U.S. Department of State 96/02/09 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Friday, February 9, 1996 Briefer: Glyn Davies DEPARTMENT Welcome to Atlantic Council's Baker Interns .............1 PAKISTAN Acting Secretary Talbott/Pakistani FM Ali Mtg. ..........1-3,7-8 --Discussion of Foreign Interference in Afghanistan;.....1-2,7-8 Prithvi Missile .........................................2-3 POLITICO-MILITARY AFFAIRS Reports of Nuclear Transfers fr. China to Pakistan ......1-2,7 Senator Helms' Letter to President Clinton re: China's Alleged Sale of Missile Guidance Technology to Iran ...3 Nuclear Proliferation Determinations/Sanctions ..........4-8 Report of Lavi Airplane Technology Transfer to China ....5-7 EUROPEAN AND CANADIAN AFFAIRS U.S.-EU Relations/Cooperation ...........................9-11 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Incident Involving EU Administrator Koschnick ...........9,13 Decision of EU Administrator on Mostar ..................13-14 --Degree of U.S. Contact w/Ms. Agnelli ..................13 --U.S. Contacts w/President Tudjman .....................14-15 NATO/Bosnian-Serb Contacts, Communications ..............15-17 Assistant Secretary Holbrooke's Trip to Region ..........15 Detention of Suspected War Criminals/General Mladic .....15-18 Implementation of Dayton Accords ........................17 Admiral Smith's Mtg. in Han Pijesak .....................17-18 Report of Military Cooperation Agreement w/Russia .......19 Report of Karadzic Mtg. in Belgrade .....................19 Report of Detention of Photojournalists by Bosnian-Serbs.19-20 GREECE/TURKEY Imia/Kardak Issue .......................................11-13 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS DAS Toni Verstandig Discussions w/Syrians ...............20 CHINA/TAIWAN Report of Possible U.S. Military Exercise near Taiwan ...20-21 Reports of Chinese Military Exercises near Taiwan .......21 JAPAN Prime Minister Hashimoto Visit to U.S. ..................22 U.S. Troop Presence .....................................23 BURMA Drug Lord Khun Sa Extradition Case ......................23
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9, l996, l:l0 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. DAVIES: Welcome to the State Department briefing, the last one of the week.
I want to acknowledge some visitors who are here with us today, I think on either side of the room. These are ll interns with the Atlantic Council's Baker Internship. Its goal is to enhance understanding of America's international roles. So welcome to the State Department briefing.
And with that, to your questions. George?
Q What do you have on the meeting this morning between Strobe Talbott and the Pakistani Foreign Minister?
MR. DAVIES: I've got a few details on that that I can give you. At l0 a.m. this morning, Acting Secretary Talbott met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Assef Ali for about an hour -- actually, a little bit more than an hour; about 70 minutes. The Foreign Minister will also be meeting today with others in the U.S. Government, including Energy Secretary O'Leary.
Among the topics discussed this morning and the topics that the Foreign Minister will be talking about here in Washington are issues such as U.S.-Pakistan relations, regional security, trade and investment issues, Afghanistan -- which came up this morning -- and some non- proliferation issues. The Acting Secretary and the Foreign Minister discussed the current situation in Afghanistan at some length, both of them expressing concern over the humanitarian situation in Kabul. They agreed that foreign interference in Afghanistan was prolonging the conflict and expressed strong support for UN special-mission efforts.
Q Keep going.
MR. DAVIES: Keep going. (Laughter) That's what I've got. Do you have a specific question about this, a specific issue?
Q Did you talk anything about the ring magnets?
MR. DAVIES: We are, of course, discussing non-proliferation issues of all kinds with the Pakistani Government at every occasion, and as part of that continuing dialogue the Acting Secretary and the Foreign Minister did get into that issue, but I don't have any details to share with you on that.
Q Do you flatly deny that Pakistan had received such equipment from China? Do you accept that now?
MR. DAVIES: I saw the press report, what he said on the way out of the building. All I can say on that is to take you back essentially to what I said yesterday. I can't speak specifically to the issue of the ring magnets, but I could tell you that we are concerned about reports of transfers from China to Pakistan and that we have a body of material that we are looking at to try to make a determination about how to proceed on that.
Q You mentioned that both agreed that foreign interference in Afghanistan is perpetuating the problem. Who precisely are you referring to there?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know that we have a good grip on the precise foreign elements that are in the country. It's simply a general appeal that they made to those who are interfering in the country not to continue doing so, but I can try to get more specificity about our concerns there.
Q (Inaudible) is said to be intervening on Pakistan, who is supposed to be supporting this Taliban movement, which is one of the primary combatants in Afghanistan. Did Mr. Talbott raise that?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know if he raised that specifically and I don't have anything further on that issue, but I can look into it for you.
Q Do you have anything on the discussion they had concerning Pakistani-Indian relations?
MR. DAVIES: No, I don't. I don't have anything specific on that.
Q You don't know (inaudible) the matter of the deployment of the missiles in India was brought up by Pakistan?
MR. DAVIES: I think there was a discussion of the Prithvi missile, and I believe that the Prime Minister on his way out of the building confirmed, in fact, that they had discussed that, but I'm not going to get into the specifics of what it was that was involved in their exchange on the issue.
Q Glyn, on the matter of press availability, did the Pakistanis request that there be no photo op?
MR. DAVIES: No. By mutual agreement it was decided that we wouldn't, at the last minute, add on a press availability for the two.
Q Can I ask just about Senator Helm's letter of yesterday to the President, on evidence that he said in the letter has been available to the Administration since last year of missile guidance technology being sold to Iran by the Chinese? Any reaction to the letter and to the Senator's call for sanctions against China?
MR. DAVIES: Yes. I think I do, in fact, have something I can share with you on that.
It is true that the Senator did communicate his views on that issue. We've got so much on sanctions that it's sometimes not easy to find the precise thing.
First off, of course, on the usual mantra that you hear from the podium all the time, I can't get into the specifics on the matter because it's an intelligence matter; but we take these reports, as we take all reports, on alleged non-proliferation -- or alleged proliferation of material very seriously and continually monitor and evaluate these transfers.
The question of Chinese cooperation with Iran in the missile area is of concern to us. We've raised the issue with the Government of China in the past and we'll continue to do so.
On this, as on all such proliferation issues, we fully and conscientiously implement the requirements of U.S. law and would take any actions required by the law if we were to determine that either country -- China or Iran -- had engaged in sanctionable activities.
Q I take it, therefore, since you are complying with the law, you don't have evidence you regard as convincing?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know. I mean I can't get into the question of what evidence we have or don't have on the question of the transference of missile parts to Iran. On this issue, as on the other issue, we are obviously looking at the evidence we've got and will make a determination in the fullness of time about it.
Q Yesterday I asked if you would look into the question of whether the non-proliferation legislation contemplates sanctions against both the supplier and the receiver, and you promised to take it.
MR. DAVIES: Right. I've got lots on that.
MR. DAVIES: Ready?
The statutes that create the non-proliferation sanctions specify who the decision-maker is for triggering sanctions and, if applicable, for waiving them. So on the issue of who makes these determinations -- which is not precisely your question but is related -- on the question that's at issue here between China and Pakistan, the allegation -- Section 825 of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act, which covers Export-Import Bank financing, the Secretary of State is the person who by statute has the responsibility for making the determination.
On the issue of whether sanctions would be imposed against both, or could be imposed against both in a situation such as this, I've said before and I'll say again that no decision has been made regarding sanctions. But I can say that some sanctions laws penalize both the country that transfers and the country that receives while other sanctions laws do not.
Some sanctions laws also penalize the entities involved, which is to say the companies or other entities that are involved in moving the material.
There are a number of sanctions laws which might be relevant and they include laws such as Section 82l of the Non-Proliferation Prevention Act, which prohibits U.S. Government procurement from private entities that knowingly and materially contribute to the acquisition of nuclear materials or on safeguarded special nuclear material by a non- nuclear weapon state.
There's also Section 822 of the NPPA, which prohibits the sale or lease under the Arms Export Control Act to any country that materially breaches its commitments to the U.S.; and under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Section 824, which provides for sanctions against financial entities that assist in improper or illegal nuclear-related cooperation.
I've talked already about Section 825.
There's the "Symington Amendment," which is Section l0l of the AECA, which prohibits economic and military assistance for countries that deliver or receive nuclear enrichment equipment.
The "Glenn Amendment" -- and kind of on and on.
So it depends on the determination that's made ultimately whether sanctions come down on both the supplier and receiver or just on one.
Q The determination and responsibility of the Secretary of this Department --
MR. DAVIES: It is, in the case of the law that would be at issue here -- which is Section 825, the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act, which covers Export-Import Bank financing. The Secretary of State is the person by statute who's got the responsibility for making a determination.
Q (Inaudible) would have to concur that the intelligence evidence is compelling.
MR. DAVIES: Well, look, what's important here on all of this stuff is that there's an interagency process that goes on. Obviously, the State Department has got a very important role to play. Other agencies are involved in the process as well. It's not localized in one building and the State Department, acting alone, is going to weigh the evidence and make decisions. There are a number of parts in the Federal Government that are engaged and involved in making these decisions.
Q But it's (inaudible) whether the Government, collectively and through the Secretary of State, be obligated to call for sanctions. Was there an obligation under these laws, and does Congress have an oversight --
MR. DAVIES: Sure, there are laws that by definition contain obligations; and the Secretary of State has obligations under the law to make certain determinations. But what I can't tell you, what I can't do, is predict the future on this or any other case. I can't sit here and tell you how this is going to come down or what's to follow decisions that are made.
Q On another proliferation issue involving China, several weeks ago your colleague agreed to take a question on whether Lavi airplane technology, partially developed with American help, has now wound up in China. At the time we were told that the State Department would look into it. I haven't seen an answer back.
MR. DAVIES: Neither have I, so let me get to you before the end of the day on that. I don't know where we stand on that.
Are we still on this? David.
Q Can you help us at all on what -- how the Secretary of State makes these determinations -- what would constitute in his view compelling evidence, evidence that would require a trigger?
MR. DAVIES: I think what's important to note there is that because of the seriousness of these types of issues, there is a fairly high threshold or standard that's set. I can't sit here and kind of give you step-by-step how this occurs, but we take the process seriously, we look at the evidence very, very closely, because we have to be certain in any of these non-proliferation cases that we make the right decision and we make it based on enough evidence so that we know we're right.
Q Is the Secretary considering imposing sanctions and then suspending them, as has been reported?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know that suspension of sanctions is what's called for here, if they decide to go beyond the imposition of sanctions. Are you talking about a waiver?
Q Yes, I'm sorry, waiving would be the proper --
MR. DAVIES: Again, I mean, you're asking me to predict how we're going to come out on this.
Q It sounds absurd --
MR. DAVIES: It's in the law.
Q There is a waiver, but to impose and then to immediately waive just has an absurd sound to it. I know you wouldn't want to do anything that sounds absurd.
MR. DAVIES: I can't comment on whether -- I don't know whether what will happen will be perceived by some such as you, Roy, as absurd. You can make that judgment, and I don't know what's going to happen, so I can't take that real far.
Q Is it then a reasonable thing to contemplate that, you know, you could both impose them and then waive them?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know what's reasonable in this case or what's not. What's important is that we get it right as we look at the evidence that we've got, and that, when we make a decision, we know that it's the right decision that's made. I'm not going to get into the waiver process and how that plays out. I'm not even certain that the buck stops here on the waiver issue. I'm not convinced it does.
Q Are you prepared to say what would happen to Pakistan if it is confirmed that they did indeed acquire these ring magnets from China?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not prepared to say. I'm not going to go into that.
Q Are you any closer to making a declaration after hearing the explanations from the Foreign Minister?
MR. DAVIES: I think as time goes by, we're closer to making a decision, and we had a very valuable and lengthy exchange with the Foreign Minister on a wide range of subjects. This subject was just one of many, and there were others that were considered for this meeting more important to get into in depth.
So I can't characterize for you what effect, if any, this meeting might have on our deliberative process.
Q Did the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister also deny supplying -- or China's part in these ring magnet sales?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to get into the specifics of our exchanges with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister. I didn't see any public indication of that.
Q Did it come up in those discussions?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know at what level -- they discussed non- proliferation issues, absolutely, but I don't know whether and to what extent they might have gotten into this issue.
Q When you say that other issues are more important, are you referring, for example, to Afghanistan?
MR. DAVIES: Afghanistan was one of the issues that I think they went into in some depth. That was the purpose for the meeting in the first place. This meeting has been in the works for -- my understanding is a couple of weeks. So it was important, they believed, to exchange views fully on Afghanistan. I think the bulk of the discussion may well have been on that, though I don't have a breakdown in front of me.
Q Has the United States almost forgotten about Afghanistan since the Soviet withdrawal? It has not taken any interest now --
MR. DAVIES: The United States hasn't forgotten about Afghanistan. The United States is a global power, and we have interests in what occurs pretty much everywhere in the world, so we haven't forgotten Afghanistan.
Q (Inaudible) history of this question of nuclear sales. Have sanctions been imposed in the past, and have Presidential waivers been used in the past?
MR. DAVIES: It's my sort of unschooled understanding that, yes, there have been sanctions in the past. There have been waivers in the past, and I don't have here to give you kind of times, dates, what happened.
Q Could you take that question?
MR. DAVIES: I can take that question. I'm happy to get a hold of somebody who could give you a call and walk through all that for you.
Q If this meeting was scheduled awhile in advance, is the U.S. considering a broader initiative on Afghanistan to try to get the fighting to stop and maybe get some aid in there?
MR. DAVIES: You made a big leap. The meeting was to consult with --
Q But it was about Afghanistan.
MR. DAVIES: -- the Government of Pakistan. It was about a number of things. Afghanistan is one of the subjects that came up, and there was no press opportunity and no public announcement of any kind of a U.S. initiative, and I don't know that we are considering necessarily an initiative.
I think what this was all about was continuing our consultations with regional actors, so they have a better idea of where we're coming from and vice-versa. But I wouldn't read too much into it and speculate that there might be some kind of initiative coming down the pike.
Q Changing the subject --
MR. DAVIES: Do we want to stay on -- no. Okay.
Q Can you please comment on Mr. Holbrooke's criticism in his interview with The Washington Post, published yesterday, about European inability to act and take and to solve the problems in its own theater? And, second, if you have anything on Miss. Agnelli's diplomatic efforts now to defuse the tensions in Mostar between Bosnian Muslims and Croats?
MR. DAVIES: On the first question, I'm not going to sit here and react to remarks attributed to Holbrooke from a longer interview that he might have given. I can give you our policy -- what we view as the importance of our relationship with the European Union.
We've cooperated tremendously well on Bosnia, which is a complex subject, and that, I think, is a testament to our good relations.
On the other aspect of that, which was the remarks he may have made about the Aegean and the European Union's level --
MR. DAVIES: The point there is U.S. involvement -- the reason the U.S. became involved in that was because we're talking about a conflict that had sprung up between two NATO countries. The United States is the leader, really, of NATO, and for that reason we became involved in a big way in last week's dispute in the Aegean.
In general terms, the U.S. has a very good relationship with the European Union. We've cooperated very, very well on a number of issues, and we hope to continue to do so.
Q And Miss Agnelli's --
MR. DAVIES: If we can go to Mostar in a second.
Q At that point the British Foreign Office issued a fairly strong exception to the remarks of Holbrooke. I wonder if you're aware of it, and do you endorse what they said?
MR. DAVIES: I haven't seen it. I haven't seen what they've said.
Q What they said is that Britain did take an active role, and so did other European countries in trying to defuse the Aegean conflict, and that it's completely wrong to say that they were asleep. They were on the phone. They were doing their diplomatic best as well. I'm not sure what the truth of it is.
MR. DAVIES: I'm not either. I don't speak for the European Union. I've no doubt they were concerned about events unfolding in the Aegean. They may well have taken certain actions. I'm not sure what those actions were. I mean, I can describe what we did.
Q I mean, are we working in a kind of harmony and consultation with them, or is everybody just operating on their own?
MR. DAVIES: We're working, I think, in perfect harmony with the European Union on a broad range of issues. Bosnia is the headliner right now. That's where our cooperation is deepest and perhaps in some respect most important. But we deal with the EU on a variety of things.
I don't know to what extent there was consultation or to what extent the EU on the Aegean issue was engaged.
Q Could you take that question? I mean, it comes to the heart of whether Holbrooke is right about this being an American exclusive production or whether EU members and other NATO members did their part as well.
MR. DAVIES: I don't think I'm going to take that question. I'm sure that the EU was concerned, expressed its concern and played a role in that issue. I don't know to what extent they may have done so. It's not up to us to characterize what the EU did or didn't do, and I don't think it's useful for us to kind of go into the level of consultations that we had with the European Union or any of its member countries as this unfolded.
Q But Mr. Holbrooke didn't characterize it. He said they were asleep.
MR. DAVIES: Again, I'm not going to sit here and comment on every phrase or sentence of Ambassador Holbrooke as excerpted in these various articles. He gave an interview. It was a longer interview. I don't have the full text in front of me, but, even if I did, it's not my role to sit here and give you a kind of an analysis of everything he said. What I've given you is our view of the important cooperative relationship that we have with the European Union and their importance to us as a partner.
Q But you're giving the impression that it was not coordinated.
MR. DAVIES: It's up to your to draw impressions.
Q That's the impression that you're leaving. I don't suppose you want to leave it.
MR. DAVIES: I appreciate your having told me the impression I left. No, seriously, what I've --
Q The British say that they made several phone calls at a key moment, and they did their best, and your Assistant Secretary of State is saying that they were asleep and basically did nothing. I mean, there's a contradiction with a major ally on a major issue.
MR. DAVIES: I'm certain that the U.K. and the others involved did do their best. I'm not saying that they didn't do their best. What I can't do for you here nor is it, I think, appropriate for me to do is to analyze what steps the U.K. took or Italy took or Germany or any of the other EU nations or the EU collectively. It's just not the business of the Spokesman at this podium to do that kind of an analysis.
But I think the European Union -- obviously, they had a concern about what was occurring down there. You can talk to them about what they might have done, and I'm not going to take on Ambassador Holbrooke's remarks point by point.
Q Aegean issue still?
MR. DAVIES: Pardon me?
Q Aegean issue.
MR. DAVIES: Okay, because we still have Mostar to come back to. But is it okay if we stay in the Aegean and then come back to Mostar? Is that all right?
Q There have been a lot of questions in the last ten days, especially on the Kardak issue, namely the sovereignty of Kardak, and so forth -- the rocky islet over --
MR. DAVIES: Imia/Kardak?
Q Yes, Imia/Kardak.
MR. DAVIES: Kardak/Imia. (Laughter)
Q Now, one question was not asked was if the disputes in question could be settled unless Turkey and Greece came to an understanding on the following four general areas of dispute: namely, territorial waters, air space demarcation, demilitarization of the islands and the continental shelf.
Does the U.S. Administration agree that these four interlinked issued have to be taken together through peaceful negotiations? Whether one goes to this court or that court, or one focuses on this piece of rock or that piece of rock?
MR. DAVIES: On the issue of Kardak/Imia, Imia/Kardak, we've said before and I'll say again that it's our view that Greece and Turkey should take their case to some consensual body, and the International Court of Justice is one such that could be useful.
If there are other issues that are in dispute, it may be that the ICJ is not the appropriate consensual body to refer matters to. We're not going to prescribe precisely how the two countries should work out their disputes.
Our abiding interest, though, in this is that, of course, they do so peacefully.
Q But does the Administration again realize that these four issues are important points of concern in dispute between the two NATO allies, and they have to be taken and discussed about in a comprehensive manner rather than discussing about the sovereignty of this piece of rock and that piece of rock.
MR. DAVIES: We haven't taken a position on the degree of comprehensiveness of the various aspects of those issues. What I've said, I've said, which is that they ought to work it out peacefully. We haven't been called in to play a mediating role henceforth, and so I'm not going to give prescriptions to the sides as to how they ought to go about solving these difficulties.
Q So the bottom line, you won't confirm that there are these four areas of dispute that needs to be handled between the two NATO allies?
MR. DAVIES: There may well be. I don't have enough information about the various aspects of disputes in the Aegean to sit here and confirm that for you. Those may well be very important, serious areas or issues that divide the two sides. I can't say for certain that they are. I'm happy to look into whether or not we have a view on that.
But I think in general, what's important to take away is the friendly advice we've given to both sides: they should work things our peacefully on Imia/Kardak. A consensual body such as the ICJ is, we think, the way to go.
MR. DAVIES: I was asked yesterday a raft of questions about was there official backing of the mob or the police or some of the other elements in the events of several days ago. What I can't do is I can't confirm those reports. We don't have anybody on the ground in Mostar at the moment.
What I can say is that the Croats rejected Mr. Koshnick's decision creating a central district in the city. The Mostar Croats then instigated riots in protest of what they claimed was an unfair division of the city of Mostar.
We all know about the roughing up of Koschnick's car, blocking its passage. What we want to underscore in a policy sense is that both parties agreed to abide by the decision of the EU Administrator, Mr. Koschnick. We fully expect them to do so.
We've told the Croatian Government that we expect their support to insure compliance with the EU Administrator's decision, and we've had contacts with the Croatians at all levels, including the very highest levels, on this issue.
Q Have you had contact with Ms. Agnelli who's doing shuttle diplomacy now for the European Union -- the Italian Foreign Minister?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know if we do. I presume we do, but I don't know that, and I can look into that for you -- the degree of our contact with that diplomat.
Q If we can go to the situation in Sarajevo --
Q Same also --
MR. DAVIES: Mostar also? Sure, please go ahead.
Q How does the decision of the EU Administrator fit in the agreement on Mostar that was signed in Dayton, because that agreement calls on six municipalities. It doesn't mention the seventh.
MR. DAVIES: But that agreement also set up a mechanism by which Administrator Koschnick was appointed to in essence arbitrate this dispute, and the parties agreed to abide by his decision. He's made a decision, and what hasn't happened yet is there hasn't been complete acceptance of compliance with the follow-up to that decision, and that's what we're calling for now.
Q No, but his decision doesn't respect the words of the agreement signed in Dayton. I mean, that's the point.
MR. DAVIES: I don't know that that's the case.
Q I found the agreement. I don't know whether there were any other agreements signed after that, but this one says the city of Mostar shall be composed of six separate city municipalities. There is no seventh.
MR. DAVIES: I'm not an international lawyer, but I don't know that that necessarily precludes creation of a central zone. I can't comment on that specifically. But I think what's important here is that certainly all of these kinds of demonstrations or manifestations should cease, and the parties should get back together with Koschnick.
He's made a decision. We believe they should abide by that decision. They certainly shouldn't put a halt to the process.
Q What about the contact with Tudjman. Was this done at the Secretary of State level, at the Holbrooke level, or at the Ambassador's level?
MR. DAVIES: I know the Secretary of State has had phone conversations very recently with the three leaders in the area. He may have raised Mostar with Tudjman when he spoke with him. I'm not certain of that, but I do know we have had conversations with Tudjman diplomatically, I believe, at our Embassy there.
What I could perhaps check into is whether or not the Secretary raised Mostar in his phone call. But again you're talking about the process here. I think what's important is the fundamentals of it; that the parties do what they agreed to do in respecting Koschnick's decision.
Q What have you exactly asked Tudjman then to do? I mean, theoretically he's running a separate country from Bosnia.
MR. DAVIES: I believe that the Croatian Government was a signatory to the agreement on Mostar, if I'm not mistaken, so they are the guarantors for the Bosnian Croats on what was worked out on Mostar -- the agreement that was signed. So that's his role. It's exactly analogous to the role that Milosevic has as the guarantor of Bosnian Serb undertakings in the Dayton Agreement itself.
Q Do you have his response?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have his response to share with you, no. I'm not going to go into that.
Q On a little larger picture in Bosnia, I understand that contacts, I guess all communications, between NATO and the Bosnian Serbs have now been severed, as they were between the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Government? What does that mean for Ambassador Holbrooke's mission?
MR. DAVIES: What that means, Bill, is that this is a continuation of what's developed over the last several days. We've got what he described, I think, quite accurately as serious challenges to the Dayton Accord.
He's going back to the region on an unscheduled tour of the capitals, precisely because of these problems that have come up.
Q Is he going to be able to communicate with the Bosnian Serbs is what I'm asking. Is there still a liaison there, and what does that mean for NATO troops that might be in Bosnian Serb territory?
MR. DAVIES: He'll certainly be going to Belgrade and talking with the Serb authorities who are, as we were discussing earlier, the guarantors on behalf of the Bosnian Serbs. I don't know what contacts he may have in Sarajevo when he gets here. I don't think his schedule has been precisely worked out yet.
Q Is it our policy to see that these two Bosnian Serb generals are held until the Tribunal can decide whether they should be indicted? Is that our policy?
MR. DAVIES: I went into our policy on the question of detainees yesterday at some length. I don't know that it would be useful to repeat it here. The basic elements of it are, of course, that the parties should not engage in arbitrary arrests; that the War Crimes Tribunal is the body to which they should look for decisions on whether or not certain individuals are or are not war criminals or indicted war criminals.
Judge Goldstone has issued a statement -- it's a couple of days ago -- about those two individuals, and he's asked that they remain in some kind of provisional arrest.
Q What's really then improper is that they should have been arrested before indictment, is that correct?
MR. DAVIES: The parties are obligated under Dayton to bring suspected war criminals to justice. Justice in this case means the War Crimes Tribunal. Strictly speaking, as far as we can figure this out, it was legal to make those arrests. What would not be helpful would be, of course, for there to be any kind of an escalation and for further arrests to occur simply for purposes of harassment or of retaliation.
What's important here is that all of the parties keep their eyes on the prize, really. The moment of reckoning that they came to in Dayton in signing this agreement -- it continues. Dayton wasn't a one-act. They've got to follow through on all of their obligations as spelled out in the Dayton Accords, and those include things like freedom of movement, in addition to going after war criminals.
So they're the ones, really, in the first instance who are on the hook to make this work.
Q Back to my first point. Does the Department feel that NATO troops are at any increased risk due to this lack of contact with them?
MR. DAVIES: You'd have to ask the commanders on the ground. They're the ones who are in the business, Bill, of assessing risk. We're not.
Q Is there a problem regarding General Mladic not only giving orders from wherever his base is -- I guess it's in Han Pijesak -- giving orders, and then they seem to be carried out. The reports out of Sarajevo today are that in many cases Bosnian Serbs have not shown up for the required meetings of the Joint Commission.
MR. DAVIES: Right. We've called on the Bosnian Serbs not to sustain these actions -- not to continue to stay away from the table. We believe that their actions in cutting off communications were far out of proportion to the provocation, if you will, in the form of the arrests of those eleven Bosnian Serb officials.
I talked about Mladic yesterday. He's an indicted war criminal. The parties are under an obligation to deliver up indicted war criminals to the War Crimes Tribunal. We've stressed repeatedly, almost daily, that obligation. He has no standing. He should not be in office, and we pay no attention to orders that he may give, and we've got no comment on the extent to which Bosnian Serbs may be paying attention to orders that he's issuing. They shouldn't be paying any attention to them.
Q If it turns out that they are, which suggests that he is in a position of command, whether we want to recognize it or not, he's there. Isn't that kind of an affront to NATO right now?
MR. DAVIES: That's, I think, a challenge -- even a serious challenge -- to implementation of the Dayton Accords, and first and foremost the implementation of the accords is the obligation of the signatories to the Dayton Accords.
We have to keep turning this back on the people who signed Dayton. They're the ones who have to make this work. They agreed to all of these various provisions. They've got to make good on it or else the peace that's prevailed now on the ground isn't going to last.
Q Is it a breach of Dayton not to attend these Joint Commission meetings? In other words, to boycott relations with NATO?
MR. DAVIES: It's certainly a breach of the spirit of Dayton. I don't know whether it's a breach of the letter of Dayton. I don't know whether Dayton gets into that specifically -- "thou shalt attend this or that meeting" -- I can't help you with that.
But the point to take away here is that the parties should not put the Dayton Accords at risk. It's not in their interest to do so. They're going to have about a year's worth of the international spotlight, international help, international attention, and they ought to take advantage of it.
Q Have they put the Dayton Accords at risk?
MR. DAVIES: I wouldn't go so far as to say that the Dayton Accords are at risk. I think what we've got is a problem in implementing the Dayton Accords, which is to say that there's no forward movement. There should be forward movement. There's about a year here when they can make the progress they need to make to get to where after a year they can really finish building the peace.
The problem now is that there's no progress being made, because of this stand-off, this tit-for-tat, this escalation, which we've called on the parties to cease.
Q Do you have any problem that Admiral Smith went to Han Pijesak the other day, I guess to ask the Bosnian Serbs not to escalate. But Han Pijesak is where apparently General Mladic hangs out. You know, it's their headquarters.
MR. DAVIES: So you're saying guilt by geographic proximity here? I don't understand the point. He did not pay a call on General Mladic or meet with General Mladic, nor would he. He was doing his job of meeting with the parties to try to implement the military aspect of the Dayton Accords. So what he did was perfectly appropriate.
Q He was in the same town and almost in the same location as General Mladic. Doesn't this create a question about carrying out the other aspects of the Accords?
MR. DAVIES: Roy, I don't think so. I really don't think so. I don't think it does.
Q (Multiple questions)
Q Same question. Han Pijesak is in the American sector, and it has long been known to be one of the main headquarters of the Bosnian Serb army. Has General Mladic been in the American sector since the Dayton Accords were signed? Is he there now?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know the answer to that. I don't know. I just learned something for Roy. We can check it out. I don't know where he's been, and I don't know that that's all that material here. It's not up to us to enforce --
Q (Inaudible) military to arrest him if he's in the American sector.
MR. DAVIES: It's not up to us to enforce those provisions of the Dayton Accords. It's up to the signatories of Dayton to follow through on their commitments, which include delivering up indicted war criminals to the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. We've called and continue to call on the parties to do so.
There's been some progress on that front, but obviously not as much progress as we'd like to see.
Q Did you request of General Tolimir that they turn over General Mladic?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know the substance of their discussions. I really can't help you.
Q (Multiple questions.)
Q About the Syrian Foreign Minister --
MR. DAVIES: Roy, I'll come back to you.
Q With respect to (inaudible).
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to speculate on what I'd expect him to do in a given meeting. I don't have his agenda in front of me for these meetings. I'm not going to get into that.
Q The Syrian Foreign Minister called on the U.S. to normalize - -
MR. DAVIES: I'm sorry, it's not a Bosnia question?
Q No, is not Bosnia; about the Middle East.
MR. DAVIES: Okay, I'm going to stick with Bosnia for just a minute.
Q The Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev was in Belgrade and signed a military cooperation agreement between Serbia, or the Federal Yugoslavia, and Russia. What do you make of that at this time?
MR. DAVIES: I don't make anything of it. I don't have any detail on the nature of the agreement that was signed. I'm sorry.
Q (Inaudible) meeting between President Milosevic and Dr. Karadzic in Belgrade?
MR. DAVIES: I can't confirm that.
Q It was today.
MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything on that.
Q Taiwan issue.
MR. DAVIES: Are we still on Bosnia? We're on Bosnia over here.
Q Do you have any further information on the two photographers that were taken into custody by Bosnian Serbs, and are they considered a risk?
MR. DAVIES: The only thing I've got to perhaps offer there is that I think there was a wire service item that ran just recently that indicated that, no, they're free. I don't have all the detail on it, but it's my understanding that they're not in custody.
MR. DAVIES: That's what I've heard. I don't have it in front of me, and I don't know what the precise facts are. But I heard good news coming out here on the fly, and that was the news I heard. We can try to get more for you.
Q I mean, does that raise another issue then in terms of how safe is it for peacekeeping forces over there? I mean, for journalists, but --
MR. DAVIES: I think it absolutely raises the freedom of movement issue. No question about it. Reporters, as with all others, should have freedom to move around the country and do their job. No magic there.
Any more Bosnia?
Q The Syrian Foreign Minister called on the U.S. to normalize ties between the two countries. Do you agree with them? They are looking for some avenue to expand or develop the economic and financial ties between the two countries. I heard about a State Department official in Damascus right now to discuss an economic peace act. Can you confirm who is in Damascus to discuss economic aid?
MR. DAVIES: I know that Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Toni Verstandig was in Damascus -- I don't know if she still is -- to discuss economic issues in general with the Syrians.
She was talking about how economic issues played back into a possible eventual peace between Syria and Israel, talking in very general terms. I don't have a readout of her visit, but she was in Damascus. She may still be there. I don't know. She was part of the Secretary's team, and she went back, I think, to Damascus from Israel.
Q Did the U.S. delegation urge Damascus or the Assad Government to get rid of all the terrorist groups and camps around Syrian territory?
MR. DAVIES: We may well have raised those issues with the Syrians, but I don't have any detail on it.
Q An NHK reporter today is saying that U.S. Independence carrier battle group is going to have a military exercise near Taiwan in March during the Taiwanese presidential election.
MR. DAVIES: That's a perfect question for the Pentagon briefing, I'm happy to say. (Laughter) I don't know.
Q On the subject of Taiwan?
MR. DAVIES: Taiwan? Sure.
Q On this matter of a large-scale military exercise -- amphibious exercise by the PRC in the Straits of Formosa during -- or up to the period of the elections in Taiwan -- on this subject, I was told that -- in fact, Winston Lord stated that there was no answer -- no response from the PRC about whether they were going to have these exercises or not.
Mr. Nye, Justice Nye, yesterday said that there would very likely be exercises, but this shouldn't be an intimidation to Taiwan, because China cannot invade successfully Taiwan.
MR. DAVIES: Do you have a question?
Q The question is what does the State Department think about it? But I have to say this: Mr. Li in a rare interview this week -- the only one I know about -- said he had never heard of any exercises being planned. It was complete fantasy, as far as he was concerned. What does the State Department now believe -- that's what he said -- what does the State Department now believe about exercises that might be intimidation of Taiwan during their election?
MR. DAVIES: We've said so many times that my throat hurts that, obviously, we don't want either side to take actions that would be provocative, that would disturb the peace, if you will, of the Taiwan Straits.
I'm not going to get into information we might have or might not have about Chinese military maneuvers or plans for exercises. All I can say about that general issue is that we've got no reason to believe that any kind of military attack is imminent, and that's a matter that was addressed by Assistant Secretary Lord and others.
Q As far as military intimidation through exercises coincident with the election, you couldn't say whether you have any information that indicates that --
MR. DAVIES: I'm not in the business of putting out intelligence information about Chinese intentions or plans.
Q Today the Japanese Government suddenly announced that Prime Minister Hashimoto is going to be visiting the United States in order to meet President Clinton.
MR. DAVIES: Right.
Q There ought to be a lot of topics for them to discuss. Do you have anything at this time on specific topics they will discuss?
MR. DAVIES: There's a great deal to talk about between the Prime Minister and our President. First and foremost, they have to prepare for the President's state visit to Japan the following month.
This meeting in Santa Monica, which will occur on February 23rd, is the type of meeting that is normal between our two countries -- which is to say that soon after there is a change in leadership, the leaders try to get together informally in order to establish a relationship -- a foundation, if you will -- so that we can work on the many, many issues that are of mutual concern. But I can't point to any one issue that would be a headliner in that meeting. There are many, many issues to discuss.
Q Formerly, their meeting had been scheduled in April in Tokyo this year. Why are they now going to meet at this time? For example, are they going to talk about a specific like that China issue?
MR. DAVIES: I'm sure they'll talk about many different topics. I think for them the first task is going to be to establish a good relationship so that at the Summit and beyond they will be able to work together constructively on Pacific issues, global issues, a whole range of issues. I wouldn't read anything into the fact that they were able to arrange their schedules to meet ahead of time.
It's a very positive step, obviously, and I know that our President has wanted to get together with the new Prime Minister since he was named. So this is a terrific development.
Q The Government of Burma, I believe, said flatly today that it was not going to extradite Khun Sa, the drugs warlord. Do you have anything on that?
MR. DAVIES: Patrick, a negative development.
We've made no secret of the fact that the drug lord, Khun Sa, is somebody we'd like to get our hands on because of what he's been up to in the Golden Triangle in Myanmar -- in Burma. If the Government of Burma has made a deal with him, that is very unfortunate. We call on the government to deliver this man up because of his importance as a drug lord behind the flow of much of the narcotics into this country.
Q Can I get one more for the record? Senator Craig Thompson was visited by a Japanese delegation on Wednesday and was informed by these people in adamant terms that the U.S. must begin to withdraw from Okinawa. Have you heard anything from the Japanese about that?
MR. DAVIES: I've got nothing to help you with all that.
Q Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 2:00 p.m.)
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