U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING DECEMBER 14, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Wednesday, December 14, 1994 Briefer: Michael McCurry TURKEY Whereabouts of PKK Leader .......................1 Policy on Operation Provide Comfort .............1 Human Rights/Democratization ....................2-3 TAIWAN Contacts with US ................................3-4 CHINA Visit by US Transportation Secretary Postponed ..3,6-7 Kitty Hawk's Patrol in International Waters .....4 Relations with US ...............................9 INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS Future US Participation .........................7 Funds for Palestinians/Effectiveness ............7-8 RUSSIA Negotiations with Chechnya Leaders/US View ......9-16 TERRORISM US Efforts to Curb Fund Raising in US ...........16 BOSNIA Defense Secretaries Discussions in Brussels .....16-17 DEPARTMENT Holiday Press Briefing Schedule .................18-19
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1994, 12:54 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good day and welcome to the United States State Department, and a special hello to Steve Hurst.
Q Hi, there.
MR. McCURRY: Hi, there.
Let me start, following up from some questions yesterday. We dutifully did our homework here.
We are aware that there are some press reports that have quoted officials saying that the PKK leader -- it's Ocalan?
MR. McCURRY: --had moved from Syria to northern Iraq. We've seen the press report, but we have no independent information to corroborate it and we are not certain that -- the report quoted U.S. officials saying this. We're not aware of any U.S. officials who have specific information that corroborates that report.
On "Provide Comfort," I think you were asking a little about "Provide Comfort." We continue to strongly support "Operation Provide Comfort." It's a humanitarian effort that we believe has been crucial to protecting the northern population of Iraq from attacks by Saddam's regime, such as those which occurred in l99l.
I think you asked hypothetically what might happen if the Turkish Parliament did not renew its support for "Operation Provide Comfort." They have every six months, over the past four years, supported "Operation Provide Comfort," and we certainly would hope and expect that they would in the future; but it is really hypothetical at this point to try to assess what position the Turkish Parliament might take.
I believe some of you also had been able to talk to a senior U.S. official about some of our human rights concerns as they relate to Turkey. You know that we've been raising that at a very high level with the Turkish Government and have been conducting some very intensive diplomacy around that issue.
Assistant Secretary Shattuck visited Turkey in July, and again last October. During the October visit, he traveled to Kurdish areas in southeastern Turkey and talked to both local government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations to assess the situation. He continues to work on that very, very carefully.
We have been encouraged by some things that we've seen. We're certainly encouraged on the increased dialogue in Turkey on the Kurdish issue. We have been encouraged by the package of democratization measures that have been put together, including some of the amendments to the Anti-Terror Law that are under consideration. But we also have been somewhat discouraged by signs that there have restrictions on freedom of speech and press.
I believe a lot of this was covered in a session that some of you had, but I wanted to follow up on our conversation yesterday.
Q I have some question about that. You are offering some help to the Turkish Government about the human rights violation. But on the same side, most of their conflict -- for example, Bosnia, Chechnya, and Russia, and other parts of the world, you are not successful. All of the West is not successful to handling an ethnic conflict. How can you offer help for Turkey?
MR. McCURRY: There is a significant difference in our assessment of these various regional conflicts. In the case of Turkey, we are dealing with an organization which we know to be a terrorist organization -- the PKK. Its activities are thoroughly documented in our Annual Terrorism Report, and that creates a much different situation in which we approach the Turkish Government and seek to understand the steps they are taking to eradicate terrorism which generates from within their borders.
That, I think, puts a special responsibility on the Government of Turkey to try to address that. What we've encouraged them to do is to try to address that in a way that is respectful of the human rights of those who are innocent and not engaged in acts of terror under the sponsorship of organizations like the PKK.
That's a very substantial difference, as you look at that type of regional conflict in that part of the world.
Q Can we turn you on to Taiwan --
MR. McCURRY: Yes, sure.
Q -- and ask you what the current U.S. policy is on visits by high-level American officials to Taiwan? Are they permitted to speak to Taiwanese officials about events in Taiwan?
MR. McCURRY: Barry, remember, a couple of months ago we kind of traced through some of the ways that we were just adjusting the way in which we approach contacts with Taipei, consistent with what has been our policy and continues to be our policy, a one-China policy based on the communiques and based on our longtime understandings. Our contacts are consistent with that policy, adjusted somewhat to allow the types of contacts that we described a while back.
There were some nomenclature changes as they related to the mission that Taipei maintains here and the mission of the institute that we maintain in Taipei. But there's nothing about China policy that changes the nature of the contacts.
This all arises because of the Chinese Government concern about the trip that Secretary of Transportation Pena had scheduled for China, I believe between January 7th and l7th -- somewhere in that neighborhood. The Chinese have said that they've not given us any specific reason. They've suggested it would not be convenient at this time to receive Secretary Pena for a visit. There has been some speculation in news accounts that had to do with Secretary Pena's visit to Taiwan.
We are disappointed that the Chinese side has chosen not to receive Secretary Pena. It would continue the high- level bilateral contact we've had with the People's Republic that has been enormously useful in expanding a very constructive and growing engagement between the United States and China.
We had expected that the delegation that Secretary Pena was leading would provide an opportunity to even improve these bilateral ties and to work on issues that are within the province of the Secretary of Transportation.
We regret it as a lost opportunity. We don't see any linkage that ought to be suggested as a result of Secretary Pena's visit to Taiwan.
Q You've covered a lot of ground with that. You say there were adjustments. Within the scope of those adjustments, is it permissible, in the State Department's view, for a Cabinet officer to talk to Taiwanese officials about, for instance, their recent trends toward democracy.
MR. McCURRY: Yes. I mean the province of the contacts that are allowed between different levels within the U.S. Government and different members of the Cabinet were very specifically outlined in the policy that we reviewed here back in -- David (Johnson), does anybody remember? It would have been August, I think.
Q But he was proceeding --
MR. McCURRY: He was proceeding exactly consistent with the policy as we had outlined it, and frankly as we had briefed both Taiwan and the PRC as to the contents.
Q All right. Now, the only thing I would bother you with on this is: What is the State Department's understanding of what the Chinese have done? Have they postponed, cancelled, or bugged out -- or what ?
MR. McCURRY: Based on the news accounts we've seen -- as I say, we haven't had a formal response on the nature of the postponement, but we do believe it's a postponement. They have said so publicly. We certainly would look forward to a visit by Secretary Pena to the People's Republic at a convenient date, and we will remain in contact with the Chinese Government to see if those arrangements can be made.
Q When did he meet with the Taiwanese?
MR. McCURRY: He was there just within the last several days. I think it was maybe over the weekend -- over this past weekend?
Maybe the last week -- sometime last week.
Q On a related matter. Under U.S.-Chinese relations: This face-off between the aircraft carrier and the Chinese, the Chinese apparently said if it happened again they were going to "shoot to kill." Can you say anything about that?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have anything on that here. I'd have to direct you over to the Pentagon, which can provide you more about the military details.
My understanding is that the Kitty Hawk was on a routine patrol in the Yellow Sea in late October. We have not had any diplomatic contact with the Chinese Government related to any incident that might have involved that patrol.
U.S. naval forces, by the way, have a very strict set of standard operating procedures that they use when they're in international waters. They're specifically designed to avoid incidents at sea, and they've proven to be effective in the past. Everything that we know about the operation of the Kitty Hawk on this patrol was that it was strictly standard operating procedure. I would direct you to the DoD to see if they've had any contact.
I can tell you that in diplomatic channels we haven't had any response from the Chinese Government along the lines suggested in some of the news accounts that we've seen.
Q You say they were in international waters?
MR. McCURRY: That's my understanding -- international waters. They were operating under standard operating procedures which does include making defensive efforts to establish contact with other ships, including submarines that might be in those waters. That's a routine part of U.S. naval patrols in most places in the world.
Q You're saying they did attempt to track this Chinese sub, as the Chinese have said?
MR. McCURRY: I can't give you operational detail on that patrol. I refer you to the Defense Department, but it would be standard operating procedure to do that type of contact. That's part of the training and part of the drilling that that type of carrier task force would normally do.
Q Just one more. Does this incident sort of highlight Administration concerns over China's development of a blue water navy and the purchase of Russian subs?
MR. McCURRY: No. I think it reflects the way in which we continue to project and defend our security interests in Asia. It's a continuation of our work with treaty allies and others in the region to ensure security in the Pacific. We will continue to do that consistent with what the President has said most recently on his trip to Asia.
We have had very good military-to-military contact with the People's Republic. Secretary Perry, in fact, had been in China prior to this incident, apparently. I believe DoD has got an Assistant Secretary who is either in Beijing this week or due in Beijing to begin exchanges with the Chinese military on strategic-planning type issues. So we have some military- to-military contact, and we don't think this type of incident ought to pose any unnecessary threat to the relations between our two countries.
Q I'm sorry. If I could just flesh you out a little bit on this. The Kitty Hawk was patrolling in the region during the time of the talks with Korea. Was that a message intended for Korea at the time of the Kitty Hawk?
MR. McCURRY: This came up at the time, you'll recall, and it was addressed at the time. It had nothing to do with the diplomatic efforts underway related to the North Korea issue. We said so at the time and the Defense Department later said so, contradicting some statements that had been made by a less senior military officer.
Q Mike, if I could follow. I believe you said something about the Chinese did not respond to some diplomatic inquiry on our part. Did they --
MR. McCURRY: I just said that we have not had any formal diplomatic exchange with China on the subject of this patrol by the Kitty Hawk. They have not raised with us any incident that they are concerned about.
Q It was an incident?
MR. McCURRY: They've not raised with us any incident. I don't know whether we're calling it an "incident" or not. They were out there on patrol and some things happened on patrol, and the Defense Department can tell you more about it. That's where this State Department guy is getting off the hook. I'm off the hook at that point.
MR. McCURRY: No. I don't think so.
Q This morning.
MR. McCURRY: Hey, you guys over at the Pentagon, don't kick this one over to me.
Q They're travelling.
MR. McCURRY: No, they're over in Brussels.
Q If relations with China are so good as you say, then how does one explain this incident and also with a snub to Mr. Pena?
MR. McCURRY: We have never said that we don't have differences in our relationship with China. We've said that the importance of working closely is to overcome those differences that do exist as we expand a constructive and mutually beneficial relationship. That's what we will continue to say, acknowledging that we do have some differences.
Q Speaking of some differences, yesterday, you briefly addressed the McConnell proposal for revamping foreign aid. I began to think about it. It wasn't very specific. You said, "Well, he's one Senator; the Administration will have to see how everybody feels." Senator Helms is very specific of what he wants to do, like eliminating all funding for the World Bank.
Does the State Department have an opinion at this point whether that would be a good move?
MR. McCURRY: We have an opinion that the international financial institutions do a lot of very good work around the world in helping accomplishing things that are central to our own foreign policy objectives. Look at the work they're doing in Gaza and Jericho and the territories to help nurture the peace process in the Middle East. That's only one example.
You could look around the world and see places where international financial institutions play an enormously important role. They frankly also help relieve some of the burden that the U.S. taxpayer would face, if we attempted to pay for these things all by ourselves. We think there is a very strong case that can be made.
But, again, as I suggested to you yesterday, this Congress has not even convened; the new Republican leadership hasn't even taken office. So let's wait and see how things develop.
I think they are going to be looking at these issues carefully. We're going to be looking at those issues with them. I suspect we might be able to come to some agreements on how you structure these types of assistance programs, consistent with what everybody would acknowledge is enormous concern about the burden that the U.S. taxpayer faces.
Q I was thinking of Gaza, too about this. Is the Gaza program structured so that the World Bank is a necessary ingredient to the process? In other words, can you go ahead -- can the donors go ahead, including the U.S., and work without the World -- the World Bank seems to be bottlenecked rather than -- that's another matter. Are they a part of the process, or can you have direct assistance to --
MR. McCURRY: That is sort of philosophical, in a way. I would say, and I think the United States government sees the World Bank as a very central element of the strategy to nurture and support the peace process and the work that the Palestinians and the Israelis are doing to transform life in the territories.
It helps us because it relieves the burden. It doesn't rule out direct assistance. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, the Holst Fund operates as a direct assistance fund.
MR. McCURRY: There are ways in which we can provide through just direct bilateral assistance our own contributions.
Q (Inaudible) system directly. But it seems that just about everything else must go through this complicated process. When somebody attacks the World Bank, I wonder what the result would be on such projects?
MR. McCURRY: It's a complicated process, I grant you. But, remember, from the other side of this debate, the Palestinians have come to us and complained about the stringency that the rules of the World Bank place on them. They want more flexibility. We would turn around and say, well, no, these are very important safeguards; they've got accounting procedures in place to make sure that the money is effectively spent; to make sure that the assistance is being provided by governments, including the U.S. Government, goes for the purposes that they're designed for.
I would assume -- but I shouldn't presume for him -- I would assume that's something that Senator Helms would have an interest in.
Again, these are all issues that are part of a Congressional appropriation authorization process. We're going to be heavy into these issues as we go into the new year. There's no question about that. We're going to be spending a lot of time here in the Briefing Room on those types of issues.
But let's not prejudge anything that the Republican leadership will put forward, and we certainly will not prejudge their opinions on these things as they learn more from us about how the Administration sees some of these questions. This is benign cooperation.
If it gets nasty next year, it gets nasty.
Q You say "we." This is you. You'll be talking about these issues?
Q I'd like to take up some things one more time. The Pena incident and the other -- between the submarine and the carrier -- do you think this signals a freezing-up of relations with China that have been --
MR. McCURRY: To the contrary. We do not believe it indicates a change in our bilateral relationship. We've had numerous contacts with the Chinese Government at different levels. Secretary Christopher just recently had a very positive and very good meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Qian Qichen. We will continue to have those types of contacts and continue to work on a relationship that is arguably one of our most important in the world.
It is in our interest to do so, and we will continue to do that. But we will continue to work on the differences that certainly do exist in some of our bilateral relationships.
Q A question on Chechnya.
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Secretary Christopher spoke a lot about this last night on "MacNeil/Lehrer." It sounds like practically an endorsement has come from this Administration of the Russian intervention there.
I was curious whether there was some previous discussion with the Russians about this. Did Yeltsin request an endorsement, an expression of support? Is there any quid pro quo?
MR. McCURRY: Let me take issue with the question. Secretary Christopher did not endorse the Russian effort to re- establish civil order in Chechnya. He didn't endorse it; neither did he oppose it.
In sense, he took a neutral position on it by saying that Chechnya is an integral part of Russia. Therefore, the Russians have to handle this and address it as an internal Russian matter. The Chechnyan have a way to redress their grievances by working through the Russian parliament. They have a way of dealing with the central government and raising their concerns. Those are internal procedures that exist within Russia.
The point the Secretary made is that we have no interest and the world has no interest in seeing a splintering or dismembering of the Russian Federation. That would be enormously destabilizing. It would produce the possibility of large-scale refugee flows. It would be, frankly, dangerous.
We are acknowledging that by saying we recognize that the Russian Government is addressing this as an internal matter, taking steps that President Yeltsin, in his own judgment, deems necessary. They are quite controversial even within Russia, as you know.
Those are matters that the Russian Government must address. They are not matters upon which we are taking a side one way or another.
Q Are you concerned that the Russian parliament weighed-in more than overwhelmingly against the intervention?
MR. McCURRY: The Russian parliament is expressing itself, I believe, quite clearly in what they think about this, but because it is an internal matter, that is how the matter will be addressed within Russia. They're going to be talking, both sides, to them -- in a sense, taking opposite positions as they determine for themselves whether or not this is a wise course of action.
Sid and then to Charlie.
Q The conflict, though, appears to be boiling over into some other ethnic regions. Alaya made a statement about recruiting Muslims throughout the Caucasus to fight the Russians -- the Crimean Tatars, Abkhazia separatists; there's some fighting in Tajikistan and other areas. Are you at all concerned about this --
MR. McCURRY: That is a very different issue, Sid. That is a different issue. That is something that we will monitor very carefully. I'm not aware that we've seen any indications that there has been any prospects of spillover involving other parts of the transCaucasus. But that is something that we will watch very carefully. This matter, as it is addressed within the internal boundaries of Russia, is a Russian internal matter. But any possibility that it would involve states outside the territorial boundary of Russia would, of course, cause concern throughout the world. That's the reason why they will be watched carefully.
I would emphasize, we've seen nothing at this point to indicate that that is the case.
Q Mike, the Secretary's bookers may had second thoughts about what he said yesterday. But if you'll look at the words, he very definitely endorsed what Yeltsin is doing. He said -- and I would have brought the words in if I thought for a moment there would be any question as to where Christopher came down on this issue yesterday.
He said that "It's best that such matters to defer to Yeltsin's judgment; it's a democratic society; it's not the old Cold War; I'm sure he thought through what he was doing before he did it, and it's best we let him run such things."
MR. McCURRY: You're misquoting, Barry.
Q I'm not misquoting.
MR. McCURRY: If you want the direct he says: "I think we have to leave it to the judgment of President Yeltsin of dealing with something within his own country."
Q "Leave it to the judgment."
MR. McCURRY: Our information --
Q -- "tanks and troops" --
MR. McCURRY: It's something he suggested in the very next sentence. He said, "It's basically an internal matter for them. It's not that we're unconcerned about it. I think we understand the importance of maintaining the territorial integrity of Russia. We would not like to see the disintegration of Russia. We think that might lead to much more bloodshed." That's pretty clear.
Q He approved of it. He said Yeltsin knows what he's doing and it's best to go along with him in such matters.
MR. McCURRY: The Secretary was pretty clear. Charlie.
Q Mike, has this subject come up with Vice President Gore and Ambassador Chernomyrdin?
MR. McCURRY: I suspect it could, but I don't know whether it has. We did not, as you know from those who talked to you prior to the departure of the Vice President, they did not expect this to be a major focus of the discussions there because they're doing a lot of other work.
Q There's a difference between whether it's a major focus, whether it's come up, whether the President has sent a message or the Vice President. Do you know anything that helps --
MR. McCURRY: As indicated prior to their departure, it was not expected to be a major subject on the agenda of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission meetings in Moscow. They will be there. If the subject comes up, I imagine that will be reported to you by the Vice President's delegation.
Q How concerned is the Secretary or the Administration about the ethnic aspects of this conflict? LeCarre has an Op- Ed this morning in the Times in which he highlights the fact that, really, Muslims have been suppressed so much as a matter of practice, and that it's not just there but that's certainly one of the hearts of it.
MR. McCURRY: That is an aspect, I think, of the conflict, but by no means the only one. There's also a history, a political culture in Chechnya that suggests reasons why the Russian Government would find it problematic in dealing with it. It is a region that has been, throughout Russian history, a source of conflict for the central government in Moscow. For reasons that I think are touched upon in that piece, but maybe not spelled out, it is by no means solely an ethnic conflict. There's also a lot of history. There's also a lot of current political aspects to it. There is also, frankly, the way in which society is structured in Chechnya is a source of concern to the Russian Federation as well.
There are lots of aspects to this. But, again, I stress, it's an internal matter for the Russians, so the Russians are trying to deal with it subject to the judgment of those who lead the Russian Federation.
What we're saying here is, given that it is an internal matter for Russia, we are not substituting our judgment here for those who are responsible to do it; just as we would not want foreign governments to substitute their judgment for the way we handle matters that arise within the territorial boundaries of the United States. I think that's a fair proposition.
Q Mike, you said, "I felt he took this action only when he felt" --
MR. McCURRY: Barry --
Q Let me finish the sentence. Because you've told me that I'm misquoting. I'm not misquoting.
MR. McCURRY: I read you what he said.
Q You may say I'm misinterpreting, but don't tell me I'm misquoting. "I'm sure he took this action only when he felt he had no other alternative." That is saying Yeltsin did what he had to do, and we understand it.
MR. McCURRY: No. It says what it says, Barry. He said he took that action when he felt he had no other alternative. You can interpret what the Secretary says, but he said what he said.
Q My question is the ethnic aspect of it. Is this the way to deal with what is, in part, an ethnic conflict -- to use force? In fact, to start what could be a long-term military conflict?
MR. McCURRY: Is this a wise course of action on the part of the Russian Government? That certainly remains to be seen.
Q The Secretary -- he didn't even raise a question last night, which surprised me.
MR. McCURRY: He said we are not unconcerned about it. We do have concerns about it, and we have expressed those directly to the Russians. We have been concerned, specifically, because we think there's a possibility of additional bloodshed. That's why we've urged the Russian Government to try to resolve the matter peacefully; to try to go back to the negotiating table and address the matters and to do everything possible to minimize violence.
So, of course, we're concerned about bloodshed and violence.
Q The negotiations have been suspended. Are you saying now the U.S. is asking the Russians to try to reopen those negotiations?
MR. McCURRY: We have urged the Russians to settle this through peaceful discussions with Chechnya, and we continue to do so. The Russian side, as you know, has indicated a willingness to continue the talks that have broken up in Vladikavkaz, but the Chechnyan delegation has not indicated a willingness to go back to the negotiations.
Q (inaudible) registered that yesterday. He said, "At this stage, the negotiations don't seem to be going anyplace."
MR. McCURRY: That's correct.
Q This is another reason why he said Yeltsin had no alternative. But since then, the negotiations have really fallen apart. The U.S. thinks there is -- what -- there's still a chance of reviving them?
MR. McCURRY: We think it's important that they continue to have peaceful discussions that can lead to some type of settlement of this conflict that avoids bloodshed and violence.
Q Do the Russians owe us one now in Bosnia maybe?
MR. McCURRY: Okay. Anyone else have a question? Let's go on to another subject.
Q Have you thought that perhaps the Administration finds itself now in a situation like the Bush Administration when the Soviet Union was on the verge of breaking up, and Yugoslavia was as well, and the Administration came down in favor of the integrity of both states?
MR. McCURRY: No. Because we haven't come down in favor one side or the other.
Bill, do you have a final question, and then we'll move on?
Q I don't see that your answer addressed my question? Because there's --
MR. McCURRY: What was your question, again?
Q A few years ago --
MR. McCURRY: I can't comment about the Bush Administration. What do want ask me about this Administration?
Q No, but I'm talking about the Russian Federation itself now being under great strain. You're saying that the point is, it must be held together. We've been through this twice before in only a few years. In both cases they came apart -- one peacefully, one through violence. I was just wondering if there's any lessons from those two very recent experiences that you might be applying to this case?
MR. McCURRY: Yes. We are very cognizant of the recent history, cognizant of the ethnic composition of many of the provinces within the Federation and knowledgeable about the enormous ethnic rivalries that exist within the territorial boundaries of Russia.
We see, as the Secretary suggested last night, an enormous danger in any prospect that the Russian Federation might dismember based on these ethnic and regional rivalries. It's one reason why we are trying to deal in a very precise way with what's going on in Chechnya, understanding the history of the region, the conflicts that exist there, the nature of the so- called separatist government that has established itself under Dudayev. We are trying to be very, very careful in how we respond to something that we realize has enormous implications for the current Russian Federation, for the current government, and for the likely history of the Russian Federation, looking ahead in coming years.
So the answer to your questions are, yes, there are lessons of history that do apply, and we're trying to be aware of them, trying to take into account all the things that we take into account as we look at that situation and monitor it.
Q The Secretary didn't really urge the kind of caution and restraint in this moment and say --
MR. McCURRY: Look, we have every single day for the last three days, we've urged restraint, urged the minimum of bloodshed and urged peaceful discussions.
I believe the Secretary -- you guys got the transcript. I think he said that at some point last night.
Q (Inaudible) result with a minimum of bloodshed; right?
MR. McCURRY: And urging restraint upon those engaged in the conflict. We've done that consistently for the precise reason that we don't think this conflict can escalate and get out of control.
Q When you say the "history," is Bosnia part of that history?
MR. McCURRY: No.
Q You know why I ask?
MR. McCURRY: No.
Q Because the U.S. got on the German bandwagon real early and (inaudible) the dismemberment of Yugoslavia.
MR. McCURRY: Different part of the world; different part of history, and it goes back through centuries of Czarist rule in Russia.
MR. McCURRY: I can't. Let's go onto another issue.
Q Do you have any update on the anti-terrorism effort? And, specifically, what the State Department and Justice Department are now haggling about in terms of the Administration's anti-terrorism bill?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have an update on that. I can try to get one. Specifically, in connection with what?
Q Specifically, in connection with the effort that was launched -- this was about a month and a half ago -- concerning domestic terrorism, and what could be done to stop funding of terrorists in the U.S. and people travelling to the U.S. to raise money for terrorist organizations?
MR. McCURRY: I think there has been a lot of movement in different parts of that, including some very careful examination of what legislative enhancements might be necessary to improve U.S. law enforcement capability dealing with those who might be raising funds here in the United States to support terrorist activities abroad.
I'm not aware that they've come to any final resolution on that. They anticipate doing some work that could possibly -- I stress "possibly" -- lead to legislation during the next Congress, but that work and that analysis continues.
I think that's being done principally out of the Justice Department, but we've been cooperating with them through some of our folks who do counter-terrorism work here. I'll check and see beyond that to see if there's any more of an update that we can provide.
Q Mike, on the subject of the meetings yesterday between Secretary Perry and Defense Minister Rifkind, I've seen some bits in the wires, but do you have something prepared for us on the policy that might have come from that meeting?
MR. McCURRY: I don't. I would say that we are very encouraged and strongly welcome some of the decisions that have been made today on the margins of the NATO Defense Ministers Meeting in Brussels. They're being reported to your colleagues by Secretary Perry and his delegation, so you can check with them. You'll get more information from them in Brussels.
The thrust of it has been, again, an effort to recognize the important role that UNPROFOR is playing in Bosnia in saving lives and the work it's doing to help the delivery of humanitarian aid and to limit the violence that is occurring in Bosnia and looking for ways in which they can make the role of UNPROFOR within the existing U.N. mandates more efficient and more effective; and there will be some determined work by defense chiefs next week at The Hague on that issue, as you've seen reported in Brussels today.
We strongly welcome those steps and hope that that will lead to more effectiveness when it comes to the U.N.'s conduct of its mandated role in Bosnia.
Q Let me follow up just briefly then.
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Did I interpret correctly that the British are still on board seeking some modifications?
MR. McCURRY: I will leave it to the British to express themselves on that.
Q Last week The Washington Times, I believe it is, reported in Cyprus that some Greek officials are in the arms market. They will visit South Africa and Moscow to buy armored vehicles and missiles. And the same article mentioned about that, the Greeks delivered to some U.S. excess defense material to Ireland. Do you have anything about that?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware of that. If you can kind of track that report back with one of our folks here, we'll see if we can get some more on it.
Q Could we put in a request, maybe for a year-end news conference? (inaudible) was asked, you know, to review the year last night and he ticked off GATT, of course, but there are other things -- like the Middle East.
MR. McCURRY: We're ahead of you there; we're ahead of you there. I've been thinking about that too. We've been thinking about it, and give me a suggested time on that.
MR. McCURRY: I think a lot of people are clearing out.
Q Next Tuesday, next week?
MR. McCURRY: By the way, let me propose a briefing schedule for next week.
Based on today's somewhat testy exchange (laughter), I think I'll make this a little less liberal than it otherwise would have been.
Q Cancel (inaudible) briefings?
Q Am I acting like a guy who can't take the heat anymore?
Q We're going to bring Helen in.
MR. McCURRY: I'm just out of practice!
O.K. Why don't we do Monday --
Q And Christmas Day. (Laughter)
Q No! (Laughter)
MR. McCURRY: Let's do Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday next week.
Q Then we'll accept the Secretary as a substitute for --
MR. McCURRY: Or maybe next week, because he's leaving town. Then we'll do maybe Wednesday the following week.
Now, who's got a calendar so we can announce that? For the purposes of the transcript, we'll try to make these dates clear so people will know when we're going to brief.
That's what I'm thinking.
Q That will be good.
MR. McCURRY: We'll do Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday next week -- which is the week prior to Christmas.
The week in-between Christmas and New Year's we will brief on Wednesday only, so we'll just do one a week there; and we'll see on the following weeks what the world events lead us to.
If there's any change in those world events and you're in strong demand of the State Department Spokesman, I, of course, will dutifully be here.
Q Have you got a briefing schedule for February?
MR. McCURRY: February? (Laughter)
We're in town, that's all I know.
(The briefing concluded at l:30 p.m.)
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