U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING MARCH 28, 1995 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, March 28, 1995 Briefer: Christine Shelly NORTH KOREA/SOUTH KOREA Framework Agreement/Talks in Berlin --South Korean Model LW Reactor.....................1-4 --Return of Delegation/Resumption of Talks .........1-2 --Consultations with South Korea ...................1-2 Japan Initiative to Normalize Relations w/DPRK .....12-13 JORDAN Visit of King Hussein to U.S./Debt Relief ..........4 IRAQ Detained American Citizens/Whereabouts .............5 --Remarks by Salih/Hammadi .........................5-6 --Consular Access/Diplomatic Efforts to Gain Release ........................................5-6 HUMAN RIGHTS U.S. Appearance before HR Committee of UN ..........6 Amnesty International Report re: HR Abuses in U.S. .6-9 ARGENTINA Reported Investigation into Arms Shipment to Croatia ..........................................7-8 TURKEY Possible Communication w/U.S. re: Detained Amers. in Iraq ......................8 Upcoming Exchanges/Turkish Proposals re: Prevention of PKK Incursions into Turkey .....8 Turkish Incursion into Iraq ........................8 --Possible Arab League Request for U.S. Intercession ...................................9 --Withdrawal of Troops/Territorial Integrity of Iraq ...........................................14-16 HAITI Security/HR Situation ..............................9 Transfer from MNF to UNMIH .........................9 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Contact Group Meeting in London ....................10-11 UN Resolutions re: Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia ......12 GREECE Report of Pressure to Improve Relations w/Turkey by U.S./Great Britain/Germany ....................12 LIBYA Terrorist Bombings of Pan Am Flt. 103/UTA Flt. 772 .13 --Compliance w/UN Resolutions ......................13 --Tightening of U.S. Export Regulations ............13 --Review/Renewal/Tightening of UN Sanctions ........12-14 TAIWAN Proposed Visit by President Li to Cornell University .......................................16-18 CUBA Reaction to Senator Helms' Proposed Legislation ....16-17 CHINA Women's Conference in Beijing Credentials for Delegations ......................17 ALGERIA Violence/Terrorism .................................18-19
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 1995, 1:22 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Okay. Let's have a briefing.
No questions? No problem. Okay. (Laughter)
Q Can you tell us a little more than you could yesterday about the talks in Berlin with the North Koreans?
MS. SHELLY: I kind of anticipated that question, and I think you can probably kind of anticipate I'm not going to have a whole lot more to say.
The issue about the type of reactor is the same as we've said before, which is our continuing belief that the South Korean model is the only viable option for the project.
Let's see what else I can tell you.
Okay. We mentioned yesterday the discussions ended after three days. They are expected to resume in April; I don't have a specific date for you.
The entire delegation will be returning to Washington tomorrow. As I indicated yesterday, we will proceed with our consultations on the basis of the issues that were raised and ideas which were exchanged during the meeting. But -- I know it doesn't come as a big surprise to you -- we are not getting involved at this point in a detailed discussion of what exactly transpired, because this round is still expected to continue and we simply have to at this point consider what happened during those talks with a view to then resuming them when we can in April.
Q Why is the delegation not coming home until tomorrow?
MS. SHELLY: I think that they were continuing to have some technical-level -- not head-of-delegation level, but I think there were some technical-level contacts that were continuing; I don't have anything specifically beyond that.
Q Can you characterize the discussions on that in any way? I mean, is it fair to say that the two sides made suggestions -- the United States made suggestions and each side then is coming back to their respective capitals to consult? We know they're constructive. It is the normal kind of give-and-take of negotiations?
MS. SHELLY: I certainly wouldn't want to characterize it as abnormal. I think that, as you know, the parties, regarding the point about the model of the reactor -- that there was certainly a gap going into the talks. So I don't think that our expectations were necessarily very, very high that this was going to be resolved instantaneously on the spot.
As you know, the April 2l date is a target date for us. So that's certainly still the context in which we're working.
We, of course, will continue to have exchanges with them. At this point we are having a pause, as I mentioned before. Some of the reports, I think, depicted the exchange as entirely negative. I don't think that was the case. But I think that we want to take a little more time to look at some of the things that they've said.
But I think it's not negative nor is it particularly positive. We haven't reached agreement on this point. But I think we're simply at a point where we're still engaged with them in efforts to find a way that we can try to satisfy some of their concerns on this. But again, our position regarding the reliance on the South Korean model is the same.
Q What kind of (inaudible) can you give an answer? Since they don't want the South Korean model, where would the confluence come?
MS. SHELLY: Again, that's getting into the substance of the talks. And since the talks themselves have not yet broken up, in that sense it's getting me into the substance of the exchanges; and that's simply not something that we think is productive to do from the podium at this point.
Q Will the consultations include the South Koreans?
MS. SHELLY: We have had consultations with the South Koreans already. I have something on that.
We had the South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Lee here. We had discussions with him yesterday regarding the results of the Berlin talks, and we're continuing to consult fully with the ROK -- also with the other KEDO partners -- on the current developments in the light- water reactor project.
So we've had talks with them. We had, most recently, another round of talks with them yesterday. And it's necessary for us to exchange views with KEDO partners before we feel that we can go forward.
Q Is one of the possibilities using the South Korean model light-water reactor but calling it something else -- calling it the U.S. Model Mark l or something?
MS. SHELLY: There's been a lot of public speculation to that effect, but I'm not in a position to confirm anything.
Q Has there been any talk about extending the deadline?
MS. SHELLY: Not that I'm aware of.
Q Could you be more specific about how these technical contacts differ from the negotiations?
MS. SHELLY: No, I can't, really. I was trying to find out why, in fact, they weren't coming back yesterday myself; and I was told that there were no formal delegation meetings and the heads of delegation were not involved, but there were a couple of simply lower-level, technical contacts that were continuing yesterday.
Q Christine, these are your party's negotiations. The two sides are negotiating.
MS. SHELLY: We're in discussions with talks with them on the light-water reactors.
Q Are you negotiating? Is there something you're negotiating? I mean, I'm asking you: Is there some give- and-take on both sides?
MS. SHELLY: I mean, in any discussion of this type, we're trying to reach agreement on this before we would move to the next phase -- which would, obviously, be the DPRK discussions with KEDO itself.
I don't know. You know, negotiations/not negotiations. They're certainly exchanges, and there is certainly give-and- take. It's probably not a negotiation in the formal sense of the word as we would understand it, but certainly it's exchanges with a view to reaching closure on the point of the provision of the reactor model.
Q Your Secretary said yesterday there were some suggestions from North Korea at the Berlin talks, but South Korean people are afraid that some suggestions maybe never (inaudible) for South Korea -- even though they are positive statements at this stage. Have you any comment on that?
MS. SHELLY: We have worked with the Republic of Korea at every single step of the way, as every aspect of this Agreed Framework has been under evolution. And those discussions and those exchanges, those consultations, are something which are a very central element in this entire process.
I think it's up to the Republic of Korea to characterize its own position with respect to the nature of our consultations and how they're going. There certainly have been some reports out there suggesting that there might have been some differences, but certainly overall that is not our impression of where things stand.
We have certainly been satisfied with the consultation process, and we consider that the best indication I think of the South Korean measure of happiness is of course their own willingness that they put forward to play a very central role in the provision of the reactors -- and, of course, in the financing.
So I think it's really up to them to say anything further that they would like about their position.
Q Can I move to King Hussein's visit and ask: Is he closer today than he was yesterday to his goals of obtaining the erase of the debts matter since returning to Washington? And, also, will he get a few items on the list of modernization for his army -- like the F-l6 and the Abrams tank?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not prepared to get into that material at today's briefing. The Secretary has already taken questions on Jordan issues earlier in the day, so I'm not doing that at the briefing.
Q He also said if the Senate passed the debt relief in acceptable form. What's an "acceptable form"?
MS. SHELLY: I'd have to go back and check on that. I don't want to do questions, keying off of things that the Secretary has said. So I'll see if I can provide a greater clarification of that later this afternoon.
Q He did not address the issue of the defense equipment that the King has been seeking for awhile. Has that issue moved at all?
MS. SHELLY: Tom, I don't have anything to report at today's briefing on that.
Q Iraq, the two Americans? First of all, have the Polish diplomats been able to see them? Has anyone else been able to see them? Do you have any clarification of what Salih said yesterday regarding whether he intentionally said that they were spies and saboteurs, or didn't say that?
MS. SHELLY: I understand that the second set of remarks by him suggested that his initial set of remarks was misinterpreted. I would suggest that that's probably some way of walking backward, he said, in the first round.
I don't have a lot to report that's new today. Regarding the consular access issue, we continue to pursue with the Polish authorities our request for another consular visit to the two Americans.
As far as I know, there has not been any access granted since the day of the trial, when they were visited by the Polish authorities. That was, of course, on Saturday; and as we reported, as a consequence of that visit, that the two were in reasonably good health, considering the strain that had been caused by the circumstances that they were in.
We, of course, continue to pursue their release through a variety of diplomatic channels. I don't have a lot of additional details to share with you on that specific point.
We say, once again, that the incident was entirely a result of innocent mistakes and we would like to see their release immediately.
Q Do you know if they've been moved to prison yet from the detention facility?
MS. SHELLY: Our expectation on that was that they would be moved within a couple of days. I'm not aware that we have received any confirmation that that move has taken place yet.
Q Do you know if this issue was raised by anyone with King Hussein?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any information on that.
Q Christine, there was a statement attributed to the Iraqi official this morning -- I think it was in the Washington Times, saying that they did not exhaust the leniency, or something like that, to the effect that their sentence could be commuted or they could be set free. Do you have any comment to that effect on that?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, I think the gist of what they've said or at least some remarks suggested that they had not foreclosed the possibility of some kind of humanitarian solution to the problem, but we have not seen any other hard evidence so far that would support that claim.
If they wish to make the release of these individuals under humanitarian grounds, of course, that would certainly be a welcome development.
Q There was another statement today in an interview, I believe, on CNN International with Hamadi, suggesting that any talk of military action was going to complicate this. Do you have any further thoughts on some of the comments from the Hill and from the Republican candidates about --
MS. SHELLY: I really don't. We saw those remarks when they were relayed in the interview on CNN, but I think Mike (McCurry) has addressed that fairly definitively within the last 24 hours at the White House.
Q On another subject, do you have any response to the criticism by Amnesty International about the U.S. capital punishment policies?
MS. SHELLY: I've got a little bit of information on that. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the U.S. is beginning this week, as I think you know, up in New York our appearance before the Human Rights Committee of the U.N. This is the requirement under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
We became a party to this covenant in 1992, and each state party to the covenant is required to prepare and submit an initial report on its implementation of the provisions of the covenant and to appear before the committee to review that report.
Our process of appearing before the committee is beginning tomorrow up in New York and will also continue on Friday, so I expect that we'll probably have a little bit more to say about that at the time.
As to your specific question regarding the recent Amnesty International Report and accusations regarding human rights abuses in the U.S., I think much of what we're going to have to say in this area is likely to come out in the context of our appearances in New York on Wednesday and on Friday.
I would just make a few general comments. One is that we greatly respect Amnesty International and the human rights community generally. It does extremely important work all around the world.
We have not yet had an opportunity to review in great detail the contents of the Amnesty International report, and so we're not today prepared to comment on some of the specific things in it.
We would anticipate, however, that many of the issues that are raised in the report, of course, don't specifically fall within the purview of the Department of State, and that many of the questions, I think, are going to have to be directed to places such as the Department of Justice.
We have, of course, an interagency participation in our appearance which will take place. We have, as you know, John Shattuck from the State Department. We have Conrad Harper, our Legal Adviser, and then I'm told that there is also Department of Interior and Department of Justice participation in that.
So I think that's about all I can say on that generally, with a view to coming back maybe on some of the specifics that you've mentioned, maybe at a later date.
Q The U.S. is reporting cooperating with the Argentine Government investigating a 75-ton shipment of arms from Buenos Aires to (inaudible). Papers in Buenos Aires report today and yesterday that part of that shipment was diverted to Croatia. It also more significantly says that there were shipments from Buenos Aires to Croatia since April of last year. Do you have any comment on this?
Is it true that the United States Government is cooperating in this investigation, and what exactly is U.S. policy in regards to arms shipments to Croatia or also Bosnia as was reported. Some Argentine officials indicated that it could also have been sent to Bosnia.
MS. SHELLY: The Argentinian angle on this, I confess that this is not an issue that I'm familiar with, and so I'd like to do that as a taken question and give you the information that we have once those more familiar with the details have had a chance to study it.
But our position regarding the provision of arms to the countries of the former Republic of Yugoslavia is unchanged.
Q I have two questions. The first one, has there been any communication with the Turkish Government concerning the fate of two Americans in Iraq?
MS. SHELLY: Concerning?
Q Two Americans in Iraq.
MS. SHELLY: I've been asked that once before, and I think I have to give you the same answer on that, which is simply that the Turkish authorities had said that they would try to be helpful, and I'm not aware of anything else in specificity about that channel.
Q Okay. And you have also said that Turkish Government did not seem to have a very clear idea as to, you know, what they would like to see in northern Iraq in terms of bringing about a new structure -- security structure. Do you have a better idea as of today? Did you hear anything from Turkish Government on this?
MS. SHELLY: No. In fact, it's not the sort of issue that I'm expecting to hear anything really as we speak. We will have some opportunities for exchanges with the Turks that are coming up before too long. As you know, the Prime Minister intends to make a visit to the United States. I'm also told that there is a joint economic committee meeting between the U.S. and Turkey which is coming up, and I think it's expected that there will be some further discussion of this point.
So it's not something that we're expecting a response to imminently regarding their ideas about how to try to seek over the longer term to prevent the PKK incursions into Turkish territory proper. But I expect that it's going to be some days, if not actually a couple of weeks, before we have a more detailed understanding about some longer term proposals that the Turks would put forward.
Q On the Amnesty International report, do you think that a report like this diminishes a little bit of the authority of the State Department's report on human rights, especially on the Third World countries -- why are you criticizing us if you have the same problems?
MS. SHELLY: No, we think that reports of this type contribute to the openness in the dialogue internationally about human rights concerns and considerations, and, as I've mentioned, it's a process that we also support very strongly for the United States, which is why we signed the covenant and agreed to also open up our own situation to international scrutiny.
Q Christine, did you receive from the Arab League any communication or request that United States intercede with Turkey as a member of the NATO ally to withdraw from north Iraq or cease its operation there?
MS. SHELLY: Not that I'm aware of.
Q As the U.S. gets ready to hand off duties in Haiti to the U.N. force, does the Administration think the law and order situation on the streets is everything it could be?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not sure that anyone would necessarily say that it's everything that it might be. Certainly, the environment overall is dramatically improved, relative to what it had been prior to the return of President Aristide.
Certainly, the human rights situation has improved very dramatically. There have been some incidents of violence that have taken place, and there have been responses to that -- a kind of popular justice, I think, where concerned citizens have sometimes taken the law into their own hands in responding to sort of street crimes that they have seen that've been underway.
Certainly, the necessity of the police structure and the justice system to be able to adequately deal with these types of challenges -- that's a consideration and a factor which will be very important to us, and we will certainly continue our work to try to strengthen both the police and the justice system.
So there are individual elements of violence which occur. It seems to be more in the nature of sort of street crime and not much, I think, that supports the view that this is politically motivated violence, although I certainly wouldn't rule out some selected activities of that kind.
As you've mentioned, the handoff, of course, is going to occur this coming Friday -- the transfer from the MNF to the UNMIH phase. The President, of course, is going down in connection with that, and we think that it's going to be a very important day for Haiti, which will also mark an important turning point regarding the heavy U.S. presence where we will, of course, continue to be there in the context of the U.N. presence.
Q Is the Secretary going?
MS. SHELLY: No, the Deputy Secretary is going.
Q Christine, go back to Yugoslavia. There was a Contact Group meeting apparently in London yesterday. Did it accomplish anything?
MS. SHELLY: I have a short readout on that. Members of the Contact Group expressed a great deal of concern of the deteriorating security situation on the ground. They called upon all sides to adhere to the current cease-fire and to extend it beyond the May 1 deadline.
The Contact Group recommitted itself to trying to bring about early negotiations in Bosnia. They called upon the Bosnian Serbs to accept the Contact Group plan as a starting point. They also emphasized the importance of mutual recognition by all states in the former Yugoslavia.
On Croatia, the Contact Group welcomed the Gore-Tudjman agreement for continued U.N. presence in the country and called for continued normalization of economic relations and the start of negotiations on a political settlement between Zagreb and Knin.
It's my understanding that the group expects to get back together again for another round of consultations sometime within the next week or two.
Q There is more rhetoric and basically rhetoric -- the same kind of rhetoric we've heard many times in the past. Was there no new initiative, no new ideas as to how to actually get these negotiations back on track?
MS. SHELLY: I think the feeling once again is that the basic elements are there, and the basic stumbling block still continues to be the unwillingness of the Bosnian Serbs to get engaged in any kind of meaningful discussion regarding -- and also, obviously, to accept the Contact Group Map and Plan.
So I'm not sure that there's very much different regarding the Bosnian equation, but what I think what would be worse than having meetings where there might not be a dramatic outcome would be for the international community to cease to be engaged in their efforts to try to bring that about.
Q Last week in Geneva and Paris the Secretary and the French Foreign Minister and then the Secretary and Kozyrev all emphasized the urgency of trying to reinvigorate this process, but it sounds like they weren't able to do that.
MS. SHELLY: I think that there are lots of different things that are in play right now, not the least of which, of course, is the deadline as it's approaching in the U.N. Security Council for renewal of the UNPROFOR mandate. We mentioned yesterday, of course, that there would be three separate resolutions regarding Macedonia, Bosnia and Croatia.
Certainly, a great deal of attention has focused on the Croatian track and the need to bring the new Croatian mandate to the Security Council and to get all of the Security Council parties to agree.
Certainly, Bosnian still remains, I think, in a very worrisome -- the developments there are very worrisome. Particularly as I went through yesterday a kind of chapter and verse and where fighting has worsened in many different areas in Bosnia.
There also is the time pressure associated with the cease-fire deadline which is coming up on May 1. So I think that there needs to be a bigger effort to try to continue working the Bosnian track. I think that's exactly why the Contact Group members were meeting in order to determine what additional things they could do to try to bring the parties closer to reaching a solution at the peace table and not on the battlefield.
Q Does the Clinton Administration support the Bosnian Government's latest efforts to reclaim land lost through an action condemned by the United Nations?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, I just answered that question, which is we'd like the agreements to be reached through negotiations and not on the battlefield.
Q So the Bosnian Government doesn't have a right to defend itself?
MS. SHELLY: I don't think it's very productive here to get into the Bosnian Government's rights to defend itself. The problem is they certainly, overall are the disadvantaged party. They have lost a substantial portion of their land to Bosnian Serb control. I don't think there's any question about the facts.
The problem is with any of the parties seeking to recapture territory; it starts another cycle of violence and fighting, and then it causes the cease-fire to become unraveled. But then, of course, threatens the entire region with the kind of fighting which is taking place.
We would like to try to come up with a solution which is more durable and one which doesn't get caught up in the cycle and counter- cycles of military activities.
Q (inaudible) Greek Government reports that the United States, Britain and Germany together have been pressing Greece to improve its relations with Turkey due to some strains within NATO?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not specifically aware of the grouping of countries that you've talked about. There is certainly a lot of evidence that Greek-Turkish tensions, which I think in the more recent time-frame in the last several weeks or months, has been on the rise
It is very often the case that the United States and other NATO allies try to work quietly with both Greece and Turkey to try to remove the sources of tension and friction between them. So as a general proposition, I wouldn't outrule that there would be efforts by NATO countries to try to improve the general tone in their relationship, but I don't have anything more specific.
Q On North Korea, does the U.S. support Japan's initiative to normalize relations with North Korea? Question number one. And, number two, on oil -- the proposed oil embargo against Libya, why now? They haven't been willing to turn over those suspects previously? Why now? Why the timing?
MS. SHELLY: You're sort of shifting regions of the world. I think one indication of the decision by the DPRK to engage and to sign the Agreed Framework was also a signal that the DPRK itself is looking to normalize its relations with members of the international community. I think in the more cosmic sense that's what the agreement is about.
So it doesn't surprise us, particularly, that there might be steps taken in that direction; particularly since Japan is also going to play a major role in the financing of KEDO and will participate in the light- water reactor project.
So I think it's really a natural development. Also one which reflects the desire of the parties to have more contact with each other and to get to know each other better. Other than being able to make that general comment, I don't think I would have anything more specific to say.
On Libya, if we're switching over, I think you've probably seen a statement by the White House Press Secretary earlier today on this subject. We strongly believe that enhanced U.N. Security Council sanctions are necessary at this point to try to bring about full Libyan compliance with the demands of U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding the terrorist bombings of Pan Am Flight 103 and UTA Flight 772.
So it's in the context of trying to find ways that the international community can put more pressure on Libya to try to get them specifically to comply. We, ourselves, are also going to tighten up some of our own measures, as I think you're aware.
The Department of Commerce will tighten up export regulations to prevent the re-export of American products to Libya by foreign subsidiaries of U.S. firms. We also intend to make direct approaches to U.S. companies, whose foreign registered subsidiaries now conduct business with Libya to stop all such activities.
I could certainly go through all of the different things that we have done in the past to try to bring pressure on Libya and all our efforts working with others unilaterally, but any of these other proposals that they have floated from time to time, which suggests that there's some other kind of solution to this problem than surrendering the two suspects, that's not acceptable. We would like to work with other Security Council members to bring the maximum pressure possible with a view to Libya's eventually realizing that there is no alternative.
Q The contact with U.S. firms regarding their foreign subsidiaries, will that be voluntary or will that be an Executive Order?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have the precise answer to that question yet. I just simply know at this point we've been working with the Department of Commerce on their export regulations and then also on the approaches to the U.S. companies. We'll certainly try to get you more details as we can.
Q And a question about the broader issue about the oil embargo, the proposed oil embargo. There's been no indication from the chief purchasers -- from France, Spain, Italy, many of the other Europeans -- that they're willing to go along with it. So what is the purpose of going to the Security Council now, other than to try to placate the families?
MS. SHELLY: First of all, the action in the Security Council regarding renewing the Libyan sanctions is something which will take place tomorrow, so this is not something that we're obviously trying to do prior to the Security Council action tomorrow. But what we're trying to do, at this point, is to use the review, which will take place tomorrow when sanctions are renewed, as a vehicle to try to highlight to the other members of the Security Council and certainly to the international community the fact that Libya still is not in compliance with the previous demands of the U.N. Security Council resolutions.
We think it's a good opportunity to try to tighten sanctions. We for some time have been engaged in private exchanges with some of our key allies on the Security Council about ways in which we could tighten sanctions against Libya. The Secretary himself at the photo opportunity earlier today indicated with respect to the part about an oil embargo, he said it would not be easy to achieve. It may in fact turn out to be impossible to achieve.
But it doesn't mean that it's not appropriate to try to look for any possible avenue to try to bring pressure on the Qadhafi regime.
Q Secretary Christopher yesterday said that the U.S. support would be forthcoming only if the troops are withdrawn promptly. What's your understanding of a "prompt withdrawal," and do you still see the northern Iraq operation as a self-defense act?
MS. SHELLY: On the first point, we would like to see the troops withdrawn as rapidly as possible. The Secretary said that very clearly yesterday, and that has continued to be our position.
We do not have any precise indication about when those troops might be withdrawn. It is certainly up to Turkey, I think, to signal how long. I think that they, themselves, do not specifically know how long they feel it's going to take to actually achieve their military objectives.
I believe that they have made some statement suggesting that the operation is going well, and I think that they also have said -- Turkish authorities have said publicly that their troops will leave as soon as it's feasible.
On the second part of your question, I've gone back to check what we have said within the last few days. what we've said before in response to that question is that we have acknowledged that a country has the right to use force to protect itself from attacks from a neighboring country if the neighboring state is unwilling or unable to prevent the use of its territories for such an attack.
So that's the first point that we have made. We've also said that before and during this operation the Turkish Government very strongly reasserted its respect for Iraq's territorial integrity. So I don't that issue is in question.
I don't think it's under dispute that the PKK uses northern Iraq as a sanctuary and a staging area for actions which take place against Turkey; and, of course, we do continue to stress to the Turkish Government the importance of observing standards of international human rights during the operation and the need to make a maximum effort to protect civilians.
I might also just note that there are, of course, U.N. resolutions which also relate to this issue. The Iraqi Government agreed in 1992 to comply with U.N. Resolution 687. That resolution requires Iraq not to allow any terrorist organization to operate within its territory. Baghdad still maintains contacts and provides sanctuary to several groups and individuals that practice terrorism, and it's certainly well known that the PKK specifically has held hundreds of people in attacks inside Turkey from actions which have been mounted from Iraqi territory.
Q How can you say that Iraq allows the PKK to -- provides safehaven to the PKK in northern Iraq, when Iraq has no control whatsoever of that area of their country.
MS. SHELLY: I mean, I don't think that I have to argue the case. I think the facts are very clear.
Q What, that in the area protected by United States, France and Turkey the PKK is allowed to operate with impunity?
MS. SHELLY: The fact of the matter is that the PKK is there, and the operations of a terrorist nature do take place from Iraqi territory going into Turkey.
Q But do you claim that Iraq has any control -- that Baghdad has control over this?
MS. SHELLY: Again, this is Iraqi territory, and the issue of the administrative vacuum that exists in certainly some of those areas is a point of great concern for the Turks.
Q The administrative vacuum exists because the United States and its allies have basically put that territory off limits to Baghdad, if Baghdad even wanted to do something.
MS. SHELLY: It's not entirely all of the same territory. There are areas where there are concentrations of Turkish Kurds, and then there are also the areas which specifically relate to the "no-fly" zone and to the area where Operation Provide Comfort is occurring, which is where there are the concentrations of the Iraqi Kurds.
Maybe I'm misinformed on the facts, but it's my understanding that even though there is some overlap between those areas, they're not entirely contiguous areas.
Q Would you like to see the Iraqi Government to send troops up into northern Iraq to get rid of the PKK?
MS. SHELLY: I think the actions that Iraq would need to take to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions would be up to Iraq to determine. I'm not going to specifically engage on how they could do that.
Q Christine, could you shed some light on the letter that the State Department sent to Cornell University regarding President Li's visit?
MS. SHELLY: No, I can't shed any light on that at all.
Q Can you update us -- I don't think we've asked in a while -- on the status of the State Department's reading of the Helms' bill on Cuba? Last time I think we looked you were at the very beginning pages perhaps?
MS. SHELLY: I'm still on page one.
Q Still on page one?
MS. SHELLY: Isn't that where we were the last time?
Q I think that's right.
MS. SHELLY: I have nothing new on our reaction to the Helms' bill on Cuba.
Q Is President Li being given a visa to come to this country?
MS. SHELLY: The issue is whether or not he would be permitted to make a visit to Cornell University to participate in some anniversary celebrations of his university. We have addressed that several times from the podium which indicated that a visit of this type, given the informal nature of our relations, would not be consistent with our policy.
Q Christine, on sort of a related matter, the Chinese are not allowing the Taiwanese to send a delegation to a woman's conference in China. Do we think that the Chinese ought to let the Taiwanese send their delegation?
MS. SHELLY: I don't think the issue is resolved yet. We talked about this a couple of days ago from here. There were certain groups that were seeking to gain access and be recognized as participants for purposes of attending the Beijing Women's Conference, which, as you know, is taking place in September.
There were several different groups that were involved, and we indicated at that time that we were working with other members of the United Nations and through the PREPCON that's taking place now to try to resolve the credentialing issue. I'm not aware that there's any resolution of the issue yet.
Q What is the United States' position?
MS. SHELLY: Our position is that we would like as broad a based participation as possible.
Q So we would like the Taiwanese delegation to be allowed to go to China.
MS. SHELLY: I'm simply going to leave where it is at this point. We're trying to work the issue quietly and hope that we'll have more to say in the not-too-distant future.
Q Christine, could you confirm that a letter from the State Department was sent to Cornell University?
MS. SHELLY: I have no information on a letter.
Q But just for the record, the position -- the policy remains the same, that you don't think that he -- you will not issue him a visa.
MS. SHELLY: Assistant Secretary Lord has testified on this and the Secretary himself has also addressed this question, and there is absolutely no change from either of the testimonies or public statements of Assistant Secretary Lord or the Secretary in this regard.
Q On the state visit, what is the grounds for this?
MS. SHELLY: The issue is the nature of our contacts and the types of visits that the Taiwanese President would be permitted to make to the United States.
It had been determined, at some point in the past, that a visit which was essentially in the nature of a transit would be permitted, given the informal nature of our relations, but that something more involved -- such as the type of visit, which was under discussion regarding the trip to Cornell -- that would not be consistent with the informal nature.
Q A follow-up on Iraq. You said that the issue will be taken up, among others, with the visiting Prime Minister -- Ms. Ciller. Since her visit is three weeks away, can we say that there's a sign of realization on the part of the Administration that this thing will take more than just days and weeks and probably more?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not going to speculate about how much time it would take. I think Turkey is the country that has indicated its interest to possibly look at some kind of international approach to the problem along the border. It's up to Turkey to now come forward with something more concrete in terms of how that might be done.
I don't know how long it's going to take Turkey to develop its own thinking but I'm not expecting some kind of answer to that question within the next day or so. I'm simply saying that I think it's going to take more time than that. How long, I don't know; and I'm certainly not in a position to speculate.
Q There are reports out of Algeria that anywhere from 300 to 600 Islamic militants have been killed in the last six days by government special forces. Is there concern within the Administration at the rising level of violence in Algeria?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, there certainly is. I'm not sure how much I can add to what the Secretary has just said on this at the photo opportunity earlier.
The rising cycle of violence is certainly something which is of great concern to us. It has long been our view that a peaceful end to Algeria's crisis will only come through the establishment of a broad- based political dialogue in which Algerians are willing to renounce violence and terrorism.
Q Is there enough of a level of concern that there are considerations in bringing the Americans that are there out?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything new to report in that regard.
Q The Secretary also said right at... sort of his last comment in that section was that the world should look at the Algerian Government as a lesson on how not to run a country. I mean, that's sort of paraphrasing. (Laughter) But --
MS. SHELLY: Shall I tell you exactly what he said? Should I recount for you?
Q Can you try to explain what he meant?
MS. SHELLY: That is something that we decline to do -- to simply key off of the Secretary's remarks or to try to explain what it is that he said, I think. (Laughter)
What he has said is that it may be worth -- no, and I'd like to repeat this here, because this is exactly what he said: "It may be worth remembering that for other countries to avoid the path that Algeria has gone down, that it has produced the kind of violent reaction on both sides of that equation -- a real tragedy on both sides."
That's what he said. I think his view is simply to underscore the need to solve this kind of problem through political dialogue and reconciliation. I think that's the fundamental point.
Q Isn't that a sort of heavy-handed police-state type action?
MS. SHELLY: Not to get caught up in the counter-cycle of violence, which is obviously taking place.
Q Thank you.
MS. SHELLY: Thanks.
(The briefing concluded at 2:04 p.m.)
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