U.S. Department of State 95/10/05 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Thursday, October 5, 1995 Briefer: Nicholas Burns FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Ceasefire Agreement/Convening of Proximity Talks in U.S. . 1-7,9-12, 14-17 --Enforcement/Violations of Ceasefire .................... 4,10-11 --Road Access between Sarajevo and Gorazde ............... 15 --Gas and Electricity Services to Sarajevo ............... 15-16 Peace Conference in France ............................... 3 Contingency Plans for NATO Implementation Force/ Russian Cooperation .................................... 12-14, 17-18 Withdrawal of 9,000 UN Troops ............................ 4 Fighting in Bihac, Western/Central Bosnia, Sarajevo ...... 8-9 Allegations of Human Rights Abuses ....................... 8 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Secretary Christopher Mtg. w/ Syrian FM Farouk al Shara... 18-19,21 CHINA U.S.-China Summit in New York ............................ 20 U.S. One-China Policy .................................... 20-21 Report of Military Exercises in Taiwan ................... 21 MEXICO Visit of President Zedillo to U.S. ....................... 21 U.S.-Mexico Relations .................................... 22-23 COLOMBIA U.S.-Colombia Relations .................................. 23-25 JAPAN Review of Implementation of Status of Forces Agreement ... 24-25
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 95/10/04 DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
I N D E X
Wednesday, October 4, 1995
Briefer: Nicholas Burns
CUBA Castro Visa Application to Attend UN......................1-2
FORMER YUGOSLAVIA NATO Airstrikes...........................................2-3 Bosnian Serb Flights over No-Fly Zone.....................3 Assistant Secretary Holbrooke's Schedule/Activities.......3-4, 6 Ceasefire Issue...........................................4-8 -- Signing Ceremony.......................................10 Bosnian Gov't Fighting within Sarajevo Exclusion Zone.....4-5, 8-9 Eastern Slavonia..........................................6-8 Possibility of Peace Conference...........................8 Contact Group Meeting.....................................9-10 NATO Peacekeeping.........................................12 U.S. Commitment to Peacekeeping...........................12-15 U.S./Bosnian Government Military Training.................13-14 Arms Embargo..............................................14
MACEDONIA Assassination Attempt on President Gligorov...............10-11
COMOROS French Government Restoration of Island's Government......11
INDIA Kashmir - Donald Hutchings and Other Hostages.............12
JAPAN U.S. Military Presence/Troops on Okinawa..................15-16
DEPARTMENT Senate Confirmation of Ambs/Foreign Relations Committee...16 UN Arrears................................................17 Aid to Foreign Countries..................................17
CHINA Confusion re: U.S.-Sino Relations.........................18-20 -- One China Policy/Nuclear Sales to Iran/Summit Mtg/ Secretary's Meeting with Foreign Minister Qian Qichen
LIBYA Expulsion of Palestinians.................................20
IRAQ U.S. Observers - Referendum...............................20-21
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 1995, 1:l2 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BURNS: This is for me (holding a package). This is in honor of the Red Sox? No. Kind of? (Laughter) Shall I open it now? All right, I'll open it now. I did stay up until 2:08 and saw the tragedy that unfolded in Cleveland last night, with the Boston Red Sox losing in the thirteenth inning.
This is -- oh, wow -- this is terrible. I have just been given a Cleveland Indians mug by ABC. (Laughter) By Laura Logan. Laura, thank you. You are very sweet, and the Red Sox are going to win tonight. I appreciate it very much.
Let me just officially, on behalf of the United States Government, condemn (laughter) the Cleveland Indians for their victory last evening. We are very disappointed, very disappointed, and we are looking -- well, I intend to make headlines with that. You know, the Red Sox have not won since 1918, so the Indians haven't won since '54. They can wait. (Laughter) You say l9l8 is a fluke. We are Calvinist about this, actually.
Okay, George, ready to go to any questions you have.
Q Has Fidel Castro applied for a visa?
MR. BURNS: To the best of my knowledge -- and after yesterday's briefing I checked with our authorities here who know about these things -- he has not applied for a visa to come to New York for the General Assembly. Other Cuban officials have applied for visas to attend the General Assembly and they have been granted those visas.
I understand that Castro did apply for visas in 1960 and 1979 to attend sessions of the United Nations and he was granted those visas both times. But we don't believe that beyond those two instances, he has ever applied for a visa to attend the U.N. General Assembly.
Q Have you had any indication from the government other than a formal request?
MR. BURNS: I understand that we have received, and I think have granted, visa requests for a number of Cuban government officials, including the Cuban Foreign Minister, to attend the General Assembly, but after checking this morning, I am told that we have no requests for a visa from Fidel Castro.
Q You are aware that he's on the speaker's list.
MR. BURNS: Is he on the speaker's list? Well, we'll keep watching the visa line in Havana and we'll see what happens. (Laughter.)
Q Is he required to apply for a visa?
MR. BURNS: Yes. All visitors to this country, heads of state, prime ministers, kings, queens, everyone has to have a visa when they come to the United States, yes. You can't get into the United States without a visa.
Q Different subject?
MR. BURNS: Yes.
Q Do you have anything on the NATO air strikes in Bosnia today?
MR. BURNS: I do. Actually there is a lot of activity in Bosnia today, and let me just try to take you through what I have in three respects.
First, as you know, NATO has long been flying daily air missions in support of enforcement of the U.N. mandated no-fly zone. And these missions were continued throughout the recent NATO air campaign. Of course they were begun well before that, and have continued after the recent NATO air campaign.
In two separate incidents today, NATO jets were illuminated by SA-6 fire-controlled radars, Bosnian/Serb SA-6 fire-controlled radars, and following longstanding rules of engagement, three HARM anti-radar missiles were fired by the NATO jets in response.
This was a narrow, limited, and very much proper exercise of self- defense by the NATO air crews. You understand that under the rules of engagement for Operation Deny Flight, which is the operation that implements the no-fly zone, the NATO pilots in their planes have the right to respond when challenged.
This has not required dual-key authority from the United Nations. Under the longstanding rules of engagement, they can respond, and today they did. I understand from the Pentagon that after the three HARM missiles were fired, the SA-6 radar sites were turned off. Whether they were turned off because they were hit by the HARM missiles or whether they were turned off because they wanted to avoid being hit by the HARM missiles, we do not know. We do know, according to the Pentagon, that the NATO jets returned to their bases safely and the pilots are safe, and I can confirm, according to the Pentagon, that the NATO jets were not fired upon. They were illuminated by these radars.
Q Do you know what countries these jets were from?
MR. BURNS: I would just refer you to the Pentagon for that. I have had a briefing from the Pentagon and they told me that these were F-l8 aircraft. I don't have the nationality of the pilots.
Q Do we know if this had anything to do with the Serbs pushing the envelope in the last number of about ten days having a larger number of flights over northern Bosnia?
MR. BURNS: Well, I think there has been some indication that the Serbs, the Bosnian-Serbs, have been pushing the envelope. They have been engaging in some activities which are not proper under the no-fly zone, but I don't know if this morning's incident was related to those other incidents in any way.
The fact is that these jets were illuminated, and they took the proper procedures by firing the missiles in response.
Q Are you aware of any planning for a response from the Bosnian-Serbs pushing the envelope in the no-fly zone?
MR. BURNS: Well, there shouldn't be any further response by the Bosnian-Serbs because, you know, we have certainly an understanding with the Bosnian-Serbs around Sarajevo. They offered a unilateral cease-fire around Sarajevo, which is being implemented, and we are working very closely with the Serbian Government -- and through the Serbian Government through its joint delegation with the Bosnian-Serbs -- to try to end the fighting all over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Which leads me to the second part of today's story; and that is that Ambassador Richard Holbrooke was in Sarajevo today for talks with the Bosnian Government, with President Izetbegovic and Foreign Minister Sacirbey.
He is now en route to Belgrade where he will be meeting in just a couple of hours with President Milosevic. He intends to return to Sarajevo tomorrow.
Upon leaving Sarajevo, Ambassador Holbrooke felt that he had made progress in our quest for a cease-fire. He believes the Bosnian Governments have accepted in principle a cease-fire plan. He is now en route to Belgrade to discuss this particular and specific plan with the Serbian Government.
We are encouraged by the progress that has been made today. We are encouraged because a cease-fire is a very important objective of the United States and our Contact Group partners, and we think that the achievement of a cease-fire would help us in our quest to then move on to actual peace negotiations.
I do want to emphasize, however, that there is no agreement yet among all the parties for a cease-fire. We have a tentative agreement in principle by one party, by the Bosnian Government. Of course, this is a highly complex negotiation. It includes some requests that have been made by the Bosnian Government and, of course, these will have to be discussed by Ambassador Holbrooke with the Serbian Government and with the Croatians and others.
So I don't want to indicate that somehow we have reached a cease- fire. We have not. But we certainly made more progress today than we had in other days. This was the intention of having Ambassador Holbrooke return to the region, and that was to put a cease-fire proposal squarely on the table in front of all the parties, to encourage them to accept that cease-fire proposal.
We have been disturbed by the recent outbreak of fighting all over Bosnia-Herzegovina. I think it is well known that we have been disturbed by the fighting around the Bihac pocket, and specifically the Bosnian Serb counteroffensive near the Bihac pocket.
We have been disturbed by the continuation of the Bosnian and Croatian offensive in western Bosnia. And just yesterday we were very displeased and disturbed by the fact that the Bosnian Government itself fired at least four missiles from within the Sarajevo exclusion zone. This was highly counterproductive, and we have called upon all parties, including the Bosnian Government, to refrain from military activities that could jeopardize the peace process.
Ambassador Holbrooke raised this specific issue this morning with President Izetbegovic, and as a result of that conversation we do not believe that there will be a repetition of yesterday's incident in which these missiles were fired from Sarajevo.
Our basic view is this: none of these parties is going to achieve a military solution or a military victory, and the sooner they stop shooting and the sooner they start talking, so much the better for them and for us.
Q What was Izetbegovic's explanation as to why they violated your understandings with them, that they would not fire anything in the Sarajevo area?
MR. BURNS: I don't know what explanation was offered, what specific explanation, in this morning's conversations in which Dick Holbrooke participated. I think if you look at what they have said publicly and what the Bosnian Serbs have said publicly, there are always provocations that these parties can point to.
We think that after four years of war, with now the prospect of a cease-fire, with the offer of an internationally-sponsored peace conference in the future, we think these parties should accept the negotiating role of the West, and specifically of the United States, and move towards a cease-fire and a peace conference.
But the actions yesterday certainly weren't consistent with that, and we are confident that, as a result of our conversation this morning, this will not be repeated.
Q What kinds of requests were attached to the cease-fire plan that the Bosnian Government has agreed to in principle, and does the U.S. agree with these requests or regard them as reasonable?
MR. BURNS: Well, that unfortunately is in the realm of the negotiations that are underway right now, and so I can't really go into them. And I think, again, we are pleased that the Bosnian Government wishes to move towards a cease-fire, and we applaud the political courage and will of the Bosnian Government to undertake this very important step.
However, a cease-fire will only be effective if it is accepted by and agreed to by all the parties, and that includes the Serbians and the Bosnian Serbs, as well as the Croatians.
So we do need to tackle that part of the equation, and we need to make progress there for this to be truly meaningful.
Q Nick, to follow that, will Richard Holbrooke be staying in the field, in Bosnia, continuing the physical shuttle on the cease-fire matter specifically, or will he go on to the telephone shuttle, or what's the plan?
MR. BURNS: Dick Holbrooke is going to be actually doing an airplane shuttle. He may be landing now in Belgrade. He'll be there this evening, back in Sarajevo tomorrow. He hopes to make progress on this particular issue of the cease-fire.
After that, I believe he will be heading to Rome for a meeting of the Contact Group, and then an expanded meeting of the Contact Group which may include some of the parties to the conflict -- the Bosnian Government, the Serbian Government, and the Croatian Government.
Q Could that be the occasion for the signing of a cease-fire?
MR. BURNS: It is just very hard to say now, Mark. We hope to achieve a cease-fire as soon as we can, but we are mindful of how hard it is, how hard the slogging, the diplomatic slogging, here is, the negotiations. And we are mindful of how complex it is. I think you have seen some of the public conditions that have been laid down by the Bosnian Government, by the Bosnian Serbs, for a cease-fire. And whether or not these parties can agree on it is really a guess at this point.
But I do want to put the accent on the following: we have made some progress. We are moving forward, and this is exactly why the President and Secretary Christopher asked Dick Holbrooke to return to the region to work on this issue of a cease-fire.
Now, in addition to that, Dick had a very good conversation with President Izetbegovic on constitutional principles which, again, in addition to the territorial aspects of cease-fire, is an important pillar of the peace process underway, and will be an important issue at any peace conference.
Let me just mention another positive development from this week and that is the news that was reported yesterday out of Zagreb. There is a tentative agreement between the Croatian Government and those Serbs who represent the Serbian population in Eastern Slavonia for a framework to resolve the Eastern Slavonia problem, a framework that would set up a transitional authority that would lead to the reintegration of Eastern Slavonia into Croatia.
This is a highly significant development, because it speaks to the number one objective of the Croatian Government in this complex of issues, and that is the return of Eastern Slavonia to the sovereignty and territorial control of Croatia itself.
This was described by Ambassador Peter Galbraith yesterday, the American Ambassador, as a skeletal agreement, which is what it is. These are a set of principles, 11 principles, that provide a framework for the resolution of this problem.
This needs to be filled out now by some concrete negotiations by the Serbian population, the Croatian Government, and I think they will do that under the auspices of the United States and the United Nations, and we will do everything we can to help these parties come to an agreement on this.
So it's been so far a fairly positive week: we've made progress on Eastern Slavonia, we seem to be making some progress on a cease-fire, but we have been disturbed by the inclination of the parties to return to fighting, highly disturbed by yesterday's incident in Sarajevo. We would like to call upon the parties to cease and desist from military activity and turn to these positive developments at the negotiating table.
Q If there is a cease-fire, what additional obstacles must be overcome before you get to the point of a peace conference?
MR. BURNS: Certainly, we've said all along -- and Secretary Christopher reaffirmed this yesterday, I think, on two occasions, yesterday publicly -- that a cease-fire is highly desirable. It will make the convening of a peace conference easier. It will make the adjudication of a peace conference, the negotiations at a peace conference, easier and smoother.
If, for some reason, we cannot achieve a cease-fire, we won't wait for years before convening a peace conference, and perhaps not even for many, many months. There are historic examples in recent history -- Korea and Vietnam are most prominent -- when peace conferences were convened while fighting continued.
That is not what we want to have happen, but we're prepared to drive forward towards a peace conference as hard as we can.
Q But can you lay out sort of the road map from now to a peace conference? What has to happen before that occurs?
MR. BURNS: I think these parties, these countries, have to agree, certainly they have to attempt to agree, on a cease-fire, and we are working on that today. Secondly, they have to agree on an agenda for a peace conference, a substantive agenda. They have to agree on the structure of a peace conference. I think all of you understand from, again, the historical examples that I just set out, that sometimes the shape of the table and sometimes who is at the table and the logistics and modalities around a peace conference are every bit as daunting, sometimes, as the substantive issues.
So there has to be a framework, an agreed upon framework, and an agreed upon agenda for a peace conference to be convened.
Q Nick, who is dealing with Zagreb in these cease-fire talks? You have Dick going from Sarajevo to Belgrade and back.
MR. BURNS: Dick Holbrooke is orchestrating the activities right now of a number of our Embassies in the region as he shuttles back and forth among the capitals. A good example was yesterday when he asked Ambassador Peter Galbraith to travel to Eastern Slavonia, to have a meeting in that region with a representative of the Croatian Government and with the Serbian leaders of Eastern Slavonia.
So Ambassador Galbraith, of course, is dealing with the Government in Zagreb, but this is all being coordinated by Ambassador Holbrooke who is ever present in this shuttle mission.
Q But Galbraith is dealing with Zagreb on the cease-fire. We know he's doing Eastern Slavonia.
MR. BURNS: As a result of the activities today, certainly he is, and our Charge in Belgrade, Rudy Perina, is also engaged in this, as well as Ambassador Menzies. I can say Ambassador Menzies, because he will soon be formally an American ambassador. The hold on his nomination was lifted last Friday night, and we're all very pleased by that.
Q Nick, Mike McCurry stated this morning that the United States is making clear that the exclusion zone around Sarajevo also applies to the Muslim-led Bosnian Government. I would ask a question I've asked you before: Is there any enforcement implied in this statement by Mike or that might be conveyed by our government regarding violations in the exclusion zone by any side?
MR. BURNS: Mike was certainly correct in saying that, in this sense: that we fully expect that the Bosnian Government will be true to the spirit of the agreements that we have worked out for the lifting of the siege of Sarajevo and for the cessation of hostilities -- the cease- fire within the 20-kilometer exclusion zone around Sarajevo.
I would remind you, however, that the cease-fire around Sarajevo was produced by a unilateral Serb offer to the Bosnian Government and to the Contact Group. You remember that unilateral offer that came out of Belgrade.
So, therefore, the party that you could say by the terms of the agreement must uphold that agreement is the Bosnian Serbs. But certainly the Bosnian Government bears a responsibility for the maintenance of a cease-fire. Yesterday's actions were not consistent with the spirit of that agreement.
Q You're asking them to enforce their own commitment to that exclusion zone.
MR. BURNS: We asked them this morning in Sarajevo to refrain from military activities within the 20-kilometer exclusion zone, specifically the firing of missiles out of that zone, which could very well provoke a counter-reaction.'
We are also warning the Bosnian Serbs not to react, not to use this as a provocation. I understand the Bosnian Serbs wanted to move some heavy weapons back into Sarajevo yesterday after this attack. They will not be allowed to do that by the United Nations and by NATO. They've got to understand, I think, that we are working with the Bosnian Government to make sure this does not happen again. But we want to call on the Bosnian Serbs not to take advantage of this incident.
Q Is Izetbegovic -- what was his response to our objections --
MR. BURNS: As a result of these conversations, as I said earlier, we are convinced that this type of incident will not recur.
David, you had a question.
Q Yes. I just wanted to ask you, will the warring parties be represented at the Contact Group meeting and at what level?
MR. BURNS: That is a little bit unclear right now. I think there will be a two-step process in Rome. First the Contact Group will meet, and then it will meet in expanded session, and there is a possibility, as Mr. Bildt said yesterday, that at least some of the Foreign Ministers of the three parties will be in Rome, which will be a very good thing.
But I don't believe we have final confirmation on the travel of all three of the Foreign Ministers. These were the Ministers who were in New York last week and in Geneva in early September.
Q Would you rule out a cease-fire signature ceremony in Rome?
MR. BURNS: It certainly can't be ruled out. We want to make quick progress, but it can't be ruled in either. We haven't achieved it yet.
Q You're not thinking of a ceremony in Washington, are you? There's been some suggestion of that on the wires.
MR. BURNS: I guess I'd answer that -- and I'm not trying to be flip here -- but I guess I'd answer it the same way I'd answer a question about NATO implementation forces. It would be a great luxury in this government and in many Western capitals if we could think about that kind of thing. We're far from it. What we're thinking about right now is a cease-fire agreement, if it can be worked out. What it will take to convene a peace conference. What it will take to actually get the parties to the door of the peace conference and seated at the table; then what it's going to take to achieve a successful conclusion of that peace conference.
Only then will we be talking seriously about signing ceremonies and implementation forces to seal the victory. We want to get there, and there's been some advance planning, as you know, in NATO about the implementation force. But we're really dealing right now with much more immediate pressing problems along the way towards that objective.
Q Nick, do you have any statement on the assassination attempt of the Macedonian President?
MR. BURNS: I had a statement yesterday, and I'd just like to reaffirm today we have the greatest sympathy for President Gligorov, for his family, for the government and the people of Macedonia. This was a vicious terrorist attack. I don't believe there's been an indication from Skopje as to who specifically may have been responsible for this attack -- who was behind this attack.
It's the kind of incident that we deplore, and we criticize in the strongest terms. We hope for the speedy and complete recovery of President Gligorov. As you know, he has undergone an operation. I can tell you that two American doctors have tried to be helpful as consultants to the Macedonian doctors who have been trying to heal President Gligorov's wounds.
It's the very least we can do. We have great respect for him. He's someone we've worked with very well, including just a couple of weeks ago when Dick Holbrooke was in Skopje; when we and the United Nations were able to help the Macedonians and the Greeks achieve some progress over their own disputes.
Q Nick, do you have any comment on the French invasion of the Comoros? Are you happy about it?
MR. BURNS: I do have a comment, yes, and let me just give you that comment. The United States supports the efforts of the French Government to assist the legitimate Government of the Comoros Islands in restoring constitutional order to the country.
The Government of the Comoros has properly requested France -- which has strong ties to that country and about 1500 French citizens living there -- it has requested their assistance to defeat the mercenaries who led the recent coup attempt. The United States and France agree on the importance of the swift restoration of the democratic process and principles contained in the constitution.
The Government of France has assured us that French troops have been instructed to insure the safety of American citizens in the Comoros Islands. There are, we believe, about 33 American citizens there. We do not have an Embassy there. The nearest American Embassy is in Port Louis in Mauritius. Most of these people are Peace Corps volunteers, and we are concerned about their safety. The French Government has assured us that they will also be concerned for their safety.
We'll continue to monitor the situation as best we can, but we're very pleased about the action of the French Government.
Q Nick, do you have anything on the American, Donald Hutchings, that's being held by the Kashmiri rebels, and the other foreigners that are being held by this group?
MR. BURNS: I can tell you, Betsy, that while there has been no direct contact between Indian Government officials and representatives of the Al-Faran organization for some time, the United States believes that Donald Hutchings and the other hostages are alive.
We have no independent confirmation of recent sightings of the hostages or of their having received medical treatment. We hope very much that the hostages will be released unharmed, safely and immediately. Mr. Hutchings has been held by the Al-Faran organization since early in July -- I believe since July 4 -- and we call upon the Al-Faran organization to release him immediately. There can be no excuse, no justification for their having taken him and the other hostages.
We will make very effort, in conjunction with the Indian Government, working very closely with the Indian Government, to secure his release.
Q Can I go back to Bosnia? Nick, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times yesterday, the Secretary said that if the United States does not participate in a NATO peacekeeping force in Bosnia, it could mean the end of the NATO alliance.
He said, and I quote: "I don't think there will be a peace agreement unless we agree to assist in the implementation of it."
Does this specifically mean a large contingent of ground forces? Is that was he's referring to with regard to implementation? And, Nick, is this what he means? NATO is at risk here?
MR. BURNS: I think, certainly, what the Secretary was saying very clearly in that particular interview was that the credibility of NATO was at stake. NATO has played the significant role in restoring some semblance of calm and order and some hope for peace to the Bosnian tragedy, and NATO did that through the firm application of NATO air power just a couple of weeks ago.
The Secretary firmly believes that the United States -- having led the effort to stop the Bosnian Serb offensive in Eastern Bosnia in July, August and September, and now having led the effort towards peace through our diplomatic offensive -- must be there and be committed to helping insure the peace, once and if the peace is established.
The United States would act through NATO. American forces would be operating within a NATO context. It is really inconceivable to us that, having gone through four years of warfare, having stopped a war and having turned these countries towards peace, the United States would walk away at the final moment when peace was established and refuse to be a part of this opportunity to make the peace secure and lasting. That's what Secretary Christopher was referring to yesterday.
Q With ground forces.
MR. BURNS: The President has said, and the Secretary has reaffirmed, as has the Pentagon, that, of course, the United States would commit ground forces to a NATO-led peace implementation team.
Q Should the U.S. be prepared to do that even if there is a real risk of casualties?
MR. BURNS: I think that the conditions are the following, David -- the conditions are: that there would have to be the convening of the peace conference; there would have to be the achievement of a peace agreement; and there would have to be a commitment by the parties to cease hostilities and to live together in a single state, Bosnia- Herzegovina.
So while a cease-fire may not be an absolute requirement for the convening of a peace conference, it is an absolute requirement for the end of a peace conference, and the beginning of a peace implementation force.
Of course, any time that the United States sends it forces into combat, there is the risk of casualties. That is what one must assume about these operations. It's certainly a condition that one must accept about them.
The President has been clear about making a determined effort to insure, as well as we can, that the proper conditions are in place for the success of any U.S. military operation or NATO military operation, and to give our soldiers the best possible conditions for success.
Any more on Bosnia? Yes.
Q On Bosnia. Yesterday, Secretary Perry mentioned the idea of doing military training on Bosnian Government forces during or after this implementation period. What is the position of the State Department? Is it part of the package of the U.S. peace initiative?
MR. BURNS: I know that the position of the Administration, as articulated by Secretary Perry yesterday and this morning when he met the French Defense Minister, is that we would hope for a reduction in the amount of armaments in the area as part of a peace process.
He also spoke yesterday to the Administration's desire to make sure that the Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina will be a viable government at the end of the day after a peace agreement is achieved, and that, of course, would include viability in a military sense. That's, I believe, what he was referring to.
Q Is it the American position that once a peace agreement is reached, the arms embargo ought to be lifted?
MR. BURNS: I think that going way back, maybe a couple of years, of course, we said that under certain conditions an arms embargo might be able to be lifted, but I don't think we're close to those conditions yet.
Q But what about if we're not close to a peace agreement, but if there is a peace agreement?
MR. BURNS: I think it's reasonable to assume that if there's a peace agreement and if this state is established and if it's a single state and it's well defined, we'll want to support it. We'll want to support it politically and also I think we would consider any request for military assistance.
That is something we've said in the past we would do, and I believe it's the commitment that we will meet. But it's certainly not something that's just around the corner. This is another one of those issues which is probably somewhere off in the distance.
Q Nick, I'm sorry to raise this, but yesterday, Secretary Perry did say that the force would be robust. It would be self-contained, self-defending. If there was an outbreak of hostilities after a cease- fire had been in effect, that this force would put down or enforce the peace; and, if it had to get out, it would fight its own way out. It wouldn't need a rescue force to supplement that extraction. It sounds as if we could be going in harm's way.
MR. BURNS: I mean, you've raised hypothetical examples of what could possibly happen. But I think the United States has said very clearly over the last couple of weeks that we would only commit troops to a NATO-led operation if there is a peace agreement, and if that agreement had in place a cease-fire; and if there is a reasonable prospect that the peace could be enforced, then, of course, we'd go in, and, of course, there's always a risk.
But we're not going to assume that this is going to turn out badly. We're going to assume that we're going to move ahead diplomatically to try to reach a successful agreement, and I don't think it's helpful to debate the merits of hypothetical examples of whether things are going to go bad or well.
At this point we've made a commitment if certain things happen -- and we hope very much that those things will happen -- that there will be peace in Bosnia.
Q New subject?
MR. BURNS: New subject, yes.
Q Yesterday, you stated that it was the U.S. Government's position that the scaling back of the bases in Japan really wouldn't have any connection whatsoever to military personnel. It was just going to be condensing some of the bases.
The Japanese are now saying that that's not their understanding at all; that their understanding is that the agreement to scale back U.S. forces in Japan includes military personnel as well. So are they mistaken in their assumption?
MR. BURNS: We may just have a misunderstanding here in the press perhaps, or as communicated by the press. I think what is very clear is that the United States is going to maintain its present level of troops in Asia and specifically in Japan.
What I said very specifically yesterday is that we are not considering a reduction of the number of American troops currently stationed in Japan. It's always possible there might be a reduction of five or ten or 15 people, but that's not substantial. That would be in the normal course of business, not a reduction of the number of troops.
What we are pledged to do -- and this began well before the very unfortunate and tragic incident in Okinawa of early September -- is to look at the configuration and look at where those troops are and look at the possibility of realignment and look at the possibility of combining operations where we can.
That is all being discussed under the current working group. As you know, after the recent tragic incident, we also formed a working group to look at the implementation of the Status of Forces Agreement. This is what our Embassy in Japan and our military forces in Japan are discussing with the Japanese Government. We are not discussing a prospect of any kind of dramatic reduction of American personnel there.
Q Are you talking about a possible reduction in the number of troops on Okinawa?
MR. BURNS: I think the status of the forces there, their disposition there, and the implementation of the Status of Forces Agreement certainly pertains to Okinawa. So any issues that the Japanese or we want to raise about the forces on Okinawa are fair game, but we're not talking about numbers.
Q Do you have any reaction to the Senate vote last Friday? There were some changes made during the night in the appropriations bill for State, Commerce and Justice. Is it okay now? Is it going to vetoed? What do you think of it?
MR. BURNS: We're pleased that the Senate did the right thing last Friday and confirmed 15 American Ambassadorial nominations that were pending on its executive calendar. We're also very pleased that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has agreed to resume holding normal business meetings, starting on October 19. These are good steps.
A number of very important Ambassadorships will now be filled, and Charge d'Affaires John Menzies has become Ambassador Menzies in Sarajevo. That's well earned.
This was an act taken together by the majority and the minority on the Committee. We're pleased that they are working together. We're pleased that the process appears to be heading back to normal.
However, the Administration still believes with very strong conviction that we must be given adequate resources to carry out our responsibility to the American people, and that is to have an effective American foreign policy.
Everyone wants America to be strong, but we're not going to be strong if we don't have the resources to implement our foreign policy. We can't have a foreign policy on the cheap. We've got to have the resources to back it up.
I would just say, David, in that respect the United States has made commitments around the world. We've made a commitment to help to fund the United Nations. We are $1.3 billion in arrears this year alone in our commitment to the United Nations. We are not a deadbeat donor, and we shouldn't be, because we're the greatest power in the world. We are, in effect, the founding member of the United Nations and the host country. There is no reason why the United States should find itself in the position of being criticized by our closest allies in New York about our inability to meet our legal obligations to the United Nations.
We have a vital national interest to support the emergence of democratic reform-minded states in the former Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe. We have a very strong national interest in helping promote development in Africa. We have a vital interest in underwriting peace in the Middle East.
All this costs money. You can't have foreign policy successes and do it by mirrors. You've got to have money, financial resources, to back it up, and so we call upon the Congress to help us make American foreign policy successful by giving us the resources to do the job.
Q Which you don't think you got on Friday.
MR. BURNS: What we got on Friday -- what we achieved on Friday in cooperation with both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill in the Senate was the release of 15 Ambassadorial nominations. I believe we also have an agreement that the 400 people who have been promoted in the last couple of months will in fact be promoted and receive higher pay.
That's important for morale in the Department of State, as it would be in any organization. What we don't have yet, David, and what will be decided in conference is an agreement on the level of funding for American foreign policy in 1996. How much money will we have to fund our operations overseas? Will we in fact have to close 50 to 60 Embassies and Consulates? How much money will we have to meet our commitments to Egypt and Israel and to Russia and Ukraine, to the African countries?
This is all in question, and we want to make it certainly clear to the Senate and the House of Representatives that we would like to work with them to make our country better able to meet the challenges that we have, clearly, overseas.
Q Nick, the Secretary's meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister in New York last week seems to have caused more confusion than it has resolved about Sino-U.S. relations. I can give you some examples. The Chinese Foreign Minister said that his understanding of the U.S. position was that the U.S. would oppose calls for one- China/one-Taiwan, two Chinas, Taiwan's admission to the U.N., and the State Department transcript on the same thing used the word "resist" as against "oppose."
Another example, the Chinese nuclear deals with Iran. The Chinese Foreign Minister said China would suspend the deal, and you told us China said that it would terminate the deal.
Another example about whether or not the U.S. has pledged to limit freedom of speech by the Taiwanese leaders on their future visits to this country.
Of course, a state visit, which China wants, has been reduced to a bilateral in New York.
The question is why has there been this much confusion about what has been said or has not been said during the meeting.
My second question: Given all this confusion, how do you characterize the meeting between the Secretary and the Chinese Foreign Minister?
MR. BURNS: The Secretary believes he had a very productive and constructive meeting with Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen. A good meeting, because in many respects they tackled the broad array of issues that are clearly at the heart of the relationship. Taiwan, of course, came up in the conversation, but it did not in any way dominate the conversation. In fact, I would estimate that in the just under two hours they met they may have spent four or five minutes on Taiwan.
That was positive. We seem to have turned a corner and have now gotten away from a fixation on Taiwan in the U.S.-China relationship. That's positive.
Secondly, they agreed that the two Presidents would meet. The White House has subsequently announced a meeting in New York, which will be quite important because President Jiang Zemin and President Bill Clinton have only met twice before. They need to meet. They need to discuss all the issues that are so important to this relationship.
We feel, and the Secretary feels, that it was a very good meeting and constructive meeting, building on the meeting he had on August 1.
Let me just quickly review some of the specific points you raised. The United States in no way committed to restrict the right of leaders from Taiwan to speak freely when they are in the United States. We very specifically committed that when we receive applications for visas, there were four specific conditions that would apply and that would affect our disposition toward those visa requests.
But once someone reaches American soil, it would be inconsistent with over 200 years of American history to restrict their ability to speak freely. We would never try to muzzle a leader from Taiwan or anywhere else.
Secondly, we have received no indications in private from the Chinese Government that it will go forward with the nuclear deal with Iran. In fact, the reverse. We have received every indication, including since last Wednesday, that China will not go forward with this deal. We have used different verbs to describe the ending of that arrangement in public. We have used the verb "terminate," and they have used the verb "suspend." I don't believe there is an appreciable substantive difference between them.
The important thing is that China will not give nuclear technology or sell it to Iran. Whether it's put in a box or put in the bottom drawer or shunted off to the side or whether it's terminated -- as long as it doesn't go forward, we will be satisfied.
On your very first point, on the question of Taiwan in general, it is very clear what the United States supports and does not support regarding Taiwan. We have an unofficial relationship with Taiwan. We do not support Taiwan's membership in the United Nations. We do support Taiwan's participation in other international organizations, including in the WTO.
We have a very clear policy towards Taiwan. It is well understood by the Chinese Government. We're getting beyond Taiwan. We're now getting into the heart of the U.S.-China relationship, and that's a good place to be.
Q Nick, would you explain why there has been such confusion?
MR. BURNS: We're not confused. We just had a discussion yesterday here, a private discussion, and I'm thinking that we've come a long way in the U.S.-China relationship since last summer when we were in the deep freeze, when there were not meetings and when we couldn't talk about these issues.
I know there has been some line-by-line, textual analysis of certain verbs and adjectives that were used in public statements. I wouldn't advise this is a very profitable exercise. I think if you ask the Chinese Government and you ask us, as you have today, we would describe this as having been a turning point in the relationship. Relations are better. They are not perfect. They will probably never be perfect. But they are certainly better than they were last summer.
Q Nick, Qadhafi is expelling large numbers of Palestinians from his country. Is the U.S. doing anything to help the Palestinians cope with this situation?
MR. BURNS: As I understand the situation, the Libyan Government has not given the international community access to that part of its border with Egypt where most of the several hundred Palestinians are being expelled.
This is, of course, most unfortunate that any nation would choose to expel Palestinians because the Palestinians are making peace. It's a contradiction. It's certainly not helpful, and it's illogical. It's also not proper and right because the Palestinian people have made a great contribution to the economic well-being of many Arab countries over the last four decades. And they have helped to build up Libya, and they have helped to build up the Gulf. And this is not a very gracious way to treat people who have played a significant role in the Libyan economy.
Q Nick, do you have any comment on the Iraqi referendum on October l5, and, as we know, the Iraqi Government has extended invitations to thousands of government officials, journalists and members of parliaments to observe the referendum on October l5th?
Will the U.S. Government also send someone or a team of observers to Baghdad?
MR. BURNS: Let me check on whether or not we are going to send observers. We don't have great expectations for this particular exercise of Iraqi, so-called Iraqi democracy.
The Iraqis have been anything but democrats over the last decade or so. The Iraqi Government has shown very little regard for the rights of its own population. I fact, it has brutalized them. So, you know, we don't have high expectations for this.
This is obviously being engineered to create some kind of Potemkin- like image of a more benevolent regime, which, of course, does not exist.
Q Thank you.
MR. BURNS: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at l:58 p.m.)
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