U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING JANUARY 10, 1995 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, January 10, 1995 Briefer: Christine Shelly ANNOUNCEMENT Spero/Summers Briefing on 1/11/95 re: Financing Institutions for Econ. Dev. in Middle East ........1 STATE DEPARTMENT Rumors of Departure of Secretary Christopher ........1 Reinventing Government Initiative ...................11 MIDDLE EAST PEACE Meeting on Financing Institutions for Econ. Dev......1-2 Participation of Saudi Arabia .......................1-2 Report of Arafat Appeal to Stop Settlements .........5-6 NORTH KOREA Korea Energy Development Organization Talks .........2-4 Site Survey of U.S. Liaison Office ..................3 Light Water Reactor Talks ...........................3 Oil Shipments from U.S. .............................3-4 Reported Lifting of Trade Restrictions w/U.S.........4 RUSSIA Chechnya Conflict Yeltsin's control of government/military ............6,7-8 Violation of Ceasefire ............................6,9 Deputy Secretary Talbott Discussions in Brussels ..7,8 CFE Force Levels/Limits ...........................9-10 Review of Applicability of 1994 Vienna Document ...9 BOSNIA Contact Group Meeting in Paris ......................10 Contact Group Travel to Region ......................10,12-13 U.S. Position on Contact Group Plan .................10-14 Situation Update ....................................14-15 Lifting of Embargo ..................................15 PAKISTAN Secretary of Defense Perry Trip to Region ...........12 International Military Education and Training Programs.(IMET) ...................................12 ISRAEL Report of U/S Davis Meeting w/Israeli Official ......15 CYPRUS Holbrooke/Williams/Beattie Trips to Region ..........15-16
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 1995, 1:00 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Joan Spero, our Under Secretary for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, and Lawrence Summers, the Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, will provide an on-the-record press briefing on Wednesday, January 11 -- that is tomorrow -- at 3:30 in the State Department Press Briefing Room -- that's here, the same room we speak in.
The subject is the January 10-11 meeting taking place in Washington on Financing Institutions for Economic Development in the Middle East.
I'll be happy to take your questions.
Q Did you see the Boston Globe story this morning concerning the Secretary's supposed plans to leave, and, if so, do you have any comment?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, I've seen the story, and regarding their allegations concerning the Secretary's departure, I would note that those rumors are neither new nor are they accurate.
Q Christine, on the Middle East bank thing, do you have any comment on the Saudis' handling of the invitation? Did their people notify you all that they were coming and the level at which they are represented?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, I don't have a lot to say on this. I've seen some of your reporting on this so far this morning. I understand that the Saudis are represented at this meeting through their Embassy here in Washington.
I think it's up to them to decide the form in which their representation will take, but we're not reading any particular significance into that. This is a meeting which will certainly be one of a series of meetings which will take place as we look into the broader issue of financing institutions and generally how to respond to the structural requirements for economic development in the Middle East.
It's simply a meeting that is part of this process. It's not the definitive moment in that process whereby nations have to stand up and pronounce themselves on final commitments, financial commitments, and things of that kind. So we think it is certainly up to the Saudis to decide in what way they would wish to be represented.
But, as I said, it's also not the last meeting that will be held in the process of creating the Development Bank.
Q If we could get some detail on this, but this morning when the meeting started, you all didn't even know if the Saudis were coming or not. Why was that? Apparently everybody else gave you plenty of advance notice, and I think most of the other nations sent Finance Ministers, didn't they? Doesn't this sort of cut to the heart of their support, or lack thereof, for the Middle East Bank project?
MS. SHELLY: On the second part of your question, the Saudis have articulated already some reservations, I think, about the bank idea, but I think we have been working with them on the issue. I think it's really up to them to make any pronouncement in that regard.
I don't personally have any information about the way in which they conveyed to us what form their participation would take, but I understand that they are present at the meeting; and I think ultimately it will be up to them to signal the way in which their participation in this bank will -- how that will take place.
Q How many countries have sent their people to this meeting and at what level are most of them?
MS. SHELLY: We put out a notice on this, as I think you know, about our hosting the meeting, and it's my understanding that there are 37 regional and extra-regional parties participating in this meeting that's taking place. I'm not aware of any absences from that group, and I can certainly check on that and see if there is anything more that I can say. But given the fact that we are going to give a full briefing on this tomorrow afternoon, I think probably questions are best directed to those who will be giving the briefing.
Q Christine, speaking of financial solicitations, a senior State Department official this morning said in a briefing at the Foreign Press Center that Gallucci is going to Europe to gather money for the KEDO and Hubbard will be going to Asia -- I guess Australia, New Zealand, but also China. Can you confirm that? And can you give us any idea what came out of the meeting yesterday on this Korean Energy Development Organization?
MS. SHELLY: Let me share with you what I have on Korea today. I don't have any formal travel announcements to make, but I certainly don't have any reason to believe that what you were told earlier in the day is not correct. I just don't have any formal announcements on that.
The KEDO talks, as you know, started yesterday and they're also continuing today. These are the trilateral working-level talks held among the representatives of the U.S., Japan and the Republic of Korea. I know you are quite interested in this topic, so I'm trying to work out the details of getting an appropriate readout of those meetings when they actually conclude.
As to the other activities that are going on, I think most of this ground is really covered by Assistant Secretary Lord yesterday. I just have a couple of additional details on this. There will be a U.S. technical group which will visit Pyongyang from January 31 to February 4 to do an initial evaluation of sites for a U.S. liaison office.
This visit will be in accordance with the U.S.-DPRK liaison office talks of December 1994, in which it was agreed that site surveys would be made early in 1995. The U.S. team will be led by Lynn Turk, the East Asian and Pacific Bureau's Coordinator for the U.S.-DPRK affairs.
On the technical discussions with the DPRK, on the light-water reactors, I don't really have anything new here. We had a round of talks with the DPRK in Beijing, as you know, in December. Progress was made on defining where we agree and where we disagree.
We are going to be holding another round of talks soon, but my understanding is that the venue has not yet been decided.
Q This official gave a figure this morning that I hadn't heard before. Maybe you can either confirm or -- when you do the wrap-up -- in addition to the 50,000 tons of heavy oil arriving on the 21st, he said that there is going to be an annual commitment of 500,000 tons, which works out to $50 million per year for this interim period, which I gather can go as long as ten years.
So in other words, this is a figure I hadn't heard before. We're talking as much as $500 million in terms of fuel oil alone.
MS. SHELLY: Let me check on that point. I don't have any details of that, and I would also like to go back and check the transcripts of what's said. We certainly do -- when we have briefings over there -- we also do certainly try to make sure that the exact same information is available over here.
I simply don't have that with me, so let me check on that and see what we can post this afternoon.
Q Win Lord did not have a reaction yesterday to the North Korean broadcast announcing lifting of barriers to trade and investment by the United States and North Korea. Do you have any comment on that today?
MS. SHELLY: I can't say a lot on that today. We haven't actually seen the details of their formal lifting of the restrictions. We certainly have also seen the announcements of that.
We certainly would regard any decision by North Korea to ease restrictions on trade with the United States as a positive step. In the agreed framework, as you know, the U.S. and the DPRK pledged that by January 21 both sides would reduce barriers to trade and investment, and that was also to include restrictions on telecommunications services and financial transactions.
The U.S. for its side is considering what specific actions it will take to meet this commitment. Details of these steps are not available at this time.
Q On those, is there some -- do they relate somehow to the terrorist list -- the sanctions result from the terrorism list? I mean, is there some sort of easing of those restrictions to establish this sort of trade with North Korea?
MS. SHELLY: I'll have to check on that. As you know, the decision to reduce these barriers relates to the framework agreement, and I'd have to go back and check. It's just not something that I can answer off the cuff about what kinds of impediments -- I assume that's what you're interested in.
Q I'm really looking for a specific waiver of the terrorism list to establish this --
MS. SHELLY: I'll check on that specific point.
Q Back to the Middle East for a minute.
MS. SHELLY: Was that still on the same subject?
Q No, it's on a different subject.
MS. SHELLY: Okay.
Q The Palestinians say that Arafat has appealed directly to the United States to get the Israelis to stop their expansion of settlements. Have you responded to Arafat on that?
MS. SHELLY: I've seen the report. But when this issue comes up, we say approximately the same thing every time it comes up, and it's largely along the lines of the U.S. position on settlements remaining unchanged, and that the Declaration of Principles makes it clear that settlements is an issue to be discussed by the parties in the course of their negotiations.
We admit that they are a problem, but we also revert back to the Declaration of Principles and enjoin the parties to deal with these issues in their negotiations.
Q (Inaudible) problem with that?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, they're a problem. Am I breaking new ground, Sid?
Q I don't remember what U.S. policy is toward settlements.
MS. SHELLY: Oh, Sid, not another lapse of memory again. (Laughter)
Q I'm sorry, I didn't hear that, but did you say what the problems were?
MS. SHELLY: No, I didn't.
Q Would you?
MS. SHELLY: No. Next question. (Laughter)
Q Just for clarification, you admit that "there are" problems or you admit "they are" a problem?
MS. SHELLY: I think my guidance says, "They're" -- and that's t-h- e-y apostrophe r-e -- a problem."
Q They are a problem.
Q The settlements are a problem.
MS. SHELLY: Correct.
Q Are they an obstacle to peace?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, they're a problem.
Q I'd like to ask you, on Chechnya, something a little different. The cease-fire has already been violated. Because of that, does the United States Government worry that Boris Yeltsin might be in less than full control of the Russian Government and military, or does the United States Government feel that Boris Yeltsin is 100 percent in control of the Russian Government and military?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything different to say beyond what I said yesterday on the control question.
First of all, the impact of events will be apparent, I think, over the longer term. Every official in this government has declined, at least on the record, to get into the speculation of the control issues. I think that's still the appropriate place to be.
President Yeltsin has managed to deal with a number of very serious challenges, as you know, following the August 1991 coup and the crisis at the White House in October 1993. He has always gotten through those crises, and we acknowledge this is a difficult moment for President Yeltsin. We know the situation is a serious one. They, themselves, have characterized it in those terms, and we will watch very carefully what transpires.
Unfortunately, the 48-hour cease-fire that was to have begun at 8:00 this morning -- today -- in Chechnya has broken down. We have seen the reports that fighting continues in the capital today. We will continue to monitor the developments closely.
Q Christine, can I follow up on that. How could Russia, with a military -- I mean, the political leaders ostensibly are declaring a cease-fire; the military is ignoring it or whatever. How can Russia be a reliable partner in the Partnership for Peace, or perhaps some day down the road in NATO, if this is the way they follow orders?
MS. SHELLY: Carol, I think it's extremely difficult to draw a very, very long-term implication for something like that. We have a very broad agenda with Russia. We are pursuing a very large number of issues with them. We have consultation mechanisms in place for senior officials from our government and from the Russian Government to meet on a regular basis -- when they get together they deal not only with short- term issues which arise. Obviously, Chechnya is something which is very much on everyone's minds.
We indicated that Deputy Secretary Talbott certainly would be talking about this in the context of the broader agenda in his discussions today in Brussels with (Russian Deputy Foreign Minister) Mamedov. The Secretary has a Ministerial meeting with Foreign Minister Kozyrev coming up as well.
We have many, many issues with Russia. It's a broad relationship. Certainly, the whole issue of security in Europe is one which is of great concern. As I think you know, one of the principal focuses of the Secretary's trip, in his discussions with Kozyrev, will be the European security and European architecture questions. Those discussions certainly will go on. Certainly, also, there will be focus and exchange of views on the short-term issues.
There is an issue there which is a very, very difficult issue for the Russian Government. They have acknowledged themselves. They have also certainly been faced with a situation that has not exactly turned out in a way that they had expected. But I don't think there are easy policy choices for them, and I don't that there are necessarily any simple policy prescriptions for them either.
But I think that just because there is an issue, and there is a conflict -- and they are trying to deal with it and we have expressed concerns about that -- that we would draw any conclusions at this point about the broader impact on the other issues that we certainly intend to cooperate with them on.
Q (inaudible) in referring to these other crises, that this is a crisis of the same magnitude, if not greater?
MS. SHELLY: I don't think I want to do a comparative crisis analysis from the podium. It's an issue. It's a difficult issue. There certainly has been a lot of loss of life, a lot of bloodshed. They know that; we know that. I think there are still indications that they are trying to find mechanisms and ways that they can try to bring the problem to a solution.
Again, it is a prudent to be reticent about drawing any kind of long-term conclusion from that or to try to actually make a comparison between this particular incident and other crises that President Yeltsin has faced.
Q You're the person who did it, as the Spokeswoman, just now. You referred to these other crises and it suggests that this is a crisis of the same order.
MS. SHELLY: I didn't suggest it was a crisis of the same order. I acknowledge that President Yeltsin, in his time and tenure in office, had faced other challenges in the past and he had always gotten through them. That's as far as I took it.
MS. SHELLY: I think it's a very difficult issue for the Russians.
Q The Talbott and Mamedov meeting, that was planned in advance; there was no rushing off to talk about Chechnya?
MS. SHELLY: That is correct. This, again, I mentioned in the context of a variety of channels, as you know. Summits take place; we have Ministerial-level discussions. We also have subCabinet-level discussions. There's also the Gore-Chernomyrdin channel, which you know is a very, very broad agenda. So this meeting between Talbott and Mamedov was part of a regularly scheduled meeting in the context of the dialogue at this level.
The timing, certainly, was very useful in that it provided us with an other opportunity to talk about Chechnya, but it also is, I think, very helpful -- the timing is helpful in the context of any kind of preparations that they can make for the Secretary's meeting with Foreign Minister Kozyrev, which takes place in Geneva next week.
Q Do you have anything on the meeting today?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any readout on this yet. The meeting is still in session. I think it's supposed to run through the end of the day. He is flying back tomorrow. There may even be some contacts on this tomorrow. But I expect I'll have more of a readout once the meeting is actually finished, but they're still going on right now.
Q Do you have any readout on the Contact Group meeting that Holbrooke has been attending?
Q Yesterday, you took the question regarding the possible Russian violation of international agreements on troop or equipment movements. Did you come up with any answer?
MS. SHELLY: We did do a formal taken question on that. Did you see the answer? We did make available an answer. It's in the Press Office. I may have this with me. Let me just check.
I've got this with me. On the CFE force levels and whether the Russians have moved troops beyond the limits set by CFE, our response was that the CFE Treaty does not set limits on troops but rather on military equipment as outlined in our earlier response.
As to whether or not there had been any violation of the Stockholm document, I'm told that the Stockholm document was superseded by the 1992-1994 Vienna documents on confidence and security building measures. The 1994 Vienna document requires notification of certain military exercises and troop movements. Its applicability to Chechnya is under review.
Q What about the code of conduct?
MS. SHELLY: I didn't produce anything specifically on the code of conduct, but let me check on that for later this afternoon.
Q On the CFE limits, perhaps this is not yet in effect. But if it were in effect, have the Russians gone beyond it? It's not just a technical question. It's a question of the spirit of the agreement.
MS. SHELLY: My understanding is that even within the spirit of the agreement, even with flank limits in effect -- and, of course, we've acknowledged that they aren't in this case -- the various agreements provide for temporary deployments in any case to deal with specific incidents or problems which emerge. That is specifically permitted in the CFE.
I think it's hard to make a generalization about whether or not Chechnya is exactly the type of situation in which this is described. As I said generally, the issue is under review in our government. But I'm told by our expert on the CFE issues that temporary deployments are explicitly permitted under the CFE rules.
Q I'm curious why the CSCE rules' applicability is still under study a full month after this event is underway. Clearly, they didn't notify of an advance maneuver -- the 45 days in advance; they didn't ask for observers. It just seems right on the face of it that it's a violation, certainly, of the principles of the CSCE. If that's the case, why not just simply state it and go to them and make something of it?
MS. SHELLY: It is our position because of the fact that the subzonal limits don't take effect until November 1995 that it's not a violation of the CFE agreement.
Q I was referring to CSCE...
MS. SHELLY: Oh, CSCE. I'm sorry.
Q ...which has to do with maneuvers, troop movements, and observers of those movements...
MS. SHELLY: I'll have to go back and check on that.
Q ...on maneuvers.
MS. SHELLY: I'll have to go back and check on that point.
Q Do you have anything on the meeting of the Contact Group?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. I don't have a lot on this at this point. As you know, the Contact Group is meeting today in Paris. Its discussions center on the next steps in consolidating the Bosnia cease-fire and launching negotiations on a settlement based on the Contact Group proposal.
The Contact Group plans to travel to the region to consult with the parties later this week. That's all I have at this point. Hopefully, I'll have a fuller readout for you either later today or else tomorrow.
Q Do you know where that meeting is going to take place?
MS. SHELLY: The meeting in the region? I think it's the expectation that they'll probably travel and move around -- a little bit of shuttling around.
Q Christine, can you say anything about how open the United States is to modifying the alleged take-it-or-leave-it peace plan? Can you talk a little bit about the apparent disagreement with the Muslims over it?
MS. SHELLY: I haven't studied all the transcripts but I've seen the reporting on it. I think you're referring specifically to the press conference yesterday.
The U.S. position is that we do maintain our full support for the Contact Group plan. As reflected in the December 2 Contact Group ministerial statement in Brussels, we believe that all parties must accept the plan. That has always been our position. The Bosnian Government has done so; the Bosnian Serbs have not yet done so. We continue to urge them to take that step. When they do take that action, we do believe that further discussions can take place and that the plan remains the basis for a settlement.
Changes in the Contact Group's proposed plan or for the map are for the parties themselves to negotiate and agree on. That has been our position for some time. I don't think we feel that there is any kind of a breach between us and the Bosnian Government on this.
Changes were always deemed to be possible in the context of decisions made by the parties themselves with each other once the Bosnian Serbs accepted the Contact Group plan.
Q Can you be specific in terms of what kind of changes the United States is discussing with the Muslims?
MS. SHELLY: I can't, I can't. I don't think, in fact, we've taken any kind of position of advocacy in this. Our Assistant Secretary wanted to go out to the region to talk with the parties, to also be able to meet with the Contact Group which, as you know, is taking place at the Political Director's level. Since that meeting is still going on -- at least, I think it's still going on -- and we don't have a full readout on that, I don't think I can be any more specific today.
Q Back on the Boston Globe story. The story suggests that there is a move afoot for the State Department absorb AID and ACDA. Do you have anything on that?
MS. SHELLY: Regarding possible reorganization, either in this building or with other Departments with which we work very closely, those issues generally are considered under the Vice President's direction as part of the Administration's "Reinventing Government Initiative." Both the Secretary and the Department are cooperating with that process enthusiastically. That's about all I can say at this point.
Q Christine, on Pakistan. The Secretary of Defense, as you know, is out there today. What they're telling reporters is that the U.S. is going to waive certain aspects of the Pressler Amendment, or should I say get around them. They've agreed to resume a military training program with Pakistan. They say it was banned because of the Pressler Amendment. They're saying that the way they're getting around it is that Pakistan will actually pay for it so it doesn't involve sanctions.
If you don't have it, if you could maybe take it. Did you consult with Congress on this ploy, this action? Is that being represented correctly -- that the Pressler Amendment can be gotten around in that fashion?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, as a general response to your question, I don't believe that exact characterization is accurate. Secretary Perry is there, and he is working on some of the broader issues with Pakistan. I'm not there. I haven't sat in on the meetings. It's really an impossible set of questions for me to answer.
II certainly would take issue with the notion if that's straight how it's been reported -- and again, I haven't seen much reporting on this so far. I don't believe that is an accurate picture. I'm also not sure, until we've had the chance to hear back from Secretary Perry about how things went, that we would necessarily comment on the issues in specificity.
Q Putting that aside, are we going to resume International Military Education and Training programs with Pakistan? That's something the State Department should --
MS. SHELLY: I'll check.
Q Back on Bosnia. Do I understand correctly that the Bosnian Serbs must accept the map before there can be further discussions? That's what you said earlier.
My question is, though, when you refer to discussions, do you mean direct discussions between the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Government, or could the Contact Group perhaps go and visit the Bosnian Serbs and sort of become a go-between? Do you rule both sets of discussions out or just direct negotiations?
MS. SHELLY: I'm sure the Contact Group would be willing to use their good offices in any way that would be agreeable to the parties and that they would deem to be useful; but I'm not going to lock in the Contact Group at this point in time to some particular formulation in the way that those exchanges might take place.
It's our feeling that as a basis to get things moving forward the Bosnian Serbs should accept the Contact Group plan. Issues as to how contacts would take place, how discussions would take place, including on how revisions to those plans might be arrived at, I think that's up to the parties and certainly up to the Contact Group to work out as the process unfolds.
Q (Inaudible) of going to see the Bosnian Serbs in an effort to push this process along?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any specific announcement to make about who they will be seeing or where they will be seeing them. I'm certainly not going to rule that out as a possibility, but at this point I'm not making any announcement.
Q Initially when this plan was put forward and the Muslims accepted it, the United States position was -- I mean, you really downplayed the idea of changes. When it was sort of acknowledged that, well, maybe there could be some tinkering on the side, it was at least made clear that you were talking about very narrow, minor kinds of alterations.
Now that this idea of change has gotten more currency and seems to be more of an inducement for the Serbs, I mean, is it still the U.S. position that there should be just narrow tinkering, or are you saying that changes could be broader -- much broader?
MS. SHELLY: I don't think it's really up to us to signal whether we're talking about slight changes or great changes. We always felt that represented a viable plan, and I think there has been acknowledgement, even on the part of Bosnian Government officials, of the possibility that once the plan was accepted, there could be further negotiations which might lead to some modifications of that.
Since we're not at that point yet -- and we certainly are not trying to pre-determine or pre-signal whether these would be slight or larger in some places and less in others -- I think that simply the theoretical possibility is there, subject to the agreement by both parties.
But I think from our talks, without getting into a detailed discussion of our talks with the parties, it has been our feeling that at least some changes may be desired from both sides.
Q So would it be fair to say that any changes that the parties agree is fine by you, even if these change the 49/51 split, for example?
MS. SHELLY: Our position is that the parties themselves would need to negotiate and agree on those changes.
Q Vice President Gore said the other day that he seemed to be very optimistic about this. He said the process had been gaining a little bit of momentum, legitimate reason for some optimism that we may have a new chance to move in the right direction there. What is he talking about?
MS. SHELLY: I think he's talking about the overall picture on the ground. When you look at some months back and you are looking at -- there had been cease-fires in place, there had been violations, you had violations reported that were up in the range of several hundred, if not several thousand per day. There still, of course, is some fighting in the Bihac pocket; but I'm told of most of what is going on is simply sporadic small arms fire. Most days, in this phase at least, the number of violations of cease-fires and agreements like that are now down to normally less than a dozen a day. Given what the picture looked like some months back, I think that's certainly an indication that Bosnia is quiet.
Sarajevo remains quiet, although full compliance with the agreement to withdraw the Bosnian Government forces from Mount Igman has yet to be verified, certainly there seems to be a lot of progress in that direction.
U.N. officials continue their efforts to get the Croatian Serbs and the rebel Muslims around Velika Kladusa to abide by the cease-fire agreements and to let the aid convoys get through. Aid convoys, with the exception of the Bihac pocket, seem to be moving about freely. The number of people at risk and who are also being supported by the humanitarian operation is reduced by over one million relative to winter of last year.
Those are all very positive signs that you can point to in terms of there being a more promising atmosphere for progress to be made on the political track.
Q He was talking about the peace initiative gaining momentum. I don't really see that. I don't see the Bosnian Serbs having moved one inch.
MS. SHELLY: Again, I can point to the situation on the ground. There is a lot of diplomacy that's been going on, including by General Rose, who has been working every single day with the parties to try to strengthen the cease-fire and to keep a calm situation militarily so that the political process can move forward.
Q Also, Vice President Gore talked about the President planning to veto the Dole lifting-of-the-embargo bill. Do you have any elaboration on that?
MS. SHELLY: No, I don't have anything further to say on that.
Q Can you say why Under Secretary Davis is meeting with the Israelis today?
MS. SHELLY: No; I don't have anything on that, but let me check.
Q Different topic.
MS. SHELLY: Sorry, one last question.
Q Richard Beattie will be visiting Cyprus on January 22. There seem to be a lot of hopes invested in his visit. What will Beattie be taking as a plan to Cyprus to resolve the issue, and what is he going to do that others couldn't do, among them Williams, for example, State Department Special Coordinator? Is Beattie invested with any special authority or powers?
MS. SHELLY: As you know, Assistant Secretary Holbrooke and Special Cyprus Coordinator Jim Williams traveled to Cyprus early in January; and, as you've mentioned, Presidential Emissary Richard Beattie will travel in the end of January. They're going to meet with all of the parties to assess the current situation.
I would not characterize what is going on right now as putting forward some kind of special U.S. plan for Cyprus at this point. We are exploring a number of ideas for all of the possible avenues for progress in the conflict.
The intensity of travel in part is somewhat coincidental. Assistant Secretary Holbrooke wanted specifically to visit the region and is doing so in connection with really a fairly long itinerary, and our Special Cyprus Coordinator Jim Williams is also relatively new in the job and also wanted to get out there as well.
With the decision to appoint a Presidential Emissary, I think it's only natural that he would also want to get out to the region and get some firsthand views. These visits, I think, need to be looked at in the context of an ongoing review of all of the possible avenues toward progress.
As a general political point, the U.S. remains fully committed to the U.N. Secretary General's effort on Cyprus, and we'll continue to work with the United Nations in trying to find a solution.
Q Holbrooke said he is there to open the path for Beattie, if I'm not wrong.
MS. SHELLY: I think it's not surprising that he would want to have some kind of a connection between those visits. Clearly he will want to exchange views with the Presidential Emissary prior to his going out so that he can have the latest information from the Assistant Secretary prior to making his own trip.
Q Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:37 p.m.)
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