U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 95/05/08 DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, May 8, 1995 Briefer: Christine Shelly RUSSIA Membership in NATO ..................................... 1 JAPAN U.S./Japan Trade Negotiations--Auto and Auto Parts Sector 1,2 --National Economic Council Recommendations to President 2 CUBA Status of 13 Cuban Refugees Rescued .................... 3 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Croatia Alleged Targeting of Civilians by Croatian Forces ...... 2 IRAQ American Detainees: U.S. Attempts to Gain Release; U.S./Polish Diplomatic Contact w/Wives; Health ....... 3,4 NORTH KOREA Framework Agreement --Exchanges on Venue/Timing of High-Level Talks ........ 4 U.S./S.Korea/Japan Trilateral, Bilateral Meetings ...... 4,5 RUSSIA Chechnya Search for Fred Cuny ................................... 5 Samashki--Reports of Atrocities Against Civilians ...... 5,6
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, MAY 8, 1995, 12:45 P. M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any announcements or anything to kick off with, so let's go directly to your questions. George Gedda.
Q The Washington Post led the paper yesterday by saying that the Administration is taking a series of steps it hopes will smooth over a row with Russia over proposals to expand NATO eastward, including a written assurance to Yeltsin that Washington has no objection in principle to the new Russia becoming a full member of the Alliance, according to U.S. and NATO sources. Do you have anything on that?
MS. SHELLY: George, I don't have anything, because I think that's getting fairly frontally into the substance of what's going to be worked by the senior-most levels of this government in the coming days. So that one's not on my script for today. Do you want to try another one - - another subject area?
Q Trade talks?
MS. SHELLY: Trade talks for 200? (Laughter) Yes, what's the question.
Q What do you have? (Laughter)
MS. SHELLY: I don't have a lot on this. As you know, the U.S. and Japan met last week in British Columbia but were unable to reach agreement on the auto and auto parts sector.
The President's National Economic Council met onSaturday to reviewthe status of the negotiations. The NEC, as it's called,considered allthe options available with regard to responding to thesituation. TheNEC unanimously agreed to recommendations to send forward tothePresident. We would expect that there will be anAdministrationannouncement on this coming shortly.
As you know, USTR has the lead on this issue, but I cancertainlyassure you that Secretary Christopher has been in frequentcontact withAmbassador Kantor over the last several days as thesediscussions and asthe situation has unfolded.
The Secretary fully supports the recommendations whichhave gone tothe President, but until the announcements are made -- and,as I said, Iexpect they'll come out of the White House -- I don't have alot more tosay.
Q Do you have anything on the Cubans who were or arebeingreturned to Cuba and the process of screening out potentialpoliticalasylees?
MS. SHELLY: As you know, there were 13 Cubans on tworafts thatwere rescued by a cruise ship last week south of the CaymanIslands. They are aboard a Coast Guard cutter, and they are beingprocessedpursuant to the Attorney General's May 2 announcement.
As I think you're aware, of course, the issue of asylumor possiblepersecution is one that is being addressed in the context oftheir beingheld and having discussions. The policy, of course, is thatany migrantwho establishes a credible fear of persecution if returned toCuba willnot be returned.
I don't have an announcement to make on that score atthis point. We'll be happy to give you updated information as it becomesavailable.
Q There seems to be a conflict between the U.N. andotherneutral observers and the Croatian Government about whethercivilianswere purposely targeted by Croatian forces. Does the U.S.have anopinion?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know if we have any sort ofcomprehensiveanalysis. I think certainly, based on what the Croatianshave told us,they have gone to great pains to try to be sure that therewere notinadvertent consequences for civilians. I think based onwhat we knowso far, the information that we have would tend to supportthat.
I think some of the early reports that came out, towhich U.N.officials also referred once they were actually checked out-- the factsof the situation were checked out -- I don't think that theyperhapsresulted in quite as alarmist a picture as some of the earlystatementsby the U.N. officials. But I'll be happy to check into thatand seewhat more we can say.
Q Christine, is there any news from the wives of thetwoAmericans in Baghdad? Over the weekend, it was reported thattheyweren't exactly thrilled with the State Department? Anycomment on thator any news about whether they've seen Iraqi officials?
MS. SHELLY: Let me go through what I've got with you. Over theweekend, Secretary Christopher responded to some of thecomments towhich you referred. He conveyed the enormous sympathy thatwe all sharefor Mrs. Barloon, Mrs. Daliberti and their families.
The U.S. Government is doing everything that it can tosecure therelease of Mr. Barloon and Mr. Daliberti. President ClintonandSecretary Christopher have followed this situation veryclosely.
We are working through all appropriate diplomaticchannels on theirbehalf. We believe that the two men should be releasedimmediately andunconditionally on humanitarian grounds.
The continued incarceration of the men is certainlyunjustified. We do understand the frustration that Mrs. Barloon and Mrs.Dalibertiare experiencing. We, too, are frustrated by the Iraqirefusal topermit Mr. Krystosik, the Chief of the U.S. Interests SectioninBaghdad, to visit Mr. Daliberti and Mr. Barloon.
The Department of State officers have maintained virtualdailycontact with both Mrs. Barloon and Mrs. Daliberti, either inperson orby telephone, from the time that their husbands were detainedright upto the day of their departure for Baghdad on April 29.
Since then, they have been in daily contact with Polishdiplomatswho do represent the U.S. Interests Section in Baghdad. Theydid havevisits on both Saturday and Sunday. We understand thatyesterday'svisit lasted a total of five hours.
We understand that the two wives intend to stay inBaghdad throughMay 11. They had hoped to meet with Iraqi officials, butthus far theyhave not had success in getting the appointments that theyhaverequested.
When they do depart, I'm told that Mrs. Barloon and Mrs.Dalibertiwill travel from Iraq to Amman, Jordan, where they will thenagain bemet and assisted by U.S. officials from our Embassy there.
We, of course, have had to rely on the reports from Mrs.Dalibertiand Mrs. Barloon following each day's visit with theirhusbands as, ofcourse, relayed through the Polish authorities to us. Mr.Krystosikcontinues to press on a daily basis for access to the twomen.
As Mrs. Barloon and Mrs. Daliberti will only be in Iraqfor a fewmore days, access by Mr. Krystosik, of course, is vital. Itisessential that we have regular consular access to monitor thehealth andwelfare of the two men.
Q The statement by Mrs. Barloon that she had not hadanycontact with State Department officials, was that incorrect?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know on what basis she was makingthatstatement, because we have certainly have very accuraterecords of ourcontacts with the families.
Q Do you have anything more on the health of the twomen? Havethey remained stable over the weekend?
MS. SHELLY: We have not received any new informationsuggestingthere has been any change beyond that which we reported atthe briefingon Friday.
Q Do you have any announcement on resumption oftalks withNorth Korea on the light-water reactor project?
MS. SHELLY: I do not. I just have a little bit ofinformation,but not the key piece of news that you're looking for.
We intend to respond to the latest North Korean messagein the nearfuture, perhaps even as early as this afternoon, but we havenot reachedagreement on the venue or the timing of the talks.
As I think you're aware, regarding Ambassador Gallucci'stravel,Ambassador Gallucci departed for Seoul on May 7. He'stravelling toSeoul for trilateral meetings with the South Koreans and theJapanese,which will take place on May 10.
Ambassador Choi Dong Jin will lead the Republic of KoreaDelegationat the trilaterals. The Japanese Delegation will be led byAmbassadorTetsuya Endo.
Prior to the trilateral, Ambassador Gallucci will holdbilateralmeetings with the South Koreans and the Japanese. He'll alsomeet anumber of South Korean officials, including Foreign MinisterGong.
Q Will he coming straight back to Washington after this trip?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any information about hisonward travelat this point. I'll be happy to check on that.
Q Is the date and the place the only thing at issuehere withthe North Koreans in terms of resuming this, or is thereanother hitch?
MS. SHELLY: That is, to my knowledge, what the exchange is about.
Q Are we proposing a date and a place in this response you're going to perhaps give us this afternoon?
MS. SHELLY: That gets into the substance of the exchange, of course, which at this point we are not inclined to do. Certainly, as soon as we have agreement with them on that, we will put out an announcement. We won't necessarily have to wait until a briefing, but I just don't have anything to announce at this point.
Q The New York Times today, on the front page, has a story about a town in Chechnya which was essentially wiped out; civilians were massacred by the Russians. Do you have any independent knowledge of that or comment on the story?
MS. SHELLY: I also hear Betsy sneak in there a Fred Cuny on that one. I can tell you that there isn't anything new to report.
On the issue that you've raised, Howard, regarding abuses and the reports of abuses and atrocities in Samashki, we are very deeply disturbed by the continuing reports that come in of atrocities against civilians in Samashki.
While we do not have any independent information of our own which would confirm this report, I can say that the representatives from the Russian human rights organizations -- from the ICRC and from others -- that have reached us on this subject are all consistent. They lead us to believe that the reports are correct.
Our Embassy has raised the issue with the Russian Government. We are appalled at the apparent lack of respect for international humanitarian norms and for human rights principles.
The actions appear to us to be the result of inadequate military discipline. We call on the Russian troops to exercise full respect for the civilian population and the entire spectrum of their human and civil rights.
We have seen one report that Acting Prosecutor- GeneralAlekseyIlyshenko has instituted an investigation of the Samashkiatrocitiesagainst civilians as well as on other crimes committed in thecourse ofthe military actions in Chechnya.
We hope that there will be full accountability for thecrimescommitted against civilians. All those who have committedviolations ofhuman rights against individuals should be brought tojustice, as thePermanent Council of the OSCE noted in its decision ofFebruary 3, 1995.
Q Are the people who are looking for Fred Cuny, are they at all getting involved in any reporting on events like this?
MS. SHELLY: Not specifically that I'm aware, but I'd be happy to check on that point.
Q Are the four diplomats still in the region?
MS. SHELLY: Let me see if I have anything new. According to myinformation, a number of embassy officers still are in theregion toassist with the search. This is all, I think, ground thatNick (Burns)covered on Friday. The Embassy is working very closely withtherepresentatives of the Soros Foundation in Moscow and in theregion.
The OSCE assistance group in Grozny is also activelyinvolved inthe search, as are some other international humanitarianorganizations;they're also involved in pursuing leads.
Q Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 12:59 p.m.) (###)To the top of this page