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                     U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                       DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
                             I N D E X
                     Wednesday, July 26, l995

                                       Briefers:  Richard Holbrooke
                                                  Nicholas Burns

Introduction of Department Interns ........................1
Secretary's Address at the National Press Club ............1
NATO/NAC Meeting in Brussels ..............................2-3
Secretary's Conversations with UN Secretary General .......2,8-9,12
Dual-Key System ...........................................3-5,6
Necessity for Future NATO/NAC Meetings ....................5-6
Application of Rules of Engagement ........................6
Chain of Command Arrangements .............................6-7
UN Mission in Sarajevo ....................................9-10
Contact Group Meeting .....................................10
Possible Expansion of Conflict ............................10
Reported Bombing of Pale ..................................11
Russian Sanctions Against Serbs/Kozyrev Meetings in 
  Belgrade ................................................11-12
Dole Amendment--Arms Embargo ..............................13-14
Situation in Bihac ........................................7,12-16
Ambassador Indyk's Visit to the Knesset/Golan Bill ........16-17,20
Activities of Ambassador Ross/Assessment of Peace Process .17-18
Visit of Madame Chiang Kai-shek ...........................18-19
Secretary's Meeting with Chinese FM/US-China Relations ....19
Secretary's Meeting with FM Kono ..........................19-20
Investigation of Bomb Attack ..............................20

DPB #112
WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 1995, 1:23 P. M.

MR. BURNS: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department briefing. I have a couple of announcements before this gentleman speaks to you. First I would like to introduce to you two interns. Jania Richardson is currently an intern in the Office of Deputy Secretary Strobe Talbott. She is assisting Deputy Secretary Talbott with speech writing this summer. She is originally from California. She is a junior at Howard University here in Washington where she is majoring in political science and minoring in English. Welcome, Jania. Secondly, Steve Kaufman has been a mainstay in the Press Office this summer. He is a recent graduate of William and Mary where he majored in Middle Eastern Studies and Religion. He has been helping us to prepare for these briefings all summer long, and this coming Sunday he will go to Israel for two years of study at Tel Aviv University in Middle Eastern history. Steve, thanks very much for all your efforts this summer. Third, I think, as some of you may know, the Secretary will be addressing the National Press Club at l:00 p.m. on Friday, July 28th. He will lay out in his remarks America's comprehensive strategy of engagement in the Asia/Pacific region. I commend this event to all of you, coming as it does just a day before the Secretary's departure for Brunei, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam. Now, it is a particular pleasure to introduce a good friend and colleague, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs, Richard C. Holbrooke, who will speak to you on matters concerning Bosnia. Anything else that's on your mind, he's only go l5 or 20 minutes, so I think he has a few comments, and then go directly to questions. ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: The pleasure is all yours. (Laughter) Whenever I am down here, you know it is really good news. This is because Nick just can't handle the questions today, right? I'll go directly to questions, but the reason Nick and I and the Secretary thought I ought to come down here is simply the timing -- excuse me, I have a sore throat and I apologize in advance for my throat -- the timing of the events in Brussels last night in regard to your deadlines left some newspapers and some early editions in difficult positions, and we just wanted to clarify again for you what happened in Brussels last night and respond to any other questions you have. At about 3:30 in the morning they adjourned this marathon session in which, from our point of view, we got a satisfactory, very positive outcome. The NAC reaffirmed and implemented the key decisions of London. Some - excuse me - some newspapers' early editions didn't catch up with the story and there are some questions you will undoubtedly have with it. But it is important because, for reasons I fully understand and probably would have done myself had I been in your shoes over the last three days, there was a widespread concern that what had happened in London was going to erode, and it was not an altogether easy situation, but at the end of the day, in the middle of the night, there was agreement among all sixteen NATO allies on the steps to be taken in and around Gorazde and various other things. We still have a lot of issues to resolve and work out. We are working through those now. The Secretary of State has talked to Boutros Boutros-Ghali I believe twice today -- is that correct, Nick -- twice today already, to make sure that he understands the severity and importance of these decisions and their absolute irreversibility from the point of view of the United States and our NATO allies. And Boutros-Ghali will speak for himself very shortly, but I cannot imagine that you won't find agreement on these points. Secondly, leaders in Europe, including the NATO Secretary General, have had similar conversations with New York, and that's where we stand. I'll be happy to take your questions. I know there are a lot of other issues you may want to cover, including the situation in the field. Karen? Q: How do you explain the disarray then from the end of the London meeting until last night in Brussels? What happened? How did this so- called consensus from Friday fall apart over the weekend? ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: First of all, I didn't go to London. I was grounded with an ear infection. Nick was there, as were my Deputy and other colleagues. Peter Tarnoff went. But it was clear following the process that it was high speed, limited time, a lot of participants, a lot countries, a lot of ministers, and a general consensus had to be worked out at operational terms by the organization that really counts, NATO; the organization that will, if called upon, carry out the air strikes. I don't think that -- I don't dispute the question that there was confusion. Maybe "disarray" is your word, not mine. Nice Newsweek word. But the fact is that it was self-evident that a formal organization would have to give a formal implementation mechanism to a consensus agreed upon in an ad hoc and somewhat chaotic meeting in London. And they met and they met and they met, and thirteen hours seems like a long time, but I don't think it's excessive to forge a sixteen nation consensus to prepare us for what would be, if it's launched, the heaviest and most significant NATO military action in history. Q Where exactly do we stand on the dual key system? Is there still one? ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: Well, first of all, I won't repeat for you in detail my own personal views on the dual key, but you understand that I think -- and I know this is a view shared by the Secretary of State and my other colleagues -- that the dual key was a terrible idea to begin with, and never should have been put into place. It took two hugely important organizations, NATO and the U.N., with incompatible missions and mandates and interlocked their decision-making processes in a way that worked to the detriment of both. Having said that, let me try to address your question, and bearing in mind that we don't like the dual key and we would like to minimize its effects, and here we get into some fairly complicated details. And this is, by the way, one of the main reasons that we, Nick and I, wanted to come out and chat with you today. The civilian side of the dual key on the U.N. is no longer in place in regard to the Gorazde and the area around Gorazde and threats to Gorazde. That is a critical aspect of the NAC decisions. From a United States point of view, we would like to eliminate the civilian side of the dual key across the board in the war theater. And we will continue to work for that. Now, what about getting rid of the U.N. side of the key entirely? It's a technicality, to be frank, because when you analyze the dual key, who are the commanders? On the U.N. side, the senior commander in the field is General Bernard Janvier of France, and the second man in the chain of command is Major General Rupert Smith of the United Kingdom. And we not only don't object to their participation in the process, no military man one talks to, starting with General Shalikashvili and General Joulwan would disagree with the fact that you cannot launch sustained air strikes without coordinating it with the local on-the- ground commanders responsible for the safety of the men, and you need to coordinate, you need forward air controllers, you need all sorts of technical things. So we - and I talked to Shali at length about this before he went to London, and we went over the technical side of it. I won't bore you with the details, but I can assure you that we ourselves would want to coordinate closely with Janvier and Smith on the ground in the event of NATO action. There is a huge difference between coordinating with Janvier, Smith, military to military, what we sometimes like to call the Smith/Smith channel, because the NATO key is in the hands of Admiral Leighton Smith in Naples, and a chain of command which goes back to Mr. Akashi and to Secretary General Boutros-Ghali, and so on. You know, you can have -- it can be all over on the ground while people are trying to reach other on the telephone. Q Mr. Holbrooke, you say that dual-key regarding Gorazde and the areas around Gorazde, is no longer in place. ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: Yeah. Q Then my understanding was that Willy Claes asked Boutros- Ghali's endorsement of the NAC decision in regard to dual key. I don't see how that jives with you saying it's no longer in place. ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: Well, I don't see any contradiction. My understanding is Willy Claes informed the Secretary (inaudible) NAC decision, as did the Secretary of State. I cannot imagine that that is not now the implementing operational instructions for the situation as it is covered by the NAC decision. I can't imagine it. Q But Boutros-Ghali's spokesman said -- ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: That's -- Q -- forty-five minutes or so ago that he is considering it, and he'll make a decision -- or maybe you know something we don't about Boutros-Ghali's decision. ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: All I can tell you is that the Secretary has talked to Boutros-Ghali twice today, and I repeat, I cannot imagine that this will not be the operating instructions. It is inconceivable to me. This is the NATO decision. The United States and its NATO allies have made this decision. This is the rules of engagement under which we believe we must operate, and that is how it's going to be. And we will work out, we will close the gap. We will let the policy process and the rhetoric catch up to the implementation of procedures over the next few hours. Betsy. Q Richard, did you all work out the trigger mechanism, and did you also decide whether NATO has to meet again in order to implement this? ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE:; The answer to the second question is they do not have to meet again. That was a key point. One of the reasons it took so long. The trigger mechanism has been defined. I don't want to go into it in detail. It's an operational matter, and I don't see any reason to tell the Bosnian Serbs exactly what line they had better not pass, or pass in an abstract way. But, I want to remind you that three senior generals, General James Jamerson, the Deputy Commander in Chief, United States Forces, Europe, headquartered at Stuttgart, and the British and French colleagues went to parley on Sunday and after refusing a very gracious offer for dinner and overnight accommodations from General Mladic, chose to hand him an ultimatum, tell him it was a clear statement of allied resolve, and after absorbing a bizarre lecture of history according to General Mladic, left, and I assume that General Mladic was under no misunderstanding as to what that meant. But if he is under any misunderstanding, he can just pick up the phone and those generals will clarify it. Q Is there some lose ground in Brussels, post London, on the question of where bombs in the event of an attack on Gorazde can be dropped without referring back to the NAC? ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: Do you mean how wide the perimeter? Q Yeah. My understanding is that you - that Brussels has now decided that bombs may be dropped in the Gorazde theater, and perhaps also in the event of anti-aircraft radar being --. ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: Or a threat to Gorazde, or a threat to Gorazde. Q But you can't bomb Pale or any other part of Bosnian Serb territory now under this NAC agreement without going back to NAC, is that right? ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: That is one of the issues we are still discussing, but - thank you - it's a very important issue. Before coming in here, and because I assumed somebody would ask this question, I checked with those of my colleagues who were in London, and I said, "Somebody is going to ask this question, probably Ensor." And I said, look, there was a pin-down in London, and nobody who was there believes that this was completely agreed on in London, and therefore it does not -- and I really want to stress this, David, it does not represent an erosion of the one in the agreements. It was an issue. Nick, you may certainly interrupt me, if you want, because you there, but my understanding is that this was an issue that was not completely resolved in London, that was not addressed yesterday in the NAC, but let me be clear on the United States position on this. We believe that the rules of engagement that we are now applying to the Gorazde area should be applied nation-wide, and we are going to continue, in fact we are at this moment continuing to work towards that goal. We've made a lot of progress in the last 24 hours with a very strong performance from our combined civilian-military team with Bob Hunter and General Montgomery in NATO, and we are going to continue to pursue that point. It's a very important point. Q Can I return to the dual key briefly. In London the impression was left that the U.S. at least wanted to insist that the U.N. military side be in Sarajevo and not Zagreb. Are you happy now that Janvier is in the mix? Q It's a - you're absolutely correct that that was our going-in position. Upon analysis, it turns out to be a distinction without a difference. General Shalikashvili and his colleagues -- and I happen to agree with this, having spent a lot of time working with the military since 1963 in Vietnam -- believed that the question of the level of the chain of command is not a critical issue. Janvier is Rupert Smith's direct command -- superior commanding officer, and we don't need to say that it has to be Rupert Smith versus Bernard Janvier. That is a military chain of command, and anyone in those military knows how important it is to respect that. And Shali did not think we should make an issue of it. I supported that. The Secretary supported it. It was a - I stress, because we spent a lot of time on it, it is a distinction without a difference. The important thing is the civilians and the dual-key. Q Isn't the Secretary and other people who are talking to Boutros-Ghali telling him about a fait accompli by NATO on the command- and-control arrangements, or are you requesting his agreement, anything? ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: We're informing him of the NATO decision. Tim. Q It seems that there is significantly more agreement on Gorazde now, but, and the area of concern is Bihac. ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: It sure is. Q I'm just wondering whether -- can you give us just an update on your view of whether Bihac is in danger of falling and -- ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: I think David raised that question. Oh -- well, first of all, I want to repeat in answer to the first part of your question, we want it extended to cover all of Bosnia. Q And which agreement do you have to issue a similar ultimatum about Bihac? Obviously, that's a -- ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: We don't have an agreement on that, but we have a clear American position, and we're working towards it. As for the danger of Bihac falling, the fighting is significant in the Bihac pocket, south of the Bihac pocket, between Livno and Bosanska Grahovo, I think. I apologize. It's a town north of Livno. There is also fighting along the range to the south, Kupres and Bornji Vakuf, and I do not -- it would be ill advised of me to give you a military assessment. The intelligence reports I've had this morning are running way behind. The journalists are reporting more rapidly, and the situation is confused. My instinct is that it's not in imminent danger of falling, but don't hold me to that. Q Just to follow-up. What's the possibility that Tudjman will get in and this will kind of confuse the war even more? That he'll either decide that it's a danger to him -- ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: They're very high. Q -- or take the chance of an opportunity -- ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: Very high. Betsy. Q How much opposition are you reaching in trying to get this follow-on part of the policy through? ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: I can't characterize it. It's an ongoing dialogue, and I think our position has such obvious merit based on the objective realities of the situation around Sarajevo, Tuzla and Bihac that I think we will continue to make progress. I know it sounds very strange to say this in light of the situation, which is undeniably critical, but I feel that in this narrow area that we've been discussing for the last 15 minutes, there has been a significant step forward towards allied unity in the last 24 hours, and I anticipate more in the next 48 hours. That is not in any way, shape or form to deny the importance of the danger inherent in situations like the ones Tim's questions addressed. Q Your comment, "we're informing Boutros-Ghali of the NATO decision" -- I thought I understood what was going on, and now I know I don't. (Laughter) Are you saying that NATO is going forward with its plan regardless of what Boutros-Ghali has to say? That we've informed him this is what we're doing, and we're doing it. ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: Let's just see what Boutros-Ghali says. Q Okay. Then to follow up, would you take exception to the conclusion that Boutros-Ghali has informed the Secretary of State that he will approve the plan? ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: Say that again? Q Would you take exception -- ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: This is too complicated for me. There are too many double negatives in there. (Laughter) Let's do it again. Q Would you take exception to one drawing the conclusion that Boutros-Ghali told the Secretary of State in these two conversations -- ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: Nick, you do this for a living? (Laughter) Would you take exception to drawing the conclusion -- Q All right. I'll say it -- ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: Just do it. You know, I'm just a - - Q Did Boutros-Ghali tell Warren Christopher that he has approved the NAC plan from last week? ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: I don't want to characterize a private conversation between the Secretary of State with the Secretary General. (Laughter) I will just repeat to you, it's inconceivable to me that this decision can be misunderstood, and let's wait for Boutros- Ghali to make his formal announcement. He understands what the decision was. MR. BURNS: We have time for two more questions. Someone might want to ask one on Turkey. ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: I love Turkey. Please ask about Turkey. (Laughter) How about NATO enlargement? Q I want to ask about Sarajevo. The commanders of the Rapid Reaction Force have said that this new deployment on Mt. Igman is not to secure that road but only to protect convoys -- U.N. convoys traveling up and down. In the last three weeks, an average of six people have been killed every day in Sarajevo as a result of shelling. Are you satisfied with the U.N. mission in Sarajevo, given that the weapons exclusion zone has completely collapsed and that there appears to be no plans even to secure the Mt. Igman road, according to the commanders of this force? ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: Of course, we're not satisfied with the U.N. performance. We are encouraged by the recent actions -- much more aggressive -- taken by the Rapid Reaction Force and led particularly by the French and supported by the British and the Dutch. You're describing correctly what I hope will be a work in progress towards a deployment and an aggressiveness and a strength of the U.N. in the Mt. Igman-Sarajevo area, which I at least believe is three years overdue. Let them do it. They have finally gotten there. They've got long guns, 17.5 kilometer range instead of 5 kilometers. They can fire back. The rules of engagement are changing, and we strongly encourage that. Lest there be any misunderstanding on this -- because there's been so much unsourced background sniping about the French and the Americans -- we support what the French are doing. We think the French are on the right track, and we're very positive towards President Chirac and the leadership he showed here. The issue you're describing is one that we hope there will be further movement on for exactly the reasons implicit in your question. MR. BURNS: Okay, the last question. Q Do we think all this is aimed towards getting some kind of diplomatic process going? Can you just update us on how close -- ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: Bob Frasure is in a Contact Group meeting right now with Carl Bildt. Q Are they discussing a plan that's acceptable to anybody or -- ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: They're discussing Bildt's negotiations with Milosevic. I think I've got to hold on that, Tim, but Nick and I will try to get back to you later in the day. I'm sorry, you didn't get a chance to ask a question. Q With the fall of Zepa, in your view, has the likelihood of a wider war -- the war spreading -- has that increased? I mean, this has been a concern obviously of U.S. officials. ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: The danger of a wider war is increasing but not because of the fall of Zepa; because of the question Tim raised earlier, that's the danger. We've talked about this a lot in the past. The policies in Bosnia have been frustrating and nobody could get up and say they've been successful. But there have been successes in limited areas. A lot of people were fed. The level of violence went way down until the last few weeks. There was a strengthening of the people situation in many areas of the country, and the war was kept out of the neighboring area. That last point is one that we are intensely worried about right now, and that's why I answered Tim's question earlier the way I did. Q Can I ask just one factual question? Was Pale bombed from the air the other day? ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: I have no idea. (Laughter) We didn't. We didn't bomb it. Q Did anybody? ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE: Je ne sais -- excuse me. (Laughter) You'll have to ask the people who are accused of doing it. I have no idea. (Assistant Secretary Holbrooke concluded at 1:47 p.m., at which time Spokesman Nicholas Burns began the Daily Press Briefing.) MR. BURNS: Thank you very much to Dick Holbrooke. The Secretary is going to be available at 2:30 for a photo opportunity before his meeting with the South Korean Foreign Minister, Minister Gong, and so he will be available to answer a limited number of questions on any subject that you would care to discuss with him. What I'd like to do is limit ourselves here, if we can, in continuing this briefing to about 20 or 25 minutes, if we have to go that long. We can do more Bosnia if you want or we can get on to other issues. Are there any more questions on Bosnia? Have we finished Bosnia? Q One more. Have you heard anything from the Russians that threatens their lifting sanctions unilaterally against Serbia if the Congress goes through with its plan to lift U.S. sanctions on Bosnia? MR. BURNS: No, we have not. In fact, we have been in touch with the Russians twice over the last 24 hours. Most recently, I understand, President Yeltsin sent a message to President Clinton on Minister Kozyrev's trip to Belgrade. We believe that Minister Kozyrev communicated effectively to the Bosnian Serb leadership and to the leadership in Belgrade that the London Conference meant what it said; that the nations assembled there have delivered an ultimatum to the Bosnian Serb military leadership, and that it should be heeded. I'm not, of course, attempting to say that Minister Kozyrev or the Russian Government agrees on everything in that ultimatum or that the Russians want to associate themselves with the possibility of airstrikes. I think the Russians have been very clear they do not agree with that, but we believe that Minister Kozyrev did effectively represent the message that came out of London, and we are thankful to him for that. Q A follow-up on the Russians. There's a wire story that moved just before the briefing that Kozyrev got a promise from the Bosnian Serbs that they would not attack Gorazde. Have you gotten that from the Russians? MR. BURNS: I saw the same wire story. I did not have that from the briefing that we had. If that is true, if in effect the Bosnian Serbs have agreed not to attack Gorazde, that's very good news. But we do have concerns about the other enclaves. One of the sentences that you should pay particular attention to in Willy Claes' press briefing last evening was a sentence that essentially said that the NATO countries had agreed yesterday that one of the things that they would do would look into planning for possible operations on the other safe areas, including Bihac, and especially Bihac; that having taken a decision now only on Gorazde, that NATO should begin planning for the possibility of operations in other areas. That was a very clear decision that came out of NATO; and, as Dick Holbrooke said, we were very gratified to see that because we have been pushing that point all along, including before the London Conference, that we had to be concerned with what happened in the other enclaves. But I do want to be clear that the decision yesterday only pertained to Gorazde. Should we entertain other possible actions concerning the other enclaves, we'd have to go back to the NAC -- the North Atlantic Council in Brussels. Q Nick, the second conversation between Boutros-Ghali and Warren Christopher -- who initiated that call? MR. BURNS: Secretary Christopher initiated that call. Q So he initiated both calls. MR. BURNS: That's right. More on Bosnia? Any more on Bosnia? Tim? Q Two things. One, is it the U.S. view that if Bihac falls -- I mean, it was often said that if Gorazde falls that would be the end of UNPROFOR. Is it our view that if Bihac falls, that could easily trigger the end of UNPROFOR? MR. BURNS: Tim, we've said clearly and publicly that if Gorazde falls -- not to speak of Bihac, but including Bihac -- it would likely represent a decisive blow against UNPROFOR. UNPROFOR has failed in its mission to protect two enclaves. The decision taken at London and confirmed by the North Atlantic Council last night represents the determination of the United States and its partners to try to make sure that other enclaves do not fall. We can't see how the United Nations would continue if a number of others -- including Gorazde with 60,000 people, Bihac with over 200,000 people -- would fall. So I think it applies to both, not just Bihac. Q Just one other thing on the arms embargo. Given the revised stipulations in the legislation in front of the Senate regarding U.N. withdrawal and exemptions that the President can -- or the extensions the President can take. I mean, why does the arms embargo vote really matter? I mean, it doesn't really seem to have very much practical effect. Why is it so important? MR. BURNS: It's very important because the intent -- if the vote is a majority vote for the unilateral lift, it would represent a view by at least one branch of the United States Government that we ought to leave the area; that having encountered a number of very serious problems, we should just give up and go home. We think that that would have the opposite effect. It would in effect Americanize the war. It would require the introduction of at least 25,000 American troops, and it would leave our allies without the support of the United States. So it would have a decisive effect, and that's why we're arguing against it today as the Senate debates the bill. Q It stipulates lift only if the U.N. 12 weeks after either the Bosnians call for the U.N. to leave or the U.N. does leave -- no one really imagines, I don't think, that once the U.N. leaves, the arms embargo will stay on Bosnia. So I guess it's just not clear to me why there's a practical concern. It's symbolic and important for that sense, but I don't really see that it will have a practical effect on it. MR. BURNS: The problem with that finely crafted language is that our allies have said that that essentially doesn't make a difference. Our allies would see it as one step towards the United States pulling the rug out from underneath them, and they have advanced that message to us just in the last 24 hours, as well as the last couple of months, as people began to see this amendment as being a possibility. David. Q Do you have any sense from the White House as to when the President will veto the legislation, assuming it passes today? Is he going to send it right back? MR. BURNS: I don't. I think that's a question really for the White House to answer, David, but I think nobody should mistake the will of the President or the Secretary here. The Secretary has been in touch once again this morning with the Senate leadership to make those views very, very clear. Q New subject? MR. BURNS: Yes. Q Filing break -- MR. BURNS: Yes. There was a call for a filing break. Q One more -- MR. BURNS: One more question on Bosnia. Q Isn't there a danger that you've drawn the wrong line by putting all this attention on Gorazde -- now apparently gotten a promise from the Serbs not to attack Gorazde while in fact the current -- according to U.N. observers, the most heavy fighting in well over a year in all of Bosnia is taking place around Bihac now; 8,000 thousand civilians are on the run; the Serbs are in the position to cut the pocket in two. Shouldn't Bihac be the place where you're drawing the line rather than Gorazde? MR. BURNS: Let's remember why the London Conference was called. It was called by the British Government because the British Government saw after the fall of Srebrenica and the likely fall of Zepa that the next target of Mladic was going to be Gorazde in eastern Bosnia, to effectively cut off all of eastern Bosnia from Bosnian Government control and to wipe it out. That was the reason why the London Conference was called. That was the decision that had to be made by the conferees at London, but I would just point you to the statement last night by the NATO Secretary General, in which he specifically said that they had talked about Bihac yesterday for all the reasons that you cited: that the fighting is the most critical there; it's certainly the largest offensive that we've seen in the last year, and that NATO countries unanimously agreed yesterday that we ought to begin planning for a contingency operation, should that become necessary. It would not be automatic. It would mean we'd have to go back to a NAC. I want to be clear about that. But for the reasons you've cited, Bihac was discussed both in London but most particularly yesterday in Brussels, and I wouldn't take issue with anything you've said. The situation in Bihac is critically important. It is by all accounts one of the most important points for the Bosnian Government in a military sense as well. Q Can I follow on that? MR. BURNS: Yes. Q I mean, how quickly will this happen? I mean, Srebrenica fell because everyone got excited about it once it was almost too late. Are we calling a NAC meeting on Bihac? Are we calling for a Washington conference to implement this? How fast do you expect NATO to agree on this? MR. BURNS: There's a system of coordination -- we like to call it military coordination; you might call it dual-key -- in place that would require the U.N. commanders on the ground to give NATO a sense of when they want to request NATO air power. That was done in the case of Srebrenica. Because of the Byzantine, labyrinthine dual-key system that was in place, the request finally was -- the key was turned by the United Nations at the very last moment, which made the NATO jets operations almost useless at the last moment. If the U.N. commanders in Bihac request NATO air power, NATO through the North Atlantic Council can meet overnight, they can meet within half an hour to discuss the situation. But we do need to have a request from the U.N. people in Bihac. Right now there is significant involvement of the Croatian army in the fighting, which many observers believe will make a decisive difference. It is also very chaotic fighting, so we do not yet have a request of NATO from the United Nations. Q You didn't in Gorazde, to draw a line around Gorazde. Why wasn't that? MR. BURNS: We certainly did. We certainly had a request to see if NATO could make a difference. The French Government suggested that the answer was to reinforce the garrison in Gorazde through an additional contingent of French troops. The United States suggested a deployment of air power, which was the decision that was finally taken. So we certainly had a number of major troop-contributing countries come forward and say, "We need now to engage NATO in Gorazde, because it's the likely next target in eastern Bosnia." I'm just saying that we formally have not had any request from the United Nations, as far as I'm aware, for that kind of NATO decision in Bihac. It's possible that we might in the future, and, if we do, we will consider it. If you look at the language and the way it is written, it's fairly strong language that NATO should begin now to plan for that contingency. We can't allow ourselves to drop the subject and not plan for a contingency that may become reality, not just in Bihac but in any of the remaining enclaves. Q Two distinguished persons in Israel find themselves in the middle of a political debate. One is your man in Tel Aviv, Martin Indyk, who, according to a few press reports, was advocating a few parliament members about the detrimental effects of passing the Golan bill, which failed in the meantime. The other one is President Weizman who is calling for a reassessment of the peace process now, after the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv. Would you care to comment on both issues? MR. BURNS: What is the question specifically on Ambassador Indyk? Q According to a few press reports, Ambassador Indyk advised a few members of the opposition that passing the Golan Heights bill, even in the first round, will have detrimental effects on the peace process because it will not be understood correctly in Damascus. MR. BURNS: I will simply tell you that I'm not aware that Ambassador Indyk was engaged today in anything other than lobbying for some economic issues when he was up at the Knesset this morning. I don't believe that he lobbied in any way on the bill that was debated this morning in the Knesset on the Golan or yesterday. Q (Inaudible) MR. BURNS: No, I do have. We've had some communications from our Embassy, and I think that's a fairly clear response I can give you on that. He did nothing inappropriate. Everything he did was consistent with his role as Ambassador. He's doing an excellent job. Q What about President Weizman's reassessment of the peace process now? MR. BURNS: I think you know the views of the United States. The peace process is critical to the future of the Israeli people, as it is to the Arabs in all the countries of the Middle East. We stand behind it. We're an active participant in it. We haven't given up. We think it should go forward. We agree very much with the comments by Prime Minister Rabin and by Chairman Arafat that the Israeli- Palestinian talks will go forward. We think that's positive. Q Nick, still on Martin Indyk. In the cables of Martin's visits to the Knesset, did it refer to his meetings with members of the Shas Party? MR. BURNS: It did not, no. He's a very active Ambassador. He sees people, as you would expect for the American Ambassador in Israel, and he has many, many meetings and phone contacts every day. I can't possibly speak as to what he's doing from one minute to the next. But I do know, in answer to the first question, exactly what the story was. One more to follow up on this, and then, Judd, we'll go to you. Q When you can give us an update? I understand that yesterday there was a meeting between Ambassador Ross and Moualem, the Syrian Ambassador. Maybe you can give us some details on it. MR. BURNS: As you know, our practice has been to say very little in public about Ambassador Ross' activities, because we think he can be most effective by operating behind the scenes. So I'm not in a position to give you a readout, unfortunately, on his meeting, if it did take place. Q In private. (Laughter) MR. BURNS: But we're not speaking privately. This is a public forum. Q How about a time for the Ambassadors -- the Syrian and Israeli Ambassadors to meet again? MR. BURNS: Yes. That's a very important commitment that was made, and we are still trying to work out the dates for those meetings. Q Which meetings? MR. BURNS: The question was on the Ambassadorial level meetings between Syria and Israel here in the United States. Q Do you have time to work out a meeting between the two Ambassadors? MR. BURNS: As you remember, when Secretary Christopher left Damascus on his last trip, he announced a series of steps on the Syria- Israel peace negotiations that would essentially be the agenda for the talks this summer. They included the Chief of Staff military talks that took place here in Washington, and we think quite successfully; a Dennis Ross trip to the region, which took place; and slightly lower level military-to-military talks. We're trying to establish dates for those particular meetings. Q Madame Chiang Kai-shek who, astoundingly enough to me is still alive, is being feted on Capitol Hill. Is there some concern in the Administration that this might further complicate Chinese-U.S. relations? MR. BURNS: What happens on Capitol Hill is not within the domain or the purview of the Executive Branch of the government. Legislators are free to see people, speak to people, talk about issues as they deem appropriate. It's certainly not our position to suggest to them with whom they should meet. I would simply note that there will not be any U.S. Government officials from the Executive Branch in the Clinton Administration present at those particular events. We have sent repeatedly over the last couple of weeks and months a very clear signal about United States policy towards China and about our views on the basis for that policy, and our policy has not changed in any way. The Secretary is looking forward very much to his meeting with Foreign Minister Qian a week from tomorrow in Brunei. Q Can I follow? MR. BURNS: Yes. Q Were Administration officials invited? MR. BURNS: I don't know if they were invited. I don't know the answer to that, but I know that no Administration officials will be present at those meetings. Q Nick, do you think it -- doesn't the Administration think it's appropriate that a brave individual, historical individual like this receives the sort of reception that she is getting on Capitol Hill? MR. BURNS: It's really not for us to comment on receptions on Capitol Hill. It's up to the Congress to decide what receptions it wants to have. We are responsible for conducting our foreign policy towards the largest population in the world: the Government of China. We are seeking better relations with the Government of China. We are seeking a clarification of some of the difficulties and misunderstandings that have taken place in that relationship. We're going to concentrate on that aspect of our policy and allow to others receptions. Q Nick, do you have anything about what the Secretary plans to say to the Chinese Foreign Minister? We have the dialogue, or at least we have a chance to open the dialogue. I mean, what points does he want to make? MR. BURNS: I think you'll see if you -- I hope all of you can come or listen to the Secretary' speech on Friday at the National Press Club. This will be a major policy address on our policy towards Asia. But we'll emphasize in some respects our policy towards China. I think in general, without wanting to preview it too much, the Secretary believes that U.S.-China relations are among the most important that we have anywhere in the world for the future of the American people, that we need to have a strong relationship. We need to be able to work out problems, and that we stand ready to do just that -- to have meetings to work out problems and to advance this relationship in all respects in the future. Q On another high-level meeting to be held next week, did Secretary Christopher and Japanese Foreign Minister Kono in their telephone call this morning flesh out what they plan for their meeting next week? MR. BURNS: Yes. The Secretary spoke briefly with the Japanese Foreign Minister this morning. The Secretary wanted to personally reiterate the condolences that he had sent last week in his letter regarding the death of the wife of Foreign Minister Kono. The Secretary also spoke briefly to the Minister this morning about our mutual pleasure that the civil aviation talks had been resolved successfully. The Secretary is looking forward to his meeting with Foreign Minister Kono. They have a very good relationship. They get along quite well, and they work together very productively. They'll be meeting in Brunei, and the Secretary said that he's looking forward to that. There are a lot of issues that the U.S. and Japan need to discuss, and we intend to have a good meeting next week. Q Nick, regarding the bombing at the St. Michel metro station, there are stories in France that the source of the bombing was either Islamist or Serb. One official, French official, commented that it's leaning in the direction of the Serbs. Now, what do we know about the Serb terrorist capabilities? There were things going on last year in Budapest, a train bombing; some incidents in Austria which seem to have been linked to Serb networks. What do you know about it, and particularly with regard to St. Michel? MR. BURNS: Let me just say that we deplore the violence, we deplore the terrorist attack yesterday in Paris. We certainly send our condolences to the French people and the French Government. Because of the fact that I believe, now, five people have died and 8l have been injured, it was a horrific incident. In our discussions with the French Government, we have not been given any indication of who may have been responsible, and I think that the French Government has indicated this morning that no group has claimed responsibility for the blast. We'll have to wait and see what emerges on that issue in the coming days. Q Do you have any indication of other incidents in which the Serbs were involved in Europe or in the United States? Do they have a capability -- MR. BURNS: I don't, off the top of my head. I don't have any information for you on that. Q Do you have any comment on the result of the vote on the bill on the Golan? MR. BURNS: I don't. That's an internal matter for the Israeli people and the Israeli legislators to work out in the Knesset. We are certainly pleased that the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister have given such important emphasis to continuing the peace process, both with Syria and with the Palestinian authority. We fully support the efforts of the Israeli Government to see those two processes through to the end and to a successful conclusion that will benefit each and every citizen of the State of Israel. We firmly believe that. That's why we are engaged in this. We have a great and significant national interest in our relationship with Israel. We want to see the peace process concluded in all of its dimensions so that the Israeli people, the Palestinian people, the Syrian people and others can benefit from it. Q (Inaudible) position, how do you explain basically the activity of the Ambassador in the Knesset? MR. BURNS: I just told you that the Ambassador, Ambassador Indyk, engages in normal diplomatic activities. He does not engage in activities beyond those that I have described. I don't believe there is anything abnormal or unusual about his activities, none whatsoever. Q But he was talking about the vote. He was talking with members of the Knesset about the vote, and then you've just said that the United States doesn't get involved in a domestic matter like that. MR. BURNS: No. I believe that in my original answer a couple of minutes ago I said that, as I understand it, Ambassador Indyk was up at the Knesset to talk about economic issues. Q It was yesterday? MR. BURNS: I'm sorry. I'm just sorry to disagree with -- and please, let's not misunderstand this, that he was engaged in discussions, as I understand it, on economic issues, not on this. And, again, I can't get into tracking his movements minute-by-minute for you. But I can tell you that everything that he has done since his arrival in Israel has been -- Q (Inaudible) MR. BURNS: -- has been certainly, and can be certainly described as normal diplomatic activities. Okay. I think I would like to end so we can all get to the Secretary. (The briefing concluded at 2:l0 p.m.) (###) - PAGE 1 - Wednesday, 7/26/95 To the top of this page