U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING JANUARY 30, 1995 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, January 30, 1995 Briefer: Christine Shelly ANNOUNCEMENTS Bureau of Public Affairs Release of "U.S. Foreign Affairs" on CD-Rom .................1 U/S Wirth, A/S Shattuck Press Briefing on 2/1 re: Annual Report to Congress on Human Rights ........1 BOSNIA/CROATIA Bosnian Prime Minister Silajdzic Visit/ Mtg. w/Secretary Christopher .....................2 Ceasefire Violations ...............................1-2,8- 9 Prospects for Multilateral Lifting of Arms Embargo .3-4,8 'Z-4 Plan' Presentation to Parties .................6-7 IRAN Report of Completion of Poison Gas Plant ...........8 RUSSIA Conflict in Chechnya OSCE Mission to Grozny--Readout ..................9-11 CHINA Status of Talks on International Property Rights ...12 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Joint Security Patrols--Gaza and Jericho ...........13 GREECE/TURKEY Aegean Territorial Waters ..........................13 Report of Imprisonment of Moslem Cleric in Greece...13 MEXICO Financial Aid Package ..............................14 JAPAN Smithsonian Exhibit on Enola Gay ...................14 ARMS CONTROL Ratification of START Treaty--Timeframe ............15
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 1995, 1:10 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Let me begin with two short announcements.
The Bureau of Public Affairs has released a new edition of the U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD ROM through the U.S. Government Printing Office. This is this little item, if you have not seen it before.
For the first time, the CD is being released on a quarterly basis. It is a foreign policy library offering more than 4,000 documents from 1990 through September of 1994. The quarterly CD subscription archives information released on the Department of State Foreign Affairs Network -- that's DOSFAN; we put on an announcement on that a few days ago -- which was accessible on the Internet as of last December.
A press release on the new CD and an updated fact sheet on DOSFAN are also available. We have three copies of the CD for the press.
Second announcement: As you know, each year at this time the Department of State submits to Congress its Annual Report on Human Rights Practices. Under Secretary for Global Affairs Tim Wirth and Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor John Shattuck will brief the press on that report on Wednesday, February 1, at approximately 12:30 p.m. in the State Department Press Briefing Room.
A notice to the press explaining how and when they can access the country reports is available in the Press Office.
I'll be happy to take your questions.
Q How about Bosnia, when you have the Prime Minister here. Is the cease-fire about to fall apart in the U.S. view?
MS. SHELLY: We noted on Friday at the briefing that there had been violations to the cease-fire. I have a short update for you on the fighting situation, if you'd like, and then I think it was a slightly broader question that you're asking. Do you want me to give a fighting update or just take a crack at your question.
Q We all have reports from the field. You know, you're reading us reports of what we have reporters reporting. But we're interested more, at least I am, in Administration policy. You have the Bosnian Prime Minister here, and the reports suggest the cease-fire is disintegrating.
Does the Administration agree -- is that the status of the situation there, and what have you got to offer him in the way of any hope for U.S. support?
MS. SHELLY: The Bosnian Prime Minister is here, and he's having meetings. They will also, in addition to a lunch which he is having -- it's actually a one-on-one lunch which he is having now with the Secretary. He met with the Vice President earlier today, and he's also having meetings with a number of congressional members.
I think on the fighting, do we have a general concern? We're always concerned about what the situation on the ground is there. We noted the very serious violations of the cease-fire on Friday, but basically the sporadic firing which has continued in these last few days, I understand, is in the Bihac area, and that most of the rest of Bosnia has been quieter than it had been certainly last Friday.
So we're always concerned about potential breakdowns, but it is, I think, not anything in which we have -- except in the aftermath of Friday's violence, it's not anything at this point that we have systematic evidence or suggestions that the cease-fire generally is either not being respected or is falling apart.
I understand that the Prime Minister is making the rounds of several capitals in connection with his trip here. I think he wants to have discussions with a number of leaders about where things stand in Bosnia right now, and obviously in an effort to try to get the political process, the peace process, back on track.
I don't have a lot of details to give you right now as the Secretary's meeting is underway, but we certainly will try to share some additional insights from that for you as soon as we can.
Q Why is the peace process off track? You say he's trying to get it back on track. Why is it off track? What's the cause of that?
MS. SHELLY: Barry, as you know, the key obstacle is the failure of the Bosnian Serbs to accept the Contact Group Map and Plan.
Q And can you offer him anything to adjust that -- to overcome that refusal?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know how you would expect him to be accounting or dealing in something that it's not in his responsibility to determine. The Bosnian Serb refusal -- clearly, that's a fact. That's obviously something we'll be discussing, but it is clearly not something that's within his authority to change.
Q No, no, I know it's not within his, but presumably he wants to get to the peace table. You do. The Serbs don't. You tried sending Ambassador Thomas up there separately. Apparently that hasn't succeeded. Do you have any other stratagems up your sleeve that you can roll out to try to get the peace process back on track?
MS. SHELLY: Precisely, we want to hear from him about his own thinking on the latest developments. We also said last Friday that the members -- all of the participants in the Contact Group were going to be returning to their capitals for consultation. That process is underway.
Ambassador Thomas is now back here. He will undoubtedly be having many meetings while he's back with members of this government, and also he'll be here while the Silajdzic visit is taking place. I think a lot of things are happening procedurally in terms of meetings taking place, but at this point we're simply not going to say a lot more until these meetings -- and particularly until we hear from the Prime Minister about his ideas about where we think we're going to go next.
Q Christine, the Prime Minister said a few words on his way in. He said that he wants a three-month deadline imposed on the Serbs; that he would ask the United States to push for that, to accept the peace plan, and after that he wants a multilateral lifting of the arms embargo.
I guess it's sort of a two-part question. Do we favor imposing a deadline on Serb acceptance of the peace plan, and are we willing then to go back to the Security Council for a multilateral lift?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, on the first point, I didn't hear his remarks, so I really can't key off of them specifically. The issue of whether or not -- that is, the issue of a deadline is something that should be considered, if that's something that he's raised now and he plans to talk with the Secretary, clearly I'm not going to be in a position to comment specifically on that.
Multilateral lift has always been the position of this Administration. As you know, we feel very strongly that there are strong arguments against unilateral lift. A multilateral lift is still something that we support, and we have said so, but I don't have anything new to announce on that.
Q Has there been any discussion about imposing a deadline on the Serbs? It's a little difficult because we have no opportunity to talk really to anyone on the record, because the briefing is before he's come in. So you really are our only shot here. Does the Administration have an opinion on imposing a deadline on the Serbs?
MS. SHELLY: We certainly would have liked to have had the Bosnian Serbs accept the Map and Plan a long time ago. So certainly it's well past the time that we would have liked to have seen that happen. But again I'm not going to get nailed specifically on the deadline issue.
Q Is there any chance that you could make Ambassador Thomas available to us so that we could hear from him what's going on?
MS. SHELLY: I'll check and see. I'll pass the request.
Q Could you clarify again in the context of Mr. Silajdzic's visit why you support a multilateral lifting of the embargo but not a unilateral lifting? I mean, if you support lifting, then why does it make so much difference --
MS. SHELLY: The Secretary addressed that in congressional testimony last week. I'm not going to rehash the same ground.
Q Is there any possibility of getting a multilateral lifting, considering the views of the people you need in the U.N. to do that?
MS. SHELLY: Certainly, for the present I don't think there is. I think that the British and the French and certainly the UNPROFOR contributors, those with troops on the ground, have pronounced themselves on repeated occasions publicly about how they feel about that.
So I think at this juncture it's not something that is likely to get through, but I wouldn't go too far out into the future on that. I think simply for the present it doesn't look terribly likely.
Q Could you say what Ambassador Thomas was trying to get the Bosnian Serbs to accept last week that they wouldn't accept?
MS. SHELLY: The Contact Group Map and Plan.
Q But they've already rejected that. So he obviously had some other means -- some other presentation. He wouldn't have gone up again, I don't suppose --
MS. SHELLY: No, that's what the talks were about was getting them to accept the Map and Plan.
Q But didn't he have some kind of formulation that he wanted them to accept that might have amounted to it?
MS. SHELLY: There may have been discussions on formulations, but they related back to the question I've just said, which is their acceptance of the Map and Plan.
Q Would it be fair to say that you will also be looking for points of flexibility in the Bosnian position as far as these negotiations go?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, it's a complicated issue, as you well know. There are a lot of sensitivities there, and I frankly am -- at exactly the moment that the Secretary is having his conversations with the Bosnian Prime Minister, it is simply not useful for me to get into areas that clearly are going to touch on the substance of what they're working.
Q That will be part of the substance of what their work here is? Is that what you mean to say?
MS. SHELLY: No, what I'm saying is that I'm taking the substance of what they might work off of my screen for today.
Q But you'll have a readout later.
MS. SHELLY: I will see if I can get one.
Q Is that going to be from the Press Office or from you by telephone, or how do we get that readout if you get it?
MS. SHELLY: Obviously, one of a number of possible ways. One is to see if we can't have a backgrounder later this afternoon which would reflect the substance of what was covered in the meeting, and I will certainly endeavor to try to make that happen.
Another possibility is obviously to put out a written readout of the meeting, and another possibility is obviously to come back to it at subsequent briefings here. So those are all theoretical possibilities. They're all ways in which we've provided readouts, and I think I know what the approximate rank order of priority is for those of you in this room, and I will do my best.
Q (Inaudible) Croatia today.
MS. SHELLY: Yes, I've got some details on that. The Zagreb Four or the Z-4 plan for a political settlement between the Government of Croatia and the Krajina Serbs is being presented today, as you have noted, to President Tudjman in Zagreb and to the Krajina Serb authorities in Knin.
Four Ambassadors in Zagreb -- the Russian, the European Union, the United Nations and the U.S. representatives have developed this proposal. It would re-establish Croatian sovereignty throughout the country while giving substantial autonomy to Serb majority areas.
U.N. Sectors East and West would return to full Croatian authority, and the Serb majority parts of Sectors North and South would become a self-governing area. The plan provides for the return of displaced persons to their homes and includes extensive human rights provisions.
While the plan is presented as a basis for negotiation and not on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, we believe that the model of the Z-4 plan offers the best hope for a durable settlement.
We urge the parties to consider it carefully and to begin negotiations to resolve their differences as soon as possible, since all sides stand to suffer if war breaks out again.
Q It seems to accord sovereignty, or control -- political control -- to territories according to who has the majority; is that correct?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any other details beyond that which I've just put out.
Q That's the story that's out right now. The interesting thing is that this differs from the plan for Bosnia of the Contact Group. I wonder if you have, or if you could get an explanation?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not doing a compare-and-contrast of the plans here. This is specifically a plan that's been worked out in the context of a long set of discussions, as I mentioned, from the resident Ambassador in Zagreb. It is trying to deal specifically with the longer-term solution for the problems in Croatia.
I think that the need to advance this track is even more compelling given the possibility that UNPROFOR may well withdraw in the next few months from Croatia; and certainly the fear that should UNPROFOR withdraw, that there could be a renewed outbreak in fighting. That's what this particular plan is about.
Frankly, to get into a kind of compare-and-contrast, that gets right back into the Bosnia question which I've said for reasons which I think are obvious, at least, that we were not going to get into the substance of our exchanges on Bosnia today while the briefing is going on.
Q It's inevitable that there is going to be a comparison made between what you're offering in Croatia and what the Contact Group is offering in Bosnia?
MS. SHELLY: Okay. Comparisons may be made by others, but I simply don't feel bound to engage in that kind of a comparison from here.
Q In Bosnia and in Croatia, in dealing with the Serbs, is there no other way to deal with it than to reward their aggression?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, I think what this is about is trying to bring an end to the fighting and come up with a solution which is going to be acceptable for all of the parties.
You may want to characterize it as a reward to Serb aggression, but the international community has devoted an enormous effort to trying to find an acceptable solution, one which will be durable and that's what the process is about.
Q Christine, on another subject. There is a report in the Washington Times today that the Iranians are on the brink of completing a large poison gas plant in Iran. Do you have anything on that?
MS. SHELLY: I'm checking on that. I was not able to get anything prepared in time for today's briefing, so let me try to do that as a TQ. If it takes a little longer than that, I may have to come back to it with guidance later in the week at a briefing.
Q Could I go back on Croatia just a moment. What we heard just a few minutes, first, from our Ambassador to Bosnia, was that the cease-fire was, in fact, not ever in place, never in place in Bihac. I think that's a fact that's been established.
He also said, when we asked him, "What alternatives are there." The answer was, as yet, apparently there is not an alternative to the approach that's being made to the Serbs at the present time.
But I saw hope in what the Prime Minister said, in that he's not apparently -- his government is not asking for at this time, Christine, a unilateral lift. They're going to give it more time. Is this something that the State Department, this government, currently is promoting -- an extension of the period of the arms embargo?
MS. SHELLY: It's January, and he's here. I think the way that the time-frame was given regarding not proceeding with the lift proposal was something like six months. So I think that there was going to be a return to this in the April time-frame.
I wasn't there. I didn't hear the remarks, so it's difficult for me to be more precise than that. The end of the time-frame, shall we say, for the pause or delay in moving forward on lift has not run out yet. May be that's what he was referring too. But, as I said, I wasn't there for the remarks so it's hard for me to be more specific.
Q My question once again --
MS. SHELLY: Beyond the April time-frame?
Q Beyond April, then, would we like that all parties concerned would extend the cease-fire and the arms embargo well beyond April?
MS. SHELLY: The possibility of it being extended beyond April is certainly out there. But at this point, again, I think I don't want to be more specific than that.
Q Chechnya? I asked the other day whether you've been able to check on further troop and munitions movements into Chechnya by the Russians, and whether there's advance notification? Assuming there hasn't been, has the U.S. Government taken it up with the CSCE?
MS. SHELLY: On that, the information I have regarding their movements comes from their own announcements. Again, I think at the time that this came up, we indicated that this was not a formal commitment; that the CFE rules were not going to be going into effect until November of this year.
The whole question of what is happening there is one that we are going to be discussing in the OSCE context. I think you know that the OSCE mission went to Grozny, and went back to Moscow. OSCE Envoy Istvan Gyarmati will provide a detailed readout to the embassies in Moscow today.
The Group had extensive discussions with the Ministry of Defense and with Interior Ministry officials in the region. The Chechen Council of Elders and other groups. They visited several refugee sites, Russian POW camps, and hospitals. They are also going to consult with the Russian Foreign Ministry today, prior to their departure.
So when we get a readout on that, we may be able to say more. But we expect that there will be a discussion of this within the OSCE context, after the mission that's gone there will make its report.
Q Is the United States prepared to ask for a discussion?
MS. SHELLY: I don't think it's a question of the United States needing to ask for one. There will be one after the mission returns and makes its report.
Q Because I was thinking of the violations, or the apparent violation of the non-notification, for one thing; and, also, you have the obvious violations of the Code of Conduct.
MS. SHELLY: The issue of the violations of the Code of Conduct is one of the things that the mission went there to discuss. So, obviously, we will want to hear from the mission.
Q Do you still take the attitude that the way to end this is through reconciliation of the two parties? Or do you think there should be a negotiated settlement between Dudayev and the Yeltsin government?
MS. SHELLY: First of all, it's not a separate government, as you know Chechnya is a part of Russia and that, we recognize. We would like to see a settlement of the difficulties and the differences between them through reconciliation. We've said that before.
Q You said the other day you had an understanding that Yeltsin does not want to negotiate with Dudayev.
MS. SHELLY: He himself has said that he would not negotiate with him personally. That does not mean that they're not going to hear from other Chechens in the efforts that they make to try to bring about a reconciliation.
Q Isn't there a problem that if you say, they don't have to negotiate and come up with a solution that way, that you're giving a kind of green light to the demand for unconditional surrender?
MS. SHELLY: No, I don't read it that way at all.
Q Can you explain how you get them to peace there if the two principal parties are not talking?
MS. SHELLY: You get a peace through reconciliation efforts. I think it's up to the Russian Government to decide how best they think that effort can go forward.
Q What about (inaudible) need for a change in Chechnya?
MS. SHELLY: I think the status quo ante also reflected a declaration on the part of the Chechen leadership to break away from Russia.
Q Well, dropping that point, which we know the U.S. position on. Does the U.S. feel that some changes ought to be made on the ground, reflecting on all the fighting that's gone on. Do you think the Russian Government should make some changes enhancing autonomy?
MS. SHELLY: The autonomy issues are clearly the ones which are of utmost importance to the Chechen leaders. Obviously, the measure of autonomy that they can work out within the context of remaining an integral part of Russia is something that they will be addressing. But, we do believe that it is an integral part of Russia. We've said that before, and we would look to Russia to determine what is the best way to try to bring about that reconciliation.
Q Have you seen the report of the OSCE human rights commission which went to Chechnya and issued a preliminary report over the weekend?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not sure, specifically, I know which one you're talking about. This is separate from the Gyarmati mission?
Q It's the one led by the Hungarian diplomat.
MS. SHELLY: That's it. That's the one I just briefed on. I mentioned, at least earlier today, they were still in Moscow and they were having the meetings with the team headed by Gyarmati. Also, they were briefing the OSCE embassies in Moscow, and having extensive meetings with the Russian Government ministries and things. After which they will then be returning home.
Q What is your reaction from the preliminary hearings that they brought back?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have a readout yet. I will certainly look to see the embassy's reporting telegram on that readout. But I can't react on the basis of partial information.
Q You still call this an "internal Russian conflict" and compare it with the American Civil War? There had been a comparison from the podium at one point?
MS. SHELLY: It was made once, and I wasn't the one who made it, so I'm not going to pickup on it.
Q Is that now regarded as having gone too far, and is that something you would not want to repeat anymore?
MS. SHELLY: What?
Q That it's a Civil War like our own?
MS. SHELLY: We have said that we have recognized Chechnya as an integral part of Russia. That is our position.
Q Do we call this a "Civil War?"
MS. SHELLY: We have said that it is, insofar as it is part of the territorial area of Russia, which we recognize as an internal matter. But how that struggle has been conducted is obviously which has had international ramifications. Our position on how we describe that has not changed.
Q A regular other subject -- China. The impasse on the patent rights, talks, and so forth has led many to say that there is a real threat now, a full-scale trade war between the two countries. Do you see it that way? Is it that imminent? Is there any way to avoid retaliation if these talks falter in the next couple of days?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have a lot of details on that. As you know, there was a press conference on Saturday by Ambassador Kantor. He noted that some progress had been made in the bilateral negotiations on the protection of international property rights in Beijing.
However, because the two sides have not yet been able to reach agreement on a number of issues which are of critical concern to the United States, our delegation returned to Washington over the weekend.
Ambassador Kantor invited the Chinese to come to Washington to continue the negotiations as soon as they're prepared to do so.
On the details relating to these negotiations, I think you would have to ask them at USTR.
It is an issue, in the general sense, that is of great concern to us. We would like to see the issue settled through the negotiation process, but there's not a lot of time left to do that.
If we cannot bring the negotiations to their conclusion in a mutually acceptable way, there certainly could well be some trade consequences for the relationship.
Q Do you see the two countries at this point as listing towards this kind of confrontation on a sort of collision course?
MS. SHELLY: I think it's hard to tell. We have not seen the degree of responsiveness to our points that we would like to see. On the other hand, I think it's in the Chinese interest to settle this in a way that it doesn't result in trade sanctions.
I think we think that they also would like to find a solution to the problem. Sometimes in trade negotiations, generally, the most progress is made in the final hours. It's simply hard for me to know whether this is the way this one is going to play out.
Both sides have an interest in settling it through negotiation.
Q Christine, on the Middle East, and forgive me if you answered this on Friday, but I was in and out a bit on Friday.
MS. SHELLY: We noticed.
Q Would we like to see the Israelis and the Palestinians security forces conduct joint patrols in Gaza and Jericho?
MS. SHELLY: I think they have conducted joint patrols, isn't that correct?
Q I don't think so.
MS. SHELLY: I thought that at the time the Palestinian authority was established mechanisms were also put in place for that.
Q I don't think there --
MS. SHELLY: Let me check.
Q I asked, because there was a newspaper report that said that was one of the things you would like them to do.
MS. SHELLY: Okay. Let me check on that Sid. I don't have anything on that with me today.
Q Do you have anything about increasing tensions between Greece and Turkey again in the Aegean territorial waters?
MS. SHELLY: No, I don't have anything new on that.
Q And also do you have anything about the Muslim clergyman which the Greeks jailed last week -- arrested? We asked last week.
MS. SHELLY: And we didn't put up any answer to that?
MS. SHELLY: It may be that we simply decided that it would not be helpful to put out something on that, let me check. I know we did check on that, and I thought I had seen something. It may have just been guidance given for me for the next day, and then it didn't come up. But let me check on that. It may be that, for reasons relating to our relations with both Greece and Turkey, we decided not to, but let me make one more check.
Q Thank you.
Q Can I ask one on Mexico. The Secretary provided a lot of time and attention to going around the country and talking about the need to be engaged. He's warned about isolationism, and yet we have a somewhat extraordinary situation where the leadership from both parties in Congress is on board with this bailout package. The White House is pushing hard for, but the rank and file members of Congress won't go along with it. Does that send up any alarms around here? Is that reflecting a new isolationism in the country that you're worried about?
MS. SHELLY: I think it's very hard for me to draw a very general conclusion like that. We certainly are aware of the fact that the negotiations with the Congress have been tough. A lot of questions about the package, about economic conditionality, about other issues in our relationship with Mexico have come up.
I think that it's still the very strong feeling that President Clinton and also the Congressional leadership have is that we do have an important economic and strategic interest in a stable and prosperous Mexico; and that we should do what is necessary to help restore financial confidence there.
So I think we're still hopeful that the Congress will be able to move affirmatively on the package, and obviously in the context of other issues which have come up. We're working many of these with the Mexicans very intensively, even prior to the issue of the loan guarantee, and we expect to continue doing so.
Q Just quickly, the Smithsonian board of regents is meeting today to decide whether to cancel the exhibit on the Enola Gay. You said last year that the Japanese Government had communicated through the State Department its sensitivities over the atomic bomb stamp issue.
Have you received any communication from Japan about the Smithsonian exhibit, and does the State Department have a view on whether the Smithsonian should be exhibiting the Enola Gay in the form that it has chosen?
MS. SHELLY: Let me check and see if there's anything we would want to say on that. We're certainly aware of the issue, but I think most of the discussions on this have been worked with the Smithsonian directly. I don't have anything specifically that I wish to say on it, and I'll check and see if anybody else does.
Q I realize there are time constraints, but a very quick one. Is it important to get the START treaty ratified right away?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, we think so.
Q This spring?
MS. SHELLY: I think that's the time frame that was outlined that we would like it ratified.
Q Thank you.
MS. SHELLY: Thanks.
(The briefing concluded at 1:40 p.m.)
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