U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 95/07/18 DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, July 18 l995 Briefer: Nicholas Burns DEPARTMENT Announcements Required Press Info for Secretary's Trip to Vietnam ....1 Reiteration of Embargo Rules for the Daily Briefing ....1-2 Sentencing of 40 Accused in Nigerian Coup Plot .........2 Closure of 19 Overseas Posts ...........................2-4 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Consulate General Jerusalem's Role in Coordinating Contacts with the Palestinian Authority ..............4-5 US Position on Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem ......4-5 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Foreign Minister Sacirbey's Call for and End of UNPROFOR .............................................5-6 Secretary's Consultations with White House/Congress/ Counterparts re Next Steps/Forging a Common Approach with France and the UK ...............................6-8,9-10 Assistant Secretary Oakley's Visit to Tuzla re Refugees .............................................7 Status of Contact Group Meeting in London July 21 ......8-9 Consideration of Risk Factors to US Servicemen .........10-11 Detrimental Impact of the Dual-Key Arrangement on Attempts to Contain the Bosnian Serbs ................11-14 Russian Attitude toward Enhanced Military Action .......14 UK Position on UNPROFOR Remaining in Gorazde ...........15-16 INDIA Status of Kidnapped American in Kashmir ................16-17 CHINA Import of Upcoming Meeting between the Secretary and the Foreign Minister in Brunei .......................16 Missile Tests in the East China Sea ....................17 Congressional Reception for Madam Chiang ...............17 JAPAN Resumption of Civil Aviation Talks in Los Angeles ......17-18
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, JULY 18, 1995, 1:12 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BURNS: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department briefing. I have a couple of short announcements to make before we go to questions. The first is, as all of you know, Secretary Christopher will be traveling to Vietnam on August 5th and 6th. All press traveling to Vietnam are asked to fill out a press information sheet, and I understand they are available in the Press Office for you. This will help in identifying where you are during the visit to Vietnam, so that we can locate you when news is made. Second, -- excuse me? Q Is this -- we were told that there could be a credential. Is this not credential but simply information? MR. BURNS: I think it is simply for informational purposes. Q That won't be credential, per se. MR. BURNS: Right. Q (Inaudible) MR. BURNS: Second, I need to remind journalists and organizations who cover the daily briefing here of an announcement I made several weeks ago concerning the basic ground rules for filing information that emanates from this room. Apparently there has been a transgression in the past few days, and I would like to restate the policy. All State Department briefings are embargoed until their conclusion. This means that transcription services may not transmit texts, and journalists may not file and television and radio networks may not broadcast visualize or sound until the senior wire service correspondent formally ends the briefing, and he does that generally with a thank you to the briefer, which is nice, but that is when people can file, not before. I believe yesterday we had an incident when there was some filing during the briefing. I can fully understand why some of you may have been upset with that. Third, I just wanted to bring to your attention a statement that was issued last evening concerning the situation in Nigeria. It was issued rather late. I don't know if all of you have seen it, but the United States is deeply concerned about the convictions and the sentencing of 40 Nigerians, including the former President, Lt. General Obasanjo, and his former deputy. And we believe that the Nigerian Government has acted incorrectly and unwisely in trying these people without any element of fairness. They have been tried in camera. They have not received the kind of trials that people deserve under international standards, and I would refer you to the statement for a full explanation of our views on this issue. I'll be glad to take any questions on it. Finally, we are announcing today that the United States intends to close 19 diplomatic posts in order to meet the President and Secretary Christopher's objective of making government both more efficient and (less) costly. As you remember, as part of the strategic management initiative, Secretary Christopher asked Ambassadors J. Stapleton Roy and Richard Melton to undertake an effort to see if we could streamline State Department operations. And the Secretary made decisions on post closings based on the recommendations of Ambassadors Roy and Melton, but the decisions were the Secretary's alone, and we will be posting after this briefing a complete list of the -- mainly consulates. I think of the 19, almost all, except for a very few are consulates of the posts that will be closed. I'd just like to point out that the savings from this will amount to about $12 million per year. That's an annual recurring saving of $l2 million. It will cost us approximately $3 million on a one-time basis to close these posts in 1996, but we will save $l2 million per year. The posts are spread throughout Africa, East Asia, Europe, and Latin America. I'm afraid that some of you will be disappointed in some of the posts that are closing because they are in places -- some of the cities are quite nice cities. I know that Bordeaux and Edinburgh and Florence are all on the list. But the Secretary has made these decisions because he does take very seriously his obligation to the American taxpayer to make sure that we have a less costly government, a more efficient government, and that we respond -- the State Department responds to the President's instruction that we try to down-size government wherever possible. The State Department, in taking this action, is trying to do its share, and I think you all will be interested by this statement when we post it. I'd also be glad to take any questions on this today. Q Would you just read the list, please? MR. BURNS: I'd be glad to read the list if you are interested, yes. The posts that will be closing -- and I should tell you, we notified Congress yesterday, I believe, that we would be taking this action. We look forward to consulting with the key Congressional committees on these decisions, and we are very confident that Congress will support Secretary Christopher's actions. The posts are in Africa, our Embassy in Equatorial Guinea and also our Embassy in Victoria in the Seychelles. In East Asia, Embassy Apia in Western Somoa. Consulates in Brisbane in Australia; Cebu in the Philippines; Medan in Indonesia; and Udorn in Thailand. In Europe, all Consulates in Bilbao in Spain; Bordeaux, as I mentioned, in France; Edinburgh in the U.K.; Florence in Italy; Poznan in Poland; Stuttgart in Germany; and Zurich, Switzerland. In Latin America, Curacao; in the Netherlands, Antilles; Hermosillo and Matamoros in Mexico; and Porto Alegre in Brazil. All of these posts, as I said, mainly consulates, will be closed. Q (inaudible) requests for transfers or people resigning. Those are mostly good places. MR. BURNS: They are nice places. A lot of them are very nice places. Yes, that's right. Q They are not all being transferred to Sarajevo. MR. BURNS: Not all of them, no. Not all of them. Q Will Embassy staffs be augmented to take over the work of these closed consulates? MR. BURNS: I don't believe so. For the most part, I know principally concerning some of our very large embassy staffs in Europe, the Secretary has asked that those embassies look towards downsizing themselves. I know that Under Secretary Dick Moose, who is spearheading this effort along with others, has been out to Europe to talk to our Ambassadors in the major European posts to see if they can find ways to save money and to down-size where possible. I think that we are giving to our Ambassadors, our Chiefs of Mission, discretion on what type of actions they take to save money, because they are in charge of these posts, as long as they do make a genuine effort -- and we think all of them are -- to comply with the Secretary's request that we simply find a way to conduct American diplomacy on a less costly basis. And we believe that is possible without compromising a very important principle, which is universality. The United States generally would like to be in every country in the world -- be represented -- which recognizes us and which we recognize, and for the most part, we are going to maintain universality. Q Will RIFs go along with this? MR. BURNS: Excuse me? Q Are there any RIFs of personnel that go along with this? MR. BURNS: No, there are no RIFs that go along with this announcement. Q With all this moving and thinking going on, is there anything going on as to how you deal with the Palestinians and with Israel? As the Palestinian authority increases, are you still going to deal with them out of Jerusalem, and as it becomes clear that Israel is going to retain its capital in Jerusalem, whatever else it relinquishes, which is about everything, have you considered moving the Embassy to Jerusalem as probably the least expensive -- less expensive way of dealing with the Israeli Government which is in Jerusalem? MR. BURNS: Well, I think you know, Barry, on the last point, you know our well-known position that we are opposed to any move of the Embassy. The status -- the issue of Jerusalem is a final status issue that the parties themselves must decide. It certainly is not the position of this government that we should decide that issue for them, or that we should take any steps that would anticipate that discussion. So, on that particular question, we have a very clear and a very firm policy that has not changed. On the general issue of how we relate to the Palestinian authority, which, of course, has offices in both Gaza City and throughout Gaza and Jericho, our Consulate General in Jerusalem is taking the lead in forming our relationships with the Palestinian leaders and in working with them on a daily basis. And I think you know we have a very fine Consul General at Abington, who has developed good ties with the Palestinian leaders. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv does take -- have some responsibility for our assistance programs in Gaza, whereas the Consulate General works on assistance programs in the West Bank. So that is the way it has been for a very long time -- Q You are not going to move to the West Bank as the Palestinians, you know, increase their hold on the West Bank and establish a sort of would-be government there. MR. BURNS: Right now, we have two diplomatic posts in the area. We have an Embassy in Tel Aviv. We have a Consulate General in Jerusalem. We have no plans to change the configuration of either or the status of either. Q Can I ask you about Bosnia? The Bosnian Minister, Sacirbey, says it's time for the Peacekeeping Mission to close down. Presumably he means because it isn't accomplishing all that they would hope it would. What is the U. S. view of that? Does that improve the chances of a withdrawal? MR. BURNS: We don't want to improve the chances of a withdrawal. We want UNPROFOR to stay. We have made that very clear to Minister Sacirbey, the Secretary did, in a meeting that they had about a week to ten days ago. It was a very good meeting. We did not hear in that meeting, nor have we heard in any meetings with the Bosnian Government leadership, President, Prime Minister, or the Foreign Minister, that they wish UNPROFOR to leave. We certainly understand their frustration with the state of affairs, with the military situation, with the tens of thousands of refugees, and with the inability of the United Nations to date to protect, to meet some of its responsibilities, including not being able to meet its responsibility to protect Srebrenica last week. So we certainly understand the frustration. But I do want to let you know that we have not heard this formally from the Bosnian Government, and of course that would be a very key thing if we did, but we have not. Now on the situation in Bosnia, I should tell you that the Secretary has been at work at this almost continuously for the last several days. He went over to the White House this morning. He had a couple of very good meetings, including a meeting with the President that I know that Mike McCurry will be talking about, during his briefing over at the White House. We believe it is very important to forge a common approach with Britain and with France, and a common approach to strengthen UNPROFOR. We believe that further progress in dealing with the conflict in Bosnia depends on a coordinated approach with our allies. The President is clearly, and the Secretary, are clearly determined, however, to make a difference, to have the international community make a difference, because the situation is simply unacceptable. If you look at the situation, of the tens of thousands of refugees; if you look at the further attacks this morning on Zepa, and the continual threat, at least now the rhetorical threat, to Gorazde. And I understand, as a result of the meetings this morning, there will be further discussions within the Administration at a very high level which will include, of course, Secretary Christopher and all of his counterparts and the President. It's not really useful or possible for me today to speculate on possible military action. I think a lot of the speculation in the press -- I certainly understand why the press is speculating. Some of the information is simply not accurate about what the Administration is considering with Britain and with France. Secretary Christopher left the building just a couple of minutes ago to go up to Capitol Hill. He's going to be meeting with the Republican leadership, first, and then with the Democratic leadership of both the House and the Senate. He will do so with Secretary Bill Perry, Secretary of Defense, and they will be explaining the Administration's current appreciation of the situation on the ground in Bosnia and they'll also be sharing with the Congress our general view of how the United States should move forward with its allies. I can tell you one thing they will do in their meeting with the Republicans and Democrats on the Hill, and that is to argue very strenuously against a unilateral lift of the arms embargo. This is a step that, I think you know very well, we believe, would Americanize the conflict in Bosnia and give the United States a unilateral responsibility for events there that could have devastating consequences leading to a wider war. The foreign policy team -- I understand that the Secretary, Secretary Perry, General Shalikashvili, National Security Advisor Tony Lake, and others -- will be meeting again tomorrow morning to consider the situation. We are in continuous contact with the British and with the French. We were this morning as we will be this afternoon. I think the central message I can give you is that we want to forge a unified position with Britain, France, and the other major troop- contributing countries so that the United Nations can make a positive difference in Bosnia and we can live up to the responsibility that the international community has to make a positive difference and to help the people on the ground who are currently suffering. Finally, Secretary Christopher will be having dinner tonight with the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, Malcolm Rifkind. They will be discussing tonight all the dimensions of the conflict in Bosnia, including any possible military options that the United States, the UK, and France might care now to take. The Secretary will also see Minister Rifkind tomorrow morning here at the State Department for a further meeting before Minister Rifkind returns to Britain. I should also let you know -- and I'd be glad to go into this if you're interested -- that Assistant Secretary of State Phyllis Oakley was in Tuzla yesterday. She had, with Mrs. Ogata, a first-hand view of the situation of the refugees. She talked to many of them. She got a first-hand account from many of the international organizations that are on the ground of the situation there and what the international community needs to do to help the Bosnian refugees. She was able to witness the very dramatic return to Tuzla of several thousand Bosnian men who, as you know, made their way from Srebrenica to Tuzla over the last five to six days fighting the Bosnian Serbs all along the way. So I do have a lot of information on that, if you care to get into that. Q Nick, when members of Congress who think the U.S. should lift the arms embargo and that the U.N. peacekeepers should be removed, when they're told by Christopher that that's not the right way to go and they say to him, "What do you suggest as an alternative," will he able to give them, at this point, a military alternative to that approach or will he speak in the general terms you're speaking of -- forging a common position, strengthening the U.N., meeting with the allies? In other words, has the U.S. -- has this Administration come to some conclusion about what to do militarily as an option preferable to lifting the arms embargo? MR. BURNS: The Administration has not yet come to a decision with our allies -- mainly, with Britain and France. Q With itself, to begin with. MR. BURNS: The Administration, I think, has made several general conclusions about what makes sense to do in the period ahead. We are now in the process of talking to our allies about those issues, but we have not come to a final decision in the government about what specific actions should be taken, and we have not come to a final decision with our allies about what specific actions must be taken. This is a process that will continue, and we're confident that we, in our own government, will get to this decision and then hopefully arrive at a unified position with Britain, France, and others shortly. But I do want to be straightforward with you. There was a very good discussion at the White House this morning. I think that our leadership is coalescing around certain assumptions that we have to bring to this issue, but there has been no decision, that I know of, that's been made by the President, who is the only person in our government who can make such decisions. Therefore, we are in a position now of sharing some views with our allies, but no final decisions have been taken either here at home or with them. Q Mike McCurry said that the London meeting, however, was by no means certain. Is that still up in the air or is it definitely on? MR. BURNS: We have an invitation from the British Government to attend a meeting in London. We are seeking further information from the British about the parameters of the meeting, about the participation in the meeting; what types of countries will be invited, international organizations, and there's further work that needs to be done, I think, just to get to a more detailed sense of what is intended to be accomplished; but with Secretary Rifkind here, I'm sure we'll get a very full sense of that today. Q Then, the invitation has not been accepted yet; is that correct? MR. BURNS: I think we've announced a general inclination to participate in the meeting, but we certainly need, I think, a more detailed explanation from the British Government of what the parameters of the meeting are, what the agenda is, and who else will be participating. Q Nick, you announced that the Secretary was going. That seems to be -- MR. BURNS: He said so yesterday, and, yes, I did. I was just simply responding to the specific question. We do have some gaps in our information about the details of the meeting. But certainly we have indicated our general interest in participating, yes. Q This forging of a common position you want to achieve, what is the timetable on this? Is there any reason why this isn't going to drag on for weeks and weeks? MR. BURNS: I think that all of us working on this, but particularly, of course, and most importantly, our leadership here in the United States Government is impressed by the fact that every day does count when the Bosnian Serbs continue to run amuck in a way that contravenes not only U.N. resolutions but common sense and basic human values and to acquit themselves in such a way that is clearly contrary to anything that is decent or civilized. People do feel the press of this issue. I think, as I told you, Secretary Christopher has spent almost every waking moment over the last couple of days on this issue, throughout the weekend, and during the last day and a half. So people are bringing to this issue a great sense of urgency. Along with that comes a great sense of responsibility to make sure that when the United States commits itself to a course of action to strengthen UNPROFOR, that could very well have military implications. That could very well involve our armed forces in some capacity. We want to make sure that we've thought through all the angles, that we do have a unified position with our major allies. It certainly wouldn't make sense for us to undertake any action that didn't have the support of our allies or that it wasn't taken in conjunction with them. We owe it to the men and women in our armed services to make sure that things are well thought out. So I think that's the other sense of urgency that our leadership brings to all these questions. Q Do you think a decision will made at the meeting on Friday? MR. BURNS: First of all, we need to have the United States, Britain, and France agree on a course of action. We hope that will materialize shortly. It's very difficult to predict if it will be tonight or tomorrow or the next day. We certainly are pressing this very hard, as are they. The British and French are working night and day on this as well. Q Can you tell us anything about the general conclusions or certain assumptions that have been agreed upon within the Administration? MR. BURNS: I really don't care to. I've also been asked not to. I think it's important at this time, before the President has made a decision, that we say as little as possible about some of the steps that may be taken and some of the thoughts that we have now, that are pretty much agreed upon in the Administration, until the President has had a chance to consider it fully and make his own decision. Q If there is military action of the type being discussed, it could be a great risk to American pilots. Two questions: Would you expect the President to explain to the American people why it's important to have American pilots take these risks? And will he explain it that some of them could be shot down and killed? And, secondly, since you -- at the beginning of your briefing, you talked about a lot of incorrect press reporting on what's being considered. Perhaps you could tell us, if not, what's correct; what's incorrect? MR. BURNS: That's a good question. I certainly didn't want it to mean some of the very fine reporting that I saw this morning. Just to say, though, in an environment where a very small circle of people are working on a very important decision, it's only natural that a lot of different news stories could be produced. I would just urge you to understand that some of the reporting this morning was not accurate. Unfortunately, I really can't help you out any further with that question because if I did get into that, it might, in a very transparent way, indicate what we may be planning or thinking about. I don't want to do that. Q (Inaudible). MR. BURNS: We're not misleading the public, and you're not trying to, I know. We all have a job of having to wait for the decision of the President and then the decision of the allies as to our future course of action. Q The first question? The first question -- the risks? MR. BURNS: Whenever military forces are deployed, when military forces are asked to go into action -- in this case, since the United States will not be, will not consider introducing ground troops, we might be talking about the possibility of air action as an option. That is always a risk. There is always a risk to the people who undertake those missions. That's part of their professional duty. It's also part of the hazards, and it also makes it imperative that any option worked out in this government be very carefully thought through and well planned. That is certainly the way that all of us in this government are approaching this issue. Q Wouldn't it be prudent, so that the pilots are protected to the greatest degree possible, to take some steps beforehand such as suppressing missile sites? MR. BURNS: That's a question that I really can't deal with today. I'm not willing to go into any of the specific options that may or may not be considered. Even that was an option that we can even talk about, I would probably refer you to Ken Bacon at the Pentagon. Q Is it conceivable that -- I just wonder -- if the U.S. pilots would go into this type of situation without being as protected as they possibly could? MR. BURNS: I think that our leadership has spoken over the last couple of weeks about the need to give our pilots, in general, the best possible protection. But I say that not indicating that there's any relationship between that question and anything that we may now be considering. I just say that in isolation. Obviously, we've heard that from the Pentagon; we've heard that from the President. Q Secretary Holbrooke said something about the dual-key arrangement and how he looked on it with disfavor. Are discussions going on perhaps at the United Nations as well as in some of these capitals on how -- if there is to be a strengthening of UNPROFOR, how to abolish the dual-key arrangement? MR. BURNS: David, if we had to write the book again on Bosnia, I don't think anybody in this government would agree to a dual-key arrangement. That has been so detrimental to the international purpose of trying to contain the Bosnian Serbs. We certainly wouldn't go down that road again. We do have that arrangement on the ground now. They are the rules of the road as presently configured. However, should the United States decide -- and I don't know if we will do this -- but should the United States decide, if we decide, to get involved in a bigger way -- if we decide American military forces should be deployed on behalf of others or in conjunction with others -- I don't think we would wish to be constrained by the dual-key arrangement. I don't think it would be appropriate, it wouldn't be wise, and it wouldn't be militarily effective. I think our allies know that I think the United Nations knows that. Q In effect, we are rewriting the rules, or talking about it, at least? MR. BURNS: Again, I'm not going to get into what we may or may not be talking about with our allies. But I can just tell you very clearly, Charlie, that if we have to face these questions again of a possible deployment of the American armed forces, we will certainly do so with a very strong desire, not to be encumbered by the dual-key arrangement. Q Maybe I'm dense or maybe -- let me attempt to straighten it out, at least in my own mind. What the Administration and its allies are now talking about, does that include changing the arrangements under which you've been operating, which is the dual-key arrangement? Is that possibility on the table now for a discussion? MR. BURNS: I don't want to go down the slope of beginning to answer questions. I really don't and can't. I'm sorry about what we may or may not be discussing with our allies. But I can very clearly state for you our position that if, in the future, we are asked to undertake or we decide to undertake any military missions, that those missions not be complicated by the dual-key arrangement. That's a very firm view, I think unanimously held in this government. Q In the future, meaning tomorrow, the next day, Friday's meeting -- MR. BURNS: The future is everything from this moment on. Q Nick, so the possibility is that even though the French and the British and the U.S. and other NATO allies may agree on a course of action which may or may not include the dual-key, you feel you must go to the U.N. to get acceptance of this? And if the dual-key is not included in this plan, it's possible that the U.N. could block any action that you all are able to formulate? MR. BURNS: It's very difficult for me to discuss -- I think you understand -- hypothetical situations involving military force. First of all, most of those questions should be properly directed to the experts at the Pentagon, not to those of us in the State Department. Secondly, the President has not made any decisions about what course of action the United States will take, and we do not yet have an agreement with the British and French on any course of action. So it's difficult for me really to respond fairly to your question. Q But if a course of action is determined, it could either be through the U.N. or unilaterally, right, or multilaterally with the (inaudible). MR. BURNS: Yes, there are a variety of different ways that we can both strengthen UNPROFOR and try to contain the recklessness and the military aggressiveness of the Bosnian Serbs. There are a variety of ways to accomplish that. A lot of different things are being looked at, but I'm not prepared, and I simply cannot go into what those options are. Q What is the Russian position on removing the dual-key arrangement, do you know? MR. BURNS: I don't know. I don't know what the Russian position is. I don't know if the Russians have spoken to that. Q Have you spoken to the Russians about what's going on? MR. BURNS: I used to speak to them every day. I don't speak to them every day anymore. I don't know if any of our diplomats, either in Moscow or any place else, have had conversations with the Russians on this particular issue. I just don't know. Q Mr. Kozyrev said yesterday that he didn't think this planning for a beefed-up operation was a good idea. MR. BURNS: Something has got to be done to deal with the very, very serious problem of the Bosnian Serbs clearly feeling that they have an open field; of the Bosnian Serbs continuing to violate with impunity United Nations mandates; of the Bosnian Serbs going after defenseless civilians and being accused, we think with good reason, of all sorts of atrocities against those civilians. Something's got to be done. Certainly we in this government feel a responsibility to think very seriously about what can be done to stop the Bosnian Serbs, to convince them that the only way to achieve their objective is through negotiations, not through this ruthless military behavior. That is what the international community is looking at. That's what the British, the French, the United States and others are looking at. If the Russians have a better idea, I'm sure they'll feel free to tell us, but to simply say that we should stand by -- if this is the implication, that we should stand by and watch what's happening, without thinking about what we could do -- all of us -- to prevent this from recurring, I think the answer to that is very clear. We feel a responsibility to engage in this issue. Q That begs the question. What are they doing now that they haven't been doing for the last three years, and why did you all stand by for three years? MR. BURNS: "They" meaning? Q The Bosnian Serbs. MR. BURNS: The Bosnian Serbs, you're quite right, Sid, to point out, have on a recurring basis time and again flouted international law. And one of the problems that the international community has had is that we haven't stood up to the Bosnian Serbs. We certainly didn't stand up to them last week in Srebrenica, and in countless incidents throughout the last couple of years. The question now is what can be done to convince them that their behavior is not only unacceptable but unwise and not in their own interest. That is the question that has presented itself to the international community, and we're addressing that question -- how to strengthen UNPROFOR, how to position UNPROFOR in such a way that UNPROFOR can be effective, UNPROFOR clearly not having been effective on a number of accounts recently. Q Nick, have the British in any way defined under what conditions they would or would not remain in very difficult places like Gorazde? In other words, have you had that discussion? I'm not asking what they said specifically and under what conditions they would do what, but have you had that discussion and a clear answer? MR. BURNS: I think we've had a number of discussions on that particular issue, on the status of the British troops that are in Gorazde and elsewhere on the ground, and on what their options are. We've certainly had those discussions. It is very clear to us that the United Kingdom wishes UNPROFOR to stay; that it intends to stay as a part of UNPROFOR, and we congratulate Prime Minister Major and Foreign Secretary Rifkind on being courageous enough to decide at a time of great danger and uncertainty to strengthen UNPROFOR, to bring more British troops into the theater, and we are supporting that with lift and by other means. The Secretary is looking forward to a full discussion, Steve, of the question you've asked and all the others, with Secretary Rifkind this evening. Q The other day Prime Minister Major said that it's not practical to mix war fighting with peacekeeping. Does that mean that the British are supporting some sort of change in the definition of the role of the soldiers who are currently on the ground in Bosnia? Would they no longer be peacekeepers? MR. BURNS: I think I'd have to refer you to the British for an answer to that question. I think it would be unfair for me to try to interpret their position just hours before Foreign Secretary Rifkind arrives. Q What does the U.S. think on that same question? MR. BURNS: The United States believes that UNPROFOR has got to be strengthened, and it has got to stay and to be made more effective. It has clearly failed in a very important way in Srebrenica, and we in the international community as part of the U.N. effort have an obligation now to consider what we can do to strengthen the remaining enclaves. It's a very important question, and that is our position on that question. Q Different subject? MR. BURNS: Sure. Q There's a wire story out of Beijing that says China said Tuesday the meeting between the Chinese and U.S. Foreign Ministers next month will determine whether battered Sino-U.S. relations can recover. Is that the U.S. view of the upcoming meeting between the Foreign Minister and Secretary Christopher? MR. BURNS: Charlie, I wouldn't want to give it that burden. I think the meeting that's coming up between Foreign Minister Qian Qichen and Secretary Christopher is an exceedingly important meeting. They haven't met since April 17. Since that time, there has been a rocky road, a very rocky road indeed, in U.S.-China relations. There are a number of questions that need to be discussed at that level, and they can only be discussed at that level. So in that sense I do agree with my colleague, the Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing, that this is a very important meeting. But we see U.S.-China relations to be taking place on a continuum. No one meeting, I think, should have the burden of either succeeding or failing in that relationship. What really matters is the atmosphere, but more importantly the approach and the inclinations that countries bring to those meetings. We'll be meeting in good faith. We will bring a common-sense and realistic approach to solving problems together. We hope very much and we expect that the Chinese Government will take that approach and have those inclinations when we meet on August 1 in Brunei. That's what's really important, that both countries dedicate themselves together to resolving the problems. It's simply not really believable to think that one of the countries has an overriding responsibility to resolve the problems in the relationship. Both countries share that responsibility, and that is the way the United States will approach this meeting. Betsy. Q Do you have anything more on the Kashmiri rebels who are holding the American and others? MR. BURNS: We are continuing to work with the Indian authorities. We remain hopeful there will be a peaceful outcome to this very great problem. We still have an Embassy officer in Srinagar. We certainly would join the families in appealing to the people who are holding Mr. Hutchings captive and the others captive to release them unharmed. These people have done nothing wrong. These people are innocent, and they ought to be released unharmed and released immediately. Q Nick, to come back to China. China says that it is planning to conduct some missile launching exercises in the east China Sea. How does the U.S. see this in terms of the tension across the straits? MR. BURNS: We saw a press report this morning, indicating that this action will be taken -- press reports from the Government in Beijing. We're looking into those reports, and certainly we'll want to talk to the Chinese Government about these actions, but I really have nothing to say publicly about them at this point. Q Another issue -- Taiwan. Next week some Senators will, as you know, host a reception for Madame Chiang. Will anyone from this building attend the meeting? Will the First Lady attend the reception? MR. BURNS: I don't know if anybody from this building or our government will be represented. I can look into that for you. Q Do you have any more on the aviation talks between the U.S. and Japan? MR. BURNS: Yes, I actually do on that. I'm pleased to tell you that we have agreed with the Japanese Government to have another round of talks in Los Angeles, California, on July 20-21. There will be vice ministerial-level talks at the outset. The United States side will be headed by Assistant Secretary of State Dan Tarullo, and then there will be ministerial-level talks. We'll be represented by Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena. I understand that the Japanese Minister of Transport, Minister Kamei, will be the Japanese Minister working with Secretary Pena. As you know, we did not reach agreement during the last two rounds of discussion in Washington and in Tokyo on this issue. That is why we have agreed to resume talks on Thursday and Friday of this week. We very much hope to reach an agreement with Japan, and we hope to do so because there's a very important issue at stake. Under our bilateral Civil Aviation Agreement with the Japanese, our air carriers have the right to offer services beyond Japan to other Asian destinations, and the Japanese Government unfortunately has said that it will not permit our carriers such as Federal Express to exercise those rights. When the Japanese Government honors the existing rights of our carriers, we will then be prepared to discuss other civil aviation issues. We want to expand commercial opportunities available to carriers of both sides. That is our central goal in these negotiations with Japan, and we hope very much that we'll be successful in them. Q You mean Federal Express wants to -- I'm not that familiar with the issue -- Federal Express wants to be able to refuel in Japan and then go on to other Asian -- MR. BURNS: Essentially, yes. They want to be able to land in Japan. They want to be able to take on services in Japan to serve other destinations in Asia. Right now the Japanese Government is taking the position that it will deny Federal Express -- that it does deny Federal Express that right, and we think that is not supportable and not defendable -- or defensible -- excuse me -- under the current Civil Aviation Agreement between the United States and Japan. We are simply asking Japan to honor the current agreement. Once the Japanese have indicated that they will be willing to do so, we'll be very glad to talk about a range of other issues that are of concern to the Government of Japan. Q Thank you. MR. BURNS: Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 1:51 p.m.) (###)To the top of this page