites are coming from -- the SAM missiles?
MS. SHELLY: I've been checking on that to see if we could have any more details on this. I think that it is still largely our view that most of these were in-country, and we've known that they have been there but not known specifically where they were.
I think we've seen evidence that they have been moved around in the most recent days. But again I'm not sure that we have any more detailed information that we can make available at this point about exactly how many and which ones might have come from some other locations.
But they are moved. We've seen indications of that. But we also knew before that there were at least some of these in the country before, and obviously we have greater indications which confirm that now.
Q Do you have any word on the various hostages that have been taken in various places by the Serbs?
MS. SHELLY: There's not a lot that's new on this. Seventy Dutch soldiers held for six days have now been released by the Bosnian Serbs. However, you're still looking at a total picture that is in the range of about 400 additional UNPROFOR soldiers who are being held hostage in one form or another.
That, of course, doesn't count the situation in which the Bangladeshi troops finds themselves in in the city of Bihac. That's the new information that I have on this today, and I would have to refer you to the U.N. for any further details.
Q Can you confirm that the Bosnian Serbs went into Croatia to seize some UNPROFOR personnel?
MS. SHELLY: I think I've said that already this week. Yes, I think I have confirmed that already.
Q Any comment on the welcome that Mr. Akashi got when he visited Bosnian Government headquarters today?
MS. SHELLY: You may have more recent information than I do. I know he was having a series of meetings today. Are you talking about the shells falling?
I don't want to get into a characterization of the reception. We have seen the press reports about the additional shells falling. We think they were anti-tank missiles, actually, that fell into the area where the Bosnian Presidency is located, and they came within, I understand, sort of seconds of Mr. Akashi's arrival.
I think that it states its own message probably pretty clearly, but it certainly is another indication of the very unstable situation on the ground and certainly underscores the need to try to get the fighting stopped.
Q Do you have any further update on Bihac?
MS. SHELLY: On Bihac, sporadic fighting continues on the outskirts of Bihac town. I understand that no major changes in the confrontation lines have occurred. The humanitarian situation remains grave in Bihac, especially protection of the hospital which, as you know, houses the remaining food stocks.
Also on Sarajevo, yesterday I understand the Serbs fired three Sagger missiles into Sarajevo, one striking the parliamentary building. And in that particular episode, I understand that three civilians were wounded.
On the fighting elsewhere, the situation in Croatia, I have a bit more information on that. In Croatia, 136 cease- fire violations occurred within the last 24 hours. That's the highest level since the signing of the March agreement.
The heaviest fighting occurred along the southern sector of the U.N.-protected areas near the city of Knin. Croats fired 33 mortar rounds as Serbs fired back with machine guns and fighting that lasted through most of the daylight hours.
In the Western sector of the U.N.-protected areas, heavy bursts of machine gun fire were aimed at a UNPROFOR observation post. UNPROFOR reports the situation in all of the U.N. sectors in Croatia is generally stable, although there's a lot of tension associated with the most recent fighting.
Q Do you mean by that -- if it's only sporadic fighting, do you mean that the Serb offensive is stopped?
MS. SHELLY: I think I've said what I've said, which is no major change in terms of the confrontation lines, but without the fighting, obviously, having completely stopped.
Q Not the fighting. The fighting is going on. But the offensive -- the fight that the Bosnian Muslims, government troops -- are stepping back -- or now they seem holding their lines. Does the State Department consider that the offensive is stopped?
MS. SHELLY: I mean, certainly the pressure exists and the fighting continues. I'm not really in a position to make that judgment call.
Q Earlier this week, the Croatian Defense Minister was here, and you told us that we had -- that they had said previously that they were going to respond to any attack on Bihac or retaliate for any attack on Bihac, and that we had cautioned them to not resort to violence.
Are we aware of any build-up around Bihac by Croatian troops to retaliate in any way for the fighting around Bihac?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not aware that there's any new troop movements that we've seen within the last day or so. I think they're watching the situation very closely, and they certainly know where the lines are drawn. I think their greatest concern at this point is if there were indications that the City of Bihac was about to fall.
But the latest information that I have suggests that the situation at this point has been largely static in the last 24-36 hours. I don't think that thresholds, which the Croatian Defense Minister himself previously outlined, have been crossed.
Q Thank you.
MS. SHELLY: Okay. Sorry, one last question.
Q Do you have any comment on the new government that President Ernesto Zedillo took place yesterday in Mexico? And what do you think are the new -- or the main challenges or that both governments will have to face in the next six years?
MS. SHELLY: I think that's kind of too sweeping a question for me to answer today, and I can see if we can either work up something later or maybe come back to this more in the beginning of next week.
Naturally, we're very interested to hear President Zedillo's speech -- his inauguration speech -- and obviously we're interested, in particular, on the issues related to his statements on Mexican citizens living abroad.
On that particular point he said he would use legal means to defend the dignity and human rights of Mexicans living outside of their country. We certainly understand his position on this, because this is also the attitude and position of the U.S. Government concerning its own citizens who live abroad.
So we congratulate him on his inauguration. We look forward to working very closely with Mexico in the coming months, and certainly expect that we will be able to continue our cooperative relationship with Mexico on a very broad range of issues.
Q Maybe Don can help me out on this, but what has the State Department determined about PLO behavior in terms of recent terrorist incidents? Has it been exonerated of any culpability? Is there a report out?
MS. SHELLY: I have some information on this, because there is a report which is coming out today, I think. There is a report which we are required to submit to the U.S. Congress every six months which is called for by the PLO Commitments Compliance Act, and it constitutes the written policy justification required by the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act.
This particular report -- I think this is our second one -- it covers events from June 1 through November 30, 1994. Under the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act, the President may suspend certain restrictions regarding the PLO thirty days after the submission of the written policy justification, if he certifies that the PLO is abiding by its commitments.
The Act requires that the Administration consult with the Congress during the 30-day period before he exercises his suspension authority. We will make copies of this report available to you this afternoon in the Press Office, so I think if you want to check in an hour or so, we should be able to have the copying done.
We believe the report contains an objective and factual analysis of the PLO's efforts to abide by the commitments undertaken in its letter of September 9, 1993, to Prime Minister Rabin and Foreign Minister Holst, and the commitments in and resulting from the good-faith implementation of the September 13, 1993, Declaration of Principles.
So I think if you have a chance to look at that this afternoon, we can maybe come back if you have interest in more questions, or else give us a call later, and we'll see what we can help you on.
Q Why can't you tell us what the bottom line is?
MS. SHELLY: I've just given what I think is the general assessment of this. This is a report that we're releasing this afternoon. I'm not an expert on the report, and it's a long report, and it's rather detailed. So I'd just as soon give it to you and let you take a look at it, and then either give us a call later or else we'll see if we can provide some more details after you've had a chance to look at it.
Q Do you know if it addresses the question of the PLO failing to amend its charter?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. As I said, I'm not an expert on the report, so let me distribute it and then if you don't mind, if we can come back to it.
Q (Inaudible) a few days before the upcoming visit of Mr. Christopher in the Middle East?
MS. SHELLY: I'm sorry?
Q Are you optimistic about, or it's just a visit? Do you expect any results of Mr. Christopher's visit in the Middle East?
MS. SHELLY: That's not really a question for me to address. It's a question that should be addressed to the Secretary in Brussels, as he is about to leave for the region.
The Secretary himself has said that this is a long-term process and the results will be slow in coming. But certainly he would not be making the trip if he didn't feel that it would be useful to do so. Beyond that, I really can't add any further details.
Q I wanted to ask, what about Mr. Kozyrev refusing to sign the agreement with the peace -- I don't know how you call it -- between NATO and the other countries?
MS. SHELLY: The action on this is really with the party. I think it's been reported pretty -- statements by the Secretary on this, and coming out of the party, I think have been reported pretty fully. You may be able to get some of the statements on this in our Press Office after the briefing.
If I can just paraphrase, I think the gist of what's been said coming out of the party, we believe that when the NAC communique was actually issued, that there was some misunderstanding on the part of the Russians. We have fully consulted with Russia on this issue. We've certainly done this on a very detailed and very regular basis.
As a consequential matter for the future, we don't think that any of this particular incident will affect Russia's status as a Partnership for Peace member. So I think it was more of a temporary problem. The Russians needed some more time to study the document, but I think we don't feel that in any way it will impact on their participation in Partnership for Peace.
Q Do you think it might somehow affect the atmosphere of the CSCE meeting in Budapest at all?
MS. SHELLY: I'm really not in a position to make that call. I hope by now the situation has been clarified and certainly hope that that will not be the case.
Q Thank you.
(Press Briefing concluded at 1:12 p.m.)
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