Return to: Index of 1994 Daily Briefings || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
95/06/09 Daily Press Briefing
Office of the Spokesman


 
 
                        U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                          DAILY PRESS BRIEFING 
                                I N D E X 
                         Friday, June 9, 1995 
 
 
 
                                       Briefer:  Christine Shelly 
 
 
 
CUBA 
  Detention of Robert Vesco, Possible Return to U.S. ...  1-7 
  Other U.S. Fugitives in Cuba .........................  2,3-4 
  Trend in U.S. Bilateral Relations; U.S. Cuba Policy ..  3,4,5 
  Tarnoff Whereabouts ..................................  3 
  Extradition Treaty with U.S. .........................  5-6 
 
GREECE 
  Extension of Territorial Waters; Turkish Reaction ....  7-8 
 
CYPRUS 
  Status of Special Coordinator James Williams Mission .  8 
 
JAPAN 
  Decision Not to Enforce Trade Ban Against IRAN .......  8-9 
 
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA 
  PriMin Silajdzic, House Vote on Arms Embargo Lift ....  9 
  U.S. Policy on Unilateral, Multilateral Lift .........  9-10 
  Ceasefire.............................................  10 
  Contact Group Activities .............................  10 
  UNPROFOR Humanitarian Deliveries; Assistance Needs ...  11-13 
 
SERBIA-MONTENEGRO 
  Readout of Frasure Meetings in Belgrade ..............  10 
 
TURKEY 
  Readout of PM DAS Eric Newsom Visit to Turkey ........  11 
 
CHINA 
  Reaction to Lee Teng-hui Travel to U.S.; President 
    Clinton's Mtg w/ Chinese Ambassador ................  13-14 
  U.S. Policy on China-Taiwan ..........................  13 
 
NORTH KOREA 
  U.S. Nuclear Talks in Kuala Lumpur  ..................  14-15 
  U.S. Consultations with SOUTH KOREA, JAPAN ...........  14-15 
  Role of CHINA in Talks ...............................  15 
 
IRAQ 
  Non-Involvement in Sting Operation re Zirconium Sale .  15-16 
 



U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB #84

FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 1995, 1:02 P. M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department press briefing. I have no announcements, so I'd be happy to go directly to your questions.

Q What can you tell us about the contacts that the U.S. Government has had with the Government of Cuba on the question of Robert Vesco?

MS. SHELLY: The Government of Cuba informed our Interests Section last week that Robert Vesco had been detained. We have told the Government of Cuba that we are interested in getting Mr. Vesco back in the United States as there are pending charges against him in the U.S., and that we will be happy to provide them with some further details.

This has been the extent of our discussions with the Government of Cuba on this subject. We have, I would note, indicated over the past 20 years our interest in getting Mr. Vesco back in the United States to face charges here. Nothing has changed in that respect. Just as we are always interested in the return of fugitives from United States justice anywhere around the world.

Q What are the charges that are pending against him?

MS. SHELLY: That is a question I think you should appropriately address to Cuban authorities.

Q Do you have any notion why the Cubans arrested him?

MS. SHELLY: I think that's the same question, isn't it? Are you talking about U.S. charges, or are you talking about Cuban charges?

Q The Cubans informed you that they arrested -- they detained him last week. Why did they do that is the question.

MS. SHELLY: Why did they arrest him?

Q Yes.

MS. SHELLY: That's the question that I think is appropriate for you to address to Cuban authorities -- the reasons for their arrest.

Q Are they asking for anything in return for turning him over?

MS. SHELLY: Not that I am aware of. But, at this point I think I would characterize them as sort of preliminary exchanges. I'm not aware that there are any other issues that have been raised in connection with our exchanges on this.

Q Have they indicated an interest in turning him over to U.S. authorities?

MS. SHELLY: My understanding of the exchanges is that they were interested in knowing whether or not we still had an interest in getting him back; so certainly that was an exploration on that point on their part. But we still have some additional details -- additional information -- that we do intend to provide the Cuban authorities in response to some questions which they asked us. So we will proceed with that.

I would assume almost implicitly from their having raised this with us -- and, again, it was their initiative, their having raised this with us the end of last week -- that they would not be pursuing this if they did not have some interest in returning him.

Q Is the additional information requested -- does it have to do specifically with Vesco or also with other U.S. fugitives who might be in Cuba?

MS. SHELLY: I don't now definitively the answer to that, but I would presume, based on what we do know, that it relates to Mr. Vesco's situation specifically. I do not have information that suggests that there are other issues tied into that information request.

Q Have there been contacts between the FBI and Cuban authorities in the past year discussing the problem of international fugitives in Cuba?

MS. SHELLY: I don't speak for the FBI. I'm not in a position to answer that.

Q Can we take your blanket statement that this is the full extent of the contacts on the Vesco affair to rule out that there have been FBI contacts in the past year?

MS. SHELLY: I can't speak for the FBI one way or the other in terms of what might have happened since the end of last week or in the previous time frame. That's not my job. I speak for the State Department. As you know, the Interests Section in Havana reflects our diplomatic presence in Havana; that is obviously something that does relate to the State Department part of this issue, and those are really the questions that I'm in a position to answer.

Q Would you characterize this as an act of good will on the part of the Cuban Government -- what's your reaction to this step -- or an intention to further normalize relations with the United States?

MS. SHELLY: I would really hesitate to draw any conclusions from this particular communication from them. We look upon this as an issue related to a justice question for the United States. That is the context in which we are going back to them and would be taking any future actions.

I would not make a generalization or even try to extrapolate from that particular action about impact on the relationship. I would not make any particular linkage between this and any other issue. It is simply something that I think will be examined in its own context, which is a law enforcement matter.

Betsy.

Q Is Mr. Tarnoff in town, and does he intend to remain here?

MS. SHELLY: Mr. Tarnoff is in town.

Q Is this part of the negotiation in Toronto last month between Ricardo Alarcon and the Clinton Administration?

MS. SHELLY: No, it was not.

Q Are there discussions on any of the other fugitives, in particular Joanne Chesimard, who was -- a Black Liberation Army -- involved in the murder of a New Jersey state trooper some years ago, who was reported to be in Cuba?

MS. SHELLY: I have no other information relating to exchanges that we might have had regarding any other people who may be fugitives. Again, I think that's a law enforcement question and probably a question you'd want to ask the FBI or perhaps the Justice Department.

Q You're not directly linking this to any other case. Does the sequence of recent Cuban approaches to the United States on the migration business and this and in other talks -- does that suggest to you any pattern that is changing in Cuba's relations with the United States?

MS. SHELLY: Again, I think that would be drawing an inference from a particular approach which they have made to us which to my knowledge was confined to the issues related to Mr. Vesco himself.

So I simply wouldn't go beyond that to make a kind of extrapolation. What led the Cubans at this particular point to make this approach to us, I simply am not in a position to say. I think that's a question again you would appropriately wish to address to them -- what their motives might be, what they think might be in it for them. Again, I can't get into their heads. I don't know what their thinking is.

We view this strictly in the context of a longstanding issue related to Mr. Vesco. As I said, we have had communications with them in the past over a 20-year period, indicating we'd like to get him back. That's the context in which we see the action.

Q Are you interested in exploring if there is any change of attitude on the part of the Cuban Government?

MS. SHELLY: Exploring what?

Q Change in attitude.

MS. SHELLY: Again, I am not going to draw a generalization or a broader inference from this specific event in question.

Betsy.

Q Have the Cubans specifically asked what penalty might be paid by Mr. Vesco for charges that would be pending against him?

MS. SHELLY: I'm not aware that the information that they're seeking is really that particular in detail. But, nonetheless, this is an exchange that we have had with them on this subject only, and it would not be consistent with our past practice, in any case, to get into a detailed discussion of the exchange.

Q When will we get back to them with this further information that's been requested?

MS. SHELLY: I assume when we have that information pulled together. But at this point we simply have been back to them to indicate that we are interested in getting him back, which is obviously something that our Interests Section needed to do to affirm that that was still the case after this much time, and that's really about all I can say on that point.

Q As you know, the U.S. policy authorizes a carefully calibrated response to positive developments on the island. In the last five weeks we've seen an immigration accord signed, the release of some prominent political prisoners, and now this offer or ostensible offer to release Vesco. Does that merit a carefully calibrated response from the United States Government?

MS. SHELLY: In terms of the broader question of our Cuba policy, again, I would not make any linkage between this particular issue and any other aspect of our relationship with Cuba. We have always looked at the migration issues in their own context, and we have not used those in any way to get at other kinds of issues.

I think the Government of Cuba knows very well what our position on Cuba is in the general sense, which is that we would like to see political and economic reforms taken, and that is the sort of agenda that we're looking for in terms of looking at appropriate calibrated responses.

But this particular issue, again, relates to an issue of law enforcement in the United States, and we would view it in that context.

Q If Vesco is extradited, how will it occur? Will U.S. Marshals and U.S. aircraft be allowed to go into Cuba and get him out?

MS. SHELLY: I have no further details on that, and in any case I'm not sure that that question is most appropriately addressed to the State Department.

Q Is there a treaty involving extradition between the United States and Cuba?

MS. SHELLY: In fact, there is a U.S.-Cuba Treaty providing for the mutual extradition of fugitives from justice that was signed in 1904. It entered into force in 1905. See, you thought we never went back and looked at the historical record here.

It was supplemented by an additional extradition treaty in 1926. However -- and it certainly will not come as a surprise to you -- in recent years we have not invoked these treaties.

Q And does it cover financial crimes?

MS. SHELLY: I would have to go back and check with my lawyers on that. I'm not an expert on what exactly it includes.

Q You said that the Cuban Government had raised this with you the end of last week, I think you said.

MS. SHELLY: That's right.

Q Was this the first you heard that they had arrested Vesco?

MS. SHELLY: Yes, it was.

Q Are you prepared to say there are no Justice Department officials in Cuba now to discuss this case with Cuban officials?

MS. SHELLY: I am prepared to say that insofar as I am aware of it, there are not. But again I would be happy to try to make sure that that is still correct, and, if it's not correct, I'll be happy to correct myself later this afternoon.

Q Will the discussions continue to be through the Interests Section in Havana, and is that the proper forum? Will it go to another Department -- the FBI, the judiciary -- as far as you know?

MS. SHELLY: My understanding on what has transpired so far is that there have been two exchanges on this, one which was the end of last week when the Cuban authorities in Havana approached us, and another where we went back to them this week and indicated to them that we were interested in getting Mr. Vesco back.

Again, I've also indicated that the time they approached us, they were looking for some additional information, and that is still information that we must pull together and get back to them with. So those are the exchanges that I can tell you about, and I'm simply not aware of other exchanges.

I certainly am not going to preclude at this point other possible ways of communicating with them on this issue, but this is what I can say factually about what has taken place so far.

Q Do you have any reason to believe that there was a fallout between Vesco and Castro?

MS. SHELLY: Again, that would pull me into the speculative domain. I'm simply not in a position to answer that.

Q How do you interpret this personally, then?

MS. SHELLY: I'm sorry?

Q How do you interpret this personally?

MS. SHELLY: How do I interpret --

Q This situation?

Q Your personal interpretation?

MS. SHELLY: What's my personal interpretation? Anyone on a strictly personal basis could certainly offer a view on that. I don't view that as appropriate in my role as a State Department Spokeswoman to offer a view on that. I don't think that would be responsible on my part.

Q A different topic?

MS. SHELLY: Sure.

Q It seems like it's getting too warm for comfort in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey. There are indications Greece --

MS. SHELLY: Summer.

Q Summer, too. But beyond that, it seems like Greece has intentions to really increase the territorial waters to 12 miles, and the Turkish parliament just yesterday issued a very strongly worded statement warning again that there will be cause for war. The recent Pentagon report, as you know, mentioned specifically that there might be a hot conflict between Turkey and Greece.

Is the State Department still considering the issue, as it did in the past, as a purely hypothetical question? Or do we have a new reading and evaluation on the situation?

MS. SHELLY: I confess that I have not seen these most recent events to which you refer. We have been over this at several press briefings in the last couple of weeks or so.

The countries involved have stated their positions before and they have stated them again in the context of the enactment of the Law of the Sea Treaty. But I think it's our general assessment that this issue has been handled in a way which has not been intended to provoke a greater crisis.

Our general assessment is that it has been handled in a relatively low key way. It's a sensitive issue. We're aware of that. The parties certainly are. Therefore, I think if we are to make a characterization of it, we think the approach has been a moderate one and not one designed to result in an escalation of the tensions and frictions between the two countries.

Q The Greece approach is a moderate, low key one?

MS. SHELLY: I think that we believe the way that the parties have approached this issue has not been undertaken in a way to try to escalate tensions which certainly do come and go in response to a number of different issues.

I don't have factual information on the most recent things to which you've referred. I'll be happy to check on that and see if we have anything more. But I think generally it's our assessment that both countries have approached this in a way which has not been intended to escalate the differences.

Q A related matter -- Cyprus. What's the status of James Williams' mission on the Cyprus issue with Mr. Beattie?

MS. SHELLY: I don't have anything with me on that today. I'll be happy to try to work up something for that for the beginning of next week. As you know, we put out a pretty detailed account about a week ago or so in the context of a report that was submitted to the U.S. Congress. It recounted a lot of the detail of the diplomacy.

I don't have a new update on that, but I'll be happy to try to get one for, say, Monday.

Betsy.

Q Do you have any response to the Japanese announcement that they will not abide by our embargo?

MS. SHELLY: I have a short response to that. Naturally, we are disappointed that the Japanese authorities do not -- at least at this point -- intend to join us in a ban on trade and investment in Iran. We remain firmly convinced that it is inappropriate for the industrialized democracies to support Iran with aid or with official export credits and guarantees as long as Tehran continues its dangerous policies.

We will continue to urge Japan to reconsider and, in the meantime, to try and find ways to keep up the international pressure on Iran to change its behavior. We certainly will continue to keep the issue under discussion with the Japanese.

Bill.

Q Bosnia?

MS. SHELLY: Sure.

Q Christine, Haris Silajdzic yesterday said to the Helsinki Commission and to the press in a photo op he would very much prefer to have the arms embargo lifted, even if it cost the participation of the U.N. He said also -- he reiterated -- that no cease-fire was suitable to the Bosnian Muslim Government; just completely ruled that out.

As you know, yesterday in the Congress and the House of Representatives, a positive vote for a unilateral lift. Could you comment on Mr. Silajdzic's statements?

What will the Administration do if this unilateral lift becomes a compromise bill with the Senate and the House? Will the Administration veto it?

MS. SHELLY: On the first part, on Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic's testimony before Congress yesterday, I've seen the reporting on some of the remarks. I haven't studied the text. But I can tell you, in any case, this is something in which we would only make really a very general comment.

We've stated many times our deep empathy for the suffering which the Bosnian people have endured. The U.S. has taken a leading role in the humanitarian steps to try and ease that suffering.

We do not support the unilateral lifting of the arms embargo at this time. Our position on this has not changed. Unilaterally lifting the arms embargo would jeopardize our credibility with our allies and at the U.N. It would make it difficult to convince others to maintain embargoes against countries like Libya and Iraq. It would have several immediate and highly negative consequences such as an increase in the level of the conflict with what we believe would be a commensurate increase in civilian casualties.

It would also result in a likely withdrawal of UNPROFOR, and a possible ensuing humanitarian catastrophe. As we have said in the past, we would support a multilateral lift as long as there was a proper U.N. approval. But in the absence of that -- for the reasons I've indicated and many other senior officials have indicated -- we don't support a unilateral lift.

Q What Haris Zilajdzic had to say about "no cease-fire," we would urge the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Muslims, both, to go back to the status of a cease-fire?

MS. SHELLY: The cease-fire and trying to get it extended in a more formal kind of way is something which remains, of course, a very key objective of ours at this point.

Q Christine, Ambassador Frasure has returned from the region. Is there any readout from his most recent visits with the Serbian President? Did he bring back anything from those discussions that are being considered now?

MS. SHELLY: We announced before that he was coming back and would have some consultations back here which we have been having. Where we left things, or where he left things out there, was to signal to President Milosevic that the Contact Group proposal, as you know, for a suspension in sanctions in exchange for recognition, that that offer is still on the table.

I'm not aware of any new communications which we have received from President Milosevic since Ambassador Frasure's return. But the offer is certainly still there, and it's something that I think we'll pursue discussions on at a point where we feel that the circumstances justify it.

Q Are you aware of any other level of Contact Group meetings, whether it's Ambassador Frasure's or anyone --

MS. SHELLY: I'm not aware at this point that there are any Contact Group meetings planned. That is something that I'll continue to check on everyday.

Q What can you tell us about Assistant Secretary Eric Newsom's recent visit to Turkey? What was accomplished? Can you give us an idea?

MS. SHELLY: Assistant Secretary --

Q Newsom?

MS. SHELLY: Deputy Assistant Secretary Newsom. I gave what I thought was a relatively full rundown on visits to Turkey about a week ago or so -- maybe that was 10 days ago or so. I don't have anything new on this one. I'll be happy to check and see.

We do have, of course, political/military consultations with Turkey and visits out there by State Department political/military officials. Defense Department officials, obviously, go out there as well, so we do have discussions with Turkey on a regular basis.

So I would assume that the visit of the PM Deputy Assistant Secretary was made in that context. Whether we would wish to offer more specific details on topics that he discussed, I don't know. I'll be happy to check and see.

Q Christine, also on Bosnia, there were reports that U.S. troops were going to go to Italy for training as a possible backup for some either withdrawal or reconfiguration. Now there are stories coming out that these troops will not go to Italy for the training. Do you have anything on this?

MS. SHELLY: That's not a State Department issue. That's a Defense Department issue. You need to ask there.

Q On another related issue. There's also the question that if the UNPROFOR troops attempt to make deliveries to Sarajevo and other places, there has to be a certain amount of consent on the part of the Serbians. I believe the term used is "minimum consent."

The question is -- which also is an item of discussion in the European press -- what is the date, the final date, where we consider that that consent is either forthcoming or is not forthcoming and therefore requires a new contingency in planning?

MS. SHELLY: Your last question is a very complicated question. It's simply not something that I'm in a position to answer.

I can touch on the humanitarian situation in Bosnia and on the root question, generally. As I think you know, UNHCR would like to bring in aid over Mount Igman, the so-called "Blue Route." But at the present, as you're certainly aware, the security threat is very high.

The Bosnian Serbs, I'm told, promised yesterday to open a new route into Sarajevo. The details on this are sketchy, I think, at this point. I don't know if the U.N. believes that it will dramatically improve the conditions in Sarajevo.

Some convoys got through within the last day or so to U.N. safe areas. They got through to Srebrenica and to Zepa. Two other convoys, however, that were also destined for Srebrenica, were blocked by Serb forces.

The overall situation, of course, is one which is very worrisome. There has been renewed Serb shelling and sniping in Sarajevo. It's reduced residents to a state of fear and suffering which is similar to what they endured prior to February of '94.

Civilians in Bihac and the eastern enclaves are virtually cut off along with the U.N. forces that are stationed there. The situation in Bihac is described as particularly critical.

By denying free access to U.N. aid convoys, the Bosnian Serbs, once again, are using food as a weapon. UNHCR food stocks in Sarajevo are depleted. The last 300 tons of flour was transported from the airport to the city's center on June 7. In the next food distribution cycle, the UNHCR expects to be able to reach only about 15 percent of its targets.

Bakeries are threatened by both flour and fuel shortages. They usually run on natural gas but they've had to switch to diesel when the gas supply was cut off by the Serbs on May 28.

The UNHCR airlift has been down for 63 days now. UNHCR convoys from Kiseljak to Sarajevo have been down for 15 days. The only aid in that period was 40 tons of flour brought over the treacherous Mount Igman route by Bosnian Government volunteers.

According to local estimates, the average household has a one-month supply of food and reserve. Water has been off for 15 days. Shallow wells dug by the ICRC have helped somewhat. However, the World Health Organization officials fear waterborne epidemics due to water shortages and lack of chlorine tablets.

I think that underscores the necessity of trying to find a way to get routes open so that humanitarian assistance can be brought in. We certainly call upon the Bosnian Serbs to cease using food as a weapon in this struggle.

Q The Chinese press today is calling President Lee's visit a belligerent act against China. Does the Administration have any comment to those statements?

MS. SHELLY: I don't have any particular comment on that. I think the Chinese position on this certainly is well known, and it's up to them to articulate it.

I think you're also aware of the fact that the President met yesterday with the Chinese Ambassador here. I think that was certainly done in a context of trying to reassure China about the nature of our intentions toward them.

We do not have any intention whatsoever of pursuing what some have called a "two-China" or a "one-China/one-Taiwan" policy. Quite to the contrary. It is our unshakable intention to conduct official ties with China and unofficial ties with the people of Taiwan according to the consistent policy we have followed since U.S.-China normalization of relations in 1979.

Our attitudes, our objectives, our national interests with respect to China remain unaltered. We believe that there is great potential in our relationship, and we hope that we'll be able to develop it.

Q Is there some concern, though, within the Administration that the rhetoric has continued to be quite hot from the Chinese since the announcement of granting the visa? And aside from the fact that the President made an effort yesterday to reassure the Chinese, these comments today are still -- they still appear to be very angry. Is there some concern that if this rhetoric doesn't die down, that there may have been some irreparable damage?

MS. SHELLY: I think that we've seen the official reaction to this already in the sense that, as you're well aware, there were several visits that were canceled or postponed as a consequence of the decision to let President Lee come for this private visit.

But, nonetheless, we believe that it's something which is occurring now. I think it's not a surprise to us that there are still some fairly stark statements on this as the visit is still underway. But we do believe that we can move past this, and that the contacts that we have had with China most recently should be taken at face value, which is a clear statement on our intentions regarding China and our plan to pursue a relationship with them in the way in which I've described.

Q Are you aware of the new (inaudible) measures taken by Beijing after Lee's visit?

MS. SHELLY: I have not heard of anything new since the cancellation of the visits that were announced some days ago.

Q Do you think it is a good sign from Beijing?

MS. SHELLY: We hope that these exchanges can be rescheduled, and that the other elements that we intend to pursue, either other types of visits and other activities -- we hope we can move ahead now to pursue them.

So certainly it is our hope that the actions that have been taken will be the end of those actions, and that we can proceed to develop the exchanges and contacts that we would like to.

Betsy.

Q Anything on the North Korea talks?

MS. SHELLY: I don't have a lot at this point. I'll be happy to share what I've got.

The two delegations met in Kuala Lumpur. This is, of course, the U.S. and DPRK delegations. They met late on June 8. That was the last meeting. But there were no meetings in Kuala Lumpur today.

As we've said already earlier this week, the negotiations have made progress in many areas, but we have not yet reached full agreement.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Hubbard remains in place in Kuala Lumpur to continue negotiating. As you're aware, our position on this is not to get into the details of the negotiations, and that's still where we are.

We have consulted closely with our South Korean allies throughout the negotiating process and continue to do so. We are obviously now at an important juncture in the negotiations, and it is important that we discuss fully with South Korea what our final position should be.

I think that's the context in which Special Ambassador Robert Gallucci and Assistant Secretary Lord's trip to Seoul and Tokyo -- that that's part of that consultation process -- and they will begin their meetings with South Korean officials on June 10.

Q To follow on that particular issue, can you tell us any more detail about what Bob Gallucci and Winston Lord are going to be speaking about -- the progress that might have been made, that they will be addressing in assuring the South Koreans about?

And then, secondly, back to Carol's question, Christine, are the PRC, the mainland Chinese, continuing to be helpful, supportive in these negotiations, or have they withdrawn their support, or has there been any change noted?

MS. SHELLY: They have been helpful in the past, and I don't have any information that would suggest that their role is different from what it has been in the past. I can't point to any particular engagement on the part of the Chinese on this, but that's not really, I think, what is going on in the present. What's happening right now are obviously the specific talks in Kuala Lumpur and the consultations which are going to start in Seoul tomorrow.

I simply -- again in terms of an answer to your first question -- it's the same answer or the same point that I've made already, which is that I'm not going to get into the details of the negotiations, and obviously that also goes for the details of our exchanges in the consultation process.

Q There's an optimism in the press about the talks. Can you ratify that there is cause for such optimism in these consultations in Seoul?

MS. SHELLY: I think when you can report that there has been progress in many of the areas that are covered by the agreement, that it certainly gives cause for optimism. I'm not going to overplay that, but the negotiators have been at it; they're serious, and they've been working on this in a very detailed and meticulous kind of way. So we intend to keep at it and hope that we will reach the point where there will be complete agreement.

Q Three people were arrested yesterday in New York on charges of trying to smuggle zirconium to Iraq. It was apparently some kind of sting operation by U.S. agents. Do you have any evidence that the Government of Iraq was in any way involved in this or had asked or expected this delivery?

MS. SHELLY: Yes, I do have some information on that. The nuclear- grade zirconium is a trigger list item. It requires IAEA safeguards for export of quantities of 500 kilograms or larger.

Nuclear-grade zirconium in smaller quantities is also controlled as a duel-use item. Zirconium of a non-nuclear grade is controlled for national security as well as for non-proliferation reasons.

I would note that while the case related to the arrests in New York yesterday is being handled by the Department of Justice as a violation of the Iraqi sanctions regulations, Iraq was never involved.

U.S. undercover agents posed as international arms and material brokers acting on behalf of Iraq.

Q Thank you.

MS. SHELLY: Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:36 p.m.)

(###)

- PAGE 1 - Friday, 6/9/95

To the top of this page