U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING MARCH 27, 1995 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, March 27, 1995 Briefer: Christine Shelly ANNOUNCEMENTS CHAD: Release of Kidnapped American Citizen ......1 TURKEY -- Incursion Into Iraq: German, EU Reaction ..............................1-2 Self-Defense Argument, Assurances to U.S .........2,4-5 Iraqi Territorial Integrity ......................2-3 International Solution ...........................3-4,5-7 Operation Provide Comfort & No-Fly Zone Review ...4,6 Observation of PKK in Northern Iraq ..............15 IRAQ Detention, Trial of American Citizens ............7-9 Investigation of Incident.........................8 Multilateral Efforts to Obtain Release ...........8-9 Linkage to UN Sanctions ..........................9 BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA Ceasefire Violations, Fighting Update ............10-11 Draft U.N. Peacekeeping Resolution on UNPROFOR ...11 U.N.-NATO Response to Bosnian-Serb Attacks .......11-12 CROATIA Fighting..........................................11 U.N. Resolution Restructuring UNPROFOR Peacekeeping ...................................11-12 F.Y.R.O.M. (Macedonia) Status of Draft U.N. Peacekeeping Resolution .....11 SOUTH KOREA/NORTH KOREA State of Play Re Agreed Framework, Cooperation ...12-13 Berlin Talks, Pause for Consultations ............13-15, 16 North Korea Compliance with Framework Elements ...16-17 JORDAN Debt Relief.......................................15 RUSSIA Non-Proliferation Working Group...................15-16 Iran Nuclear Supply ..............................15 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Syria-Israel Talks in Washington .................17 MEXICO Assassination Investigations, U.S. Extradition ...17-18
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING DPC #40
MONDAY, MARCH 27, 1995, 1:28 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. At briefings last week, on Wednesday and again on Friday, we noted that one U.S. citizen, Anthony Johnson, had been kidnapped in Chad on March l9. We provided you with some information on that in an update. I'm very pleased to be able to report today that Mr. Johnson was released late last night in the town of Malumfatrie in Nigeria. Mr. Johnson's health condition is reported to be stable. He is with the U.S. Consul General from our Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria, and a Nigerian doctor. They're making arrangements for onward travel to Lagos, where Mr. Johnson will be able to receive the necessary medical attention. The U.S. Government greatly appreciates the efforts of the Governments of Chad, Niger, and Nigeria in obtaining the safe release of Mr. Johnson. I would also like to point out the superb teamwork and coordination by the officers of the three U.S. Embassies involved -- in Ndjamena, Niamey, and Lagos -- as well as the U.S. Liaison Office in Abuja, Nigeria. I'll be happy to take your questions. Q Can I start with Turkey? The German Government said today that it wants to suspend some military aid to Turkey in response to the military incursion. What is the United States' position on Germany's actions and other European criticism? Is the Turkish incursion causing a rift within NATO? MS. SHELLY: You've asked me several questions, some of which I think are not really mine to answer. I think it's up to Germany to decide what is appropriate in its relationship with Turkey, and that's not something that we would choose to get into the middle. I think the EU's positions regarding the Turkish action are well-known, and to my knowledge the Turkish incursion into Iraq has not become a NATO issue. Q Did you say that this is a self-defense issue for the U.S. Government? MS. SHELLY: I'm not sure that we have described it as a self- defense issue. We have acknowledged that there were terrorist actions being taken against Turkey that originated on the soil of Iraq. We have stated our position on this, which, as you know, keyed off of the President's initial remarks of expressing understanding; but at the same time we've also been watching the situation very carefully, including the reports of any kinds of actions that might occur against innocent Kurdish civilians in the area. Of course, as we receive some of those reports that have certainly given rise for some concern, we also watch the developments against the backup of the assurances that Turkish authorities themselves have given us -- which is, of course, that the operation would be limited in scope and duration, and also that they would do everything possible to try to minimize any impact on innocent civilians, and that they also would undertake the action with human rights considerations in mind. As we did receive some reports the end of last week and over the weekend suggesting that there had been some adverse effects against the civilians in northern Iraq, I can confirm that Secretary Christopher instructed our Ambassador to raise several concerns with the Turkish Prime Minister. He expressed his concerns about the reports that we had been receiving that Turkish forces might be preparing for a longer stay in northern Iraq. He also stressed the need that the actions be done in a way that would respect the human rights concerns and issues regarding those who are not involved in the combat, and his message also reemphasized the importance of a rapid Turkish withdrawal from Iraq. Q Ankara stated the other day that it does not recognize the invaded area of northern Iraq as Iraqi territory due to the point that the Baghdad government does not exercise any authority. What is the U.S. position to this effect? MS. SHELLY: I think it's up to the Turks to indicate what their position is. Turkey indicated at the outset of the operation that they continue to respect the territorial sovereignty of Iraq, so that was not at issue. I think what's at issue is that there is an administrative vacuum in that area, which is one of the reasons why there has been the continuance of the kinds of actions -- PKK actions -- emanating from Iraqi soil into Turkey proper. Yes, Carol. Q The United States expressed this concern to Turkey about Turkey possibly staying in Iraq longer than might have been indicated earlier. What was the reply from Turkey? MS. SHELLY: I don't have a readout for you on the reply. I just have the part of it which is the points that we made to the Turkish Prime Minister. Q Do you believe at this point in time that Turkey is going to make this a quick-and-dirty kind of operation, or are you afraid that they're going to stay there for a longer period of time? MS. SHELLY: As you know, there were some reports that the Turkish Prime Minister was seeking to look for some kind of broader international approach to dealing with the problems, the terrorism which does emanate from Iraqi soil. Those are not ideas, to my understanding, that have been put forward in any concrete detail. The assurances that we have continued to get from Turkey suggest that they would like to keep this as short an operation as possible. I'm not aware that there has been any change in their position that they've articulated -- also keeping in mind the human rights concerns. So it's still very much our feeling that they would like to get in and out as fast as possible. Q Are you at all sympathetic to this indication by the Prime Minister that perhaps they would like a broader international approach to the terrorism problem? Do you see a potential for the United States helping out in that regard? MS. SHELLY: I think, certainly, as I've mentioned already, no specific ideas have been put to us yet about either how to get at the heart of the problem -- which is terrorists using northern Iraq as a springboard for attacks into Turkey. That, of course, is the general problem. The Prime Minister told the press that she favors the idea of an international solution to the problems. The former Turkish Foreign Minister also, I think, made some comments along similar lines. The Turkish Government has only raised, I think in a general fashion up to this point, their desire to discuss the situation in northern Iraq; and so we will, of course, be interested to hear what specific proposals they might make. Judd. Q Is the U.S. Government re-thinking the safe haven and no-fly zones? I mean, that's part of why there is a vacuum in northern Iraq, isn't it? MS. SHELLY: I don't think it's a specific point. I mean, as you know, Operation Provide Comfort and the no-fly zone were specifically put in place to try to restrain Iraqi actions against Iraqi Kurds. But, nonetheless, there is a vacuum of authority in some of the places that then, unfortunately, has resulted in the establishment of PKK terrorist camps across the other side of the Turkish border. So there is, I think, the problem of the authority there. I think that there will be a desire -- I think the Turks, in fact, themselves have already signaled their desire to review Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq with their coalition partners. They have, in fact, had those types of reviews in the past. My understanding is that the most recent review of the situation there overall took place in March of l994. I think that they will pursue their specific concerns in some kind of a review of the operation, specifically with respect to trying to determine what to do about the so-called administrative vacuum. Q To follow up, does that review entail, perhaps, forbidding planes to take off from Turkish bases? MS. SHELLY: I think, at this point, since they have not articulated what it is that they'd like to review, that's simply getting too far down the track. Sid. Q Christine, you said earlier that the United States Government has not said this is a legitimate act of self- defense. We were given some guidance last week -- we may have been mistaken in our interpretation -- but it said pretty clearly that the U.S. Government did think it was a legitimate act of self-defense. So could you just say what the U.S. Government feels -- whether it does, under international law, feel this is a legitimate act of self- defense? MS. SHELLY: I would like to go back and check what we said last week. What we were discussing last week was, I think, the general situation under international law regarding actions that a country may take specifically to protect itself from terrorist actions which may emanate from abroad. I didn't bring that formulation with me, but I'd be happy to put that back up as a TQ this afternoon. Q But you're confident enough in our position to say that we -- the United States -- does not feel it's a legitimate act of self- defense? We did not say last week that it was -- MS. SHELLY: No, I believe we articulated it in a different way, which was to point to the fact that countries have certain rights under international law to take action against or to try to seek to stop actions that may be taking place across international borders against them. So I don't have that formulation with me. If you don't mind, I'd just as soon get that and try to put that up as a TQ. Q This phrase that is being thrown around -- "broader international solution" or "proposal" -- seems to be shorthand for something else. Is it shorthand for a buffer zone -- or a demilitarized zone, or something? MS. SHELLY: As to the notion of whether Turkey might wish to establish a buffer zone, that notion was bandied about the end of last week. But I think that the Turks themselves have not put forward what their ideas might be -- whether it would be an international presence, or some kind of a buffer zone, or establishing some kind of a security belt in that region. As I've said and I've reiterated already, we certainly would like to see the Turkish troops withdraw from Iraq at the earliest possible occasion, and we have reiterated that view to the Turkish authorities. But I think, again, it is going to be up to the Turks to put forward some of their ideas that they presumably have been thinking about and have some notion of about what might be able to be done to try to stop the PKK terrorist attacks against them. Q In order to hasten this process, has the U.S. Government asked the Turks exactly what they have in mind and what kind of time scale they're talking about? MS. SHELLY: No, as I said, the Turkish Government so far has not put forward any proposals to us that have any particular details. That's something that we expect that we'll be hearing from them, and presumably the other participants in Operation Provide Comfort would also be hearing, in the context of their desire to review the operation overall. Q That wasn't quite my question. I didn't ask -- but you'd already said -- that the Turks haven't put forward. What I asked you is has the United States Government asked the Turks precisely what they have in mind? MS. SHELLY: No, we expect that the Turks are going to come to us and tell us. They have just made the general statement so far about their desire to raise this internationally, and then also, as I mentioned, to discuss Operation Provide Comfort and its implication, obviously, regarding the administrative vacuum and anything else which may be on their minds. We're expecting them to come to us at this point. Q In the meantime, is it all right with the United States if Turkish troops remain in that enclave while they formulate this proposition? MS. SHELLY: We would like Turkish troops to come out as soon as possible. Q That's not the question. The question is: You have the strong impression -- you've said it at least a dozen times -- that they have something in mind -- some internationalization of this problem. And you've also said they haven't told you what it is exactly. I don't know why the Ambassador couldn't ask, but you say they haven't told the U.S. yet what it is. So the question is, in that period while they're formulating this proposition, is it all right with the U.S. if Turkish troops remain in that area? MS. SHELLY: Barry, insofar as we have no idea how long it will take them to develop and to propose and then obviously also to discuss with others what their longer-term solutions might be -- we have no idea how long that's going to take -- our very strong and firm position is that we would like them to get their troops back to Turkey at the earliest possible moment. So we want them to keep to their own commitments that the operation be limited in duration and scope, and that's exactly what the Secretary conveyed again to the Prime Minister this past weekend. Q May we move to the two Americans held by Iraq? Do you have anything new on that situation, and do you have any response to the charges from the Iraqis that they were there for the purpose of sabotage? MS. SHELLY: As to the latter part of your question, that is preposterous. They were not there for that purpose at all. I think you've probably seen most of what we know at this point about the trial. Let me just briefly cover what I've got. As I think you know, on Saturday morning, March 25, the two Americans were tried at the Al-Karradah Criminal Court in Baghdad. The trial lasted about one and a half hours. Both Americans were represented by a court-appointed Iraqi attorney. At the trial the Americans were sentenced to eight years' imprisonment for illegal entry into Iraq under Paragraph 24 of the Residence Law. The Polish authorities, who are our protecting power in Iraq, were notified immediately before the trial began and did attend the hearing. As you can imagine, regarding the verdict, the Americans were certainly shocked by the verdict. I think they reacted in a way that any American familiar with incarceration in Iraq would react. The conditions, of course, in Iraq are notoriously grim. As we have said already, there is no justification whatsoever for these sentences. The Americans fell into Iraqi hands when they accidentally crossed the border and committed no offense which justifies these kinds of jail sentences. We call upon the Iraqi authorities to release both Americans immediately. The two are being held at an Iraqi immigration detention center and are expected to be transferred shortly to the Abu Gharaib Prison, which my understand is that's in Baghdad. The Polish authorities are continuing to press for access to the detained Americans, but so far no further visits have been authorized. We will continue to work in order to try to obtain their release as soon as possible. Q What does the State Department think of Senator Lugar's proposition that maybe you ought to dangle the possibility of military action in front of the Iraqis and see if that won't get the Americans out? MS. SHELLY: The Secretary just addressed that in the photo op, and as he also said, we are pursuing this through a variety of diplomatic channels, and to go beyond that is a discussion of hypotheticals. Judd. Q Any status -- can you give us any report on the status of the investigation in to how they crossed the border and particularly UNIKOM's culpability in this? I think -- I mean, there's a ditch there. I mean, it's not easy to go across. MS. SHELLY: UNIKOM is the organization which is actually doing the formal investigation, and I'm not aware that they've finished yet. Q I thought this Department -- MS. SHELLY: Through our Embassy also in Kuwait, of course, we were also investigating this as well. I'm not aware that we have anything we're ready to say publicly on this yet. Betsy. Q Christine, have you all spoken with countries such as Russia or Turkey to try and help in this endeavor in getting these men out, and won't this really complicate things if they are indeed tried for espionage, as the Iraqis are saying they might do? MS. SHELLY: Some public statements have been made in Iraq on this, that then not necessarily been acted upon. So I think we don't want to overreact to that latter possibility. We certainly have been in touch already with several governments who have closer relations with Iraq than we have. At this point, I don't want to start ticking them off. The Secretary, I just would note, mentioned last week that he also had discussed this with the French Foreign Minister. But there are other countries out there that we have sent message to, to also ask them or try to enlist their involvement in trying to get the two men released as soon as possible. Q (Inaudible) MS. SHELLY: Other then acknowledging what the Secretary already said last week, which was France, I'm not going to get into naming the others. Q I'd like to clarify something you said earlier. If I have it correctly, you said that conditions in Iraq are notoriously grim. Are you referring specifically to the conditions under which the two are being held, or are you just making a general statement about Iraq? MS. SHELLY: I'm making a general statement about what we know about incarceration conditions in Iraq. Q About incarceration. MS. SHELLY: Yes. Q Not the economic situation, but literally prisons. MS. SHELLY: What it's like to be incarcerated, detained, held in a cell in prison, or any of the other variants thereof. Bill. Q Can I change the subject to Bosnia, or anybody else -- Bosnia okay? Q Just one other question. Q Go ahead. MS. SHELLY: Same subject? Q Yes. Does the U.S. accept any kind of linkage between the two Americans being held and the embargoes against Iraq? MS. SHELLY: No. This is a consular matter. We think that any of the efforts by, or attempts by Iraq to try to draw other issues into the equation will be misguided. Q To Bosnia. The Spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force, Colin Murphy, said that, "Events are spinning out of control. Our worst fears could become reality in the not-too-distant future." And he was speaking about a retaliation, I believe, on the part of the Serbs for the Bosnian Muslims' offensive. So could you, Christine, comment on the situation now as it exists? MS. SHELLY: Do you want a fighting update or just a general appreciation of what's happening or the diplomatic front, or where do you want to start? Q Let's start with his comment. It sounds pretty dire. That's the U.N. assessment. What's going on in the U.N. with regard to the work on the Croatian agreement -- the details, etc. I mean, for the overall picture of keeping the peace, where the lid seems to be blowing off. MS. SHELLY: The reports of violations of the cease-fire have been growing, and the trend certainly has not been a positive one. I can take a minute and review the fighting picture, and then I'll be happy to go to what the action is on the Security Council resolutions. Over the weekend, fighting continued in areas of central and eastern Bosnia near Tuzla and Travnik. UNPROFOR believes that a Bosnian Serb communication facility north of Tuzla may have been taken by Bosnian Government forces. The situation in Travnik was reported as tense. Government and Bosnian Serb forces are reported by the U.N. to be mustering along confrontation lines near Ilias, a Serb-held suburb of Sarajevo. In Sarajevo itself, 723 firing incidents were reported on Sunday. That, of course, is higher than things had been for some months, but it's a lower level than what the situation had been, I'd say, within the last week or so. On Saturday, in what appears to be a random incident, the U.S. Ambassador's car was hit by sniper fire as it was being driven by security personnel near the Holiday Inn. No one was injured but a battery exploded. On Sunday night, U.N. officials reported that Bosnian Serb forces had blasted a government supply route over Mt. Igman and lobbed artillery shells into the city. Bosnian Serb forces shelled the eastern safe area of Gorazde on Saturday and again on Sunday, which prompted a NATO air presence over the area. In Bihac town, two shells hit a civilian area, killing one person. In Mostar, seven artillery shells hit the city. In Vitez, in central Bosnia, an armored personnel carrier belonging to UNPROFOR accidentally hit three children, killing two of them. That's a very sad incident. In Croatia, the U.N. reports an artillery duel between Croatian Government and Croatian Serb forces. On Saturday alone, 71 rounds were exchanged. As to the state of play in the U.N. Security Council resolution, Contact Group members in Italy have circulated to all Council members three draft resolutions. That's one on Bosnia, one on Croatia and one on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The draft resolutions anticipate establishment of separate peacekeeping operations in each of these three countries, with integrated command and control and logistics arrangements. The draft resolution on Bosnia would maintain the existing U.N. peacekeeping operation without any major change. The draft resolution on Croatia would phase out the existing UNPROFOR operation and establish a new operation with responsibility for monitoring Croatia's international borders, helping to implement the cease-fire and the economic agreements, and assisting in the passage of humanitarian aid from Croatian territory into Bosnia and Herzegovina. The draft resolution on FYROM would maintain the existing U.N. peacekeeping operation -- it's currently UNPROFOR, but I'm told it will have a new name -- which is intended to deter the spill-over of the conflict into other parts of the former Yugoslavia. The mandate, as I think you know, for the current UNPROFOR operations expires on March 31. Q Christine, speaking of NATO air presence, there have been reports that apparently NATO is now going to get back in the action and take out Serb targets if the Serbs continue to fire on Muslim territory. Is this your understanding? MS. SHELLY: I think there were some wire reports to this effect earlier, but I'm not sure that there was anything concrete yet that's been achieved. Q Was the United States seeking this? Had there been conversations between the United States and its partners on trying to rejuvenate the NATO option? MS. SHELLY: Our position on that has been the same and unchanged and I think very clear for a long time. We have always continued to support the robust enforcement of the U.N. Security Council actions. That has, of course, not been the case in the recent time frame. We have always from the beginning wanted to see robust enforcement. I think the most recent statements have suggested that the U.N.'s own frustration is growing out in the field, and so they may be more inclined to call in NATO air power in response to specific circumstances. But we've tried to get out of the middle of second- guessing when is the appropriate use of NATO air power, when it should be called in, and under what circumstances, because it's frankly very difficult for us to do that without being able to have a clear picture of the situation on the ground on a real-time basis. Q So the U.S. isn't asking for a more vigorous application of NATO air power? MS. SHELLY: The U.S.'s long-standing position is this. Q I know your long position; but, as you know, NATO hasn't used air power, and the reports this morning, certainly, on CBS radio I heard, network news, was that the U.N. has asked NATO to be more vigorous in applying air power. MS. SHELLY: I would not specifically pin that on a U.S. initiative. I think it reflects the U.N.'s frustration with the situation on the ground. Q Change the subject to Korea. Any comment about this morning's the Wall Street Journal report about the so- called dispute between the Republic of Korea and the United States regarding the light- water reactor? MS. SHELLY: This is specifically about the part between the U.S. and South Korea? Is that right? The general state of play between the two countries regarding the Agreed Framework and the level of cooperation? This is the question? Q Yes. MS. SHELLY: Both the U.S. and South Korea support the Agreed Framework and are committed to close cooperation to implement it. As I think you're aware, on March 24 we concluded two days of close consultations here with the South Korean Government on Korea peninsula issues. During those consultations, we discussed the Agreed Framework at length and reconfirmed full agreement on all important points, including the central role of the Republic of Korea in the light-water reactor project. As long as North Korea maintains the freeze on its nuclear program, the U.S. will continue to make best efforts to secure prompt conclusion of a light-water reactor supply agreement, as called for in the Agreed Framework. Q Did anything positive come out of the Berlin talks on the technical -- MS. SHELLY: The Secretary just addressed that in response, actually, to a question from Carol, I think. Wasn't it your question at the photo op? Basically, what we've been told is that there's going to be a kind of a pause in the discussions at this point. The parties decided they wanted to have consultations with their governments, so our team is coming back. It's an outcome which is neither agreement on the light- water reactor nor a breakdown in the talks. The team is coming back at this point. They'll report on how things have gone over the last few days. We'll then review where we are and then make a decision about when to resume those talks. Q Does that suggest new options to -- new approaches? I mean, you know, Mr. Gallucci, standing where you're standing now, was pretty clear last time that there is no alternative to South Korean reactors. The fact that the folks are coming back, does that mean you're entertaining some variation of that now? MS. SHELLY: I think that we do not want to get into a detailed discussion of what has transpired so far. Q Can I follow up on that? The Secretary in his remarks made a very sort of vague reference to "suggestions" that had arisen during these talks over the weekend, and he said that the team would come back, they'd be considered and there would be some reaction. So it suggests on the face of it from what the Secretary said that in fact there is some new proposal and some sort of compromise that may be out there. MS. SHELLY: On the issue of the model of reactor, as you know, the parties went into the talks with considerable distance between them. Nonetheless, the talks have run now for a couple of days, and there have been some exchanges that I think led at least our side to conclude that the outcome was not an entirely negative one. But I think that it simply was deemed appropriate at this point to have a pause and to consider some of the things that the North Koreans have said and discussed and then to resume those talks after they have a chance to consult. Q When will talks resume? MS. SHELLY: No date has been set. Q They broke off early? You said they decided for a kind of a pause. Were they scheduled to go a little longer? MS. SHELLY: They had originally been scheduled, I think, to run through Wednesday. Q Did both sides want consultations? MS. SHELLY: My understanding is that this was worked out by mutual agreement. Q You're saying a kind of a pause. It's not a suspension? MS. SHELLY: No, we're not characterizing it as a breakdown or suspension, or whatever. At this point they're going to have consultations and then decide what to do next. Q What does that mean though, "a kind of a pause"? Listen, this is something we should go back to our capitals and get a little more direction on, or is it, listen, we can't work with this, you better go back home and figure something else out? MS. SHELLY: I don't speak for the other side. I only speak for our side, and simply the members of our team who are involved in the discussions felt that they would like to have an opportunity for consultations, so that's what they're doing. Q So we initiated the pause. MS. SHELLY: No, as I said, the procedural point was worked out by mutual agreement. Q Since you are flying every day over northern Iraq, did you monitor any PKK camps or activities claimed by the Turkish Government? MS. SHELLY: I'm sorry. Q Since you are flying every day over northern Iraq, did you notice -- did you monitor any PKK camps or activities claimed by the Turkish Government? MS. SHELLY: I'm not in a position to answer that question. Q King Hussein is in Washington this week. I believe he meets the Secretary tomorrow. Can you just give us some indication of the latest consultations between the Administration and Congress on the issue of debt relief for Jordan? MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything with me on that. Let me see if we can work something up for today, or else we'll be happy to come back to it tomorrow. Carol. Q In Geneva, the Secretary and Kozyrev set up a working group on non-proliferation. There's now a little more than a month before the summit. Have you decided who's going to represent each side in that group and when it's going to meet? MS. SHELLY: I don't have a lot of details on this today. As you mentioned, Secretary Christopher and Foreign Minister Kozyrev agreed in Geneva to form such a group that would, of course, discuss the full range of the non- proliferation issues. When the Secretary came back, he gave instructions that the group should be set up as fast as possible. We will be contacting the Russians shortly regarding our ideas for this group, as well as indicating who are participants would be. As you know, one of the main issues for that group to discuss is the whole issue of the Russian nuclear supply intentions regarding Iran, although certainly many other issues are expected to be discussed. So that's about as much as I can say at this point since we haven't gone back to the Russians yet with that, but we'll certainly try to give you regular updates. Barry. Q We're bouncing you back and forth. Sorry about that. But to go back to Korea for a minute, there are other elements of the Agreement, like providing oil, fuel, heavy oil. Are all those other elements in place? I mean, you know, we can go through the whole catalogue if you want. Is there any indication that they are not living up to their part of the deal to close down the reactors? Is the U.S. going to go ahead? I don't know how long a pause. I've seen Mideast peace talks pause for years. I don't know how long -- a pause is a nice way of saying not a break-off, but -- MS. SHELLY: First of all, I'm not aware that there's any new information regarding non-compliance with the elements in the Agreed Framework. There was a little bit of news from the IAEA today. They had a meeting to discuss DPRK inspections; and, as you know, usually the IAEA puts out something in the aftermath of their meetings, although I haven't actually seen a press statement. But they are having another one of their quarterly meetings of the Board of Governors this week and this is one of the issues that will be on the agenda, and specifically the application of the safeguards related to the NPT with respect to the DPRK. I'm told that when the meeting began earlier today, the Director General made reference to the ongoing discussions between the IAEA and the DPRK on the status of inspections relating both to the Safeguard Agreement, pursuant to the NPT, as well as to the actual U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework. We have a representative on the Board, as you know, but normally the IAEA puts out something when they've actually concluded these discussions. So that's an issue that's also under review this week. I'll have to check with the delegation to see whether there's anything new regarding fuel oil or any of the other issues. But, frankly, we need to have a little bit more time to hear back from the delegation before we can say much more. Q Well, it's hard to follow this day by day, but there was an issue about diverting some of that first oil shipment to military purposes. The Administration was very clear that they hadn't accused the North Koreans of doing this. They said this might be in the works. MS. SHELLY: Yes, we said we were concerned that that might be a possibility. Q And I suppose by now you might know whether they have or haven't, so can I throw that into the mix? MS. SHELLY: Sure. Q Thanks. Q Christine, where do the Syrian-Israeli talks stand as of today? MS. SHELLY: No news. Q Weren't they supposed to resume this week? MS. SHELLY: I don't know, and, as I told you, we are putting out very, very little about these talks as they unfold. Therefore, I'm not expecting that I'm likely to be able to even answer that question in another way. Q Yes, but you're going to run up against a problem pretty soon. I don't know if you consider it a problem, but when the Secretary managed to get these talks reopened, there was a scenario, and the scenario provided for two weeks of talks and then Dennis Ross was going to go to the Middle East, and then the military folks were going to come here and join the talks. There was some question where that was a given or a high probability. So you're coming up now against, you know, that script. It's hard for you to engage in -- I mean, if you're going to not say what's going on, what are you going to do about that script? You're going to be in the dark about that, too? MS. SHELLY: I have no information that suggests that the script, as described, does not remain the notional game plan; but I simply don't have anything to announce today regarding the resumption of meetings. Q Mexico. This morning in a news conference, Christine, the Attorney General of Mexico, Mr. Lozano, refuted allegations that there was any involvement -- at least, any known involvement as of yet -- on the part of Cali or the Mexican cocaine cartel in the political assassinations -- most recent, the Colosio/Massieu assassinations. He also said that the former President, Salinas de Gortari, was not under investigation at the present time. Another gentleman present there, who was widely interviewed -- Mr. Vayez, Eduardo Vayez, formerly of the Justice Department of Mexico -- said that this was simply not the case - - let's say, it was inaccurate, if not untrue. So we have this controversy continuing. Has the U.S. Government any comments whatsoever on this particular matter, or since this was done this morning could you take this question? MS. SHELLY: I don't know whether we will choose to get into the middle of that. I think, as a general point, the Zedillo administration is vigorously pursuing the investigations into the high-level assassinations. As you know, at Mexico's request, a U.S. judge issued a provisional arrest warrant for possible extradition for Mario Ruiz Massieu. He's charged in Mexico with obstructing the investigation into his brother's murder. The status of that is that there is a 60-day period now in which the Mexican Government can make its formal extradition request to U.S. judicial authorities. In most cases, when there are pending legal cases, we choose not to engage in very much public comment on this, not wanting to influence or jeopardize any of the information in the case. We certainly believe that the commitment, generally, by the Zedillo authorities to pursue this vigorously is supported by the actions that they've taken so far. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 2:06 p.m.) (###)To the top of this page