U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 95/06/05 DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, June 5, 1995 Briefer: Joan Spero Christine Shelly DEPARTMENT Secretary Christopher's Trip to Haiti --OAS Ministerial Meeting ...............................1 --Graduation Ceremony at Police Academy .................1 --Summit of the America's--Implementation/Follow-Up .....1-3 - Upcoming Ministerials ...............................3 Caribbean Basin Legislation .............................3-4 Announcements Introduction of Press Office Summer Interns .............5 Report to Congress on Enforcement by Greece of UN Sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro ...............5-8 JAPAN Aviation Talks ..........................................4-5 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Report of Greek FM and Defense Ministers in Belgrade ....8-9 Ambassador Frasure Mtgs. w/Milosevic ....................9,11-14,16 UN Peacekeepers/Hostages ................................9-13,15-16 F-16 Pilot ..............................................9,11-15 Serbian Recognition of Bosnia/Sanctions Suspension ......11-16 Humanitarian Supply Situation in Sarajevo ...............10,16 Secretary Christopher's Contacts ........................17 Rapid Reaction Force ....................................17 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Secretary Christopher's Trip to Region ..................17 NORTH KOREA Nuclear Talks in Kuala Lumpur ...........................17-18 Congressman Richardson's Trip to Region .................18 SPRATLY ISLANDS--Dispute ................................19-20 COLOMBIA Report of U.S. Indictments of Cali Cartel Members .......20
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, JUNE 5, 1995, 1:20 P. M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the State Department briefing. I'm pleased today to welcome Under Secretary Joan Spero who is well and favorably known to you as our Under Secretary for Economic Business and Agricultural Affairs.
She's, of course, been here several times before. I just thought we might take a few minutes at the top of today's briefing for her to brief you on what transpired in Haiti yesterday. She was with the Secretary, and she, of course, will give special attention to the achievements related to the Summit of the Americas' follow-up.
As you know, the primary purpose of the Secretary's visit was to attend the OAS Ministerial. That meeting continues through mid-week. The U.S. is represented there now by Ambassador Harriet Babbitt, our OAS Permanent Representative, and also Assistant Secretary Alex Watson.
Under Secretary Spero will begin with a few remarks. She'll be happy to take some questions, and then we'll continue with the usual topics on other subjects following the normal format.
So, without any further ado, Under Secretary Spero, it's all yours, and thank you.
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: I'll just take a couple of minutes this morning to tell you about our visit to Haiti yesterday. I see a couple of familiar faces who were on that hot helicopter and other places with us yesterday.
We traveled to Haiti not only to participate in the OAS Ministerial meeting but also to attend what I thought was a very moving graduation from the Police Academy -- the first group of policemen and women sworn in by President Aristide.
We participated in the dialogue of Foreign Ministers, and then we attended and Secretary Christopher chaired the meeting of the Foreign Ministers to review the progress on the Summit of the Americas.
I think it's worth just noting briefly that this meeting not only of the Summit of the Americas but of the Organization of American States took place in Haiti. I happened to be in beautiful downtown, even hotter than Haiti, Belem, Brazil, last year for the annual meeting of the OAS. At that time President Aristide invited the Ministers to come to the OAS meeting in a free Haiti.
So it was really quite exciting to be there yesterday, and I think it's the prism through which a lot of the discussions were held.
Today, let me just spend a couple of minutes on the Foreign Ministers' meeting on the Summit implementation. Overall, there was really a very high level of enthusiasm, excitement, and support for the Summit of the Americas, both for all the work that we're doing in the follow-through on the Summit and the very concrete projects and proposals, but also what everybody continues to call the "Spirit of Miami," and that is a sort of a new way of working together in a more cooperative and open relationship.
There was a recognition that despite several major crises which followed the Summit -- the financial problems in Mexico, the conflict between Peru and Ecuador -- that the Summit and the way forward that the Summit identified remain more important than ever. So we need to continue to work on opening markets. We need to continue to work on supporting democracy, on dealing with issues of poverty and sustainable development.
The Secretary and his 33 colleagues had agreed at the Summit in December that they would meet again to review the progress, and they did issue -- and I brought it along for those of you who would like to memorize it -- a copy of the summary and the various reports that were submitted by the different countries on all the work that they're doing on the Summit of the Americas. There's a lot going on. It's a very hefty document. I do not intend to review it all for you today.
I can give you just -- if you'll permit me -- a couple of highlights of the types of things that we're working on. There is progress going forward on financial markets. A committee on hemispheric financial issues should be operational and launched this summer. My colleague, Larry Summers, will be leading that effort. There is a draft counter-narcotics strategy for the 21st century that will address illicit production, demand reduction and interdiction.
The financial experts have met and developed a strategy on money laundering, and we're expecting a ministerial meeting this fall that Bob Rubin will chair to culminate that effort. Venezuela has made a proposal on corruption that is being followed up. There is work on sustainable development that's being heavily led by the Central American countries.
The Inter-American Development Bank and the OAS are moving ahead on their internal reforms, and the Inter-American Development Bank is shifting its lending in the direction that the Summit identified, particularly in health and human infrastructure. We have a fact sheet for those of you who are interested.
In addition to talking about progress and issuing this report, the four Ministers talked about how we can continue to work together to improve our coordination process.
The next step will be two meetings that will be held at the end of this month. On June 30, the Trade Ministers will meet in Denver for the first of two Ministerials that are planned for work on the Free Trade Area of the Americas Negotiations and preparation for that Ministerial are going on.
That meeting in Denver will be followed by a Trade and Commerce forum that's going to be co-hosted by Mickey Kantor and Ron Brown, and that will bring together leading business representatives throughout the hemisphere to continue to work on promoting private sector cooperation.
So the Summit process continues to go forward. I think again it's important to stress that there was an initial concern that perhaps the financial crisis in Mexico or the Peru-Ecuador situation might somehow disrupt the process. What I sensed was that it only reinforced the belief that we have to continue the process even more vigorously than in the past. I will stop there.
Q Senator Bob Graham and some others are pushing through Congress legislation that would give a NAFTA-style benefit to the Caribbean Basin Initiative countries. Is that consistent with the free trade area agenda that you're working on? Do you support that?
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: Yes, absolutely. In fact, this was legislation that was announced by the Vice President when we visited Honduras, Tegucigalpa, last year. It is designed to try to offset some of the special benefits that derive under NAFTA, that could potentially harm some of the Caribbean Basin countries.
We are working now on that legislation. It's before the Hill. And a number of the Central American countries specifically referenced their interest in that legislation in their interventions in the Foreign Ministers' meeting.
Any other questions?
Q Can I ask you a different topic? Is that okay? U.S.-Japan.
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: Surprise! (Laughter) Okay.
Q Over the weekend, Transport Minister Kamei and Mr. Pena had a discussion about aviation talks, and they actually couldn't agree, and it's reported that U.S. is preparing sanctions against Japan, and do you have anything on that?
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: There was a conversation between Secretary Pena and Minister Kamei, as you mentioned, over the weekend. We are talking to them about next steps. Clearly, a show cause order is one possibility. There was also some discussion about perhaps getting some of our vice ministers together but nothing is decided at this point.
You may know that Mr. Kamei himself is scheduled to come to the United States in about a week, I guess, for the APEC Transportation Ministers' meeting. But there was no definitive outcome of that discussion.
Q What is a show cause order?
UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: If you think of the process in the arena of transportation and aviation, a show cause order is the equivalent to announcing what you would do in a 301. It is sort of the equivalent. So a show cause order essentially says, "Here are the sanctions we are going to impose. If you feel there are reasons that we should not do this -- and there's a debate and discussion period -- then you should show a cause why we should not impose those sanctions."
So it's the same as the period when you do a 301 when you announce your sanctions and you allow for public comment. It's just a different name for a quite similar process.
MS. SHELLY: Thank you very much.
(Under Secretary Spero concluded her briefing at 1:29 p.m., at which time Ms. Shelly opened her briefing.)
MS: SHELLY: I have a couple of announcements that I'd like to begin with.
The first is I'd like to draw to the attention of the members of the press that we have two new summer interns who are working with us, and, since these are all people who are very active in helping to prepare us for the briefing as well as responding to your queries, I'd like to take a minute and introduce them.
The first is Stephen Kaufman. Steve, can I get you to stand. Steve is a recent graduate from the College of William and Mary where he doubled majored in Middle Eastern studies and religion. He will be in the Press Office until the end of July when he will go to Israel for two years to pursue a Masters Degree in Middle Eastern history at Tel Aviv University.
The second, Michael Hasday -- would you stand; thank you -- is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania and is majoring in political science. He will be with us through mid-August. Last summer he interned at the Treasury Department. So let me welcome both of you, and I know that you will all enjoy your experiences of working with them and give them also whatever guidance and help that you might suggest as they perform their duties. Good to have you on board.
On Friday, in the context of discussing a report which went up to the Hill last week, we also indicated that there was a report that would be submitted to the Congress on Greece. I'm pleased to inform you that that report has now been submitted. It's a report on enforcement by Greece of U.N. sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro, consistent with Title III of the Foreign Operations Act of Fiscal 1995.
Ten percent of the Fiscal '95 foreign military financing for Greece -- and in this case that's approximately $24 million -- was withheld pending receipt of this report. Greece has since rejected the conditional funds.
The report states that although we cannot confirm allegations of complicity by the Greek Government in the evasion of U.N. sanctions, there are areas of concern regarding Greek enforcement of sanctions. These include the activities of the Serbian consulate in Thessaloniki, the presence of Serbian front companies in Greece, the diversion of Greek goods to Serbia through third countries, and the desirability of more aggressive enforcement of sanctions by Greek authorities.
The report also summarizes what is required of states by various U.N. resolutions and outlines the Greek view of sanctions as an instrument to help resolve the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. This report will be available in the Press Office this afternoon, and certainly we'd be happy to come back to its contents.
I'll be happy to take questions on this or other subjects.
Q What is the status of the money? Is it now being released, or is it still being held?
MS. SHELLY: No. Since there was the condition of preparing the report attached to it, Greece rejected the notion of accepting any conditional funds. As you may be aware from our briefing last week, this was also the case in the funds which were withheld. And again, this is only withheld from the foreign military financing.
I'm told that there is no longer any issue of gaining back that ten percent, not only because countries in question rejected the notion of conditional funds but also because of the tremendous pressures on foreign assistance funding generally -- that that money has now been allocated toward other uses.
Q In principle, would it have been released based on this report?
MS. SHELLY: It's impossible for me to offer a judgment on that since, before that issue might have become one that we would address, the Greek Government decided it did not wish to accept those funds anyway.
Q The State Department ducked the question of judgment then?
MS. SHELLY: I don't think it's a "duck." I think this is a question of factoring in the wishes of the receiving country which was not receiving to assistance that had a condition attached to it. So I think that's the operative point.
Q Will the report be made available immediately after the briefing, or will there be a delay?
MS. SHELLY: It is my hope and expectation that within a very short few minutes following the briefing, that copies will be available.
Q Does it address the blockade of Macedonia at all?
MS. SHELLY: Not specifically that I'm aware. I'll have to go back and check the report again, but I don't specifically remember a reference to that.
Q You may have answered this last week. Have other countries had similar reports on them and similar conditions about aid?
MS. SHELLY: Specifically, we laid it to the enforcement of sanctions against Serbia. It's theoretically possible. Not that I'm aware of. This report only specifically addressed the situation of Greece, so therefore that's the only country that is addressed in terms of what the State Department has submitted.
Q Does the report specifically address the issue of petroleum leakage?
MS. SHELLY: There are references to the petroleum issue in here, if I can just find that for a second. There's a section about the oil pre-verification system. There's a section in there on that. Then related to some of the front companies and third-country routing, I think there may be some references to oil in there as well. I think those are the places where it's addressed.
Q Did Greece violate the sanctions regime?
MS. SHELLY: What I did was I gave as brief a kind of bottom line as possible, which have to do with whether or not there is government sanction of violations. In that, we said that we could not confirm that there is. But at the same time, we've also said that there are a lot of concerns that we have about various ways in which goods that do come from Greece are finding their way into Serbia.
I would like to note that the Government of Greece has promulgated all of the laws and regulations which are necessary to enforce the sanctions. Even though we cannot confirm government complicity in sanctions evasion, we would certainly prefer a more pro-active approach to sanctions enforcement on the part of the Greek Government, there are a number of Greek goods that do reach Serbia, as I've mentioned, that tend to travel via third countries.
The Greek Government position on this has been, once that goods leave Greece, the country of destination, as stated on the shipping documents, is responsible for assuring that those goods are not sent to Serbia. As you know, Serbia does not have a border with Greece.
There have been several communications, not just from the United States but also from the EU/OSCE Sanctions Assistance Mission where Greece has been asked to investigate a couple hundred reported violations.
Our Embassy in Athens has also provided information on the pattern of sanctions violations. So we go into that in rather considerable detail in the report. We, of course, continue to urge strengthened sanctions enforcement by the Government of Greece.
Q (Inaudible) with banking -- financial transactions?
MS. SHELLY: I have to go back and check the report. I'm trying to recall specifically. I don't recall seeing a specific reference to banking. I'll go back and check. I don't think banking is singled out, per se.
Q (Inaudible) money laundering, in your opening statement?
MS. SHELLY: Money laundering?
MS. SHELLY: Did I mention money laundering?
Q Maybe I misheard.
MS. SHELLY: I don't think I mentioned that. Did I? Did I mention that? I mentioned the presence of Serbian front companies in Greece and the diversion of Greek goods through third countries. I mentioned those things. I didn't specifically mention money laundering.
Q In connection with Greece, there's a story on the wires that the Greek Foreign Minister and Defense Minister now in Belgrade are trying to negotiate the release of the hostages, or at least attempting to see Milosevic to do that. Do you think they can be helpful in carrying a message?
MS. SHELLY: I have only just myself a few minutes before coming out here also seen that same report. I think before commenting on it, I would like to try to get some more details, including exactly what we have been told about the mission.
Obviously, we would like to see the immediate and unconditional release of all of the remaining U.N. peacekeepers who are being held. We call upon the Bosnian Serbs to do that.
Q Can you bring us up to date on Ambassador Frasure's comings and goings? Is the mission, as reported, coming to a close on this part in any way?
MS. SHELLY: Ambassador Frasure is still there. As you know, one of the main subjects that he has been taking up since he's been there is, of course, the U.N. hostage issue. He certainly has not been involved in a negotiation on that point. He has been doing his best to impress upon President Milosevic the need for him to use his influence in trying to achieve the immediate and unconditional release of all of the U.N. peacekeepers who continue to be held.
Ambassador Frasure continued to meet with President Milosevic in Belgrade over the weekend. As I mentioned, he is still there today. There is no progress to report at this time.
I think we also mentioned on Friday that -- or if I didn't, let me just confirm -- in addition to discussing the U.N. hostages, he also is there discussing the down F-16 pilot with President Milosevic. He's there. We hope that some progress can be made, but I do not have any progress to report at this time. I don't have any announcement either regarding his future travel plans. There certainly is speculation out there, which I acknowledge, but I don't have anything to announce at this point.
Q Christine, just to follow up on the negotiations on the F-16 pilot, has he been given any kind of response you can share with us from Mr. Milosevic?
MS. SHELLY: Mostly, I would say it's been more of a one-way message in the sense that he has tried to encourage President Milosevic to do everything possible to find out what the factual state of play is. As you know, the reports certainly continue to be very mixed; and, also, in the event that there could be solid evidence to the effect that the Bosnian Serbs really were holding the pilot, that they, of course, could use their influence to try to get him released.
But I don't think that there's anything new regarding the state of play beyond that which Secretary Perry addressed yesterday.
Q Could I go now to the issues of Bosnia? Especially two related issues, one of which we touched on a little bit last week. What's called the Task Force Alpha is reportedly just about assembled. That's, I believe, part of the 10,000-man group that is planning to go and open roads, especially the one to Sarajevo through Serb-held territory; possibly into other enclaves, safe zones. The risk would be of the U.N. confronting the Serbs.
And a second adjunct to this question: Will the United States condone such actions, if it's decided upon by the U.N., and will we fly air cover with our C-130's, etc.? Or do you yet know, Christine? And then I have a second follow-up, if I could.
MS. SHELLY: I have a very short answer to that. First of all, Secretary Perry gave quite a full readout in terms of the meetings that were held on Saturday and what was agreed.
At this point, it is still very much in the planning phase; and the possibility of opening what is, obviously, a very key supply route to Sarajevo is one of the things which is under discussion. Ultimately, if that action is to take place, it's also ultimately going to have to go before the Security Council for some kind of endorsement as well. None of that has happened yet.
So all of the different arrangements related to opening up that route still have to be worked out and then decided by the appropriate bodies.
The discussion of it obviously is a reflection of the humanitarian situation there and the extreme difficulty in trying to get supplies into Sarajevo, for all of the obvious reasons.
The situation is one that as a result of the fighting that has made it very, very difficult to get the aid in. So, certainly, there is an increasingly critical situation in Sarajevo. But the issues that you've raised are simply ones that we're not in a position to give answers to at this time.
Q If I could follow up, Christine. Would this possible confrontation between the U.N. -- military confrontation and conflict fighting -- between the U.N. and the Bosnian Serbs, could that not bring upon more actions of taking and holding of hostages?
And, finally, is not the United States Government in some way responsible, having knowledge of the airstrike last week, aforeknowledge of the airstrike against the Serbian ammo dumps? Don't we bear some responsibility for not having planned to get hostages -- potential hostages -- out of harms way?
MS. SHELLY: On the second point, I categorically reject your notion that we are somehow responsible for this. The use of air power and the circumstances under which it can occur under the dual-key arrangement, this is nothing new. All of those involved in the decision were well aware of what any potential risks and consequences might be.
But I think any notion of putting any blame anywhere except squarely on the Bosnian Serb shoulders is misguided.
As to the first part of your question, which I confess I've forgotten. What's the first part of the question? You make such long questions, it's really hard for the briefer to remember what they all are. The first part of the question, again?
Q It's a complex issue.
MS. SHELLY: It's a complex issue.
Q What if the U.N. gets into warfare -- partisan warfare with the Bosnian Serbs -- wouldn't that risk the taking of more U.N. hostages?
MS. SHELLY: Your question almost implies that there is peace now and if there are actions, there will be war. That is certainly not the situation on the ground. The situation is worrisome. There had been an escalation in the shelling and fighting and use of mortars in recent days. It was precisely the degree of violation of safe zones and safe areas by the Bosnian Serbs, which is what what led to action in the first place.
So there are risks inherent in being there and risk inherent in taking action. But it's clear that the international community, with its presence there, cannot just sit by idly as the noose is tightened, so to speak.
Q Going back to Frasure?
MS. SHELLY: Sure.
Q You talked about his -- talking to Milosevic about the F-16 pilot and the hostages, has he reported any progress on narrowing the gap with Milosevic over -- the real reason for his visit, which is gaining Serbian recognition of Bosnia in exchange for sanctions suspension? We were told that he was 80/85 percent there. Has the percentage gone up at all?
MS. SHELLY: I wouldn't ascribe a numerical percentage to it. As you also know, the final remaining share is the toughest part. In the aftermath of the Contact Group ministerial, there certainly was hope that agreement could be reached on the remaining issues that had not yet been worked out. That's the issue on which I don't have any specific progress to report. I think we're still at the same point that we were prior to Ambassador Frasure arriving in Belgrade.
Q Regarding Milosevic and the other issues of the NATO pilot and the hostages, in general, is there a sense that Milosevic is trying to use his influence but his influence is limited, or that he's waiting for a little more sweetener before he tries to exercise whatever influence he has?
MS. SHELLY: That report is certainly out there, that he somehow felt that he could use the latest events to try to improve the deal. I can't specifically confirm that. I think that his involvement -- this is certainly a very key test for him, however. Let me state that.
I think it is in his interest to try to secure the release of the U.N. peacekeepers immediately and without conditions. We think this is not just a question of our asking him to do that or the Contact Group or the international community. If he has influence, he should use it. He can demonstrate that he has it by securing the remaining the peacekeepers who are being held -- securing their immediate release.
We firmly believe in is in his interest to do this. We do not believe this issue is one that should have any kind impact on the other issue, which has to do with the formulation whereby Serbia would recognize Bosnia and, in exchange, secure some relief from the sanctions.
So we don't see any specific linkage. We rule out the possibility that somehow there were would be a sweetened or enhanced package for him if he was able to do something that, in fact, is in his own interest to do in the first place.
Q Why is it in his interest?
MS. SHELLY: It's in his interest because U.N. peacekeepers should not be held and marched around in this kind of fashion and harassed, certainly.
Q Why is it specifically in Serbia's interest to make sure U.N. peacekeepers aren't held and marched around and for the President of Serbia to use his influence to stop that?
MS. SHELLY: Because if he is truly interested in finding a solution to the crisis and in having a negotiated settlement and also trying to bring peace to the war torn region of Bosnia, it's certainly clear that he should not condone or even tacitly go along with some kind of continued harassment and detention of U.N. peacekeepers.
Q Well, the only real interest he has, I would think, is in getting the sanctions lifted. But you say it's not linked to that. So I don't understand why it's in his interest?
MS. SHELLY: Because the whole issue was under discussion. In fact, there had been a measure of an agreement on a package whereby some of those things could occur. But that had absolutely nothing to do with the latest round and the seizure and harassment of U.N. peacekeepers as well as the downing of the U.S. pilot. These issues were unconnected before. We continue to be of the view that they're unconnected now.
Q Can I ask if you have any reaction to the amount of information or the lack thereof from the Bosnian Serbs about the status of the pilot? Are you satisfied with the information you're getting from the Bosnian Serbs about the pilot? And are they in violation of any international conventions?
MS. SHELLY: I would just leave this issue with what Secretary Perry said yesterday. I'm not aware of there being new information since the information that he had yesterday when he addressed this. Again, I think it would be appropriate in any case if there were new information to put out on this, that for it to come out of the Pentagon rather than coming out of here. But I simply don't have anything new.
Q I'm not asking about the pilot. I'm not asking for something new about the pilot. I'm asking for the U.S. Government's view as to whether the Bosnian Serbs have been offering an adequate amount of information about the status of the pilot and whether they are in violation of any international laws or treaties because of the lack of information that you're --
MS. SHELLY: Even some of the reports that they have put out have not been entirely consistent. Certainly, some reports coming from Bosnian Serb sources have suggested that they do have the pilot, and there is other information to the contrary.
So, simply in that sense I think it's very difficult to ascribe a kind of validity judgment to the quality of information that we're getting, through whatever channel, from the Bosnian Serb side.
But, again, before we ever pronounce any judgment about violations of international law -- again, I think since it's not clear what the situation is -- in any case, it would be very difficult to make that kind of determination. But that's also a determination that I would never make without consulting our lawyers first.
Q Christine, you just said that there was a measure of an agreement on a package between Frasure and Milosevic. Can you give us some sense of what that package looks like?
MS. SHELLY: I really can't beyond things which we've said before. Because, basically, we have decided that we were not going to get into a public discussion of the details of the elements which are on the table.
Q In particular, is it still suspension as opposed to lifting? Is it still each Security Council member has a right to reimpose the sanctions or demand a reimposition, or does the Secretary General have that authority now?
MS. SHELLY: As to the first part of your question, it's my understanding that it's still suspension rather than lift. As to the exact mechanism, whereby some of this might go back into effect, that is still an issue that's under discussion.
Q But has there been any modification of the position in the past 10 days from the position that Frasure had when he was there a couple of weeks ago?
MS. SHELLY: Which was? What specifically are you referring to?
Q The United States, for example, could have the sanctions reimposed in the Security Council without anybody else being involved?
MS. SHELLY: I think it is certainly our view in a general sense. I'm afraid I'm simply not in a position to give a very, very specific answer to your question. But it certainly is the U.S.'s position that we need to see a measure of control so that in the event we get the information that there is violation, that we can then take action.
How exactly that's done, and how the action through the Security Council is worked, and what if any other parties might be involved in this, -- again, those are all things which do touch on the overall issue of the mechanism. Again, that's something in which all the details are not worked out.
Q Modification did place, then?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not specifically ruling one in or ruling one out.
Q Christine, the Bosnian Serb commander, Mladic, has said he won't give up any information on the American pilot unless NATO agrees not to fly anymore airstrikes. Is that something NATO might -- the United States might consider an appropriate concession?
MS. SHELLY: I think the notion of conditionality on any action on the part of the Bosnian Serbs related to a kind of blanket statement on airstrikes is unacceptable, as Secretary Christopher said most recently yesterday.
Q Do you see any significance in the released hostages being taken to Serbia instead of just being returned to UNPROFOR?
MS. SHELLY: Not in particular. I think it was a reflection, certainly, of President Milosevic's involvement; also his obviously having the kind of contact with the Bosnian Serbs that presumably made that logistically possible. But I don't think I would go further than that in reading significance into it.
Q With Milosevic being the main point of contact with the Contact Group on this and that contact being premised, at least in part, on the idea that he was distancing himself from the Bosnian Serbs, -- have you been disappointed? Has it changed that premise at all, that Milosevic has not come out and forcefully demanded the release of these hostages?
MS. SHELLY: I think from what we have seen, in terms of the totality of statements by President Milosevic, not only in terms of what he said publicly but also what he has said on this privately, certainly led us to conclude that he saw no value in continuing to detain U.N. peacekeepers and that he would express that view to the Bosnian Serbs and would do whatever he could to try to seek their release.
So you did, of course, see some partial progress on that a couple of days ago. Certainly, we would like him to continue to do that if the result can be that they can be released immediately and unconditionally.
Q Christine, also on Milosevic. You say that Frasure is still talking about suspension of the sanctions rather than lifting. Is there any adjective attached to that? Is there a time span?
MS. SHELLY: A time span? Not specifically that I'm aware of. That may be something that's under discussion, but I'm again not in a position to confirm that in detail.
Q Christine, has Milosevic asked for Western recognition of Serbia as a condition for agreeing to this deal?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any information on that.
Q Christine, you said earlier that before to the new U.N. force, or whatever kind of force it is, could take an action like opening a road it must go to the Security Council. Do you expect that they need a new mandate or why is it necessary to go? There are so many mandates out there already.
MS. SHELLY: There are mandates out there already. It's just my general understanding that, to the extent that there would be a precise regime or mechanism for doing this put into place, that would be likely to pass through the Security Council for some kind of a nod. I don't think there's anything very concrete at this point.
U.N. authorities also, of course, in the context of the discussions now of the U.N. Secretary General's report to the Security Council, are obviously also looking at the mandate to try to see what adjustments, if any, could be made or should be made. That's simply something I think ultimately would be likely to pass through the U.N. Security Council. But I don't have more specific detail at this point.
Q Do you have anything to say about the Secretary's activities, Bosnia-related or otherwise, before he leaves Wednesday on his next trip?
MS. SHELLY: Needless to say, the Secretary has been deeply engaged in this, and he is not only having consultations here in Washington but he obviously will be involved in congressional contacts and also contacts with his counterparts -- I would assume most directly in the Contact Group ministerial counterparts -- regarding the situation.
So he is deeply engaged in working this issue, and even as he does head off for the Middle East on Wednesday, he is certain to remain engaged even while he's on the road.
Q Will he see the Bosnian Prime Minister?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have the Bosnian Prime Minister's schedule at this point.
Q (Inaudible) the Bosnian Prime Minister's schedule, asking about the Secretary of State's schedule. He leaves Wednesday, the Bosnian Prime Minister will be in the city tomorrow. Will he see him?
MS. SHELLY: I'll have to check on that. I don't have information on that.
Q Christine, speaking of the Middle East and Christopher, there's a report out of Cairo that he'll be meeting on Friday in Cairo with Rabin and Mubarak. Is that so?
MS. SHELLY: I'm not in a position to confirm that, but let me check.
Q I'd like to go back to Bosnia one more time. Do you have an understanding of what the command and control will be for this new rapid reaction force? I mean, is it a U.N. force? Does it report, therefore, to the civilian authorities in the U.N., or does it bypass them, and, if it bypasses them, who does it report to?
MS. SHELLY: I don't know if that issue has been specifically addressed yet in the context of the meetings and planning which was launched on Saturday. So I don't have an answer for you on that. That question might be more appropriately directed to the Pentagon, but I'll be happy to check into it and see if we can elicit some more information on that.
Q Do you have anything on the trials and travails of Tom Hubbard and his crew in Kuala Lumpur?
MS. SHELLY: I always try to have something on the trials and travails of what's happening to senior Departmental officials who are abroad and working on difficult and complex subjects like he is.
I don't have a lot of detail. The U.S. and DPRK negotiators met on Saturday, June 3, and again on Monday. The negotiators continue serious efforts to resolve the complex issues related to the implementation of the Agreed Framework.
We're taking stock of our position. We do plan to meet again tomorrow, and the U.S. negotiators remain in close touch with South Korean and Japanese officials in Kuala Lumpur.
MS. SHELLY: You mean like I was on Friday?
Q Well, not you, but the government.
MS. SHELLY: I stand behind what I said on Friday. Certainly, the issues are difficult. We haven't reached closure on them yet, but I think it's still our view that we can do so.
Q Are you more optimistic than Friday or less optimistic? (Laughter)
MS. SHELLY: I think I'm going to position myself about where I was on Friday.
Q Do you have anything on Congressman Richardson, I believe it is, who's in Pyongyang at this point? He had a four-day visit starting Saturday. Did he consult with Bob Gallucci or anyone else in the building who's been working on the North Korean issues?
MS. SHELLY: I know that he or members of his party have stayed in close touch, especially as the negotiations have continued in Kuala Lumpur. I don't have any specific readout of that trip so far, but certainly when the visit finishes, we'll try to get you one.
Q Do you know at what level he has been received?
MS. SHELLY: I do not know that yet.
Q Speaking of the Spratlys --
MS. SHELLY: Spratlys! Again!
Q Yes, in the Post.
MS. SHELLY: In the Post.
Q In the Post today, yes. A point of conflict. China and surrounding area. I think specifically the thing about the Philippine Government and some in the Philippines interpreting that the United States has some treaty obligation to them in the Spratlys. And my question basically to you is -- Christine, have the U.S. Government and the Philippine Government been discussing this either here in Washington or in Manila -- this particular matter of our treaty obligations to protect the Philippines?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything to say on this beyond that which I said when we first made our statement on this, which I think was May 10. We also specifically took that question. We said, of course, we stand by our treaty obligations to the Philippines.
That's a statement that stands on its own. We also said at the time -- and it's still where we are now -- that we are not going to discuss hypotheticals regarding its potential interpretation or application.
I would like to just reiterate the point, however, that we continue to urge all of the claimants in the South China Sea to exercise restraint, to avoid destabilizing actions. We would like to see the diplomatic efforts intensified which do address the issues which relate to the competing claims, and those efforts should take into account the interests of all parties and should do so in a way which contributes to the peace and prosperity in the region.
We are willing to assist in any way that the claimants would deem helpful. As you know, we don't take a position on the legal merits of the competing claims. We don't wish to see maritime activity there impeded. We also would not want to see actions that would not be consistent with international law, such as the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.
So freedom of navigation is a point which continues to be of great concern to us. We would like unhindered navigation by all of the ships and the aircraft that would pass through the South China Sea, and once again, as I said, we call for restraint and hope that countries can intensify the diplomatic efforts which hopefully can work on some of these issues.
Q Does the Department of State have any reaction to the state of alert on the part of the military in the Philippines, brought on by the conflict in the Spratlys?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have any particular comment on that.
Q Christine, the U.S. was announcing today indictment of top members of the Cali Cartel as well as some of their lawyers in this country. Has this government been in touch with members of the Colombian Government? Do we expect the Colombian Government to accede to any request for extradition of these people?
MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything on this with me. I'm going to have to check on that one and see what we can tell you, either in a taken question or else be prepared to come back to it tomorrow.
Q Thank you.
MS. SHELLY: Thanks.
(The briefing concluded at 2:03 p.m.)
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