U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 95/09/15 DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Friday, September 15, 1995 Briefer: Nicholas Burns FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Assistant Secretary Holbrooke's Meetings: --w/Izetbegovic in Mostar ................................1 --w/Milosevic in Belgrade ................................2,7-9 --Return to Washington ...................................2,8 Contact Group Mtg. in Geneva .............................2 --Holbrooke-Ivanov Mtg. ..................................2 Deputy Secretary Talbott/FM Kozyrev Mtgs. in Moscow ......2 Hill/Owen Travel to Sarajevo .............................3,7-8 Provisions/Compliance/Assessment of Agreement ............1-4,7,9-12 Sarajevo Airport, Two Roads Opened .......................3 Status of Removal of Heavy Weapons/U.S. Position .........4-8,10 NATO Pause in Bombing ....................................2,4,8 Participation in Possible International Peacekeeping Force ..................................................10-11 Status of Fighting in Western Bosnia .....................12 COLOMBIA Allegations Against President Zedillo re: Cali Cartel Campaign Contributions .....................12 SINGAPORE Prime Minister's Unofficial Visit to U.S. ................12-13 BELARUS Balloonist Incident ......................................13-17 CUBA Report of Former President Carter Invitation to Senior Cuban Officials .................................17 HAITI Elections ................................................17-18 ARMS CONTROL Talks with Russia on CFE Treaty Compliance ...............18-19 RUSSIA Deputy Secretary Talbott's Discussions in Region .........19 CYPRUS U.S. Contacts on Cyprus Dispute ..........................20 MALAYSIA Arrest of U.S. Citizen in Kuala Lumpur ...................20-21 CHINA Report of Taiwan Opposition Leader's Visit to U.S. .......21 Resignations of AIT Board Members ........................21-22 DEPARTMENT Foreign Aid Legislation ..................................22-23
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1995, 1:12 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BURNS: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department briefing. This briefing is going to be 2l percent shorter than normal because of the budget cuts. (Laughter) I hope you don't mind. I thought it was a good way to start the briefing. That's what will happen if the budget cuts go through. George. Q (Inaudible) if you're only going to brief for 26 minutes. MR. BURNS: I hope not. If that happens, we won't brief. (Laughter). George. Q Is this the right place to ask about Serb compliance, with the promises that they made? MR. BURNS: I can talk about the subject if you'd like. Would you like to talk about the subject? Q Yes. MR. BURNS: Let me just give you some background on the situation as we understand it in Sarajevo, but let me begin by talking about Dick Holbrooke. I had a long conversation with him just about an hour ago, and he reported the following to me: He had two meetings with President Izetbegovic in Mostar, one last evening and one this morning. They discussed together the unilateral Serb-Bosnian Serb offer on Sarajevo that has now turned into an agreement on Sarajevo, and Ambassador Holbrooke stressed the importance that this agreement be verifiable and that it be completely adhered to. The United States intends to urge very tough compliance; and we expect, as the President said, the fullest compliance. As the President said this morning, if the Bosnian Serbs do not comply with this agreement the airstrikes will resume. Dick Holbrooke left Mostar this morning. He traveled to Geneva. He has now, I guess for about the last 45 minutes, been in a Contact Group meeting. Before that meeting, he had a chance to talk individually with the First Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Mr. Ivanov, who is the host in Geneva today of the Contact Group meeting. They had a very good conversation, building upon the good work that Deputy Secretary Talbott and Minister Andrei Kozyrev were able to accomplish in Moscow. We believe, as a result of the meetings in Moscow, and Ambassador Holbrooke's meeting this morning in Geneva with First Deputy Foreign Minister Ivanov, that the United States and Russia are standing together for peace, standing together to push forward the diplomatic negotiations for peace. This Contact Group meeting will extend into a dinner this evening in Geneva. I don't expect any formal statements out of it, but it's certainly a very good opportunity for Ambassador Holbrooke to brief our Contact Group partners, including the Russian Government, in the fullest possible way on yesterday's events, where Ambassador Holbrooke shuttled among capitals and was able to help bring about a very important and very positive agreement that we hope will lead to the withdrawal of all weapons from Sarajevo and to break the siege forever of Sarajevo. After the Contact Group meeting this evening, Ambassador Holbrooke will be going to Belgrade tomorrow morning. He'll be having meetings there with President Milosevic. He then intends, during the weekend, to travel to Sarajevo for meetings with the Bosnian Government leadership. I would expect that Ambassador Holbrooke would return to Washington very early next week for consultations with Secretary Christopher and others in this building and around town about the next steps in the peace process. We know where we're heading -- we in the United States, and in the international community. We are heading towards peace. We're trying very hard to marshal the will and the influence of the international community for peace, and we're certainly willing to do everything that the United States can possibly do to now build momentum in the peace process. I should say, as Ambassador Holbrooke has been articulating throughout his travels in Europe, this is going to be a very difficult process. The issues that are now being discussed today in Sarajevo and in Geneva are exceedingly difficult issues, involving constitutional arrangements, involving territorial compromises, and many other factors. Because we want to maintain the momentum, Ambassador Holbrooke asked Chris Hill of the State Department Bureau of European Affairs and Robert Owen, our expert on constitutional issues, to travel today to Sarajevo for further talks with the Bosnian Government on both the Map - - the Contact Group Map and Plan -- and on constitutional issues. They were able to do so through the Mt. Igman Road. We took some precautions to make sure that the security was appropriate on that road. They actually stopped two-way traffic and only allowed one-way traffic because of the very great tragedy three weeks ago on that road. Mr. Hill and Mr. Owen have arrived safely in Sarajevo and are now involved in their discussions there. I should also say that we understand that the airport in Sarajevo is open; that the first UNHCR plane arrived at, I think, 9:07 this morning, Eastern Daylight Time, with a cargo of humanitarian supplies for the civilians in Sarajevo. The two roads that the agreement called to be open have been opened, and the first convoy traveled down that road with humanitarian supplies this morning. The second convoy is expected, I believe, to go down the road in about two hours. We understand that the next humanitarian flight will go into Sarajevo tomorrow morning. We also understand that the Mt. Igman road, now reopen for two-way traffic this afternoon in Sarajevo, is filled with trucks. There is a considerable amount of humanitarian goods and other nonmilitary goods flowing into Sarajevo. The siege has been lifted. I understand that gasoline prices have plummeted over the last two days in Sarajevo from what they were as recently as last weekend. All of these are very good signs, indeed. Now, finally, George, I'm going to get to your specific question, but I wanted to get that information out. As for compliance, I believe Admiral Smith and General Joulwan have both spoken just in the last couple of minutes to this question. While we have seen on CNN reports from Pale that there is some movement of heavy weapons by the Bosnian Serbs with the 20-kilometer zone, it's at least the opinion of our military officials that we haven't seen those weapons actually removed from the zone. They may be being marshaled and put at certain points for subsequent removal from the zone, but we haven't seen it yet. We're going to be watching very, very closely. The United Nations, and NATO of course -- which have direct responsibility for this question -- will watch closely. As Admiral Smith pointed out this morning, NATO will keep its planes in the air. The airstrikes had been temporarily stopped for these 72 hours. The planes will remain in the air so that we, by that means and by other means, can verify the very important issue of compliance. As we all understand the agreement that was reached, the most important part of this agreement will occur Sunday evening at the 72nd hour, counting back from yesterday afternoon, when NATO and the United Nations will assess Bosnian Serb compliance with this agreement. As the President said this morning, we would fully expect that the agreement would be fully complied with. Q Nick, you said earlier that you'd like to see all weapons removed from around Sarajevo, and yet we're seeing reports that Mr. Holbrooke agreed to a less stringent standard caliber-wise of weapons that can remain behind than the U.N. had wanted. Can you address that? MR. BURNS: I'd be glad to address it. It's an important issue. I did have a discussion with Dick Holbrooke on this issue. I believe that right now the relevant parties -- the United Nations and the Bosnian Serbs -- are meeting to clarify this particular issue of what type of weapons must be withdrawn from the Sarajevo exclusion zone. The United States believes that all the weapons which have posed the greatest threat to the people of Sarajevo should be withdrawn. That is our position; that remains our very firm position today. Of course, the firing of any weapons would constitute a fundamental breach in the agreement that was reached yesterday. Now, there are discussions going on to both clarify this issue and resolve it, as I said, between the United Nations and the Bosnian Serbs. Since those discussions are ongoing, I don't want to step into the middle of them with a detailed description of what caliber of weapons need to be withdrawn. We are asserting a very strong view to the United Nations about what should happen as a result of these discussions, and I think I've given you a very clear indication that the dangerous weapons should be absolutely withdrawn. Q If I could just follow up. But apparently Mr. Holbrooke agreed -- the agreement that Mr. Holbrooke signed was not the agreement that the U.N. had wanted. The caliber of weapons that he agreed with the Serbs could remain behind was not the standard that the U.N. had laid down. Why did he do that? MR. BURNS: Let me just remind you. The agreement is actually a unilateral Serb-Bosnian Serb statement. It has not been signed by the Bosnian Government; it has not been signed by the United Nations or anyone else. It's a unilateral statement and a set of ideas that Dick Holbrooke conveyed to the United Nations, the Croatian and Bosnian Governments. The United States is asserting privately in our discussions a very detailed view of what we think should happen. I don't want to complicate those discussions. But I can tell you -- and I'll repeat it again -- that we believe that the weapons which posed the greatest threat to the people of Sarajevo should absolutely be withdrawn and, furthermore, there can be no consideration of any use of any weapons within the zone -- any weapons whatsoever, or any type of military activity, for that matter. Q Regardless of what's left behind? MR. BURNS: Regardless of what's left behind. Exactly. Q Have they defined weapons which have posed the greatest threat to Sarajevo? Is that where the difference in caliber -- MR. BURNS: That is being clarified right now, Howard -- it's being clarified right now by the U.N. military commanders and the Bosnian Serbs. What I'm saying is, the United States is taking a very tough position on this question. We have made our position known to the U.N., which is effectively negotiating on behalf of all the international community. We fully expect that the dangerous weapons that have posed the basic threat to the citizens of Sarajevo for such a long time will be withdrawn by the end of the terms of this agreement which, of course, in its greatest extent, is six days -- 144 hours. Q Haven't the dangerous weapons been light, highly mobile mortars? MR. BURNS: Yes. Many of the weapons that are, of course, dangerous are not just the heaviest of weapons, but there are different types of weapons; some of which are mobile, yes. Q So those are not covered under the unilateral Serb statement; right? MR. BURNS: The unilateral Serb statement, as I have seen it, is quite specific. I think what is going on now is that there are discussions underway to clarify that and to assert the opinion of the international community on which should be withdrawn. Q You really don't have an agreement at this point and there's still a fundamental disagreement about how sweeping -- how comprehensive the Serb withdrawal will be? MR. BURNS: We have an agreement that all of the heavy weapons that are in the possession of the Bosnian Serbs will be withdrawn within six days -- totally withdrawn -- and a substantial number of them must be withdrawn by the end of the first 72-hour period; therefore, by Sunday evening. The United Nations is now clarifying the question that you asked with the Bosnian Serbs: What types of weapons are we talking about? The Serb-Bosnian Serb statement is quite specific in one of its pages about what weapons it was talking about and now the United Nations is putting forth its own view of that question. Q Does that include your statement about the use of any weapons? Not the ones to be removed -- the heavy weapons -- but, say, a sniper, a rifle? If sniper shots are fired, does that mean bombing resumes? MR. BURNS: The Serbs' own statement is very clear that any offensive actions -- any offensive actions -- will be a breach of the agreement. Therefore, NATO has agreed to a 72-hour pause in the bombing contingent upon complete compliance, in the military sphere, of no military actions. Q (Inaudible) MR. BURNS: It does say "offensive." The Serbs have been engaged in a lot of offensive military actions throughout the last couple of years in and around Sarajevo. All of that must stop. Of course, that is one of the compliance questions that will be looked at most carefully. Q Is there no shooting today? MR. BURNS: I have not seen any reports of shooting or shelling or any kind of fighting within the 20-kilometer exclusion zone, but I am not on the ground. I think the U.N. would be the best authority to go to on that question. Q Does it appear to be holding -- this agreement? MR. BURNS: The agreement is going to be assessed most seriously on Sunday when the U.N. and NATO look at compliance. That gets into many of the provisions. Have the roads been opened fully? Has humanitarian traffic and non-military traffic been impeded on the roads? Has the airport been fully opened? Have planes been able to land? Have all offensive military activities, in fact, stopped? Have a substantial number of the heavy weapons been withdrawn? These are some of the factors that the U.N. and NATO will be looking at. Bill. Q Nick, when Dick Holbrooke goes back to Belgrade, does he know at this time -- will he be discussing with the Bosnian Serb leadership or their representatives there the compliance? Will he be, let's say, doing some monitoring himself, at least, from the information that he receives? Is that his intention tomorrow? MR. BURNS: Ambassador Holbrooke has several objectives here. He carried on yesterday diplomacy to try to create an agreement on Sarajevo which has now been put together. Simultaneously, he has been also involved in discussions on the longer-term issues that will lie at the heart of any peace conference -- constitutional issues, Map questions, cross-recognition. Because he's simultaneously carrying on both of these functions, he asked Chris Hill and Robert Owen to travel to Sarajevo on the longer- term questions. I think in Belgrade tomorrow, he'll be dealing with both. He'll be dealing with the issue of Serb compliance in Sarajevo, as well as the longer-term issues that will lie at the heart of a peace conference. Q Do you think he'll meet the Bosnian Serb people? MR. BURNS: I have no idea whether he will or not. When he went to Belgrade the other day, he fully intended only to have a meeting with President Milosevic. He had no advance word or understanding that there would be Bosnian Serbs in the meeting much less the two Bosnian Serbs who showed up in the meeting. So we'll just have to wait and see on that question. Q The cease-fire applies only to the Sarajevo area; is that right? MR. BURNS: The cease-fire by the parties applies, as I understand it in the agreement, to the Sarajevo area; yes. Q To all parties, including NATO and U.N.? MR. BURNS: It's the parties on the ground. I think Admiral Smith was very clear in saying this morning -- and he and the Pentagon and the experts on this -- that NATO air activity continues. Not the airstrikes, but reconnaissance and so forth. He gave a press conference this morning. He was very open and clear about that. Q Can you make the Serb and Bosnian Serb statement available to us? MR. BURNS: I don't believe it has been made public. I think it is still a document that lies in the realm of the negotiators, so I'm not able to do that. Q You're talking awfully freely about it. These questions -- MR. BURNS: Thank you. I hope you appreciate the fact that I've tried to be as open as possible today. Q The specific questions of caliber, for instance, it would be quite helpful if we could see what was actually agreed by Mr. Holbrooke? MR. BURNS: I think my tenure here would be short lived if I did that. I'm not permitted to -- Steve. Q Nick, when Holbrooke met with Izetbegovic yesterday in Mostar, did he pass onto him any suggestion that there would be sanctions against the Bosnian Government should it take this period of time in which the Bosnian Serbs were to do a number of things including withdraw their weapons -- and if he did suggest there would be sanctions, can you tell us what those sanctions might be, if the Bosnian Government should go on the offensive? MR. BURNS: Steve, I'm not aware that there was any discussion of sanctions with President Izetbegovic. We have quite a different attitude towards the Bosnian Government than we do towards the Bosnian Serbs. We believe the Bosnian Government and the Bosnian people are the aggrieved party in this conflict. They're the ones who have had the punishment of the heavy guns and the brutality of the Bosnian Serbs inflicted upon them. We have a very close relationship with the Bosnian Government. We are certainly not inclined to threaten them in any way. The Bosnian Serbs are a different matter. Because of their abominable behavior over the last couple of years, they deserve to be threatened from time to time. They deserve to receive the full force of NATO airpower as they have. They now have 72 hours to convince the West -- by their actions, by their verifiable actions -- they're interested in peace. We very hope that they are. We think this is a good agreement. We think it can be a turning point in this process and a breakthrough in the process towards peace. But we need to see verifiable and complete actions first. That's very important this weekend. Q Has the government of President Izetbegovic agreed to the terms set out in the unilateral Bosnian Serb statement? MR. BURNS: As I understand it, David, the Bosnian Government is supportive of this agreement and supportive of the main outlines of this agreement. I believe the Bosnian Government has had some questions -- they've been public about this -- some of the same questions you've had about the detail on the heavy weapons issue. They've also had a question about humanitarian supplies; which supplies can be brought into Sarajevo through the airport and through the three roads. The United States believes that the supplies should not be limited strictly to medical or food -- you know, technically humanitarian supplies -- but they should be, in effect, non-military in nature. The citizens of Sarajevo have lived under a siege, as you know very well, and they require all sorts of things to live -- not just food and medicine. We very much hope now those goods will be brought freely into Sarajevo for them. Q So if they weren't, it would be a violation of the agreement? MR. BURNS: Excuse me? Q You consider that if any shipments of non-military goods were stopped, it would be a violation of the agreement? MR. BURNS: It absolutely would be. That is being monitored by the United Nations on the ground -- by the UNPROFOR forces on the ground; closely monitored. I understand the test flight into the airport and the test convoy, both were closely monitored. The test convoy had to pass through Bosnian Serb checkpoints. It did so freely. The complete test will be if all the convoys pass through freely, and the second convoy is due in a couple of hours. Yes, Judd. Q There have been suggestions that despite their public rhetoric the Russians were leaning on General Mladic to agree to move the heavy weapons. Do you have any evidence of that? MR. BURNS: I do not. You'll have to direct that to the Russian Government. I just don't have any evidence of that. But I think the Russian Government has shown in its discussions with Deputy Secretary Talbott and with Ambassador Holbrooke this morning, that it does firmly want to support the peace process and be a full partner with the United States, and we're very glad about that. Q If I understood Secretary Perry correctly, in his On-the- Record comments yesterday, he was saying that at some point the UNPROFOR forces -- if there is a peace agreement -- will be replaced by, he would think, NATO troops. Am I right about that? And also, he seemed to be saying that Russia would be asked to contribute troops to such a force as well. Is that the Administration's intention? MR. BURNS: I did not see Secretary Perry's remarks -- at least, his complete remarks -- so I really can't speak to everything he said and didn't say. I'd be glad to try to give you a general sense of our views on that issue which I'm sure are quite consistent with whatever Secretary Perry said yesterday. And that is, we are not at the point now, yet, where we can consider a United States military contribution to a peace implementation force because there isn't any peace. There has to be a peace conference; there has to be a peace agreement. If the parties arrive at that station, then the United States is on the record and will fully commit to participate in an international peacekeeping force. The structure of that force has not yet been established. We don't know which organization will head such a force. I think it's fair to say that the NATO countries would be candidates. As for Russian participation, I think that remains to be decided. What I did see of Secretary Perry's comments is that he was specific in saying that it's very difficult to judge what number of troops might be used because we don't know what the shape of the peace is yet and what the military requirements of implementation would be. Q He also said, "Of course, they would be invited." It would be -- MR. BURNS: "Of course" who would be invited? Q The Russians. MR. BURNS: I did not see his remarks. We can't be scientific about this yet because we simply have not gotten to the point. But as I've said a couple of times this week, when we get to the point where we have to decide on a military commitment to implement a peace agreement, that will be a very great day. It will mean that there is a real prospect for peace in Bosnia. Bill. Q Nick, one other point about the Bosnian Serbs and what they've agreed to. Are they pledging or being asked to stand down militarily throughout Bosnia? Or just in the Sarajevo valley? MR. BURNS: As I understand it, the agreement calls for a cessation of all offensive military actions within and around the 20-kilometer Sarajevo zone. That is not throughout all of Bosnia-Herzegovina. But I think there is an intention stated in the agreement that when the military commanders meet together, they will talk about the possibility of a wider cease-fire. That's certainly our desire, to see a complete cease-fire throughout all of Bosnia-Herzegovina. But that is not called for in this specific agreement. Q In that regard, has there been progress towards a cessation of hostilities elsewhere in Bosnia on the part of all three of the major warring parties? Have you seen any progress, or what's the status? MR. BURNS: We see no evidence of that. In fact, I think the fighting in western Bosnia has continued today; the fighting that we have discussed for a couple of days of the Croat Bosnian Government and Bosnian Serb forces. Q Is Dick working on that specific problem, at least -- MR. BURNS: He has raised that issue with the Bosnian Government as we have raised it with the Croatian Government, consistently and including today. Q New subject? MR. BURNS: New subject? Yes, Sid. Q There's a mountain of evidence that the Colombian President - - mounting -- that the Colombian President did, indeed, accept several million dollars of contributions during his campaign from the Cali cartel. Has that evidence swayed the Administration at all in the way it feels towards dealing with the Colombian President? MR. BURNS: We've seen the same reports that you have, Sid. We have a fully functioning Embassy and a distinguished Ambassador in Bogota. We're following the situation. I don't have any particular comment for you. I think this is really a question for the Colombian people, the Colombian political system, to decide how this will all play out. Then, I think at some point we'll probably have a comment, but I don't now. Christen. Q The Prime Minister of Singapore is visiting the U.S. on an unofficial, private visit, going to Williams College where he will receive a Doctor of Letters tomorrow. MR. BURNS: We allow those, right? We allow the Singaporeans to visit? Q Yes, supposedly. MR. BURNS: They an make official and unofficial visits, can't they? Q Does the U.S. Government think it's appropriate that the Administration of a man who has American minors caned receive a degree from a very prestigious American institution of higher learning? NB: I just took up this job in February. That was after the controversy surrounding -- Q Margaret Tutwiler -- MR. BURNS: Did she also use that lame excuse? I never had to deal with this issue. I was very glad I didn't. The question is, again Kristin, do we believe it's appropriate for him to be here and to be honored here? That's a very good question. We have a relationship with Singapore that is very important. I don't want to stand up here and judge a private -- in this case -- a private college on the choices that it makes; at least not without having reflected upon the question for a little bit longer than 20 seconds or so. Steve. Q There is a report that two of the balloonists who were not shot out of the air by the Belarus Air Force and who were forced down, when subsequently released to go to Poland were charged I believe it was $30 apiece a fine for not having visas. I was wondering if the State Department had thought about its reaction to that? MR. BURNS: We saw the AP report out of Warsaw this morning on that. This is a farce. It's also a tragedy because two Americans died. It is now becoming a farce. We expected an apology from the Belarussian Government. Instead, we got a bill. The Belarussian Government should reflect very, very seriously upon its behavior after the incident. The standard operation procedures that seem to be in effect throughout Belarus these days, have they been updated from the Cold War? Two Americans die. Four Americans are forced to the ground; and when two of those four try to leave the country, they are fined $30 because they don't have visas. Well, they don't have visas because they were overflying the country and didn't intend to land until they were forced down. This is not the way to treat anybody, much less American citizens who deserve civilized treatment from a civilized country. We would call upon the Belarussian Government to get its act together and to make sure that all the entities of the Belarussian Government -- Customs, police, immigration, those investigating the accident -- begin to understand that the way they are handling this incident and the way they are treating American citizens is really a mockery. Q Can I follow on that? MR. BURNS: Certainly. Q Have you had any contact with those surviving Americans? Are you trying to establish contact at this point? MR. BURNS: We have had contact. We sent a consular officer out to the region where this terrible tragedy took place. He has been in touch with the four. Two of them tried to leave to Warsaw and were held up for money at the border. So, yes, we have had contact. The consular officer is principally concerned with the disposition of the remains of the two men who died. Those remains will be transported back to the United States for burial. Q Did those two make it to Warsaw? MR. BURNS: Yes. I believe they went through the border after having been forced to pay $30 each for not having had visas. How could they have had visas? Q Has Belarus been receiving until yesterday foreign aid from the United States? MR. BURNS: Belarus has been receiving some financial assistance from the United States for destruction of nuclear weapons on its soil. Belarus, back in July 1993, was the first country in the former Soviet Union to give up voluntarily its nuclear weapons. We have had before this incident a fairly good relationship with the Government of Belarus. The then President, Shushkevich, came to see President Clinton in July 1993, and President Clinton visited Minsk in January 1994. We hope to have good relations in the future. There is a lot that binds us to Belarus. It's a country that suffered enormously in the past, that is trying now to distance itself from its heritage in some ways. It's a country that needs to complete the process of denuclearization and the environmental after-effects. But if it wants a good relationship with the United States and the American people, it has got to pay attention to the details of how its government employees are treating American citizens in the aftermath of a great tragedy. Q Do you have any idea when they'll be coming home -- the four Americans? MR. BURNS: I don't. Two of the Americans have gone to Warsaw. I don't have an indication of their travel plans. I don't know about the travel plans of the other two. It's something we can look into if you are interested. Q You said at one point that the Belarus Ambassador had been called in to the Department on this matter. Have any other steps been taken besides comments from this podium? MR. BURNS: The Belarussian Ambassador has had several conversations with American officials. I had a conversation with him last night, a very lengthy conversation. Our Charge d'Affaires in Minsk has been in to see the Belarussian Government every day since September 13 about this. One of the biggest problems was that we found out about this killing 24 hours after it happened. As you know, we were not apprised of this. We have lodged a series of very strong diplomatic protests with them. Q Nick, there are also reports that the surviving Americans had been detained for up to 24 hours or longer. What do you have to say about that? MR. BURNS: The surviving Americans were detained when their balloons were forced down. We understand that they were not ill- treated. They were treated rather comfortably, nicely, appropriately by the individuals who detained them. They should not have been detained. We should have been apprised of their detainment from the first hour of their detainment and were not. There is a lot that has to be looked at. The principal focus of our activities now with Belarus will be to join in this investigation. Belarus has invited the United States to join in the investigation. The Department of State is consulting with the National Transportation Safety Board to determine what measures we will now insist are taken by the Government of Belarus to prevent any incidents like this involving balloons or civilian aircraft -- to prevent these incidents from taking place in the future. Q For the time being, is it safe for civilian airliners to fly over Belarus? MR. BURNS: I'm not aware that we have issued any kind of travel warning about that, so I have to assume that the Air Traffic Control standards are consistent with the international standards that all countries have to live up to. It's certainly something that we are looking at. We are taking this very, very seriously -- this whole incident; this whole series of incidents. Today's incident, when you look at it, it's farcical. Your inclination is to laugh a little until you think about why this is occurring and how it could occur. Q Do you think that today's incident -- in fact, all of this -- but today's incident is deliberate Belarus policy or some overzealous border guard who may be trained in the old ways and hasn't been -- MR. BURNS: I don't believe that the government in Minsk has been aware of the series of steps that have so infuriated the American people as well as the American Government. There are a number of very fine individuals in Belarus, including their very fine Ambassador here in Washington, Sergey Martynov, who feel very, very badly. I understand that at our embassy in Minsk the switchboard has been flooded with calls from individual Belarussians, calls of people who are remorseful, who are apologetic, who feel very badly that this incident occurred. The Belarussian people have suffered enormously themselves in the past. It's a country that lost 25 percent of its population during the Second World War. They're no strangers to tragedy. We do appreciate all of the Belarussian citizens who have come forward to express their condolences to the United States and the American people. I don't believe the government in Minsk wanted any of this to happen. The government in Minsk has formed a commission to investigate it. All of that is very good. I'm just saying today that the government does have a responsibility to send the word out by fax or phone call or letter or whatever to all of its officials that when they deal with Americans concerning this, they deal with them in a civilized and appropriate way. Q Having said that, though, you have not gotten the apology from Minsk that you want, have you? MR. BURNS: We have received a formal apology. We have received a formal apology from the Belarussian Government, and it has been accepted. We want to see a very serious investigation. We would like to see those responsible for this brought to justice. Q Former President Carter has invited a couple of senior officials from the Cuban Government as part of an apparent effort to see if some sort of reconciliation is possible among Cubans. Do you know about this, and if so, will the visas be issued? MR. BURNS: I heard just a couple of hours ago, George, about the possibility of such a conference. Since we have very few details -- at least, I have very few details about this conference -- we don't know who will be invited from Cuba or the Cuban Government -- it's not possible to answer the question of visas. But, George, obviously if former President Carter will undertake this, we'll give it very serious attention. We'll give the visa question very serious attention. Q Nick, the same region. The much-delayed second round of elections in Haiti should be taking place this weekend. It's nearly three months since the first round. Do you still have confidence in this electoral process? The Department of State and other members of the U.S. Government gave it glowing reports, that it had taken place at all after the first round; but it's now been such a long time. MR. BURNS: We've given this question very, very close attention. As you know, Secretary Christopher, Deputy Secretary Talbott, Assistant Secretary Gelbard, Ambassador Dobbins, have all made trips to Haiti; some of them several trips. They've all been very closely involved with the process of trying to give American assistance to the electoral process. Prime Minister Smarck Michel was here last week to see the Secretary and see Deputy Secretary Talbott. I can say that in the aftermath of the June 25 elections our Administration has worked to persuade the Government of Haiti and the Provisional Electoral Council and the leaders of all the political parties to work together to address the many problems that arose in the June 25 elections in order to encourage better elections in the future and the participation of the opposition parties. We believe that some progress has been made, but there are areas of disagreement that remain among the parties, mostly centering on the timing and scope of possible changes in the Electoral Commission which, as you know, is responsible for running the elections. In general, we think that the elections that did take place this summer -- and there were several rounds of them -- enabled the Haitian people to vote peacefully without intimidation, which was a critical test of Haiti's young democracy. It's also a test that the previous governments -- dictatorial governments -- never passed. We do look forward to an orderly and constitutional hand-over of the Presidency next February following the elections later this year. We believe that further progress must be made on both building democracy and building a successful economy, certainly, before you can say that Haiti's democratic trend is irreversible. The United States is committed to this process. We've put a lot of attention and resources into it, and we'll stand by the Haitian people as they work through these very serious problems. Q Nick, has the United States agreed to Russia's long-standing demand to be able to station troops and equipment in different zones, against the treaty on conventional weapons? MR. BURNS: You're referring to the CFE treaty? Q Yes. MR. BURNS: The CFE treaty is of great importance to the United States and Russia and over 30 other countries that are party to it. We have had a series of talks with the Russians just this past summer, and we will continue that this fall, about CFE treaty compliance, which is a major issue and which will begin to be judged in November of this year. We and the Russians have both put forward ideas that would enable Russia to be found to be in compliance and to satisfy some of the very legitimate concerns that Russia has. But I don't have anymore detail, at least from the reservoir of my memory on that, Ron, for you today. Q What I'm asking is, have you guys agreed on the provisions to make them in compliance? In other words, allow them to keep troops, let's say, in Tajikistan and other places? MR. BURNS: There have been some recent discussions. What I'd like to do, Ron, on that so I can best answer your question, is to talk to the people who have had those discussions and get you a good answer. Q Which issues, other than Bosnia, did Strobe Talbott raise with the Russians? Specifically, did he talk about the Caspian oil pipeline project to be decided very shortly? MR. BURNS: There was a full discussion of Bosnia. In addition to that, Strobe Talbott discussed with Minister Kozyrev the meeting that will take place the last week of December in New York between Secretary Christopher and Minister Kozyrev, and the summit meeting that will take place in the United States in mid-October between our two Presidents. He had a full notebook when he left. There were many, many issues on the agenda. He had other conversations in the Russian Foreign Ministry and outside the Russian Foreign Ministry. I don't know at this point -- he's flying back now -- what other specific issues were raised, but I can look into this for you. Q When will he be back exactly? Today or tomorrow? MR. BURNS: He's back this evening, but we're not going to give out his departure time or which airport he's landing at because we did that the other day, and he deserves to come home and have some peace and quiet this weekend. Q Some of the Turkish officials, including Prime Minister Ciller, stated the last couple of days they are working on the new solution for the Cyprus dispute. Do you work with them, and what would be the chance of the new solution? MR. BURNS: We have continuous contact with Prime Minister Ciller on the Cyprus issue, and we have a couple of individuals who devote full time to the Cyprus issue here in the United States -- Ambassador Beatty and Ambassador Williams -- as well as our very fine Ambassador, well known to all of you, Richard Boucher in Cyprus. So we have a lot of people working on this, some of our top diplomats. We're engaged with the Turks, the Greeks, the parties on Cyprus; and we'll continue that. I have no specific information of any new initiatives on our part. Q Nick, Prime Minister Ciller wishes to activate some so-called mediation committee between Turkey and Greece to solve some problems. Are you aware of that subject? MR. BURNS: I'm sure there are people in this building that are aware of it. I'm not particularly aware of it, but I can look into that question for you. Thank you. Yes, Betsy. Q Have you any information about an American woman who is being held in Malaysia on drug charges, drug smuggling? MR. BURNS: I did have some information, and I can get you some more detailed information after the briefing. An American citizen was arrested in Kuala Lumpur at the airport on suspicion of drug-trafficking. She is now the subject of the Malaysian judicial system. The United States, as is our obligation through our Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, is following her case closely. We have an obligation to provide her with access to legal counsel, an obligation to make sure that she understands her rights under Malaysian law. The Malaysian penalty for drug-trafficking is very severe, and we're following the case. I think I have a little bit more specific information -- her name and so forth, dates, that we can give to you after the briefing. Q Has a consular official visited her? MR. BURNS: Let me look into that after the briefing. I assume so, but I just don't want to say so for sure until we depart the room. Q Nick, the leader of Taiwan's opposition party is in town for a visit for national defense purposes; and at this time he's meeting officials from the Pentagon, from the National Defense Council, and from State in an unofficial restaurant. (Laughter) Could you tell us what they are talking about? (Laughter) MR. BURNS: If this were the Soviet Union, I would understand the term "unofficial" and "official" restaurants because there used to be "official" restaurants -- as Steve Hurst and David Ensor know -- and "unofficial" restaurants. (Laughter) Do we have such restaurants in Washington? (Laughter) Do I have to answer that question? I'm not aware, personally, of this individual's visit. There may or may not be people in this building who are aware of it. I'm sure there probably are some. If you're very interested, we can have our Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs look into that particular person's visit. Q Is he -- MR. BURNS: Of course, all of our contacts with anyone from Taiwan are unofficial contacts. Q He is the leader of the Democratic Progressive Party Mr. Shih Ming-Teh You're not aware of that? MR. BURNS: No. Q O.K. Let me try another question then. Two -- both members of AIT -- have resigned in protest against alleged lowering of U.S. representation in the organization because of the planned change of guard for the chairmanship. Do you have anything on that, any comment on that? MR. BURNS: I have just seen reports that two AIT board members, David Dean and Bruce Clark, have submitted letters of resignation to Secretary Christopher. We appreciate their years of distinguished service on behalf of the American Institute in Taiwan, and I would direct you to Mr. Dean and Mr. Clark to explain why they submitted their letters of resignation. I don't think it's proper for me to do so; it's their personal matter. Q Well, do you have any idea of who will be replacing Mr. Bellocchi at AIT? MR. BURNS: I do not, no. I have no more information on this issue. Q Nick, yesterday the Appropriations Committee in the Senate voted out a $l2.3 billion foreign aid bill. There are quite a few earmarks and policy linkages to some of the aid, such as Russia would not get any aid unless it could prove it was not sending any nuclear technology to Iran; and there's a whole host of other earmarks or specific linkages. Is there any reaction from the State Department to this bill as it passed out of Committee? Are you opposed to these linkages, and will the President sign this bill or not? MR. BURNS: We are making our views quite clear to the members of Congress who have responsibility for this bill. We believe that the United States, as the global power -- a country that has vital national interests in all regions of the world, a country that's an Atlantic as well as a Pacific power -- requires a substantial set of financial resources to conduct our foreign policy, to protect the interests of the American people. You can't have a strong foreign policy on the cheap. You can't say that you want America to be strong and then vitiate our foreign affairs budget, as has been done. We are going to continue to argue that our national interests dictate that we have a strong foreign affairs presence around the world concerning the State Department budget and a strong and active ability to undertake economic, military, financial assistance, humanitarian assistance, to people around the around the world when it is consistent with American interests. That's the basic argument that Secretary Christopher has been making to the Congressional leadership and that we'll continue to make. As for linkages and conditions on aid, we've made clear time and again that to judge our relationship with Russia on the basis of one issue when we have about a hundred issues that are important in that relationship, is foolhardy, it is not the way to run a foreign policy, and it is the way to make a foreign policy fail. This Administration intends to make its foreign policy succeed with Russia. We need the tools to do that, and we call upon the Congress to give us the tools to do that. Q Nick, on a follow-on -- MR. BURNS: Charlie, yes. Q The Secretary met with Chairman Hatfield the other day, and the Chairman told him he would work with him to get more money for State if the Administration would offer to take cuts in other parts of the bill. The Administration has not done so? MR. BURNS: It is certainly true that the Secretary met with Senator Hatfield. He's met with a number of Congressmen and Congresswomen this week. I'm not going to go into the specifics of their discussion; it's a private discussion. It's part of the legislative process that's necessary before you get to conference. Q Thank you. (The press briefing concluded at 2:0l p.m.) (###)
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