U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 95/08/11 DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Friday, August 11, l995 Briefer: David Johnson ARMS CONTROL President Clinton's Announcement on Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty--U.S. Position on Testing ............1 IRAQ Iraqi Defections --Internal Political Disagreements w/Policy ............1 --UN Sanctions Regime ..................................1-3 --King Hussein's Decision to Grant Asylum ..............1-2 --No Evidence of Retaliation from Iraqis ...............2,5 --Possible U.S. Contacts with Defectors ................2-4 --Reports of Kamel Contact w/Iraqi Opposition Leaders ..3 --Defectors' Possible Contacts with UN Officials .......4 --President Clinton's Conversation w/King Hussein ......5 MIDDLE EAST PEACE Israeli-Palestinian Talks --Arafat/Peres Mtgs. ...................................4-6 Secretary Christopher's Contacts w/Arafat/Peres/Rabin ..6 Joint U.S.-Israeli-Palestinian Committee ...............6 Ambassador Ross' Contacts w/Parties/Sec. Christopher ...6-7 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Reports of Belgrade Plan to Settle Serb Refugees from Croatia in Kosovo ................................7 Croatian Treatment of Refugee Population ...............10-11 Lake/Tarnoff Consultations .............................11-13 Arms Embargo/Economic Sanctions ........................12 Report of Yeltsin Efforts to Organize Summit Mtg. ......12 Dole/Helms Legislation re: Funding for Military Aid ....12 President Clinton's Veto of Unilateral Lift ............12 IRAQ Kurdistan Democratic Party/Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Talks in Ireland .....................................7-8 CHINA Report of Military Exercises in East China Sea Area ....8-9 Qian Qichen's Remarks During ASEAN re: U.S. ............9-11 Two American Military Attaches .........................10 Undersecretary Tarnoff Mtg. w/Chinese Counterpart ......13 Dalai Lama's Visit to U.S. .............................13 KENYA Attack Against Richard Leakey & Opposition Party Members ..............................................14 CUBA Policy on American Citizens Entering Cuban Waters/Air ..15 DEPARTMENT Conduct of Diplomats inside the U.S. ...................15-16 LIBYA Report of Receipt of Uranium 235 from Kazakstan ........16
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 1995, 1:23 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. JOHNSON: Welcome to the State Department briefing. We're pleased you all could join us today. I don't have any statements for you. As you're all aware, the President just made an announcement on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the United States position on testing. I understand at this time there is a briefing going on in the White House by a senior National Security Council staff official that's providing further detail on that. So if you've got questions about some other topics, I'd be pleased to entertain them. Q Do you have any information on what's happening with the people who left Iraq and are in Jordan? Is the U.S. contacting them? MR. JOHNSON: I can tell you what I know about that. It may leave you slightly unsatisfied. First of all, I'd note that the President stressed three major points in his press briefing yesterday about what happened. We believe they bear repeating. First, these defections highlight how isolated Saddam Hussein has become in Iraq, how serious political disagreement with his policies have become, and how serious splits have become within the ruling clique. The defection represents a serious setback to his regime. Second, the defections demonstrate that the United States policy of holding fast to the sanctions regime until Iraq has met all of its United Nations Security Council resolutions is working. Third, that King Hussein's decision to grant the defectors asylum was an act of political courage, and we have assured him that the United States will stand with him against any threat of Iraqi retaliation I'd remind you, I believe as we've said before, that we have seen no evidence of Iraqi moves directly related to these defections but that the record of Hussein makes it prudent to prepare for such threats. Q Does the United States expect to talk to these defectors in the coming days? MR. JOHNSON: I'm not going to get into questions about what conversations we may eventually have with the defectors. Q But, David, is there a team of Americans or representatives from the Embassy who are attempting to or who are planning to or -- MR. JOHNSON: I simply can't confirm that for you. Q David, there was a report by one of our reporters here that there will be a press conference tomorrow where the General and, I believe, the Colonel, both, will speak out to the press. Are you aware of this upcoming conference? MR. JOHNSON: I'm not able to confirm any of their press activities. We're not acting as their spokesman, so we'll leave it up to them to speak for themselves. Perhaps the Government of Jordan might be making announcements, but we're not making those from here. Q Will the United States be offering them political asylum? MR. JOHNSON: The issue has not come up. I believe that they've been offered asylum in Jordan. As far as I know, that's where they're planning to stay, at least, for the time being. Q Is there any other indication as to what precipitated this break? MR. JOHNSON: I don't really know anything other than the fact that any observer of Iraq over the last several years has noted the continued deterioration and conditions there due to the effect of the Security Council resolutions and the unwillingness of Saddam to take advantage of the humanitarian exceptions that are in those resolutions to provide the food and medicine and other humanitarian goods for his population. I would reiterate once again, that any fault for the condition of that population -- of the Iraqi population, the Iraqi people -- rests squarely with Saddam who has failed to take advantage of the exceptions to provide food and medicines for his people. Q Have you seen reports that apparently Hussein Kamel has been contacting Iraqi opposition leaders and speaking out against Saddam's regime? Would the Administration support that kind of activity? MR. JOHNSON: I haven't seen the specific reports that you cite. We have no love lost for Saddam Hussein. Q Those same reports, or some of those same reports, suggest he cool it for a while in making these calls for revolt. The reports suggest -- I don't know if it's the Jordanians or the Americans, supposedly, are advising for a few days, "Don't do that; don't exacerbate the situation." MR. JOHNSON: I've not seen the reports. I'm unfamiliar with our having given advice of that nature or any other to the gentleman in question. Q Can I ask you something related? Officials have been saying since the defection that -- delighted to talk to him; a trove of information probably available. Has the debriefing or talking or meetings between American officials and these two key defectors actually begun? MR. JOHNSON: I think you missed the -- Q Actually, I was doing the President's nuclear announcement. MR. JOHNSON: -- the exchange on this before you came was -- it was not meant to be critical. I just was going to tell you -- Q No, no. I didn't mean to make you repeat. MR. JOHNSON: At this point, we're simply not in a position to get into any conversations we might have with these gentlemen. Q "Get into" means you cannot say if there are conversations, or you can't say the substance of the conversations? MR. JOHNSON: I cannot confirm them and I cannot get into any substance should they occur. Q David, you said any conversations that you might or might eventually have. Does that rule any that have taken place already? MR. JOHNSON: I'm just not in a position to confirm anything that might have taken place. Q The Defense Department Spokesman yesterday, I believe he stated that the General would be very welcome to talk to the U.N. with regard to the weapons of mass destruction programs. Does the State Department also welcome this disclosure to the U.N., to Jordan, to our government about these things? MR. JOHNSON: I think that he certainly could provide a great deal of information which might prove very useful to Mr. Ekeus in pursuing his objective of determining Iraqi compliance or non-compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions. We would hope that that would take place. Q How would this happen? MR. JOHNSON: I think the Jordanians would be the ones who could best facilitate something like that since these gentlemen are on Jordanian territory. Mr. Ekeus could certainly go to Amman. Q It sounds like you're saying that the defectors should talk to international officials. That would be fine. But you can't say whether the United States is talking to these same defectors? Isn't there something we could gain from all this? And why be so shy about saying we're talking to them? MR. JOHNSON: At this point, we're not in a position to confirm any conversations we might have or might have had or might be planning to have. Both Ken Bacon and I are simply recognizing a fact; and that is, that the position that this particular individual has held enables him to have some unique and very valuable information that would enable Mr. Ekeus to carry out his duties, potentially, more effectively. Q Is there anything you could say about the talks with the Israelis and the Palestinians that have just concluded? MR. JOHNSON: Sure. Q Can we say with -- MR. JOHNSON: If you wish. Q In the President's offer of protection to Jordan yesterday, was there any discussion of personal protection for these individuals by the United States? MR. JOHNSON: I think that the focus of the President's conversation with King Hussein was about any assistance we could provide for the country of Jordan, and that is, in case there was any type of military threat against the Jordanian state. Q Does that include supply of oil to Jordan if Saddam Hussein cut off the supplies that presently go to Jordan? MR. JOHNSON: Just as the President did yesterday, I'm not prepared to get into the details of what that might include. But he said that Jordan was an ally and a friend, and we would stand by them. I'll just leave it there. Q Have there any hostile actions on the part of Iraq -- the Saddam Hussein government -- toward Jordan? MR. JOHNSON: I've seen no evidence of military moves directly related to these defections? Q Any threats? MR. JOHNSON: Not noted any. Q What about diplomatic effects? There's an embassy in Baghdad, I assume -- Jordanian Embassy? MR. JOHNSON: I don't know what Jordanian representation is in Baghdad. We all know that the Iraqis sent an emissary down to talk and, I believe, has since departed. Q Can we go to -- MR. JOHNSON: We can. And your question? Q Any comment on the Israeli-Palestinian talks? MR. JOHNSON: Chairman Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres have been meeting over the course of the last week. Those negotiations have been difficult because they're dealing with very complex issue that are of vital importance to both sides. Those talks have been very productive. They've made good progress and have reached agreement on key issues. It's our understanding that they've given guidelines to their negotiators to put their final agreement on paper. We're very supportive of what they've been doing and are very pleased at this progress that they've made. The Secretary has talked with Chairman Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres twice in the last two days, and Ambassador Ross has been talking to them frequently during the course of their discussions. In addition, the Secretary called Prime Minister Rabin today. We're going to continue to be actively in touch with both sides in order to help them reach final agreement as soon as possible. I'd note that during the conversations with the Secretary over the last couple of days, the United States, the Palestinian Authority and Israel agreed, as reflected in the Joint Statement issued today, that a joint U.S.- Israeli-Palestinian committee be created to deal with economic issues, water production and political coordination. Q You say you're helping them. Does that mean you're helping them decide the tough issues? MR. JOHNSON: It means we're being a reliable friend to the negotiators, trying to help them come up with ideas. We're going to be an active participant in this committee that we've agreed to. Q I mean in the treaty-writing process -- in the agreement- writing process, as they got down to the final tough issues, like water and state land, has the United States expressed an opinion how those issues should be resolved? MR. JOHNSON: I think the fact that the two parties chose, themselves, to contact the Secretary and conduct a series of telephone calls with him speaks for itself in terms of the active nature of the United States' involvement in these talks. But in terms of specific things that we rendered opinions or offered opinions on, I'm not going to be in a position to get into those specifics. Q Well, that I understand, but I'm more interested in Dennis Ross and the likelihood that Dennis Ross might have an opinion about how issue A or issue B ought to be dealt with. Is Dennis Ross part of the negotiations? MR. JOHNSON: He is someone who's been in contact with the parties very frequently over the last several weeks. He spoke with them at least daily over the last several -- the end of July and the beginning of August, and also had at least a daily conversation with the Secretary during his trip to Asia in order to both keep him up to date on the talks and to get advice from him on how to help the parties. Q David, on Serbia. Belgrade has said -- has indicated and maybe has even begun implementing moves to take the refugees from the Krajina region and send them to Kosovo, perhaps as a warning or as a provocation, whatever it may mean. What is the U.S. analysis of this situation, and is there any way for us to convince Milosevic not to make such a move, which would lead to another type of conflict. MR. JOHNSON: We're concerned by press reports that the authorities in Belgrade plan to relocate Croatian Serb refugees in the Kosovo region. Nearly 90 percent of the Kosovo population is ethnic Albanian. They've come under increasingly harsh repression from the Serb Government in Belgrade since their autonomy was revoked over five years ago. Long before the current refugee crisis began, Belgrade began what has been a largely unsuccessful effort to "colonize" Kosovo with ethnic Serbs in an attempt to alter the demographics in the region. The situation in Kosovo is tense. It's long been viewed as a potential flash point which could result in a wider conflict, and we believe any effort to settle significant numbers of Serb refugees from Croatia in Kosovo would be extremely unhelpful. We've asked our Embassy in Belgrade to look into these reports. We're not in a position to confirm them at this time. Q Have you got anything on Kurdish mediation? Folks there are saying ask here. MR. JOHNSON: Okay. Q All roads lead to the State Department briefing room. MR. JOHNSON: And then they diverge? Under United States' auspices, talks have been held in Ireland between the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The Iraqi National Congress has also participated, and the Government of Turkey has sent observers. The United States is pleased that the two parties pledged to continue to work for a formal peace agreement ending the hostilities that broke out over one year ago. The parties have also agreed to confidence-building measures such as maintaining the cease-fire, respecting the rights of each other's followers and releasing all detainees. They've agreed on a set of principles that will guide their next round of talks. These include the demilitarization of Irbil, formation of a neutral commission under Iraqi National Congress auspices to monitor the cease-fire, agreement to place customs and other revenues in bank accounts under the supervision of a neutral commission, and a reconvening of their regional parliament. We're going to work with the parties to convene a summit between the two leaders in September. Prior to that summit, we plan to have another meeting at this same level as this meeting in Ireland has been. Q Where? MR. JOHNSON: I don't think the location's been fixed. Are we through with Kurdistan? Yes, sir. Q Another subject. Do you have any comments on the second round of missile and, I think, artillery testing to be conducted by the People's Liberation Army near Taiwan? MR. JOHNSON: The New China News Agency has announced a new set of military exercises which will include the firing of guided missiles and live artillery in the area of the East China Sea located approximately 72 nautical miles or 133 kilometers north of Taiwan. We believe this test does not contribute to peace and stability in the area. It's been the policy of the United States to seek to promote peace, security and stability in the area of the Taiwan Straits, because we believe this is in the interests of the United States, the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. Q Are you prepared, like you did the first time around, to raise this with the Chinese? MR. JOHNSON: The Chinese are aware of our position regarding this type of exercise. The Secretary reiterated our position in his meeting last week in Brunei with the Chinese Foreign Minister. Q Is the U.S. concerned at all about the disruption of navigation and civilian aviation at all? MR. JOHNSON: I think our principal concern has to do with the affect this could have on a contribution or not a contribution to peace and stability in the area and not so much on the civil aviation aspects. Q A week or so ago, when Deputy Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs testified on the Hill, he was asked about whether the tests posed a threat to the security of Taiwan. His response was that the NSC, the State Department and Pentagon assessed the situation and came up with the conclusion that it did not really pose a threat to Taiwan. Is that still the same position of the Administration with regard to the second round of testing? MR. JOHNSON: I don't have any reason to find fault with Mr. Lord's assessment. Q I'm sorry. I said Mr. Wiedemann. MR. JOHNSON: Excuse me. His either. Q The same position? MR. JOHNSON: I don't have any reason to believe that our position will have changed. Q On China, if I could go to the larger issue, David. There's an article from the Los Angeles Times this past Monday -- Jim Mann's article -- and if I could just briefly quote: "Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen made it abundantly clear during the conference of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that just ended here that it is time for the United States to stop regarding itself as the savior of the East." This is what Qian told reporters. "We do not recognize the United States as a power which claims to maintain the peace and stability of Asia," which is basically the message is, "America, go home." I would just ask if this is not a very fundamental and extraordinary -- fundamental change of extraordinary importance, as Jim Mann terms it, in the relations between China and the United States? Does the United States Government have an explanation for the motivation of the Chinese to be asking the United States to militarily withdraw from the Western Pacific and Asia? MR. JOHNSON: I'd make two points for you. First, the United States is a Pacific power. We have significant interests in and we have significant Alliance responsibilities in the Pacific. We intend to honor those responsibilities. The second point I would make is the Secretary made extensive comment on his bilateral meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister, and with others while he was on his trip, and I don't think I will give you a recapitulation of all those today. If you would like, I would be pleased to provide you with copies of everything that we have. Q Thank you, David. And then just to follow. Is there still a news blackout on the two American military attaches and their experience in that area, where those missiles were being fired? Can you tell us, are they back in the States, or what? MR. JOHNSON: I wouldn't call it a news blackout, but, as I've said before, we've said what we have to say about them, I believe. Q They haven't been debriefed? MR. JOHNSON: I can say that we've had what we want to say said about them already. Q What did you say exactly? MR. JOHNSON: I'll be pleased to provide you with copies of all of our transcripts which reveal that. (Laughter) Q Do they ever get outdated -- these transcripts? (Laughter) MR. JOHNSON: Occasionally, but it takes some time. We have a carbon-dating -- Q Because policy never changes, right? Q Going back to Bosnia, the other day, as you know, the United Nations protested some of the Croatian attacks -- mob attacks on fleeing Serbs from Krajina, and on Wednesday you said that the United States didn't have people on the ground, so you really couldn't comment on these reports. I was just wondering what you have to say today about some of these reports. MR. JOHNSON: I'd say that our Ambassador in Croatia went out personally and in fact escorted some of these fleeing refugees. We have made our position very clear to the Government of Croatia that we believe that it is not only an obligation of theirs under international law and simple human decency to protect these people and to keep them from harm. But is also in the fundamental best interests of Croatia that they observe the norms that one would expect for treatment of any fleeing refugee population. Q What do you make of these reports? I mean, what do you think -- MR. JOHNSON: We believe that the Croatian Government has a responsibility to protect these people and to keep them from harm as they try to leave the area in which they've lived. Q Go back to China, if I may. Q Can we stay on Yugoslavia. Going back and forth. Do you have anything to say on the Lake mission, and I have a follow-up on that. MR. JOHNSON: Okay. I think you will have seen from reporting in the region, by the Governments with whom they have met, that they've been pleased in both London and Bonn with the type of consultations which have been undertaken. They are in Paris today, and they are planning additional stops in Spain, Italy and on the Black Sea Coast city of Sochi, where they will meet with Foreign Minister Kozyrev before returning to London and then onward to the United States on Sunday. Q When is that? Kozyrev on Saturday? MR. JOHNSON: I'm not sure that they have all their stops and times exactly lined up. Q (Inaudible) MR. JOHNSON: On Sunday. Q What is the name of that city? MR. JOHNSON: Sochi. Q Spelling? MR. JOHNSON: I believe it's Suichi. Q S-O. MR. JOHNSON: Sochi. I stand corrected. Q The meeting with Kozyrev -- is that due to concern that there's a widening split between the Russian view and the possible Russian unilateral lifting of sanctions on Belgrade? MR. JOHNSON: It's due to our belief that it would be very helpful to consult with the Government of Russia and in particular Foreign Minister Kozyrev, having completed our talks in London, Paris, Bonn and other capitals, including likely Spain and Italy before that. We believe that Russia has a very significant role to play in the negotiation of peace in this area. They're a member of the Contact Group with whom we've worked, over the last several years, to try to bring a negotiated settlement. Q Do you have anything to say about Yeltsin's statement that Russia may unilaterally lift sanctions against Serbia? MR. JOHNSON: I think we've made clear whether we're talking about an arms embargo or the economic sanctions against Serbia that the effective and durable approach to pursuit of peace in this area is through multilateral means, and we would hope to be able to come to agreement on that, as respects any potential lifting of economic sanctions. Q Back to China for a moment. Q More on that. What do you think of the Yeltsin efforts to get a summit meeting in Moscow among the parties involved? MR. JOHNSON: I'd think the same thing I've said a couple of times this week: that we certainly appreciate the goals that President Yeltsin has, but right now we're concentrating on the efforts of Mr. Lake and Tarnoff and their party to try to pursue these new ideas and try to take advantage of a negotiated settlement now. Such a conference could play a role. We're certainly not foreclosing it, but I'm not in a position to react to it directly right now. Q Do you have any reaction or comment to the legislation that was introduced yesterday by Senators Dole and Helms in terms of funding for military aid? MR. JOHNSON: I do. I would note that such funding would take place and essentially implement a U.S. unilateral lifting of the arms embargo against Bosnia-Herzegovina. We've made very clear that the Administration is opposed to unilateral lift and therefore would certainly be opposed to implementation of it. I'd also note for you that the President has vetoed the Dole bill today. Q Is the Administration confident that you can sustain the veto? MR. JOHNSON: We believe that we can work with the Congress and come to an agreement on moving forward in a multilateral manner. Any more questions on Bosnia? Q One other thing. Do Lake and Tarnoff carry any message on lifting sanctions on Belgrade as well. Do they have a whole package or do they have just the Bosnia side and Map and that kind of side? MR. JOHNSON: I have declined over the course of the last several days to get into specifics about what their discussions are. I'm going to continue to do that and let them do their work. They're trying to negotiate something. I'd like for them to have an opportunity to do that. You get the gold star anyway. China. Q Yes. Now that Mr. Tarnoff is out of the country, does that mean during his absence the Chinese counterpart -- his Chinese counterpart's meeting with him will not be held? MR. JOHNSON: It does not. We are continuing to work with the Government of China on coming to an agreement on a good date that's convenient for both them and us, and we plan for meetings to take place soon. I don't have an announcement for you for a specific date. Q I think earlier there was a question about the visit of the Dalai Lama to this country. According to his schedule, he'll be here sometime the first part of September. The question was then whether he had requested any meetings with senior people of the Department? I just wanted to renew this question, to ascertain whether any request has been made for meetings from the Secretary on down? MR. JOHNSON: I'm unaware of any request. As I noted then, we have great respect for him as a religious and cultural leader. I noted that the Secretary had met with him on the margins of a reception in the State Department during his last visit. We're simply not in receipt of any sort of request at this point. Q In light of the current status of U.S.-China relations, do you think the Administration might have second thoughts about arranging the kind of meeting that he had with the Administration people a year or so ago, the last time he was here? MR. JOHNSON: I'm unaware of any reason we would want to change our stance in terms of -- the Dalai Lama is such a significant cultural and religious leader. Q There was an attack, apparently in Kenya, by people associated probably with the government against Richard Leakey and some other opposition people. Any response to that? MR. JOHNSON: Just as far as the facts go, it's our understanding that Leakey and members of his opposition party, which is known as Safina, as well as Kenyan and foreign journalists were attacked and beaten by a mob in Nakuru Town, a drive that's two hours northwest of Nairobi. Leakey and other members of his group were on their way to visit a leading Kenyan dissident, who is imprisoned in Nakuru on charges of raiding a police station in 1993. Some reports indicate that the attackers were supporters of the ruling party. We don't have any information that any American citizens were victims of this incident. Leakey received minor injuries in the attack, but at least two people were reportedly hospitalized. Their condition is not known. I do not believe anyone was killed or critically injured during the attack. In terms of our reaction, we appeal to the Kenyan police and government officials to restore law and order. We'd also like to see the facts of this come out as soon as possible, and that the perpetrators be brought to justice. In accordance with the Kenyan Government's own repeated commitments to respect the rule of law and the rights of every Kenyan, we expect the Kenyan Government to provide protection for and ensure the basic civil rights of all individuals and groups concerns. Q What has the United States been telling the Kenyans? Unless they clean up their act, they won't get as many aid dollars from this country? I know that's a growing debate among Germany, Britain, and so forth. MR. JOHNSON: I'm unaware of something specific to that. The stance of a government with respect to civil liberties and the protection of fundamental political rights is always a consideration, and whether or not aid is given beyond aid through non-governmental organization for basic human needs. I would expect it to be no different in the case of Kenya. Q I have a question on Cuba. On Monday, you issued a warning that if American citizens were to stray into Cuban waters that they would not be protected by American law. Are you going to follow up on that with any action to restrict Americans from going out in flotillas towards Cuba? And is there an anniversary coming up -- I believe there is, in September, that you're concerned about that this would happen? MR. JOHNSON: We had a group go into Cuban waters earlier in the year. We made clear to them the risks that they were undertaking. This was simply a broader announcement to try to make clear to any American citizen or person departing the United States of the risk that they would encounter were they to enter Cuban air and waters without permission of the Cuban Government. Around the world, we try to make as clear as possible to United States citizens the conditions they might face, when they go abroad, and the protections which we can and cannot provide for them when they're outside of the United States. This was consistent with that policy. Q It's illegal to travel to Cuba, though. Would the government take any action to stop the people from going? MR. JOHNSON: I think the proper way to look at that is, it's illegal to spend any money in order to travel to Cuba. You're not prohibited by law from travel. Those regulations are administered by the Treasury Department. Only they are authorized to license travel to Cuba, or more properly the expenditure of funds to travel to Cuba. Q This is off the beaten path. If anybody has any other Cuba questions? There was an article, I think a week ago, about deadbeat diplomats and legislation, I believe, that was introduced on how to deal with them and taking it up with the United Nations. Do you have any comment on that? MR. JOHNSON: We've reported to Congress, as we do I believe at least annually, the conduct of diplomats inside the United States and any encounters they've had with U.S. law enforcement authorities and how those have been dealt with as well as any unpaid debts they might have to private U.S. entities. We have been working directly with the diplomats concerned through our Office of Protocol and through the United Nations where the persons with the unpaid debts -- some of them are accredited -- to try to clear up those problems. We've made some progress. It has not been universal, but the progress, I think, is significant. The only other comment I would make is that we believe that the way we are going about doing it directly with those diplomats and through the United Nations is the most effective way to do so. We don't believe that somehow cutting back on our payments that we've agreed to give the United Nations would improve the help that the U.N. is giving us in trying to collect those monies due to U.S. citizens. Q You're going to have another off-the-beaten path question. It's a late Friday question. There was a report yesterday that Libyan Radio had made an announcement that they had obtained uranium 235 from Kazakstan. I understand from one of my colleagues that Kazakstan has completely denied this; this is a total fabrication. Can you shed any light on (a) I guess, Libya shopping for U-235; and (b) what in the world would they do with it if they got it, as a speculation? MR. JOHNSON: I don't do speculation. I'll make a couple of points for you. First, the Libyans don't have any reactors for which such product might prove useful for a commercial or civil purpose. The second is that you are correct, or your colleague is correct, in that the Kazaks have said that they have done no such thing. Q But are the Libyans shopping, because there might be some validity to that? MR. JOHNSON: I don't have anything for you on the Libyan shopping list. Q Thank you. MR. JOHNSON: Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 2:01 p.m.) (###)To the top of this page