U.S. Department of State 95/11/22 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Wednesday, November 22, 1995 Briefer: Nicholas Burns FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Reaction of Bosnian Serbs to Peace Agreement ............1-2,18-19 Deployment of U.S. Troops/NATO Implementation Force .....3,7-8 --Heavy Weapons Withdrawal/Demilitarization .............6-7,8-9 Congressional Reaction/National Security Interest .......4-6,15-16 Structure of Bosnia-Herzegovina .........................9-10,17 Status of UNPROFOR/Deployment of Russian Troops .........10-11,17 NATO Secretary General ..................................11-12 Travel Plans of Secretary Christopher ...................12-13 Conferences in London/Paris/Bonn ........................13-15 Timing/Location of Signing Ceremony .....................15,16-17 Comments of President Izetbegovic on the Peace Agreement.18-19 Lifting of Sanctions/Arms Embargo .......................19-20 Human Rights/Refugee Situation ..........................20 Death of U.S. Citizen ...................................20-21 Status of Brcko Corridor ................................21 TURKEY Human Rights Report .....................................22 Interview with PKK Leader ...............................22 IRAQ Talks with Kurdish Groups ...............................23 KASHMIR Hostage Situation .......................................23-24 CHINA Formal Arrest of Wei Jingsheng ..........................24,25 Relations with Taiwan ...................................25 U.S.-China Relations ....................................25 NIGERIA Possibility of Sanctions/Oil Embargo ....................25-26 FRANCE Nuclear Testing .........................................26-27 JAPAN President Clinton's Travel Plans ........................27
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1995, 1:11 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BURNS: Welcome to the State Department briefing.
George, good to see you. I'd be glad to go right to your questions.
Q Are you troubled by the fact that the Bosnian Serbs feel they got roped into an agreement which they feel was not particularly advantageous to them? Does this not bode ill for the future?
MR. BURNS: I think I have two thoughts on that, George. One is that the war is over and they have to realize that the war is over. They can't refight the war. And the war is over because the United States and its allies in Europe decided in midsummer that we had to turn around the situation, and we did. The fact that the peace agreement was signed yesterday in Dayton is, I think, testimony to the fact that there is a renewed Western will to make peace, and there is also the combined will of the three Presidents who signed the agreement yesterday. In that respect, President Milosevic has committed and has signed for the Bosnian Serbs. Way back on August 30, they formed a joint Serb/Bosnian- Serb delegation. He's the leader of that delegation, and he has been making commitments for the Bosnian Serbs all along the way, from late August through the agreements in September, on the cease-fire and on elections and constitutional principles.
All aspects of the agreement made yesterday, signed yesterday, are aspects that President Milosevic has agreed are commitments from the joint Serb/Bosnian-Serb delegation. That's good enough for us.
We've heard the threats from Pale, and we've seen the dissatisfaction from some of the Bosnian Serb leaders. The fact is they've got to understand that the time for peace has come and that the war is over. The people of Sarajevo will not have to live again this winter the way they've had to live for the past four.
We're very proud of the fact that the United States had quite a lot to do with bringing this about. We're proud of our negotiating team.
Q Nick, the Bosnian Serbs are not known for being especially quick learners. (Laughter) Suppose they haven't realized that the war is over. Do they have the ability as spoilers to unilaterally start the war again?
MR. BURNS: Oh, it would be very much to their disadvantage if they ever thought about restarting the war. The fact is they were on the run throughout late summer and throughout the autumn. The situation turned around on them completely. Their dream of a greater Serbia vanished during the Croatian offensive, and certainly during the NATO air campaign of the first two weeks of September.
The fact is all the conditions of the war that had been favorable to them changed. They have no hope to restart that war right now. That's clearly the view of President Milosevic, who believes now that the time has come for peace.
The fact is they've also been represented by President Milosevic. He has made commitments to the international community very publicly yesterday. When the signing ceremony is held at some point in the future in France, those commitments will become part of a very specific international obligation.
So we understand that those commitments will be met, and that right now is good enough for us.
Q Could I ask a technical question? Do you have available for us copies of the documents that were signed -- initialed yesterday?
MR. BURNS: This is the package (indicating).
MR. BURNS: This is the product of 2l days at Dayton, and we're busy getting these copied. I hope by late afternoon we'll have copies available in the Press Office for anybody who wants it.
It comprises a general peace agreement with ll Annexes; and some of these Annexes are very, very specific. It does not include a copy of a Map, but we are going to get a good Map that does show the lines of demarcation on it that were agreed yesterday morning, and all that will be available to you late this afternoon.
Some of you who were in Dayton, I think, already have copies of that. They were given out last night at the Media Center in Dayton.
Q Does the Administration, and specifically the State Department, have an action plan to persuade the Congress and the American people that the troop deployment is wise; and, if you do, would you outline it, please?
MR. BURNS: The Administration certainly does have a plan, and that is to convince the American people and the American Congress that it's in our national security interest to deploy American forces as part of a NATO operation to Bosnia following the signature of this peace agreement, which will occur sometime in the next several weeks.
We're not quite sure what the sequencing of these international conferences will be. There will be an Implementation Conference at London, and there will be a signing ceremony -- a Peace Conference -- in Paris, but the United States has not yet agreed to any dates for those two meetings.
We'll take the next couple of days, and probably into early next week, to work with Britain and France, with Germany and the Russian Federation, and the countries in the region who will be there, to work out the best timing. But I think you'll see that the President and the Secretary of State will take their case to the American public, and they'll do it in a very public and persuasive way.
I think that as Americans reflect upon this choice they ought to be proud of our diplomats. I said that earlier. We had 30 American diplomats who negotiated this peace agreement. They did a tremendous job.
I was very glad to see that Michael Dobbs in the Post this morning took the opportunity to congratulate Bob Frasure, the late Bob Frasure. He started this effort back in the spring and early summer. He spent more than l00 hours with Slobodan Milosevic. He would have been a big part of this had he lived to see the day.
I think we can also be very proud of Dick Holbrooke and his team.
I would challenge historians to find a more complicated and complex set of negotiations over the last several decades, and what they accomplished in 2l days was really magnificent.
You'd expect this of me. I'm going to take a moment to be a little bit parochial. I think our Secretary of State showed not only great diplomatic skill but much greater physical endurance than anyone on his staff. He went -- for those of you who were not in Dayton -- at one point, 22-and-a-half hours straight. He slept for an hour and ten minutes and then resumed --I guess, over the next l4/l6 hours -- another set of negotiations.
It was a great performance by all concerned, and I think all of us who are Foreign Service Officers are proud of the fact that we played a leading role in this.
The American people should reflect upon that. As the President and Secretary Christopher said yesterday, we have an opportunity now to make sure that peace reigns, that the war in fact ends forever. We have a moral obligation to the people of that area to stop the war forever, to provide conditions for them of peace and of stability and conditions where they can have heat in their homes. That's important.
I think the case to Congress will also be that we have a vital national security interest in preventing the spread of this conflict that has raged for many years, because we are a European power and we have vital interests at stake in Europe. The only military force that can ensure the peace that was made in Dayton yesterday is NATO. The only leader of NATO is the United States.
This effort to ensure the peace will not succeed without the United States, and the United States must assume the obligations of leadership. This is essentially the case that we are making to the Congress and the American people and that we will continue to make. You'll see that the President and Secretary spent a lot of time consulting with the Hill, meeting with Senators and Representatives on both sides, making the case publicly, and working with our allies to move forward in the peace process so that this war can be finished forever.
Q May I follow-up? Are there any specific speeches or testimony or meetings planned that you can tell us about now?
MR. BURNS: I refer you to Mike McCurry for what the President may be doing publicly. I think it's our expectation that the Congress will ask for hearings and that the Secretary of State and others will be asked to testify. The Secretary is certainly willing to testify.
This schedule will be worked out over the next couple of days. We've just gotten back late last night from Dayton.
We've thought a lot about this this morning, planning the Secretary's schedule -- planning how he can be involved in this national debate about Bosnia -- and he looks forward to it because he thinks that the United States has achieved a great deal over the last 2l days at Dayton but that the job is unfinished.
This job of peace will be unfinished if we leave the stage now. He can't believe -- and I think all of us in this building can't believe -- that having done so much to end the war in Eastern Bosnia in August, to stop the strangulation of Sarajevo in September, to use NATO air power so effectively, to host a successful and comprehensive peace at Dayton, to walk away now in December would be an abdication of American leadership in Europe. It would be a moral abdication because we would be throwing away the opportunity to relieve suffering in a region that has seen hundreds of thousands of people killed and made homeless.
I don't think the American people, when they look at it in that light, will want their Government to walk away from such a great and significant opportunity.
That's the case that he wants to make. After a couple of days of well-deserved rest with his family in California -- he's leaving this afternoon -- the Secretary is going to come back. He's going to enter this fray. He's going to make the case, along with the President and the Vice President and Secretary Perry and General Shalikashvili.
I would bet today that when that case is made and the Congress has had an opportunity to look at this issue, the Congress will agree that Americans don't walk away when their commitments are on the line. Americans should not walk away when everyone is counting on us, when we are the world's great power and the heart and soul of NATO, and when NATO must succeed in this effort to bring peace to Bosnia.
Q Nick, the President, the Secretary, Secretary Perry, and probably General Shalikashvili as well, have all made essentially the points you've just made repeatedly. And yet the folks in Congress, and at least in the House look like a majority, keep saying the Administration hasn't made its case.
Is there anything that you have in mind that can get their attention? Or is it just the case of repeating the same arguments until somebody listens?
MR. BURNS: I think that what makes a great difference is the images that most Americans have of this conflict. Up until yesterday, the image was of slaughter and bombings and rape and atrocities and four years of warfare. There is now a new image that everyone in this country should see if they watch television, they should hear if they listen to the radio, or read in all of your newspapers and magazines. And that is that these three people who made the war have now made a peace.
They asked us to be the intermediary in that peace, and we did it successfully. They are now asking us to help them ensure the peace. That's a new image and a new prospect for the American people to think about.
I think that does have a different -- that does give us a different way to look at the situation, and it does give the American people an opportunity to know that now that their government has done so well in negotiating a peace, we can also do well in ensuring it through our military forces. I think that will make a difference.
We were very glad to see that Speaker Gingrich yesterday at least left the door open. He said that all members of Congress should have an open mind. They ought to have an open mind. They ought to listen to Secretary Christopher who made four trips to Dayton. They ought to talk to Dick Holbrooke who spent 21 days there, and they ought to talk to the leaders themselves -- the Balkan leaders who negotiated this peace at Dayton.
They ought to listen to us about the specific, detailed, comprehensive military plan that NATO will put into operation and then they should decide. But they ought to give the Administration a chance, now that we have been successful, as champions of peace, to make the case for why we've got to continue this. We've only come half way.
As the Secretary and Dick Holbrooke said publicly yesterday, what happened at Dayton was important. It will not be meaningful or important if America walks away now. We've got to finish the job.
Q Senator Lugar expressed concern about the heavy weapons of the Bosnian Serbs. Have there been any assurances with respect to those not being used against U.S. forces?
MR. BURNS: There certainly have been. If you look at the military annex to the peace agreement, there is going to be a process in many areas of demilitarization. That will occur when NATO forces deploy. If they also look at the prospect of the lift of the arms embargo, they will be bound by this to withdraw their heavy weapons.
The sanctions resolution that is going to be introduced in the United Nations today, of course, looks at their compliance with the peace agreement and talks about the fact that the sanctions can be re- imposed if the conditions of the peace are not met. So I think there is leverage that the international community has.
We also have talked to them at Dayton about our fervent wish that they will engage with us in an arms control regime to limit the spread of their weaponry and to certainly build down the size of the weaponry that they currently have in place.
The German Government announced this morning that after a Paris peace conference, Germany will convene a conference in Bonn specifically on this issue.
There were commitments made in Dayton that will have to be met. As NATO draws up its military plans, it will do so in a way that will allow the NATO forces the capability to be able to push back and defend themselves in an aggressive way if they're challenged.
Q Would you speak, Nick, to the issue of the invitation, the legal permission for NATO to enter into Bosnia? And also, what obligations did those signees make to protect NATO from groups in their own country, those paramilitary groups that may not be completely under government control?
MR. BURNS: This agreement calls for the deployment and requests the deployment of a NATO-led implementation force. NATO is now drawing up the detailed military plan that will be available to all members of NATO.
The President has said he wants to look at that plan. He wants to make sure that he feels comfortable with that plan, obviously, before he requests or he orders the deployment of American troops there.
Q But is there --
MR. BURNS: We have every reason to think that will be the case because this will be a well-planned and we believe well-executed mission.
NATO forces will need the cooperation of local authorities when they do deploy. As part of the Dayton peace process, we do have a specific commitment from all three countries that they will fully cooperate in every way,
and there are very specific ways mentioned, in some of the letters that are associated with this agreement with the NATO operation.
President Milosevic, as leader of the Serb/Bosnian Serb delegation, has taken on specific commitments that the Serb and the Bosnian Serb population will cooperate with the introduction of NATO forces. He reassured us upon leaving last night that those commitments will be met, and we take that very seriously.
Q In a protective way?
MR. BURNS: NATO can protect itself, but NATO does need the cooperation of local authorities on the ground. We fully expect that, and we'll get it.
Q Would say it's a fait accompli insofar as a legal invitation --
MR. BURNS: Excuse me?
Q Is this an accomplished fact now that there is a legally- binding invitation for NATO to come into Bosnia?
MR. BURNS: I think the President, in his letter to Speaker Gingrich, and I think also in his remarks yesterday, laid out the process leading to a NATO deployment.
Q If there is failure to comply, does it mean that NATO would not go into a particular part of the country if you had some rebels resisting? Would NATO simply stay away if there wasn't compliance in a particular area?
MR. BURNS: These countries and these leaders have all committed that that will not be the case; that they will take the steps necessary to ensure that the way is clear and safe for the deployment of NATO military forces. That's a point that we'll keep reminding them of, but it's a serious commitment which they take seriously. That was negotiated every day and discussed every day at the Dayton peace process.
President Clinton said yesterday that this will be an issue that we continually come back to and review, leading up to the deployment of NATO troops.
Q It's your expectation that they would police themselves; that Bosnian Serbs literally would be going after other Bosnian Serbs if they were not complying?
MR. BURNS: The military annex to this peace agreement is very specific in talking about what must happen in terms of the disposition of the current forces on the ground; the way they must be pulled back, the demilitarization, the amount and type of weaponry that can be held in one area. It's very specific about that.
There are commitments that have been made to us that they will be carried out.
Q Nick, you mentioned (inaudible) commitments are in letters from President Milosevic and others. Are those part of the agreement? Or if they're not, can you describe what those are?
MR. BURNS: They're not part of this particular package. There are measures that each country has committed to take, very specific measures that we believe will facilitate the introduction of NATO forces.
Let me see, Tim, if it's possible to release those to you. I don't know if it is, but I can look into it.
Q Basically, they're letters providing assurance that what NATO needs to happen will be allowed to happen?
MR. BURNS: That's right.
Q I'm a little bit confused about the new government in Bosnia- Herzegovina as the military power. I believe that Bosnia will be the first country in history that will carry on two or three different ethnic military forces in their borders.
I checked the agreement. I didn't see anything explaining or the solution about this subject.
The Serbs have a different army; the Bosnian Muslims have a different army; probably the Bosnian Croats has another army. What is the solution?
MR. BURNS: It's a unique situation. I think you understand that. The peace agreement that was put together at Dayton tries to address some of these fundamental issues. The fact is, it will be one state, one set of borders -- internationally recognized -- one seat in the U.N., one central bank, one currency.
All of that is quite clear about what the structure of a state will be. There's also no mistaking that there are two predominant parts of this new state; that there is a line of demarcation between those two; that there will be, at least in the near future, two military forces in the region. That is one of the reasons why we believe it's necessary for an implementation force to deploy, in order to
separate those warring factions. That will be one of the primary missions of the implementation force -- to make sure that there is a zone of separation between them, to make sure that that is complied with. All of that is very important.
This peace agreement at Dayton doesn't solve all the problems of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It's not an ideal or perfect peace in any way. But then again no peace is. No peace can be.
We had to deal with the situation as it was given to us and to the parties.
What is most important is that we have stopped the war. We have provided conditions for peace, and, with the deployment of NATO forces, will insure that peace can be sustained. Without the deployment of NATO forces, there is no certainty that peace can last.
Q What happens to UNPROFOR when NATO arrives? Are they going to withdraw? Does the U.N. take over the humanitarian --
MR. BURNS: The United Nations has said that UNPROFOR will go out of business, and some of the major contingents of UNPROFOR -- specifically, the British and French contingents -- will remain on the ground and become part of the NATO operation.
On the military side, this will be a NATO operation led by an American overall Commander, George Joulwan. The field commander will be an American admiral -- Admiral Leighton Smith, based in Sarajevo. American troops will be commanded by Americans. It's very important, I think, for all Americans to understand that.
As I have talked on radio shows around the country and talked to editorial boards across the country, there is a widespread perception that somehow American forces are going to be commanded by foreigners, by Europeans or by the United Nations. A lot of people think that American soldiers are going to be wearing blue berets. That's not the case.
American troops from Germany will deploy as part of a NATO operation led by two American commanders -- a general and an admiral. So that's important.
On the civilian side, this agreement also talks about a civilian implementation effort. A parallel structure will be put in place, and the United Nations will have a lot to do with this, to help the Bosnian Government establish
services for its population -- rudimentary services that have been eroded or ravaged by the war; to provide for international economic aid to help reconstruct the infrastructure of the country; to help people as they try to emerge from four years of war.
The European Union will play a big part in that, and the United States intends to as well, and Ambassador Bob Gallucci is coordinating that effort for the United States Government.
Q How about the Russian troops? I was under the impression that Grachev and Perry had worked that out, and yesterday the Russian negotiator was saying that they still didn't like the idea of NATO; that there was some confusion. Will they serve under a U.S. unit with a Russian commander? How will that work?
MR. BURNS: We think this can be worked out quickly.
Q Is not worked out, though?
MR. BURNS: We think this can be worked out quickly, I said. Deputy Foreign Minister Ivanov expressed a reservation on the military annex, because he said that Russia wanted to work out all of the questions to its satisfaction. We understand that. We have had long discussions with Mr. Ivanov, and we'll continue to have discussions with the Russian Ministry of Defense, and I think sooner or later you'll see that the United States and Russia do agree on a way for Russia to deploy its own forces in association with the United States.
They will not be part of the core of this operation, because that's a NATO operation, and Russia's not a part of NATO. We're not really worried about it. We believe it can be worked out.
Q Can you go ahead without the Russians if you don't work it out?
MR. BURNS: Yes, we certainly can.
Q Nick, you keep mentioning NATO, but NATO at this moment lacks a Secretary General, and one of the reasons for that is that the United States has not announced any backing for any specific candidate.
(1) Is that still the case, you have not a candidate? And (2) when will you choose someone to back?
MR. BURNS: NATO does lack a Secretary General. We have a very fine acting Secretary General, and NATO has a very strong bureaucracy and a very strong system in Brussels. So NATO will continue to work well as we plan for the NATO deployment -- the greatest deployment in NATO history.
In the meantime, Secretary Christopher has engaged in numerous conversations with his foreign ministerial colleagues throughout the NATO alliance. This is a private, confidential process to determine the next NATO Secretary General.
We do have our views. We are asserting our views privately. What we've decided to do is not speak about them publicly. We had some unfortunate public comments -- not by the United States but by others a few weeks back -- and I think all of us now agree that we should keep these discussions private, and at the end of the day a NATO Secretary General will emerge by consensus.
That's the way NATO has always worked, and that's the way it will work this time. When the smoke comes up from Brussels, we'll have to see the color of the smoke -- right, Bill? -- and then we'll determine who the victor is.
Q But have you selected a candidate, without identifying him?
MR. BURNS: We are looking very seriously at a number of people who we believe would be good Secretary Generals of NATO. We think it should be a strong person -- a person who is committed to the Alliance, a person who's committed to the enlargement of the Alliance, and to the creation of a strong Russia-NATO dialogue.
We also think it should be someone who can lead NATO effectively as we deploy 60,000 troops to Bosnia in the months ahead. Those are two great challenges, the two greatest challenges that NATO faces. We take that very seriously. There are a number of good people who we believe could serve effectively as Secretary General; and, as I said, I don't think it will be too long before a consensus emerges.
Q The Secretary is scheduled to leave early next week for a trip that looks to last about two weeks. And given that next week and possibly the week after could be very crucial in making the case before Congress, is there any thought to delaying his departure or any thought to some intense discussions or meetings Sunday, Monday of next week before he's scheduled to depart?
MR. BURNS: Let me just give you a snapshot of his schedule. He had some meetings this morning with his staff on Bosnia and on other issues. He had a general staff meeting with all the Under Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries where he reviewed for them the Dayton conference.
He went over to the White House for some meetings there, and he is just now leaving for the airport. He'll be bound for California shortly. He's going to spend the next four days with his family in California. It's a well deserved rest for someone who has been in Japan and Dayton, Ohio, over the last week and gotten very little sleep.
Q The last stand in Dayton, Ohio.
MR. BURNS: Dayton, Ohio, Osaka, Dayton -- and gotten very little sleep. He'll come back probably Sunday evening. He needs to review, obviously, the schedule over the next couple of weeks, because there are many, many demands that will be placed on him.
He is currently scheduled to leave with the President next week. As Mike McCurry, I think, said this morning, he can't anticipate if any changes will be made to that; but, if any are, Mike will be the first to announce them, and I think I'll just have to leave it there for now, Laura.
But over the next couple of weeks, the Secretary will certainly be engaging at NATO on the question of deployment of military forces, on the question of a Russia-NATO dialogue. He'll be, of course, part of many of these conferences but not all of these conferences that will take place on Bosnia; and he also has obligations here at home: to work with the Congress, consult with the Congress and to speak to the American people about our interest in deploying NATO troops there.
So if you'll bear with us, I think all will become clear shortly.
Q Nick, on that question, can you -- even though you don't have the date -- sort through what the conferences are and what they're supposed to do? I mean, there seems to be some confusion as to what the London Conference is supposed to do, for instance.
MR. BURNS: I'll be glad to. There are three conferences envisaged, and not necessarily in this order, because the order hasn't been worked out. One will be in London hosted by the U.K. Government, and that will be on implementation issues, specifically concerning the great challenges that the international community has to help reconstruct Bosnia, to put in place the proper police forces, the proper training, the proper assistance to rebuild infrastructure in order to help the Bosnian people survive the next year and prosper if they can in the next year.
Q Could I ask on this one. In London they're saying this involves military details. As far as you understand, that conference will not discuss the NATO Plan for IFOR?
MR. BURNS: I think any time you get senior people together, there could be discussions on a wide variety of issues.
MR. BURNS: I don't think the agenda is set in concrete yet, but certainly the focus will be implementation issues. In terms of France, the French Government will host a formal peace conference with a signing of the agreement that was initialed yesterday in Dayton, Ohio.
This agreement we expect will not be changed, because the initialing constitutes a commitment -- a commitment that you will do everything you said upon initialing -- and take it all the way to the peace conference and sign it and carry out every aspect.
So this will be a conference that in a very formal way is the ceremonial signing of this peace agreement that was worked out with such great difficulty in Dayton, Ohio.
Then the Germans have announced today -- Foreign Minister Kinkel announced today that the Germans will host after the Paris Conference, whenever it takes place, a sub-ministerial conference that will look at the challenges to arms control and to the arms relationships among these countries in the region and that all of us have with these countries in the region.
So three conferences that we are aware of, and we have not worked out the timing or the sequencing of these conferences.
Q Can you just tell us what you know about who will attend these? I mean, will President Clinton attend London and Paris? And also is there a NATO Ministerial or the NAC meeting that authorizes the NATO force? Will that be at foreign minister level or an ambassador level?
MR. BURNS: The NAC meeting will be held on December 5 and 6 in Brussels. The North Atlantic Council meeting -- that is a meeting of ministers and Secretary Christopher intends to be there. That will be followed by a meeting of the NAC-C in Budapest, which is also on the Secretary's schedule.
As for the conferences themselves, the Bonn conference, we understand, is not a ministerial. It's a sub-ministerial, so therefore Foreign Ministers and Secretaries of State would not be expected to attend.
The London conference, I believe, is a ministerial conference. The Paris conference -- I don't believe any decisions have been made in final about whether this is Head of State or ministerial, and certainly the United States has not made a decision about whether the President or the Secretary or anyone else would represent the Administration at that conference.
We're going to take the next couple of working days -- trying not to work tomorrow -- to look at what should be, from an American viewpoint, the proper sequencing of these conferences, what should be the representation by the United States at each of them, and I'm sure we'll come to some clear decisions shortly.
Q Nick, can we go to -- unless there's a follow-up on that.
MR. BURNS: There's a follow-up here.
Q Is the timing of the signing in any way related to the lobbying in Congress for the troop deployment? If the sentiment is not going well, would that be postponed?
MR. BURNS: Certainly, the Administration, I think, has an obligation to make sure that the Congress has sufficient time to look at this question, and I know we want to give them at least a week or two or three. So that's something that we need to work out over the course of the next couple of days.
The Clinton Administration has an obligation to Congress, to give Congress enough time to study the peace accord reached at Dayton, to hear from us in formal testimony and in informal briefings about the rationale for an American military deployment as part of NATO, and that will take some time.
So, yes, the way that the United States approaches the issue of the sequencing of these conferences will obviously be, in part, a function of our desire to give the Congress sufficient time to look at those questions. But I can't tell you how long that's going to be. That's a decision that the President and the Secretary of State need to make in consultation with the Congress.
Q Nick, does this mean that Congress has the opportunity to undo the formal signing of this or delay it?
MR. BURNS: Not at all. Not at all. The peace conference is going to take place. This treaty --
Q I don't understand why you wait for Congress to study it before you can sign it.
MR. BURNS: Steve, let me just take a step back, if there's any confusion, and let me go through it once again. We initialed a peace agreement yesterday -- we and the parties. Now Congress needs to look at that agreement, and the Administration needs to brief Congress on it in some detail, and obviously we can't do that in a day or two. It wouldn't be fair to Congress for us to have a Paris peace conference Friday, and so we've decided not to do that.
The Paris peace conference will be held some time in December. It won't be held beyond that. But certainly it's fair to give Congress some time, and it's fair, I think, for us to take a few days to work through what we believe is the proper sequencing of all these conferences and the dates.
But the timetable here is very short. We're not talking about a lengthy timetable. We may be talking about a difference of a few days between the wishes of the United States and some of our European allies in terms of the scheduling of these conferences. So it's really not that big a deal.
I just wanted to point out that we believe the Congress needs a fair shot at this -- a fair shot to look at it -- and we'll give them that.
Q It sounds like you would like a Congressional vote before the formal signing?
MR. BURNS: I just would rather reserve on that until we see what the President and Secretary decide to do. We've just gotten back from Dayton -- just got back late last night -- and I think we deserve a couple of days to be able to think through this one.
Q Yesterday at the White House, Mike McCurry was asked whether the signing was going to be in Paris, and he said, "Paris had only been talked about; that it had not been decided on." Is the Administration trying to give itself some wiggle room for something like the difference between a formal signing and a final signing?
MR. BURNS: I have talked to Mike about that this morning, and both of us agree that one of the conversations that we had at Dayton with the French was that the signing would be in France, and it's a commitment that we've made to the French Government. So that's the way that we will operate, and that's our full expectation.
Q A couple of questions on the agreement. How many Presidents will there be? In New York, when they had constitutional talks, that wasn't clear. There could have been nine or 16. And will --
MR. BURNS: One President.
Q One President?
MR. BURNS: The country will have one President --
Q It's not a group Presidency?
MR. BURNS: -- on a rotating basis. It's a collective, but there's one person who sits in the pinnacle seat on a rotating basis.
Q Will there be withdrawal of forces? Will the Serbs have to withdraw from certain areas? Since the offensives on Western Bosnia, the Map was pretty much set. And, if there are, will NATO escort these troops away from the area?
MR. BURNS: Yes. The forces will be asked to withdraw to certain very well and very specifically defined areas as part of the process of deploying an implementation force. Those forces know who they are, and they now know, because of this military annex and the agreement here, the points to which they need to withdraw. This will all take place in advance of the IFOR deployment; and, if there are any problems, IFOR and all of us will work with the parties to make sure that the problems are done away with, so that IFOR can deploy properly and efficiently.
Q Will UNPROFOR be involved in that before IFOR arrives?
MR. BURNS: Whether UNPROFOR is involved, I just don't know. I just don't know at this point.
Q That raises an interesting question. Are there some requisite withdrawal, military moves, that need to be made within Bosnia before IFOR should go -- should be deployed?
MR. BURNS: Yes. The agreement is very specific about when and where these forces have to deploy.
Q Does most of this happen before IFOR is on the ground?
MR. BURNS: Yes, most of it does.
Q Oh, it does?
MR. BURNS: Yes.
Q Okay, and then --
MR. BURNS: Some of it occurs after IFOR is on the ground.
Q If I could follow up on a couple of issues that have been raised in the press today about yesterday, Nick. One was having to do with the comment of Izetbegovic that this treaty was not just. Do you or for that matter does the Secretary have the impression that the government -- the Muslim government is going to implement this treaty? They're going to go along with it?
And then I heard you speaking on the issue of the comments about -- some comments from Pale, some negative comments. Did the Bosnian Serbs via Milosevic sign this deal? Are they signed on -- the Bosnian Serbs - - what happened yesterday?
MR. BURNS: On the first question, Bill, I talked to Foreign Minister Sacirbey after the ceremony yesterday, and he told me that President Izetbegovic, of course, is fully committed to this agreement and will carry out all aspects of this agreement.
I understand the quote to have been that this may not be a just peace, but it is more just than a continuation of war. I'm paraphrasing now, but that was the sense of it that I received, and that was confirmed to me by Foreign Minister Sacirbey.
Obviously, if tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, made homeless, ravaged by the war -- the rapes, the atrocities -- I mean, all of that is on the minds of the people who are the leaders of those countries -- President Izetbegovic, Prime Minister Silajdzic, Foreign Minister Sacirbey. Those people can't be forgotten. It was certainly appropriate for President Izetbegovic to remind the international community of what happened over the last three-and-a-half to four years, and the obligation that we have to create the kind of peace that can now insure that doesn't happen to people in the future -- to innocent civilians.
It was certainly appropriate for him to mention that and to bring that to our attention yesterday. But he also said that the peace negotiated at Dayton is far preferable to anything that's happened over the last three and a half years. That's the sense I got from it. It's far preferable to war. We agree with that statement.
Q Then he would have the popular support of his electorate? Did you get that impression?
MR. BURNS: Did you see his reception in Sarajevo this morning on CNN?
MR. BURNS: It looked to be a very boisterous, very appreciative, very supportive reception by several hundred people in Sarajevo, and we would expect that. We expect that the people of Bosnia will welcome with open arms the deployment of NATO forces to insure a peace that they haven't had for four years.
Q Well, what about my question on the Bosnian Serbs?
MR. BURNS: I answered that question before. President Milosevic is the leader of the joint delegation. He signed for the Bosnian Serbs. He's made commitments on their behalf. Those commitments will be fulfilled.
Q Nick, can you address the importance of lifting of sanctions? In terms of how Dayton went, can you address the importance of how the lifting of sanctions on the Serbs from that side and arms on the Muslim side in terms of making things go faster, slower -- how the biplay went?
MR. BURNS: Certainly, the Serbian Government wanted relief from the sanctions that have been applied to it by the international community, and certainly the Bosnian Government, as well as other successor states of the former Yugoslavia, would like to see the arms embargo lifted. Today the Security Council is expected to approve two resolutions related to the peace agreement from Dayton.
The first is a phased lifting of the arms embargo currently in effect against all the states of the former Yugoslavia, and this takes place upon signature of the peace agreement by all three parties.
The second is a resolution to suspend immediately the economic sanctions that the Security Council had imposed against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It sets conditions for their eventual termination and also provides for possible reimposition if Serbia fails to sign the peace agreement or to comply with it.
Lift. We're talking about suspension today. Lift will occur after elections are held. Ten days after free and fair elections are held. All of this is spelled out as part of this agreement.
Q I have another question. Before the war, some of the Muslims were living in the Serbian areas. They're refugees right now. When they want to settle in the Serbian territory, are they welcome, do they have voting rights and everything?
MR. BURNS: The ideal and the dream is of a multi-ethnic Bosnia that once existed -- that was shattered by the war. This agreement does stipulate that people should have the right of freedom of movement. They should have human rights. They should not be judged or persecuted on the basis of their ethnicity or their religion. That's profoundly important considering what's happened over the last couple of years.
The reality is, it's going to take a very long time to rebuild that multi-ethnic country.
President Izetbegovic spoke about that dream yesterday. Prime Minister Silajdzic reminded us every day of the Dayton talks of the importance of that. The United States supports a multi-ethnic Bosnia- Herzegovina. That's the ideal. That's the vision that everyone is shooting for.
The reality is, it's going to take a very long time to rebuild that. We hope this peace agreement is the first step in that process.
Q Nick, do you have anymore information on the American U.N. worker who was killed near Tuzla over the weekend?
MR. BURNS: I have a little bit of information on that, yes. I understand that William Jefferson, an American citizen and a civilian employee of UNPROFOR, was found dead on Sunday, November 19, in northeastern Bosnia. He had been shot. His body was found near the town of Banovici that is southwest of Tuzla.
UNPROFOR is conducting an investigation of Mr. Jefferson's death in conjunction with local authorities near there. We've been in contact with U.N. headquarters in New York, with UNPROFOR in Sarajevo. Our Embassy in Sarajevo was working with UNPROFOR and the United Nations civilian side to assist the Bosnian Government authorities in their investigation of his murder.
We have no evidence at this time to indicate who may have been responsible for Mr. Jefferson's death.
Q Do the indications suggest that this was politically motivated or motivated by other reasons?
MR. BURNS: That's why we're pursuing an investigation. We don't know why he was killed or who killed him. We'd like to find out and bring those who killed him to justice.
Q Yesterday, we were told some of his personal effects were removed. Is that true?
MR. BURNS: Let me check into that for you. I don't know if that's true.
Q So I understand clearly. The Brcko issue that's been put aside for arbitration, does that solely relate to the status of Brcko and whether it's a Bosnian Serb or Federation city? Or does the arbitration in any way affect the width of the Brcko corridor?
MR. BURNS: I think you're right to ask that because this was the final issue negotiated up until 10:30 a.m. yesterday morning.
There are two issues here. One is the width of the so-called "Brcko Corridor." That is very clear. It's going to be five kilometers -- three miles or five kilometers. That was agreed to. It's definite.
Q That's not being arbitrated?
MR. BURNS: That's not being arbitrated. What will be arbitrated - - and this was a final request of the Bosnian Government very late in the evening, very late the evening before last -- is that the city of Brcko be turned over to them.
The resolution of that request, and the discussion between Serbia and Bosnia, was that a year from now that question will be decided by arbitration. So that's the process on the city of Brcko but that is separate from the question of the width of the Brcko Corridor.
Q Same part of the world but not Bosnia. Did you see the report yesterday -- I realize you were doing other things. Did you see the report by Human Rights Watch calling for the United States to end its supply of arms to Turkey because some of those arms -- F-16s, for example -- have been used for the "Scorched Earth" policy in southeastern Turkey?
MR. BURNS: I did see the report. I heard about it this morning from our European folks on the Turkish Desk. I can tell you this. Turkey is a strong ally of the United States, a NATO ally of the United States. We have an excellent relationship with Prime Minister Ciller and her government; a longstanding relationship in the lines between our two countries. Nothing is going to stop that alliance from moving forward. The strength of the relationship is apparent for all to see.
The United States has spoken out on an annual basis when we issue our human rights reports; and certainly more frequently than that, when the occasion merits it, about the issue of human rights in Turkey, and specifically about the Kurdish issue. That remains important to the United States and the American people.
We believe that we can carry out a very strong, supportive alliance relationship with Turkey and, at the same time, expect that Turkey will honor international commitments on human rights.
Q Two days ago, the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat published their interview with the PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan. I asked repeatedly in the past the same question -- he's asking for mediation through the U.S. Government. He wants to return to Turkey. He offered to lay down weapons and everything. What's your reaction?
MR. BURNS: My reaction is that we want nothing to do with the PKK because it's a terrorist organization. We're not going to be an intermediary with the PKK and anyone else. We're not going to support the PKK; we're not going to meet with the PKK.
We certainly understand that Turkey is in a struggle against the PKK and that Turkey has to protect its citizens against the PKK.
Q I understand that Mr. Robert Deutch has just completed another round of talks in northern Iraq. Do you have anything on that? Are the parties any closer to an agreement?
MR. BURNS: He did complete a trip through northern Iraq in which he met with the two main Kurdish groups there. This is part of a regular discussion that he and others have had with them.
We certainly would like to see better cooperation between those two groups so that the people of northern Iraq can be better served in a highly unusual situation north of the 36th Parallel where, of course, Iraq has no right to go -- the Iraq authorities -- and where Turkey, the United States, France, Britain, and other countries are trying to provide for the material welfare as well as the security of the Kurdish population of northern Iraq.
Q Can you say whether there was progress? And who was the negotiator for the United States?
MR. BURNS: Robert Deutch was the negotiator for the United States. He is someone who has been to the area a couple of times. He's been involved in efforts to try to promote better relations between the two major Kurdish groups in northern Iraq.
Q (Inaudible) that Donald Hutchings being held there is now critically ill. Al-Faran is evidently anxious to turn him over, to swap him. The Indian Government is refusing. Can you comment on the urgency now that he's apparently very ill, and India's decision not to negotiate or to deal, if you will, with the group?
MR. BURNS: Mr. Hutchings is an American citizen. He's been held captive for many, many months. It's unjustified. It's a terrible injustice that he's been taken captive.
We do understand that one of the hostages is critically ill. At least, that's what the al-Faran organization has said. I cannot confirm that is Mr. Hutchings because we simply have no independent basis to corroborate that.
We continue to work very closely with the Indian Government in the very strong hope that Mr. Hutchings and the other detainees will be released very soon. We have not forgotten about him -- those of us here in the Department of State, my colleagues here in the South Asia Bureau and the Consular Affairs Bureau who have a responsibility to communicate with his family, to follow the situation. We have an excellent Ambassador in Delhi, Frank Wisner, one of our most senior Foreign Service officers who is working on this. We have not forgotten about him. We're hoping and praying for his release.
Q Does the U.S. agree with India's decision not to deal with this group and not to conduct, for example, a rescue raid, if you will?
MR. BURNS: We are working very closely with the Indian Government. We support the Indian Government. We share its views that this hostage- taking cannot be condoned, cannot be justified, and must be ended. We hope it ends peacefully so that these four men can walk out of their captivity and return to their families.
We trust that the Indian Government is doing everything it can to find them and to have them released. We support the Indian Government. We'll continue to work closely with it.
Q With China arresting the democracy activist Wei Jingsheng, we know that the United States had already expressed their concern to the Chinese officials...I just wonder, have you heard anything from them? Will you have any follow-up actions now about this issue?
MR. BURNS: The United States is deeply concerned with the Chinese Government's decision to formally charge Chinese democracy activist Wei Jingsheng after holding him incommunicado for the past 20 months.
President Clinton, Secretary Christopher, Assistant Secretary of State Winston Lord have repeatedly raised Wei's case with senior Chinese officials during bilateral talks. We are calling for his immediate release.
Assistant Secretary of State Win Lord expressed our deep concern about Mr. Wei's formal arrest with the Chinese Ambassador to the United States yesterday here in Washington. The United States Charge d'Affaires in Beijing, Scott Hallford, raised Mr. Wei's case this morning with the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing.
We've maintained consistently that Mr. Wei should not be subject to prosecution for the peaceful expression of his political ideas. We are not aware that Mr. Wei has ever advocated violence.
Freedom of expression is among the rights recognized by the universal declaration of human rights and by any acceptable standard of human rights internationally.
Mr. Wei Jingsheng is entitled to exercise this right in China, and we hope very much that he will be released.
Q Yesterday at a conference, the former Assistant Secretary of the Defense Department, Mr. Charles Freeman, said that China has already sent a private signal about a reunification with Taiwan, that the reunification may be the change in the flag or in the name of the nation -- which means the People's Republic, China's name, may be changed under the reunification. And I just wondered. Have you heard about that, and what's the U.S. position on that?
MR. BURNS: I have not heard about this particular report. This question, and many others having to do with relations between China and Taiwan, are for people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits to work out.
Q A quick follow-up on the Wei case. Will the Chinese action have any effect on the warming up of relations between the two countries, from the U.S. perspective?
MR. BURNS: The fact is that we're concerned about Mr. Wei's condition, since neither his family nor his friends have seen him in over a year and a half. He's a great champion of human rights and he ought to be released immediately.
I think our views on his situation are quite clear. I also think our views on the importance of U.S.-China relations are clear. They've been enunciated by the President, by the Secretary of State.
There have been a number of very positive meetings since August l in Brunei that I think have put U.S.-China relations back on track. But this question of human rights, and particularly about such a noted champion of human rights as Mr. Wei, will always be part of U.S.-China relations, part of our private dialogue, and part of the public discussion of the relationship -- for instance, in this briefing today.
Q Are you likely here to take any action if the Chinese go ahead with the prosecution of Mr. Wei?
MR. BURNS: We'll continue to assert privately with the Chinese that he should be released. We're concerned about his physical condition, and we'll continue to make that point publicly.
Q The Post says this morning that no further sanctions against Nigeria will be taken. At least, that was the implication of the lead. Do you have anything on that?
MR. BURNS: I saw the article. It was a very well-done article.
We haven't ruled anything out, George, as we look at the situation in Nigeria. We have not ruled anything out.
The fact is that what happened two weeks ago -- the execution of nine people -- was an abomination and an affront to civilized behavior around the world. Nigeria has been roundly condemned and should have been condemned for this.
We have taken a number of measures, including withdrawing our Ambassador -- Ambassador Carrington -- from Lagos to express our displeasure. We are very concerned about the human rights situation in Nigeria, and Nigeria is the largest country in Africa by population. One out of every four Africans is a Nigerian. It's an extraordinary fact; it's true. It means that all Americans have to be concerned by what happens in Nigeria.
We not only have a significant trade relationship with it; we have a significant political relationship with it. If we all want to see stability in West and Central Africa, we all have to work to try to influence the Nigerian Government -- the current government -- to return to the civilized standards of international behavior.
Certainly what happened to Mr. Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots was not civilized; it was wrong and it cannot be justified.
Q You haven't ruled anything out, including an oil embargo?
MR. BURNS: We haven't ruled anything out.
Q (Inaudible) talked to Shell about their investment in that country?
MR. BURNS: I assume there have been discussions with the major companies that have investments in Nigeria. That's part of the pattern of our communication with the American business community, but I can't point to any particular meetings here. If you want more information on that, I can refer you to the African Affairs Bureau here.
Q Nick, do you have anything for us on some sort of reaction to the French nuclear test yesterday?
MR. BURNS: This is the fourth test that France has conducted during the last several months. The United States position is clear. We regret these French tests. We've made that clear after each of these tests.
We are also determined to work with France on the successful negotiation of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by mid-l996.
Q Do you have any concrete idea about the impending trip of President Clinton to Japan?
MR. BURNS: President Clinton very much wants to travel to Japan for the state visit that, unfortunately, we had to postpone last week. We're working with the Japanese Government to try to achieve a mutually convenient date for both governments. When that situation is resolved, I'm sure the White House, as well as the government in Tokyo, will be in a position to announce it; but I'm not in a position to say anything about that today.
Q Well, has it been discussed already between the State Department and the White House?
MR. BURNS: Yes, there are discussions under way about the rescheduling of the President's trip, but I have no announcement. Any announcement will come from Mike McCurry.
The last question.
Q The last question?
MR. BURNS: The last question to Bill over here.
Q Okay. Well, I'll say (laughter) --
MR. BURNS: You don't want the last question?
Q I'll take it. I have a couple of questions, but --
MR. BURNS: I said "last question" -- singular. (Laughter) Let's do this. You've got to give us a break. We just spent five days in Dayton, Ohio. We're all looking forward to Thanksgiving. We want to get out of here.
Q You want to get out of here?
MR. BURNS: One very short question.
Q Oh, come on, Nick! How about --
MR. BURNS: Betsy's already leaving. She's bound for the door.
Q The policy of the Clinton Administration on troop deployment to Bosnia then, I take it, now is going forward cautiously -- not rushing to judgment, letting the Congress and the American people review the facts of the peace agreement and seeking the support of Congress and the American people, is that correct, before a final decision to deploy?
MR. BURNS: We're planning with determination to deploy, and we'll consult with the Congress to deploy.
(Press briefing concluded at 2:08 p.m.)
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