U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING MARCH 13, 1995 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, March 13, 1995 Briefer: Timothy Wirth Christine Shelly GLOBAL AFFAIRS U/S Timothy Wirth's Remarks on Outcome of Copenhagen Social Summit and Preview of Climate Change Conference in April 1995 ....................1-11 DEPARTMENT STATEMENTS/ANNOUNCEMENTS Bosnia--U.S. Appreciation for German Gov't. Assistance to the Federation ........................11-12 --Deadlines of Petersberg Agreement ...................11 Bosnian Federation First Anniversary Ceremony .........12 Statement by Secretary of State Christopher re: UN Peacekeepers in Croatia ..........................12-13 Agreement between Vice President Gore/President Tudjman .............................................12 --Projected Number of Personnel in New Force ..........13-14 --U.S. Personnel Support ..............................14- 15,17 --Reaction by Krajina Serbs ...........................14,16 --Security Council Deliberations on New Mandate .......16- 17,19 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Bosnia/Croatia --Report of Secretary Christopher Discussions in Paris re: "Yugoslavia summit"..............................18 --Possible Visit to Washington of President Tudjman ...18 GUATEMALA Human Rights --Suspension of Participation in IMET .................19-20 --Report of Guatemalan Instructor @School of the Amer .20 --Fuertes Caminos Program .............................20 --Possibility of Restriction of Visas for Military ....21 MEXICO --Alleged Trip of former President Salinas to US ......21-23 --Announcement of New Economic Program on March 9 .....22 --Narcotics Corruption ................................22,27- 28 TURKEY --Recent Violence by Religious Groups .................24 IRAQ --Increased Tensions between Gov't. Forces/Kurds ......24 PAKISTAN --Reported Comments--Bhutto on Terrorists .............24-25 ALGERIA --Security Situation/Violence/Embassy Presence ........25 FRANCE --Support of Res. Condemning HR Abuses in Cuba ........26 --Meeting Between Presidents Mitterrand and Castro ....26 NORTH KOREA --Read-Out to North Koreans on KEDO Talks .............26 --Next Round of LW Reactor Talks ......................26 MIDDLE EAST PEACE --Support for Palestinian Authority ...................27 RUSSIA --Secretary Christopher/FM Kozyrev Meeting ............27
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, MARCH 13, 1995, 12:56 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm very pleased to begin today's briefing with a guest appearance by someone who is certainly well and favorably known to you, our Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Timothy Wirth. He is opening up today's briefing with remarks on the outcome of the just completed Copenhagen Social Summit, which you know was also attended by the Vice President and also the First Lady and 120 Heads of State.
Under Secretary Wirth will also brief the press on the U.S. position for the Climate Change Conference to be held in Berlin in April. Following his remarks, we'll do the usual pattern. He'll be happy to take your questions, and then I'll do questions on other topics. Under Secretary Wirth, thank you for returning.
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: Christine, thank you very much. I thought it would be useful to spend a few minutes describing the outcomes of the Social Summit which just completed yesterday in Copenhagen. I'd like to do that and then perhaps take the opportunity to give you a preview of upcoming attractions on the Climate Change agenda, which will open with the first so-called Conference of the Parties in Berlin in early April.
I have handed out to everybody an outline, one, of what we thought were the accomplishments of the Social Summit; and, second, what the agenda is for climate change and what the U.S. goals are. Let me run through very briefly with you in summary that material.
First of all, the Social Summit, which was a session including the Vice President, the First Lady and 120 Heads of State, was a gathering of world leaders to focus on three issues: poverty, unemployment and social integration, meaning the institutions that allow societies to cope with these very deep social and economic problems.
The Social Summit was begun in the United Nations system in the late 1980s. It was finally agreed upon in 1992, and the U.S., under then-President Bush, committed the United States to participation in late 1992.
It was our effort to try to focus what was a relatively inchoate and very broad agenda to make it a lot more specific, and also we wanted to make sure in that agenda that we did not have any rollback or a fallback from the very significant accomplishments of the Rio Summit on the Environment in 1992, the Vienna Human Rights Summit in 1993, or the Cairo Population Conference in 1994.
We came out of the Social Summit I think very well. In fact, not only accomplished our goals, but did a little bit more than that.
On our first focus, which had been on absolute poverty, the United States' goal was to attempt to focus this meeting, which consumed a great deal of energy and political capital around the world, to have a very tangible outcome, and that was to try to get a specific focus on the question of absolute poverty.
There are a little more than a billion people in this world who are living in absolute poverty. How, at a time when there aren't significant new resources that anybody's putting into this, can we address this very vexing and difficult problem.
I think the Social Summit turned out not as a battle as many had thought it was going to be between the north and the south or the rich and the poor, but rather focused, we had hoped, on three elements in the absolute poverty area:
One, how do we make sure that the international financial institutions focus more significantly on debt relief;
Second, how as countries go through the process of structural adjustments, moving their economies toward a modern 20th century, 21st century economy, as they go through that adjustment that the poorest of the poor don't get hurt in the process.
Third, can we help to persuade countries to spend more of their own national budgets on education, health care, housing -- the social infrastructure -- and less on defense armaments, and so on.
Those three outcomes are included in the Social Summit document, and we were very pleased to have played, I think, a very significant role in advancing the commitment to the eradication of absolute poverty and doing our best to try to find the resources by using existing resources, spend existing resources better.
We also were very pleased at a number of other outcomes.
First, a major commitment on gender equity. It has been the commitment of this Administration to focus on the role of women, politically, economically, socially and every way possible, and there is a very good chapter, which we largely drafted, on gender equity that was in the final outcome from Copenhagen.
Second, there was very good language on disabilities, and for the first time we had on our delegation an American citizen and representing groups in the disability community, and I think that that had a very significant impact on the outcome of the conference.
Third, we did not have any fallback from Cairo or Vienna. In fact, we were able to stay very firmly with the very significant commitments made at the World Population Conference in Cairo from 1994, despite some who were trying to have some fallback from that.
Finally on Rio, we attained -- including in the language of the Social Summit -- what the Canadians described as the best language yet on sustainable development. We have been very successful in achieving a strengthening of the world commitments on sustainable development.
So I think overall the Social Summit ended up well. The Vice President gave a superb speech on Sunday morning, and we, I think, were very well-positioned with the theme that we've tried to do in the past of being a partner in the international community; and I think we were helped a great deal in focusing attention on how we might better orchestrate resources for this very difficult and important issue of the eradication of absolute poverty.
If I might turn very briefly to the Climate Change Conference, which will occur in Berlin in April. You will remember that coming out of the Rio Earth Summit, there were three significant accomplishments. One of those was Agenda 21, the broad agenda of all the measures that ought to be taken on the environment. The second one was the Treaty of Biodiversity, and the third was the Climate Change Treaty.
The meeting in Berlin in April will be the first international follow-up to the Rio Conference, and at the Berlin meeting -- which is called the First Conference of the Parties -- all the people who agreed to the Climate Change Treaty come together to review how well they have done, what the research looks like, what do we know about climate change, what's changed in the last three years, and what should next steps be.
I will be leading the U.S. delegation to that conference. We just came back from the final preparatory meeting, and the outline of that is in front of you, first on how we've done. The United States has done pretty well at meeting the commitments that we said we were going to, the commitments being to reduce greenhouse gases to the 1990 levels by the year 2000. In other words, instead of greenhouse forcing gases, carbon dioxide and so on continuing to grow, we leveled those gases off and reduced them back to the 1990 levels by the year 2000. We will come close to achieving that target.
Second, on what we know about the evidence, it is increasingly clear that the body of scientific evidence and the technological capabilities have become much better in measurement on the issue of climate change, have become increasingly convincing, and we still believe that this has to be viewed and acted upon with a significant sense of urgency.
And, third, on next steps, clearly we have got to as a group of countries to decide on what we do after the year 2000. The agreement of the Climate Change Treaty gets us only to the year 2000. The commitments of the world post- 2000 are inadequate, and we'll have to set up a process or a mandate coming out of Berlin which will allow us to move beyond the year 2000 in terms of international commitments on the issue of climate change.
This is an extraordinarily important international environmental concern, as all of you know. You'll remember the very significant debates at the time of the Rio Summit on Climate Change. Those continue, and the evidence of global climate change continues to come in in a disturbing fashion.
Let me stop at that, and I'll be happy to answer any questions that many of you may have about the Social Summit or the Climate Change meeting.
Q What at Copenhagen is mandatory or obligatory for governments to do as a follow-up?
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: None of these U.N. conferences are mandatory or obligatory, whether it's the Rio Earth Summit or the Cairo Population Conference. Rather, these are road maps, these are joint agreements, by countries that this is a direction in which to go, and countries sign up to these documents and then are held accountable by their own electorate.
So if there is an enforcement mechanism in these, it is the fact that citizens in countries can then hold their governments accountable for what their governments agreed to do. It's also a way of raising the level of attention to these questions, raising and sharing ideas and thoughts and programs for how to achieve progress on climate change, on population stabilization, on absolute poverty.
Increasingly, on these very difficult international issues we are seeing more and more these kinds of international conferences that bring people together. It's kind of like a giant task force, going back to my congressional years. When there's a problem that comes along, you bring in all the various parties and share experiences and try to move on this, and these become kind of very large international task forces to focus on the problem, definition of the problem, and then what we might together do about it.
Q Under Secretary Wirth, you mentioned disturbing reports, disturbing evidences. What is your opinion, being an insider and having had a chance to review and analyze these reports, what is the status? What does it appear is going on with the climate on this earth?
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: I think we're seeing a lot of what would be predicted. There's no mystery anymore about the theory of climate change. Everybody knows about the greenhouse effect. All we have to do is to look at Venus or Mars to know about the greenhouse effect.
There's no greenhouse in Mars. No way of capturing the Earth's sunlight, so the sunlight just comes in and bounces off Mars and goes back into outer space.
On Venus, the atmosphere is very thick and so the heat of the sun comes in and stays there. Venus is so warm that nobody believes there's life on Venus. We're just in between -- sort of Goldilocks -- not too hot, not too cold; just in between.
The concern is, what's going to happen to that greenhouse? What's going to happen to sort of the thermostat which is the gases surrounding the Earth. If they get thicker -- this is sort of a clumsy shorthand -- if they get thicker, then the concern is that they will not act to vent out the heat of the Earth and we're going to be an increasingly warm climate. The evidence is showing up that we are in a time of global climate change. The atmosphere is getting warmer.
In the last year, there is very good, recent data from the French on the warming of oceans. We're seeing the caving of icebergs. You might have seen the caving in the Antarctic of the largest iceberg that anybody has yet recorded that came off the Antarctic about two months ago.
Changes that are going on and the climate patterns of the oceans are not understood completely, but they do fit with what one would predict would happen.
We do not know exactly where, how much, or when climate change is going to occur. But it is the belief of this Administration that we know enough about the possibilities of what may happen that we can take out the right kind of insurance policies, taking steps on energy conservation, taking steps on alternative energy programs, changing the way in which many of our greenhouse-forcing gases come out of our economies. To do that, that not only can benefit the economy, but can help to slow down the concentration of greenhouse gases.
So the evidence continues to mount up in a very impressive fashion.
Q To follow, you're personally convinced that man is contributing to producing this change?
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: Absolutely. I have no doubt myself that we are significantly contributing. As we see very large economies like China and Egypt, we are, in the United States, the larger producer of greenhouse-forcing gases by a long way. China is very rapidly, if not becoming, number two. India is not far behind.
If you look at long-term economic projections in China, well over 50 percent of the greenhouse-forcing gases are going to come from a small number of countries in the developing world. We are going to have a very difficult and complicated set of negotiations to do with them. It's going to be increasingly difficult to do.
If we start that negotiation now, I think it will be the right thing to do for our children and grandchildren.
Q Mr. Secretary, you mentioned that one of the things coming out of the Copenhagen Conference was a call for debt relief by international financial institutions. Does that incorporate private institutions as well? Is there a roadmap of how to achieve that?
Also, is there any commitment coming out of Copenhagen on the part of the developed world to transfer funds to lesser developed nations to assist them in their social programs?
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: The latter part, I don't think that anybody believes that there are new and additional resources. Those are sort of the buzz words of the trade. I don't think anybody believes that there are now new and additional resources that are going to be made available.
So, therefore, we have to look at other ways in which we can go about do this. How do you use existing resources more efficiently? And how might we use debt in a creative and imaginative way?
We have attempted in the United States to use some of our debt, for example, to do sort of "debt swaps" with debtor countries. We hold a lot of their debt. If we agree to forgive part of that debt, most of which we're not going to get paid back on anyway, if we agree to formally forgive that debt, then the countries agree to an obligation to use that debt for programs for early childhood health care programs, for environmental programs. Those are the so-called debt- for-nature swaps that we have.
We have attempted to the lead the way and using debt more creatively. There are constraints that we have financially to do so, because it has to be treated technically in certain ways on the record - - certain ways in the budget that is treated in particular ways. Even though we won't get paid back, it's accounted for a hundred cents on the dollar.
We want to try to change that so that we can be more creative with what is paper money but can be used to help some of these problems.
Does this have an influence on private debt? No. But a lot of private institutions are joining in this and trying to figure out how to use their debt, again, in a way that achieves various other goals. The more of that that can happen, the better off we are.
Finally, we, in the United States, are almost -- we carry very little debt to the poorest of the poor countries. Ours is almost all gone. The areas where we have most of the debt is with the mid-level developing countries. It's there -- these tend to be a lot of Latin American countries, for example -- where debt-for-nature swaps, or debt for various social integration issues can be used very creatively. Maybe we can start to think about debt for other purposes as well.
Q Mr. Secretary, why won't the United States meet its target for returning greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the year 2000? And by how much will it miss the target?
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: That's a good question. The agreed-upon target in the Rio Climate Change Convention was to return the level of greenhouse-forcing gases to the 1990 level by the year 2000.
The United States had about -- just to give a sense of the numbers -- we had something in the neighborhood of 1,400 million tons of carbon going up into the atmosphere. To reduce -- 1,400 million tons -- and to reduce down to our 1990 levels, we had to get down to about 1,300 million tons. We had to reduce approximately -- these are general figures where -- looking back at this again -- but just to give you a sense of the magnitude of what we're talking about, we had agreed to get down to about 1,300 which is the 1990 level. They expect the 2000 level will be about 1,400.
So we had to reduce something in the neighborhood of six to eight percent. How close have we come? Well, on the implementation of the Energy Bill of 1992, which is a very comprehensive energy bill that included a great number of elements focused on conservation and utility reform and so on, all of the good economic policy, good energy policy elements in that, we estimated would get us somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 to 40 out of the needed 100.
In addition to that, there were a series of other steps like the Green Lights program at EPA, a variety of landfill programs. There are a number of them listed on the front of the paper there. That, combined with the BTU tax -- which had been proposed by the President, you remember, in early 1993 -- would get us to the agreements that we had reached.
Two things have happened that have been a bit different. One, we were not able to get the BTU tax. That would have gotten us somewhere between five and ten out of the 100 -- the BTU tax would have.
Since the BTU tax did not pass, obviously, we don't get that so we're going back to see what we can find in terms of other voluntary measures. We've done this all in a voluntary fashion in the United States.
The other thing that happened is that our economy recovered much more rapidly than the projections that were made in 1992. We had projected certain economic growth, and there is a very close correlation between the production of greenhouse gases and economic growth.
Our economy recovered more rapidly than we thought. Therefore, we were producing more carbon.
The second thing that happened was that the price of energy not only remained the same but the price of oil in many cases declined. So there was more of an incentive to use oil.
So with all of those items, we're going to have a shortfall as we predict right now. How much will that shortfall be? We're going back and looking at the numbers. My guess is that it's something in the neighborhood of 30 percent of our commitments, but we have between now and the year 2000 to get from here to there. So we'll come pretty close, I think better than just about anybody.
Who else has made progress? The Germans are going to be able to achieve their target because they unified with East Germany in the process. They shut down all the very inefficient East German power plants and they get an enormous amount of credit for doing that. We could combine with some other country to shut down -- obviously, we're not going to do that.
The Germans will reach it by unification with East Germany. The British have done a very good job with conversion from coal to natural gas in their economy, and that's been a major change for them. They're the other major industrialized country that has a very clear and well- defined track record that will probably get them to the year 2000. We're all perplexed about what we do after the year 2000.
Q I'm not sure I follow the figures, so I just want to make sure. Did you say that you now project that the United States will still be responsible for about 1,400 million tons of carbon gas going into the atmosphere in the year 2000?
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: Thirteen hundred. To get to the 1990 level is about 1,300 million.
Q That's your goal. I thought you said -- perhaps I misunderstood --
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: If we did nothing, we would have been at 1,400.
Q If you had done nothing.
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: If we had nothing, we would have been at 1,400. So the gap that we agreed to, instead of just going to the year 2000, we agreed to drop from the year 2000 level back to the 1990 levels. That's what nations who signed the Climate Change Treaty agreed to do.
Q So what is your current best guess --
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: I'd say we're about two-thirds of the way there.
Q Mr. Secretary, there's been a lot, it seems, criticism in the reporting that comes out of the summit in Denmark about the cost of the summit, and the summits are coming in what seems like fairly rapid profusion. You've got the -- I think August is the Womens Conference in Beijing. Obviously, it requires, as you pointed out, a fair amount of diplomatic fence-mending.
Does the United States see this --
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: A lot of agility, I would say -- a lot of agility.
Q Does the United States see this as the most cost- effective way to discuss these issues, or is it right now becoming close to the saturation point in having these international conferences?
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: I think there is some metal fatigue in the system. I think some rivets are popping off from time to time. We've been through a very intense series, starting with the Rio Summit in 1992; Vienna Human Rights in 1993; Cairo in 1994; Copenhagen in 1995. And the last one -- some of us can hardly wait -- the last one comes in 1996 in Istanbul, called Habitat, which is on habitable cities and communities and so on. That's the last one.
The Womens Conference in Beijing is held every ten years, and that's a regular schedule. That will come on a regular basis.
I think that these conferences are very effective and work if two things occur. One, if you have a specific goal: What are you trying to achieve? It was very clear in Rio what the specifics were. It was very clear in Vienna what the specifics were. It was very clear in Cairo what the specifics were. It was a lot less clear in Copenhagen what the goal was. So therefore the results are more ambiguous.
Second, if there is that kind of agreement, you therefore have the support mechanism where countries get together and prepare for these, sort of knowing what the goal is going to be. That preparation was less effective than, say, for the other ones that I've been involved with.
I think metal fatigue is probably a fair way of describing it.
Q Is it getting to be a cost factor as well, given the tight budget considerations?
UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH: We have pared our delegations down to a much lower percentage of what they've been in the past. We have all of the NGO groups and the outside individuals paying their own way and going rather than being paid for by taxpayers. I've implemented all of those changes for these conferences. We're trying to squeeze it down as much as we can.
I think on balance for this conference, we, in the United States, played a major role. We are positioned in a fashion now to help to lead the debate on absolute poverty. I think we really helped a lot to do that, and that's an obligation that we have both in a humanitarian sense and long time in a very selfish sense. If these economies can recover around the world or can stabilize themselves and begin to move, that long term is going to be very good for us.
I think overall this one was a good investment. It came out much better than we thought it was going to.
Thank you all very much. Thank you, Christine.
(Following the departure of Under Secretary Wirth, Acting Spokesman Christine Shelly resumed the regular Daily Briefing at 1:22 p.m.)
MS. SHELLY: Let me begin the next part of the briefing with a statement. It actually refers to Bosnia. That's an unusual development; I usually let you open Bosnia. It's a dangerous game for me open Bosnia today, but I have various things I want to report on today.
The first is, I'd like to read you very short statement we're going to post immediately after the briefing. It's a statement of U.S. appreciation for German Government assistance to the Federation.
The U.S. warmly welcomes the March 10 agreements reached by the Bosnian Federation President Zubak and Vice President Ganic under the auspices of the German Government.
The "Petersberg" agreements set concrete deadlines for implementation of key elements of the Washington agreements creating a Federation of the Bosniacs and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Federation has successfully stopped the fighting between Croats and Muslims in Bosnia.
Further implementation of the Washington agreements will be a major contribution to the process of achieving an overall peace settlement in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
That's the statement. Just to give you a few more details about what's actually covered in the Petersberg agreements, the agreements cover important elements of the Washington accords that have not yet been implemented. These include such things as political responsibility for communal assemblies, creation of remaining cantons, staffing and the role of the Federation ministries, appointment of diplomatic personnel, the creation of Federal courts, the adoption of a police bill, strengthening press freedom, and a schedule for implementation of a program for the return of refugees.
Also related to the Federation, I think you've probably seen some references already in the press to some activities that we're going to have later this week. We'll have more details of this to give you as the week unfolds. But there will be a ceremony here at the State Department on Thursday to mark the first anniversary of the Bosnian Federation.
Secretary of State Christopher will host the Bosnian Federation, Bosnian Republic and Croatian officials as well as other dignitaries.
We continue to see the Federation as vital to the resolution of the Bosnian conflict. As a result of its creation, fighting was eliminated along the 200 kilometer- long former confrontation line between the Bosnian Government and Bosnian Croat forces. Access for humanitarian assistance has vastly improved since its formation to central and northern Bosnia.
Let me also just mention the agreement which was reached yesterday and announced by Croatian President Tudjman after his meeting with Vice President Gore.
As I believe you're aware, after that meeting the Croatian President said that he would allow U.N. peacekeepers to operate in Croatia past March 31, when UNPROFOR's mandate expires.
For those of you who have not seen it, I'd like to specifically draw your attention to a statement that Secretary Christopher issued yesterday from the Office of the Spokesman in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, where he also welcomes that announcement. If you have not seen it, that statement is available in the Press Office.
We consider that this decision and announcement by President Tudjman is a major breakthrough, and it offers a good chance to head off a wider Balkan war.
As you know, UNPROFOR's mandate in Croatia will expire on March 31, and we will be working to set up a different U.N. force.
Croatia has asked that the new U.N. force do three things. Let me just take a minute to go through that, if I might.
The first is to control Croatia's international borders at such places where principal crossing points are not now controlled by the authorities of the Republic of Croatia; to provide support to international relief operations in Bosnia- Herzegovina through territory not currently under the control of the authorities of the Republic of Croatia, and to help implement agreements reached between Zagreb and Krajina Serbs, including the March 1994 cease-fire which disengaged the Croatian and Krajina forces and authorized the U.N. to monitor the pullback of troops and heavy weapons.
As I'm sure you're also aware from press reporting, the new force would be smaller, roughly half of its current level.
Although difficult details remain to be worked out, including the exact details of the U.N. Security Council resolutions, which will need to be passed in the next few days -- the details not only in the Security Council but also obviously between the parties involved -- nonetheless, we are very encouraged by the result and certainly welcome the decision to this effect.
I'll be happy to take your questions.
Q Do you know many peacekeepers will remain in the area?
MS. SHELLY: In Croatia?
MS. SHELLY: It's my understanding that the personnel there now are somewhere in the 10,000 to 12,000 range. That includes the UNPROFOR headquarters as well as the peacekeeping forces, and I think some other categories of individuals.
It's my understanding the figure that they're talking about now is perhaps slightly in excess of 5,000, or in the 5,000 to 6,000 range, if total personnel is added up. I don't have an exact number, but I'm told it's in that range.
Q What indication, if any, have you had from the Krajina Serbs that they'll buy on to this new arrangement?
MS. SHELLY: Just before coming out, I saw one wire report suggesting that they were not entirely keen on the idea. I'm going to check on that and certainly try to get more information.
We had had some preliminary discussions with them about this idea. Certainly, our feeling from those discussions was a more positive one than the latest press report would suggest. So I don't have a lot of details to share with you on that point, except that there certainly seemed to be some willingness to give it a serious look. I think our initial feeling was that it was more positive than that.
Again, before I can -- I want to check on the latest report that's come through and try to give you a few more details on that, as I can maybe later in the day.
Q You describe it as the Krajina Serbs not being entirely keen on the idea. The stories that I've seen say that they flatly reject the idea.
MS. SHELLY: I've seen one wire service report this morning suggesting that. But that's not consistent with what my information was prior to coming out and doing the briefing. My impression, from what I was told, was that their attitude was more positive than that.
Q Do you have any reports of Americans being included in this redone -- this redeployment and whether there will be Americans either in the field or in a backup capacity?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any change that I'm signaling with respect to possible U.S. participation in it.
As I said, the force is expected to be much smaller, and some elements of it may come from units which are already there.
We are not envisioning U.S. participation in the new force as it's configured. But, as you know, there are some U.S. personnel, who are out in the region, participating in the UNHCR activities, UNPROFOR headquarters, NATO activities, and also in the hospital unit which is out there. Then, of course, we do have some troops in Macedonia. That number is around 600.
These are, of course, the support personnel that we have in Croatia. I'm told it's about 340 -- the categories I just mentioned: UNHCR, UNPROFOR, NATO, and the hospital -- those are support personnel, of course, and not combat personnel.
Q Can you say why U.S. personnel will not be including themselves? Is there a policy reason not to send U.S. troops into a place where there's a plan that's been divided by an American official?
MS. SHELLY: Our position with respect to the insertion of forces is exactly as it has been all along, and there is no change in that. This is what has been agreed by President Tudjman, as another reconfigured international force whose mandate will be adopted under U.N. auspices. But it doesn't change the fundamental preconditions which we believe are necessary in order to insert U.S. forces. So there is no change in the position on that score.
Q So which forces will be serving there, if not U.S. forces?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. I don't have that. It's certainly premature to address that question because a new mandate has not begun to be discussed yet in the Security Council.
Q Too dangerous for American forces to go there?
MS. SHELLY: I don't think that's the issue. Bill.
Q To your understanding, at present, Christine, what differences will there be in the function of the U.N. -- the UNPROFOR troops -- and why, specifically, did they want to drop the numbers so drastically? Has that been explained?
MS. SHELLY: That's a question, I think, for you to address vis-a- vis the reason for changing the force, or downsizing the force. I think it has to correspond to the preferences also of Croatia. President Tudjman pronounced himself many times on why he felt that the continuation of UNPROFOR, with its current mandate, current, size, and current functions, was unacceptable to him.
What he has now signaled is that he was willing to continue with a different type of U.N. force, but also under a U.N. mandate, that would be separated out from the mandate for Bosnia, and would also respond to some of the problems that he had.
It was his position on what he felt was unacceptable about UNPROFOR as it was configured, those are questions to direct to him. As to the form and new function and numbers and contributors, that is obviously something that will be worked out in the context of the Security Council action and the passage of a resolution, which has a new mandate and addresses all of those points.
Q If the Krajina Serbs do not accept, where does that leave you? What leverage does the United States have, or anybody else, on them? How would you try to leverage the Krajina Serbs?
MS. SHELLY: It's difficult to get into the leverage question. Also, your question is based on the presumption that there has been a categoric rejection. I'm not prepared to state that there is based on what I know so far.
I think you have to look at what the alternative to finding a way, to keep an international presence, which is clearly a situation in which withdrawal of UNPROFOR would lead to a tremendous increase in hostilities and the possibility of war engulfing the entire region.
It certainly is not our impression from our consultations with the Krajina Serbs that that is what they wish to see happen. It may be that they are making some statements now with a view to improving their own position. Obviously discussions will have to take place with all of the parties concerned, with the U.N., and obviously also with the Croatian Government. Maybe they're simply trying to improve their position going into these talks.
I don't take as a starting point the fact that their rejection has been categorical. So therefore I think it's very difficult to get into the leverage question.
Very simply, what they have to win is not having the region be engulfed in war; I don't think that it's our impression that the Krajina Serbs see that that is profitable for anybody.
Q Will the troops on the border be there to monitor or to control the border?
MS. SHELLY: In terms of the new mandate? Again, you're talking about something that has not taken a concrete form yet. I'm simply not in a position to address that at this stage.
Q What is your understanding of their function?
MS. SHELLY: I don't think it's up to me to say what my understanding is. We've signaled for you what we can. You've certainly also seen what President Tudjman himself has said. They're talking about a different configuration; they're talking about a smaller number, and they're talking about a new mandate. Those are all things that will have to be developed in concrete detail in the Security Council.
Q What about the zone of separation? Can you detail who will be left there? Let's say, what numbers, if nothing else?
MS. SHELLY: I'm simply not in a position. That has not been hammered out yet.
Q On the Bosnian Croat framework, or whatever is tentatively agreed. I should know this, but I don't. How did the Germans get delegated to mediate that?
MS. SHELLY: Relating to the announcement that I made?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know whether this is a question of being delegated, but I think that all of the different parties involved in efforts to make peace in the region have all, of course, worked different aspects of the problem. In this particular case, the Germans felt that there was something that they could do on this to try to facilitate some progress in moving the Federation along.
The German Contact Group member, representative, Michael Steiner, was the one who actually chaired these meetings at the Petersberg Government Guest House in Bonn. We certainly along the way were kept abreast of what their ideas were. We had ample opportunity for consultation with them. This has now resulted in something really quite concrete.
We certainly very much appreciate the effort, as I said in the statement, and believe that it will help in the broader objectives of trying to strengthen the Federation.
Q On Thursday, what precisely will that be -- that ceremony or whatever --
MS. SHELLY: I haven't been precise on that. I'm not formally making the announcement and giving you exactly what times things will take place and who all will be here. That's something we'll be putting out within the next day or so, I presume.
There had been already several reports that we were going to have some activities here this week to celebrate the one year anniversary. In the context of other news on the Federation, I'm simply alluding to the fact that there will be some things, but I'll have more details later.
Q The French say that the Secretary is going to stop by Paris on his way home to discuss a conference on Bosnia and Croatia. Can you confirm this?
MS. SHELLY: I've heard that they've said that. As far as I know, that is not likely to be the case. I understand the Secretary is due back tomorrow evening. I'm not aware, at this point, that there's any plan to make a stop in Paris on the way home. So, frankly, I'm slightly perplexed about where the statement is coming from.
Q There were several deadlines set in the Petersberg talks. Can you give us the principal ones?
MS. SHELLY: We have a rough English translation of the agreement. It was brokered in German. You can get from the Press Office after we finish the briefing.
There are deadlines in it where, in fact, the agreement itself is set up with very strict deadlines. It's very complicated for me to go into. So if I may ask you to pick it up at the Press Office. It's quite a lengthy document, but there are very specific deadlines for each of the steps that need to be taken.
Q A different subject?
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q Just a follow up. Do you have any details on a visit by Mr. Tudjman later this week?
MS. SHELLY: I don't specifically have a formal announcement on that, but I would think that he will be a likely participant in the events we'll be having on Thursday.
Q Another follow up before you leave the subject. On the Point Three, the cease-fire between the Serbs in Krajina and the Croatians, is there any word from Tudjman about keeping the troops there, while all this is being shuffled and reconfigured through the U.N., etc? Will there be a buffer in place, or do you know, Christine?
MS. SHELLY: The exact details are something that will have to be worked out through the Security Council.
Q One question. You know, it really sounds like if you're cutting the number in half -- and right now they're mainly in the zone of separation, and instead they've got a new function -- let's say they're going to the borders to monitor I don't know how many borders posts -- I don't quite see how the continued presence of the U.N. there is going to prevent a conflict, because basically when you take them out of the zone -- you know, this no-man's land -- then that's where the conflict begins.
MS. SHELLY: But I have not said anything to suggest that they're all coming out of the zones. I think you're making a presumption that I ...
Q You're cutting it in half, and you're giving them a new assignment on the borders.
MS. SHELLY: There already is some presence along the borders as it is, so my understanding is that it's stepping up the presence on the border. But I have not suggested that they're all coming out of the protected areas either.
Q Can I pick up on that question about what the real function is going to be of the U.N. there and how it's going to lead to stability and not raise the prospect of war?
MS. SHELLY: Okay, but those are all issues that will be addressed as the Security Council begins its deliberations on the new mandate.
Q Will there be further steps to pressure the Guatemalan army to provide a full account of the Bimaca and other cases, such as the suspension of police programs or a request to expedite the extradition of military officers suspected in drug cases?
MS. SHELLY: First of all, I assume that you have seen the statement that we put out last Friday. We said in connection with our concerns over the lack of progress on a number of human rights cases that we were suspending the participation of Guatemalan military personnel in the IMET program -- the International Military, Education and Training program.
We put out a very strong statement, as I mentioned on Friday, in response to questions about what we were doing. You were here, I think, on Friday when we discussed that, and that's still certainly very much where we are, and we will certainly continue to press the case.
I think you also asked me a couple of other questions about exchanges. I've had a chance to run that down as well. You asked about an instructor at the School of the Americas, a Guatemalan instructor, and I'm told that there is not an instructor. There currently is no Guatemalan instructor at the school, and there have been no Guatemalan students there since 1992.
The instructors who are there are given this title, "Distinguished Guest Instructor," so that's not anything new. But I'm told there is no Guatemalan instructor there now.
You also asked me about -- and it took some time for me to check on this -- the possibility of some U.S. National Guard troops going down to Guatemala. Wasn't that the second part of your question on Friday?
That is actually a humanitarian civic exercise, something called "Fuertes Caminos," which is "strong roads" in English. It's a program that allows U.S. military personnel to train in a realistic environment while providing assistance to people in need. U.S. Reservists and National Guard members, who are expected to participate this year, will be doing things like building some schools, establishing a couple of medical clinics, a couple of bridges; they also drill water wells and conduct medical readiness training.
Part of what they do there is to designed to try to improve the lives of very poor people. But in addition to humanitarian benefits for the Guatemalans in these rural areas, it also provides a valuable opportunity for our military personnel to operate in a challenging environment and to enhance their own readiness.
This type of training in remote areas and rugged terrain is generally not available to American military personnel in the United States.
We have determined at this point the most appropriate step that we can take to try to encourage the full accounting from the Guatemalan Government and authorities, and the military is to suspend their participation in the IMET program. I referred our statement on Friday, and we obviously will continue to keep this issue on the agenda for our exchanges with the Guatemalan authorities.
Q Can I have a follow-up. Also, your statement says that there will be a restriction of visas for guerrilla representatives coming to the United States. Will there be a restriction of the delegation of peace to military officers because of their role in the violence in the country?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. I'd have to check on that specific point.
Q Christine, could you tell us anything about President Salinas' trip to the United States?
MS. SHELLY: I can probably tell you about as much as the White House spokesman did when he was asked. He actually briefed a little earlier today, and he's already gotten this question, I think, at his briefing, or else he took it earlier this morning.
Other than being able to work along the same lines and to tell you that we've seen the reports that he has entered the United States, we are not aware of his final destination or even his immediate plans.
He had already traveled to the U.S. three times since he left the Presidency. He has a visa. But we do not know specifically what travel documents he used to enter the U.S. yesterday. As far as we know, he had not contacted the U.S. Government regarding his plans to stay in the U.S., and as soon as we have more information on that, I'm sure we'll try to make that available.
Q Is there some concern, since he was one of the principal negotiators of NAFTA, that now that he's left apparently the economic situation is not too well there in kind terms. Is there some concern about that agreement that was negotiated that the U.S. put so much on the line with?
MS. SHELLY: Is there concern about NAFTA or the Mexican economy, or what's the angle of the question?
Q Concern about the effect of NAFTA, the Mexican economy and the agreement the U.S. negotiated -- loss of jobs -- and is there concern about the Mexican economy because the U.S. is still sending money to Mexico?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not aware of any re-thinking being given to NAFTA at this point. I think that it still is our view that NAFTA is in the long-term interests of all of the countries that have become part of it. I'm not aware of the latest developments really changing the basic assumption on that.
As I think you know, a very tough economic program was announced by the Mexican authorities on March 9 with a view to restoring financial stability and to lay the ground work for resumed economic growth. Tough measures certainly are in order to overcome Mexico's problem, and from the beginning we said that the program would only work if Mexico took the difficult steps to re-establish stability and to put itself on the road to long-term economic health.
We believe that the new measures demonstrate that Mexico is committed to taking these steps, and certainly many of them will be painful.
Q But do you know the whereabouts of President Salinas in this moment and if he seeks for ...
MS. SHELLY: I think I just answered that.
Q Okay. And if he seeks for a political asylum, will the United States be willing to give it to him?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not aware that's an issue.
Q Christine, to follow that, you did, I think, confirm that he is in the country.
MS. SHELLY: No, I actually said that we had seen reports suggesting that he was in the country, and that he may have entered yesterday.
Q You said you don't know what travel documents he used to enter the United States yesterday.
MS. SHELLY: That's based on a presumption that the reports that he entered are correct.
Q Let me follow a little further on her question.
MS. SHELLY: Try me.
Q Okay. The Sunday article in the Post, a very scandalous article about drugs, drug barons and control in Mexico and in high offices. Is there a possibility that Mr. Salinas is running from investigation here, now his brother is being essentially indicted for being a part of an assassination plot? And if indeed Mexican authorities were seeking him, would we give him asylum?
MS. SHELLY: First of all, as I just answered to the previous question, as far as I'm aware, the asylum point is now at issue here. He has a visa. He is able to enter the United States, but lots of people enter the United States every day, and so we cannot always instantaneously entertain whether a particular person has come in and, if so, what was the port of entry. Obviously, that's something that we're checking on, but I simply don't have anything to report on that.
I think that's probably as far as I can take it. I'm not aware that there are any other factors underway at this point that would involve any other actions, present and potential, against the former President.
Q On the kind of visa he has, could you find out how long he could remain in the United States?
MS. SHELLY: I will do my best.
Q What sort of documentation does he need? Does he need a visa to come to the United States? He does not need a visa to come.
MS. SHELLY: He has a visa already. And, as I mentioned, I was able to ascertain that he had already entered the country three times since he left the Presidency.
Q Is this a permanent visa or what kind of visa?
MS. SHELLY: A visa which enables him to come and visit. (Laughter)
Q And doesn't expire.
MS. SHELLY: As you know, it is very often, and certainly with government officials and very frequently with former senior government officials, they are given multiple- entry visas, and very often they have an indefinite date of applicability to them. So that would not be at all uncommon. So I will see if I can find out the exact details.
But as a Foreign Service Officer, and having been overseas, and having watched us grant visas to eminent government -- former and present government officials, it's not at all at odds with our customary practice to give multiple-entry indefinite duration visas. That's something we do very commonly.
Q May I switch the subjects for just a moment. With reference to the Secretary of State's visit with the Syrian President today, can you give us any specific on the new peace proposal ...
MS. SHELLY: It's off the screen. I don't do questions on issues that the Secretary is actively working. So the Middle East peace process and all that the Secretary is up to is off of my screen.
MS. SHELLY: Same area?
MS. SHELLY: How can I do something in the same area? (Laughter)
Q Not the Secretary's visit. In Turkey, yesterday and today some religious group, extremists actually attacked another sect of the Moslem community. They killed more than 14 people, and they injured 20- 25 people. Do you have any reaction, because the Turkish Government, they already have a curfew in some part of Istanbul.
MS. SHELLY: No, I don't have any information on it.
Q Can you take the question? Do you have any reaction.
MS. SHELLY: I'm not going to take the question. I'll look into it and see if there's anything we want to say. I don't have any information on it with me.
Q Christine, last week you were going to look into reports about fighting in the north of Iraq between government forces and the Kurds and between the Kurds. Have you found anything out?
MS. SHELLY: I did look into that again, and basically other than the general comment that I made, which was evidence of some increased tensions and hostilities there, most of what we know from that comes from sources that do not able us to say much about it publicly. So that's pretty much where we've been for the last few days on that. Unless something extraordinary happens, I doubt if I'll be in a position to get into much detail.
Q Do you have any response to what Mrs. Bhutto said the other day about the United States having trained all these people in connection with the Afghan war during the 1980s, and now that the Soviets left and there's no international component to the war that countries like Pakistan are left high and dry to deal with these terrorists.
MS. SHELLY: I've seen some of her statements over the last few days, but I confess that I have not seen a statement with that particular pitch. Perhaps you can give me more to work with, and I can try to work up something more specific on it a little later.
Mr. McWethy, you had your hand up.
Q Yes, Algeria. Is there concern with the growing violence there for the American and or international community in Algeria -- their safety?
MS. SHELLY: Certainly, the situation in Algeria is not one that gives us a great deal of confidence about the situation. It's a very large country. It's a major exporter of oil and gas. There has been a lot of violence there. We have tried to at various points to signal our support for political reconciliation.
Genuine political dialogue still seems to be elusive. But certainly in light of the more recent escalation in violence, the security situation is something that will remain under very careful review, and certainly also one that we'll continue to exchange views with our allies in other resident embassies.
Q Is consideration being given to pulling the plug on the Embassy there, or do you not feel that -- I guess the violence is up to like 1,000 a month now killed.
MS. SHELLY: The violence -- the numbers certainly have gone up. I don't think there's any question about that. We, over time, as the situation has deteriorated, have reduced the number of personnel in the Embassy there.
It's a pretty scant presence at the moment. The security situation has certainly impacted on the ability of our personnel there to actually undertake their functions. We also just within the last couple of days had to stop issuing most of the non-immigrant visas there. We will continue to issue visas for categories of people such as diplomatic and official passport holders, and a couple of other selected categories. But most of the other visa activity, we're simply not going to be in a position to perform. It relates to basically the workload on the people who are still there, which I said is a fairly skeletal presence, and it also obviously relates to security concerns that we have.
I don't have anything else to signal at this point regarding what our intentions might be, with respect to those personnel.
Q Could we reasonably expect on Wednesday an on-the- record or off-the-record briefing on the trip for us great unwashed, who didn't go along on the trip to the Middle East?
MS. SHELLY: I can't promise you that. One thing that we do, as you know, is make the transcripts of all of the press activities available through the Press Office. But it normally is not our practice to do a readout on a trip immediately following the trip. So I don't think we have any plans to do that at this point.
Q Could you possibly raise it with that unknown Administration official who comes down and briefs?
MS. SHELLY: I'll raise it, but frankly I'm not optimistic about it at all.
Q How are you coming on the luncheon, which took place a couple of hours ago between President Castro and President Mitterrand?
MS. SHELLY: We're aware of the fact that the luncheon took place. I don't have any details on the menu at this point. Actually I don't have a whole lot to say on it, except I do have two sentences, if I can figure out whether it's filed under Europe or Latin America.
Two sentences of response. We note that France supported the resolution condemning human rights abuses and the lack of fundamental freedoms in Cuba, which was recently adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva. And we hope that the French Government and/or President Mitterrand use this opportunity to impress upon Castro the urgent need for democratic reforms and respect for human rights in Cuba. How's that? Short and sweet.
Q When is the next round of negotiations with North Korea on the light-water reactor project, and at what level will those negotiations take place? Also, do you know who will be leading the U.S. delegation?
MS. SHELLY: You're fairly far ahead of me. I do have one small piece of news is we have communicated in the aftermath of last week's KEDO meeting the outcome of the talks and the creation of KEDO to the DPRK delegation to the U.N. I'm told that the next round of the LWR talks will take place March 25 through 29 in Berlin.
Q You said that you weren't talking about Middle East things. Does that include your -- there was a wire story just before coming out here that the host Palestinian aid fund was empty. Do you have any comment on this?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. The issue of support for the Palestinian authority and assistance issues generally really does get into some of the things that the Secretary has been doing in the region, so I'm afraid I'm not in a position to do that one.
Q (Inaudible) forfeiting funds or talking to people to try to and encourage them to put in the money that countries agreed to put in and haven't put in?
MS. SHELLY: I think as a general point yes, we have. That's something which is of great concern to us, but again I think that's about as far as I can take it for today.
Q Do you have any details on the Secretary's upcoming visit with Kozyrev? Where and when?
MS. SHELLY: I think that the Secretary's party has suggested a time frame for that, which is likely to be the middle of next week, and as far as I know the meeting will take place in Geneva. I don't have any other details at this point.
Q One more, Christine, on this Mexico drug thing. There were allegations in the Washington Post article yesterday that the United States Government had warned, repeatedly warned the Mexican Government about a drug influence at high levels, about assassinations perhaps impending. Was the State Department involved in giving any of these warnings as far as you know, and can you tell us anything about the investigation that's going on with Mr. Massieu, captured here in this country recently, an accessory, a witness to all this?
MS. SHELLY: On the second part of your question first, there are two aspects. One is that there were violations, as you know, of the Customs regulations, and as that is an investigation which is ongoing, I'm not in a position to get into that. There's also the issue of his possible extradition, which is a Justice Department question.
So as there are two different angles relates to that arrest, there's not anything that the State Department is in a position to do independently.
I have a general comment, if you'd like one on the Washington Post articles that took place. They address, I think, in a somewhat general sense the points that you raise.
On the point about narcotics and corruption, the Mexican performance in the area of narcotics has not been all that we would have desired. I think as an overall we feel that their performance has been good.
President Zedillo has described illegal narcotics as Mexico's most important national security problem. The new Administration is committed to cooperating in this area more closely with us than ever before. For example, we are working with Mexico to enhance its air interdiction program. This is the so-called "Northern Border Response Force," and also border controls. We're also sharing detection and monitoring information.
In a recent meeting in Mexico between senior U.S. Government officials and Mexican law enforcement officials, the two government agreed to work closely on a broad range of legal and law enforcement issues, including counter-narcotics and money laundering.
Upon taking office, the Zedillo Administration committed itself to fundamental reforms aimed at combatting corruption. The appointment of a respected opposition party leader as Attorney General was a good beginning.
President Zedillo publicly warned his Cabinet secretaries and other officials not to use their offices to amass wealth or power. President Zedillo has begun a fundamental transformation of the judicial system. As a first step constitutional amendments to improve the performance and accountability of the Attorney General and the Supreme Court have already been enacted.
President Zedillo has shown every indication of their very strong commitment to the rule of law. Corruption in Mexico is a serious problem, and some of the corruption undeniably relates to narcotics trafficking.
Q But to that issue that I raised about prior notification by U.S. authorities of the Mexicans and that being ignored, as alleged in this article, you have no comment?
MS. SHELLY: That's just an issue on which we would not be inclined to get into a public discussion.
Q Thank you.
MS. SHELLY: Thanks.
(The briefing concluded at 2:01 p.m.)
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