U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING APRIL 4, 1995 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, April 4, 1995 Briefer: David Johnson FRANCE Reported asylum requests by French citizens.........1 PAKISTAN Success of counter-narcotics efforts................1-2 Extradition of Haji Mirza Mohammed Iqbal Baig and Lieutenant Anwar Khattak..........................2 GUATEMALA U.S. FY1995 Assistance Program --Suspension of IMET assistance ....................2-4 --Breakdown of FY1995 assistance figures ...........3 --Secretary's remarks on assistance to the Guatemalan military ............................3 UNITED KINGDOM Letter from European Parliament re: execution of Nick Ingrum in Georgia ...........................4 IRAQ Allegation detained American citizens are C.I.A. agents ...........................................5 EKEUS report of biological weapons program ..........................................5 Secretary's remarks on Iraqi biological weapons program ..........................................5-6 IRAN Secretary's remarks on toughening sanctions ........6 TURKEY Visit of Foreign Minister Inonu ....................6-7 --Foreign Minister's remarks re: limited duration of incursion into Iraq .........................7 Statement by Turkish Government on Discussing with Iraq a solution to the Kurd problem .........7 Deputy Secretary Talbott's meeting with Turkish ambassador .......................................7
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 1995, 1:16 P. M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. JOHNSON: George, do you want to start the festivities? I don't have anything to read to you today, although you may contradict that statement after the briefing's over.
Q Do you have anything on a Frenchman having been given political asylum by the U.S. Government?
MR. JOHNSON: I'd make a couple of comments on that. First of all, I don't have anything specific to this case. I'll be glad to look into it and see if I can get something for you.
I would want to remind you that the Justice Department has the lead in asylum questions, that the Attorney General is given this authority under law, and it's my understanding that she has delegated it to the Director of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Department is sometimes asked for advice in individual cases. It may have been in this case, but I don't have any confirmation of that yet, and I'll be pleased to see if I can get something and get back to you on it.
Q Pakistan. Drugs. Two accused Pakistani drug lords are enroute to the United States. Does this show a seriousness on the part of the Pakistanis, do you think, in cracking down on drug trading? And is there any link to Prime Minister Bhutto's coming to the United States here?
MR. JOHNSON: Let me give you some specifics on that first. To begin, in terms of its effect on the visit, I'd say it's the type of action that we like to see in the positive relationship that we're building with the Government of Pakistan. And while I wouldn't specifically relate it to the Prime Minister's visit, it is a positive sign before that visit takes place.
As far as the case itself goes, I'd want to tell you that the Government of Pakistan turned over for extradition Haji Mirza Mohammed Iqbal Baig and his lieutenant, Anwar Khattak on Sunday, April 2. Baig is alleged to control one of two major heroin trafficking organizations in Pakistan. He's also alleged to be heavily involved in money laundering and the smuggling of gold and counterfeit currencies into Pakistan and into the United Arab Emirates.
He was indicted in the Eastern District of New York for narcotics trafficking, money laundering and heading a continuing criminal enterprise.
We've been working with the Pakistani Government since 1993 to extradite these two individuals, and we're still working with the Pakistani Government to extradite other criminals who are suspects in narcotics cases.
The Pakistani Government has recently reinvigorated its counter-narcotics efforts in cooperation with the Government of the United States. In addition to these extraditions, they've eradicated 1,300 hectares of opium poppy, attacked heroin labs in the northwest frontier province and promulgated a comprehensive narcotics law.
Q (Inaudible) on another subject. Can you explain the confusion about whether and how much the United States was sending aid money to Guatemala?
MR. JOHNSON: I can give you a rundown on the remaining U.S. assistance to Guatemala, if you think that might be helpful.
Our FY-95 assistance program in Guatemala of approximately $54 million focuses on basic human needs and support for human rights and judicial reform. It provides vitally needed aid that promotes health and child survival, judicial reform, measures to protect the environment and to encourage broad-based sustainable development.
Much of that aid is delivered through non-governmental organizations to ensure that it goes directly to the most needy in the most efficient possible way.
Military aid to Guatemala was suspended in 1990 because of concern over persistent human rights abuses. On March 10, 1995, we announced the suspension of Guatemala's FY-95 IMET program for training in the U.S. to demonstrate continued concern for human rights.
Q What assurance is there that some of this $54 million is not siphoned off into some other purpose or, for example, is there any anti-drug money still going, and can that be siphoned off to these so-called "intelligence units"?
MR. JOHNSON: Let me give you the rundown on the $54 million. Included in it is $20.4 million for promoting sustainable development -- that's direct aid to development itself; $6.9 million for building democracy, which includes things like elections assistance and judicial assistance; $14 million for promoting U.S. prosperity through trade, investment and employment; $10 million for humanitarian assistance; $200,000 for specific building democracy programs; and $2.5 million for promoting peace.
Foreign military funding and IMET conducted in the U.S. have been zeroed out, and funds in the budget for IMET programs conducted in Guatemala have been frozen.
Q Could I just -- if the Secretary of State himself could be confused as recently as Sunday about whether any money is going, how can we be sure that monies are not being siphoned off into programs which theoretically have been zeroed out?
MR. JOHNSON: I would give you two responses to that. First is: I've given you, I believe, a complete allocation of the $54 million in our aid program. With respect to what the Secretary said on Sunday, early in the Administration, the President decided that we would end a certain 1980's era program for the Guatemalan military, and that was what the Secretary's comments were focused on.
Q And this other program was what?
MR. JOHNSON: What other program?
Q The program that was finally halted yesterday. Several hundred thousand dollars --
MR. JOHNSON: I think the White House has spoken to that this morning. I really don't have anything to add to what Michael said.
Q What about funding for the School of the Americas, where Guatemalan officers are receiving military training?
MR. JOHNSON: That IMET program, for training in the United States, is completely zeroed out.
Q When was it zeroed out?
MR. JOHNSON: I think we made an announcement of that on March 10, 1995. I'm not certain that there were any Guatemalan officers at the School of the Americas or slated to go there at that time, but all of the training in the United States, which would include that, was zeroed out as of that date.
Q (Inaudible) 1990 military aid cutoff, you said it was in response to persistent rights abuses. I believe the announcement at the time linked it directly to the unresolved death of Michael Devine six months earlier. So, if you want to revise that, you're welcome to.
MR. JOHNSON: I don't plan to at this moment.
Q Another subject. The European Parliament has sent a letter asking the Administration to intervene on behalf of Nick Ingrum, who is scheduled to be executed in Georgia on Thursday. Any response to that?
MR. JOHNSON: I don't have a direct response to that, but in response to the question that you raised yesterday about whether that case had come up in the discussions between the Secretary and Prime Minister Major at their breakfast yesterday, I can confirm for you that it did not. And I will look into any response we might wish to make to this letter that you're suggesting that the Union or the European Parliament --
Q The European Parliament.
MR. JOHNSON: The European Parliament may have sent.
Q Can I just follow on --
MR. JOHNSON: Certainly.
Q Can you tell me whether the meetings here with the Prime Minister are doing anything to alleviate the transatlantic tensions in recent weeks?
MR. JOHNSON: I think we responded to that in a rather complete way yesterday, and since the President is going to have a press availability -- I believe at 2:30 at the White House, along with the Prime Minister -- I think I'd leave it to them today to describe the relationship and their consultations.
Q The Poles tried today to see the Americans in Iraq -- being held in Iraq -- and they have, according to the wires, been turned away. Do you have any comment on that, or any further information?
MR. JOHNSON: We haven't heard from the Polish protecting power today on whether they have been granted their request to visit the two Americans. They last visited them on March 29, and at that time they were in good condition, according to the Poles, given their circumstances.
We've seen reports in the press that an Iraqi attorney met with the Americans yesterday, but because the Poles haven't had an opportunity to get in to see them, we haven't been able to talk to them about what that meeting might have resulted in.
Q Given difficulties in trying to get straight answers out of the CIA these days as to exactly what they are doing and what they are spending and whom they are employing, do you feel confident standing here saying that those Americans are not employed by that agency?
MR. JOHNSON: I have every indication that those Americans were exactly as they've been described, as contractors for American firms who were maintaining aircraft.
Q David, this morning Secretary Christopher in his speech said that we now -- the Administration now has strong evidence that Iraq was conducting a large program to develop biological weapons. What is the new evidence that we have?
MR. JOHNSON: That is based on Mr. Ekeus' investigations on behalf of the U.N. in furtherance of the resolutions which were passed at the end of the Gulf war.
Q Have we confronted the Iraqis recently with this information, or is that something that's going to come up in the next week when Ekeus gives his report?
MR. JOHNSON: I believe that Ekeus has confronted them in his several missions to Iraq, and we would expect it to be included in his forthcoming report.
Q David, Madeleine Albright said in open testimony on the Hill on the 21st of March that we've asked for numerous -- we've asked numerous times for explanations from the Iraqis about this 22 tons of organic material they've bought, and they've refused to explain --
MR. JOHNSON: The so-called "growth media"?
Q Yes. So we have raised --
MR. JOHNSON: We've made our point, but I think it's most recently been raised by Ekeus because he was there not too long ago.
Q Also on the same topic, the Secretary said he's going to recommend toughening sanctions on Iran. Can you put any meat on that?
MR. JOHNSON: I think I'll leave it as he's stated it in his speech. He's going to be working in the government trying to come up with effective ways where we can try to bring pressure on the Iranians to change their behavior. But I'm not in a position to get into specifics of what sort of sanctions we might be contemplating at this point.
Q On the subject of biological weapons, the Secretary's language was ambiguous today because he used the verb "was" engaged. Is it current, or is it not?
MR. JOHNSON: I think the evidence that we have put it in the tense that he has it. But we -- proving a negative is rather difficult, so I can't state flatly that they are not currently engaged in any program whatsoever, but the evidence that he was referring to is evidence that's been discovered by Mr. Ekeus.
Q In the past?
MR. JOHNSON: In the past.
Q David, actually, he had it both ways; when he delivered the speech he put it in the present tense, and his text was past tense. Can you pick one?
MR. JOHNSON: Let's stay with the "was."
Q So you want us to stick with his written text, not his spoken words? This is categorical on your behalf?
MR. JOHNSON: I was asked a question specific to this paragraph. I have not reviewed in detail what deviations he may have made from his text.
Q Well, could you get an explanation, because that's really critical. It's an important point.
MR. JOHNSON: I understand. My understanding is that this is evidence that we believe that they have been engaged in a biological weapons program.
Q Do you have anything on the visit of the Turkish Foreign Minister? I believe he's coming tomorrow.
MR. JOHNSON: Yes. He will be meeting with the Secretary tomorrow, here.
Q Do you have a time, David?
MR. JOHNSON: Not yet. We'll be putting out a schedule a little later in the day. I'm sure they'll have the time on it.
Q Do you have anything to say about his remarks yesterday in Germany, one way or the other?
MR. JOHNSON: Only that I understand that he reaffirmed his government's intention for the activities on the Kurdish border to be of limited scope and duration, just as his government has assured ours in the past.
Q That could be years, instead of decades, of course; right?
MR. JOHNSON: We believe it will be quite a bit shorter than that.
Q Turkish officials in Ankara have told the press that they have been talking to Baghdad about a possible solution after the incursion is over, as well as with the other capitals in the region. What would your reaction be to that?
MR. JOHNSON: I haven't seen the statement that you say the Turkish Government has made. I'd like to take a look at that before I give an off-the-cuff reaction.
Q Would you like to see Baghdad involved in a new solution?
MR. JOHNSON: I think that our position on the Iraqi Government's involvement in the area is made quite clear by our involvement in Operation Provide Comfort. We'd like to see the Iraqis comply with all the U.N. Security Council resolutions before we are prepared to entertain their involvement in activities related to the rest of the community of nations.
Q Mr. Talbott met with the Turkish Ambassador yesterday. Could you tell us what that was all about?
MR. JOHNSON: I cannot. I'm aware of the meeting but I don't have a readout for you on it. I'll see if there's anything available, but I'm probably going to point you to the meeting with the Secretary tomorrow as one where we might be making more formal comments.
Q Do you expect that the Turkish Foreign Minister will be carrying any sort of international proposals to solve the problem in northern Iraq?
MR. JOHNSON: I think we'll let the Turkish Foreign Minister speak for himself.
Q But so far none has been presented to this --
MR. JOHNSON: I'm unaware of any sort of a pre-meeting presentation that's been made.
Q Do you know what's happening between the PUK and KDP? Are the clashes over? Do you have any information?
MR. JOHNSON: The --
Q The Iraqi Kurdish parties.
MR. JOHNSON: The PKK?
Q No, no. The KDP and PUK -- the Iraqi --
MR. JOHNSON: No, I don't have an update for you on that.
Q How about PKK?
MR. JOHNSON: I've told you, I think, what I know as related to the Turkish Government about their activities there. They say that some 306 PKK have been killed and 26 Turkish soldiers, but I think that's information we've provided in the past.
Q David, just to explore it a little further, the statement that Warren Christopher made a few minutes ago about an offensive capability on the part of Iraq in biological weaponry. Is there a possibility we might be able to get a little more detail on what that means? Does that mean a delivery system for whatever has been discovered that they have, or do you know?
MR. JOHNSON: I think I'll let the Secretary's words speak for themselves. He described it as a program, and I'll leave it there.
Q Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:33 p.m.)
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