U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 95/10/10 DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, October 10, 1995 Briefer: Nicholas Burns DEPARTMENT Introduction of Glyn Davies, Deputy Spokesman ...........1 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Status of Ceasefire/Utilities Supply: Russian Gas, Electricity, Kiseljak Road Opening ....................1-2,7-10 Rifkind Remarks on Implementation Conference ............2-3,19 Holbrooke Travel Plans/Contact Group Moscow Mtg .........3,5 10/31 Proximity Talks - Secy Christopher Participation ..3-5 -- Format, Location, Press Coverage .....................4-5 Perry-Grachev Geneva Talks - Russian Peacekeepers, Implementation Force ..................................6-7 Re-Arming, Training Bosnian Government Troops ...........10-12,18 NATO Implementation Force ...............................12-17,19-2022- 23 -- US Troops, Congressional Consultation ................12-16,22-23 -- Goal, Exit Strategy ..................................12,14 -- Russian Participation, Agreement .....................16-17,19,21-22 Reassignment of Senior UN Official Yasushi Akashi .......17-18 RUSSIA US-Russia "Peacekeeper 95" Exercise, Ft. Riley, Kansas ..6 Gore-Chernomyrdin Meeting in Maine ......................10,20 RUSSIA-AZERBAIJAN Two Caspian Oil Pipeline Routes .........................20-21 -- Past Russian Opposition to Multiple Routes ...........21 CUBA Castro U.S. Visa Application ............................23-24 -- Congressional Consultations ..........................24 -- Security While in U.S., Travel Restrictions ..........24-25 Support for Terrorism ...................................25 Reaction to President Clinton's Decisions re Cuba .......25-26 NORTH KOREA Delay in Naming Kim Jong Il as Premier ..................26-27
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 1995, 1:18 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BURNS: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department briefing. It's a great pleasure for me to announce that Secretary Christopher has appointed Glyn Davies as Deputy Spokesman. Glyn, take a bow.
As Deputy Spokesman and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, he succeeds David Johnson. Glyn is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. He comes to this job having been most recently the Director of Recruitment, Examination and Employment in the Bureau of Personnel. Prior to that, he was Director of the Operations Center here; most of you are familiar with that. He was Deputy Political Counselor at our Embassy in Paris. He also served in our office in the European Bureau that had him responsible for NATO affairs, and he was also a Special Assistant to former Secretary of State George Shultz. He has served in our Consulate General in Melbourne, in our Embassy in Kinshasha when he entered the Foreign Service.
He is married, has two daughters. I'm not sure what baseball team he is a fan of, but we'll find that out in due course. The Senators -- that's a good answer; that's very good. (Laughter)
He has a Bachelor's from Georgetown and a Master's with Distinction from the National Defense University.
I'm delighted that he's accepted the Secretary's offer. He is by all accounts -- I think everyone in the building will tell you this -- one of the most outstanding officers in this building, and we're delighted, Glyn, that you've joined us and I'm sure that you'll have a chance to get to know everybody in this room and beyond this room very shortly.
With that, George? Barry? George? I'll be glad to go to your questions.
Q Bosnia cease-fire?
MR. BURNS: In just about an hour, there's going to be a meeting in Sarajevo of United Nations officials, of officials from our Embassy in Sarajevo; in fact, I think it will be our Ambassador, John Menzies, and of representatives of both the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Government. They'll be looking at three facts to determine whether or not the cease- fire can go into effect at one minute past midnight tomorrow morning.
The three are whether or not gas has been turned on in Sarajevo and is available throughout the city. On that issue, the Russian Government made a decision yesterday afternoon that it would turn the gas back on. GAZPROM, the Russian state company, did so at the Hungarian former Yugoslav border. The gas reached Sarajevo early this morning and it is now being distributed throughout the gas grid within Sarajevo itself to consumers on both sides of the city, both to the Muslim population as well as the Bosnian Serb population.
The electricity has been restored. There were two main electrical lines into Sarajevo. Both of them have been restored and repaired, and electricity has now been turned on in Sarajevo.
The third issue was the Kiseljak Road. As you know, this was a primary concern of the Bosnian Government. I understand that the barriers have been taken off the road, that the traffic is moving -- certainly the U.N. traffic --that it is now being tested by some civilians; and I think the Bosnian Government has said that there should be a "free flow of civilian traffic" in order for it to say that, in fact, the road is indeed open and therefore that the cease-fire can be achieved.
Now, we are waiting for the results of the meeting in Sarajevo. We are very much hopeful that the cease-fire will go into effect in just a couple of hours in Sarajevo. Whether it does or not will be a direct function of whether or not the United Nations and the parties to this cease-fire agree that there is full compliance. That is the test, both in terms of gas and electricity and also in terms of free flow of traffic on the Kiseljak Road.
So we're hopeful, but we'll have to see what the results are from this meeting.
Q Looking ahead a little bit, Foreign Secretary Rifkind spoke at a Conservative Party conference in Blackpool today and said there's to be a conference -- an implementation conference. Is he a little bit ahead of an announcement that you now can make -- a conference of the allied governments on implementing the cease-fire?
MR. BURNS: There has been a lot of discussion over the past couple of days by the members of the Contact Group over the timetable for all the various meetings that will be set in the run-up to the late October Proximity Peace Talks, and even some meetings that will be held I think after that. I have nothing to announce, but let me just take you through what I can announce.
That is that Assistant Secretary Dick Holbrooke will be leaving the United States over the weekend. He's back, if you didn't know that, he's back in Washington this morning.
He'll be traveling to Moscow for a meeting of the Contact Group early next week. This was a meeting that we had hoped for several weeks to have in Moscow because of Russia's key participation in the Contact Group.
He will then resume a shuttle in the Balkans in order to sharpen the agenda for the Proximity Peace Talks, clarify differences -- perhaps even close the gap on some of the differences -- before the Proximity Peace Talks are convened. We would now expect that those talks would be convened around October 31 in the United States. For those of you who did not hear last week, we have moved the talks from October 25 to the 31st because the Croatian people will be holding elections on the 25th of October. So in deference to President Tudjman and his expressed wish to participate personally, we're going to be postponing those talks to the end of October.
Q Is it fair to assume that Mr. Christopher will not be opening on that?
MR. BURNS: The Secretary will definitely be participating in these talks. He has every intention to. He is plaanning to involve himself in some detail in these talks. He has not made a decision as to whether or not he would open the talks on the 31st or whether he would participate at a later date. That's something he's got to decide.
Q Isn't Amman October 30th?
MR. BURNS: That's right. He was originally expecting to participate in the Amman Economic Conference on the 30th and 31st of October. So now he needs to think about the sequencing of a couple of priorities here; and we have, of course, a deep involvement in the Middle East peace process and we have a deep involvement in the Bosnian peace process. He will be involved in both.
What I can't tell you right now is whether or not he'll start in the Middle East and then work on Bosnia or do it the other way around.
Q Is it your expectation that the talks would open with some sort of public statement before they go into private sessions, and any better sense of where they would be held?
MR. BURNS: It's going to be on the East Coast of the United States. We know that.
How's that? That's a good start!
The talks will be held somewhere in the eastern coastal area of the United States. Whether that's south of Washington, D.C., or north is really undecided at this point.
These talks are going to be closed to the press. The purpose, in fact, of having the Proximity Talks is to have these three delegations and the five delegations from the Contact Group countries, as well as the European Union, all meet in an isolated setting where they are free from the obligation to talk publicly about where they are on a daily -- or even hourly -- basis. So that's the goal.
Whether or not we open up with a public meeting where there are speeches and announcements, I just don't know. We haven't gotten that far yet.
Dick is just back today; it's his first day back in Washington -- Dick Holbrooke. It's one of the issues that he'll be talking to the Secretary about in just about 35 minutes when they meet for an initial meeting on this.
Q Do you envision some sort of Press Center, a la Camp David?
MR. BURNS: No, we don't.
MR. BURNS: No. We do not plan to set up a Press Center at this time at this site, simply because I think Dick Holbrooke has decided, along with the parties, that there will not be daily press briefings.
Q A German official the other day said flatly that the Proximity Talks would be at Camp David.
MR. BURNS: Who said that?
Q The German Defense Minister, down at Williamsburg, said that the talks would be at Camp David. Is he off the reservation now, ahead of the group?
MR. BURNS: There may have been a misunderstanding. The talks will definitely not be at Camp David. They will be Camp David-like talks. (Laughter).
Q Steady! (Laughter)
MR. BURNS: They will be Camp David-like talks in the sense that this will be an isolated setting. Each of the delegations will be housed there. There will be sufficient room for them to walk around and have some recreation if they wish. But it's not going to be held at Camp David; I can assure you of that.
We are looking right now at several sites, all good, on the East Coast. I can tell you though -- Andrea, getting back to your question - - that we are not now planning to have arrangements for the press at this particular place. In fact, I think that it's with the express intention of not having to operate with daily press statements in mind.
Q Nick, when is Holbrooke going to Moscow for the Contact Group?
MR. BURNS: He'll be leaving over the weekend, and I don't know if the Russians have set a specific date. I think it's going to be early next week. Whether it's Monday or Tuesday, I'm just now sure yet.
Q But the State Department will be in the lead on this as far as press is concerned? That will be early, right?
MR. BURNS: I would anticipate that Secretary Christopher will be involved in an important way in these Proximity Peace Talks and Dick Holbrooke will be there from start to finish; but this is an issue in which the President, of course, ultimately has responsibility for. So I think the White House and the State Department -- and, in some respects, even the Pentagon -- will all be involved in these talks, and therefore (inaudible) commenting on it.
Q Nick, can we see if the problem with Russian peacekeepers has moved at all in this rather long weekend? I assume that's one of the issues Mr. Holbrooke will talk to the Russians about in Moscow?
MR. BURNS: It's one of the issues that is at the center of our current discussions with the Russians. As you know, Secretary Perry and General Shalikashvili and Deputy Secretary Strobe Talbott were all in Geneva on Sunday for a meeting with Minister Grachev.
As a result of that, I think -- I know that Secretary Perry has spoken to this, but let me just review where I think we are, Barry.
We certainly reached a clear agreement with the Russian Government the other day on the importance not only for Bosnia but for the larger European security issues of NATO cooperating with Russia in the implementation of a Bosnia peace agreement. We agreed on the importance of having the United Nations grant authority for this particular operation.
We agreed to work intensively with Russia on many of the unresolved issues. In that respect, Secretary Perry and Minister Grachev agreed that a senior Russian military team, led by a three-star General, will meet shortly with General Joulwan at SHAPE Headquarters to talk about some of these specific military issues that are at the heart of this issue.
Russia and the United States will also participate in a joint peacekeeping exercise under the rubric of "Partnership for Peace" at Forth Riley in Kansas on the 23-24 of October. All that was agreed upon the other day.
There are some significant differences that remain as a result of the discussions on Sunday. First and foremost, what will be the military command structure of a peace implementation force that will be, of course, deployed after a peace agreement is reached?
Second, what would be the size of the Russian contingent and what will be the function of the Russian contingent?
And, third, who would pay for the Russian contingent? It's been the position of the United States that each troop-contributing country should pay for its own expenses. This point was made quite clear to the Russian Government over the weekend.
So those are, at least, three outstanding and fairly significant differences that remain between NATO and Russia on this particular issue. Needless to say, we'll be taking advantage of every opportunity we have with the Russians to discuss this, including Dick Holbrooke's trip to Moscow early next week.
Q I remember this came up in the briefing before the Geneva meetings and you spoke of Russians and others having -- the word wasn't "collateral/parallel" -- other functions apart from NATO. Is there some agreement that there be an intermingling of Russian and NATO and American troops? Or are you still thinking in terms of a NATO force -- as we understand, NATO -- in keeping the promise that American troops will be under an American commander? But there will be others -- Russians, Bangladeshes, Pakistanis -- in a separate force, or in separate forces?
Is that agreed now with the Russians? Or is there still some disagreement or discussion about how you work the Russians in with the Americans?
MR. BURNS: There's no agreement yet on that question; no agreement whether or not Russia will be inside a command structure, outside the command structure, whether Russia will play a central role in the implementation of a peace force or play a role which would be subsidiary to it. It all remains to be decided.
There were several options that were identified by the military planners for the talks in Geneva over the weekend. All of those options were discussed in some detail. But we did not come to an agreement with the Russian military leadership on that, and so therefore we'll have to continue our efforts towards agreement.
One thing is clear, I think, Jim -- let me just make one more point -- and that is that we have decided here at the very highest levels and NATO has made a formal decision that Russia should participate in implementing a peace agreement. Because Russia, by virtue of its size, its geographic location, its history must be involved in the effort to make peace. We don't believe that Russia should be on the outside. We believe it should be in the inside.
The trick is, and the difficulty is, determining what the best option is for both Russia and NATO in that process.
Q (Inaudible) the Russians the cease-fire agreement (inaudible) reached last week was not secret. It was well-known that restoration of utilities was going to be part of it. Yet, the Russians chose to delay the transmission of natural gas. What was the problem?
MR. BURNS: Frankly, I wouldn't pin any blame on Russia. I say that for this reason: I had a long phone conversation with Ambassador Tom Pickering yesterday. While he, in fact, was on the other line, at a couple of points during the conversation with the Russian Foreign Ministry and with officials from GAZPROM. GAZPROM, which is the Russian state gas company, took the lead in negotiations to turn the gas back on in Sarajevo. There were a couple of very important and logical issues for GAZPROM to consider.
One: What was the condition of the gas pipeline system that had been shut off for quite a long time? And could the gas pipeline system, in fact, accommodate a resumption of the gas supplies without further repair?
Two: Very important for GAZPROM -- who would pay for the resumption of the gas supplies into Sarajevo?
I don't believe the Russian Government intentionally dawdled on this issue. I think the Russian Government, in fact, has been trying to push forward a resolution of this issue. GAZPROM only completed the discussions on those two issues late last evening in Sarajevo. And as a result of those discussions, the order was given from Moscow to turn the gas back on. I don't think this was a case of bad faith on the part of the Russian Government.
Q On the second question that you said, "who would pay," who is going to pay?
MR. BURNS: Some kind of arrangement has been worked out between GAZPROM and the consumers. In this case, the consumers being, interestingly enough, in the same circle -- the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Government. They have not made public, as far as I can see, the answer to that question.
In the past, sometimes GAZPROM has been in the position of giving credits for the resumption of gas supplies. At other times, they have received initial payments with the hope of a more significant payment later.
This is not a new problem. For those in this room who served in Moscow, it's not a new problem at all. Since the breakup of the former Soviet Union, GAZPROM has, on a number of occasions, shut off gas in other countries -- in Ukraine, and some of the Central Asian countries - - because of problems it's had with contracts.
So for those of us who have actually followed GAZPROM, for a number of years, this was a problem that was anticipated. It was a problem that was difficult -- it was worked out with some difficulty. But, fortunately, it has been worked out.
Q Nick, do you recall when the gas was initially cut off and why?
MR. BURNS: I don't recall specifically when it was. I do know that over the last couple of years the gas has been shut off/turned on repeatedly. I think it was last shut off completely about a month ago, if my memory serves me correctly.
Q Shut off and turned on repeatedly by the Russians?
MR. BURNS: Well, by the Russians. At certain times, Sid, the gas has been turned off at the request of the Bosnian Government; at other times, certainly, because of the leverage of the Bosnian Serbs. There have been a number of reasons why either party wanted the gas to be turned off or turned on.
Fortunately now, we have an agreement by all parties that the gas should be turned on so that people can have heat and have electricity as the winter approaches.
Q Is it the Administration's opinion that the Russians ever turned off the gas to Sarajevo as a way to side with the Serbs?
MR. BURNS: I'm just simply not capable of taking you back through every twist and turn in the Bosnian drama over the last four years. What I can tell you is what the Russians have done as a result of the cease- fire agreement. I think they've acted in good faith. I think the Russian Government has used its influence to a good result.
Q It's just odd to me -- I may be mistaken, but I haven't heard a lot about this issue -- that the Russians have been playing with the gas valve so often when they're supposed to be trying to help the situation. It seems the easiest way to do that would be turn on the gas in Sarajevo.
We've sort of been led to believe that it was the Serbs that were cutting off the gas to Sarajevo, not the Russians.
MR. BURNS: I would caution you just on one point. I don't think there is anybody in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that has his or her hand on the gas spigot into the Balkans. We are talking here in a newly democratic country with a decentralized economy, of a state company which often makes its own decisions sometimes against the wishes and advice of other ministries, including the Foreign Ministry. We've certainly seen that occur over the last couple of years, in terms of GAZPROM's own operations.
So it's not surprising that this situation resulted. In fact, we anticipated this situation.
Q Are you satisfied that the Prime Minister, who, as the former head of GAZPROM, is said to still have holdings, was helpful throughout this saga?
MR. BURNS: We're very satisfied. Vice President Gore met Prime Minister Chernomyrdin on Saturday in Maine. They had a good conversation about this and other issues. We know that Prime Minister Chernomyrdin wanted a positive result to the cease-fire talks, and that he acted over the weekend to help move this along.
We're also satisfied that the Russian Foreign Minister, which, of course, is one of the co-sponsors of this cease-fire agreement, which will be a co-host of the Proximity Peace Talks, also acted to do this.
Since we're into this very deeply and there seems to be an interest in this subject, I can tell you that Tom Pickering was on the phone well into his morning on this. He believes personally -- and he is our most experienced diplomat -- that he received adequate cooperation from the Russian Government.
If we had had a problem with the Russian Government, we would have let that be known in a variety of ways.
Q Can you tell us where we stand regarding any plans to rearm or arm the Bosnian Muslims and train them, to bring them up to some level of parity, as was discussed in Williamsburg and led to some confusion in the last few days?
MR. BURNS: Secretary Perry said a couple of times last week that in the event of a peace agreement -- and we hope very much that the parties will be able to achieve that -- it may be necessary after a peace agreement is signed, when we are considering the implementation of a multinational peace enforcement unit, it may be necessary for the United States and other countries to help the Bosnian Government achieve a greater level of military capability and military preparedness. He spoke to that issue at Williamsburg. That is one of the issues that we are currently considering within our own government and an issue we're talking to NATO allies about.
So it's a possibility and a lot will depend on how the peace agreement turns out. A lot will depend on the nature of the federation and the degree of military cooperation within the Bosnian Croatian military -- federation, excuse me -- as a result of the peace agreement.
Q Some of our allies are less than enthusiastic about the prospect of introducing more weapons into this area.
MR. BURNS: We certainly wouldn't consider putting more weapons into a situation if we thought that would aggravate the situation. We would only do so in the event of a peace agreement and if we thought that by doing so we might help to stabilize a rough military balance among the various parties there.
Q Do you know how much or --
MR. BURNS: No, we haven't made any specific plans.
Q Would the Americans be doing the training?
MR. BURNS: We haven't made any specific plans. We haven't made any commitments. The training could be provided by American military officials. That was something that Secretary Perry said very clearly last week.
Q Wouldn't there be an inherent conflict? On the one hand, you have Americans troops there (inaudible) of being neutral peacekeepers while at the same time you have Americans there bolstering one party. Wouldn't there be a conflict there? Wouldn't that create a dangerous situation for Americans as well to be seen (inaudible) be aiding one side in the situation?
MR. BURNS: WE are certainly going to take -- if a peace agreement is reached -- and that is the key conditional factor here -- then we certainly would take very seriously our obligation, as part of an international force, to be objective and to try to help enforce a peace agreement objectively.
We will continue, however, to have bilateral relations with Bosnia- Herzegovina, with the new state that will emerge from this peace agreement. It is very much an interest of ours to make sure that the conditions are right to maintain peace.
One of the conditions that Secretary Perry talked about last week was the idea that you ought to try to achieve a rough equilibrium of forces in the area.
However, he was, as I think he acknowledge himself, speaking somewhat hypothetically. We have not drawn up specific plans. I can't tell you, because we haven't made a decision, what the level of detailed planning is but it is something we are thinking about. We'll continue to discuss it with our allies, in the Contact Group, and in NATO.
Q Isn't some degree of training and potentially the arming a key element in the exit strategy the Administration has, and I'm sure Congress will have, for knowing how the troops will eventually leave before you put them in?
MR. BURNS: It's one of the elements. Any country ought to have an exit strategy if you go in with military forces. In this event, what we're talking about is a peace implementation force. It's certainly one of the elements but not the only element.
The key element will be, can a peace agreement be worked out that will withstand the test of time; that is going to be stable enough so that once international forces leave, you have some reasonable expectation that the parties themselves can maintain the peace.
Certainly, looking at the equilibrium, or looking at the rough balance among the forces, it is an important factor in considering that particular question.
Q Mr. Panetta said over the weekend -- if I understood him correct, and I wonder if I did; perhaps you can help me -- that the President will reserve the right to put American troops into Bosnia even if Congress did not approve. Is that what he meant to say? Does the Administration believe it could put in troops over the objections of Congress?
MR. BURNS: I think it's absolutely what he meant to say and what he should have said, because it is what everyone in the Administration is saying, and that is that the President is Commander-in-Chief; he has constitutional authority to deploy American forces overseas. That is absolutely his constitutional and unequivocally his constitutional right and responsibility.
We have said very consistently, and Mr. Panetta went on to say this in his answer to that particular question, that we hope very much and would expect that Congress would support the effort to deploy American forces as part of an implementation effort.
Mr. Panetta mentioned that Congress, through its power of the purse, obviously has a way to effect the resolution of this particular issue. So we're looking for bipartisan support. Neither he nor anyone else in this Administration is trying to set up an antagonistic situation.
We hope if and when the day comes, if we've been able to have a successful Proximity Peace Talks here in the United States, a successful conclusion to the Bosnian conference in France, if a peace agreement is signed, if the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Muslims and the Croats are willing to live together under one state, we hope very much that Congress would agree with us that it is in the clear U.S. national interest to be part of the effort to help implement that peace.
I think the best argument is this: The situation in Bosnia was just short of disaster until this June and July. Certainly, when Srebrenica fell; when it appeared that the United Nations troops would have to be lifted out of Bosnia. In the three short months since that time, the war has been effectively stopped in eastern Bosnia. The Bosnian Serbs have been turned back there. NATO has responded with a very clear and strong display of determination to stop the fighting.
We have now three agreements to stop the fighting and to think about a future peace. We have the peace talks coming up. Why would the United States want to walk away from that after having achieved that, largely through U.S. leadership? Why would we walk away from the peace once we had helped to make the peace? It wouldn't make sense because of the commitment we've already made and the commitment that our allies have made over the last three and a half years.
It makes perfect sense for us to stay in the mix and to help make the peace secure. We would hope that both Republicans and Democrats alike on Capitol Hill would see it that way once a peace conference is finally over.
Q Is it true, as it's said in the newspaper, that Mr. Christopher and others in the Administration plan to launch a campaign to try and win Congressional support for this next week?
MR. BURNS: I think they've already launched that campaign. The President did a week ago Friday when he met, across the street from the White House, with the Congressional leadership. He took them through our planning both on the diplomatic side and the military side for the next couple of months. We talked about the fact that we are drawing up military plans for U.S. participation in a NATO-led implementation force. That's begun.
The Secretary does intend next week -- not this week -- to consult fairly intensively, three or four times, with Congress on this particular issue.
Q While we're on this, has the Administration figured out yet what would be the end point, what would be the goal of this force? When would it be ready -- at what point would the force be pulled out?
MR. BURNS: Let me just take you to the beginning first. The force has to be ready to be deployed once the parties make peace. The Proximity Peace Talks begin on October 31. You figure a very difficult set of negotiations there. If that succeeds, they move onto France for a final and formal peace conference and signing.
Therefore, NATO has to quite speedily draw up plans for an implementation force. We don't know when the force will have to be deployed but it could as early as sometime this year. It could be in the next year.
Once the force is deployed, NATO will have to think through -- before the force is deployed, actually -- all the implications of the mission and how long that force should remain in Bosnia and what the exit strategy for that force is.
We had a clear exit strategy in Haiti. That has worked quite well. We will certainly have a clear exit strategy in this case.
Q Nick, will there be an input on the part of the Congress -- the United States public, for that matter -- into this strategy, into the limits, the orders under which U.S. troops --?
MR. BURNS: We're talking to the Congress every day about various aspects of the diplomacy and the military side of the equation. I think the President and Secretary Christopher have made clear they are open to a dialogue with the Congress. We would very much like Congressional support, and Congress will be consulted all along the way as this builds.
Q Would you want a resolution -- more than consulting? Are we talking as though war powers were in effect -- of a Congressional joint resolution.
MR. BURNS: We very much would like to have Congressional support for this operation; correct. The form that that takes will really be up to the Congress and perhaps some senior members of the Administration once we get farther down the road. But we do want to have Congressional support for this.
We are beginning our consultations with Congress now -- we began them 10 days ago -- so that we might have a better chance of earning that support.
Q While all Presidents have reserved the right under the Constitution to deploy forces -- most have said that they would not do so without Congress' permission -- into areas of danger. Would this President -- what Leon Panetta was saying was that this President, if Congress resolves against sending troops, would he send them anyway?
MR. BURNS: That's a question that we hope will not have to be answered and should not be answered until the situation arises. It may or may not arise.
What we hope, Andrea, is that the Congress will see the very clear U.S. national interest at stake here, both in preserving the integrity of NATO and also for helping to ensure a peace. Every effort will be made to consult with the Congress in such a way that at the end of the day, once a peace agreement is near completion, it will be obvious to both sides of the aisle and Congress that they ought to support this mission.
If that does not take place, I'm sure the President and his advisors will consider their options. But it doesn't make any sense for us now to open with some kind of aggressive and adversarial posture. We're opening with a very open posture. We want the Congress to consult with us. We want to consult with them. We want to hear their ideas, and we would like their support.
Q Nick, when the Secretary was asked about this, I think on his frequent MacNeil/Lehrer appearances, the interviewer wisely didn't stop- - didn't let the conversation stop at "We'd like Congress' support and we'll consult." Administrations always consult. They consult with they go into Vietnam wars, they consult all the time.
But the Secretary was asked if he would need Congressional approval, or would seek Congressional approval, and he said yes. I can find the text if you need it.
Since then, I haven't heard that again. Now, I hear "consultation" again and how wise our course is. There is no emergency action involved here where the President can send troops overseas without Congressional approval to meet an instant emergency, but then retrospectively has to explain why he did it.
This is a planned scenario. Is the Administration -- either I misunderstood the Secretary -- going back to the traditional argument of most Administrations -- they'll chat-up Congress on it but do what they think is wise?
Will you seek Congressional approval before committing up to 20,000 American troops into a hazardous situation where it's entirely predictable?
MR. BURNS: I had hoped that I already answered that question. Maybe I didn't to your satisfaction. But I think --
Q It's not consistent with what the Secretary said. It's the only reason I'm --
MR. BURNS: I remember what the Secretary said. I remember very clearly what he said. What he said was pretty much what Mr. Panetta said yesterday -- in his full answer to the question -- and also in his answer to the question on the "Today" show that was made a couple of days prior to that. And that is, of course, the Congress has the ability to prevent the Administration the Administration from taking an action if they choose to do that through their power of purse.
In that sense, of course, we would hope very much for Congressional endorsement. The Secretary used the words "Congressional approval." Another way to put it would be Congressional endorsement. We would like very much for Congress to proactively and positively endorse this.
Congress always reserves the right to use the power of the purse with any Administration. But there is no question that the President has the constitutional authority to deploy American troops overseas. We would like the Congress to agree that in his particular instance, speaking hypothetically, if peace is arranged in Bosnia, that the United States military forces would be part of the effort to help preserve that peace.
Q (Inaudible) a long answer, and I wonder if you just use NATO in a kind of generic sense? You have this problem -- the U.S. does -- has this problem with the Russians. You said that NATO would be drawing up these plans. This gets back to whether you -- there's a name now for this implementation group.
Here we go again. Were you speaking quickly when you said "NATO?" Might it be something in addition to NATO if you're involving non-NATO nations? Isn't that what Mr. Rifkind was talking about?
MR. BURNS: No. I meant to use the term "NATO' in that sense, Barry, because United States military forces can only serve under NATO command. We will not put our troops into a situation where they're serving under anybody else's command. We have learned our lessons from the past three years. We've learned our lessons from the failure of the dual-key as it was constructed up until the London conference.
NATO is very much the place where the military planning will occur; in fact, where it is occurring now. That is why the interlocutor for the Russian three-star General will be General Joulwan who, of course, has a NATO hat.
Q On the double-key, the Secretary General's special representative in Yugoslavia, Mr. Akashi, has been defenestrated this morning. Does this cause great sorrow around this building?
MR. BURNS: Excuse me? I didn't quite --
Q He resigned.
MR. BURNS: I hadn't seen the reports that he had.
Q He has. Does that cause great sorrow and the gnashing of the teeth around this building?
MR. BURNS: I've not seen the reports so therefore it's difficult to give you an official reaction.
Mr. Akashi has served for a long time under very difficult circumstances. We've had an active relationship with him. Dick Holbrooke just meet with him a couple of days ago in the region.
We think he has actually perhaps a lot of advice to give us as we construct the Proximity Peace Talks because he was so instrumental in the Cambodian situation. There may be lessons that we can learn from that situation to help us do a successful job on Bosnia.
Q Was his removal something that this government had sought?
MR. BURNS: It's certainly not something that we have sought. I'm not aware of any request that we have made to the U.N. Secretary General. That's really something that the U.N. Secretary General has as his sole preserve.
Q Nick, you spoke earlier of trying to achieve an equilibrium of forces in Bosnia. Does it boil down to a choice between reducing the arms on the Serb side or building up the arms on the Bosnian Government side?
MR. BURNS: We are first and foremost looking for a cease-fire -- for everyone, including the Bosnian Government, to lay down their arms.
What these previous questions were referring to was the hypothetical situation of peace breaking out -- which we hope will happen but we can't be sure about -- and then how do you act to help preserve that peace, in addition to fielding an international military force? That's one the questions.
I can't say right now that we're going to take any active measures to reduce one and build up the other.
Q In seeking Congressional support, does the Administration feel it's in the position of having to lean forward on arming the Muslims because there's such strong Congressional sentiment for that?
MR. BURNS: We never felt it made sense to arm the Bosnian Government as long as the situation was what it was throughout the last year or so. We felt it made sense to try to get all the parties to stop fighting. If that happens, if there's a peace agreement, we'll be open -- very much open -- to a new kind of relationship with the Bosnian Government on the military side. But we've made no specific plans or commitments.
Q If there is a lifting of the arms embargo, do you still insist that it be multilateral rather than unilateral?
MR. BURNS: We certainly hope that it would multilateral. That's been our position all along.
Q You hope, but you wouldn't insist on it?
MR. BURNS: We hope very much that it would be multilateral and not unilateral.
Q To take you back to Barry's original question on this conference that Malcolm Rifkind announced. I didn't catch your answer. Is this something you all are aware of? Did you caught you by surprise? When does it come in relation to the Proximity Talks and the Paris Talks?
MR. BURNS: We have been talking to our Contact Group allies about the diplomatic timetable between today and October 31. The Moscow Contact Group meeting is a part of that timetable. There well may be other meetings before the conference begins to try to make sure that we have sufficiently narrowed the gaps between the parties that still exist, and have set a good agenda that can be successful.
I have nothing to announce by way of other meetings, but there very well may be other meetings in which case the hosts will announce them.
MR. BURNS: There have been some discussions with the UK about the UK's involvement in this process. I am not in a position to announce such meetings.
Q Nick, a quick one, very quickly. When you listed the significant differences, I believe you did not mention dual-key. Is that still a problem with the Russians?
MR. BURNS: Significant differences --
Q With the Russians.
MR. BURNS: The United States is not going to put itself in a position or agree to any military arrangement where the kind of dual-key structure that existed until July and August is in place. That shackled the forces on the ground. It shackled the NATO air forces.
I think you saw the success of our efforts once we had delivered ourselves from the dual-key system, namely, the NATO air campaign of the first two weeks of September which was highly effective without the dual-key.
Q Yeah. Russia still holding out for a dual-key?
MR. BURNS: It's one of the issues that we've talked about. But we will not put our forces under a dual-key system of that type.
Q The peace implementation group is envisioned to be under the ultimate command of General Joulwan, Willy Claes, the Ministers of NATO? Who?
MR. BURNS: The decision as to which individual will lead it has not been made but the United States certainly intends that this would be a NATO-led effort, and that is the intention of our NATO allies.
Q You mentioned that Vice President Gore met with Chernomyrdin in May in Maine over the weekend?
MR. BURNS: Yes.
Q Was that a regular meeting of the Gore-Chernomyrdin group --
MR. BURNS: It was not a full meeting of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission. Prime Minister Chernomyrdin was an official visit to Canada. While he was there, the Vice President suggested to him that it might be a good idea to meet just for a couple of hours when the Prime Minister was preparing to leave Canada for Russia. So they met in Bangor, Maine, on Saturday. They had a couple of hours together.
I believe there were only a few other people in the room with them so it wasn't the full session that you've seen in the past. It was a good opportunity for them to take stock of where the Commission is on the energy and economic issues that are at the center of the Commission's work. But also to talk about Bosnia and some of the issues that were discussed at Geneva on Sunday with the Defense Ministers.
Q Also on Russia. Do you have any comment on the Caspian oil deal?
MR. BURNS: The United States is very pleased that the international oil consortium in the Caspian has made a decision. That decision, of course, is to have in its strategic planning for the next 10 years and beyond two major export routes for its oil. One that would flow from the Caspian Sea through Russia to the Russian Black Sea ports, and the other that would flow from Azerbaijan, from the Caspian, through Georgia and then down through Turkey to a major Turkish port.
This, we think, is a positive decision. Because the Caspian certainly has the potential to be one of a major exporting sources now for oil as we look into the 21st Century. We think that the idea of having two pipelines makes sense for the five American companies involved and also makes sense for a number of our friends and allies in the area, including Turkey. So we're please at the decision.
As you know, President Clinton had a good discussion about this specific issue with President Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, last week. We think that a lot of progress has been made.
It took a long time for the oil consortium -- these are American companies, the Azeri state company, the Russian state company -- Lukoil -- to come to this decision.
What we did not want to see, frankly, was a third pipeline that might travel through Iran for export purposes. So we're very satisfied that both pipelines will be built, and the interests of some of our allies have been taken into account.
Q The Russians, for example? Perhaps Mr. Chernomyrdin in Bangor continued to the end to express objections to the second pipeline?
MR. BURNS: I can't take you into every discussion we've had with the Russian Government. In the past, some Russian Government officials were opposed to the idea of multiple pipeline routes. Some Russian Government officials wanted to have this consortium only export through Russia.
I don't believe that was the point of view of all Russian Government officials. I don't know what position Prime Minister Chernomyrdin took on Saturday, but we think this is going to enhance the ability of our firms that are involved -- the five American firms -- to make a profit; and also to serve a larger interest, which is to help Azerbaijan prospect for oil, export it and help to give the world another source of oil for the next century.
Q A brief --
MR. BURNS: Mike.
Q A question on the peacekeeping force. Is agreement with the Russians essential to getting this to work, or -- as with the case of Congress -- is the Administration prepared and determined to move forward on the Implementation Force whether Russia participates or not?
MR. BURNS: We fully expect to reach a decision with Russia, and it's important. It's important for the success of an Implementation Force because Russia, like it or not, will play a role; and we think it's important for the sake of the U.S.-Russian relationship that we be able to work out differences where they occur. We clearly have some differences right now and we think that we can work them out with Russia. So it's very important to the success of this operation.
Q But is it crucial?
MR. BURNS: Yes, I'd be glad to use the word "crucial." It is crucial because we certainly don't want to see a situation where Russia is on the outside of the glass looking in. It's much better to have Russia inside.
Q They can tie it up in knots.
MR. BURNS: Excuse me?
Q So they can tie it up in knots.
MR. BURNS: I don't believe that's the intention of the Russian Government. The President has talked to President Yeltsin directly. The Secretary has talked to Minister Kozyrev. Now the two Defense Ministers have talked.
We sense from the Russian Government a great interest in having Russia help the parties reach a cease-fire and then keep a permanent peace agreement in place.
We do not sense any degree of bad faith at this point.
Q Willy Claes has stated that nine months would be very much the maximum period that this Peace Implementation Force would be needed. Will the Administration go to Congress and ask for nine months of funding or predicate its plan on some kind of a time frame?
MR. BURNS: We don't know what the specific mission of the force will be. We won't know that until the peace agreement is reached; and so therefore we can't advise the Congress now as to the length of the peace mission itself or to its requirements, size, or cost. We have a ballpark notion of what a logical U.S. contribution would be. It will be many thousands of troops. Whether it's l0,000 or l5,000 or 25,000 is anybody's guess at this point. We'll just have to wait and see how the situation develops.
Q Did the Administration foresee the initial contingent of peacekeepers withdrawing after X-period of time and to be replaced by a permanent peacekeeping mission, following the Haiti model that you mentioned earlier
MR. BURNS: We haven't made that decision yet. We are considering a number of different options, but we've not made any commitment along those lines.
Q I know you haven't made a commitment. Is that one you're considering?
MR. BURNS: It's a possible option at this point, but we're at the early stages in that particular one.
Q Have you given any thought to how that one would be commanded? Would it be a U.N.-style operation?
MR. BURNS: I don't believe so. I think that most people in our Government are concentrating on the first one first.
Any other non-Bosnia questions? (Laughter)
Q Yes, non-Bosnia.
MR. BURNS: Non-Bosnia? Why don't we go to Bosnia questions in the second session.
Q Has Mr. Castro applied for a visa?
MR. BURNS: Yes, he has. Fidel Castro applied for a visa yesterday at the U.S. Mission in Havana. He did not come personally. His application was sent along with the application of a number of other officials in the Cuban Government who wish to participate in the U.N. General Assembly.
We are currently reviewing Mr. Castro's application, as well as others, and we'll be arriving at a decision on those shortly.
Q Will these specific dates be put on his application?
MR. BURNS: I asked that question myself and I was not given an answer to that. It's generally a part of the visa process. You indicate how long you intend to spend in the United States.
Q What it granted? Sorry; go ahead.
Q Is it correct that a head of state has never been refused a visa?
MR. BURNS: I think two things are correct here.
One is that the United States controls its borders. The United States alone will decide who receives a U.S. visa.
It is also correct that under the Headquarters Agreement, since the late l940s the United States, as host nation, has always granted visas to heads of state who have requested them from whatever country --
Q Was it given --
MR. BURNS: -- from member states of the United Nations.
Q What's to review in the application?
MR. BURNS: We always review all applications as opposed to rubber- stamping them. We are reviewing this application as well as others. I'm sure we'll have a decision shortly.
Q Are you consulting with the Hill on this?
MR. BURNS: I'm sure we'll consult with the Hill on this. I don't know if that will be prior to or after the decision, but I'm sure we will consult with the Hill.
We consult with the Hill on almost everything these days.
Q Will you brief the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee?
MR. BURNS: I'm sure that the Congress will be briefed -- including the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including the Chairman of the Committee -- in full on this, once we've had a chance to review the application and once we've decided what course we're going to take here.
Q If the visa is approved, would he receive full diplomatic security during the time he's in New York; and will he be invited to the President's reception there?
MR. BURNS: The second question is an easy one to answer. It's up to the White House to indicate. It's very hard to imagine -- extremely difficult to imagine that scenario -- but that's up for the White House to make a decision on.
The first question is also. It is customary for the United States - - the State Department, specifically -- to provide security for visiting heads of state, particularly those who are well known. It would not surprise me if that decision was made in this case, but that's one of the aspects of this that we're currently looking at.
Q Would he be able to travel beyond New York under the ordinary grounds on which a visa would be issued for this?
MR. BURNS: It depends on the type of visa that's issued and depends on what he has asked to do. I don't know. I don't believe that he's asked to travel beyond New York. That is certainly something that he would have to indicate to us in applying for the visa.
In this particular case because Cuba is on a list of countries that have sponsored terrorist acts, it's important that we look at this carefully. It's important that the Cuban Government give us an exact sense of the itinerary. I'm not aware that he has indicated any interest in traveling outside of New York and beyond the confines of the General Assembly itself.
Q (Inaudible) Cuba still on the terrorism list?
MR. BURNS: Because of our firm belief that Cuba has played a part in promoting terrorism in many parts of the world.
We can even be more specific if you'd like. I can get you more information if you'd like. Let me look into that.
Q I'd appreciate that.
MR. BURNS: Thank you, George.
Q Have you heard back from the Cuban Government as to which parts of the President's announcement the other day that they like and which ones they don't, presumably
MR. BURNS: We've had a set of initial discussions. Joe Sullivan, who is the head of our diplomatic mission there, presented the President's decision to the Cubans on Friday, midday. I know he's had a number of conversations with Cuban Government officials.
We do not, as far as I know, have anything definitive and official from them on what aspects of this they can agree and will help to implement and what aspects they might choose not to implement. We've seen some public comments, fairly negative, from a number of high-level Cubans, but we're going to wait for their more definitive response before we talk about this.
We very much hope that the Cuban Government will react positively - - particularly, to allowing American private voluntary organizations to set up offices to operate. We'd like to fund some of the activities of these private voluntary offices.
We hope that they'll allow the news organizations -- the media, our media -- to situate itself there, set up offices and operate freely. That is something that we're very interested in.
Q Have you started talks yet with any of the Cuban publications about the terms for their opening of offices here?
MR. BURNS: I assume that that has happened. I don't have anything specific to report to you, however, on those conversations.
Q Nick, when we talked about that last week you wouldn't expect that Radio Marti was going to Cuba?
MR. BURNS: No.
Q So the flip side of that is Prensa Latina, Cuba's government press agency -- will they be allowed to open up an office in the United States?
MR. BURNS: The difference here is that our media is almost solely private. We do have Radio Marti, which receives U.S. Government funding. So it's different than, say, UPI or Reuters or Associated Press
We'll have to look. If the Cuban Government news agency wants to locate here, we will certainly look at that application.
Q Regarding North Korea?
MR. BURNS: Yes.
Q Kim Jong-Ill has appeared on the stage again -- yesterday or today -- but he seems to be not being crowned Premier yet. Is this delay, since his father's death, like a year and a couple of months ago, does this mean an increase in trying to establish his power in the government or does it mean increasing instability in his country?
MR. BURNS: It's always difficult to predict the inner workings of that particular regime. We are, of course, watching along with you the events of the last couple of days in Pyongyang. What's of primary concern to us is that North Korea remain committed to full implementation of the Agreed Framework. We believe that it has -- certainly, up till the time of this briefing, there's no reason to worry that North Korea is not meeting its commitments under the Agreed Framework. That's the primary issue that we are looking at right now.
Q So you do not consider that delay of his Premiership?
MR. BURNS: No. It's really up to him and his associates to figure out what he'll be called and what positions he takes. What's of primary concern to us is stability on the nuclear issue.
Q Okay. Thank you.
MR. BURNS: Thank you.
(The press briefing concluded at 2:l2 p.m.)
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