U.S. Department of State 96/01/29 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, January 29, 1996 Briefer: Nicholas Burns MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Readout of Israeli-Syrian Talks at Wye Conference Centers .1,11-12 --Secretary's Conversation with Prime Minister Peres ......12 Prospects for a U.S. Peacekeeping Role in Golan Heights ...12-13 CANADA Secretary's call to Canadian Foreign Minister Axworty .....1 RUSSIA Gore-Chernomyrdin Meetings ................................1-2,6 --Pace of Reform/Status of Loans to Russia ................6-11 U.S. Senate Ratification of Start II Treaty ...............7 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Secretary's Mtg with ICRC President re: Prisoner Release in Bosnia ................................................2,3-5 Status of Sanctions on Serbia .............................5 CZECH REPUBLIC Death of Olga Havlova, wife of President Vaclav Havel .....2-3 BANGLADESH Political Crisis ..........................................13-14 INDIA/PAKISTAN India's Test-Firing of Prithvi Missile.....................14-17 Rocket Attack on Friday ...................................14-15 BRAZIL Status of Martin Pang Case ................................17-18 CHINA/TAIWAN China's Plans to Announce Timetable for Reunification .....18 U.S. Aircraft Carrier's Transit thru Straits ..............18-19 Status of Visa Request by Vice President of Taiwan ........19-20 JAPAN Okinawa Rape Case .........................................20 DEPARTMENT Press Report of Alleged Diversion of Funds by Amb. Flynn ..20 Inspector General's Report on Ambassador Flynn ............20-21 AUSTRIA Weapons Cache in Austria/Reported Cache in Turkey .........21-22
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 1996, 1:04 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BURNS: I have a couple of announcements to make before going to your questions.
First of all, the Wye talks between Israel and Syria will reconvene in about 25 minutes at the Wye Conference Center on the Eastern shore of Maryland. I expect that this round will conclude on Wednesday afternoon.
Our assessment of last week's discussions is that they were meaningful discussions on all issues and all issues are currently on the table. Secretary Christopher is going to be visiting the Wye Conference Center tomorrow afternoon and evening to participate, once again, in these talks.
Secondly, I wanted you to know that the Secretary called the new Canadian Foreign Minister, Lloyd Axworthy, on Saturday afternoon. They had a good conversation about their mutual desire to meet each other soon, to have an early meeting, to work together very closely on U.S.-Canadian relations, and they both look forward to a close relationship.
Third, as you know, Vice President Gore and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, the Russian Prime Minister, are in the State Department today. They've been holding meetings all morning. They have a working lunch going on right now. This is the sixth session since 1993 of the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation. As you know, they both co-chair that Commission.
Secretary Christopher greeted both of them this morning; had a conversation with both of them. In the sessions over the next two days, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, Under Secretary Lynn Davis, and Ambassador Jim Collins will be representing the State Department in these discussions.
As you know, this Commission was created in 1993 at the Vancouver Summit by President Clinton and President Yeltsin in order to form a deeper relationship between Russia and the United States on space issues, on advance technology issues, and since then -- this being the sixth meeting -- they've expanded the mandate to include other issues, including defense conversion, business development, health, science, the environment, and agriculture.
The group now consists of eight working groups, each of which is headed by a Cabinet-level official from both Russia and the United States.
These discussions continue today at the State Department this evening in a working dinner and tomorrow the Prime Minister will be seeing President Clinton, and Secretary Christopher will take part in that meeting. Then, I think, mid-afternoon, around 3:00 there is going to be a press conference -- a joint press conference -- at the Old Executive Office Building where the Vice President and the Prime Minister will detail the progress that we hope will be made at this meeting.
I also wanted to let you know that the Secretary will be meeting at 2:30 this afternoon with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mr. Sommaruga. They're going to be discussing the latest developments in the prisoner release in Bosnia. We were pleased over the weekend that roughly, we think, 318 people -- Muslims, Serbs, and Croats -- were released by the various parties.
We are displeased, however, that they are still in violation of the Dayton Accords. We think roughly 113 people remain captive. And of those 113 people, I believe only 17 are held by the Bosnian Government. That means that the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Croats remain in violation of the Dayton Accords. The deadline for the release of all prisoners was January 19. They're well past that.
If this prisoner release is not complete by Saturday and Sunday, Secretary Christopher will be raising this issue directly with the parties when he visits Sarajevo and Belgrade and Zagreb.
Finally, I have a statement to make on the death of Olga Havlova.
The United States notes with sadness the death on January 27 of Olga Havlova, one of the leading citizens of the Czech Republic and the wife of President Vaclav Havel. We extend our deepest sympathies to President Havel, the entire family, and the people of the Czech Republic.
The United States salutes the many accomplishments that marked her life and hopes that they are a source of strength and comfort for her family and the Czech people at this difficult time.
Q Nick, just to go back over a couple of these things; one at a time, I guess. You said they are all in violation. You mean all three groups even though you then said the Bosnian Government is holding only 17 prisoners? You remember there is some leeway for people who became citizens. Are all three factions in violation?
MR. BURNS: All three factions are in violation. That's what disappoints us, because all three at Dayton on November 21, and in Paris on December 14, signed the Dayton Accords. They committed at the time to full implementation. We don't believe -- again, to make a point, Barry, that we made last week -- that it's wise for us to let these deadlines go past unnoticed, if in fact these parties are still in violation.
Secretary Christopher, when I spoke with him this morning, was displeased to learn that roughly 113 people are still held prisoner by all the sides, and he's going to make this a priority issue if they haven't been released by Friday.
Q Could I prospect on your Chernomyrdin --
Q Could I --
MR. BURNS: Let's just stay on this, Barry.
Q Are you certain that the 113 are alive?
MR. BURNS: There is some confusion about numbers. The numbers that I've given you are the International Committee of the Red Cross numbers. That's the lead international organization, as you know, that has dealt with the issue of prisoner release. They have 113 people on their rolls who they have identified as people alive as prisoners who have not been released.
As I said, 17 held by the Bosnians; the rest held by the other two groups -- Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs. In addition to that, there have been reports -- and even in the press through this past weekend -- that other people are being held captive secretly by some of these factions, including by the Bosnian Government. We cannot confirm these particular reports but we are looking into them.
It certainly wouldn't surprise us, in the course of a vicious war over the last four years, that there may be instances where people are being held and we don't know about them.
Q What leverage does the U.S. have besides your public rhetoric to try to put pressure on these parties?
MR. BURNS: I think the leverage is quite specific and quite significant. Secretary Christopher said, when it comes to the Bosnian Government, which has still not complied with the prisoner release, it's going to be very difficult for the United States to engage in equipping and training the Bosnian military down the road in the next couple of months -- as we look towards the six-month deadline on the equipment transfers -- if they haven't met their commitments on prisoner release. And also commitments -- not pertaining to the Bosnian Government but all of them -- on war crimes issues: access to war crime sites and cooperation with the War Crimes Tribunal. So we believe that these provisions are important.
Q What about the -- what's the threat on the others?
MR. BURNS: The others have an interest, a self-interest, in seeing the Dayton Accords succeed and be implemented. They do not have an interest in seeing it break down.
What we have going for us is that the President of Serbia and the President of Croatia have formally signed and committed themselves and their countries, to cooperation. They've told us just recently, in conversations that our people have had with them, that they are going to fulfill them. So they have an obligation to live up to them. We believe that they will.
Q You have word, obviously -- not to beat it to death -- you don't have the leverage you had because you have the commitment to oversee the training and equipping of the Bosnian army. Presumably, they want that to happen. What is it that the Serbs and the Croats are waiting for breathlessly that you can withhold or threaten to withhold? I don't know that there is anything.
MR. BURNS: I understand the argument, but I disagree with you.
Q No, no, just asking.
MR. BURNS: I disagree for the following reason, Barry. In the case of Serbia, Serbia wants full diplomatic recognition by the international community. I think you all saw a report this morning from Europe that Foreign Minister Kinkel said that the European Union will not accord Serbia full diplomatic recognition until we can see further compliance with the Dayton Accords. That's true of the United States. We have not granted full diplomatic recognition of the Serbian Government.
We've always said that conformance to the Dayton Accords will be a factor in that decision. The Government of Croatia has a long-term interest to be integrated into Europe, to be associated with the European Union, and certainly to have healthy trade relationships with the United States and European countries. The Government of Croatia has to know that is also going to be a factor in the way that we look at their ability and their inclination to cooperate with the War Crimes Tribunal and to cooperate, in general, with fulfilling their obligations under the Dayton Accords.
So there's leverage here. I think Secretary Christopher stated quite clearly last week that the United States is prepared to use its leverage if it's necessary.
Q Can you break down, by any chance, the 113 between -- we know 17.
MR. BURNS: Seventeen of the 113 are held by the Bosnian Government. So those are presumably Serbs. Perhaps some Croats. We don't know. The vast majority are held by the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Croats. So now we turn the full international spotlight on those two groups to comply with the Dayton Accords on prisoner release.
Q There was a time when you all were saying that the so- called "outer wall" of sanctions would remain on Serbia unless they complied with the Dayton Accords. Is that still the case?
MR. BURNS: The outer wall of sanctions, as you remember -- I know you remember very well -- pertain to membership in international organizations and the ability of organizations like the IMF and the World Bank to grant financial assistance. Of course, that outer wall is still constructed. It hasn't been deconstructed. It serves as a reminder to the Serbian Government and to others that the United States does retain some points of leverage here so that the Dayton Accords can be fully adhered to.
Q Can we back into the Chernomyrdin -- off Yugoslavia? Just a minor point and then a real question. There are eight sub-groups. Are they all meeting here now or do they exist simply?
MR. BURNS: No. They all meet.
Q At this juncture?
MR. BURNS: At this juncture. When they met in plenary session this morning, the Vice President and the Prime Minister met with eight Cabinet-level officials on each side. After the plenary session, they broke down into specific meetings on the specific areas in which they're working on -- the environment, on business, trade and investment issues, on the other issues that are the purview of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission.
Then they come back periodically during the two days into full session. At the end of this, late this afternoon and early tomorrow morning, the Cabinet chairs report jointly -- the Russian and American Cabinet Ministers report jointly to the Prime Minister and the Vice President.
Q We're not questioning the substance. Mr. Chernomyrdin came in -- Mr. Yeltsin called the President -- said the reform is irreversible. Chernomyrdin pretty much said the same thing, although he pointed out there would have to be some correction.
Does the U.S. have a position in that pending $9 billion jackpot loan to Russia which financiers, we're told -- Western financiers -- are holding or reconsidering, considering, based on Russia's performance or I guess commitment.
Have you heard enough to back that, or is the jury still out?
MR. BURNS: This is an important juncture for Russian reform, because the International Monetary Fund has to make the decision quite soon about whether or not to grant this credit. This will be the largest credit ever granted to Russia, and I believe the second largest credit ever granted by the International Monetary Fund after Mexico.
To date, the Russian Republic has received a $6.5 billion standby loan from the International Monetary Fund. It has met all the conditions for that loan. I believe the status of the $9 billion is that it was being negotiated by First Deputy Prime Minister Chubais until his resignation the week before last.
So now the Russian Government needs to pick up those negotiations again in the person of Prime Minister Chernomyrdin and the new First Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Kadannikov, and I think they have to convince the IMF that the commitments made by Mr. Chubais will be upheld; that the macro-economic stabilization policies of the Russian Government will be followed. I believe that if the Russian Government can make a convincing case, I would assume that the loan would go forward.
The position of the United States is that we believe it's very important for the international financial institutions to grant assistance to Russia. We think it makes sense. We think it's in the U.S. national interest that that take place.
This is all conditional, however. It's conditional upon specific reforms that are worked out, and we hope very much that those reforms could be adhered to, and that in the discussions with the IMF the Russians can be successful in convincing them that reform will go forward.
So I think, Barry, we remain hopeful. I've seen the newspaper reports that somehow we've been trying to turn it off. I don't believe that's the policy of the U.S. Government. I believe that we want this to go forward, if it can go forward. But it's very much a decision that has to be made by the IMF and the Russian Republic.
While we're on that subject, Barry, let me just say it was very good to see the statements by President Yeltsin on Saturday in his press conference that the Russian Government will now fully support ratification of START II in the Russian Duma after the very successful vote in the U.S. Senate on Friday evening.
Q To follow up on Chernomyrdin, to the extent that he did say that certain corrections are necessary and must go forward -- "we will not be deviated from this path" -- I mean, how do you read that? Do you read that -- I mean, it could be interpreted as defending the changes that Yeltsin has made already. Does the United States see that as ominous -- his remarks specifically?
MR. BURNS: You're referring to remarks this morning.
MR. BURNS: This morning, right.
MR. BURNS: That Prime Minister Chernomyrdin made here. No, we certainly do not see these remarks as ominous in any way. In fact, when I read his remarks, I saw that as a reaffirmation by the Prime Minister of Russia that Russia will remain on a reformist course. I assume since he is in charge of economic reform, he was specifically referring to that. That's hopeful. It's good to hear that they intend to do that.
Q But to the extent that he says that certain corrections have to be made and he specifically mentions the social sphere, how do you interpret that?
MR. BURNS: I think I'm going to have to let Prime Minister Chernomyrdin speak for himself. I don't know specifically what he's referring to, because he wasn't specific in his comment. So I think I'm going to have to refer you back to him on that remark.
Q Nick, I think it was pretty clear he was referring to social programs that had gone out the door with reform -- you know, efforts to help health care, etc., that were there under the Communist system. Very costly, they dragged inflation way up. You're saying there's nothing about -- hint -- referring to bringing those back to make this government concerned?
MR. BURNS: The problem is, Sid, I can't afford to be a mind reader. I mean, it's not perfectly clear to me. It's not perfectly clear to me that your interpretation is the correct interpretation. He said that the major reform lines of the government will continue; that Russia will remain reformist, and, very significantly, President Yeltsin said the same thing on Saturday, publicly, and that's what he told President Clinton on the phone on Friday morning.
So we are encouraged by that. He did say that certain corrections had to be made. I can't define for him what he means by that, what the significance and impact of that is. I'm sure that we are having a discussion with the Russian Government about what it all means, but that's being done privately by the Vice President.
Q I think we've passed the point now where just a statement of, "We're committed to reform," is the point of the argument. I mean, they're going to say that. They say that every day, every chance they get.
The question is whether they are moderating their reform approach and taking the kind of steps Sid refers to, which has an inflationary spin to them -- protecting pensioners, protecting all sorts of people, dead industries, etc; whether the United States is understanding of that and recognizes and supports some modification of -- let's call it a radical shift to free enterprise -- or whether the United States -- you know, the Strobe Talbott/Jeffrey Sachs position -- remains full-blast ahead.
I mean, I'm not saying you ought to come down on one side or the other, but I don't think the State Department can keep saying, therefore, reform and we're glad to hear that. They're saying something a little more intricate than that, and we don't know the U.S. position on that.
MR. BURNS: First, Barry, I'm not aware that Strobe Talbott and Jeffrey Sachs have published any joint papers recently. (Laughter)
Q No, but you know what I mean.
MR. BURNS: As I know --
Q I'm not saying it in any critical way. These folks are among the people for the cutting edge of a quick and radical and some would say painful to certain parts of the Russian population, but for a greater good, they thought.
Well, now the Russians are reconsidering that, and they're modifying the pace of their reform. Is the United States going with the flow and sympathetic to that, or does the U.S. believe that they should let all the chips fall where they may -- go full blast with reform?
MR. BURNS: A couple of points, Barry. You've asked a very good question.
First, I'm intimately familiar with the views of both Strobe Talbott and Jeffrey Sachs. I wouldn't associate them together in many respects on what the best course is for the Russian economy, for instance.
Second, I think that it is significant -- I think you have to grant this to President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin -- that they have come out so publicly and so strongly in support of reform over the last couple of days; significant because there were the resignations of three leading reformers -- Mr. Chubais, Mr. Filatov and Mr. Kozyrev -- just over the last couple of weeks.
Third, we have been saying since these resignations that it's going to be most important and most accurate to judge the Russian Government by its actions and not just by all of the rhetoric of Moscow, both in and outside the government, and all the press commentary in an election year, where they have elections five months from now.
We will watch the actions of the Russian Government. If the actions continue to be consistent with reform, the Russian Government will find in the United States a valued and strong and determined partner.
Q Does the United States have anything approaching a veto on the IMF Board of Governors?
MR. BURNS: The United States has a representative on the IMF Board. I wouldn't call it a veto. IMF decisions are made by the managing director, Mr. Camdessus, in consultation with the IMF Board, and the United States is represented.
Q And has about 21 percent of the voting power?
MR. BURNS: I used to know the answer to this question, but you'll have to check with Treasury. I don't have a figure in my mind.
Q The United States could be outvoted and the decision could go the other way.
MR. BURNS: I think that is the case on most international bodies in which we are represented. But if you're interested in the voting weight, the representation by country, I'll refer you to the Treasury Department.
Q Nick, just to go back to this reform question. Does the U.S. think that an every-day Russian -- their social needs, the hardships upon them from reform -- should be tempered, should be modified in some fashion; that their needs should be taken into -- like perhaps they need to be a little less severe?
MR. BURNS: That's not an issue on which we've taken a public position. It wouldn't be appropriate --
Q You did take a public position about two years ago -- Strobe Talbott did.
MR. BURNS: Sid, it wouldn't be appropriate for the United States to have a public position on an issue like that. If the World Bank or the IMF is negotiating a loan with Russia and it has an impact on the fiscal policies that you're talking about, then, of course, it's appropriate for those bodies. But it's not appropriate for the State Department to pronounce itself on every aspect of social policy on Russia.
What we have said is that we think reforms continuation is important, and we assume that will happen now that President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin have said it will happen. We're not going to get into a micro-level dissection of their social policies.
Q (Inaudible) a couple years ago in a conference call with a bunch of reporters.
MR. BURNS: Sid, I mean, I can't recall every conversation that every member of this --
Q You weren't even around.
MR. BURNS: I can't be responsible for every conversation that reporters have had with Administration officials over the last two years, but I can talk about American policy today, which is what's most important.
Q Can we go back to Wye and ask if the cast of characters is the same? I think one Israeli General is supposed to go home. Do you happen to know if the same people are at the table this week?
MR. BURNS: The same people are at the table, so we have --
Q Two generals on each side?
MR. BURNS: The delegation heads are there, and the other members of the foreign ministries of both Syria and Israel and the two generals from each side, I understand, are there. I talked to Ambassador Ross this morning, and he said that there was identical representation.
Q Speaking of Ambassador Ross, did he engage in quiet talks over the weekend, separately with this delegation?
MR. BURNS: Yes, he did. As we had predicted, we had some informal conversations over the weekend. In fact, he had Uri Savir and Walid Al-Moualem out to his house yesterday afternoon for I think five hours of discussions that covered all the issues that are on the table; that tried to review in a comprehensive way what had transpired last week and looked ahead to this week to see how we could make progress.
Q And what was the -- five hours -- pretty long time -- what -- were there any --
MR. BURNS: They broke for the Super Bowl, though. Dennis said they did.
Q Did they come to any great conclusions or were there incremental steps taken, to use one of Dennis' key words?
MR. BURNS: Dennis didn't advise me that any incremental steps were taken. These were discussions, and now they're back into full negotiations.
Q And do you have a feel for when they're going to end?
MR. BURNS: We expect the talks to conclude on Wednesday.
Q Conclude all day Wednesday and end on Wednesday?
MR. BURNS: Sometime on Wednesday. I don't know the exact hour. We haven't determined that yet. But sometime Wednesday afternoon, I would think, yes.
Q Has the Secretary been -- has he talked to Prime Minister Peres or President Assad?
MR. BURNS: The Secretary spoke with Prime Minister Peres on Friday morning. I think I reported that to you. He has not had a discussion with either of them since then.
Q Has he spoken to President Assad through this period of the talks?
MR. BURNS: I don't believe he's spoken to President Assad since the latest round of Wye talks convened last week.
Another subject? I think we have to give Bob Dean the first order of priority since he's -- a special day for him.
Q What has been said or what can be said about a U.S. peacekeeping role in the Golan Heights following these --
MR. BURNS: Secretary Christopher spoke to this on his recent trip to the Middle East, and he said that basically this is a question for the future. Right now we're involved in discussions to try to move the peace process forward. If at the end of the day, if a comprehensive peace agreement has been arranged and both parties -- both Syria and Israel require or request the presence of American troops in the Golan Heights to be part of a peacekeeping force, we would give that our most serious consideration, of course in consultation with Congress.
Q But no guarantees have been made to either party?
MR. BURNS: The talks haven't gotten to that stage. That question was asked by some of your colleagues who were with us on the last trip, and the talks simply haven't reached that level of detail, nor have we reached that part of the timetable. We're still at Wye. We're still talking about these issues.
Q Nick, Ershad from the Daily Inquilab, Bangladesh. Nick, your recent statement on Bangladesh elections has evoked an uproar in Dhaka.
MR. BURNS: Excuse me, what has it done?
Q An uproar.
MR. BURNS: An uproar.
Q An uproar in Dhaka.
MR. BURNS: What I said on Friday? Barry shouldn't report it, I don't think.
Q The opposition -- the media and the people have interpreted your statement as one-sided, which means helping the government of Khaleda Ziaur, the Prime Minister, to go ahead with an election already declared by the combined opposition, led by Sheik Hasina, as a total farce. Could you please comment on the reactions of the leader of the combined opposition, Sheik Hasina, and the position of the United States that has been melted down through your good offices?
MR. BURNS: We never try to create an uproar in anything we say. (Laughter) Sometimes we do that unwittingly or sometimes it's misinterpreted. Let me see if we can do better today, perhaps try to calm down the uproar.
As I stated last week, the United States Government regrets very much that the major political parties in Bangladesh have been unable to devise a solution to their differences that would allow fully participatory elections to go forward, and we still hope that the major political parties in Bangladesh will work toward a long-term solution to their differences.
As you know, Ambassador David Merrill has been in conversations with all concerned about this issue, and we reaffirm today our call to all parties to avoid violence, to avoid intimidation, coercion, or interference in the right of voters to exercise their rights to vote, and we certainly urge the fullest possible transparency and observation of the electoral process.
That is almost identical to what I said on Friday. I reaffirm it today, because it's the basis of our policy toward the situation in Bangladesh.
Q Nick, just as follow-up, already there is clashes and confrontation between the government and the opposition parties on this election, and unfortunately I have to state that Ambassador Merrill very good efforts are now being questioned by the people in the opposition. So is it not fair to adjust to what you have just stated -- just to avoid any further clashes that may occur before the elections which may ultimately lead to civil unrest and a bloody takeover by the army?
MR. BURNS: First of all, I think we have to be clear about one thing. The United States is not responsible for clashes on the streets of Dhaka. They are the responsibility of the various political parties in Bangladesh itself. There's no need to reconsider what we said. Ambassador Merrill's position is the position of the United States Government, and we fully support him. I would just note that in my remarks today and on Friday, we called for an end to violence, an end to intimidation; and I think that both the opposition and the government should take heart in those words, if in fact both of them want to have fully participatory elections.
Q Nick, can we go to another uproar?
MR. BURNS: Did we cause this uproar or did someone else cause this uproar?
Q What is your comment on the Indian-Pakistani border situation right now? There have been some rocket attacks. And a second part of the question is, what is your comment on the latest ballistic missile test by India?
MR. BURNS: Let me take the second first and then I'll follow up with the first question. We have seen the reports of India's test-firing of its Prithvi missile on January 27 over the weekend. The United States has long held the view that the deployment or acquisition of ballistic missiles by India or Pakistan would be destabilizing, and that deployment of ballistic missiles would undermine the security of both India and Pakistan. We continue to encourage both governments not to deploy ballistic missiles.
On your first question, we have seen the press reports of the tragic incident in Kashmir on Friday. Firing across the line of control in Kashmir between the Indian and Pakistani military forces has unfortunately been almost a daily occurrence in recent years, and many, many innocent civilians have been killed or injured on both sides.
This latest tragedy in the mosque in Kashmir underscores the need for India and Pakistan to seek a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
Q Can you go beyond that? You seem to be mildly critical of what India -- well, leave out "mildly" -- choose your own adjective -- but does the testing of missiles trigger a response in Pakistan necessarily, and how do you feel about what could be the beginning of a tit-for-tat buildup? Hasn't what India has done -- isn't India's step a provocative step that Pakistan reasonably enough would respond to?
MR. BURNS: We were encouraged by the Pakistani President's statement -- President Leghari's statement -- over the weekend that there is no imminent threat of conflict between India and Pakistan, and we call upon both India and Pakistan to show restraint.
You may read this as a provocation. In fact --
Q No, I was just wondering --
MR. BURNS: No, in fact our position is that the deployment of ballistic missiles -- the test firing of ballistic missiles, the acquisition of this kind of technology, is not a good idea, and we encourage both India and Pakistan to forego any kind of ballistic missile development program, because we think it is destabilizing on the sub- continent, and we've said that many times.
Q Do you mean specifically for Pakistan to go to China and ask for help?
Q You don't think this gives them an excuse to do something that you'd rather they didn't do?
MR. BURNS: It ought not to give anyone an excuse, including Pakistan. We think that it would be inadmissible for the international community to stand by and allow one state to acquire ballistic missiles just because another state has tested one.
So in the wake of the incident over the weekend with a test firing of a Prithvi missile, we believe it's important for both India and Pakistan to remain calm, not to incite the other, certainly to avoid all threat of intimidation or the use of force; and we call on them both again not to deploy or test ballistic missiles.
Q Do you still believe India, that it doesn't have plans to set up a nuclear explosion? Is that still a credible promise?
MR. BURNS: That is a situation that we watch very, very closely, and we certainly have a very, very strong hope that neither country will seek to deploy nuclear missiles -- much less nuclear missiles or test them.
Q Is this the missile for which the United States denied the export of certain technology a couple of years ago?
MR. BURNS: The Prithvi missile?
MR. BURNS: I'll have to check on that, Jim. I'll check on that for you.
Q It strikes me that it was, and a follow-up question which you might also check on -- does this say anything to the State Department about the efficacy of export controls?
MR. BURNS: As you know, we think that the threat of missile proliferation is one of the great threats to global stability as we enter the next century, and that's been one of the cornerstones of the President's foreign policy. In part, that's one reason why we're having the G-7 summit in Moscow in April, to talk about that issue and the proliferation of fissile material -- nuclear materials -- components that can be used to fabricate nuclear weapons.
Q My question goes to the efficacy of the controls, not the intention.
MR. BURNS: We try very hard to strengthen export controls and to encourage other countries to strengthen their own export controls. We are in the business of giving assistance to other countries -- in this case the Russian Government, the Ukrainian Government, in the case of the meetings that we're having today, to enhance their export controls. But it is a problem in many parts of the world.
You had a follow-up?
Q Is the U.S. Government going to do something more than just making calls to these countries, especially to India?
MR. BURNS: You can be assured that we're going to have discussions with both the Indian and Pakistani Governments about our very, very strong hope that there will be peace in the sub-continent and that both sides will take actions in support of peace and stability and not in support of some of the kinds of things that we saw over the weekend -- the very unfortunate incidents that we saw over the weekend.
Q So have we, in fact, at this point, spoken to the Indians about this matter of deployment of this missile which, I believe, the Pakistanis fear has been designed strictly for them in mind? Can you comment on --
MR. BURNS: We have spoken to the Indian Government at the highest levels on many occasions about the Prithvi missile and about, in general, our concern about ballistic missile testing and deployment.
Q Have they responded to us specifically about deploying them?
MR. BURNS: We've had an on-going discussion and dialogue with the Indian Government. You can be sure that we've had recent discussions with the Indian Government on this issue.
Q Do you have anything you can tell us about that?
MR. BURNS: No, I don't. We'll keep that confidential.
Q One argument from the Indian Government officials about the Prithvi has been that they had to do this in reaction to the Chinese- made M-11 missiles to Pakistan. Would you care to comment on that?
MR. BURNS: I don't think that kind of logic is going to achieve stability or peace on the sub-continent. We think that both sides in this on-going dispute have to defer the opportunity to test or deploy these missiles. We call on both sides to do so.
Still on India?
Q What is the status of our government's negotiations with Brazil to get the extradition of Martin Pang taken care of?
MR. BURNS: The case of Martin Pang is still one that concerns us here at the Department of State. We had discussions over the weekend with officials of the Government of Brazil. I don't have anything conclusive to report on the basis of those discussions.
Q A quick follow-up, if I may. There have been various press reports that there is at least a framework for an agreement. Is there a framework?
MR. BURNS: We're working very hard to resolve this particular dispute. I can say very little about it because we're in the middle of our discussions with Brazilian officials on it at this time.
Q Nick, on China, two questions first. Adding to the tension between Taiwan and Mainland Chinese, according to one report China is going to announce reunification timetable tomorrow, presumably by President Jiang Zemin. Do you have any comment on that?
Secondly, what's the State Department's reaction, over the weekend, over an incident that a possible Chinese (inaudible) ship fired automatic weapons to a Taiwanese freighter?
MR. BURNS: I don't have a comment on either issue. I'm certainly not aware of any plans by the Chinese Government to announce a timetable. I have no comment on that.
Second, I'm just not aware of the incident that took place over the weekend.
Q Same topic. Despite what you said on Friday, there were some media analysts that took the view that the sailing of the USS Nimitz through the Straits of Taiwan was, in fact, a message for the Chinese. Do you have anything more to say about that?
MR. BURNS: All I can say on that Sid is, I know that the Chinese Government has not -- has not -- protested the transit of the Nimitz through the Taiwan Straits on December 17 -- December 19, excuse me.
I can also tell you that this was not the first transit of an American warship through the Taiwan Straits in 1995. There were two previous transits, according to the Department of Defense in 1995, and there was a transit just a couple of weeks ago of an American warship -- I think on the 6th and 7th of January. So this was not an isolated transit.
And as you know, these were international waters. These are not the waters of the People's Republic of China, and United States warships do have a right to transit through international waters.
Q So (inaudible). There was no intention (inaudible) --
MR. BURNS: I'm not aware of any message. As I said, I don't think this is an incident between -- this is not a problem or an issue between the United States and the People's Republic of China. We've not heard from the Chinese Government nor would we expect to, considering the fact that our naval vessels were in international waters.
Q There are military channels of communication between the United States and China. Has this filtered its way up in that --
MR. BURNS: Has the fact of these transits filtered their way through --
Q Have the Chinese raised in the military talks they have --
MR. BURNS: I checked with our experts who tell me that our Embassy in Beijing, which represents American interests in China, has not been contacted by the Chinese Government, nor, again, would we be expected to be contacted.
Q How about aircraft carriers? Is it the first time since 1979 for aircraft carriers?
MR. BURNS: I'll have to refer you to the Department of Defense on that. I do know that the other vessels were not aircraft carriers. The vessels that transited the Taiwan Straits earlier in 1995 and the vessel that transited the Taiwan Straits on the 6th and 7th of January, they were not aircraft carriers.
But the Department of Defense -- not the State Department -- decides where U.S. naval vessels are going to go in the world.
Q Has a decision on President Lee's visa request --
MR. BURNS: You know, we still continue to study that request. We're studying it very hard. We now have an itinerary. He would like to transit Miami in order to represent Taiwan at the Presidential inauguration in Port-au-Prince shortly. We're looking into all the various aspects of this question. When we have satisfied ourselves that we've looked into every corner of this issue, we're going to make a decision and we'll announce it to you.
Q Well, when?
MR. BURNS: I would think that would be very shortly. We have another question back here, Barry, and another one over there.
Q Nick, just a quick question on the Okinawa incident. The prosecutors handed down their recommendation for 10-year sentences against the three men implicated in the rape incident. I'd like to know if you have any comment on that, if that seems fair or reasonable?
MR. BURNS: Our comments have pertained to the actions of the soldiers -- of the sailors -- in the past. This is really a matter for the Japanese courts right now. That's not a matter for us to discuss.
I think we have one more over here.
Q What's your reaction to the allegations in today's Boston Globe that Ambassador Flynn had diverted campaign money to a slush fund in order to defray his personal expenses as Ambassador?
MR. BURNS: I've not seen the Boston Globe story. I'm not aware of the charges made against Ambassador Flynn. As you know, Ambassador Flynn has served with distinction at the Vatican.
There was another incident that was in the press that our Inspector General has looked into. She has issued a report on that incident, but that has not made its way to Secretary Christopher for decision. That's a separate issue.
I'm not aware of the charges being made by the Globe or by people in the Globe, I should say.
Q By a former aide.
MR. BURNS: By a former aide. I'm not aware of those charges so I simply have no comment on them.
Q What are the stops between the Inspector General's desk and the Secretary's desk that it's now taken two weeks?
MR. BURNS: There are a couple of stops. The stops are people in our senior management -- Under Secretary for Management and Deputy Secretary of State and others.
These are very serious charges that were brought against Ambassador Flynn. We don't believe it's proper, certainly, to talk about the details of the Inspector General's report until the Secretary has had a chance to look at it and make a decision. Once he's made a decision, we will announce it publicly.
Q How long will that take?
MR. BURNS: It's hard to say in these cases. It's hard to say. I think that our senior management needs to look at this and think about the possible options before the President before this reaches -- excuse me, the Secretary -- before it reaches the Secretary. It's just hard to say how long that will take.
Q So maybe the end of '96?
MR. BURNS: Carol, it's just impossible to speculate. We have two more questions here. Bill.
Q Back to Kashmir, Nick. A couple of years ago the former CIA Director, James Woolsey, in testimony to the Senate -- one of the Senate Committees, I believe it was Armed Services -- testified that he thought that the most dangerous situation for the outbreak of large-scale war was Kashmir. Does this Department share that assessment, at least, currently?
MR. BURNS: Bill, it really wouldn't be proper for me to go into our threat assessment around the world of various conflicts.
Needless to say, we hope very much that the problems in Kashmir can be overcome by good and peaceful and constructive discussions on both sides.
Q This is sort of a follow-up on this CIA weapons cache buried in Austria. You have been quoted in the Turkish press as saying that Turkey is among the countries in which similar weapon caches were buried. Can you verify this on the record?
MR. BURNS: I regret that I was quoted to that effect in the Turkish press because I never said it.
As you know, the United States did have programs -- arms caches during the Cold War -- that start from the early 1950s in other European countries. We have never, I think, mentioned Turkey as one of those countries.
Q Here's your opportunity.
MR. BURNS: I know it's the opportunity. I'm declining the opportunity. I never said it before and I won't say it now.
Q I thought we had -- "we," I think you -- it wasn't me -- you, actually -- the U.S. Government, I didn't know they had weapons. I know the U.S. had, for instance, in Italy, -- I don't what you call them - - sort of a group of somewhat right-wing politicians who would stand together and somehow would stand, maybe with their own bodies, a sober onslaught, but caches --
MR. BURNS: I think you have to remember the times, though. The rationale, as we understand it --
Q It was the nuttiness of the Cold War --
MR. BURNS: From the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations was, in the case of Austria, to, in effect, help partisans of a neutral country thwart a Soviet vision.
In the case of Turkey, we had --
Q (Inaudible) I didn't know that any other countries, the U.S. had hidden arms.
MR. BURNS: We had troops in Turkey. As far as I know, there was no arms cache program in Turkey -- hidden arms. None whatsoever.
Q Thanks, Nick.
(Press briefing concluded 1:47 p.m.)
-20- Monday, 1/29/96
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