U.S. Department of State 95/12/05 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, December 5, 1995 Briefer: Glyn Davies DEPARTMENT--Announcement Christopher/Perry Press Conference .....................1 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Secretary Christopher's Travel Plans ...................1 Report of Proposed Mediation Headquarters ..............1-2 Ambassador Dennis Ross' Travel in Region ...............2 SAUDI ARABIA King Fahd's Physical Status ............................2-3 INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS Announcement of U.S. Withdrawal from UNIDO .............3-4 RUSSIA Chechnya: --Current Situation ....................................4 --Report of Plan to Allow Russian Soldiers to Vote .....4
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1995, 12:50 P. M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. DAVIES: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department briefing. The Secretary is, I think, going to go out and do a press conference with Secretary Perry, and that will happen pretty quickly, on the order of some time between 1:00 and 1:30. So with that, I will take your questions.
One other thing on that: his intervention, which he gave the NAC, I think is going to be put out in Brussels. The moment it's available, we'll make it available to you here. So look for that pretty quick.
Q Anything you want to volunteer? (Laughter)
MR. DAVIES: Let me see if there's anything I want to volunteer. Probably nothing, no. Do you have any questions? (Laughter)
Q Glyn, there's a report that the Secretary is firmly scheduled to visit the Middle East between the 14th and the 19th. Could you comment on that?
MR. DAVIES: I can't comment on that, no. That's a question that really ought to be put to the Secretary out there in Europe. I know that there are lots of different options for his coming travel, but I've got nothing for you on that. I can't help you.
Q On that, there are reports out of Israel that the United States is proposing that there will be a sort of semi-permanent mediation headquarters, manned by Dennis Ross, I presume, somewhere in the Middle East region, probably Cyprus. Is that a live idea?
MR. DAVIES: The reports are coming from where? I'm sorry.
Q In the Middle East.
MR. DAVIES: In the Middle East region.
MR. DAVIES: I haven't seen anything on setting up a more permanent body out there. I think for the time being Dennis will continue to travel as he sees fit, to try to move the process forward. I think he was just in Damascus. You might have seen reports of that, and he, I think, had something to say while he was out there. But, no, I don't know of any plans to set up something permanent out there.
Q Then he's going back to Jerusalem, is that it?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know that he's going back to Jerusalem. I'm not sure what his plans are from this point. He may be heading back in that direction, but I could find out for you exactly what he intends to do.
Q Dennis did not say anything in Damascus before he went back to Israel. Perhaps you can give us a little something, a little flavor of the talks. The Syrian Presidential spokesman did talk on the record. Perhaps you could give us --
MR. DAVIES: I saw a reference to his having said something positive about the meeting; that it had gone well. I can't go beyond what Dennis, who is the horse's mouth on this issue, would have said. He's out in the region. I'd point you in his direction if you've got questions about how it went.
I haven't seen a readout, so I can't characterize it for you beyond what he said or whatever the Syrians have said about the meeting.
Q Also on the Middle East, have you seen any credible reports about the state of health of King Fahd?
MR. DAVIES: We continue to talk to the Saudi authorities, obviously, about the King's health and a host of other issues, and we are heartened by the news that the Saudis are putting out that the King is doing well, and that the tests went well. That's about as far as I can go on the King's health at this stage.
Q Which tests? These are by the American team that went out?
MR. DAVIES: These were the tests that the Saudi authorities said that the King was undergoing out there. There was no official U.S. medical team that went out. The Saudis may have arranged to have private physicians out, but I don't know what sorts of arrangements they made. I don't have any details on who went out there.
Q And do your people think that this heartening news is consistent with him having suffered a mild stroke?
MR. DAVIES: I just can't help you on whether there was anything that precipitated the Saudi King's having gone into the hospital. We're just very happy that the news from Riyadh, according to the Palace, is good; that they say the King's health is good, and that the tests went well, and we think that's terrific.
Q Yesterday the United States announced it was withdrawing from the U.N. Industrial Development Organization. It's only the second U.N. agency the U.S. has withdrawn from. Can you give us some reasons why?
MR. DAVIES: That's right. On December 4, the Secretary notified the Secretary General of the United Nations that the U.S. would withdraw from UNIDO effective December 31, 1996. Why are we withdrawing? There will be an interval during which we will presumably ratchet down our involvement with UNIDO, and on the 31st of December, 1996, we will terminate our involvement with UNIDO.
We've long promoted reform as a means of making the U.N. system more responsive and cost effective, and we believe that use of resources should be closely tied to priority objectives. So we've had to set up priorities for how we're going to spend our money in the U.N. system.
We decided that of the various organizations we belong to, UNIDO was not making the kind of contribution to the international system that we considered essential. We're also getting less money from Congress which makes all of this more difficult -- that is, to remain involved in all of these organizations.
We think on the specific charter or mission of UNIDO that it's more effective to achieve industrial development in underdeveloped countries through private sector initiatives rather than through international organizations. So that's some of the rationale for why we've made this decision to withdraw by the end of next year.
Q As part of this decision, is the United States Government going to pay its back dues to UNIDO?
MR. DAVIES: First of all, I don't know that we owe back dues to UNIDO --
Q Approximately $34 million --
MR. DAVIES: To UNIDO itself, $34 million? We can certainly check to see whether part of this is paid up before we get out. I don't know that that's part of what's been arranged.
Any other questions?
Q On Chechnya. There was some sort of bombing explosion yesterday. Does this cause concern for the United States?
MR. DAVIES: We are concerned, obviously, about events that are occurring in Chechnya. It's a matter of discussion when we meet with the Russians. We're satisfied, though, for the time being that we're not talking about the kind of situation that existed in the past where there was a much greater breakdown in order.
While we're following events in Chechnya, I don't have anything to give you specifically by way of a reaction to what's occurred there.
Q What does the United States think about the Russian plan to allow some 70,000 Russian soldiers in Chechnya to vote in the upcoming elections -- in their upcoming elections?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not aware of the fact that that's one of the items being considered by the Russians for the elections. I don't have anything for you on that.
Q Apparently, they announced it today, if you could take the question.
MR. DAVIES: Did they? I'd be more than happy to look into --
Q I mean, it's only a population of about 300,000 people anyway. If they're letting 70,000 Russians vote, it hardly seems like it would be a free and fair situation.
MR. DAVIES: Yes, I'll be happy to look into that for you.
Q Thank you.
MR. DAVIES: Thank you very much.
(Press briefing concluded at 12:59 p.m.)
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