U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, APRIL 7, 1995, 12:59 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon. I actually have something to begin with today. Can you believe that? I was really getting kind of frustrated in not having something to start with and letting the briefing unfold totally in response to your questions rather than in the pieces of information I wish to put out.
MS. SHELLY: I would never suggest that we might be managing the news. However, that being said, I'm going to proceed with the two things that I want to lead with.
One is actually just an announcement, and that is, for those of who are not yet aware, to note that Secretary Christopher will be participating in the Conference on the Review and Extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
To underscore the importance that the U.S. places on the Conference on Review and Extension of the NPT, convening in New York, as you know, on April 17th, Secretary Christopher plans to participate in the opening ceremonies of the Conference. The Secretary will be in New York from April 17th through 18th to meet with a number of foreign leaders who will also attend the Conference. He will deliver welcoming remarks to the many participants in line with the U.S. role as host government to the United Nations.
I don't have other details to report yet on his schedule up there, and I certainly will share them with you as soon as I'm in a position to do so.
The second thing, since you've asked me nearly everyday, since the 27th of March, about when this pause that I had referred to in the U.S.- DPRK talks might be ended, I can report to you on a couple of developments on that score.
First of all, there was a meeting today of representatives of the three governments in New York. That's, of course, the U.S., the Republic of Korea, and Japan. That's another one of many such meetings to discuss developments related to the Agreed Framework and also to agree on common positions. Following this trilateral, there will also be a meeting of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization -- the KEDO -- of the Executive Board.
The third round of the U.S.-DPRK discussions on the light-water reactor project will resume in Berlin on April 12th. The upcoming discussions are a continuation of the talks held in Berlin March 25th through 27th and then recessed, or paused, as the case may be.
The U.S. delegation returns to Berlin after high-level U.S.-ROK- Japan trilateral talks in New York to which I've just mentioned, and with the mandate of KEDO which will supply the light-water reactor project to the DPRK. The purpose of the talks is to discuss issues related to the LWR project.
Q Going into the Berlin meetings, is the United States bringing any new compromise proposal on this reactor?
MS. SHELLY: At this point, all I can say is that we're simply going to resume where we left off. As we go into it, our views obviously will also have been fully consulted with our partners in the trilateral forum.
Q And conversely, are you saying that the United States is sticking by the very same position that it held at the end of the talks and has no new ideas to put forward?
MS. SHELLY: No, that's not what I'm saying. What I'm actually not doing is getting engaged in the substance of what those talks will be about prior to their resumption.
Q There were two meetings: One of the KEDO Executive Board, and one --
MS. SHELLY: Is the trilateral cooperation.
Q So it did involve different people or the same people?
MS. SHELLY: As far as I know, it involves the same people, or at least it involves certainly the same countries. There might be some additional people who would be there for the KEDO part of it, but it involves certainly the same group of countries and I think probably many of the same individuals.
Q Has Bosworth started work yet?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything specific on that.
Q Has there been any communication with the North Koreans in this pause period?
MS. SHELLY: We do tend to communicate with them, very often by written communications. I don't think there have been any face-to-face meetings, at least not that I saw any information on; but we have not remained out of contact.
Q Did you ever offer an evaluation of the March meeting, whether it was a plus or a minus?
MS. SHELLY: The 25th through the 27th one?
MS. SHELLY: There may have been some people who talked about that on some other basis than On the Record and at the podium; but, no, we did not. Certainly not from here.
Q Did you offer any office space here?
MS. SHELLY: I have nothing to report on that one.
Q Is the party still here?
MS. SHELLY: I think they were just coming to do this for a couple of days. So my presumption, based on what I recall had been my information earlier in the week, it's probably finished by today.
Q Do we expect a press conference in Berlin after the talks?
MS. SHELLY: At this point, I don't have any details about what the media arrangements might be at the end.
Q Do you know how long it will last?
MS. SHELLY: I do not.
Q There have been reports --
MS. SHELLY: You changed your seat.
Q I did, indeed.
MS. SHELLY: I just thought I'd note that.
Q I'm sorry. Is it throwing you off?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, it's throwing me off. I kind of expected you over here. Go ahead.
Q I'm not in the light so much, Christine. That should help both of us.
Christine, there were published reports that if there was not a signed agreement between the U.S. and North Korea by the 21st of April, that the North Koreans were threatening to go back to reprocessing their rods -- go back to recovering plutonium. Is there any truth to that?
MS. SHELLY: Whose reports?
Q Whose report was it? Oh, I can't recall, but I saw it twice.
MS. SHELLY: It's hard for me to play off of blind reports.
Q Have the North Koreans said anything to us about going back to reprocessing if they don't get their deal?
MS. SHELLY: Sometimes they make public statements which are designed to get certain points across. If they did begin to reprocess, of course, that would be a violation of the freeze under the terms of the agreement. To my knowledge, they have not done that yet. We certainly are proceeding on the assumption that they are still committed to implementation of the Agreed Framework.
Q They've said nothing to the United States Government about doing so; am I correct in that?
MS. SHELLY: They had made statements and suggested that if things didn't always go their way by a certain timeframe that they might engage in other types of activities. I just don't think those are -- when they make comments, whether they be public or communicated to us in some other channel, we, of course, receive them. But on the other hand, we work on the basis of the commitments that they have undertaken for their side in the context of the Agreed Framework. The rest of that, to this point, I think is in the range of the hypothetical.
Q Are you saying they made those statements to you in private?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not saying one way or the other.
Q Christine, they are still in compliance with the Agreement?
MS. SHELLY: To the best of my information, they are still in compliance with the Agreement.
Q Can we shift to Haiti? The Secretary alluded to the subject briefly this morning during the photo-op. Do you have anything to add concerning hit lists and whether both supporters and opponents of the government are presumed targets and whether the U.S. attaches credibility to these lists?
MS. SHELLY: Let me share with you what I've got on that. It's very hard to get into a detailed discussion, of course, of particular allegations of lists or other things related to the lists publicly.
I can say that the U.S. has received from a variety of sources information which is of varying quality regarding possible threats to individual Haitians. We have made this information available to our Mission in Port-au-Prince and have asked that they, in turn, discuss with the U.N. Mission and the Government of Haiti the appropriate action to be taken in cases where the information on a threat would appear to be credible information.
For reasons obvious to the security of the individuals concerned, I cannot comment on who may or may not be on such lists. There may be others who also encounter a list or develop lists based on information that they have.
As we are in touch with the U.N., and the U.N. is obviously also concerned with the maintenance of the safe and secure environment there, we assume that the U.N. also has its own sources of information on that. But, obviously, in terms of what they have and what they know and what they'd like to say, you certainly would want to consult with them.
I would like to rebut the notion that was in one story earlier today that somehow there's a difference of opinion between the State Department and the Defense Department over lists. That is just not the case.
As to what appropriate action is, I've touched on that already regarding our communications to the Embassy. What actually happens with the information that's received by our Embassy, it's obviously a decision for them to make; and regarding the information, of course, that they also pass on to the Government of Haiti in the U.N. Mission, I think the Embassy itself has also indicated that it would wish to pass on information that they receive of that type.
Of course, our Embassy would want to assist the government, or the U.N. Mission in the maintenance of a stable and secure environment. We are ready to work with those involved toward that effort.
We also have said -- or the Embassy has said -- that we would take steps to ensure that individuals were warned when the information was credible on a specific threat against them.
Q Christine, can you tell us if these lists cut across the political spectrum? Are you getting reports of Aristide supporters and Aristide opponents being targeted?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have the list. So not having the names, I think I'm not in a position to give you a definitive answer to that. I think if you look at the patterns of violence that have occurred so far, I think it has tended to be more against opponents of the regime, and we think also that it certainly is very much in the interests of the Aristide Government to not let that type of activity go unchecked.
It certainly is their interest in establishing the safe and secure environment and also the effective functioning of the police and judiciary systems, that any incidents of this type are vigorously investigated; and then, of course, when the perpetrators are caught, that they also be prosecuted.
Q Christine, do you think that the Aristide Government has a role in any of these plots?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, I don't have concrete evidence of that. Haiti is certainly a rumor mill in terms of allegations of various types of activities. It simply is not a productive exercise for us, I think, to play off of what any and all of those rumors might be.
But we think that President Aristide and his government, of course, in order to have the most effective and functioning government and environment in Haiti, that it is necessary for them to take actions against perpetrators of these kinds of crimes regardless of what the origin of or the political motivation behind them might be.
Q We're not asking you to play off rumors in the Haitian streets, I'm asking if the Clinton Administration thinks that the government it installed in Haiti has a role in these plots to kill it's opponents?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, the United States Government returned a democratically elected president to Haiti. This is not some government or any such government that the United States has installed. We have no reason to believe, on the basis of the information that we have, that there's any kind of official sanction to this type of activity; and in cases where there might be evidence against a particular individual or other entity or group, we certainly will draw that information to the attention of Haitian authorities.
Q You say no evidence of official sanctions, but do you think the Aristide Government is being zealous enough in pursuing perpetrators of crimes against --
MS. SHELLY: That I think requires a very thoughtful response and certainly an analysis by those who perhaps track this more carefully than I do. I think I can give you a very general answer, which is that we, ourselves, have, commented on the fact that the police system and the judiciary, of course, are not as strong as they could be and should be. It's one of the reasons that we have put an enormous amount of effort into the police training program and also into programs designed to strengthen the Haitian judiciary system.
So it's not a perfect environment, certainly. I think the Aristide Government has also signaled that it can do more and should do more, and we hope that we will certainly be able to see signs of improvement that those institutions in their functioning are strengthening.
Q Will the United States then call upon the U.N. forces in Haiti to take precaution and perhaps even provide protection for those who are on the list?
MS. SHELLY: I've already described what our relationship with them will be on this, which is to pass them the information that we have and certainly to try to work with them on that. But as to what the U.N. might or might not do beyond that, I think is a question you need to address to the U.N.
Q But what I asked is would the United States recommend to the U.N.
MS. SHELLY: Okay.
Q Protection --
MS. SHELLY: But again that is -- simply what we might or might not recommend to the U.N. I think is also something that we would work in a private channel, and we wouldn't do that publicly.
Q On a different subject.
MS. SHELLY: I'm sorry? Sure, a different subject.
Q Yes. Pakistan's Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is here, and she's been asking about a change in the Pressler Amendment, and she's also met some of the congressmen and senators. And is the Administration moving towards a new proposal. Is anything going to be changed during her meeting with the President this week?
MS. SHELLY: You've asked me this question already earlier in the week, and I really don't have anything to add to what I've said already. She is, of course, here, and she's involved -- she's well into the working visit. She is having a lot of contacts up on the Hill. She's having many meetings with Administration officials while she's here.
I think she, herself, has given a pretty good indication of what her agenda is. We expect lots of issues to come up, including regional security and proliferation concerns, including, obviously, the Pressler Amendment, and also things like Pakistan's relations with India, the Kashmir dispute, and joint efforts against narcotics trafficking and terrorism, human rights and economic and commercial issues.
But as the visit is really only -- it's still in its early stages, I think that's about as much as I can say at this point.
Q There's no new proposal as yet?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not putting out any information on anything new at this point.
Q How do you expect to address the Kashmir dispute with Ms. Bhutto?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have a specific indication of that that I would wish to make on this publicly, except to note that we do intend to discuss it and understand that it is also on her mind. But I think it's inappropriate for me to try to get into the details of what our discussions with her would be.
Q Since she's here, what is the U.S. position on the Kashmiri dispute?
MS. SHELLY: I think our position is well known and unchanged. You don't know it?
Q I've actually never heard anyone in this Administration say it --
MS. SHELLY: I will be happy to see what we might -- I'm not an expert on this. I don't want to just do this off the cuff. I don't have an expose on this. We've discussed it. We have done congressional testimony on it. It's also been in various speeches of State Department officials.
I will be happy to see what restatement of that position we might be willing to put up -- keeping in mind that as their visit is underway, we may be a little bit less ample in our recounting of that since the visit is occurring.
Q Christine, to follow up on that, the President said the other day that -- basically threw his support behind reviewing U.S. policy toward Pakistan, mainly the Pressler Amendment, and so could you see if there -- how far along people are in terms of this review and whether possibly anything will be put forward when the President meets with Bhutto?
MS. SHELLY: I mean, it would just be inappropriate for me to try to get into the substance of what might come up with the President. So I think I'm probably not going to be able to help on that one, Carol, until probably after the visit's over.
Q When Turkish Foreign Minister Erdu Inonu was here, almost every U.S. official he talked to, including Secretary Christopher, Mr. Holbrooke, Mr. Anthony Lake, told him that unless Turkish troops pull out of northern Iraq as soon as possible, this may give rise to misinterpretations and, you know, unwarranted misunderstandings.
What is exactly those misunderstandings and misinterpretations that, you know, they refer to in their talks with Mr. Inonu?
MS. SHELLY: Our position regarding the necessity of the Turkish Government to withdraw its troops as soon as possible, that position is very well known. As to these other possible connections or issues, I'm really not in a position to get into that in some kind of detail.
We think that certainly Turkey is well aware of the position that other governments have taken regarding their intentions there and regarding the length of their stay. I don't think there would be any question or any surprise that the Turkish authorities themselves are feeling some heat, particularly from the European Union circles on this issue.
But we have also articulated our position on this, and have also indicated to the Turkish authorities that -- and stressed the need to keep with the assurances that they gave beginning at the outset regarding the need to avoid human rights violations, to minimize civilian casualties, and to keep their operation limited in duration and scope.
Q Christine, the Turkish Foreign Minister has been telling people that the troops would withdraw in "a few weeks." Is that within acceptable limits as far as the United States is concerned?
MS. SHELLY: I've been asked that question in every single variety since this operation began, and it's still exactly the same answer. There is not a period of time couched in terms of weeks which is acceptable to us. Our position is that the Turks should withdraw their troops as soon as possible.
Q Do you have any reaction to European Parliament yesterday's resolution. Yesterday, the European Parliament, they had a resolution that they accepted, immediate withdrawal from Iraq.
MS. SHELLY: I haven't seen the resolution, so I don't have a reaction to it.
Q Concerning the treatment of civilians, do you think the Turks kept to their promises that they gave initially? What does the Administration think on that?
MS. SHELLY: It's something that would certainly require a very careful assessment. I don't know what our private thinking is on this at this point. There may be some people who have some general thoughts on that, but it's at this point, I think, not something we're in a position to give a kind of status report on, on the operation so far. It's a concern that I think even the Turkish authorities themselves also share; and, when we have more information and presumably also when the operation can and is brought to a close, we may be in a position to make some kind of public assessment of that. But for the time being, we are not going to do so.
Q Christine, according to the North Korean news agency, KCNA, North Korea desires Russian-type light-water reactor and will refuse South Korean light-water reactors. Can you confirm this?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything more to say beyond what we have already said on the issue of the reactor. I'm not going to get into new formulations at this point, because I already said at the beginning of the briefing, when I announced that the Berlin talks would resume on the 12th of April, that I wasn't going to get into the substance of the discussions.
Q Yesterday at the photo op with Boutros-Ghali, the Secretary was asked about the Turkish troops in northern Iraq. He said that he had informed the Foreign Minister that "our support for Turkey was dependent on Turkey carrying on its commitment to limit its operations."
What exactly is the U.S. support for Turkey in terms of this operation?
MS. SHELLY: I think it's implicit in what the Secretary said. I mean, we have acknowledged that Turkey has a problem with the PKK, and we certainly have reiterated many times that Turkey is facing terrorist incursions against them by the PKK conducted from Iraqi territory.
But again, it is not in our view just a license to go in there and stay in there. There is a real security problem to Turkey, but at the same time we believe that the Turkish troops need to withdraw as soon as possible, and that the Turks themselves, as they conduct this operation, need to keep to the assurances that they, themselves, have given.
Q But when he used this term "our support for Turkey," he's talking then in terms of political rather than logistical or other kind of support?
MS. SHELLY: I think he was referring to our support in general, as a generality, and it was not a kind of hint about anything in particular or anything specific.
Q Do you have any reaction for the killing -- northern Iraq troops -- they killed some Turkish (inaudible) officials?
MS. SHELLY: I have just seen the press reports on that. I have no independent information.
Q The Defense Monitor has a piece today about the Iraqi refugee resettlement program and this discussed some problems which have arisen. Do you have any reaction to that story?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, I have something on that. This has required some effort at working this up, because this is not one which is up on the briefing screen absolutely every day.
To give you a little bit of background to the program on this, since 1992 the U.S. has participated in a UNHCR coordinated multinational refugee resettlement program for Iraqi refugees in Saudi Arabia who fled Iraq in the wake of failed uprisings there at the end of the Gulf War.
Since 1992, the U.S. has resettled 6,500 Iraqi refugees from Saudi Arabia, 1,600 of which were former soldiers and their family members. All were referred to the United States program by the UNHCR.
Other countries, including Iran, Australia, Canada, Syria and the Nordic countries have also resettled Iraqis from Saudi Arabia and continue to do so. By the end of this year, UNHCR estimates that they will have resettled approximately 9,000 Iraqis from Saudi Arabia.
The refugees are mostly civilians who participated in the 1991 uprisings against the Saddam Hussein regime, as well as former Iraqi soldiers who deserted their units prior to the invasion of Kuwait. All are regarded by the UNHCR as refugees in need of resettlement.
INS officers interview each refugee applicant individually, and assess both the credibility of their claim to a well-founded fear of persecution, and whether they are eligible under U.S. law for resettlement in the United States. Anyone who has committed a serious non-political crime is excludable under U.S. law.
In addition, security checks are conducted for certain nationalities of refugees, including Iraqis. The ex-soldiers either left their military units inside Iraq before being mobilized to the Kuwaiti front, or they deserted with the encouragement of the multinational forces who dropped leaflets promising protection if they did so.
Most of these are ethnic and religious minorities -- Assyrian Christians, Chaldean Catholics and Kurds -- who believe that they had been conscripted to serve as cannon fodder.
Iraqis are a designated nationality for consideration for refugee status as a result of the consultations with Congress. Iraqi refugees are resettled from Turkey and other European countries as well as from Saudi Arabia. Since 1992, some 15,000 Iraqi refugees have been resettled in the U.S. from all processing points, including the 6,500 from Saudi Arabia.
Q What's that number again?
MS. SHELLY: Is that it? Do you want more?
Q The last number?
MS. SHELLY: Shall I give you more? What else do you want?
Q I didn't read the whole thing, but the Monitor implied that there have been a lot of setbacks and there's a lot of disappointment that some Iraqis who have been resettled here have engaged in sexual crimes, and there's an orientation program for these refugees to apprise them of what life in the United States is like, and this is a disaster, and the US. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia has complained that -- or said that modifications are long overdue, and so forth.
MS. SHELLY: I have answers to all those questions.
Q I'll bet.
MS. SHELLY: Can you keep going? But I'm never supposed to discharge all my fire at the beginning.
Q All right.
MS. SHELLY: Yes, there had been reports from resettlement agencies of incidents concerning some of the Iraqi refugees, a few of which have resulted in criminal charges. We do take these reports very seriously.
One of the reasons that there is a cultural orientation program is specifically to make it very clear to the refugees, before they arrive in the United States, what the U.S. standards are of appropriate behavior, as well as what is acceptable and/or subject to criminal penalty under U.S. law.
The U.S. conducts the cultural orientation programs for the refugees in a number of posts around the world. We do believe it's very valuable preparation for both the refugees coming to the U.S. and to the communities in which they will live, particularly for those coming from other cultures.
As to your specific question about reports about the position of the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and the program, we certainly take the views and the recommendations of our Ambassador to Saudi Arabia under consideration. We have initiated a review of the Iraqi settlement program from Saudi Arabia. We have sent appropriate officials to Riyadh to look into the questions and issues which have raised by the Ambassador.
Q You said they were Kurds, Christians, and so forth. No Shi'ites?
MS. SHELLY: The information that I have lists those particular groups -- the Assyrian Christians, Chaldean Catholics, and the Kurds.
Q Those are groups that have been admitted to the United States or refugees in Saudi Arabia? They may not be the same.
MS. SHELLY: When we're talking about the ethnic and religious minorities that then fall within the groups of ex-soldiers who had left the military units.
Q What about civilians?
MS. SHELLY: I'd have to check on that.
Q I'm asking because it would seem logical that most would be Shi'ites, given that you referred to a failed uprising near the Saudi border rather than Kurds.
MS. SHELLY: I'll be happy to check on that point. Charlie.
Q Christine, you gave a number, I think that was a total since '92, that I thought was different than the 6,500. Because 6,500 is from Saudi Arabia --
MS. SHELLY: Right.
Q -- and there was another number? It's right at the end of your first -- 15,000 is what I think, but I'm not sure.
MS. SHELLY: Since '92, some 15,000 Iraqi refugees have been settled in the U.S. from all processing posts. That includes the 6,500 from Saudi Arabia.
Q How many soldiers --
MS. SHELLY: Did I do the --
Q The 1,600 was from Saudi Arabia or from --
MS. SHELLY: No. Six thousand five hundred is from Saudi Arabia.
Q The sixteen hundred number you used?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know I have just the number uniquely here for the -- no, it said here -- 1,600; that right. Of the 6,500 Iraqi refugees from Saudi Arabia, 1,600 were former soldiers and their family members.
Q How much from Turkey? I thought you said they were from Turkey as well.
MS. SHELLY: I did mention Turkey, I do believe. Yes, I think I mentioned Turkey -- about Iraqi refugees being resettled from Turkey and other European countries as well as from Saudi Arabia. Because the Iraqis are a designated nationality for consideration for refugee status as a result of the consultations with Congress.
Q Do you have numbers?
MS. SHELLY: No, I don't have a number on those.
Q Christine, just a point of clarification. The crimes that these people are accused of are things they've committed since coming to the States, or were they committed in Iraq or in the --
MS. SHELLY: No. They were talking about crimes that they've committed since coming to the United States; there are reports of their having committed sexual and other offenses after arriving in the United States.
Q How many of the 15,000 or 6,000?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. I don't have numbers. As a share of the total, it's a very small percentage. But, naturally, even a small percentage can attract a great deal of attention.
Q You say "reports." Is that police reports, or are you talking about newspaper reports?
MS. SHELLY: I said reports from resettlement agencies. Those are where the reports are coming from.
Q Are they settled after they change their names and such, like the Federal Witness Protection Program?
MS. SHELLY: Different program.
Q Different program?
MS. SHELLY: Yes. Different subject.
Q Since you were forthcoming on a question we've been asking about the resumption of the Berlin talks, do you have anything to be forthcoming about on the status of the Helms bill on Cuba?
MS. SHELLY: I knew you were going to ask me that.
Q Speaking of Helms, I have a question.
MS. SHELLY: I'm told on that that we should have something more formal soon. There are some things in it that we think are fine and there are other things in it that we have some difficulty with. I think that's about as much additional as I can say.
Q Does that imply that somebody has read it here?
MS. SHELLY: Everybody, in fact, who is familiar with this issue has read it. I was the only one who had a remedial reading.
Q Do you have any comment on Jesse Helms sense of geography? (Laughter)
MS. SHELLY: No. I don't think so.
Q The (inaudible) government had a comment about his sense of geography.
MS. SHELLY: I think I'm going to leave that one with the Pakistanis.
Q No protest, in other words?
Q Christine, have the Haitians that were picked up by a Coast Guard cutter off the Miami coast yesterday been returned to Haiti? Do you also have the status of the Chinese that are on board a ship off, I believe, the Baja?
MS. SHELLY: Yes, I've got something on both of those. Once again, I'm going to have this problem that they are at different ends of my book.
On the Haitians, what I can tell you about the ones who were picked up yesterday, the Coast Guard rescued a 128 Haitians and 12 Dominicans from a dangerously overcrowded 50-foot sailboat early yesterday. That was 25 miles east of Miami Beach. The boat is believed to have left Cap Haitien in the north of Haiti.
Our Embassy in Port-au-Prince has been in contact with the Government of Haiti on returning the migrants to Haiti. They're expected to arrive in Haiti tomorrow.
Two of the Haitian migrants have been medevaced to the United States. The remainder are being cared for on board the Coast Guard cutter. Interpreters are on board, and the migrants have been told that we plan to repatriate them to Haiti.
The migrants are being given every opportunity to express any fears that they might have returning to Haiti.
The last time that the Coast Guard picked up Haitians at sea -- since I figure that's a logical follow-on -- is last October. There have been four cases since then when the Coast Guard escorted vessels with Haitian migrants on board back to the territorial waters of the country of departure.
You want me to do the other one now? Okay. The Fang Ming is the name of the ship -- that's the one that's off the coast of Mexico. The ship is currently 400 miles southwest of San Diego.
I gave you the numbers earlier in the week. That 88 migrants -- seven women and 81 men; 10 enforcers; eight crew members and one Master. The Master claims he's from Taiwan. The rest of the migrants, crew, and enforcers appear to be from the Fujian Province in China. According to the migrants, they were all coming to the U.S. for economic reasons.
We're consulting with the Chinese Government, which is making arrangements for the migrant repatriation. We're still consulting with other governments on the repatriation of the migrants.
I think I mentioned earlier in the week that we declared the vessels stateless, and that then subjects the vessel and their Masters to the laws of the arresting country.
I'm told that the migrants and crew are still in good health. They have an adequate supply of both food and fresh water on board. The Coast Guard is available to increase those supplies if the Fang Ming's own supplies are depleted.
Q Are charges being brought against the Master for smuggling or anything like that?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have information on that yet.
Q Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:36 p.m.)
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