U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING JANUARY 23, 1995 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, January 23, 1995 Briefer: Christine Shelly ANNOUNCEMENTS Press Briefing Schedule/Secretary Christopher Congressional Testimony--Week of January 23-27 ..1 BOSNIA/CROATIA U.S. Ambassadors Jackovich and Thomas/ Charge D'Affairs Menzies' Contacts/Meetings .....1,2 Secretary Christopher Letter to Bosnian President .3 U.S. Support of Opening of Blue Routes ............3 Situation Update ..................................4 PM Silajdzic Visit to Washington ..................4 Reports of Serb forces from Belgrade in Bihac .....14,15 Helicopter Violations of No-Fly Zone ..............15,16 MIDDLE EAST U.S. Responses to Terrorist Bombing in Israel .....8,10 Middle East Peace Process .........................9- 11,14 Reports on Status of Israeli Prisoners in Lebanon .14 U.S./Syria Bilateral Discussions/Dialogue re: Terrorist Groups ............................12,14 CYPRUS U.S. Reaction to Denktash Proposals ...............12 CHINA Intellectual Property Rights Talks ................12 Assistant Secretary Shattuck Trip to Beijing ......12-13 BURMA Next Steps in Attempts to Obtain Release of Aung San Suu Kyi .............................16 JAPAN Kobe Earthquake Details on U.S. Assistance ......................16-17 ALGERIA Request for Reaction to Anwar Adams' Statement ....17 UNITED NATIONS U.S. Contributions for UN Peacekeeping ............17-18 UNITED KINGDOM (NORTHERN IRELAND) Sinn Fein Legality of Fundraising in the U.S. .............18 Dialogue with U.S. re: Review of Visa Waiver Restrictions ..................................18
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, JANUARY 23, 1995, 1:07 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Let me quickly review what our briefing schedule will be for this week, because it also touches upon a couple of engagements that the Secretary has in congressional testimony.
Tomorrow, as I think you may or may not be aware, the Secretary is testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on North Korea. This was a hearing which had originally been scheduled for Wednesday which will now take place on Tuesday at -- I think it's at 10 o'clock. If that's not correct, we'll give you an update later in the day. He's doing this, as you know, with Secretary Perry, and it's on the North Korean Framework Agreement.
On Wednesday, we will brief on our normal schedule. Thursday, the Secretary is testifying before the House International Relations Committee. That will be a broad foreign policy overview.
Because of the testimonies on Tuesday and Thursday, we will not do our normal State Department briefing, but the Press Office will be open on the usual basis for inquiries on other subjects.
On Friday, as you know, we have the event which I talked about last week regarding the release of the Global Landmine Report to Congress. That will take place at 10 o'clock on Friday morning, and we will have our normal briefing on Friday at the approximate usual time.
I'll be happy to take your questions.
Q Can we ask you about Bosnia? I'm sure there are probably a half dozen questions to ask, but let me get it started by -- maybe you want to clear away some of the underbrush. Is the Ambassador back? Does he approve of or was he aware of Ambassador Thomas' trip to see the Serbs, and what about the U.N. resolution? That seems to -- haven't you unilaterally reinterpreted a U.N. resolution which I thought prohibited negotiating with the Serbs until they accepted the Contact Group plan?
MS. SHELLY: On the first part of your question, Ambassador Jackovich is in Washington on consultations. He's taking part in discussions on the visit of Prime Minister Silajdzic. He's meeting with officials in the Department to discuss the diplomatic process in Bosnia. This is his first visit since October of last year.
John Menzies, our Charge d'Affaires in Sarajevo, traveled to Pale on January 19 to review the Bosnian Serb position in advance of Ambassador Thomas' subsequent visit. His visit was fully coordinated with Ambassador Jackovich.
All of these contacts and meetings which have been taking place have all been very carefully and closely coordinated with each other. The Ambassador has been fully apprised of all of these exchanges, and the Ambassador certainly supports U.S. policy.
Q And specifically, your talks -- your direct talks with the -- Menzies, if that's his name, and Thomas' direct talks in Pale. The Ambassador supports that?
MS. SHELLY: The Ambassador supports this policy, yes. I think he believes, as we believe, that there is a moment of opportunity here with the cessation of hostilities. It does provide a better climate certainly than was the case some months back for improved negotiations with the Bosnian Serbs.
I think it's our feeling here and I think it's also one shared by the Ambassador that this is not a moment or an opportunity that we should let pass.
Q Is that why you moved up there even before the roads were open to Sarajevo, which I thought was Mr. Christopher's precondition for these talks? And, please, about that U.N. resolution. Haven't you unilaterally reinterpreted the resolution, which you tell the Senate not to do when it comes to lifting arms embargoes?
MS. SHELLY: No, Barry, I beg to differ with the notion that we have somehow unilaterally reinterpreted the U.N. resolution. Everything that has been done since the Contact Group has resumed its contacts last week or ten days ago or so has all been done in very careful coordination and in the context of Contact Group diplomacy in the region.
Certainly, the blue routes -- getting the blue routes open is something which is very important to us. I think that we feel that is very close to happening -- the cessation of hostilities continuing and getting those routes open so that the humanitarian relief can get in as necessary. These are all, obviously, critical elements in the dialogue with the Bosnian Serbs.
Q Did Mr. Christopher's letter to President Izetbegovic specify that the blue routes should be opened before the United States would resume these direct talks with the Bosnian Serbs?
MS. SHELLY: Last week Secretary Christopher did send a letter to the Bosnian President regarding the resumption of Contact Group discussions with the Bosnian Serb leadership in Pale. That letter assured the Bosnian Government of our complete commitment to the Contact Group map and to the territorial integrity of Bosnia as a single state within its internationally recognized borders.
U.S. contacts with Pale have been made in the framework of the Contact Group which has, as I mentioned, been in continuous consultation with the parties in the region.
Q Did the letter mention the opening of the blue routes as a condition?
MS. SHELLY: The opening of the blue routes is something that we support and have been urging, but I'm not going to get into further details about the letter.
Q There's a press report in The New York Times now that says that this was a precondition -- that Secretary Christopher said the talks would not take place until the blue routes were open. Is that correct or --
MS. SHELLY: I'm not going to get into any more of a detailed discussion of the letter. We want the blue routes to be open. We have said that. We feel that that's a very essential step in terms of giving the necessary impulse to the political process. That's something we support. We've certainly conveyed that very strongly to the Bosnian Serbs, and they know that we believe this is an essential step.
Q Are the blue routes mentioned in that letter?
MS. SHELLY: I know this is the third time you've come at it, and I'm declining for the third time to be more specific about the blue routes.
Q It sounds like from the news reports, which you're not denying, that Secretary Christopher stated a precondition and then broke it.
MS. SHELLY: No, I reject that characterization.
Q Well, please explain.
MS. SHELLY: I'm characterizing for you. I confirmed that the letter took place. I confirmed also the gist of what was in that letter, and I've also stressed the importance that we attach to opening of the blue routes.
Q Christine, what has created this opportunity -- this moment of opportunity that you talk about?
MS. SHELLY: The fact that the fighting situation throughout all of Bosnia, with the exception of the Bihac pocket, is obviously very dramatically improved, relative to where it was several weeks ago. The cessation of hostilities is certainly largely holding. Let's see if I have any other details on the fighting.
Bosnia has generally been quiet with only scattered shooting incidents in Sarajevo with, I mentioned, the exception of some continued problems in the Bihac pocket. Certainly, compared to that scene prior to the cessation of hostilities agreement, the overall level of violence remains very low.
I believe that there is now a resolution of the blockade at Tuzla air base, and, as far as I know, the humanitarian situation is largely unchanged.
Q But is the opening of talks meant, then, as a carrot or a reward to the Serbs for maintaining the cease- fire -- or the cessation of hostilities?
MS. SHELLY: No, I wouldn't put it in those terms.
Q (Inaudible) the Ambassador. Did you say he's going to return? He's here to prepare for, what, Karadzic?
MS. SHELLY: No, Silajdzic is here. He is coming later this week. We're going to be discussing the diplomatic efforts which are underway and which you know is to try to get peace negotiations going on the basis of the acceptance of the Contact Group Plan as well as U.S. support of the Bosnian-Croat federation.
Q Then he goes back to his post, I suppose.
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any news on that score.
Q Will he remain the Ambassador after he arranges this visit -- helps arrange this visit?
MS. SHELLY: He is the Ambassador now, and I think it would be certainly likely that he would return to his post. But he's also -- I'm not going to make any announcement for you today about any future plans that he might have. But I would just say as a general course of policy that it would not be unusual at this point in his tenure to also begin thinking about what he might do next after this.
And these very, very high intensity type posts like this one, which also involve obviously a high -- or can involve a high degree of personal danger, it is not one where we would necessarily expect the incumbent to remain for, say, a full normal tour.
So I don't have any announcement that I'm saying yes, but I will not rule out the possibility that some preliminary discussions regarding what he might do next may be going on.
Q A quick, fast, related question. When there was, what, four or five -- there's always been some question -- who quit over policy and who was going to quit anyhow and just accelerated the departure or maybe even glommed on the policy, planning to resign all along.
But in any event, when there was dissent, the State Department acknowledge very openly, and in fact the Secretary, I think, said "people had written to me," and invited them to present a memorandum if they didn't like what was going on.
Is there dissent from this Thomas mission, the head of the other Contact Group folk to Pale, and/or is there is dissent, will you let us know their objections -- not necessarily resignations -- but if there's internal disagreement with what is going on and you feel you can tell us, will you tell us about it?
MS. SHELLY: Since you're pointing very directly to the thesis of the Cohen article in The New York Times, I think that I can safely rebut the thesis which winds its way throughout that article.
Bosnia is a complicated issue. There are lots of different views out there, but the notion that there is this very intricate pattern of movements of people associated with policy disagreements is one which I categorically reject.
It is complex. There are lots of issues. There are lots of views. I cannot speak for what every single member of the Embassy might think on every subject, but I am not aware of there being any significant dissent, and I think that we have in the past been quite up front about issues where there have been.
Q Christine, I'm still a little unclear on the U.N. resolution question. You're saying that these visits to Pale was consistent with the U.N. resolution that calls for no contacts with the Serbs?
MS. SHELLY: I think that what is occurring in the context of the Contact Group is consistent with U.N. resolutions.
Q You're saying Thomas went there ahead of the Contact Group but still is a member of the Contact Group?
MS. SHELLY: Everything that Thomas has done has been in the context of the Contact Group.
Q (Inaudible) few days early.
MS. SHELLY: The feeling is that it's not always absolutely necessary for the Contact Group to travel as a whole. After he met with his Contact Group counterparts in the Geneva, he traveled there to resume what were very definitely Contact Group efforts to win Bosnian Serb acceptance of the Contact Group Map as the starting point for negotiations.
In doing this, he had the full backing of the Contact Group members. He is being joined now by the Contact Group members in Sarajevo this week where they will then hear about his meetings there, and it's expected that the Group then, as a whole, will go back to Pale. But he's not there; he's not been working in any other capacity except in the context of the Contact Group work.
Q Why did the U.S. delegate go? Why the U.S.? Why Thomas and not the German or the Frenchman?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, I don't have an answer for that. It's up to the Contact Group to decide in what way they think that their travelling contacts can be the most effective. That's simply what they decided to do at this point.
Q Is there some significance to having an American go as opposed to the others?
MS. SHELLY: No. I wouldn't read any particular significance into that. He went. That's the fact.
Q I'd like to move to the Middle East.
Q I'm still not clear about the U.N. resolution. Is this a valid resolution of the series 940/41/42 -- have they been repealed or -- I don't know what you do with a U.N. resolution -- changed?
MS. SHELLY: Why don't you put that to the U.N.
Q I'm asking you, because the United States is a permanent member of the Security Council and helped draft the resolution.
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any information on U.N. Security Council resolutions being rescinded.
Q If it's a valid resolution, then I assume under the resolution there must be some text which allows the United States or any other country to go and have political talks with the Bosnian Serbs; am I correct?
MS. SHELLY: Again, I've said what I've had to say on this.
Q Can you please check, then, with the State Department's legal department or perhaps the international organizations or some other area to find out, on what basis in those resolutions are these talks taking place? Because my reading of the resolutions indicates that there's just no loophole. Is there a loophole? Can you find it for us? Can you produce it here?
MS. SHELLY: It is certainly our understanding that all of the efforts of the Contact Group are taking place within the context of the Security Council resolutions, and I will refer this point back to the various people in this building who are involved in making that determination and ask them to recheck and see if there's anything different we would wish to say.
Q Do you have a status report on the U.S.-China trade negotiations in Beijing?
MS. SHELLY: Actually, there was a request to do the Middle East first. So if we can switch to the Middle East and then we can come back to that.
Q I just wanted to ask if you have any comment on the fact that the group of Fathi Shukaki took responsibility -- the group of Fathi Shukaki based in Damascus took responsibility on the attack near Netanya in Israel?
And the second thing is --
MS. SHELLY: I'm sorry, what's the specific question?
Q If you have any comment on the fact that the group of Fathi Shukaki, from the Islamic Jihad, took responsibility on the attack near Netanya, and if it has any influence on the peace process, if you think so?
MS. SHELLY: I think you --
Q (Inaudible) Syria.
MS. SHELLY: I think you've seen the statement that the President put out yesterday on the terrorist bombing. The President issued a very clear statement in reaction to the tragedy itself, condemning in the strongest possible terms the act of terrorist violence and calling upon those who have chosen the path of peace to condemn this act and to redouble all of their efforts to achieve a secure and lasting peace.
The Secretary sent messages to both Prime Minister Rabin and Foreign Minister Peres, expressing his condolences and horror over this act.
We had been in touch with others in the region. We've been in touch with Chairman Arafat, also urging him to do all in his power to pre-empt and control the activities of those who carry out these acts of terror and to apprehend and punish the perpetrators in areas under his authority.
On Syria, as I think you know, we have long been concerned about the presence in Syria of groups that engage in terrorism, including the Islamic Jihad. The presence of these groups in Damascus is one of the reasons that Syria remains on the U.S. terrorism list.
We've raised this matter repeatedly with the Syrians and at the highest levels.
Yesterday, after we got the word that this had occurred, the Secretary did telephone Foreign Minister Shara after learning of the attack. We've made very clear to the Syrians the need to cease providing a safehaven for terrorist groups.
Q Is that what he did with Shara?
MS. SHELLY: Yes.
Q He made very clear that they should cease their support for terrorist groups?
MS. SHELLY: The Secretary has made -- he reiterated previous concerns that we had. And, as I said, he made clear that they should cease their support in safehavens for the terrorist groups.
Q A description of what -- that the peace talks should move on with dispatch -- is that your answer to the carnage?
MS. SHELLY: Barry, I think you've seen our reaction to the carnage.
Q You condemn it. What about the policy? Do you think they should -- excuse me. We all anticipated that the Ambassadors would resume their talks here. Do you think they should step up the pace; go at their current pace; or reconsider? What?
MS. SHELLY: Barry, it is a tragic incident. We share the pain and anger that the Israelis feel at this type of event. The Israeli Government itself has decided, in their Cabinet decision last night, that they wish to carry on with their negotiations with the PLO.
As the President and the Secretary stated in their messages to Prime Minister Rabin, we must continue the peace process. To do otherwise would hand the terrorists their greatest victory. Indeed, destroying the hopes for peace is exactly what the terrorists are seeking.
Q You're doing the PLO -- this group is based in Damascus and the talks that are -- this is the location of the Israeli-Syrian semi-negotiations. I'm asking you if you thought they ought -- the Ambassadors sit down pretty quickly and get back to the issues, or if you think it needs some reconsideration or is it possible that these talks haven't been productive?
I don't understand how many times you have to ask the Syrians to stop giving haven to terrorist groups. You ask them, and then you want the talks to proceed just like that, right?
MS. SHELLY: Barry, we think that the peace process should continue. We also look to the participants in that to signal their intentions.
Certainly, we believe that the contacts that we have helped to facilitate are an important part of that process. But, again, we are not going to get into a detailed discussion of which contact where and under what circumstances. The process should continue. That's also the signal that the Israeli Government, as recently as last night, has given. We'll certainly continue to facilitate those contacts, but we also do not wish to see the process derailed by this type of terrorist act. That is exactly what they're trying to do.
What we're trying to do is move the process forward and to show those who wish to destroy the peace, that they cannot do that; that they will not be successful.
Q Isn't it possible -- has it entered anybody's mind that the process itself may be partly responsible for the violence? The people who are committing the violence say that's why they're doing it, and they say they will continue to do this as long as this peace process continues.
MS. SHELLY: But, Barry, it is --
Q Isn't it possible, since more people have been killed, since this process began, that there may be some connection between the peace process and the anger and the violence of the people who don't like the negotiations?
MS. SHELLY: You're asking me to get inside the heads of those who perpetrate the crimes. That's simply not anything that I'm in a position to do.
Q Christine, you mentioned that there had been contact with Chairman Arafat. Was that on the part of the Secretary or Dennis Ross or someone else?
MS. SHELLY: Let me check on that. I think the Secretary was in contact and I think Dennis may have been as well, but let me check and see if I can be more specific.
Q When the Secretary spoke to Foreign Minister Shara yesterday, did Foreign Minister Shara condemn the attack? Did he offer any condolences? Did he offer anything at all, or condemnation?
MS. SHELLY: I think it's appropriate for the Syrians to characterize their side of the conversation. We've characterized ours. I'm not aware -- or, at least, I personally have not seen a public official response on the part of the Syrians, but that's obviously something we'll be interested in seeing.
Q Doesn't that go to the heart of what the President of the United States tried to get President Assad to do, was to publicly condemn terrorism? He refused to do it. Are they now still not condemning terrorism?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, I'm not going to take the Syrian angle any farther. I've said what I had to say on that, which was a fair amount, regarding the Secretary's contact with Foreign Minister Shara.
Q Two questions. One, you talked about destroying -- you don't want it to destroy the peace. Is there -- because of the political situation in Israel; obviously, the pictures of the carnage on television -- is there a very real chance that this could derail the peace process with the PLO and with the Syrians and the Lebanese?
Secondly, is Secretary Christopher, or whomever -- we believe it's Secretary Christopher; right? -- who made the contact with Arafat, is he pleased, or is the U.S. Government pleased with the efforts of the PLO so far, to contain these types of violent acts?
MS. SHELLY: I think I can answer your questions only a very general sort of way.
Certainly statements -- and responding to the second part of your question first -- certainly statements are important. We've talked about that before. What is said in the aftermath of these incidents is, of course, important. But, clearly, the actions that follow those statements are even more important. So therefore actions that seek to apprehend and to punish perpetrators in the areas which fall under the authority -- of the Palestinian authority -- that is also something which is very important and something which we track closely.
Obviously, actions of this kind are not helpful to the peace process and they can have, certainly, an impact on public perceptions and on the general atmosphere in which that process can take place.
You're asking me to really get into the sort of long- term impact and analysis questions. I'm certainly not inclined to do that today. Again, in dealing with these issues, we know there are lots of sensitivities and we say what we can, and we basically do not tend to be analytical and looking out to the long term unless we feel that it's a way in which we can be helpful.
But, certainly, it is a source of concern which is why we've done what we did in the last 24 hours and also said what we have to say.
Q In terms of whether we feel specifically that the Palestinian Authority has done enough to contain such terrorist acts?
MS. SHELLY: I answered that first.
Q You said statements speak louder than -- actions speak louder than words. So your saying then, they haven't done enough?
MS. SHELLY: I answered that in the general sense, not in the specific sense, and I decline to be more specific; as I think my general response does answer it.
Q Can we move onto Cyprus? How do you evaluate the recent proposals made by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Denktash; any initial reaction to them by the Cypriot leadership?
Do these proposals in any way facilitate the mission of Mr. Beattie?
MS. SHELLY: I'll have to check on that and see if we can get you an answer after the briefing.
Q Back to China?
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q If you have a status report on the U.S.-China trade negotiations in Beijing?
MS. SHELLY: The intellectual property talks from last week?
MS. SHELLY: Actually, I don't. Let me see if I can get one and put it up after the briefing.
Q Do you have a report on Assistant Secretary Shattuck's negotiations or discussions with the Chinese in Beijing on human rights?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. I've got a little bit of a readout on that. Secretary Shattuck made a three-day mission to Beijing January 13-15, after which he had meetings in Hong Kong and Tokyo. This is the seventh bilateral dialogue with China that we've had since September 1993.
Generally speaking, the message throughout was that human rights are a central feature of U.S.-China relations and that any long-term improvement in relations will depend on a long-term improvement in human rights.
Secretary Christopher, I would note, emphasized this point in his speech last Friday on foreign policy objectives for 1995.
During Assistant Secretary Shattuck's talks, he made clear that the human rights situation in China had not improved over the last year in the areas where the international standards are very clear and very basic. Especially freedom of speech, association and religion, and the treatment of prisoners and persons detained by the government. These are areas of special concern to the international community as well as the American people. They are areas in which actions by the Chinese Government over the past year have been consistently negative.
The other areas that he touched upon in his talks included the need for long-term legal reform and movement toward the rule of law in China. There, we feel that there had been some positive developments.
Assistant Secretary Shattuck had extensive talks on these subjects and identified areas where there could be some further exchanges with the Chinese Ministry of Justice and other parts of the Chinese Government.
For the first time, our prisoner lists were accepted without objection by the Justice Ministry; and a date was set for further talks about access to Chinese prisoners of conscience by an international humanitarian organization.
Q You say for the first time, the lists were accepted without objection. Do you mean that this is the first time they accepted them or accepted them without complaining?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, I don't know. I'm not in a position to make that distinction.
Q Is that fact, accepted prisoner lists in the past?
MS. SHELLY: The phrasing of my guidance is: "Prisoner list accepted without objection."
Q For the first time -- prisoner lists were accepted without objection?
MS. SHELLY: Correct.
Q You don't know what that means?
MS. SHELLY: I'll see if I can get any further clarification.
Q By the way, has the State Department or the U.S. Government taken up with Lebanon these new statements that all Israeli prisoners in Lebanon are dead?
Q The MOU's.
Q The missing are dead?
MS. SHELLY: I haven't --
Q And do you have any independent knowledge --
MS. SHELLY: I haven't seen the statements. I'll check.
Q To go back to Middle East terrorism. The Syrian Government, in the past, they showed their support of several terrorist groups and they attacked neighboring countries. Do you think this is the time to start or initiate some kind of international sanctions about this country, as you did against Libya?
MS. SHELLY: We feel that dealing with Syria's support for terrorism is something that is best handled in our bilateral channels. We have taken this issue up, I think, virtually every time that the Secretary or other senior officials have visited the region. Obviously, it's part of the on-going dialogue.
I think we feel at this point that's the most appropriate channel.
Q In the past, including President Clinton, they had a dialogue with President Assad but it doesn't show any improvement in the subject?
MS. SHELLY: As I said, we work it in the bilateral channel. It's not up to me to give it a full analysis on our degree of pleasure with that result. Obviously the fact there are indications that the support continues. That is a point of concern for us.
Q Can I go back to Bosnia. There were a couple of other New York Times stories and others news reports in the last week which raised serious questions about whether the cease-fire is being observed. They included an account that Serb units from Belgrade have arrived in the Bihac enclave area and had joined in either fighting or preparation for fighting. There was another report about helicopters leaving from Udbina in Krajina and going into Bosnia and resupplying Bosnian forces.
These are not really consistent with observance of the cease-fire. Do you have any comment on those?
MS. SHELLY: On the first part of your question, I don't -- I'm sorry --
Q This is from --
MS. SHELLY: Okay. I have not seen any information to that effect. I'll be happy to check and see.
On helicopters, there have been violations from time to time of the "no-fly" zone. I think there have been violations by all of the parties. Helicopters are very difficult to track very quickly, and many of the helicopter flights are authorized flights, and they're involved -- they form some part of the humanitarian assistance operation.
So, simply evaluating those violations that -- or those flights which may occur which may be violations, that's something that UNPROFOR has to do on the ground. It's clearly not appropriate for them to go after each and every helicopter that they see.
They obviously try to determine what is an authorized flight. If they have evidence to suggest that helicopters are up and they can get intercept aircraft up in the air fast enough to actually reach one of the helicopters; of course, their practice is to try to force the helicopter down and to question those involved in the flight.
Q These reports both originated from UNPROFOR, and what was interesting about them is they suggested a shift in the situation, and there was no response from any country. In other words, UNPROFOR mentions this and nobody reacts. Clearly, the United States has played a critical role in enforcement of a "no-fly" zone up until now. And also the presence of Serb forces out of Belgrade changes the equation around Bihac which is still designated a safe area.
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any evidence of indication that Serb forces are there. As I said, I will check on that point, but I'm not going to take it in some kind of way that suggests that I'm sharing your judgment or information.
On the helicopters, I just said I don't know what you're looking for me to say. I've said there have been violations noted by UNPROFOR of the "no-fly" zone. Violations have been reported by all sides. The vast majority of the violators are helicopters whose missions are often very difficult to verify. Unless they can actually verify that there is a violation going on right at that very second and they're able to reach the helicopter in time, it clearly would be imprudent for UNPROFOR or for NATO in support of the "no-fly" zone to simply fire on a helicopter without being able to confirm exactly what the flight is engaged in.
Therefore, enforcement typically has to involve interception of helicopters and forcing them to land. As I mentioned, also the helicopters are engaged in humanitarian relief missions and again attacking those helicopters without knowing exactly what was happening clearly would not be wise.
Q Back to the Middle East, is the Secretary planning or considering moving up his trip to the Middle East because of what happened there?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any information to that effect.
Q On Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi wasn't released until the deadline, so can you tell us something about what the United States is going to do on the relationship with Burma?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything with me today, but let me see. I'll either work that up for tomorrow or else we'll try to put something up for this afternoon.
Q Is there anything further on U.S. assistance to Japan in the aftermath of the Kobe earthquake. Do you have any comment on the relatively slow reaction on the part of the Japanese Government to these offers of assistance? It's clear from television pictures that they could use a lot of things like medical equipment and search-and-rescue teams and so forth, but there's been relatively no response from the Japanese Government to these offers.
MS. SHELLY: I think it would be completely unproductive and insensitive of me to get involved in assessing the Japanese response to dealing with the earthquake victims. I think that's not an appropriate role for me.
U.S. military forces in Japan today will finish delivery of 59,500 blankets to the Kobe area in response to a request from the Japanese Government. Our military is also filling other Japanese Government requests for 62,000 gallons of bottled water. This delivery should be completed by tomorrow.
Twenty large general purpose tents were sent to the area over the weekend and are being erected by U.S. military personnel. The Japanese Government has asked for 1,500 rolls of plastic sheeting. We're now in the process of arranging transportation.
The U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and USAID may have some additional details on what our military is doing, and on what type of private U.S. assistance is being provided to Japan.
As you know, we said last week the Japanese Government has agreed to a visit by an experts team headed by FEMA Director Witt. We're still working out the details of the timing of the team's visit.
Q Do you have anything on the statement by Mr. Anwar Adams of Algeria, saying that the U.S. should put pressure on the people in the French Government that support the military in Algeria and against the Algerian people?
MS. SHELLY: No, I haven't seen that statement, so let me take a look at it and see if we have anything we want to say.
Q Do you have anything on the proposal by a number of Republicans to drastically cut back U.S. contributions to the U.N. -- or U.N. peacekeeping operations?
MS. SHELLY: Let me check. I'll see.
Q Could we go back to Japan for a second. The last time Japan was devastated in this way was probably World War II. Do you feel there's any sensitivity on the part of the Japanese to the presence of U.S. forces, and that this might be why they are a little reluctant to take us up on some of the things we've offered?
MS. SHELLY: Ask the Japanese.
Q Senator Dole introduced a new resolution, last week I believe, to the Hill, about the humanitarian act corridor or humanitarian aid corridor or something like that. Do you have any reaction, or do you have any position as an Administration against that?
MS. SHELLY: I'm sorry. What's the subject?
Q Dole Amendment, Dole resolution, humanitarian aid corridor or something like that.
MS. SHELLY: For?
Q If some countries thought American humanitarian aid is proposing to stop their foreign aid or something like that.
MS. SHELLY: I'm not familiar with the proposal. I'll look into it and see.
Q Okay. Thank you.
Q Currently on the British news report today that the U.S. Government told Sinn Fein it can't fund raise in the United States until the IRA has turned over its weapons.
MS. SHELLY: I have short information on that. As a political party, Sinn Fein may raise funds in the United States on the same basis as other political parties as long as it complies with U.S. laws.
Gerry Adams and other Sinn Fein leaders who need visa waivers in order to enter the U.S. presently have a restriction on their waiver, preventing them from fund raising. The same restriction applies to loyalist party leaders.
As part of the continuing dialogue with Mr. Adams and other Sinn Fein leaders, U.S. officials in Washington and our representatives overseas have suggested a variety of initiatives he and other leaders of Sinn Fein might take that would permit the U.S. to review the present visa waiver restrictions.
We have agreed with Mr. Adams that this dialogue would be conducted in private rather than through the media.
Q Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:46 p.m.)
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