U.S. Department of State 95/11/03 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Friday, November 3, 1995 Briefer: Nicholas Burns FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Report on Proximity Peace Talks in Dayton --Focus on Documents: General Peace Agreement; Documents on Constitution, Elections, & Separation of Forces; Refugees, Displaced Persons, Human Rights, Police ..............................................1,7-9 --Eastern Slavonia ......................................1-2,30-31 Tudjman, Galbraith, Stoltenberg Return to Region ....1-2,30 --Holbrooke/Milosevic Mtgs. .............................2,9 --Bildt/Milosevic Mtg. ..................................2,9 --Ivanov/Izetbegovic Mtg. ...............................2 --Federation Issues Mtg. ................................2 --Military Representatives ..............................5-6 --Lloyd Cutler, Adviser on Constitutional Issues ........10 --Roles of NATO Forces/UN/EU ............................10-11,19 --War Crimes/A/S Shattuck Mtgs./Trip to Region ..........12-15,17-18 --Whereabouts of Christian Science Monitor Correspondent/ French Pilots .......................................15-19 NATO Secretary Christopher's Mtgs. w/NATO Sec. Gen. Candidates ............................................20-21 RUSSIA PM Chernomyrdin's Additional Responsibilities ...........22-25 CFE Negotiations ........................................22-23 U.S./Russian Cooperation on POWs/MIAs ...................24-25 LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS U.S. Senate Legislation to Extend MEPFA .................25-26 NORTH KOREA Report of Request for Compensation for Remains of Amers. 26-27 COLOMBIA President Samper Remarks re: Robert Gelbard's Testimony .27 Assassination of Mr. Gomez Hurtado ......................27 Foreign Minister Pardo's Visit to U.S. ..................27 Counter-Narcotics Cooperation w/U.S. ....................26-28 COUNTER-TERRORISM Pan Am 103 Case .........................................28-31 SYRIA/GREECE Report of Syrian FM Discussion in Greece re: Cyprus Issue .................................................31
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1995, 1:05 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BURNS:. Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department briefing. I want to welcome to the briefing today several students of journalism from the University of South Carolina and Louisiana State University. They're here participating in the National College Media Convention. Welcome to you.
For all of you interested in Bosnia, let me just give you a report on the second full day of the Proximity Peace Talks. This report was developed by Carl Bildt, Igor Ivanov, and Dick Holbrooke, together this morning. On the second full day of the Proximity Peace Talks, the participants focused on the core documents that we hope will become, turn into, a comprehensive peace agreement among the parties in a week or two or three.
Yesterday, as you know, the General Peace Agreement -- the draft of that Agreement -- was tabled by the United States, the European Union, and Russia, along with documents on the constitution, elections, and separation of forces.
Today, the parties continue to study these documents, and there were many specific working sessions with experts from the three co- sponsoring delegations with the three countries on these documents. I expect that additional documents will be tabled by the European Union, the United States, and Russia later on this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Those documents will focus on refugees, on displaced persons, on human rights, and on police and other functions in the future Bosnia- Herzegovina.
This is the core work of the peace talks taking place at Dayton. This is the work that has the attention of the presidents there and of the delegation heads and the other delegates.
On the problem of Eastern Slavonia, President Tudjman; Ambassador Peter Galbraith, the America Ambassador to Croatia; and Torvald Stoltenberg, the U.N. Mediator; all departed Dayton last evening on President Tudjman's aircraft. They have returned today to Zagreb. Stoltenberg and Galbraith have a mission, and that is to travel to Eastern Slavonia to work with the local Serb community and with the Croatian Government to try to re-energize the negotiations on the problem of Eastern Slavonia, to make as much progress as they can, and to return by next Thursday.
Today, there was a very active schedule of meetings at Dayton. Dick Holbrooke met last evening with President Milosevic. He then had a follow-up meeting which began at around 11:00 o'clock this morning -- and that is still continuing -- on a variety of issues that the Serbian delegation is concerned with.
Carl Bildt, the EU Negotiator, will be meeting with Milosevic later this afternoon. Igor Ivanov has a meeting this afternoon with President Izetbegovic. Michael Steiner, who is a senior member of the German delegation, and Dan Serwar, who is a member of the U.S. delegation, have been meeting together with the Croatians and the Bosnians on Federation issues.
Remember from yesterday, there was an initial agreement to return 600 families as an act of goodwill, a gesture of goodwill, by Croatia and Bosnia. They continue discussions today on that issue and others concerning the Federation. And there were many, many other meetings. I would say probably l5 to 20 other meetings that all the delegates had.
Now, in terms of the atmosphere there, Dick Holbrooke intends to have a dinner this evening for all the delegates -- for President Izetbegovic, for President Milosevic, and their parties, as well as for Carl Bildt and Igor Ivanov. It's going to be at the Air Force Museum. As you know, Wright-Patterson has the United States Air Force Museum on the base. There will be a tour of the Museum. There will be a dinner. There will be entertainment by an Air Force Band. I understand that Glen Miller tunes have been chosen, and there will be a four-course dinner.
The delegates had breakfast at Packey's and lunch at Packey's, and there is a full American menu there.
Q Is the dinner catered or will they use Air Force food?
MR. BURNS: Air Force food.
Q Oh, boy! Can you get the press into that dinner, if we can go? (Laughter)
MR. BURNS: Barry, I can even give you examples of what they're going to have. I know they're going to have roasted redskin potatoes --
Q We can get that stuff on the airplane.
MR. BURNS: -- and they're going to have spinach salad and salmon and filet mignon. It's going to be a good dinner.
I think I told you yesterday that the Officers Club has been receiving better revues than Packey's, but I'll continue to update you on that.
Throughout the weekend, these substantive meetings are going to continue on all of these issues. There is also going to be an attempt to give some of these delegates some time off on the base.
Some of the Serbs, Bosnians, and Croats will be attending movies -- seeing the movies, going bowling, swimming; and there's a soccer match planned, but I can't tell you how they're going to choose the sides in that soccer match.
I thought I would just conclude the Bosnia brief by reading something from the Dayton Daily News by D.L. Stewart, who is a columnist in the Dayton Daily News. He has published a Top Ten list of reasons why world leaders should be happy that the peace talks are taking place in the birthplace of aviation and the birthplace of Proximity Talks. That's Dayton, Ohio.
Let me just read three of them, and I'm going to pass out this Top Ten list after the briefing.
Thank you, Barry.
The tenth reason is: "It doesn't matter to folks around here if you're the leader of the good guys or the leader of the bad guys because none of us can figure out the difference anyway." (Laughter)
The sixth reason is -- and this is my favorite. The sixth reason is: "You can attend any concert you like. Our Mayor won't have you thrown out." (Laughter)
I thought that was good. That was good.
And the first is: "No international peace agreement signed in Fairborn, Ohio, ever has fallen apart." (Laughter)
And that was good.
Q A technical, and a little more than a technical: Will there be any briefings over the weekend on the substantive talks that will go on all weekend; and were you just simply being poetic when you said that you hoped this could be signed or accepted in a week or two or three, or is this the first serious estimate of the duration of the talks -- or, at least, a hoped-for duration?
MR. BURNS: I think I just lapsed into poetry there, Barry. We have no firm timetable for these talks. I don't know how long they'll last.
Q Have you told when you'd like them, you know, to come back to you in a full way on these proposals? Have you asked them, or you're just going to get it in the course of conversations?
MR. BURNS: No; we have not set a time limit on when then need to get back to us on, say, the General Peace Agreement or the Constitutional Agreement.
In fact, what happened today, after the delegations had a chance to study the documents overnight: There were a series of meetings on those documents so the negotiations have already begun on a proximity basis on those documents; and I think I explained before that each of the three co-sponsors -- Europeans, Russians, and Americans -- have specific experts on each of these issues. Roberts Owen, for instance, is our expert on constitutional issues. He's been meeting with the various delegations on those specific issues, and the negotiations have begun. So it's a work in progress.
We haven't set a specific timetable. We don't know when the talks will end. We'll stay until we get results.
On the weekend, there will be time for the delegates to have a little recreation -- movies, bowling, et cetera, as I mentioned -- but there are going to be a series of very important substantive meetings. I don't believe, at this point, that Dick Holbrooke, Carl Bildt, and Igor Ivanov are planning any news releases of the type that we've had the last two days, but I can assure you that I'll be in touch with them, and if something breaks -- if there is an agreement or something along the lines of what we announced yesterday on the refugee families or the previous evening on Eastern Slavonia -- we will alert the media, and I will do that from here and I'll call, certainly, the wires and the major papers and the networks together to do that.
But right now I'm not planning to do that. We'll just have to see how it goes this weekend.
Q I was unable last night to get a copy of the list of participants in Dayton.
MR. BURNS: Who gave you the list?
Q I'm not at liberty to say.
MR. BURNS: Aha! Okay.
Q From a reliable source.
MR. BURNS: The Government doesn't have a right to know everything, and vice versa, so that's fair.
Q I was intrigued, because I was looking to see who the military representatives where, for one thing, on each of the delegations.
On the Bosnian delegation all I can find is a military attache. I don't know where he's based. But I don't see any members of the general staff, you know, or the people in the command positions.
On the Bosnian Serb side, there is a General, but I gather he's involved with intelligence matters rather than actually commanding of the troops; and I'm wondering: How do you have agreements on separation of forces on cease-fire and on the future arrangements -- you know, the military arrangements -- if you don't have the top military people there?
MR. BURNS: Let's just remember that this is simply the sixth shuttle round of peace negotiations that began in late August. We've talked before about this.
Dick Holbrooke started his shuttle round in August. He had five shuttles by aircraft among the capitals in the Balkans. The sixth is in Dayton, Ohio, and the shuttling is going on by foot between those buildings and the quadrangle.
All of these issues -- specifically, the territorial issues, the separation of forces, a lot of the military issues -- have been negotiated, have been in the process of being negotiated for a number of months; and we're simply at the next stage in those negotiations.
It was up to the delegations themselves as to who they would bring. If they wanted to bring their general staff, they could have brought their general staff.
We have a number of United States military officials there. As you know, General Wes Clark and General Don Kerrick are two senior members of the United States military who have been part of the negotiations from the start.
So it is not surprising to us. These are heads of state. President Izetbegovic, President Milosevic, President Tudjman can make decisions. They are the final decision-making authorities for each of their countries. So that is really who you need at these talks. You don't need to have a bevy of military officials. If they want them there, that's certainly fine with us.
Q Your experience from the Middle East talks and all other negotiations practically, when you are dealing with matters of peace and war, is that you always have, you invite them. If they don't bring them, you suggest that they come anyway, usually. By having your own top military people there, you are almost putting emphasis on it.
But clearly the Bosnian military may have a different view from President Izetbegovic. As you know, the fighting is going on partly in Sarajevo, but it goes on in other places.
MR. BURNS: Roy, the great thing about governments is that they tend to be hierarchical and they tend to be pyramidal, and in this case, Izetbegovic, Tudjman and Milosevic are the final decision-makers, the ultimate decision-makers, the most powerful people in each of their countries.
It is completely up to them as to who they bring into these talks. We have confidence that we have got the right people there, who can make decisions, who can be accountable, and who can sign peace agreements, which is what this is all about.
We would have been happy if they had 20 or 30 military people with them. The facts are -- the fact is they chose to bring the people they did. And we don't see any problem with that, and we don't see any problem with reaching an agreement with the present group of people in Dayton.
Q Just to continue that, are they discussing a constitution for Bosnia?
MR. BURNS: Yes. That's part of -- you know, there is a draft document on constitutional issues. And as part of that, there is a draft constitution that must be worked out between the Bosnians and the Bosnian-Serbs.
This builds upon the agreement on constitutional principles that was negotiated by Dick Holbrooke in September. That is a public document and you know exactly what's in that. And so the document that we tabled yesterday builds upon that document, and it does include a draft constitution.
Q Is it an American produced constitutional document?
MR. BURNS: Well, this is a constitutional -- the draft, the actual draft, the piece of paper came out of a word processor in the State Department, but the ingredients and the substance and the words have come out of five shuttle rounds and extensive conversations with the Bosnian-Serbs and the Bosnian Government about constitutional principles.
They have signed an agreement, a draft agreement, on constitutional principles. So I don't want you to think that this somehow is an American-produced draft that bears no relationship to the five previous shuttle rounds. It certainly does. In effect, those constitutional principles have been drafted and developed by the Bosnians and the Bosnian-Serbs.
Q But it's just this -- if you are going to have a new constitution come out of this for Bosnia, don't you want to have representatives from all of Bosnia, not just from Sarajevo?
I mean, basically, the other thing that strikes me about the Bosnian government list is that almost all the representatives here are from Sarajevo.
MR. BURNS: Yes, just as all the Americans are from Washington --
Q Let me finish --
MR. BURNS: All the Serbs are from Belgrade. All the Germans are from Bonn.
You know, we deal with governments. We deal with capitals. We deal with people who either have been elected or who have appointed themselves to power. We can't deal with constitutional experts from regional cities. You don't see representatives of the State of California on the American delegation. I am not quite sure where you are going with the question.
Q If I could finish my question -- yeah, because I didn't finish it.
My question is that Bosnia is a decentralized country and it has always been one, and regional officials have quite a lot of say about what happens in their regions.
Secondly, if you are having a constitution, if you are drawing up a constitution, you usually would want people -- I think our own constitution demonstrates that you want people to be there who represent the entire country and not just those who might happen to be in the capital at the very top.
I mean, even Owen and Stoltenberg in their negotiations at a certain point brought in people from all around Bosnia and made sure that they had some military people along. So that the result -- which you know they could also try to impose a result as may be is happening here -- so that at least other people signed on. And you didn't have a situation where afterwards, having produced a document, other people would disassociate themselves from.
I mean, isn't there a risk in not having a broader base here from the Bosnia side?
MR. BURNS: I'm not trying to be cute in saying this, but did you ever see the film "Lawrence of Arabia?" And do you remember the part when they got to Damascus, they took Damascus, the British officers, and you had the Arab tribes, and they sat around a huge table and they argued for days about constitutional principles. Do you remember that? That is what we don't want to re-create.
And we could choose to have a seminar and we could bring people from throughout Bosnia and throughout Serbia, constitutional experts, regional leaders, mayors, and we could have them debate the constitution, and that would guarantee that we wouldn't get anywhere.
The fact is you have to deal with governments. You have to deal with people who represent a country. That is what peace negotiations are all about. These are not town meetings. These are affairs where the head of state of a country comes to commit his country to an agreement. And if we wanted to have a debate about this, we would have a debate, and we would do it as academics do it. But we are governments, and we have to do something fairly quickly, in the next one to five to six weeks -- who knows when it is going to be -- to broaden the timetable a bit.
So I just think you are really asking us to do something that is completely unreal and impractical. We want to be highly practical about this.
Q On a related issue, are you planning to release a list of the participants, as you mentioned the other day?
MR. BURNS: We are not, no. We are not planning to release a list of the participants.
Q Why not?
MR. BURNS: Because the co-sponsors, the three co-sponsors, have agreed that it is not in our interest to do that. We don't want to release a list of people who will then become targets of countless phone calls at night.
The delegations have come there. I think you know who the heads of the delegations are. You know who the foreign ministers are. You know a lot of the people in the delegations. But the decision was made just not to release the full list.
Q Also in your list of meetings, you mentioned that Holbrooke saw Milosevic and then Carl Bildt went to see him. Is there some sort of division of labor between Bildt and Holbrooke? Holbrooke takes up topics A, B. and C. And Bildt does another sector?
MR. BURNS: Let me -- yes. In a certain sense, yes; in a certain sense, no. There are three people -- I want to emphasize this. Igor Ivanov is part of the triumvirate. They meet every morning; they plan the day; they send their people out to do these individual meetings, as they did this morning on the constitutional issues, the election issues, the general peace agreement.
The Europeans are going to be more prominently placed in certain issues; for instance, some of the reconstruction issues; some of the implementation issues, that come after a peace agreement is signed.
And so at some points, the Europeans will take the lead on those issues.
I think when it comes to the core issues here, the map, the constitution, I think that all three of the co-sponsors will be involved.
They think that they are more effective if they can fan out, if they do not have every meeting together, and they all go out and have individual meetings and come back together at a couple of points in the day, discuss what's happening, and then regroup.
So that's the way that the first two days have gone and I expect that that's the way the next few will go, as well.
Q Nick, to follow up on the constitutional question and also the list of participants, can you tell us the role that Lloyd Cutler is playing for the U.S. in this?
MR. BURNS: Yes. He is an adviser to Secretary Christopher and to Roberts Owen on some of the constitutional issues. He has volunteered to help our delegation and has been helping the delegation for many months, on the thinking through a constitution, thinking through the challenges of getting the parties to agree to a constitution. He was on the plane with the Secretary the other day. He was prominently placed in the convening of the plenary session the other day. And there are other people that we have drawn upon, Americans, to help in this effort. But they are all part of the team that is being coordinated by Dick Holbrooke.
Q Maybe it is semantics and word games, but this Administration has made a big deal about not participating in nation building. But isn't that exactly what you are doing in Bosnia?
MR. BURNS: I think it's difficult -- I agree with you, it is difficult to get into word games. I would separate two things; what we are doing diplomatically from what we will do militarily if a peace agreement is signed.
On the diplomacy set, there isn't going to be a peace unless these parties can agree on a constitution; unless they can agree on an electoral mechanism, procedures, dates for elections -- the question of who can run in elections; unless they agree on a way to separate the armies and the para-military groups.
So we have to deal with the fundamental building blocks of a society -- everyone in Dayton, in trying to reach a peace agreement.
If a peace agreement is signed and if NATO is deployed -- if a peace agreement is signed, NATO will be deployed to implement it and help assure its success.
The NATO forces will not be involved in nation-building of the type of activities that you saw in Somalia or in Vietnam. Their sole, clear, and plain mission will be to separate the parties and enforce the borders.
Q Just to follow up, Nick. Could you generically define what nation-building is?
MR. BURNS: I take it to mean -- from Sid's question, I think what we would all take it to mean is, in a situation like Vietnam or like Somalia or perhaps Bosnia, after a peace agreement signed -- to try to resurrect and reconstruct the major institutions of the society, as well as stopping the fighting and dividing the armies from each other, so that services can be provided. The government has an institutional capability to provide for basic services to the population.
In the case of Bosnia, that is certainly economic reconstruction; it's infrastructure -- rebuilding the infrastructure; it's dealing with the problem of refugees.
What will happen once a peace agreement is signed is that the NATO forces will have the simple mission of separating the armies and protecting the borders. The United Nations, the European Union, and individual countries will have to then coalesce to help the Bosnian Government -- the new government of Bosnia-Herzegovina -- to build up its capacity to provide the other services, as you call it, of nation- building. That is an issue that we're already thinking about. It's an issue that Bob Gallucci is working on.
He had a meeting with Carl Bildt yesterday to work on these issue; and in many respects, others will have to take the lead in this. NATO can't do it. It will have to be the United Nations or the European Union or individual countries.
Q You said that they're having dinner tonight?
MR. BURNS: Yes.
Q And they're bowling this weekend and playing soccer --
MR. BURNS: Swimming.
Q Swimming. Those are all very nice things. But technically the groups are at war. What is the mood really like there?
MR. BURNS: I haven't been there since Wednesday. On Wednesday the mood was quite determined. In the private session, when the three leaders exchanged views, it was a very serious discussion -- quite determined. They have been adversaries and enemies for four years. It's as you would expect, but I don't believe any fist fights have broken out.
I do know that there have been private dinners and private lunches that we have not initiated, among some of these warring factions and warring parties, and that is good. If they're going to make a peace, they have to begin to rebuild the kind of relationships that will make a peace permanent. That's also part of what happens at peace negotiations.
That's also why you do things like host a dinner, which will be primarily social in nature -- the dinner that Dick Holbrooke is hosting tonight. That's why you might have some group activities -- recreational activities -- to try to at least provide an environment that has a little bit of variety to it.
Q Nick, there was a report today that the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal has formally requested that you not -- I don't recall -- something like don't strike a final deal -- a final deal is not struck until Mladic and Karadzic are brought to justice. Excuse me if that's characterizing it wrong. I'm sure you saw it.
MR. BURNS: So a comment from me?
Q Is it true?
MR. BURNS: It is true that we have received a letter from an official of the War Crimes Tribunal -- not from Judge Goldstone -- in which it is requested that at least war crimes be included in the discussions in Dayton. Of course, you all knew that was our intention in the first place.
We would expect that a final agreement would have reference to it and perhaps even more than a reference to it.
Judge Goldstone will be visiting the United States in about 10 days or so -- perhaps a little longer than that. He's going to be received here very warmly at very high levels of this government. We look forward to conversations with him.
As for the specific article today, it's a little bit hard to respond to that specific suggestion because it was an unnamed official. I'm not sure who it is. I don't know what position this person has in the hierarchy in The Hague, and therefore I wouldn't want to comment on a suggestion made by someone who I don't know.
Q Nick, just a clarification. I didn't hear the question back here. When you said there was a letter from an official of the War Crimes Tribunal requesting these war crimes be included, what are you referring to?
MR. BURNS: I'm referring to a letter that was sent to Ambassador Madeleine Albright by Antonio Cassese, who is the President of the War Crimes Tribunal. Judge Goldstone is the Chief Prosecutor. Mr. Cassese is the President. He sent a letter simply saying, as I understand it -- I have not seen a copy but it's been described to me -- that he would hope that the issue of human rights and war crimes would be included in discussions. As you know, that was our intention all along.
Let me just give Elaine a chance to ask a follow-up.
Q The question I was asking, these war crimes refer to what? All war crimes, or was it specific to --
MR. BURNS: Again, Elaine, I have not seen the letter. It was described to me as a very general, kind of generic request. I'm not aware that there are any specific names mentioned or any specific requests mentioned in that letter.
Of course, as I said, that was our intention all along. We're proceeding on this basis.
Barry, you want to have the spelling of the name. I believe the spelling is Antonio Cassese C-A-S-S-E-S-E.
Q As far as you're aware, it doesn't make the specific request that no agreement should be reached without a promise to hand over indicted --
MR. BURNS: That is my clear understanding of that letter, yes. It does not include that request.
Q To what degree have war crimes been discussed so far in Dayton, and in what formats? What kind of meetings?
MR. BURNS: I think you know that Dick Holbrooke asked John Shattuck to come to Dayton yesterday. He spent the entire day there. He had a meeting with President Milosevic. He met with a variety of others; people from the Serb and Bosnian Serb delegation. He met with Mr. Koljevic, who is the "Vice President" of the so-called Republic of Srpske.
John Shattuck put all of the human rights issues squarely before these gentlemen -- the issue of Srebrenica and Zepa, the issue of Banja Luka, the issue of David Rohde, the Christian Science Monitor correspondent. I do want to get into his case in just a moment.
All of these issues were highlighted yesterday but they will continue to be on the agenda.
Q Did he get any satisfactory answer -- in your endless search for a link between Milosevic and the Bosnian Serbs killer squads, did you get any closer to hard evidence as a result of a full day -- I suppose a full-court press -- by John Shattuck.
MR. BURNS: Barry, again, I'm not going to be describing the nature of these discussions. I'm happy to talk about meetings that have taken place but not the nature of the session.
Q Let's put the Bosnian peace talks aside. New paragraph.
Does the State Department now have hard evidence linking Milosevic to the killings in Srebrenica and Banja Luka and other killing fields in Bosnia?
MR. BURNS: No.
Q If I could get a clarification on Mladic and Karadzic. Basically, the negotiating team -- the United States in the lead -- wants these gentlemen to leave office.
MR. BURNS: I spoke at length about this yesterday. First of all, Secretary Christopher spoke about this on ABC News the other night. I spoke about it at great length, if you check my transcript yesterday. I wouldn't want to get in the position of where we just rehash what I said yesterday.
Let me say this: I stand by everything I said yesterday, and certainly everything Secretary Christopher as United States policy.
Q I just to follow this in another --
MR. BURNS: It was clearly put out there.
Q To follow this another step, vis-a-vis Elaine's question, will it then be the negotiating team's position that these and other war criminals from the Bosnian Serb side might be handed over? Will there be a demand that these people will be brought to trial? Is that going to be a part --
MR. BURNS: Bill, I went into this chapter and verse. I took about 40 questions on it yesterday. I would just suggest, read the transcript from yesterday, with all due respect, so we can get onto other issues.
Q (Inaudible) this weekend, as you originally said?
MR. BURNS: Look at what Secretary Christopher said.
Q Shattuck goes this weekend as planned?
MR. BURNS: John Shattuck is in San Francisco today on a previously scheduled -- he's giving a speech that he scheduled sometime ago. He'll be leaving, I believe, tomorrow. He'll be going into the region. He intends to visit Banja Luka. He intends to visit Sanski Most. He intends to visit Srebrenica. I don't know if he'll be going to Zepa.
The purpose of his trip, once again -- we've talked about it for a couple of days -- is to have him, as our chief official here concerned with human rights -- look into and investigate the allegations of human rights abuses. You know that we find those allegations to be credible.
We have an obligation as a U.N. member to turn information we develop over to the War Crimes Tribunal. We are doing that, and we'll continue to do so.
George has asked about David Rohde. This is a very, very serious and important case. I can tell you that we're a little bit perplexed today in describing it to you.
There were reports out of the United Nations yesterday that he was being held in Pale. We worked this issue in Dayton with the leaders of the Serb and Bosnian Serb delegation. Our Embassies in Sarajevo, Zagreb, and Belgrade have raised this personally with all officials in the area. We cannot confirm that David Rohde is in Pale. We have no independent verification of that.
We have not received satisfactory answers from the Bosnian Serbs, collectively, on what happened to him after he left on Sunday on his journalistic mission, where he is, or what his condition is.
We are pressing the Bosnian Serbs at all levels -- in Dayton, Ohio; in Pale, and Belgrade -- for answers.
A number of the rumors, a number of the leads that we have received independently from journalists and from others in the area have David Rohde situated in Pale.
The Bosnian Serbs told our Embassy in Sarajevo this morning they cannot confirm that. They don't know where he is, and they have not heard of him.
We would just publicly call upon the Bosnian Serb leadership to search throughout their region for David Rohde -- to search every corner of Pale and every institution and every group of people that could possibly be holding an American citizen and a journalist. Search, give it the best effort they have, and report back to us immediately.
We're pressing this on a full-time basis, and we're very dissatisfied with the cooperation we've received so far.
Q What does it say about your relationship with Mr. Milosevic and his ability to find out things from the Bosnian Serbs? Since you're pressing this in Dayton, I assume it's been taken up with him. I believe you said that yesterday, that you don't have satisfactory answers.
Q We expect that President Milosevic, as leader of the Serb- Bosnian Serb delegation, will use his influence to help in this. He has said he will do.
We received certain indications in Dayton, Ohio, that we felt were promising; that we felt had some degree of specificity to them. But then when we check in Pale, we're told that they don't know what we are talking about.
So we are requesting seriously -- very seriously from the Bosnian Serb leadership, wherever those people are throughout the world -- to look into this. An American citizen is missing. The United States Government has a direct interest in this. We're going to press this until we get answers, until we can find him and have him freed to return to his work and his private life.
Q Is there any doubt that he was arrested by the Bosnian Serbs?
MR. BURNS: Roy, the problem that we have is that we can't independently, through all the actions we've taken over the last couple of days, confirm that he was. But a lot circumstantial evidence and a lot of rumors and logic would point you in that direction.
That's why I've made this public request to the Bosnian Serb leadership.
Q They haven't even acknowledged that -- that he was ever in their custody?
MR. BURNS: The Bosnian Serbs in Pale say that he's not. We had some other indications in Dayton that he was. We're trying to get to the bottom of this.
Q What about the French pilots who were also in custody in Pale and then, according to Mr. Karadzic, were mysteriously kidnapped by some unknown force? Are you bringing that up in Dayton? It's something that --
MR. BURNS: The French, of course, are represented in Dayton. Ambassador Jacques Blot is representing the French. The French have consistently pressed this issue. We very much support the French efforts to have the Bosnian Serbs tell the French what happened to those two pilots and where they are.
We would urge the Bosnian Serbs to release them immediately.
Q How do you press those efforts? Do you just ask them or is there some kind of threat that you hold because they are here on American soil and they are about to get recognized? Is there some quid pro quo if they don't produce the pilots --
MR. BURNS: I can assure you, Roy, that the French Government and the American Government -- we're allies of France -- take this very seriously. We're using all the appropriate and logical means to secure their release.
Q Nick, can we take a filing break.
Q When you say you're dissatisfied with the Serbian response, does that include your dissatisfaction with President Milosevic?
MR. BURNS: No, not necessarily, because he has pledged to be helpful. It includes the Bosnian Serb leadership that is in control of at least Pale and various other regions in Bosnia.
Q Nick, does the U.S. Government believe that Milosevic is being as helpful as he can in using his influence with the Bosnian Serbs to stop human rights abuses and to help investigate -- investigations of war crimes?
MR. BURNS: He has said that he wants to be helpful. He promised John Shattuck both in Belgrade and also yesterday that the United States, the ICRC, and the U.N. will be given direct access to the Banja Luka sites as well as the Srebrenica and Zepa sites, where we believe that massive human rights abuses occurred.
He has opened that area up to the ICRC and U.N. which have now gained access. A few journalists have been given access but not all journalists. We have appealed to the Serbian Government and the Bosnian Serbs to give all journalists access.
I would say that the commitment has been good -- the oral commitment has been good. The practice has been pretty good. We would like to have a higher degree, perhaps, of performance, and we continue to make that point.
Q In what specific areas would you like to see better performance?
MR. BURNS: We've talked about complete journalistic access to the sites around Banja Luka and Sanski Most. As I said, Elaine, I believe that the Post and Times have been able to have access to at least some of them. But I know that other newspaper reporters have been stymied by local officials. We're asking, of course, the authorities in Belgrade and Pale to work with the local officials to make sure that the journalists have access.
Q Does that mean that Milosevic has only been -- his performance has only been lacking in terms of not being as helpful as he could in trying to get journalistic access, or are there other areas in which the United States would welcome more cooperation?
MR. BURNS: We are addressing a broad range of issues -- human rights issues -- with all the participants. I don't want to, again, go into all the details of that because they're taking place behind the veil at Dayton. I think you know the issues that we've addressed, and we'll continue working at that.
Q Is Mr. Shattuck taking press with him on his trip?
MR. BURNS: I don't know if he will. He is operating to get individual journalists into Banja Luka -- for instance, into Sanski Most. He is on a governmental mission. It would be a little bit unusual in this case, I think, for him to do that. But I know he wants to support the journalists and will do everything he can to get in independently.
Q The problem is that individual journalists going in may suffer the fate of David Rohde?
MR. BURNS: That is certainly a point that we're making to the Bosnian Serbs at this time.
Q Can I ask you about the NATO force?
MR. BURNS: Yes.
Q You said the third thing it would do was to separate forces and enforce borders -- protect borders. What kind of borders? Is it only the internal borders between the Republic of Sprske? You said it's so-called, but it's recognized in the Geneva agreement from the 8th of September.
MR. BURNS: I'm not talking about internal borders here. There aren't going to be any specific internal borders. I'm talking about the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the one state that we hope will emerge in these peace negotiations.
Q So the NATO forces will be along the external borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
MR. BURNS: I don't know how they're going to be deployed. I don't believe that's been worked out or agreed to by the NATO leadership or with the parties at Dayton. We haven't gotten that far.
We talked earlier about missions. When Secretary Perry and Secretary Christopher went to Capitol Hill two weeks ago, they described a fairly clear and limited military mission. We're not going to send American troops to engage in nation-building in Bosnia. They're going to be engaged in a military mission; separate warring parties, ensure territorial integrity. The means to do that have not been agreed upon in a detailed way. They've been discussed but not fully agreed upon, and that must happen.
Q (Inaudible) internal separation lines on the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina as they exist today?
MR. BURNS: I didn't say "internal separation lines." We know that there are going to be at least two entities as part of a future state. That was talked about in the September 8 agreement among the parties.
The work of Dayton will be to define the area where those parties have at least some local authority within one state. That's part of the issue on territory and part of the issue in defining a map, and the end of -- the 51/49 question.
Q Nick, while we're on the subject of NATO, how did the job interview go this morning?
MR. BURNS: The job interviews? Let me just tell you, the Secretary had a very productive two days. He had lunch yesterday with former Prime Minister Rudd Lubbers of The Netherlands. He had breakfast this morning with former Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen of Denmark.
He is impressed by both men. The meetings were productive. They covered a lot of ground in discussing the broad issues -- security issues -- that are at the heart of the NATO alliance, discussing the future challenges of the NATO alliance.
The meetings are going to help the United States come to a decision, at least in Washington, as to who we think the best person is to lead NATO now that we have this enormous challenge facing NATO, which is the possible deployment of a substantial NATO force to implement the Bosnian peace; the greatest every military deployment of NATO forces in its history.
The Secretary is consulting today with some of his colleagues in the government here in Washington. Of course, the President will make the final decision in our government about who we support.
At that time, and only when the President has made his decision, the United States will then consult with Germany, Britain, France, The Netherlands, Denmark, other NATO countries, and we'll try to reach a consensus.
Let me just point out again. I don't want to repeat all of the arguments of yesterday. But the United States is the leading power -- the leading power -- in NATO. We provide NATO's military strength.
NATO would not be successful without the United States and would not exist without the United States.
For anyone to assert, as several countries and unnamed diplomats have asserted over the last 24 hours, that it is unusual for the Secretary of State to invite these two gentlemen here is unusual in itself, it is hard to fathom. The fact is, we will not identify the next NATO Secretary General without the United States dipping its oar in the water and that hasn't happened yet.
So some of our allies will have to be a little bit patient with us and allow us to think a little bit harder in this government, think through these two announced candidates and other candidates.
Q You've probably seen this morning that the Dutch Government formally announced the candidacy of Mr. Lubbers. Some unnamed officials in The Hague are saying that this is a wink and a nod, meaning that he, Lubbers, has the job sewed up. I gather you dispute that?
MR. BURNS: The United States has not yet decided on who is going to support. So therefore it is impossible for NATO to make a decision. NATO will make a decision. We'll reach a consensus once the United States indicates who its candidate is. If there are differences of opinion among the NATO countries, we'll sort them out. We'll arrive at a consensus.
This is the way it's always worked. And for us to be presented with this blizzard of media reports from Europe yesterday that somehow we should get on with our role, well, we're going to take our time and we're going to look through this issue very carefully because a lot is at stake here. The next NATO Secretary General has to work on the issue of Bosnia implementation, NATO enlargement; arguably, two of the greatest challenges that NATO has ever faced.
Q Are you going to discuss your choice with Congress?
MR. BURNS: I think, Sid, the normal procedure is for the Executive Branch to make a decision. Certainly, we'll brief the Congress on this. But this is a decision that the President, as the American representative to the North Atlantic Council, certainly has within his own purview.
Q But will you talk to Congress before you make your decision?
MR. BURNS: I frankly don't know. We'll keep Congress apprised of our thinking. I'm sure that there will be briefings. We always try to brief Congress. I don't know if there is an obligation to decide this with the Congress. I think not. I think this is clearly an area where the President has his own prerogatives on foreign policy. But, of course, we'll talk to the leading members of Congress. We'll talk to the relevant Committee chairs about our thinking, as well as talk to the Europeans; probably concurrently.
Q Will the Secretary talk to any other potential candidates?
MR. BURNS: It's possible. There are other names out there. It's possible, but he has no plans to interview anyone else, at least, for the next couple of days.
Q I think Betsy was ahead of me.
MR. BURNS: Betsy.
Q Do you have any reaction to events in Russia this morning? Chernomyrdin came out and said that he has been asked to take over partial duties in the four power ministries?
MR. BURNS: My only reaction is to say, I think it's quite natural as Prime Minister that Prime Minister Chernomyrdin would take on some added responsibilities at a time when President Yeltsin is in the hospital and is not able to operate at full speed. It's quite natural.
I think that is consistent with both the Russian constitution and with the natural flow of these kinds of events.
Q Does this building have any assessment of what this says about Yeltsin's health?
MR. BURNS: No, I don't think we do, Betsy. We are concerned by the fact that President Yeltsin has been hospitalized -- concern for him. The President has written him to wish him a speedy recovery, and we all do.
We'll just have to take things one day at a time. The important thing for us is that we're able to do business with Russia; that we're able to have a stable relationship; that there is a certainty about the actions of the Russian Government. I'm happy to say that we are quite convinced that the Russian Government is in good hands; that the Russian Government is operating; that we're working with it on a variety of issues -- military issues, political issues, economic issues.
Mr. Ivanov is in Dayton, and will be there for the duration. So I think U.S.-Russian relations are in good hands. The hospitalization of President Yeltsin has not unduly affected the way we conduct our relationship with Russia.
Q On Russia. On Russia, still. How do you evaluate the latest Russian response on having more exclusion zones? I'm talking about CFE limits and the Caucasus.
MR. BURNS: Well, the Secretary Perry spoke to this last weekend. He believes that there was an important breakthrough in the CFE negotiations, and after he and Minister Grachev agreed on that breakthrough, the issue has been effectively now linked to the talks in Vienna, the multilateral talks in Vienna among more than 30 countries.
Turkey, Norway, France, Britain, Germany, a number of countries are involved in these discussions, and we hope that a final agreement among the CFE countries will be reached by the l7th of November, so that all countries are in compliance with the treaty on the l7th.
Q Didn't Russia come back a couple days ago asking for three more areas in the Caucasus, in effect wanting to increase, to deploy more troops?
MR. BURNS: Well, as you know, the United States -- NATO has proposed certain modifications in the CFE regime. Russia has counterproposed others. There is now, I think, a broad breakthrough, a conceptual breakthrough, that we may be very close to a final agreement. And that is being discussed at Vienna, as it should be.
I don't want to get into the details of what all the fine print is, however.
Q Nick, could I follow up Betsy's earlier question?
MR. BURNS: Betsy, if you want to go ahead.
Q I have one. Has the U.S. offered the Russian Government help, medical help, in dealing with Mr. Yeltsin's physical problem?
MR. BURNS: I don't know if we have, Betsy. I don't know the answer to that question. I am not aware that we have, but, you know, I am no longer working on Russia full time, so I just can't say what offers have been made. I am not aware of any.
Q There were conflicting reports this morning out of Moscow. What is your understanding of the extent to which Yeltsin has handed over responsibility to Prime Minister Chernomyrdin? Is it busy work that he has handed over? Is it any command responsibility? Any of the power ministries, control and power ministries?
MR. BURNS: Well, I think what we have to do, Mark, is rely upon the comments of Prime Minister Chernomyrdin this morning. When he left the hospital, I think there is a Tass report out on this, he talked to reporters and said that he was coordinating the work -- that was the word he used -- of the power ministries.
That is a natural thing for a prime minister to do in a normal case, but it is certainly natural in a case where the president is hospitalized.
I really have to leave it to the Russian Government to describe in a qualitative sense what this all means. The important thing, and let me just repeat for the United States, is that we are able to do work with the Russian Government; that we believe the Russian Government is carrying out its responsibilities, and we do.
Prime Minister Chernomyrdin for a long time has been a very important coordinator of a lot of the issues in Moscow, particularly the economic ones, and it is not at all surprising to see that he has now assumed coordination for these power ministries at a time when the President is hospitalized.
Q Since relations with Russia are going so smoothly, is it beyond the realm of possibility that we could enlist Russian help in clarifying what disinformation was passed on via the KGB during the Cold War to the United States? I am referring to the CIA stories this week.
Is there any thought of approaching the Russians to clarify this mystery?
MR. BURNS: I can't give you anything specific on that, George, but I can say that since the Soviet Union disintegrated four years ago this Christmas Day, there has been a good degree of cooperation between the two governments on a number of the blank spots from the past. The Russians have been helpful to us in identifying some of the POWs and MIAs from the Second World War, from Korea, in Cold War overflights, planes that were shot down; Vietnam.
They have been helpful in sorting out some of the problems that occur between the United States and the Soviet Union in the intelligence area and other areas.
So I think this kind of cooperation will continue.
Q If you can't answer my question specifically, will you perhaps take it?
MR. BURNS: I'm not sure -- if I took it, I'm not sure I'd be able to return with anything that would satisfy you, so I think I will just leave my remarks where they are.
Q Can I go back to Yeltsin?
MR. BURNS: You might ask the CIA to comment on that. I mean, they may have, be much more persuasive than I have been in satisfying you.
Q Can I go back to this question? You keep using the phrase, "We are still able to do business with the Russians, notwithstanding President Yeltsin's current condition."
Has either Secretary Christopher or Deputy Secretary Talbott spoken with Mr. Chernomyrdin or Foreign Minister Kozyrev or any other high officials today, in the last 24 hours?
MR. BURNS: Well, Secretary Christopher saw Minister Kozyrev last weekend in Amman, and he had a chat. Ambassador Pickering has been in touch with a number of high level Russian officials. I'm not aware that anyone has had a conversation with Prime Minister Chernomyrdin today.
Q Including Strobe Talbott?
MR. BURNS: I don't believe he -- I'm quite sure that Strobe Talbott has not had a conversation with Prime Minister Chernomyrdin today.
Q May I ask a question about the Middle East, because I am under a deadline and I'll have to go?
MR. BURNS: Sure.
Q My question is about the closing of the PLO office here?
MR. BURNS: Yes.
Q Is it an attempt to pressure the Republicans in the Congress to extend the law, or in fact do you think that this decision can hurt the peace process or not?
MR. BURNS: Well, there is a little bit of good news here. Last evening, November 2nd, the Senate approved legislation to extend the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act until December l.
The House of Representatives did not act on this legislation before it adjourned for the weekend. The House will come back into session on Tuesday, and we hope that on Tuesday the House will extend the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act, which will then allow business to return to normal.
The PLO office will remain open, and American relations with the PLO and with Palestinian authority will resume some sense of normalcy.
Let me just repeat what we have been saying for the last couple of days. The Clinton Administration opposed the action to let this Act lapse. We believe that we should be having normal relationship with the Palestinian authority and with the PLO. We believe the office should be open here. We believe American economic assistance to the Palestinians should continue. We have never wavered in that judgment.
Q May I ask a question?
MR. BURNS: I promise faithfully -- who is going to ask the question?
MR. BURNS: Okay.
Q There were reports that the North Koreans want $3.5 million for assistance they have provided in recovering the remains of American servicemen and they are threatening to cancel future cooperation until some sort of settlement is reached.
Do you have any guidance on that?
MR. BURNS: It sounds like a lot of money to me. We expect that the North Koreans will continue the work of helping the United States identify the remains of Americans who perished throughout the Korean conflict.
We expect that the North Koreans would adhere to all of their obligations under all the arrangements that we have at the DMZ. We have made that point to the North Koreans. We will continue to make that point.
Q But what about compensation, monetary compensation for the North Koreans in return for their --
MR. BURNS: We are prepared to discuss this issue with the North Koreans. I can't tell you what our debating points are. We'll certainly continue discussing it with them, but we want this to be a reasonable set of negotiations and not unreasonable.
MR. BURNS: Excuse me. George, do you have a follow-up?
Q It does sound unreasonable.
MR. BURNS: It sounds like a lot of money. It sounds excessive.
Q Colombia. On Colombia, two days ago, President Samper had a press conference and he was confronted with statements by Bob Gelbard at Congressional hearings where Gelbard had said that pressure had to be placed on the Colombian Government to get them to move on the drug initiatives.
Samper at that point said, "Well, Gelbard is simply a minor official and that I have the support of President Clinton." Do you have any comment on the statement --
MR. BURNS: Anybody who knows Bob Gelbard, knows him well, would not make that comment about him. He is a very effective, very intelligent, very highly placed official in this government. He is the leader of our government's effort, working for the President and the Secretary of State to try to work with the Colombian Government to destroy the cartels that are currently presenting such a problem to both Colombia and the United States.
Bob Gelbard has the absolute confidence of the President and the Secretary of State, and when Bob Gelbard testifies, the Colombian Government should listen very carefully to his testimony, because it is testimony that represents the policy of this government.
Q Do you have anything, Nick, on Foreign Minister Pardo's visit this week -- any readouts on that? And, secondly, can you comment on the fact that they have gone into a national state of emergency and have blacked out their press -- from what I gather.
MR. BURNS: Let me just say again the great sense of sadness that a lot of American Government officials, and I think a lot of Americans, feel upon the assassination yesterday of Mr. Gomez Hurtado. He was a respected individual. He was a former Ambassador to the United States. He was a leader in the fight against the cartels.
The fact that he was assassinated is a very sad commentary on the situation in Colombia, and we would hope very much that the people responsible for his assassination will be brought to justice. In general, we hope for a good cooperation with the Colombians. The Foreign Minister had a good visit here. He saw a number of high-level officials in the Department and around town.
We continue our efforts to try to work well with the Colombian Government on this prime issue of counternarcotics.
Q Can you comment about the press blackout or the state of emergency?
MR. BURNS: No, I have no comment on that.
Q Has the amount of cooperation -- I mean in real terms -- you're receiving from the Colombians diminished in recent months on the narcotics issue?
MR. BURNS: I would say that over the summer we had a very high degree of cooperation and good cooperation; and there was a period just about a month ago where cooperation was quite unusual and quite spotty, and in some cases not very good at all.
We are now returning, we hope, to a relationship of mutual advantage, where both countries are working together in the fight against counternarcotics. That's where we should be.
We want to work with President Samper and his government. We need to see deeds. We need to see good, positive, concrete deeds. We're willing to play our part in that.
Q To the subject of PanAm l03: As you know, right now there's a ceremony, and some of the family members of the victims have chosen not to participate because they feel that the Administration is not doing enough to find those who are held responsible for the bombing. Can you bring us up-to-date on the investigation?
MR. BURNS: Let me say, first of all, Laura, we sympathize with the frustration felt by some of the family members -- probably all the family members -- about the fact that the two people that we believe are responsible for this effort are at large and have not been tried for the terrible crime. It's a great frustration for all of us in the Government, as it is for the families.
There were three Department of State employees who perished on PanAm l03: Ronald Lariviere, Matthew Gannon, and Daniel O'Connor. Their names are on the plaque in the C Street lobby.
Since the indictments against the Libyan suspects were issued four years ago, the United States, along with Britain and France, have been unwavering in our demands that justice be done. Our resolve has been repeated frequently by President Clinton. He will do so again today at Arlington National Cemetery when the cairn is dedicated -- the cairn of 270 stones donated by the people of Lockerbie, Scotland, is dedicated.
Resolving this case remains a top priority for us. We continue to insist on full Libyan compliance with all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, and these require Libya to do the following things:
-- First, to turn over these two suspects for trial, in either the United States or Great Britain.
-- Second, to cooperate in the investigation.
-- Third, to pay appropriate compensation to the families.
-- And, fourth, to cease its support for terrorism, which Libya must prove by concrete actions.
We have distributed this week all over the world, but particularly in Libya and the Middle East, these matchbooks, which bear the likenesses of Abdel Basset Ali Al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, who are the two Libyan citizens. We believe they're being harbored by Libya, we believe they're residing in Libya, and they are responsible for the death of 270 people.
Until Libya fully complies with the four criteria that I just mentioned, the U.N. Security Council has imposed an arms embargo on Libya, strict limits on Libyan civil aviation, reductions in diplomatic representation -- you know that we do not have an Embassy there -- a limited freeze on financial assets, and an embargo on certain oil industry equipment.
We're engaged in intensive efforts to find these people. Just on Monday we raised the reward money from $2- to $4-million for anyone who can provide credible information as to the whereabouts of these individuals, and our own sanctions -- United States sanctions against Libya -- are stricter than those in the U.N. Security Council resolutions.
We have no Embassy in Tripoli. All American trade with Libya is banned. All Libyan assets in the United States are frozen. We do not allow United States companies to operate in Libya. Travel to Libya by United States citizens is restricted.
Libya has evaded its responsibilities. Libya has not met the international call for cooperation in this respect.
In the case of PanAm l03, from December l988, will not be closed until these two suspects are turned over to us, until they are tried, and by normal international practices until justice is done.
Q I'm sorry. A little housekeeping. Did somebody call a filing break? Was a filing break called and granted?
MR. BURNS: Was a filing break called? I'm sorry. I failed to even realize that, Sid. My error.
Q We didn't need it over here.
Q I didn't hear it.
Q Who called it?
Q One last question.
MR. BURNS: Was it called by Barry?
Q Barry is always audible.
Q Well, he wasn't audible over here.
Q One last question.
Q Galbraith and Stoltenberg have gone to Sector East or to Eastern Slavonia, but I gather that the Serbs in Slavonia declared that they will not accept Croatian sovereignty. They did that in the last 24 hours. Are you aware of that? Has that come up in Dayton?
MR. BURNS: I didn't hear that, but we're in a negotiation. Sometimes positions harden in negotiation. I wouldn't be surprised by anything we hear.
We'd like to work out an arrangement whereby the status is clarified of Eastern Slavonia. The United States position is that Eastern Slavonia is Croatian and that Croatian sovereignty should be transferred.
Q Is (inaudible) saying that Mr. Milosevic agrees with that?
MR. BURNS: I believe we're in negotiation, and I'm not at liberty to reveal the details of those negotiations at Dayton or in --
Q Eastern Slavonia.
MR. BURNS: -- Eastern Slavonia; yes.
Q A Syrian Foreign Minister traveled to Athens, Greece, this week and both sides agreed they had a very good meeting. Among other things, Al-Shara said that Syria is now supporting the Greek position in Cyprus, and also that Greece and Syria are two peaceful nations; but there's one other nation in the region which is planning both Greece and Syria -- which thought was a veiled reference to Turkey, of course.
Now, given the fact that Syria is on the State Department's list of terrorist states, what do you make of this latest rapprochement between Greece and Syria?
MR. BURNS: I know nothing about this rapprochement. I'm sure that there are people in our Government who know a lot more than me. It's hard for me to comment on it.
Greece and Turkey are valued NATO allies, and we know that both Greece and Turkey will continue their efforts to resolve their problems. I don't think it's helpful for me to try to contribute to those problems from this podium.
Any final questions on any other subject?
Q One more on the record about Libya. Does the United States still believe, or did it ever believe, that Qadhafi was complicitous in ordering the bombing of PanAm l03; and does this country work for the end of the Qadhafi regime?
MR. BURNS: I can't answer the first question. I can say that as the leader in that country is responsible for the fact that two criminals are at large in his country. He has a responsibility to return them -- to turn them over to international authorities for prosecution.
Q Thank you.
MR. BURNS: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 2:07 p.m.)
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