U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING FEBRUARY 3, 1995 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Friday, February 3, 1995 Briefers: Madeleine Albright Christine Shelly StrobeTalbott Winston Lord UNITED NATIONS Ambassador Albright on UN Peacekeeping ...........1-12 U.S. Position on House Resolution 7 ..............1-7,11 Effects on Operation Provide Comfort .............9 U.S. Position on Expansion of Security Council ...5-6 UN & US National Interests, UN's Mission .........9-10,11-12 BOSNIA/CROATIA Expiration of UNPROFOR Mandate in Croatia ......7-8 Talks w/ PM Silajdzic re Unilateral Lifting of Sanctions ....................................8,10 Peacekeeping Operations ..........................7-8,11 Carter Center Staff in Pale ......................10,12-14 U.S. Policy in Bosnia ............................12,13 DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOT TRIP TO ASIA Deputy Secretary's Remarks on trip to Asia .......14-24 CAMBODIA Khmer Rouge Strength, Thai Military Support ......16-17 US Military Assistance ...........................18 NEW ZEALAND/AUSTRALIA Prime Minister Bolger U.S. trip ..................16,19 Dairy Dumping ....................................18 CHINA U.S. Trade Sanctions, Intellectual Property Rights .........................................19-20 U.S. Bilateral Relations .........................21 NORTH KOREA KEDO Financing, Agreed Framework .................20,22-24 Dialogue with ROK, Liaison Office in U.S. ........21-22,24 JAPAN Foreign Assistance, Global Interdependence .......22-23 VIETNAM High-Level Visit to Vietnam ......................24 COLOMBIA Counter-Narcotics Aid Linkage to Human Rights ....25 Certification re Narcotics Cooperation ...........25-26,30-31 CAIRO SUMMIT Evaluation of Results ............................27 Washington Follow-On Ministerial .................27-30 PERU/ECUADOR Rio Group Meeting to Resolve Dispute .............31-32
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPC #18 FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 1995, 1:03 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today we begin our briefing with a very special guest: Ambassador Madeleine Albright, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations since January l993. I know she is well and favorably known to you. But as this is her first appearance at the State Department Press Briefing, let me also refresh your memory with a few details about her background.
Prior to her appointment to the United Nations, Ambassador Albright was President of the Center for National Policy, a nonprofit research organization that promotes the study and discussion of domestic and international issues. As a Research Professor of International Affairs and Director of the Women in Foreign Service Program at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, she taught courses in international affairs, U.S. foreign policy, Russian foreign policy, and Central and Eastern European politics. From l978 to '8l, Ambassador Albright was a Staff Member on the National Security Council, where she was responsible for foreign policy legislation. Ambassador Albright is here today to address U.S. objectives for U.N. peacekeeping.
In light of the U.N.'s 50th Anniversary, she will also discuss the overall U.S.-U.N. relationship.
She will begin with remarks and then will be happy to take your questions.
Let me remind you that later in this briefing, Deputy Secretary Talbott will discuss his recent trip to Asia; he will also open with remarks and take some questions.
Ambassador Albright, the floor is yours.
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much, Christine. I'm really very happy to be able to have the opportunity to be in this forum.
As Christine mentioned, I am here today to discuss the Administration's view with respect to legislation now in Congress, part of the so-called Contract. And what I see it as is that it would destroy U.N. peacekeeping as an option for responding to conflict overseas.
This bill, H.R. 7, was approved on Tuesday by the House International Relations Committee. The Administration opposes it strongly, and I want to explain why.
Obviously peacekeeping is no substitute for vigorous alliances or a strong national defense. Nor would we rely on it to protect our vital interests. But it does provide the President with an alternative to the extremes of unilateral intervention or inaction when foreign crises occur.
It can help to end conflicts and address emergencies that, if left unattended, could affect us directly. It can nurture emerging democracies, lower the global tide of refugees and prevent small wars from growing into big ones. And it allows us to influence events at a cost and risk far less than if we intervened alone.
We understand well that U.N. peacekeeping grew too fast and tried to do too much during the last year of the Bush Administration and the first year of ours. It is a limited tool that may not be effective in situations where the prompt and decisive application of force is required.
That is why we now insist that tough questions about the cost, size, risk, mandate, and duration of a peacekeeping mission be asked and answered satisfactorily before one is started or renewed. That policy has resulted in fewer and smaller new operations, and better management of existing ones.
A number of myths about U.N. peacekeeping have been circulated in recent months, and here are a few facts: The total number of U.N. peacekeepers is currently the lowest in almost two years. Because of genocide, the Rwanda mission was expanded, but there were no major new U.N. peace missions in 1994; and, meanwhile, three operations, in El Salvador, Somalia and Mozambique, are ending.
Direct U.S. participation in U.N. peace operations is actually modest. We rank 26th among nations in the number of troops participating. The cost to us of U.N. assessments for peacekeeping is less than one-half of one percent of what we spend for national security and foreign policy. Further, the President's budget, to be released next Monday, will reflect a mandated reduction in our share of U.N. peacekeeping costs from more than 30 percent to 25 percent beginning on October 1.
The proponents of H.R. 7 say they want America to be treated fairly by the U.N., and so do we. The fact is that the U.N. reimburses the U.S. for equipment, troops and services on the same terms and conditions that apply to other countries. In addition, by far the largest single share of U.N. Headquarters procurement for peacekeeping belongs to the United States -- more than 36 percent in l993.
The proponents of H.R. 7 say they want U.N. reform, and so do we; and we are achieving it. Last year, the General Assembly established an independent office with the functions of an Inspector General. The new Under Secretary General for Management -- a former CEO of Price Waterhouse - - has an ambitious agenda for reform. And we are supporting efforts to improve the efficiency of U.N. procurement. The proponents of H.R. 7 say they want to keep American forces from being deployed under incompetent commanders, and so do we. Under our policy -- and, in fact, under the Constitution -- the Commander-in-Chief always has command authority over U.S. forces. And we have a policy that when either important American interests or significant numbers of American troops are involved, the senior military commander will ordinarily be an American. Defense Secretary Perry testified just last week that he will support assigning forces to an operation only when he is "convinced that the rules of engagement are right, the operation is properly sized and equipped to carry out the tasks, and the commander is up to the task and the challenge."
Finally, the proponents of H.R. 7 say they want to protect the military readiness of our armed forces, and so do we. That's one of the reasons we want to strengthen and reform U.N. capabilities, because the better able the U.N. is to contain conflict, the less likely it is we will have to deploy our own troops.
The Administration has discussed, and will continue to discuss, these and other points with Congress. We agree, for example, that we need a better mechanism for ensuring that Congress has an appropriate role in decisions that result in new financial obligations.
What we're not prepared to do is allow Congress to infringe on the constitutional powers of the President. Nor will we allow American interests to be harmed, and world peace endangered, by the calculated destruction of U.N. peacekeeping.
This would surely happen if the combination of unilateral withholdings, conditions, delays and micromanagement proposed by H.R. 7 were enacted. These provisions would make it impossible to plan or budget for U.N. peace operations and invite other nations to adopt similar unilateral policies to which we would surely object. So the sponsors of H.R. 7 should be asked:
Is it really in our interests or that of world peace to yank U.N. peacekeepers out of Cyprus, Lebanon, Kashmir and the border between Kuwait and Iraq?
Is the withdrawal of the U.N. force from Bosnia in our interests, or would such a withdrawal under present conditions require the assistance of American forces -- possibly at great cost and considerable risk -- and likely lead to a wider war?
Should we discount entirely the benefits to American interests and ideals of successful U.N. missions in such diverse places as Namibia, Cambodia, El Salvador and Mozambique -- where longstanding conflicts were ended and transitions to democracy begun?
Would it be smart to terminate the U.N.'s observer role in Georgia and Tajikistan, where Russian peacekeepers are deployed and newly independent governments are struggling to assert their sovereignty?
Will American leadership be strengthened by walking away from commitments entered into under the U.N. Charter and supported by Administrations from both parties for the past fifty years?
Will we be better off by limiting ourselves to the choice, as Secretary Christopher put it in his testimony last week, "between acting alone and doing nothing" whenever emergencies arise?
The Administration does not believe American interests would be well-served by destroying or crippling U.N. peacekeeping.
We have a policy that is working to make the U.N. peace operations more selective and effective.
We believe the American people support this kind of burden-sharing and that the U.S. should continue to act with others when it is consistent with our interests to do so. This does not, in any way, deprive us of the right to take unilateral action when necessary to defend the vital interests of the United States. That right is specifically recognized by the United Nations Charter and will never be relinquished by this or, I would hope, by any Administration.
Thank you. Now, I will be happy to take whatever questions.
Q Ambassador Albright, the proponents of this proposal say that the Administration is grossly overreacting; that this will not kill U.N. peacekeeping; it's simply an effort to get a little better handle on the way the money is spent and the way the Administration goes about engaging in peacekeeping.
Can you respond to their accusation that you are overreacting?
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: We have analyzed the bill fairly carefully, as you can well imagine. We think that it is fatally flawed. First of all, it is very bad foreign policy because of the demands that it makes and because of the whole approach it takes in terms of micromanagement and an attitude that there is no good out of burden-sharing. And then it is bad constitutional law.
I myself, as some of you know and as Christine said, have worked on the Hill; I understand very well the appropriate role for Congress in foreign policy-making discussion. But this bill, the way it is set up, really makes major inroads into the President's role as the Commander-in-Chief and the chief foreign policy-maker in this country.
So we think it is an irresponsible bill in that way. We are going to explain -- and I have already begun so; Secretary Perry, Secretary Christopher, and General Shalikashvili and others -- that perhaps they don't know what they've done. But the language, in terms of reimbursements and a variety of withholdings, is absolutely a meat-ax approach. We are all for making sure that the U.N. functions property and we don't pay more than we should, but we are not for this kind of killer approach to it.
Q Ambassador Albright, you were billed as talking about the U.S. relationship with the U.N. as this 50th Anniversary year comes up. In line with that, could you review the process now on whether the Security Council will be enlarged to include Japan and Germany, for example? Do you expect to see it this year? What feeling do you get out of the Security Council?
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: The U.S. has been backing the idea of an expanded Security Council because we want very much to see the Security Council reflect the actual world situation so that it is realistically based in the power structure, but we don't want to undermine the effectiveness of the Security Council.
We have been proponents of having Germany and Japan become new Permanent Members because they do, in fact, represent a large part of new economic power, and we believe that they need to be part of the decision-making process. As we have introduced this whole idea and are discussing it with people in the U.N., it is evident that if the Council were only to add those two countries, it would become a very "industrialized-centric" Council -- to coin a phrase -- and therefore we understand why other regions in the world would like to have greater representation.
But because nothing is ever simple, what has happened is that there has become a discussion about which countries ought to be additional members, non-Permanent Members, and should it be major regional powers, larger population areas -- a whole bunch of questions have come up about it.
There are those who believe that the Council ought to be as large as 25 or up to 30. We would like to see it at a maximum of 20. This has now gone into a working group where a number of proposals have surfaced. I have to say, though I was hopeful that this would be something that would happen during the 50th Anniversary year, I think we are seeing that it is somewhat delayed. But we have not given up our idea that the Council should be enlarged to represent what is actually the situation in terms of world reality.
Q Ambassador Albright, two questions. First, if Congress passes H.R. 7 as it's currently written, will the President veto it? And do you count enough votes to sustain the veto?
Secondly, the Republicans make the argument that if it were in effect last year, given the waivers that it allows the President, actually $240 million of the total $1 billion assessment would have been cut. What do you think of those figures?
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: First of all, let me say on the first part of your question, I have testified, as have others, that various sections of the bill are fatally flawed and unconstitutional and we are opposed to them.
I am obviously not going to speak on behalf of the President as to whether he is going to veto it or not. But as a member of his Cabinet, and as Permanent Representative to the United Nations, I will recommend a veto if the bill is in the form that it currently is and does in fact continue this approach -- maybe inadvertently but definitely by fact -- of killing off peacekeeping as a tool for American interests.
As to the specific numbers that you state, I would doubt them; but we will see whether those numbers -- I have not worked those out in that particular way. But my own sense that it isn't so much -- were it in operation now, I think that it would basically gut things, so it's not a matter of trying to decide whether the savings are there.
Let me just say this. We are doing everything we can to have the savings. One of the things that is in this bill we are for; and the President stated it outright when he was at the General Assembly: We are only going to pay 25 percent of peacekeeping assessments starting October 1. It was an idea that President Clinton had. It has now been mandated by Congress, so there will be savings.
Q Do you have the votes to sustain a Presidential veto?
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: I have not begun the vote counting, but I think what will happen in the intervening weeks is that we will be spending a great deal of time on the Hill talking with people. I have already found, as have my colleagues, that when people are really faced with what is in this bill, they are taking a very close second look.
We expect that as this proceeds through the House and into the Senate, it will be given a very careful look and that people will understand that this is not what they intended, because what this really does is take us out of the whole peacekeeping setup. Peacekeeping, as I hope will become evident, is actually very much in American national interests.
We only support peacekeeping operations when we feel that they are a good tool for American national interests.
Q Madam Ambassador, why do you feel that H.R. 7, as it is, would precipitate the withdrawal of peacekeepers in Bosnia? Could you explain in a little detail about that?
And, secondly, could you tell me from your perspective at the U.N. -- tell us -- what does it look like for Croatia and the withdrawal of U.N. peacekeepers there and this unilateral lift movement? How are things going since the visit of Haris Silajdzic here?
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: The statement I made in my remarks is that basically peacekeeping per se would be ended because by asking for reimbursements for all American contributions, we would be in a position clearly where other countries would ask the same thing -- the French, for instance, have sent large numbers of forces into Rwanda, and they would want to be reimbursed; and the Japanese would probably want to be reimbursed for a fund they provided for Somalia.
Ultimately, what we would be in is, I think, a totally ludicrous situation where the U.N. would be paying member countries, just in terms of rolling over money; and they don't have it. So that is why all peacekeeping operations basically would have to be pulled, because they would have no money. So that is that question and how I put Bosnia into that.
Let me talk a little bit about the Croatian mandate. We have, as the United States and also as the Security Council, stated our very deep concern about President Tudjman's decision and have asked and urged that he re- examine it because we have been very concerned about the potential spill-out effect of that and the danger that it creates for the area.
We do believe that there needs to be a step up in diplomatic efforts; that we need to use this period in a more vigorous diplomatic way; and that there is a job to be done by UNPROFOR in Croatia in terms of monitoring the cease- fire, being concerned about the delivery of humanitarian assistance. So we are hoping and urging that President Tudjman reconsider or re-examine his decision.
Q Are you seeing any give there at this time? AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: I think there are lots of discussions going on. As to the effect of Prime Minister Silajdzic's visit here, as always he presents a very compelling case. We spoke with him, as did others, about the difficulty and basic unworkability of a unilateral lift because of what it would do in terms of the position that the Bosnians themselves might be in, what would be provided to them, how it would affect other United Nations regimes -- the whole series of arguments.
We are following up with him. There's going to be a meeting in Munich on Sunday, which Assistant Secretary Holbrooke will be chairing, where discussions about the Federation are going to take place and how to strengthen that Federation; and I think that that is something that Prime Minister Silajdzic will see as an outgrowth of his suggestions.
Q Madam Ambassador, it seems like this law is also going to cast a long shadow on funding of "Operation Provide Comfort" in Turkey that protects Kurds in northern Iraq. Could you please comment on the repercussions?
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: It is exactly the kind of thing where money and goods are provided that would then be asked for in terms of reimbursement that could not in fact be given, where more money would be going out than coming in. I think actually that is a very good example of an operation where it is a UN-blessed operation that is really very important to the United States, where additional countries participate so that we're not lifting and carrying on the burden all ourselves; and it is something that we are doing because we believe that it is in the U.S. national interest.
We are in a position where in fact there are others who then assisted so that we don't have to be all alone.
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: It would be very serious, yes. I mean, it's very hard -- I don't want to state it that categorically, but it is clearly a tremendous damage.
Q I have a very basic question. You keep saying that this is in our national security interests to belong to the U.N. Could you explain to us why?
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: Yes. It requires a little bit of a longer answer. I believe that the United States is the foremost country in the world and a leader in the world and that our position of leadership is essential for this and every other phase in our international relations. But we believe fully that there are now a number of countries that can operate with us and also have a responsibility for peace and security in a variety of places in the world.
The United Nations was set up 50 years ago in order to deal with a number of issues -- some of them in the social and economic field; some in a variety of humanitarian aspects; refugees; all kinds of issues -- but the Security Council specifically is supposed to deal with problems where security is threatened in any particular region where other countries respond to it.
Why I think it's important to the U.S. is that I happen to believe that the U.S. cannot operate in a climate where other countries are fighting across borders or there are massive humanitarian disruptions and not have it affect us. I don't happen to think that we have to wait until people are crawling on our shores before we decide that it is a national interest for us to do something about it.
The reason that it's in America's interest to be a part of the U.N. is that that organization helps us to carry out these responsibilities in conjunction with others, it provides a collective network in order to take care of these particular problems, and it provides machinery for us to share the burden, share the risks and share the costs.
Q Two questions on Bosnia. Yesterday Lieutenant General Rose said on several occasions that the problem in Bosnia is the unwillingness of the three sides to actually want peace. I want to know if that's your position as well. And, secondly, now that we've given up on using airstrikes to get the Serbs to the table, they have not received -- they've refused the Contact Group effort to get them to say they accept the peace plan and multilateral lift is not acceptable to the Security Council. What is the vehicle for getting the Serbs to the table?
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: First of all, I think you know I have not always agreed with General Rose, and I think that there are parties that genuinely want peace and have stated so by accepting the Contact Group's Map.
I think it has been said that this is a period where the Contact Group had not had the success that it wanted in terms of dealing with the Pale Serbs. Nevertheless, what I think we need to keep in mind is that there is a very important window here while the cessation of hostilities is in place, and additional diplomatic efforts have to be made. Our support for them is very important and our leadership in them.
I think the kind of meeting that is going to take place in Munich on Sunday is a part of our willingness and support for the whole process; and we will be looking at ways to reinvigorate the Contact Group and looking at a variety of modalities that can use this very crucial period to move the process forward, because I do believe that a number of the parties do want peace.
Q On that point, are the representatives of the Carter Center who are camped in Pale and advising Karadzic helpful to your efforts?
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: I really can't comment on what they are doing at this point and what their role has been in it.
Q I hear they're sitting in on Contact Group meetings, much to our chagrin.
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: You've answered the question, I guess.
Q You said at the outset that in '92 and '93 peacekeeping grew too rapidly. Is that an attempt to pacify the critics' recognition -- sort of a nod to them -- and, if so, what kinds of missions that the U.S. favored in '92 and '93 would no longer be acceptable?
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: Let me kind of give you my take on what I think happened, and that is that at the end of the Cold War there was a sense of relief and at the same time a recognition that there were a number of problems that were out there that had the potential danger of exploding. The possibility of peacekeeping as an instrument was heightened by the fact that the Secretary General had this agenda for peace in which he spoke about the hope for peacekeeping.
What I found, frankly, when I got there in February 1993 was that -- I actually had the temerity to ask: How do we choose which peacekeeping operations you undertake? Are there any criteria? And I was told it depends on whether it's on TV or whether there's a client state. I mean, there didn't seem to be an awful lot of rhyme and reason.
So the Clinton Administration began at the beginning of our Administration to sort out what the appropriate criteria ought to be for when we support a peacekeeping operation and when we actually engage in one, and the PDD-25 is the result of that.
I think this happened, this kind of initial growth, because there was a desire to find an international instrument to deal with major horrors. It isn't as if people were out looking, trolling, for problems in order to solve them, but because there really were genuine problems. And there was a feeling that the U.N. could do it.
My own sense -- and some of you have heard me say this -- is the U.N. became the global 911, and we found that the structure simply wasn't there to support these operations. So not only have we done the PDD-25, but we've worked very hard at the United Nations to get them to make some sense out of their peacekeeping office.
We have helped in terms of their situation center and in making it a more rational operation. But it was a historic event in terms of a growth, because it seemed like a good idea, and then lessons were learned from a variety of operations.
Q At the end of the Cold War in this period that you referred to, there was a great deal of -- a lot of written and public statements that the U.N. would finally be able to live up to its mission from 50 years ago, 45 years ago.
Are you suggesting that that it can't, that it hasn't been able to do that?
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: That is absolutely not true. What I think happened was that there was an initial enthusiasm and overreaching, and what is happening now is a realistic approach to what the U.N. can do and very much a sense that the U.N. is expanding to deal with expanding problems and adjusting to realities.
So as we face -- some of you maybe in this room have faced your 50th year; I have -- is that you basically evaluate where you have been and where you are going; and I think that we have now -- and the U.S. is the major pusher behind this -- (gotten) a better handle, a more realistic handle on what the U.N. can do so that it can live up to the hopes of the signers of the Charter.
MS. SHELLY: One last question.
Q Are there any candidates for U.N. peacekeeping operations as you see it right now?
AMBASSADOR ALBRIGHT: We are looking at Angola. That is a peacekeeping operation that is now under consideration, one that has very wide bipartisan support, where people believe that if the negotiations can in fact hold and the conditions are all right -- and there's a lot of conditionality in this particular potential mandate, and this is part of the resolution -- the Security Council has to look at it again before troops are deployed. This particular operation is out there, and it is going to be done according to all the lessons that we have learned about how to control and how to monitor and modify and clarify mandates and put in enough conditionality so that we can stop it at any particular point.
Thanks a lot, Christine.
MS. SHELLY: Thank you very much, Ambassador Albright.
I think it probably will be another minute or two before our Deputy Secretary of State gets down here with his team assembled to answer your questions on Asia. I can open the floor to questions on other subjects in the meantime.
Q Don't you have a position on the Carter people being in Pale, continuing to talk with the Serbs, who apparently are thinking they can get a better deal out of the Carter people?
MS. SHELLY: I think that we have acknowledged before that the role that former President Carter has played in this crisis has been a positive one. It's not possible to make a judgment about whether or not they believe that they can get a better deal through some other kind of arrangement. And, in fact, I'd like to check on the point more definitively. I'm not aware that, in fact, Carter representatives or Carter Center representatives have been in on those meetings, but I want to check that and be sure we put up a precise answer on that.
Q I don't know about the meeting, but they've certainly been in Pale.
MS. SHELLY: They have been in Pale.
Q So who's in charge, basically, of Bosnia negotiations? Is it the State Department or is it former President Carter?
MS. SHELLY: I think that's a rather loaded question. (Laughter) The Administration's Bosnian policy is certainly being decided on by the Administration. We have acknowledged, as I just said, the role that President Carter has played in Bosnia, obviously; and the Bosnian Serbs are also free to have discussions with whomever they wish.
Q But any citizen of the United States is also free to discuss the Pale -- these issues? You don't have any opinion on that?
MS. SHELLY: We're not going to offer an opinion on every single contact which is had. We certainly would like to have any discussions which ensue take place with the view toward getting the Bosnian Serbs to agree to the Contact Group map and plan and to getting the process closer toward a political solution rather than one which is fought out on the battlefield.
There is one back here, and then let me do Sid.
Okay, it was the same subject? Okay.
Q Okay. This goes back to the whole point of the U.N. Security Council resolution that seeks to isolate the Serbs. How does the Carter Center mission support or violate that U.N. resolution? I mean, you've explained how the Contact Group -- the loophole that allows the Contact Group to do it, and the United States unilaterally. How does the Carter Center get through that same loophole?
MS. SHELLY: Because the Carter Center is not the official representative of the U.S. Government. U.N. Security Council resolutions relate to official contacts. They relate to official political contacts; they don't relate to contacts by private citizens.
Q That's not an official political contact?
MS. SHELLY: Operating contacts under the auspices of the Carter Center? No, it's not.
Q Strobe's here.
MS. SHELLY: Great!
Q Just in time.
MS. SHELLY: Good news.
Okay. Moving on to our next VIP speaker for today, Deputy Secretary Talbott is here to discuss his recent trip to Asia. Specifically, as you know, he went to Japan, South Korea, Cambodia, New Zealand and Australia where he held extensive discussions on regional and bilateral security and economic issues, particularly the role of APEC and the ASEAN regional forum in achieving the President's vision of a Pacific community. Assistant Secretary Lord is also here and would be pleased to answer questions directed to him. Deputy Secretary Talbott will open with remarks, following our usual format, and then after that he'll be happy to take your questions.
Without any further ado, may I pass the microphone to Deputy Secretary Talbott. Thank you very much for being willing to be with us.
(Deputy Secretary Talbott and Assistant Secretary Lord began their briefing at 1:40 p.m.)
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Thanks.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Thank you, Christine.
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Good afternoon, everybody.
Christine just reviewed the itinerary of this trip, which lasted l0 days, took us to five countries. Let me just go over it again very quickly: Tokyo, Seoul, Phnom Penh, Wellington, and Canberra. As Christine says, our overall objective was to pick up on the main themes of President Clinton's address to Waseda University, those themes being security, prosperity, and openness as the foundations for a new Pacific community.
Let me say just a few words about each stop, and then with Win joining me we will go to your questions.
In Tokyo, we underscored the themes of the Clinton- Murayama Summit, namely that U.S.-Japan ties are not only fundamentally very strong but that we have a very broad and deep agenda of mutual interests as well as regional and global interests with Japan. At the same time, trade continues to be a somewhat problematic issue, particularly in the important area of autos and auto parts; and our aspiration -- and we share this aspiration with our Japanese partners -- is to put U.S. economic and commercial relations with Japan on the same solid footing as the rest of the relationship.
In Seoul, we assured our South Korean allies that their dialogue with the North is an essential part of the Agreed Framework, which the U.S. and the DPRK negotiated last October.
A second point of very understandable and legitimate concern to the ROK is our determination that the light-water reactors that will be provided to North Korea under the terms of the Agreed Framework will be South Korean-model reactors.
As I think all of you know, the new Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, Minister Kong, will be here in Washington next week and will continue our close consultations.
I might say that our trip also made us encouraged that the Korean Energy Development Organization will include the participation, and very much include the financial participation, of several other countries. That is an important part of our goal in making KEDO viable, and we're very optimistic that that goal will be met.
In Phnom Penh, I might say, if you'll permit a personal note, this was a very significant and, in many ways, moving stop for me. I had not been to Cambodia before; and even though we were there very briefly, I had a chance to get some sense of the misery and hardship through which that country has come and the heroism with which the Cambodian people are building their future.
We also came away with a sense of where our Government's position is on the ongoing debate over whether the glass is half full or half empty with regard to the building of a stable democracy in Cambodia. Our strong feeling is that the glass is half full, and maybe even a little bit better than that.
That doesn't mean that we don't have some concerns about the danger of backsliding with regard to human and political rights and good governance. We expressed those concerns both privately in our meetings and publicly. Nonetheless, we think that country and that government have made extraordinary progress; and we assured them that the United States and the international community will remain with them as they move down the road on which they're embarked.
In Wellington, I delivered President Clinton's invitation to Prime Minister Bolger for a visit that the Prime Minister will make to Washington on the 27th of March. We used the visit to build upon the policy of renewed, fairly high-level contacts between the two governments that has been underway for the past year. You can't get much more high-level than the Prime Minister of New Zealand coming to Washington, which we think is an appropriate culmination of the last year's policy.
At the same time, we made it clear that we do hope that New Zealand will in due course return to a formal treaty relationship with the United States. We delivered that message without anything like pressure and without impatience, but nonetheless we felt it important for the New Zealand Government to understand exactly where we are.
In Canberra, we have a very complex agenda with the Australian Government -- a wide variety of issues again: bilateral, regional, and global. We spent a lot of time on all of those, and we also reached agreement with the government, and particularly, with Foreign Minister Evans and Defense Minister Ray, that they will be coming to Washington on April l9 for the AUSMIN Ministerial.
That's in a nutshell the trip report. And, Win, if you'd be good enough to join me up here, we'd be glad to take your questions.
Q Have you an evaluation of the strength of the Khmer Rouge these days and the status of Thai military support for the Khmer Rouge?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Yes. The Khmer Rouge is, of course, a lethally dangerous phenomenon, as we've been reminded in recent weeks. We do have the impression that as an organization the Khmer Rouge is weakening. The most dramatic evidence of that is the fairly dramatic number of defections from the Khmer Rouge over recent months. Win may have specific figures on that.
But what is significant is not just the number of Khmer Rouge who are defecting, but also a lot of them are coming with their families.
Now, as the Khmer Rouge shrinks, both in the amount of territory it controls and the number of people it has, it gets increasingly desperate and in its desperation is carrying out atrocities, particularly against the villages in that part of Cambodia.
So while the overall trend is in the right direction, it is still a terrible problem for the Government of Cambodia; no question about that.
I'm sorry. The second part of your question was -- ? Q The extent of Thai military support for the Khmer Rouge?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: We are quite satisfied that in recent months the Thai Government's policy of no support for the Khmer Rouge is very much on track. But perhaps you'd like Winston to answer.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: That captures the essence. A couple of other points:
One reason the Khmer Rouge are in difficulty, in addition to their general unattractiveness, is that Thailand, as the Deputy Secretary has already pointed out, and China now for some time, have cut off contacts and assistance to the Khmer Rouge. So that is also a factor.
Estimates of defections are hard to come by. We heard as high, from the Cambodian officials, as 6,000; but Whether that includes militia as well as regular soldiers is not entirely clear. It's obviously several thousand, by our own count, as well, which is really quite significant, including the fact of bringing their families.
However, neither the Cambodian Government nor we will ever be complacent about this threat; and it's one of the reasons why we want to support diplomatically, economically, and with selective military assistance the Cambodian
Government's effort to give their own people a better life and therefore remove any attractiveness of the alternative, as well as to keep the pressure up on the Khmer Rouge. But the defector policy of the government is working very well, indeed.
Q Strobe, I believe that on the point of military assistance to the Cambodians to fight the Khmer Rouge -- I believe that came up at one of your news conferences there. Have you all refined how much, what type of assistance -- those sorts of questions?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: No. I noted, of course, from the clips that caught up with us on the road that we did generate some news with our press conference in Phnom Penh. What we said was simply a reiteration of our policy, and that is that we do not rule out providing lethal assistance to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. But that possibility is contingent on continued reform of the military structure there.
But just to underscore one other point, we are assisting the Cambodian armed forces in several respects in the general category of non-lethal humanitarian assistance; and we actually had a chance to see some of that first-hand when we visited a facility that manufactures prosthetics. Our military, in addition to a number of other things, is working with the Cambodian military in demining.
Q The dairy-dumping issue, which as you know caused a lot of consternation in Australia and New Zealand -- I've been trying to get to the bottom of who actually made the decision. Did you have any input into that decision, which was announced just as you left? It was our impression that the Governments of Australia and New Zealand had received assurances that this wouldn't happen, and then it went ahead and was announced.
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: The Governments of New Zealand and Australia -- and that includes the Prime Minister, Mr. Keating of Australia -- received assurances that the United States would take steps to make sure that it took full account of Australia's commercial interests in the way it moved forward. The United States had, indeed, done that, both in Wellington and Canberra, when I underscored our determination to continue to take account of Australia's interests as we use the DEIP Program, in particular.
We also tried hard -- I hope with some success -- to make sure that everybody kept in mind the bottom line. The bottom line is GATT. As GATT comes into force, it is going to have the desired effect of bringing down the reliance on export subsidies.
Of course, President Clinton fought very hard for GATT in the Congress. GATT itself is consistent with the interests of Australia and New Zealand as non-subsidy exporters as well as the interests of the United States.
Q A few more follow-ups, please. But you're saying -- DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: I don't have an answer to your first question, except I can assure you that it was a U.S. Government position and the State Department, through the Under Secretaries of State for African Affairs and EB, were very much involved.
Q On Bolger's trip, what specifically do you expect to come out of that visit?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: I would expect that Prime Minister Bolger and President Clinton will touch upon a number of the issues that we talked about while we were there. They include such issues as regional security. New Zealand, along with several other states in the region, is very active with us in building to its full potential the ASEAN Regional Forum as the first real multilateral security dialogue in that part of the world.
APEC will certainly be an issue. Specifically on APEC, making sure that at the Osaka Leader's Meeting later this year, builds on the momentum of Bogor and Blake Island; and more specifically, in the area of trade liberalization.
The nuclear question will certainly come up because it's a piece of unfinished business in the bilateral relationship.
Q Tomorrow, I understand, the U.S. is going to impose trade sanctions on China because of copyright reasons. Can you tell me why we are going to do this and what outcome we hope to have from this?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: First, I would refer you for any announcement on specific measures to USTR and Ambassador Kantor. I think you should get the details from him. But as he has foreshadowed now for some time, unless we've made sufficient progress on the intellectual property rights issues, we would have no choice but to retaliate.
Under 30l, we announced some time ago the possible goods that we might impose higher tariffs on in retaliation. That list is being refined by USTR. We would have hoped that we could reach agreement without this. There were intensive negotiations for nine days. We invited the Chinese to come and continue those this past week. They've been unable to do so.
The simple reason is that there is egregious pirating of copyright and other material in China, costing American businesses roughly $800 million to $1 billion a year -- not only in the Chinese market but even more seriously exporting to other Asian markets. We presented our position as a reasonable way to take care of this problem. But the fact is that although the Chinese laws have been improved, they are not being sufficiently enforced. That's the basic issue. But other details, I'd leave to USTR.
Q You mentioned that several other countries have agreed to take part in KEDO, I presume the financial part of it. Who are those, and are there any numbers attached to this willingness?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Too early to say. I simply would leave it with the general point that we came home from the trip encouraged that there will be fairly broad-based international participation.
Q Did you get these assurances on the trip?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: I'm not going to go any further. It's going to be up to the governments involved to announce what they may be doing in that regard.
Q To follow that. On the Nuclear Framework Agreement, are Japan and South Korea on board with this agreement? And were they seeking any additional military security from any threats that North Korea might pose to either one of those countries?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: The answer to your question is, both Japan and Korea, as indeed New Zealand and Australia -- the two other countries on this itinerary where the issue was front and center -- are totally supportive of the Agreed Framework.
As I already indicated, in Korea there was particular concern in consulting with us on ways that we can make sure the North understands that the North-South dialogue is not just a requirement, as it were, in parallel with the Agreed Framework but that it's integral to the Agreed Framework, and that the Framework cannot be said to be fully implemented unless and until the dialogue is part of that.
I've already mentioned also the other issue of particular concern in the ROK, which was the light-water reactors. There is no ambiguity whatsoever on our position there. We feel that for a combination of technological and financial and political reasons, there is simply no choice but to use South Korean-model nuclear reactors, specifically, Ulchin reactors.
Q I would like to direct one more question to Winston Lord. Are relations between China and the United States deteriorating?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: I wouldn't use that phrase. We are running into some difficult issues. These include human rights, trade issues, non-proliferation issues and Taiwan.
On the other hand, there are some areas where we're continuing to make progress under the President's policy of comprehensive engagement, which was designed precisely for these kinds of problems; namely, if you engage the Chinese across the broad array of interests that we share, you try to make progress in certain areas even if you run into trouble in certain other areas so that the whole relationship doesn't deteriorate.
So they've been constructive on the Korean question, on Cambodia, and on some other issues. But there's no question we are having some difficult problems right now in certain areas which may be partly related to the domestic political situation in China.
We are determined to try to keep our relationship on a positive note, and we'll keep working at it.
Q This is on a specific country you didn't visit. Are you going to put any conditions on aid to Russia this year for their performance in Chechnya or for future performances? And have you received any indications that the Yeltsin government is acting on the constant urgings from here to negotiate out of Chechnya?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Dan, I didn't catch Christine's opening of the briefing, but I would guess that she probably said that Win and I were coming down here to talk about our trip specifically.
Russia and the issues you raise are so big and important, I don't want to do injustice to them by giving you too short an answer and I don't want to eat up the little time we have to talk about the trip by giving you a very long one. I think from this podium and from the Secretary himself, repeatedly, you've had a full explanation of our policy. So let's do that another time and stick with the itinerary.
Q How long can North Korea put off resumption of its dialogue with the South before the Framework Agreement comes unstuck?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Let me answer that question -- you won't be surprised that I do this -- with a general proposition, which is that North Korea should understand -- I believe has every reason to understand -- that the processes of North Korean-U.S. relations and their development must proceed in parallel with the North-South dialogue. That's the formulation that we're using.
Clearly, if the North-South dialogue remains -- as I'm afraid it is now -- frozen, that will be inconsistent with both the principle of parallelism, which guides our policy, and it will be inconsistent with the terms of the Agreed Framework itself.
Q Have you agreed with the Japanese and the South Korean Government on how to share the financial burden for the KEDO projects?
DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: We have certainly agreed in principle and in general. You know the formulation used when the Prime Minister was here. The specifics, we're still talking to them about.
Q On that, it brings to mind, just yesterday there was talk about helping the Federation of the Croats and Muslims in Bosnia and how aid would help. Immediately, Japan was raised. Every time, in any part of the world, there is a need for collecting money and supporting good causes, Japan becomes the immediate target. It's always identified. The Europeans countries are never identified. Japan.
What is your feel for Japan's availability to help finance -- more than help finance -- and carry a heavy burden for these various ventures all over the world, not in their own backyard? Like Bosnia. Are the Japanese disposed to be the bailout kings of the Nineties, or whatever century we're coming into? (Laughter) And, of course, the (inaudible) project is a perfect example.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: To my disappointment, I've been able to avoid the Bosnia question in my present job. It's a very good question because there are a lot of requests that come to Japan, not just from us but from the world community.
The first principle is that Japan is not going to do anything unless it's in its own self-interest, nor should it. They clearly have seen it's in their self-interest to step up to their global responsibilities to echo their growing economic strength. It's one reason why we support them for a U.N. Security Council seat.
Whether it's in peacekeeping, where they've crossed the threshhold on that, or whether it's in financial contributions, we think Japan has and should play a very important role.
We try as best we can, of course, to give priorities when we go to Japan. You can't just go to them automatically. But it's no secret that we go to them often. Number one, they're a major world power now; number two, they are financially well situated. They give a lot of foreign aid. Because it's in their self-interest, we have no hesitation; and, indeed, they welcome our going to them. That doesn't mean you can go in every single case. But we think the ones that you've cited and certain others are clearly in the global interest, the United States' interest, and in Japan's interest. They recognize that, and I think they're doing a very good job on that point. DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: Could I just add one thing. I think it's implicit in what Winston says, but let me make it explicit. There obviously will be significant differences in the level of Japan's participation. We're very glad that Japan has been actively supportive of our policy in Haiti, for example, but, relatively speaking, at a fairly modest level. Whereas, Prime Minister Murayama made clear when he was here, Japan's financial participation in KEDO will be significant. I think you can understand that for geographical and other obvious reasons, Japan has a particular interest that the Korean Peninsula remain non-nuclear. Q It just stuck out on Bosnia. Reaching out to Japan for Bosnia struck me as crossing some divide where the reflex action is to press the "Japan Button." I wondered how the State Department felt, how available Japan is to be the contributor to all these various situations -- which are all problems; it's not frivolous. DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: I can't improve on Winston's answer. This is a matter of Japan defining and pursuing, in an enlightened way, its own self-interest. Japan clearly has a major stake in the political stability of Europe. There's no question that the Balkan tragedy is a threat to that. ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: If I could add one other point on that. It proves it's an interdependent world. Japan has stepped up to the front on the Ukraine and Chernobyl, I believe, to show their interest in these issues. We think they've got a good case, in turn, and we have a good case, in turn, to ask the Europeans to help out on KEDO. Bob Gallucci is over there right now doing that. The greater the international participation, the better. We had some encouraging news on this trip. We think even as Japan is concerned about, say, nuclear questions or Bosnia in Europe, we think it's in Europe's interest to help out on an agreement that after all is of global significance. Q A follow-up on the dialogue between South Korea and North Korea. I'm curious to know whether the U.S. is willing to allow North Korea to open up a Liaison Office here in Washington despite the fact that they have been refusing to talk to the South Koreans? DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: We obviously, in this context and in many others, pick our words very carefully. The word that we have used to describe the connection that we want to see between the progress in U.S.-DPRK relations, on the one hand, and progress in the North-South dialogue, on the other, is parallelism. That does not mean mechanistic tit-for-tat linkage. We think that it's very much in the interests of the United States and, I might add, in the interests of the ROK generally, and specifically in the interests of the ROK in jumpstarting the North-South dialogue which needs jumpstarting, to have an exchange of Liaison Offices. Among other things, this will be a forum or a venue -- an additional forum or venue in which the United States can deliver precisely the message that I've been underscoring here about parallelism and the need for progress in the North-South dialogue if the DPRK-U.S. relationship is to go forward. Remember, the Liaison Office is a very modest, preliminary, limited step. Q You were in Cambodia but you didn't go to Hanoi, even though we just opened a Liaison Office there. Is there a time yet when either you or the Secretary would think it's proper to stop in Vietnam? DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT: That's an important decision that the Secretary will make in due course. Of course, he will make it, in large measure, as we will make all decisions relating to the normalization of relations between the United States and Vietnam on our satisfaction with the resolution of the MIA question. Thanks very much. (Upon the conclusion of Deputy Secretary Talbott and Assistant Secretary Lord's briefing, Ms. Shelly resumed the Daily Briefing at 2:02 p.m.) MS. SHELLY: Yes? Q Human rights in Colombia. Organizations like Amnesty International and America's Watch, have suggested that aid to Colombia in fighting the drug war and some other issues be subjected to their improvement on human rights violations. Do you care to comment on that? MS. SHELLY: Is your question on the linkage or on the -- Q What the Department's position is on that. I spoke to a couple of people in these two organizations this morning, and they said that they were lobbying, and they were talking to the State Department to try to carry that through. MS. SHELLY: And making a linkage between the human rights situation and the cooperation on -- Q The aid that Colombia is given every year for issues like drug war and other things. MS. SHELLY: I think that there are some specific statutory regulations in effect regarding aid, that relate to the certification issues. I don't know if that's what you're going with your question. Because I'm not aware of there being any kind of linkage between the cooperation in the drug programs and the situation on the human rights front. Did you want to open the certification issue or -- Q Eventually I was going to, but basically what I was referring to was the fact that I spoke to two people of these organizations, but that's fine. On the certification issue, it is my understanding that President Clinton has now a list of the countries that will get certified, and, if that is the case, is Colombia's name in that list? MS. SHELLY: What's happened on certification so far, I think you know yesterday the President sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Committee on International Relations and the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations; also the Chairman on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and the same Senate Committee on Appropriations. A letter went up on that yesterday to the Congress which just addressed the listing part of the requirements. What that is, the certification process is required by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended. That comes out of the law. The law itself came out of the belief, or Congress' belief that the U.S. Government was not tough enough on the major illegal drug-producing and drug-transit countries. What happened on that specifically is that the President has to prepare a list that relates to just the major drug either producing or transit countries. That list was transmitted yesterday, and you can get a copy of that letter from the White House because they put it out as a press release. What happens in that listing, the major transit and producing countries are defined by the amount of drugs produced in a country, and by the amount of drugs known to be transiting a country on the way to the U.S. The connection with that is that the U.S. withholds half of most forms of U.S. foreign assistance to those countries until that certification. Until the President has made the certification that they have fully cooperated in meeting the stated counter-narcotics goals, and in the objectives of the U.N. 1988 Convention on Drugs. What went to the Congress yesterday was simply the list for 1995, it's not the evaluation of the performance by the countries. The evaluation is something that has to be transmitted to the Congress by March 1. This is the more important part of the exercise in the report, which addresses the degree of their performance with respect to combatting the drug trafficking or drug production problem. Q Let me follow up. What is, so far the review on Colombia? What does it look like? Is it positive, negative? What's happened? MS. SHELLY: I'm simply not going to preview what's going to be transmitted on March 1. It's simply the list at this point. I can certainly confirm that Colombia was on that list. But again I'm not going to scoop the evaluation process, which is what's coming and will take place by the 1st of March. I'm quite certain that in connection with the evaluation -- the submission of the evaluation report -- we will have senior officials, who are involved, brief on the day that it's transmitted. Either the end of February or the very beginning of March. But I can't get into the evaluation part at this point. Q Christine, in regard to a statement put out yesterday by the Secretary on the Cairo Summit, he seems to be talking about a different summit than the people out there were talking about. Which they came to the conclusion that not much concrete had happened, despite an awful lot of talk. What is it exactly is it that he sees so historic and so determined that they apparently out there did not detect? MS. SHELLY: I don't know who the generic "they" is that you're referring to. Q The Egyptian Foreign Minister. MS. SHELLY: I think that the Summit Declaration speaks for itself. You had a briefing on this yesterday, and we told you the reasons why we felt that this was a historic meeting. We still believe that. There's going to be follow- up to this now, which I think will be a very critical element in terms of determining what happens next. Certainly, the parties committed very, very strongly, their commitment to the peace process, and to moving all parts of the elements of their agreements forward. We're still working on the arrangements on this, but we are anticipating that the follow-up meeting at the Foreign Minister level will take place in Washington beginning next Sunday. That's February 12. Now in the aftermath of this, we obviously are going to take some time, as will the governments involved, to think through how best to advance the process; and to basically address the practical ways that the issues identified and the decisions reached can be moved into implementation. Q Among the listed practical matters, is there any plan or design to speed the committed aid funds to the Palestinian authority? MS. SHELLY: As you know, the economic part of this was one of the parts that was touched upon. I don't have anything specific to announce at this point. I think we're probably not going to have a lot of details on our thinking on this to roll out publicly until we get into the Foreign Ministers' meeting. Q Let me ask you about the logistics, if that's the word. You know, after one says there will be a Foreign Ministers' meeting, there is no material for a second sentence. Will there be a ceremonial meeting and then the delegations will meet? Will the Foreign Ministers stay in session for any length of time? Will they negotiate? I mean, I just don't know what a Foreign Ministers' meeting is supposed to involve. MS. SHELLY: Okay, Barry -- Q What's new? This approach has never been used. MS. SHELLY: The modalities of how this is going to work is something which is under discussion, and we'll certainly put out details on that as soon as we can. I simply don't have any announcements on that for you today. We'll certainly try to get you the details as soon as we can. Q I appreciate that, but maybe you know enough about the general contours that you could answer a couple of these questions. I mean, the approach has been that there have been tracks in Israel/Syria/Israel/Jordan, Israel/PLO. The Israel/Syria track ... I mean, Syria's now represented... are you abandoning that approach, and this will be sort of all together at one point, and what are the Egyptians doing here? I mean, the Egyptians have completed their negotiations with Israel. Are they sort of a ... are they going to be a constant presence? MS. SHELLY: Barry, that's a question for the Egyptians undoubtedly. Q Oh, no. You're the host of the Foreign Minister's meeting -- MS. SHELLY: Yes, and the Foreign Ministers' meeting is -- Q -- and I'm asking you what the Foreign Minister of Egypt will be doing in Washington, besides giving interviews and saying that the Israelis should be pulling out faster -- MS. SHELLY: Barry, I understand your desire -- Q Is Egypt now a negotiating country is what I'm asking you. MS. SHELLY: Barry, I understand your desire to have as many details on this -- Q (Inaudible) ask questions. MS. SHELLY: Okay. Barry, I'm sorry, at this point I'm simply -- Q I have no personal interest in this, all right? MS. SHELLY: Okay, clearly, clearly. Q I'm asking a professional question. You've set up a Foreign Ministers' meeting and really the bottom line is have you guys thought beyond the showcasing of four guys sitting down together? What are you doing after they come here? MS. SHELLY: Barry, we are simply at this point, not in a position to get involved in a public discussion of that. I'm sorry, I know you're frustrated, but that is where we are now. Q You're using personal adjectives. I'm not, I'm asking you, a lot of people, like the previous round of questioning suggested, think that maybe not much is going on. There's a lot of showcasing. Call it a summit, call it a Foreign Ministers' meeting, people sit down, they have a photo opportunity, all of them kind of busy there or majesterial. But I'm asking you ... you're having, you've reached the point where you're able to announce a date and participants in a Foreign Ministers' meeting. I'm simply asking to do what? Will the Ministers negotiate? Will sub- delegations meet? Will they meet, wish everybody well and disperse? What do you have in mind? Not 9 o'clock, 10 o'clock. What is it you're planning to do here in Washington? MS. SHELLY: Barry, I think it's very clear that this is a follow-up to the summit, which took place yesterday, and that's what it is, plainly and simply. Q But those are the big guys. They set a tone. Ministers can negotiate or Ministers can delegate. Big guys, you know, set a course. I'm asking you how you intend to move the Middle East peace process in Washington. MS. SHELLY: That is something. It's certainly a legitimate question but, as I said, we've indicated at this point what we wish to indicate publicly. This is an issue which is under discussion. Of course, we have some ideas, we simply choose not to get into a public discussion of them at this point. The key focus is certainly to determine how best to follow-up on the issues raised in the communique, and to find the very practical ways to go ahead and implement the issues which they have raised. And to help provide ways that we can strengthen the implementation of all of the commitments toward the peace process. Q Will Syria and Lebanon be invited to this? MS. SHELLY: I don't have any announcements on that. Q Will the Secretary be sitting in on these meetings? Can you say that much? MS. SHELLY: Can I say that much? He's the host of the meeting. Q Will he be sitting in on the negotiations? MS. SHELLY: Sid, to me it is absolutely implicit that he, as the host, will be a participant in the meetings. Q In the negotiations. MS. SHELLY: In the meetings. Q You didn't call them negotiations yet, that's the point. MS. SHELLY: I referred to them as follow-up meetings at the Foreign Minister level. Q Speaking of meetings, Madeleine Albright mentioned -- it's been in the news for a while -- a meeting in Munich on Sunday. What can you tell us, Christine, about who's going to be there? What will be the objectives of... is it Ambassador Holbrooke and the Secretary of State? MS. SHELLY: Yesterday's press briefing. Check the transcript. Q Oh, what was yesterday's press briefing. MS. SHELLY: Yesterday's press briefing. Q I read it in detail -- MS. SHELLY: We had Assistant Secretary Dick Holbrooke. Q (Multiple comments) MS. SHELLY: Sorry, almost. Q I would like to come back to the certification issue, please. During the week on a different occasion, Ambassador Myles Frechette said that Colombia may not obtain the certification from the United States, because Colombia has not been doing enough in the fight against drugs. My question is, does the State Department think that Mr. Frechette ... that Colombia is not doing enough in the war against drugs? MS. SHELLY: I haven't seen the text of his remarks. What I can just tell you is that in the context of the annual certification process, which is mandated by Congress, we will review Colombia's cooperation on counter-narcotics and its compliance with the performance criteria which have been established. I can't really go beyond that without seeing the text of the Ambassador's statement. Q When will we know if Colombia has been certified or not, please? MS. SHELLY: March 1. Q What kind of sanctions shall we take in Colombia if Colombia does not obtain the certification? MS. SHELLY: Too early to answer the question. Q Christine, please just one more thing. MS. SHELLY: This never ends. Q Do you have anything on the meetings in Rio over Ecuador and Peru? MS. SHELLY: I just have a very little bit. This was information passed to me a couple of hours ago, so I don't know if it's absolutely the latest information. The information I had was that the representatives of Ecuador and Peru, working with the four Rio Protocol guarantors, had reached agreement ad referendum on a peace accord. The accord still had to be approved by their capitals, so the process is still ongoing. We hope that they will seize this opportunity for peace. As I think you know, President Clinton wrote to both the heads of state to express his concern over the continuing hostilities and urging an immediate cease-fire. We understand from earlier today, at least, that some sporadic fighting apparently was continuing, but I don't have any independent means of confirming that. Q Is there any concern in the Administration that if this isn't nipped in the bud quickly, this could become bigger and uglier and a real problem? MS. SHELLY: I think there is always a concern when something like this happens, but there is a context for trying to address the problems which, as you know, is the Rio Group. That's what we're working on very vigorously down in Rio. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 2:18 p.m.) (###) To the top of this page