U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING MARCH 15, 1995 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Wednesday, March 15, 1995 Briefer: David Johnson DEPARTMENT/STATEMENTS Commemoration of the First Anniversary of Federation of Bosnia-Hercegovina & ............................1 Inaugural Session of the Friends of Federation .....1 --Representatives ..................................1,7 Luncheon Hosted by Secretary of State Christopher ..1 Background Briefing by Senior Department Official ..1 Secretary of State Christopher's Trip to Geneva ......1 Nat'l. Performance Review/Reinventing Gov't. Efforts .2 --Independence of USIA, USAID, ACDA ................2-5 --Proposed Consolidation of Foreign Affairs Agencies .......................................2-5 GUATEMALA Report of Subversive Activities Charge against Harbury ...........................................5-6 Reported UN Commission Conclusions on HR Abuses ......5-6 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Next Steps for Federation ............................6-7 Reported UNHCR Request for Airdrops of Food over Bihac .............................................7-8 Reported Remarks by A/S Holbrooke on Croatia/Bosnia ..8-9 CYPRUS Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, Richard Beattie & Special Cyprus Coordinator, James Williams, Trip to Turkey .....................................8 TURKEY Fighting/Demonstrations ..............................9 --Prime Minister's Remarks on Human Rights ...........9 NORTHERN IRELAND Gerry Adams--Compliance w/Terms of Visa ..............9-10
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 1995, 1:14 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. JOHNSON: Good afternoon. I've got a couple of statements before we begin with your questions today, if you would give me a moment.
The first concerns the commemoration of the first anniversary of the Federation. Tomorrow, March 16, at 11:00 a.m., the Secretary will host an event at the State Department in the Benjamin Franklin Room to mark the first anniversary of the Washington Accords, the agreements establishing the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There will also be an inaugural session of the "Friends of the Federation," an informal support group of the nations led by the United States and the European Union, which will also serve as a six-month review of the Federation Accords. The latter session will be chaired by Assistant Secretary Richard Holbrooke.
The Federation will be represented by President Zubak. Croatia will be represented by President Franjo Tudjman, Foreign Minister Granic and Defense Minister Susak. The Bosnian Republic will be represented by Member of the Collective Presidency Ganic and Mijatovic, a Member of the Collective Presidency representing the Serb community.
Following the commemoration event, Secretary Christopher will host a small luncheon at the State Department in honor of our Bosnian and Croatian guests.
I would also like to draw your attention that at 2:15 this afternoon, in approximately an hour, a senior State Department official will provide a background briefing on tomorrow's events.
Second thing I'd like to draw your attention to before we begin today's questions is that, as previously announced in the Middle East, Secretary of State Christopher will travel to Geneva next week for meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev. The Secretary will depart for Geneva on Tuesday the 21st and return to Washington on or about Friday, the 24th.
A sign-up sheet will have been posted in the Press Office for those press interested in applying for a seat on the Secretary's aircraft. Applications will close and the sign-up sheet will come down at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, March 16.
With that, I'll be pleased to attempt to answer your questions.
Q There's a move on the Hill to revive the idea of consolidating the State Department with four other agencies, and is being led by Congressman Gilman and Senator Helms. I just wonder whether you have a reaction?
MR. JOHNSON: A few things to say about that. First of all, two years ago the Administration began a broad effort to reinvent the Federal Government and that effort included the State Department and the other foreign affairs agencies. That effort continues, and it's known as the National Performance Review.
Phase II of that Administration effort got underway just after the first of this year. We believe that the Administration's foreign affairs reinvention efforts are resulting in millions of dollars of savings already.
We reject the notion that consolidation equals reform, and we believe that the missions of arms control, public diplomacy, and sustainable development and humanitarian assistance are essential elements in the conduct of foreign policy, and they are best carried out by independent agencies operating in close coordination with the State Department and under the overall foreign policy guidance of the Secretary of State.
We believe that any attempt to consolidate all of these agencies right now would interrupt the conduct of foreign affairs. We believe that the Secretary and the President need the tools that they have at their disposal now to pursue our interests and to pursue broad engagement around the world.
Q In his presentation of it this morning, Senator Helms made the point that this reorganization plan was essentially the same one put forward by Secretary Christopher when his views were solicited by the Vice President. Is that correct?
MR. JOHNSON: I would say that this is not the Secretary's plan, by no means; that when the Vice President asked, shortly after the first of the year and the beginning of Phase II of the National Performance Review, to think of some different ways to approach things, we considered some various options. We considered them carefully, and we found them wanting. We found that the best way to pursue the foreign policy objectives of the Administration and the protection of American interests abroad was through reinvention of the foreign affairs agencies as currently constructed and the maintenance of the independence of those four agencies that operate in close coordination with the State Department and under the overall guidance of the Secretary of State.
Q Was the Secretary informed of the Helms plan in advance of its publication?
MR. JOHNSON: We've been speaking with the Senator at various levels. I think the plan itself was first unveiled today at the press conference.
I'd also say that this is the beginning of a rather lengthy process and just one of the first issues, or first encounters that we will have on it. We will see where things go.
Q Do you have a more detailed response? I mean, for the general public it's kind of obscure -- where an agency is located. But you may have very specific policy reasons, or reasons of organization for not consolidating, which your general statement did not really explain.
For example, putting the USIA under the State Department sounds like a plausible action. I'm not quite sure what all the objections are to it.
MR. JOHNSON: At this point, just having had this initiative launched at 11:00 this morning, I'm not in a position to respond to it in detail.
I would say that we found the independence of USIA in working abroad, in developing exchanges broadly for the American Government, in organizing the American Government's broadcast efforts, and in being an independent -- a voice with independent leadership that projects America's voice abroad has been helpful in our foreign policy efforts. We believe it's a tool that should remain at the disposal of the President and the Secretary of State and continuing to pursue American engagement abroad.
I would also say that it's likely that you'll hear other responses from around town as the day goes on.
Q How much independence does USIA have? You place a lot of importance on the extent to which these agencies are independent, but when you come right down to it, what does that mean? If the Secretary of State wants something done one way, and the head of USIA suggests it should be done another way?
MR. JOHNSON: The distinction should be drawn between their independence from the Department of State and from the Secretary of State. If you look at our configuration as currently done, those individuals who head those agencies operate under the leadership of the Secretary of State, but they're not a corporate component of the Department of State.
We have believed and continue to believe that the type of independence that they have as organizational structures has helped maintain the tools of foreign policy at our disposal that we need to pursue the interests of America abroad, including broad engagement on foreign policy issues with foreign publics.
Q Why is it better for AID to remain independent?
MR. JOHNSON: Because we believe that the organizational structure that they bring, the expertise which they bring, has enabled us to have a broad foreign assistance plan which pursues development and brings economies and countries to a point where they can become self- sustaining. We believe that this structure, which they currently have and which they've had over several years, is the one which can help us best do that in the future.
They and we have often pointed to some of their earlier success stories. I think the Republic of Korea is considered one of their stars in terms of having been a previous recipient of development assistance, and is now beginning its own development assistance program.
Q How is it better as an independent agency? I don't understand why the function couldn't be folded into this building and continue to operate and to have successes.
MR. JOHNSON: We just believe that the independence that it has, the independent voice it brings to development, in coordination with the Department of State, in pursuit of overall foreign affairs and foreign policy interests of the United States, has been the most effective way to pursue those interests. We believe that independent voice should be preserved and enhanced.
Q ACDA was created by the Congress deliberately to create an interest in arms control and sort of a bureaucratic momentum for it, but that was at a much different time. What's the logic today of ACDA remaining an independent agency?
MR. JOHNSON: I don't think anyone would argue that arms control has ceased to be an issue in American foreign policy, an interest for America that needs to be pursued vigorously. In fact, one could argue and I would, that it's become much more important as we've moved away from simply direct bilateral interest in arms control with what was the former Soviet Union to broader multilateral interests in issues, including non-proliferation, including control of proliferation of chemical and biological weapons -- things that were, of course, important in years before the Cold War ended but becoming much more important now.
The independent voice that they bring in articulating that interest and in keeping that interest in our foreign policy equation, we believe, is very important.
Q Senator Helms would create an Under Secretary for International Security, which would put a heavy focus on non- proliferation. Is there really, for the general public, a great difference between having an Under Secretary, which is really a top official being responsible for this, and an independent agency?
MR. JOHNSON: I think for the general public, as well as for the pursuit of American interests, it is very important to have the type of independence that comes from a separate agency with a focus interest on a particular set of issues, particularly when it is in something as essential to American security as arms control.
Q Guatemala. I have two questions.
MR. JOHNSON: I may not have any answers, but I'll do my best.
Q Okay. First, the Government of Guatemala has reacted to the suspension of some military -- U.S. military (inaudible) by charging Mrs. Harbury with subversive activities. Does the United States have any evidence that Mrs. Harbury has been involved in subversive activities?
MR. JOHNSON: Not having seen the charge, not knowing what the Government of Guatemala means by "subversive activities," I would hesitate to respond directly to that. I have seen no evidence that Mrs. Harbury is interested in doing anything but finding out the safety and the whereabouts of her husband.
Q Second question. The United Nations commission in Guatemala have just concluded that most of the increase of human rights abuses in that country come from the security and paramilitary forces. Is the United States going to take further steps to pressure the military to stop their violence?
MR. JOHNSON: I think the statement that we issued last Friday was a rather broad one that outlined our views on the issue of reconciliation in Guatemala, and I'm going to stay with that for a while. I'll look into the question which you raise and see if we want to say anything further.
Q But this was yesterday.
MR. JOHNSON: I understand that.
Q A question about the Bosnian Federation. Realizing that there will be background briefing on this, but just for the record, what needs to happen in the next -- specifically, I guess, in Washington or more generally in the next days and weeks, in order for this Federation to work, and why is it so important that -- what's at stake?
MR. JOHNSON: I think tomorrow's events are going to start a process, including this founding of the "Friends of the Federation," which we hope will put us on a track to further establishing an entity in Bosnia that can support what we hope will eventually be an end to the conflict there and begin to foster a process of peace. In concert with that, we are pursuing at the U.N. the adoption of a resolution which will permit the installation of a force in Croatia which will help, we hope, avoid the further outbreak of hostilities which we all feared would occur in the next few weeks, in the absence of any change there.
I think that I would prefer not to get any further into that, not so much because of the backgrounder later this afternoon, but because I think that those events will become clearer tomorrow, and I'll let the Secretary speak for himself on that issue.
Q Can you say what have been the main obstacles? There seems to be widespread agreement from a political point of view, at least, that the Croatians have really gone very little beyond the cease-fire stage. Can you say what those obstacles are and what specifically has to be overcome in order to get beyond that?
MR. JOHNSON: I think I'm going to defer that type of question to a little later in the afternoon.
Q Can I follow-up on that? When you talk about insertion of a new force into Bosnia, would that include any U.S. forces in -- I realize it's going a little further, but --
MR. JOHNSON: I think we've made very clear from this lectern and from others in the U.S. Government on a number of occasions what would be required before we would entertain the notion of inserting United States' troops in a peacekeeping role.
There is the possibility of the use of a few U.S. individual soldiers in a communications role, but that is not associated with this new U.N. Security Council authorized force which may become the replacement for UNPROFOR in Croatia. That's associated with NATO's potential plans to assist in withdrawal of UNPROFOR, should that become necessary. Those communication forces would be dedicated to that.
Q And they would be essentially out of NATO troops?
MR. JOHNSON: Yes.
Q This may be a semantic piece of trivia -- maybe not, though. There's a new word that has crept into your various vocabularies lately -- Bosniac. What is a "Bosniac," and how does it differ from a Bosnian?
MR. JOHNSON: I think that is the adjectival form that the persons who live in Bosnia have preferred that we use. I don't think that -- I think that is in semantic form a distinction without a difference from our point of view.
Q I think it refers mainly to Muslims.
MR. JOHNSON: Okay, I will accept your characterization.
Q I've got a question on the same subject. I was going to ask, tomorrow's ceremonies, Turkish Foreign Minister is also participating, right? Did you mention that?
MR. JOHNSON: Was that in my statement? Or are you asking me if -- I don't have a full participants' list. I'll see if I can get you something fuller than I have. I was just able to mention those who would be representing the Federation tomorrow. I don't have a list of those who will be there as other participants beyond those with a speaking role.
Q The U.N. High Commission for Refugees has asked repeatedly for Western countries, including the United States, to resume airdrops of food supplies over Bihac, and it's been turned down repeatedly. I wonder if you could explain what the reasons are.
MR. JOHNSON: My only surmise is that we've declined to do so for safety reasons. I'd prefer to see if my colleagues at the Pentagon have something they can help me with on that before I go any further than that.
Q There was a story on Reuters this weekend that, as I understand it, said there were also policy reasons, diplomatic reasons - - apparently a desire not to ruffle the Bosnian Serbs or maybe the Krajina Serbs -- I don't know who exactly -- who are engaged in delicate negotiations now over cease-fires, over new arrangements in Krajina.
Can you check whether that is the case -- whether there's any reason other than safety? And, furthermore, I don't even understand the safety reason. This is -- we're talking about the U.S. Air Force dropping food. They've dropped it before. Why can't they do it now?
MR. JOHNSON: I would leave it to the Air Force to describe what their safety concerns are. I wouldn't pretend to be someone who could explain to them or to tell them when their aircraft are and are not in harm's way. They are cargo aircraft which fly relatively slowly, so I would imagine the safety concerns are slightly more than those that you describe. I will look into the question if there's anything beyond safety.
Q Cyprus Special Envoy Richard Beattie just paid a visit to Turkey. Could you tell us your evaluation of that visit?
MR. JOHNSON: I'll tell you what I can about that. Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Richard Beattie and Special Cyprus Coordinator James Williams traveled to Turkey, March 6 through 9. They met with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. They both conveyed U.S. resolve that a solution be found to the Cyprus problem. They reaffirmed U.S. support for the U.N. Secretary General's good offices mission to Cyprus and the establishment of a bicommunal, bizonal federation.
The Prime Minister expressed Turkey's desire to assist in finding a solution and assured Mr. Beattie of her government's support in that regard.
Q (Inaudible) linkage with the European Union? Was it?
MR. JOHNSON: I don't have anything beyond what I said, but I wouldn't assume so.
Q Thank you, Mr. Johnson. Back to Bosnia for a moment -- not to Bosnia, but really to Croatia. Ambassador Holbrooke was very upbeat in an interview this morning over -- well, in conjunction with his appearance at the House International Relations Committee, and basically what he said was that this deal in Croatia is made, and he's turning his attention now to Bosnia. He was hurrying off, I believe, to meet Mr. Tudjman, but he said now his focus will be Bosnia. Have you any comments on that very bright report?
MR. JOHNSON: I would only say that we are all quite gratified that we were able to come up with an agreement, supported by Tudjman, to find a solution to the problem of withdrawal by the 31st of March, but that we still have some work to do on that.
But I wouldn't take issue with the notion that now would be the time for us to turn our attention in addition to other areas, because we have made a good start on solving this one and we would want to finish the job, but that there are other areas that are crying out for attention as well, and I wouldn't argue with the Assistant Secretary saying that those might need more of his attention now than they did a couple of weeks ago.
Q Villages fighting, demonstration going on in Turkey last week. As an ally of Turkey, are you concerned over the developments in Turkey?
MR. JOHNSON: I'd say that Turkey's experiencing a difficult period of major political, economic and social change, including human rights problems that have to be addressed; that the occurrences of the past few days are a product of a continuing transformation toward a more modern society and more modern democracy, and that we have every confidence in Turkey's evolution toward a more democratic future.
In that connection, we noted with pleasure the Prime Minister's March 14 speech calling for a series of reforms to strengthen democracy and human rights in Turkey. We see her action plan as a strong reaffirmation of Turkey's commitment to a democratic future, and we urge that it fully be supported both at home and abroad.
Q Different subject, David. The subject of Gerry Adams' visit here. Is the U.S. satisfied that Gerry Adams is doing all he can to -- in the decommissioning of IRA weapons and in terms of the visa under which he came here on his visit that allowed fund-raising -- is the U.S. satisfied that it's worth the price it's paid in terms of the strain with the British over this?
MR. JOHNSON: I'd say that we -- in terms of the visa issue that we took a chance and are taking a chance to help establish peace in Northern Ireland; that I think that no one could argue that the chances that we've taken over the last several months with respect to Mr. Adams have not been ones that are paying off; and that while we might occasionally differ with the Government of the United Kingdom on some of the tactical issues regarding the pursuit of peace in Northern Ireland, I think there is no distinction of opinion on our goals. I have seen nothing to tell me that Mr. Adams is not complying with the terms of his visa.
Q Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:38 p.m.)
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING MARCH 17, 1995
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
I N D E X
Friday, March 17, 1995
Briefer: Christine Shelly
DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCEMENT Secretary of State Christopher's Trip to Geneva --Stop in Paris for Meeting with FM Juppe on 3/22 ....1
VIETNAM Reports on Boatpeople/Numbers in Asylum Camps/ Steering Committee of CPA Decision/Repatriation.....1-2
HAITI Haitian Refugees in Guantanamo/Unaccompanied Minors...2-3
PORTUGAL Report of Delay of Russian Plane w/Arms Cargo ........3
BRAZIL U.S. Request for Provisional Arrest of Martin Pang ...3-4
GLOBAL AFFAIRS Fourth World Conference on Women--Accreditation ......5
NORTH KOREA Alleged Non-compliance w/IAEA Safeguard Inspections ..5 Report of Congressional Amendment re: Framework Agreement .........................................8
IRAN CONOCO/State Department Exchanges re: Iran Transaction .......................................6-7
JAPAN Testimony by U/S Tarnoff re: Finan. Aid to Iran ......7
RUSSIA Congressional Amendment re: Linking Sale of Nuclear- related Equip.& Tech. to No-Sale of Reactors to Iran ..............................................7
FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Defense Secretary Perry Response re: Military Adviser ...........................................8
MEXICO Alleged Assassination Attempt Against Cardinal Compo .8
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 1995, 1:22 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Let me begin today's briefing with a short announcement that is certainly not going to come as a surprise to you, for those of you who are the aficionados of watching the Secretary's travel. As I think you may already know, the Secretary has added a brief Paris stop to his trip next week to Geneva to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev. He will arrive in Paris the evening of March 21, and meet with Foreign Minister Juppe on the morning of March 22. After that, he'll proceed to Geneva for his meetings with Foreign Minister Kozyrev.
The possibility had come up whether or not the Secretary might stop in Paris, actually, on his way back from his Middle Eastern trip. French Foreign Minister Juppe had asked him to stop by. It simply did not prove to be possible, but they agreed that they would get together as soon as they could after that.
I expect this will be a relatively short meeting, but I believe it will also focus on the usual topics that we discuss when we get together -- generally, things regarding the U.S.-French relationship, Bosnia, Russia; certainly the Middle East peace process. It's an opportunity for the Secretary to give a readout -- in person, of course -- to Foreign Minister Juppe on his recently concluded trip. I expect he'll also be talking about NPT.
I'll be happy to take your questions on other subjects.
Q Have you seen the stories about the desperate Vietnamese boat people, most of whom apparently don't want to be returned home? I just wonder whether the United States has taken note of these stories?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, we have. I've certainly seen those reports. There are some 43,000 Vietnamese remaining in the first asylum camps in southeast Asia. More than half are in Hong Kong. The remainder are in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore.
Those remaining in the camps have been found not to qualify for refugee status. Under international law and practice, and under the Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the CPA, people whose claims to asylum have not been upheld have no option but to return to their country origin. Some 71,000 Vietnamese have returned voluntarily to Vietnam from the first asylum camps since 1989.
The U.S. has been working closely with non-governmental organizations to provide some $8 million in support of projects in Vietnam to assist those who do opt to return.
The returnees have been able to resume normal lives with the assistance of a reintegration program, which is organized by UNHCR, donor governments, and NGOs. UNHCR monitors the returnees very closely and thus far I'm told, have not found evidence of persecution after those have returned.
As to the issue about when those who remain might have to leave the camps, the Steering Committee of the Comprehensive Plan of Action was meeting in Geneva -- I believe this was yesterday -- and has decided that return to the country of origin should now be expedited in safety and in dignity for the remaining non-refugees, enabling the programs and activities under the CPA to be brought to a successful and humane conclusion.
The target date for the completion of the repatriation continues to be the end of 1995, except in Hong Kong where more than half of the Vietnamese remain and where the target date would be shortly thereafter. UNHCR will continue to be present in the camps until they close.
Q How about refugees going back to Haiti? Are all refugees from Guantanamo being taken back to Haiti?
MS. SHELLY: There still is a number -- I don't have the table with me -- there still is a number. I think it's several hundred Haitians who do remain in Guantanamo. The rest of them have left.
The cases pending have to do -- it's a variety of different categories of people. There still are some unaccompanied minors whose family connections we're still trying to verify, so we can obviously make decisions about what's in the best interest of the children. There are some other categories of individuals who are also left. But with the exception of a few hundred, the others have all been returned.
Q There's a wire story saying that some of those unaccompanied minors are being returned to Haiti against their will?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything specific on that. I believe some unaccompanied minors have already been returned. As to those who remain, it may be that they have been able to identify family connections. I know in some cases that there are actually parents who are back -- one or more parents who are back in Haiti where children were left in the camps.
So I believe that what's happening is in the context of the efforts to get children reunited with their parents.
Q Another question?
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q The Portuguese have way-laid a plane, I believe in the Azores, which is a Russian plane loaded with arms, intended either for Ecuador or Peru, they think. The bill of lading said that it was medical supplies.
MS. SHELLY: How did I miss this question? (Laughter) I missed it. I'm going to check. Let me check and see what we know about this.
Q Do you have information confirming an arrest and an extradition request on a murder-arson suspect? There was a fatal fire in Seattle. The suspect was arrested yesterday, according to the Brazilian police. Do you have any information about the extradition process from Brazil?
MS. SHELLY: I have a very little bit of information on that. This is regarding the provisional arrest of an individual named Martin Pang. That's the one?
What I'm told is that last night, pursuant to a U.S. request for the provisional arrest for the purpose of extradition, Brazilian authorities have arrested Mr. Pang. Pang is wanted by the state of Washington to stand trial on four counts of murder related to the deaths of firefighters killed in extinguishing a fire allegedly set by Mr. Pang.
Pursuant to the U.S.-Brazil Extradition Treaty, the U.S. has 60 days from the date of this arrest to submit its formal request for Pang's extradition. The U.S. Government appreciates the Government of Brazil's assistance in this matter.
Q Is extradition from Brazil regarded as a routine process in a criminal matter?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not an expert on extradition, or particularly on the Brazil practice. I simply know what the process is, which is making the provisional request with a view to getting a formal request for the extradition. I'll be happy to check and see if there's anything more specifically related to Brazil or extradition that we might want to say, but that's the information I have at the moment.
Q There are two stages to this request process? There's a --
MS. SHELLY: The first stage of this is the request -- when a country files a request for a provisional arrest, which is for the purpose of extradition. Then, my understanding is that then from there, the formal request for extradition is put forward by the country requesting the action.
Q Do you know whether that's been done in this case -- whether we can have actually made this formal request?
MS. SHELLY: Not that I'm aware of, specifically. But according to the provisions of the treaty, as I mentioned, we have 60 days from the date of the arrest. According to my information, the arrest took place last night, so we would have 60 days from last night to file the request for extradition.
Q Do you have anything on the upcoming Israel-Syria talks?
MS. SHELLY: I do not. Not yet.
Q There's a story in the paper today about China and the Vatican, improbably enough, teaming up to exclude certain groups from the upcoming Womens Conference. Anything on that?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have a lot of information on that. I did get something this morning; also trying to ascertain what we have about the accreditation for the conference.
As you know, the PREPCON -- the final PREPCON -- for the Fourth World Conference on Women started on Wednesday, I believe, of this week up in New York. It's expected to run for up to three weeks. The actual conference itself will be taking place in September in Beijing.
What I'm told regarding the credentials issue on that is -- let me just see what I have. This is a slightly lengthy explanation. I'll see if I can condense it a little bit.
On Wednesday, March 15, the Commission on the Status of Women accredited more than 1,309 governmental organizations to attend the CSW meeting and the U.N. Fourth Conference on Women.
In addition to the NGOs that have permanent consultative status with the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council, and are automatically eligible to attend the meetings, the CSW had accredited approximately another 100 groups at its 1994 session. The total number of close to 7,000 eligible NGOs is unprecedented by a world conference.
Nevertheless, during the past week, we became aware of the fact that a number of NGOs had sought accreditation but were either denied or never informed of their status by the Conference Secretariat for the meeting.
According to U.N. General Assembly resolutions, the Conference Secretariat had been designated to review all applications for accreditation for the meeting. Decisions were based on the relevance of the organization to the work of the CSW and on the organization's competence.
In addition, on Wednesday objections were raised to a total of five NGOs. The groups have so far been excluded from participating in the meeting now underway.
Because of these objections, the accreditation of these groups was put aside following consultations, during which the U.S. has been playing a central role. An agreement was reached to establish a mechanism for the preparatory committee to review the status of NGOs whose accreditation was challenged or not fully processed. The U.S. will serve on this special working group established for this purpose.
I think that's about all I've got at this point.
Q Do you have any comment on wire reports that North Korea is failing to live up to its commitments on IAEA safeguard inspections?
MS. SHELLY: I haven't seen that report, so I'd have to check on that to see. I'm not aware that we have anything new to say on that. We're certainly fully complying with our obligations under the agreement, and I would have to check on that report specifically. I'm not aware that there has been, to our knowledge at least, anything except threats and some public statements that if the issue of the country that would be providing the light-water reactor was not settled to North Korea's satisfaction, that they might consider walking away from the agreement.
But again, we've seen those kinds of statements before. I'd have to check on the specific point regarding the IAEA. I'm not aware of new developments on that score.
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q Can you amplify at all Under Secretary Tarnoff's remarks -- apparently -- maybe this came up yesterday, and I apologize if it did -- before the Senate Banking Committee that CONOCO officials had been telling State for about four years that they were working on this deal?
MS. SHELLY: I don't really have a lot that I can say to supplement that. One of the things, obviously, that we have been doing in the last couple of weeks since this deal had emerged and also as the various discussions related to the announcement of that were underway, we have gone back and perused our own records to try to be sure that we were absolutely accurate in our own statements regarding our conversations with CONOCO and the degree to which we did have details about the agreement.
I don't know if our examination of earlier memorandums of conversation or telegrams that might have been sent in from the field -- I don't know if our search at this point is exhaustive, but certainly from what we have been able to piece together, it certainly is very much our impression that we learned of the discussions, shall we say, between CONOCO and Iran in a kind of bits and pieces fashion.
We in fact were very surprised when the actual announcement of the arrangement was made. Our records do indicate that, at times in the past when we did have discussions with CONOCO officials, we conveyed to those officials our belief and our view that such a deal would not be consistent with American policy toward Iran.
So I don't know how much more -- that's basically also what Under Secretary Tarnoff had said without providing an exact chapter and verse in a response. We obviously will continue to examine that, and we do have some questions that we will be sending some written answers up to the Hill.
But certainly from the records that we have been able to put together, that is certainly our picture which would characterize those exchanges.
Q Mr. Tarnoff yesterday in his testimony said that the United States would urge Japan not to go ahead with the plan to give the financial loans to Iran. Do you have anything to add beyond that?
MS. SHELLY: No, I do not. That's certainly a well known position of ours. We try to get other countries and certainly key allies of ours to abstain from making official credits to Iran for projects which take place there, and so that is exactly what our position is, which was restated again yesterday by Under Secretary Tarnoff.
Q Do you find the Bumpers amendment helpful -- it was passed yesterday -- saying that help to the U.S. -- the Russian space station would be cut off -- funds would be cut off if the nuclear deal between Iran and Russia went through?
MS. SHELLY: I've got something on that. I had seen a report that said that funding for the space station might be cut off if they didn't terminate their nuclear power reactor sale. We're told in investigating that report, that that report is not correct; that the amendment actually made no linkage between the two issues.
We're told that what passed yesterday is an amendment that is a kind of second degree amendment -- a change to the language proposed last week by Senator Bumpers to the Defense appropriation bill. What that language does is, it links consideration of a possible agreement with Russia that would allow for commercial sales of nuclear-related equipment and technology. It would link that to a decision by Moscow to halt the sale of reactors to Iran.
This amendment is an improvement over what was in the original version of it. As you know, our position is that we continue to oppose all nuclear cooperation with Iran.
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q Do you have anything on the possibility of a military adviser being sent to the Federation?
MS. SHELLY: I understand that Secretary Perry actually addressed that earlier today, so I think I'll just leave it with what his response to that question was.
I think you know generally from some discussions and briefings that took place earlier, that there had been a military adviser who then had left, and then there was another appointment which was pending and then did not happen. So the idea was to try to get someone who would pick up on the work which had been done before. But I think Secretary Perry has addressed it in greater specificity earlier today.
Q Back to the amendment. Do you have any comment on Murkowski -- the Murkowski amendment which requires congressional appropriation for any funds to go to the North Korea Framework Agreement?
MS. SHELLY: Was this passed? Was there action on this yesterday?
Q This was last -- yes.
MS. SHELLY: Or was it a few days ago?
Q I think it was in last night's Defense --
MS. SHELLY: I'm going to have to check on that, because I know there had been some discussion about the form in which the agreement had taken -- as a political understanding or as a treaty -- and I think that some of what Murkowski -- some of the points he had raised has also touched on that issue. But let me check on that specifically, and I'll do the answer to that in the form of a taken question.
Q Yes, thank you, Christine. In the Times two days ago, an article that alleged that there was evidence that Cardinal Ocampo, the Mexican Cardinal assassinated last year, thought to have been accidentally assassinated, was in fact a target for assassination. Does the Department have anything at all on that particular case? I understand the Justice Department is cooperating with the Mexicans and investigating several of these high-level assassinations.
MS. SHELLY: I got this question at yesterday's briefing, and then I said that I didn't have any independent information on that.
MS. SHELLY: That's okay. Other questions?
Q Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:42 p.m.)
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