U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING MARCH 7, 1995 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, March 7, 1995 Briefer: Christine Shelly IRAN Conoco Oil Agreement ................................1-5 --Conoco Contacts/Meeting with State Dept. Officials .......................................1,2 --Possibility of Arms Transfer/Dual-Use Technology/ Extension of Official Credits ...................2,3 --U.S. Policy on Purchase & Sale of Iranian Crude Oil .......................................3 --Iran-Iraq Non-Proliferation Act of 1992 ...........5 --U.S. Export of Non-sensitive Commodities ..........5 --Report of Visit by Japanese FM Official to Iran ...6 TURKEY Agreement with European Customs Union ...............6 --Effect on Cyprus Issue ............................7 IRAQ Reports of Fighting, Heightened Security in Baghdad .7 TAIWAN Proposed Visit of Taiwan President to U.S. ..........7 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Zagreb, Croatia --Assistant Secretary Holbrooke Meetings ............8 --w/Tudjman re: UNPROFOR Operations in Croatia ....8,9 CHINA Assistant Secretary Winston Lord's Trip to Region ...10 NORTH KOREA Reported Statements on South Korean Reactor .........10-11 KEDO Meetings in New York ...........................10-11 MEXICO Undersecretary Tarnoff's Congressional Testimony ....11 CUBA Secretary Christopher's Remarks on Cuban Democracy Act ....................................12-15 Implementation of Cuban Migration Agreement .........13 --Numbers on Cuban Migration ........................15-16 Senator Helm's Proposed Legislation on Sanctions ....13-14
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 1995. 1:09 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon. I don't have any announcements, so I'll be happy to go right to your questions.
Q: Do you have any comment on the announcement concerning Iran and CONOCO?
MS. SHELLY: I just have a bit of a comment on that. This agreement, at least what we know of it, does not appear to be illegal or prohibited under U.S. law at this time. However, this kind of cooperation with Iran is inconsistent with our policy of bringing pressure on Iran, both politically and economically, to change its unacceptable behavior.
We believe that U.S. oil companies are well aware of the long- standing U.S. policy toward Iran, which is to maximize pressure, as I've said, both economically and politically to try to change their behavior.
However, there is no legal requirement for CONOCO to seek U.S. Government approval prior to entering into this type of arrangement.
Q: Did they consult you at all?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not specifically aware of consultations with the State Department on this. I'll try to check. I did actually check on this yesterday to see if I could confirm that we had some contacts. I know that CONOCO officials have said that they have had Administration contacts, but they may have also had those in places other than the State Department.
I know it's our intention to talk with officials from the company at the earliest possible opportunity to try to get some more details on the proposed transaction, but I don't have anything further to report on that at this time.
Q: Do you know if this involves transfer of technology?
MS. SHELLY: I don't specifically know that. As you know, our concern would be very much if it involved technology transfer, where there might be dual-use technology, because that type of thing, of course, would be prohibited under existing legislation. So some of the areas that we would certainly wish to explore with them would be issues related to the technology involved and also to ascertain that there is not any violation of existing U.S. legislation which would prohibit the extension of official credits.
So those are certainly areas where we would want to be sure there were no violations of U.S. law. But I would also presume that the CONOCO officials -- being well aware of what those exact legal constraints are -- that they would already have checked this with appropriate U.S. officials in advance.
Q: Christine, are you saying that the U.S. is formally seeking consultations with CONOCO on this?
MS. SHELLY: No. I'm not saying that we're formally seeking consultations with them. We hope to meet with them at an early occasion. It's my understanding that, in fact, we do expect to do so sometime within the next couple of days, because we would like to have more information about the transaction. But as much as we know about it at this point, it does not appear to be, as I said at the outset, prohibited under U.S. law.
Q: Who would hold those talks?
MS. SHELLY: I'll have to check on that point.
Q: CONOCO says the Administration was informed?
MS. SHELLY: This is the State Department here. As I said already at the beginning, they may have had some consultations with the either Treasury or Commerce on this point.
I was not able to confirm specifically that there had been consultations with the State Department when I checked on this yesterday, but I'll certainly be happy to check on that point again. It certainly is very possible that -- having come up at the briefing -- those with whom I was not in contact, who may have other information on this, may now come forward and tell me so that I can correct the record.
Q: Christine, none of this oil that comes out of this deal can be sold in this country; correct?
MS. SHELLY: That is correct. The policy, as you know, on this is that U.S.-Iranian oil imports may not be brought into the United States. American companies are not barred from purchasing Iranian crude for sale to refineries in third countries. That has been the case, and those kind of sales have been going on.
American oil firms or -- my understanding is, it's mostly accurately the European-incorporated subsidiaries of U.S. firms -- do lift several billion dollars worth of oil each year. Most of that is shipped to refineries in Europe and in Asia.
The revenues which U.S. firms are actually deriving from these types of sales actually comprise service fees or subsidiary company profits.
Q: How does this kind of a deal affect the United States effort to try to get friends and allies to curb commercial interests with Iran?
MS. SHELLY: As I said, our policy efforts on this have been directed toward trying to engage our allies in prohibiting areas of cooperation with Iran that directly impact on things like the arms transfer area, dual-use technology -- things like that -- extension of official credits. I think that we have had a measure of success in harmonizing our policies with the important friends and allies in the region.
So I don't think there's any question about our seriousness of purpose here. But, again, I think that the arguments that simply say -- that simply focus on the oil sale part of the equation -- that those are arguments that are made very often by other countries seeking to do business with Iran as a kind of justification for some of their transactions.
I think probably the announcement of this by itself may make some of those efforts more difficult. But, again, we're not asking our allies to simply cut off any kind of trade of any type with Iran. We're trying to make sure that we have consistency in our policies regarding areas where we feel that a coordinated international effort could have maximum impact. Again, those are the areas that I mentioned -- the arms transfers, dual-use technology, and extension of official credits.
Q: Does this make people in this building anymore eager to try to tighten U.S. laws to make this kind of a deal impossible for U.S. companies?
MS. SHELLY: I think that we feel that we can tailor our approach and specifically try to achieve harmony in trade policy in the areas which are most important. Certainly, there are other initiatives out there that don't relate specifically to Administration initiatives but to possible Congressional initiatives, which I'm sure you're well aware of, which are looking at the possibility of introducing tougher restrictions.
We naturally are paying very careful attention to that to see if that does gather steam in the U.S. Congress; and, if so, if there were to be a change regarding the existing legislation, we would, of course, certainly try to evaluate what that change would be and how that would impact on our policies -- and work with our allies to try to harmonize our trade policies toward Iran.
Q: But is that something you encourage? Or do you think, despite all the words that were said here today, basically the deal is fine and you're really not losing any sleep over it?
MS. SHELLY: I don't want to summarize it that quickly or be dismissive about it. Certainly, the level of attention that the transaction has attracted is one which also gives Iran an opportunity, I think, to try to make the case that it's business-as-usual, which it isn't. We have very real reasons for having trade restrictions against Iran, which has to do with the nature of their behavior and many different aspects of the conduct of their relations with us and with other nations.
But I think at this point, we are very vigorous in our implementation of U.S. law and on the trade restrictions. We continue to believe that the best way to try to get Iran to change its behavior is to try to get as many of our friends and allies as possible to also adopt the same kind of restrictions that we have in place.
Q: Christine, you say that there's no doubt about the seriousness of our intentions here. I presume you mean in the State Department.
But one of the sources of confusion has been that the Department of Commerce, which seems to have a very large voice in some foreign policy issues, has never met a customer it does not like and frequently has overruled the government in such things as -- the State Department -- in such things as arms sales, which some parts of the State Department have opposed.
To that extent, do you think that this deal is going to increase that sense of confusion -- intra-government confusion -- about where the policy is being created?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not here to speak on behalf of the Department of Commerce. In areas where there might be a difference of opinion, generally, we obviously do sit down with them and try to work out an acceptable agreement.
Our policy, of course, is to prohibit all arms and weapons-related exports to Iran. We have adopted what we believe are the industrialized world's most stringent controls on exports to Iran of dual-use items and technology.
There is the Iran-Iraq Non-Proliferation Act of 1992. That's the law of the land. We refuse all requests to fulfill new contracts for exports or re-exports to Iran of any items which require export licenses. The only exceptions to that, I'm told -- I'm not expert on this law -- but I'm told that the only exceptions are those which are very carefully screened or those which involved contractual obligations prior to October 1992, which is, I believe, the enforcement date for that Iran-Iraq Act of 1992.
We do not control or embargo the export of non- sensitive commodities and, as you know, there is a very small residual trade in these areas. It's things like auto parts and food products basically. These commodities are easily obtainable from non-American suppliers, and the amount of money in question is relatively small and certainly relatively small in comparison to commerce between Iran and other markets for similar types of goods.
We certainly expect that application of U.S. law will be even across the board as far as the U.S. Government is concerned. In areas where there might be a review process or an examination of an exception, we will certainly continue to work with the Department of Commerce on those types of cases.
Q: And on the oil sales, you mentioned that some oil sales have been carried out by European subsidiaries to non- American markets. How does that get around the age-old question of the fungibility of oil?
MS. SHELLY: Oil is principally a fungible commodity. There isn't any dispute on that. But the restriction, of course, does relate to oil which might be brought into the United States, and Iranian oil cannot be brought in.
From a transactional basis, the purchase and resale of Iranian crude -- and in this case it doesn't make any difference whether it's by U.S.-based firms or by those of other nations -- it represents an import for the receiving country. Certainly in the case of Iranian crude, it's not by the United States.
As I mentioned earlier, the account in which this falls represents no more than a small addition to the U.S. service account.
Q: A follow-up on this issue. Do you have any comment on the trip this week of a Japanese Foreign Ministry official -- I believe it's Ambassador-at-Large Matsunaga -- to Iran to negotiate a Japanese Government loan to Iran? And has the State Department been pressing the Japanese not to forward this loan to Iran?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any specific information on that trip, but I can tell you that the issue of extension of official credits is one which is very much of concern to us, and I know that has been an issue that we have had senior- level discussions with Japan on in the past. So there's no any change in our position regarding that point.
We seek to limit and, if at all possible, avoid new official extensions of credit.
Q: New topic?
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q: Turkey has joined the European Customs Union. Does the Administration have any comments on it?
MS. SHELLY: Of course, that's a decision, when it's come up before, that we've indicated we hoped that would happen, and certainly we do welcome the action which has now been taken on this. So naturally we're pleased.
The agreement strengthens bonds between our Western European friends and a strategically vital ally with very impressive economic potential. For this reason, we worked very hard to encourage this certainly very welcome result on our part.
Also, I think that we feel that this will have a positive effect on the Cyprus issue. The vision and courage which we believe have been shown on both sides of the Aegean that have now made the Customs Union possible -- we believe that is also a vision and courage which are essential for the resolution of the Cyprus issue.
We're hopeful that the prospect of EU accession talks will promote resolution of the inter-communal differences on the island with a view to rapid accession to the EU.
Q: And the U.S. still supports a bi-zonal, bi- communal solution in Cyprus?
MS. SHELLY: There is no other change on U.S. policy at this point which I'm signaling today. I'm just simply commenting on the news and the likely positive impact on the Cyprus issue.
Q: In the neighborhood of Iran and Turkey, there have been reports out of London about fighting in the north and possibly in the south in Iraq and heightened security in Baghdad in the possible wake of a coup and resulting collapse of the Iraqi dinar. Do you have any statement regarding these reports or anything to add?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any formal statement to make. We certainly have seen some evidence of increased tensions in that area over the last several days. We're actually watching the situation very carefully, but I don't have any other formal comment to make on it at this point.
Q: Another area. More than a third U.S. Senators yesterday sent a joint letter to the Administration, urging the Administration to allow Taiwan President Li Teng-hui to come to this country for a visit. Could you elaborate your policy on this issue, and will the Senators' action have any impact on your current policy?
MS. SHELLY: I have not seen the communication on this yet, so I'm going to do this as a taken question. I think our policy on this is well known, but I'd like to see the letter and then to respond in the context of having had a chance to take a look at it.
Q: A couple of weeks ago, I asked whether President Li Teng-hui could come to this country to receive the degree on an extended visa. Have you found out anything on that?
MS. SHELLY: My understanding -- and again I know that my counselors up in the East Asia and Pacific Affairs Bureau will probably pass me a note in very short order if I'm not correct -- but that basically we have granted the rights or permission for him to transit the United States, but that regarding any extended visa, that type of visit is not possible in the context of our Taiwan policy. But as to the first part of your question, I'll take a look at that letter and see if there's anything else we'd have to say.
Q: You indicated earlier suggestions that Holbrooke's mission in Zagreb was a failure were incorrect. Could you correct us as to how successful this indeed was and --
MS. SHELLY: Yes, I've got a little bit more information on that. I think that probably I was most struck, or we were most struck, by the fairly uniform negative read on this set of discussions which took place. I'm a little bit constrained on what I can say because he's not back yet, and so we generally try not to comment on trips and travel of this type until the principal is back -- and we've obviously had a chance to get a little more of a readout.
But working within -- doing as much as I can on the issue, knowing that there is intense press interest in it, I think we did at least want to get out and give a slightly more favorable read on it. As you know, Assistant Secretary Holbrooke met in Zagreb with President Tudjman. He also was meeting with other Croatian Government Cabinet members and UNPROFOR officials. He only left Zagreb this morning, and, as I mentioned, he'll be back, I think, late this evening.
Assistant Secretary Holbrooke and President Tudjman discussed Zagreb's decision not to allow UNPROFOR to continue operations in Croatia. Assistant Secretary Holbrooke stressed our view that such a move could undermine peace and stability in the Balkans and widen the war.
The talks, I think, should be seen in the context of the dialogue that we have been having over how best to meet both Croatian and also the international concerns about maintaining a peacekeeping force in Croatia. We believe that progress was made on the issues that concern all sides, and these discussions will be continuing.
I can't give you a lot of additional details except to say that I think generally that we feel that the Croatian authorities are more aware of the inherent risks in the Croatian decision to withdraw UNPROFOR, and that it could well lead Croatia down the war track.
As to our next steps, we will be discussing the outcome of this meeting with our European allies and also with U.N. Security Council members.
Q: Did Tudjman tell Holbrooke that either yes, some at least segment of U.N. peacekeepers could stay in the country, or that he would at least reconsider the decision to force them to leave?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have that level of detail in terms of what I can share with you at this point.
Q: It's a little hard for us to sort of accept your characterization that there was progress and that really the negative take was inaccurate if you can't say anything at all that would prove your point.
MS. SHELLY: I suppose this probably gets at the difficulty of trying to split the issue. I mean, we simply felt that the exchange they had was very useful, and certainly it was very serious. I know it's very difficult to say progress was made on these issues, then without being able to get into specifics.
It's simply that I think we were struck by reports coming out of the region that suggested that no progress was made and I think the bottom line of our feeling was that we don't feel that that's an accurate picture, and we certainly will try to get more to say on this as soon as we can.
Q: Is he coming back tonight?
MS. SHELLY: Hopefully. I get to stand up here and take your questions again tomorrow on the same subject if it's not enough for today, which I can certainly recognize.
Q: Or you could delegate him.
MS. SHELLY: That's also a possibility, but I don't have a commitment from him yet.
Q: How soon do you think he or someone else would return to Croatia to continue talks?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. I honestly don't know. I don't have any signal at this point about a return trip.
Q: Christine, this is a follow-up to that. Did Holbrooke tell Tudjman that if war broke out -- if the U.N. peacekeepers left and if war broke out, that the United States and basically the Western alliance would do nothing to help them?
MS. SHELLY: That would be a pretty harsh statement and level of detail in terms of putting out something on a meeting, which my guess is much of what transpired in that meeting is probably not something that we're going to get into a public discussion of.
But simply after he gets back, I will relate the nature of your questions to him and then see if we can say what additional details we can provide tomorrow.
Q: Do you have anything new to report on Ambassador Lord's visit to China? And also secondly, USTR Mickey Kantor is going to China later this week. Do you have anything on that?
MS. SHELLY: It's my hope, actually, slightly later in the week, that I will actually have Assistant Secretary Lord down here to do a little readout on his trip. He's not back yet. I think he's supposed to be back in the office tomorrow. So I've put in a request and with luck -- and he's usually pretty responsive about coming down and giving readouts on things -- so I hope not to suggest that I'm committing him prematurely, but it is my hope that he might be able to do a little bit of a readout on his trip.
Q: And Kantor?
Q: Ambassador Gallucci said that there would be more talks with North Korea. Today the rhetoric out of North Korea seemed to be heightened on the question of whether they would take the South Korean nuclear plant.
Are there any meetings planned before the KEDO meetings later this week?
MS. SHELLY: Not specifically that I'm aware of. They often make public statements to signal how they're feeling about particular issues. I have not seen the specific statements but that type of remark -- if that's the gist of what they've said publicly today -- that's, of course, not inconsistent with things that they've been saying on past occasions.
And I certainly wouldn't characterize the timing as accidental since we're about to get into the KEDO meetings up in New York. They have things that they say publicly. We certainly hear what they have to say but we also have our other ways of communicating with them as well.
I'm not aware of any specific meetings that are likely to be held with them, but, as you know, we'll be coming back to the issue of the light-water reactors after the KEDO meeting takes place this week in New York.
Q: Does the agreement that's going to be signed on Thursday starting KEDO up include specific language identifying South Korea as the supplier of the reactors?
MS. SHELLY: I haven't seen the documents that are likely to be signed, so I don't have an answer for that yet. I know they will be doing some press events related to this up in New York, so I think probably we're not going to signal very much on that in advance of the actual meetings.
Q: Do you have a list of the invitees?
MS. SHELLY: I don't think we've put out a list of the invitees. I think you've got some general indications last Friday of at least who some of the countries are, and you have a rough, ballpark figure on numbers of expected participants. But I would guess that in connection with the meetings this week, we'll be putting out indications of who's actually there.
Q: The meeting begins today, right?
MS. SHELLY: I think there are some preliminary things. I think most of what they're doing is tomorrow and Thursday.
Q: During Peter Tarnoff's testimony this morning, Sherrod Brown, a congressman from Ohio, said that this country can't let the dollar go down with the peso, and he said he was going to ask the State Department to review some options along the lines of what he called "constructive disengagement" with Mexico.
Are any such options being considered -- ways to distance the economy of the United States from the economy of Mexico at this point?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not going to be in a position to get into that. One thing we don't do from here is key off of other people's testimony on that particular day. It's just something that we'd be forever chasing after and not able to try to prepare other subjects.
So Mexico generally is something I'm prepared to come back to tomorrow, but it's not something I'm prepared to get into today.
Q: How serious are the discussions of relaxing the August sanctions on Cuba?
MS. SHELLY: I assume you have already seen the Secretary's remarks on this at a photo opportunity that was at the State Department earlier today. If you haven't seen those, I can just briefly review them.
As the Secretary said, we're operating in the context of the Cuban Democracy Act. It has the two aspects to it. One, of course, is the maintenance of the embargo, and the other is the communications side -- the people-to-people contacts.
The Secretary said that the matters -- there is no consideration of making changes to the Cuban Democracy Act at this time. He said that matters generally on Cuba are discussed within the government but there isn't any recommendation before the President at this time. Our goal, of course, is to try to get a democratic government in Cuba, and if the Cuban Government takes steps toward democratic reform, we will respond carefully and in a calibrated way.
So that's still very much in the context of the Cuban Democracy Act, and it's the two tracks of the policy. I think I pretty much have to leave it at that.
Q: I was just going to ask whether or not the State Department thinks it's a good idea for people who have relatives in Cuba to be able to send them money again now that the immediate crisis is solved.
MS. SHELLY: Specifically on the sanctions imposed in August which, of course, touch on the cash remittances to which you're referring -- those measures were designed to limit the authority to expend funds for travel to Cuba from the U.S. for certain categories of travelers and to restrict gift packages to humanitarian items only.
They were intended to further restrict the ability of the Castro regime to accumulate the foreign exchange that it requires to try to maintain its repressive apparatus. But again, I'm told that the issue of revision or of a possible revision to this has not gone to the President.
Q: Has it been considered?
Q: I mean, Christopher indicated that it was.
MS. SHELLY: I think Christopher was suggesting that issues related to Cuba remain under -- they certainly are very topical. They remain under discussion, but I don't believe that there is any formal proposal at this point that is under consideration. I simply don't have anything more to signal on that from here.
I think that the issue of aspects of the Cuba policy have been looked at again, and particularly the effectiveness of all of the measures in terms of trying to bring about the change that we'd like to see in Cuba. Those have come up again in the context of some legislative proposals which have emerged, but I'm not aware of there being any formal consideration of changes at this point.
Q: The sanctions against Cuba in August were taken in the middle of the exodus crisis, the rafters, and Cuba has taken some steps to stop the Cubans from leaving the country. And the government -- the Administration is not considering that this warrants a review of the sanctions or --
MS. SHELLY: I just went through what the point of the measures imposed in August were, and certainly I think the Cuban Government efforts to get a hold of the migrant flow -- that there has been implementation of that in the context of the migration agreement.
However, there are other aspects of the migration agreement which have not been exactly vigorously implemented on the Cuban side.
MS. SHELLY: Such as the type of measure that they continue to apply -- seeking to extract large amounts of foreign currency as a kind of payment to permit those who have been issued travel documents by us to leave. That is obviously one area.
The pace at which Cubans have been allowed to return to Cuba proper has certainly slowed in the last couple of months. There was some movement on that in the December- January timeframe, but there's been very, very little movement of that type.
So generally speaking, we have not seen as vigorous an implementation of commitments on their side as we feel we have pursued on our side.
Q: Have you taken a position yet on the legislation introduced by Senator Helms concerning Cuba? When this came up earlier you said, "Well, it's 36 pages long and we haven't been able to figure out yet what our position is." That was three weeks ago. How are you doing?
MS. SHELLY: Well, I checked on that again this morning, and I'm told that I still don't have any material to work with yet.
Q: What page are you up to?
MS. SHELLY: I'm still on page one. That's my problem. I'm a very slow reader.
Q: Do you have any figures on Cubans who have now come to this country under the legal methods provided, and also those who have come illegally -- who continue to come illegally?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have my numbers with me today. I had them yesterday. I can either send somebody out to go and round them up from yesterday and have them bring them in, or else I can try to do it up as a TQ, or else make sure we have it tomorrow.
Q: On camera would be nice.
MS. SHELLY: On camera would be nice. Do you want it right now as we speak?
MS. SHELLY: Do we have other material to cover? (To staff) Bye, Sondra (McCarty).
Q: Thank you, Sondra.
MS. SHELLY: Do we need a filing break or anything while we wait for the numbers? A different subject while we wait?
Q: The same subject but in a little different light. The Secretary of State, keying off a Washington Post front page story saying that the United States was considering easing sanctions, basically said, "Yes, we're thinking about this." He didn't put any qualifications on it. He didn't say, "We're not thinking about it formally; we're not thinking about it informally." But he said there was some consideration going on.
Now, your comments seem to be an effort to try to roll back from that somewhat more and being much more sort of qualifying, which suggests to me that the trial balloon of the Post story got what some might expect was the predicted response from Helms and other people in Congress and the Cuban-American community, who might look upon any effort to try to ease sanctions as a terrible thing.
Do I see a dynamic here? That you were more forward- leading in the morning than you are at noon?
MS. SHELLY: No. I think what you've seen is probably a bad job on my part handling the questioning. The Secretary was certainly anticipating that he was going to get that question at the photo opportunity we had. He said that there was not any present consideration of making any change to the operation of the two tracks which define our Cuban policy in the context of the Cuban Democracy Act.
Slightly later in his remarks, in response to that, he said that the matters -- I think by that he meant that the issues that were touched on -- are something that are discussed within the government but that there was not a recommendation before the President at this particular time, which I think is specifically what the article said.
Q: I think the article said there was no --
MS. SHELLY: So if I'm doing a bad job at being firmly with the Secretary on this, then I'm going to have to go back and restudy my material. It's not my intention.
So I do numbers; I have numbers. On implementing the September 9 Migration Accord, the U.S. continues to be on track in issuing the travel documents. Since September 9, more than 9,000 Cubans have been approved by the U.S. Interests Section in Havana for migration to the U.S. Those are 9,000 that would count toward our 20,000 goal.
Actually, to help facilitate this activity, on March 1, our Interests Section also opened a new U.S. migration processing center, which is in an annex building near the main U.S. Interests Chancery in Havana.
I'll just quickly sort of flip through what I've got. On the $1,000 per migrant, there is not any change in that. The migrants continue to be charged the excessive air fares by the Cuban travel agency, Havana Tour. We have continued to make clear to the Cuban Government that we consider these fares inconsistent with the joint commitment under the agreement to facilitate legal migration.
On the numbers, 24,697 Cubans are at Guantanamo, and that includes more than 7,291 who were transferred from safehaven camps in Panama, and 445 came from the Cayman Islands. There aren't any Cubans left in Panama.
Six thousand one hundred Cuban migrants have now been brought to the U.S. under the humanitarian parol program or have been medically evacuated to the U.S. If you want the breakdown, that's 4,877 from Guantanamo; 1,270 from Panama.
Of those who have returned voluntarily to Cuba through the official channels, that numbers if 466. The last voluntary return flight was on January 24. That was specifically what I was referring to about the slowdown in approval by the Cuban authorities to make those flights. That last flight had 45 Cubans on board.
There are at least 200 Cubans who have asked to return home and are waiting, and their approval is before the Cuban Government.
As to unauthorized returns, the number is up to 813, at least that we're aware of, that have left the base and have returned to Cuba on their own accord.
Ten Cuban migrants from Panama were resettled in Venezuela; 110 migrants from Panama were moved to Spain to join family members there.
I think that's about everything I have. That's about what I've got on the numbers.
Q: Thank you.
MS. SHELLY: Thanks.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:45 p.m.)
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