U.S. Department of State 95/09/26 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, September 26, 1995 Briefer: John Dinger MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Signing of Israeli-Palestinian Agreement ................. 1 Secretary Christopher to Host Ministerial of Ad Hoc Liaison Committee ............................... 1-2 Trilateral Ministerial Mtg. Planned ...................... 1 Israel-Syria Track ....................................... 3-5 DEPARTMENT--Announcements Gulf Cooperation Council FM Mtg. ......................... 1 Bilateral Meetings ....................................... 1 LIBYA Reports of Libya Expelling Palestinians .................. 2-3 Report of Libya Accepting Scottish Trial of Two Suspects . 3 GREECE Report of U.S. Gov't. Support for Return of Kings in Europe 5 RUSSIA Report of Arrest of American Minister .................... 5-6 Report of Loss of Electricity at Nuclear Submarine Bases . 6 COLOMBIA Allegations of President Samper/Drug Trafficker Link ..... 6 Report of Minister Valdiviesco Visit to Washington ....... 7
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 1995, 12:51 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. DINGER: I almost said good morning. I'll say good afternoon. We're out here on time, I think. Welcome to the briefing. Any questions?
Q Do you now know who, among foreign dignitaries, will be coming to the Thursday signing?
MR. DINGER: I don't have anything further for you on that. It is truly a work in progress; and, of course, it is primarily a work in progress in the White House. So I will steer you in that direction for whatever news is available, when it's available.
I asked what I could find out about what may be happening over here. I also don't have too much more to add to what I had for you yesterday.
I can just say, to reconfirm, that the Secretary will host a ministerial meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on the afternoon of Thursday, September 28. That committee brings together leading members of the international community which provide economic assistance to the Palestinians in support of agreements between the Israelis and Palestinians.
We also anticipate that the Secretary will host a trilateral ministerial meeting involving the Israelis and Palestinians on Friday, September 29.
In addition, the Secretary will hold a previously scheduled meeting with Gulf Cooperation Council Foreign Ministers in Washington instead of New York where apparently it was originally scheduled. We anticipate that the Secretary will hold a series of bilateral meetings with heads of state and government and foreign ministers whom we expect to gather here for the signing ceremony.
I do not have any details. We will do our best to provide information on the exact timing of these events and opportunities for press coverage as soon as possible. But we're still trying to sort it all out and see who is coming and put together a schedule.
Q Who is in this ad hoc economic contributors group?
MR. DINGER: I think by its name "ad hoc," it is not a definitive list. There have been major contributors. I was unable to make any progress in finding out who might come to this ad hoc committee meeting. I think, certainly, the EU, Japan, the United States, have all been major contributors. I don't have anything for you today on who else might be coming.
We'll do our best daily to try and keep up and provide you with whatever we have on it.
Q John, while we're talking about meetings, can you shed any light on the sort of rumors that we're getting about a meeting before the signing? Do you know anything about that?
MR. DINGER: It's the first I've heard of it. Between -- just for my information -- meetings where and --
Q A meeting between the parties. I don't know where. All I know is it's in Washington. What we're hearing is there might be a last-minute hitch, and that's why I'm asking.
MR. DINGER: No, I don't have any information on a meeting beforehand or of any last-minute hitches. To the best of my knowledge, everything is going very smoothly.
Q Libya seems to be marking these events by expelling, or taking steps to expel its Palestinian population. There are reports that up to 30,000 people are being kicked out of their houses and being prepared to be pushed across the border.
Do you have any information on that and reaction to the goings-on?
MR. DINGER: I haven't seen those reports. I saw reports -- was it a couple of weeks ago? -- about Libya expelling Palestinians. I haven't seen anything since then.
I can try to look into it. Were these wire service reports?
MR. DINGER: Okay, I haven't seen them. Let's try to look into them. Certainly, there have been some people who have opposed some elements, some countries that have opposed the agreement. We would say that those are very few, and we've been gratified and I think the parties should be gratified of the overwhelming support for the agreement.
Q John, one of those parties that's rejecting the agreement is your peace partner in Damascus. Have you all forgotten about Syria now? Is that track no longer active?
MR. DINGER: No, not at all. I think that we have recognized -- there is certainly a desire to make sure that that track also moves forward. It clearly has not been moving forward quickly at the present time. We have in no way forgotten about it. We still are very hopeful. They're dealing with tough issues.
We've seen in this current agreement how tough those issues can be and how much can be involved in trying to sort them out. We're still very eager to see progress on that and hope it will be forthcoming.
Q Did you say it hasn't been moving forward quickly enough, or it hasn't been --
MR. DINGER: As quickly as we would wish.
Q Back on Libya. There is a report that the Libyan Government is now going to accept putting the two people on trial before a Scottish tribunal but at the United Nations. Have you seen anything like that?
MR. DINGER: No. I haven't seen the report.
Q Can you look into that?
MR. DINGER: We can look into it. So this is that Libya has now said that they will put on trial --
Q -- will produce the two suspects to be tried by a Scottish tribunal.
MR. DINGER: I don't want to in any way react to it without seeing the reports. We'll see what we can find.
Q Would the Administration have liked to have seen Syrian support of this accord? How do you read their rejection of this, and apparently the rejection of their commitment to resume a second round of military talks?
MR. DINGER: I don't think I'm going to give any reaction on what they've said about the latest agreement. I'm not on solid ground on what they've said and what they haven't said.
The other was on --
Q The second round of military talks.
MR. DINGER: The only reaction I would give you to that is that we would like to see it move forward, should I say, appropriately. We certainly encourage them to do that. I would not accept, I don't think, your characterization of them "rejecting" that. They're dealing with tough issues. We recognize that.
We're hopeful they can resolve them. I don't think we would categorize it as a rejection at this point.
Q Of the accord?
MR. DINGER: Right.
Q What about their rejection of their promise?
MR. DINGER: I don't think we characterize it as a rejection. Of the military --
MR. DINGER: Yes.
Q How would you characterize it?
MR. DINGER: As I said, we would characterize it as there are very difficult issues. They are seriously approaching them. They have not come to conclusions, but we don't feel that they have rejected them.
Q But a promise is a promise, especially when you make it to the Secretary of State and he turns around and announces it to the world.
Q We don't feel that they have broken any sort of promise. They've had difficulty coming to conclusion on it. We recognize that, and we hope they will be able to make progress.
Q I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but how can you not say they haven't broken a promise? The Secretary of State himself came out in Damascus and said they've agreed to this timetable, and they're not doing it?
MR. DINGER: We still anticipate that they are dealing with this issue in good faith. It's a difficult issue. We would certainly like to see it reinvigorated.
Q It was reported extensively in a Greek daily newspaper in Athens that the Department of State most recently prepared a special report suggesting former kings should return to power in some European countries. The mentioned report, inter alia, makes also the same suggestion for the return to Greece of the so-called former king, Mr. Constantine Glyxburg, and particularly his son, Mr. Paul Glyxburg.
I focus my question, Mr. Spokesman, on Mr. Constantine Glyxburg who is unemployed and gets financial support from the German Council Institute of Hanover, Germany. I'm wondering, are you aware of such a report, and could you please comment on that?
MR. DINGER: My understanding is that this is a report in a Greek newspaper saying that the U.S. Government supports the return of kings to Europe, and specifically King Constantine. I have not seen that report. But from the contents that you relay, I would dismiss it out of hand; no truth to it whatsoever.
MR. DINGER: Nothing. Preposterous. Dismiss it out of hand.
Q What is the State Department doing, if anything, to secure the release of a minister by the name of John Charles Songe from Louisiana, who was arrested in Russia on currency violations? He may be tried on 74 counts of currency violations. If he is sentenced, he could be sentenced to life in prison. Are you familiar with the case?
MR. DINGER: I'm not familiar with the case at all. In general, as you probably know, U.S. Embassy officials and consular officials have certain obligations involved with the arrest and trial of Americans overseas.
In this particular case, I'm sure if he has been arrested, our consular officials have been fulfilling their duties; informing him of lawyers who might be available for his use. Although we do not actually arrange legal representation, we assist. We also make sure that he's aware of the legal processes that he will face.
I can try and see if we have anything on that specific case, which I've not heard of.
Q The Helsinki Commission condemned his arrest. Does the State Department agree with that?
MR. DINGER: Without knowing the details, it would be unwise for me to in any way comment on that. We'll see if our Consular Affairs Office has anything.
Q On Russia. Has the State Department been aware of these reports last week that several sub bases -- nuclear sub bases -- were unable to pay their electricity bill, causing a potential melt-down of their reactors? Does this give you any heartburn?
MR. DINGER: I saw the reports. I haven't seen any reaction within this building. The reports I have also seen are that the Russian Government has taken steps to ensure that this doesn't happen again -- the electricity is not cut off. I don't want to speak on behalf of the Russian Government. I've seen both sides. I don't have any specific reaction to it, no.
Q There are reports out of Colombia that the State Department has some information linking President Samper to the drug traffickers, and this information was given by the recently defected Pallomari. Is there anything that the State Department has that it is going to be talking about with Colombia in the next few days?
MR. DINGER: Nothing on that particular issue that I know of. As you may be aware, we have had very, very few details to release about Mr. Pallomari's, I guess I'll say, detention in the United States. I'm not even quite sure how to categorize his status.
Generally, in terms of the allegations in Colombia of narco-money going into Colombia's 1994 presidential campaign, we have limited ourselves to saying that we're watching the situation in Colombia closely, but we have not been wanting to comment on any specific aspect of the ongoing investigation. I have a feeling that's where we'll stay on anything like what you're mentioning.
Q So your opinion has not changed after talking to Mr. Pallomari for 10 days as far as President Samper's guilt or innocence?
MR. DINGER: The Government of Colombia is investigating the allegations against the infiltration of narco-money into Colombia's 1994 presidential campaign. We support the Government of Colombia's efforts, but are not commenting on specific aspects.
Q Will there be meetings with Minister Valdivieso who is expected in town on Thursday? And will that issue be brought up?
MR. DINGER: I don't know if he is coming to the State Department. This is the Justice Minister?
MR. DINGER: I can check and see if we expect to see him here. At this point, I was not aware that he has meetings in the State Department. We can certainly look into it and see if he's coming here.
Q Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:04 p.m.)
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