U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 95/04/17 DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, April 17, 1995 Briefer: Christine Shelly DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCEMENT ...............................1 PAKISTAN Killing by Pakistani authorities of suspect wanted in deaths of U.S. citizens .............................1 Shipment of repaired military equipment back to Pakistan ............................................2 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Departure of Ambassador Jackovich impeded by Serbs ....1 Contact Group meeting with Bosnian Government .........12 GUATEMALA Threats against Jennifer Harbury by Guatemalan military ............................................2 --Reaction by Guatemalan President de Leon ............2-3 TURKEY Timeframe for withdrawal from Iraq ....................3,4-5 Possible talks between Turkish Prime Minister and Department officials ................................10 IRAN U.S. reaction to possible nuclear deal between China and Iran ............................................3-4 Attempts to acquire material for a gas centrifuge enrichment program ..................................4 Compliance with NPT commitments .......................5 Iran/Sudan Naval Access Agreement .....................8 -- U.S. opposition to terrorism .......................8 -- Effect of Iranian/Sudanese collaboration ...........8 CAMBODIA Recipients of funding under the Department's Cambodian Genocide Program ....................................5-6 IRAQ Iraqi Government's reaction to UN Security Council Resolution ..........................................7 --Effect of sanctions on Iraq's citizens ..............7-8 U.S. detainees ........................................10-12 -- Demarche to Iraqi officials calling for their release .............................................10-11 -- Upcoming visit by Polish officials .................11 -- Spouses' applications for Iraqi visas ..............11 -- Condition of prison cell ...........................11 NORTH KOREA Resumption of Berlin Talks ............................8-9 -- Leader of U.S. Delegation ..........................9 -- Role of China ......................................9 SOUTH KOREA Military Exercises with the U.S .......................9-10 --Reaction of North Korea .............................10
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, APRIL 17, 1995, 1:05 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: I have a short notice to the press. It'll begin today's briefing.
On Thursday, April 20, at 12:30, Under Secretary of State for Economic Business and Agricultural Affairs Joan Spero will open the regular State Department Press Briefing with a discussion of the Department's business outreach efforts and the introduction of Senior Coordinator for Business Affairs, David Ruth.
The regular State Department briefing will follow immediately thereafter.
I'll be happy to take your questions.
Q Do you have any comment on the apparent killing in Pakistan of a suspect wanted in the murder of two Americans last month?
MS. SHELLY: I have seen the press reports on this so far only. I have not actually seen anything that puts us in a position to independently confirm that, but let me see if I can produce anything more concrete than that.
Q Christine, what do you know about Vic Jackovich being prevented from flying out of his current post by Serbs and being forced to take a more dangerous overland road?
MS. SHELLY: I have not even seen press reports on that.
Q Apparently, that story is about to move.
MS. SHELLY: Is it? Okay.
Q Could you just --
MS. SHELLY: Yes. I will check on that. I'll try to work that up as a --
Q You have not heard anything about that?
MS. SHELLY: I have not.
Q Christine, could I ask a question about Pakistan? There's a report out of Pakistan that the United States agreed last week in meetings with Prime Minister Bhutto to allow Pakistani military equipment, which was in this country for repair, to be shipped back to Pakistan. Is that true?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. Let me check on that also.
Q Jennifer Harbury says that she has received information from the FBI concerning unconfirmed reports that she may be a death-threat target of elements of the Guatemalan military. Do you have anything?
MS. SHELLY: There had been some information that came to our attention about a possible threat against the life of Jennifer Harbury. We have also notified the Guatemalan Government of the information that we received on this.
In response to that, Guatemalan President De Leon condemned any threat against Jennifer Harbury and said yesterday that, if any kind of evidence was found of a possible attack, the guilty parties would be punished.
President De Leon also said that Ms. Harbury should not fear any reprisals from the Government of Guatemala either in the U.S. or in Guatemala. As I mentioned, his public comments on this were made in response to our notification to the Guatemalan Government about information that we had received on a possible threat.
Q Is the United States convinced of the sincerity and the efficacy of these statements?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know whether I'm really in a position to make that kind of call. I think the fact that they made the statement, of course, is very important, because I think, at the very least, the absence of that kind of statement would be a cause for concern.
As you know, in the context of these cases and the investigations going on, President De Leon has promised full cooperation in the investigations that are going on. We certainly expect him to live to that promise. As these, of course, are underway, we don't have a lot of details to get into at this point publicly. But, certainly, I think it's important that he made the statement and we would expect him to give full credibility to those statements in making them.
Q Christine, on another subject.
MS. SHELLY: Yes.
Q Has the United States gotten any further word from the Government of Chile -- not from Chile, but from Turkey -- and Prime Minister Ciller -- on a date for their withdrawal from Iraq? There have been some reports that during her flight to the United States she's indicated that the troops would be withdrawn by May.
MS. SHELLY: I know that the May timeframe is one that's been bandied about a bit, I think, publicly. But to my knowledge, there has not been a timeframe which has been definitively signaled to us through any of our official contacts with the Turks.
Q A different subject, Christine?
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q Do you have any comment on the Post story this morning on the China-Iran connections?
MS. SHELLY: I have a sort of general point about Iran that I can make. I can't do very much on this issue regarding the Chinese angle because the Secretary, as you know, is having a bilateral at midday today, and I don't have a readout on that meeting yet.
We are very concerned, of course, about what's in the press articles regarding the Iranian nuclear weapons program. We have long opposed all nuclear cooperation with Iran because we are convinced that Iran is seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability.
A nuclear-armed Iran would be a significant threat to its neighbors throughout the region and, of course, to U.S. national security interests.
There is evidence of Iranian attempts, both through overt and clandestine means, to procure equipment and technology which, while unnecessary in our evaluation for the development of Iran's civil nuclear program, could -- these technologies could have application to a weapons-development effort. That is, of course, one of the main factors behind our concern and our efforts to work with the international community to not let Iran acquire those capabilities.
I'll just tell you before doing follow-ups, that's about as far as I can take it because it is an issue that is being worked by the Secretary.
Q But it is going to be the policy of the United States, is it not, Christine, with regard to China as a potential supplier that is in negotiations right now? It will be consistent, I take it, with our policy toward the Russians supplying Iran as it will with the Chinese; is that correct?
Will the Secretary basically say, "No, please don't do this, China?"
MS. SHELLY: I'm not going to get into at all what the Secretary is or is not going to do with the Chinese Foreign Minister. I will just reiterate that we do not engage in nuclear cooperation with Iran. We oppose such cooperation by other nuclear suppliers. And I would simply note in terms of putting China and Russia in the same category as the exceptions to the nuclear suppliers, all of the rest of whom do refuse to engage in nuclear cooperation with Iran, precisely because they're also concerned about Iran's nuclear intentions.
Q Specifically, have you been able to confirm reports that Iran is shopping around for gas centrifuges in Europe?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know if we have anything specifically on that.
Q Could you look into it?
MS. SHELLY: Sure. I'll be happy to check.
Q Has the U.S., or will the U.S. give China intelligence information with the objective of opening up China's eyes to Iran's ultimate target or goal?
MS. SHELLY: I have nothing on that particular aspect.
Q Back to the Turkish operation in northern Iraq. You said no timeframe was given to U.S. officials through official channels. The announcement was made by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Isn't that official enough for the U.S. State Department?
MS. SHELLY: The Turkish authorities have not given us a date by which time they intend to have this operation completed and the troops withdrawn. That is the specific point to which I was responding.
There have been some general indications of a timeframe, but we have not been told that there is a date by which they will withdraw.
Q Does the United States think Iran is in violation of its NPT agreement?
MS. SHELLY: Sid, I'm simply not in a position to answer that. I think they have undertaken commitments under NPT -- becoming a signatory to NPT -- and having put at least some of their facilities under IAEA safeguards. However, I think in the case of Iran, because of what we do know about their attempts to acquire technologies that do not have an obvious linkage or requirement to their civil nuclear program, which is presumably what is under IAEA safeguards, it raises very serious questions regarding Iranian intentions.
We feel very strongly that with the kind of evidence that is there about what their intentions are, that it is not an issue that can be separated from the issue of what their obligations and responsibilities and their compliance is under the NPT.
Q Would you say they have some facilities that aren't safeguarded?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know whether we can prove the negative. The understanding, at least a portion -- I don't know whether -- I'm not trying to open up something here. But I assume at least a portion, if not all, of their civil nuclear programs are under safeguards, because that would also be their requirements under the IAEA responsibilities related to the NPT.
Q But your wording in your guidances is saying that there are some facilities that are not under safeguards?
MS. SHELLY: No. I'm just suggesting that given the evidence of their attempts to secure other types of technologies, there may be activities there which are not. But, again, that puts us of being in a position to prove a negative which I don't know if we are.
Q Does the IAEA share your suspicions?
MS. SHELLY: Direct that one to the IAEA.
Q There's a column in the Wall Street Journal today about a State Department contract on Cambodia going to a man at Yale who was described as an ardent defender of the Khmer Rouge. Any response would be appreciated.
MS. SHELLY: There were some allegations, as you pointed out today, regarding perhaps the wording of the contract and whether or not the recipients were worthy. We have been checking on this. I've got some information for you.
The purpose of the Yale program -- and there's a Dr. Ben Kiernan who is involved in this -- the purpose of their program is not actually to conduct investigations but to assist in preparing the scholarly groundwork for future prosecutions against the Khmer Rouge leaders when they are apprehended.
Other people and organizations at Yale, in addition to Professor Kiernan, are involved in the genocide program.
The program is sponsored by the Yale Center for International and Area Studies headed by Professor Gaddis Smith. The Schell Center for International Human Rights of the Yale Law School is also a major participant.
Yale University submitted the most detailed responsive, comprehensive, and workable plan to try to carry out the research and training mandated by the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act of 1994.
Our judgment is that Professor Kiernan and Yale University are fully qualified and capable of implementing the Cooperative Agreement with the State Department.
Going beyond Yale's role, our objective is not to reinvent Cambodian history or to engage in academic polemics but rather to support useful, legal and academic work that can lead to future redress for the terrible crimes which clearly were committed by the Khmer Rouge in the 1975-1979 timeframe.
Q But you haven't addressed the question raised by Professor Morris, who says that Professor Kiernan was "one of the Khmer Rouge's most ardent defenders during Pol Pot's reign of terror." That's a quote. You don't want to address that one?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything specific on that, but I think as a general point, that questions regarding Professor Kiernan's academic record or other related issues also might properly be addressed to him and to Yale University.
Q Christine, on another subject, have you seen the reaction in Iraq to the U.N. resolution, and what does that tell you?
MS. SHELLY: We've certainly seen some of the reaction in Iraq to this. I don't know what they've done on this so far really constitutes a formal rejection of the -- I think you're talking about the U.N. Security Council resolution of Friday, right?
There has been reporting out of Baghdad. There's certainly some indication that their reaction to this is negative, but we have not seen that they have actually formally transmitted a governmental response to the United Nations in this context.
We said, following the passage of this resolution, that we hoped that the Iraqi Government would recognize that accepting the resolution and all of its provisions would be in the interests of the Iraqi people. But I think that the degree to which they don't respond in that way once again provides more indication that they are not responsive and concerned about the suffering of their own people, and in fact, they intend to continue to use the suffering as a kind of propaganda tool, particularly through the media and other public forms of expression, to try to seek the lifting of sanctions.
The resolution removes excuses for the continued failure of the Government of Saddam Hussein to give priority to the humanitarian needs of its citizens.
Q Are you saying the suffering is not real? Of the people?
MS. SHELLY: We're not saying that the suffering is not real; we're saying that the Iraqi Government is responsible for that suffering.
Q So you're saying that there is indeed true suffering going on (inaudible) --
MS. SHELLY: I think we have acknowledged that there is suffering going on in Iraq. I don't think that there's any other picture that you could have, but the issue here is who is responsible for that suffering.
The international community also in the past has made the possibility of selling oil -- limited quantities of oil -- for as long as the proceeds would be used for humanitarian purposes. That has been made possible before. Iraq simply never chose to avail itself of that mechanism.
This was a new effort designed also to respond to some of the Iraqi concerns about this, and the Iraqi Government appears to have chosen once again to reject that and to not factor in the welfare of its citizens.
Sorry, let me do Bill first and then I'll come to you, Carol.
Q Thank you, Christine. Back to Iran and Muslim fundamentalism. There's a disturbing report in the DPA concerning Sudan agreeing to grant Iranian navy facilities in the strategic port Sudan on the Red Sea. And the bottom of this says, "A joint statement issued Saturday in Khartoum said Iran and Sudan had agreed on joint steps to confront what was described as a vicious Western assault on Muslim fundamentalist regimes." What is the reaction of the Department to Iran basically being able to navigate now in the Persian Gulf and over into the Red Sea?
MS. SHELLY: I have not seen all of the facts associated with that announcement, so let me reserve our position until we are able to find out exactly what is going on. I mean, I could probably do it off the cuff, but I think that's never a very wise thing to do.
I think that our position regarding Islamic fundamentalism and Islam generally, of course, is very well known. We are not an enemy of Islam, but we are concerned with extremists on all sides of any of the conflicts that play into issues of Islamic fundamentalism or extremism. We do not support the use of terror and violence to try to achieve the political ends.
So, we certainly treat Islam with respect. We are not an enemy of Islamic fundamentalism, but we do certainly oppose those who would wish to use violence and terrorism as their means to achieve political ends.
Q Is this a negative development that Sudan and Iran would be politically and militarily collaborating with this particular tone -- anti-Western tone -- that is coming out of this recent meeting?
MS. SHELLY: Our positions with respect to Iran and also with respect to Sudan, I think, are well know. But again, I want to check on the facts of this before I take this to its expected conclusion.
Q Christine, are the talks with the North Koreans resuming tomorrow?
MS. SHELLY: Yes.
Q What else can you tell us about the status of those talks? Are they in jeopardy? Is the United States going back with any new positions? Do you expect it to lead to some sort of conclusion?
MS. SHELLY: I can't help you very much on that. The U.S. team will depart Washington this evening to return to Berlin following the usual delegation composition. The talks will resume tomorrow.
We have had, as you know, consultations in the last few days with our key allies, the South Koreans and the Japanese, on this. These consultations, of course, continue even -- and will, certainly, this coming week as the talks are also resumed in Berlin.
We once again are in the position of not being able to get into the substance of the discussions except simply to note that they're resuming tomorrow.
Q And the team is still headed by Gary Samore?
MS. SHELLY: Gary Samore, right. No change.
Q You said consultations with key allies. Is China an ally these days?
MS. SHELLY: China is one of the countries that we have had many discussions on this issue with. I can acknowledge that, but I think that's about as far as I can go.
Q They're not a key ally, though, right?
MS. SHELLY: Is this a point of semantics?
Q Well, yeah.
MS. SHELLY: It is a country that has a lot of interest in a peaceful resolution of the Korean nuclear issue.
Q The military exercises -- the South Korean-U.S. military exercises that began today, were those "Team Spirit" exercises?
MS. SHELLY: I think that was a different type of exercise, not "Team Spirit."
Q The one today is a different type. Is there any relationship between the troubles in the talks and going forward with these exercises?
MS. SHELLY: No, not that I'm aware of. But again, questions on the exercises are more appropriately asked at the Pentagon rather than State.
Q It seems to me like it could be a potential diplomatic signal, not a military signal.
MS. SHELLY: I wouldn't make any --
Q The North Koreans had some pretty choice words to say about it.
MS. SHELLY: The North Koreans frequently -- when there are additional examples of military cooperation between the United States and South Korea, they often say things of this type. It is not anything that we ascribe particular significance to.
The Korean nuclear issue has been going on for many months now, and if we were to have to put our military cooperation with South Korea in the deep freeze the entire time that these talks were going on, I'm afraid that it would not make our cooperation very meaningful.
So we continue to have a very active military cooperation program with South Korea. Exercises and activities take place under that general umbrella, and the timing of these particular things is based on when we and the South Koreans agree that they should take place, and it's not linked to the developments in the Korean nuclear issue.
Q Christine, do you know if the Turkish Prime Minister or anybody else in her delegation for that matter will meet with any U.S. State Department officials or envoys?
MS. SHELLY: I'll have to get that information. I don't have any details with me on the schedule regarding State Department participation.
Q Do you have anything new since last week on the two Americans in Iraq?
MS. SHELLY: Not much. I do have a little bit. We have instructed the Polish diplomats in Baghdad to deliver another demarche, both written and oral, to Iraqi officials calling once again for the immediate release of Mr. Daliberti and Mr. Barloon on humanitarian grounds.
During the demarche, the Poles expressed in the strongest terms concern for the health of the two men as a result of their continued detention and requested they be moved to a larger cell pending their release. As you know, the Iraqis have indicated that weekly visits will be possible. I'm told that the Polish diplomats will try again tomorrow to visit the two Americans.
Q When was it delivered -- the demarche?
MS. SHELLY: I believe within the last day or so.
Q How about the family members -- the wives? Anything on their attempts to --
MS. SHELLY: The Embassy in Amman, Jordan is continuing to help the two women with their applications for Iraqi visas. We expect them to be in a position to finalize their applications shortly. As we've also said once or twice before, we still don't have any guarantee that Iraq in the end will ultimately authorize the visas.
Q In reference to conditions in the cell, can you elaborate?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything new beyond that which we did on this last week. As you know, they had been moved to a smaller cell with the explanation being given that they were doing some work on the cell they had been in previously. But as I said, our latest information is not that they have been moved back and that they're still in a very small and relatively stark cell.
Q Was this after they got their refrigerator and cooking equipment? And were they allowed to take the refrigerator and the cooking equipment with them to the smaller cell?
MS. SHELLY: I know that the Iraqi authorities had promised some of those things. I don't know in the end if they were ultimately delivered to the original place. But the cell that they're in right now is very small, and I don't think that there's much in the way of facilities inside.
Q So the cell they're in now does not have all that stuff they were given last week.
MS. SHELLY: It is not my impression that it's equipped with very much at all.
Q The stuff they were given last week by the Polish diplomats - - they weren't allowed to move that into --
MS. SHELLY: I don't know. I'll check. I'll be happy to check on that point.
Q Are the two wives in Amman?
MS. SHELLY: No, I think Mrs. Barloon is in Kuwait and Mrs. Daliberti is in Florida. I don't believe that they're actually in Jordan.
Q Can I follow that? Are they actively seeking, or do we know, for the Iraqis to allow them to come in?
MS. SHELLY: I've answered that one already.
Q Oh, I'm sorry.
MS. SHELLY: I did that one.
Q Let me go on to what I was going to ask on Bosnia, if I might. Has the Contact Group been able to get to the Bosnian Government or get with the leaders of the Bosnian Government with regard to extending the cease-fire and the other business we were talking about last week, Christine? Have they gotten together?
MS. SHELLY: They have in -- all of their efforts with the parties in the region, they have been trying to work to get the cease-fire extended, but I don't think that there's been anything announced on that score yet.
Q Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:30 p.m.)
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