U.S. Department of State 96/02/28 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Wednesday, February 28, 1996 Briefer: Glyn Davies DEPARTMENT Town Meeting to be held in St. Louis, Missouri on 3/6/96 ..............................1 New Department of State Internet Address ........2 SIERRA LEONE Multi-party Elections Held ......................1-2 NARCOTICS MATTERS International Narcotics Control Strategy Report on 3/1/96 .....................2,11 Briefing Scheduled for Friday, 3/1/96 on Report..11 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Resumption of Wye River Talks ....................2-3 --Delegation Participants to the Talks ...........3 --Dennis Ross' Preliminary Meetings with Participants ..3,7 SYRIA Syrian Times Editorial Condemning Bombings in Israel ...............................3-4,5-8 Reported Syrian/Iranian/Palestinian Militants Mtgs .4-5,6-7 Syria's Support for Terrorism ....................5,8 IRAQ Iraqi Troop Movements within Iraq ................8 CUBA U.S. Policy on Return of Cuban Rafters ...........9-10 Brothers to the Rescue Plans for Further Protests This Weekend ........................................9-10 Rumors of Castro Being in Ill Health .............10 Cuban Foreign Minister's Request for Visa for UN Session ............................17,18 CHINA Status of U.S. Determination re Reported Chinese Transfer of Nuclear Technology to Pakistan ..............11-15,16 --EXIM Suspension of Loan Approvals/Disapprovals .11-15,17 Visits by Chinese Officials to U.S./U.S. Officials Plans for Travel to China ............................12,13,17 BANGLADESH Election Outcome .................................15-16 UK/NORTHERN IRELAND Status of Gerry Adams Visa Request ...............16 KUWAIT Visit to U.S. by Kuwaiti Amir Jaber al-Sabah .... 18-19
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1996, 1:07 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. DAVIES: Welcome to the State Department briefing. A couple of announcements to start with, and then I can go to questions.
The first, to let you know that we're having a second in our series of 22 Town Meetings this year. Jacksonville was a great success recently, so we're going to follow it up with a U.S. Foreign Policy Town Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. It will be on March 6 of this year.
The World Affairs Council of St. Louis and the U.S. Department of State are co-sponsoring this meeting which will be at the Frontenac Hilton Hotel. It's open to the press. It's from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Our headliner is going to be Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. Others who will be there include Assistant Secretary Robert Pelletreau and Deputy Coordinator for the Newly Independent States John Herbst. We've got an announcement on this, so if you would like to attend, we can give you the details.
Second, a statement on Sierra Leone and the elections that occurred there. The United States applauds the government and the people of Sierra Leone for their demonstrated commitment to the restoration of democratically elected government. Their courage and determination to achieve this goal was clearly evident in the multi-party elections held February 26 and 27. Massive voter turnout marked these elections despite several regrettable incidents of violence in different parts of the country.
We commend the Head of State, Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, and the government for adhering to the transition timetable for returning Sierra Leone to civilian rule. We urge the government and the people there to continue to work together over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth conclusion to the transition to elected civilian government, and we look forward to any early announcement of the results of the elections and the installation of the new democratically elected institutions of the government.
Third, to let you know -- or to confirm; I think we might have already mentioned it -- that this Friday, March 1, the Department of State will release the 1996 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. This Congressionally mandated report is an assessment of drug production and trafficking in over 140 countries. It was prepared here in the State Department but with the cooperation of other government agencies.
We have a kind of elaborate roll-out plan for that day. We'll have copies available in the morning. You've got to come get them in person from us at 10:00 a.m. in the Press Office. We'll also have a copy of the report available after 2:00 that you can pull off of the Internet.
I might take this occasion to note that we have a new, shorter Internet address. A couple of months ago I read our Internet address and people started to laugh after about 30 seconds. It's now a lot easier. It's www.state.gov. So even easier to get to us on the Internet. The report will be available on the Internet and through other means as well.
MR. DAVIES: Dot gov. G-o-v. Gov, like governor. That's g-u-v; I'm sorry.
Q (Inaudible) on CompuServ?
MR. DAVIES: On CompuServ? Use your Web Browser, I think is how you do that.
Let me move to substance. Can I go to substance? Before I go to your question, Barry, let me lead with my chin and talk a little bit about the Wye talks which are starting today. They'll start this afternoon. I don't have a precise time for you, but I think you can look for the Wye talks to begin shortly after lunch time, perhaps around 2:00, 3:00, along in there.
Continuation of the negotiations at Wye River Conference Center demonstrates that both Israel and Syria are serious about negotiations and about reaching an agreement. The fact that the talks are resuming even during an election period in Israel and that they will focus on the substance of the issues reflects that seriousness.
As far as expectations for this third round of the Wye River talks are concerned, there was clearly some progress made in the first two rounds, and we hope to use this session to build on that progress.
With regard to the agenda, the delegations will be following up on the issues discussed during the previous rounds. We'll begin at Wye River with a focus on security arrangements, an area we spent considerable time on during the last round. As far as participants are concerned, I have a list of participants that I'll be happy to hand out.
Just to note the high points there. For Syria, these are familiar names I think to you: Ambassador Walid al-Moualem, the Ambassador of Syria to the United States will lead the Syrian delegation. For Israel, it will be Uri Savir, the Director General of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the U.S. side, once again, Dennis Ross, the Special Middle East Coordinator here at the Department of State. On his team will be Mark Parris of the NSC; Aaron Miller, also of the Department of State; Toni Verstandig, who is a Deputy Assistant Secretary here at the Department of State; and from the Pentagon, Lt. General Daniel Christman.
With that, Barry, your questions?
Q Just to tidy up one small point. Did Ross meet with the two delegations beforehand?
MR. DAVIES: Yes, he did. Ambassador Ross had preliminary meetings, as he's had in the past, prior to talks at Wye River with the delegations from Syria and Israel.
MR. DAVIES: Separately, I believe.
Q There's a report -- I believe it's by the BBC -- that during that meeting with al-Moualem, he offered condolences for the bombings in Israel. Can you confirm that?
MR. DAVIES: No, I can't confirm that. We've seen, of course, the reaction printed in the Syria Times. It had a measure of condemnation of the terrorist attacks. That's obviously something that we welcome, that the Syria Times would publish words like that. It's obvious that peace and violence aren't compatible, so those words are welcome.
Q Condolence wouldn't mean very much if it isn't public.
MR. DAVIES: I don't know whether an expression of condolence was offered.
Q No, no. If you could look into it.
MR. DAVIES: Whether there was an expression of condolence?
Q Yes. Because if the Syrians arrived expressing condolences and you can verify that, it gives some meaning to --
MR. DAVIES: I can always look into that, sure. I can see if they're interested in making that public.
Q How do you reconcile the fact that the Iranian First Vice President, who is in Damascus today, apparently met with Palestinian militants, and according to Palestinian officials, talked about continuing to try to thwart the peace process?
MR. DAVIES: I think what's important to note here about what's occurred in Israel, especially in the wake of the tragic bombings on the 25th of February, on the weekend, is that the PLO undertook commitments to prevent terrorism and violence. The PLO, of course, has to live up to those commitments.
Arafat has made an effort to deal with the terrorism threat and to cooperate with the Israelis in doing so. But in light of those bombings on February 25, the Palestinians clearly need to do more, and we need to see a sustained and comprehensive effort designed to ensure that those who would carry out such acts of terror are prevented from doing so.
Q That wasn't my question. My question was --
MR. DAVIES: You were asking me to comment on a meeting --
Q On the meeting that --
MR. DAVIES: -- that occurred between the militants and Iranians?
Q -- that the Iranian First Vice President had in Damascus -- where nothing happens without Assad's approval -- had a meeting today with Palestinian militants.
My question is, how does the United States square that kind of an event with your welcome, on the one hand, of the comment in the newspaper about condemning the bombing. How do you read that meeting?
MR. DAVIES: Clearly, the issue of terrorism has been one that's divided us. Syria is on the terrorism list, and that's no secret. But I think it's important to note today that there was, in the Syria Times, condemnation of the terrorist attacks, and that's a positive development.
Q So that takes precedence over any other thing that happens?
MR. DAVIES: It's not a question of precedence. It's a question that very recently there was a condemnation in the Syria Times. That's a positive development, and we wanted to take note of that.
Q Glyn, sometimes -- not you -- this building is quick to praise these editorials in the Syria Times or Tishrine. Sometimes they're not. It's tough to get an answer from them whether you all think the Syrian media speaks for the Syrian Government.
Do you think, at least in this case, that the Syria Times is speaking for the Syrian Government?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not an expert on the relationship between the Syria Times and the Syrian Government. I don't think I can shed any light on the relationship between them.
Q The State Department can't say for sure whether this was an expression from the government or just an expression from an editorial writer?
MR. DAVIES: I think what's important is that there has been expression of condemnation of the terrorist attacks in a newspaper that's printed and hits the streets in Damascus. That's a positive development worth noting regardless of the degree of cooperation or control there is between the Government of Syria and the newspaper. I leave that to the experts -- among them, some of you.
Q Why would you cite it if you thought Syria had a free press? You wouldn't cite the New York Times as proof of U.S. Government thinking, would you?
MR. DAVIES: No, of course not. No. Though sometimes we do praise editorials that appear in the New York Times. If you'd like, what I can do for you is trot out the human rights report on Syria and we can discuss the degree to which the press is free or not free or controlled by the Syrian Government. Sure, there's a degree of control. I'm not going to sit here and say that there isn't. Is it absolute? I don't know.
Q You cite it because you think it reflects the government's thinking?
MR. DAVIES: We cite it because it's a positive development.
Q The point is that when it's in your interest to cite -- not "you," again, but the State Department -- when it's in the interest of this government to cite the Syrian media, they do; when it's not, they don't.
MR. DAVIES: Sid, when it's in our interest to cite things, we cite it. That's right.
Q Would you call today's meeting in Damascus between the Iranians and the Palestinians a negative development?
MR. DAVIES: I wouldn't even choose to characterize it. I spoke to the issue of meetings between Syria and Iran the other day. The point is, it's not, from our standpoint, going to have an effect on the peace process. So there's really no need to comment on it.
Q (Inaudible) might have an effect on the peace process?
MR. DAVIES: We'll see. I don't know. I haven't seen a statement coming out of the meeting, so it's difficult to react to just the fact of the meeting taking place. I don't want to overreact.
Q But when you put out a human rights report, you criticize Syria for harboring terrorists, for harboring militants, and for not reining them in in Lebanon and for giving them refuge, sanctuary in Damascus.
MR. DAVIES: Barry, there is absolutely --
Q And now you're asked about a meeting -- I mean, it's unbelievable.
MR. DAVIES: I don't have the agenda of the meeting. Are they there to discuss terrorism? I don't know. If they issue a statement that talks about it, we'll perhaps have something to say; but I don't know the agenda of the meeting.
Q Glyn, there is also a report out of Damascus that Syria and Iran have agreed to cooperate in overthrowing Saddam, opening the borders to Iraq -- all sorts of very specific types of steps. Have you seen those?
MR. DAVIES: I haven't seen the report.
Q Will you have anything to say about that later in the day?
MR. DAVIES: I can look into those reports, Sid.
Q Ambassador Ross during his talks last week with Mr. al-Moualem asked the Syrians specifically to issue a statement condemning the two bombings in Israel, or encouraged them to issue a statement.
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to get into the substance of his private talks with the Syrians to prepare for this round --
Q (Inaudible) when they talked last week?
MR. DAVIES: I'm sorry?
Q Did they discuss the issue of the bombing?
MR. DAVIES: I'm just not even going to get into what they discussed or didn't discuss. They were obviously engaged in discussions to set up this meeting of the Wye series of talks that starts today and continues through next week, and I'm not going to go into the agenda.
Q (Inaudible) a state like Syria to condemn, publicly condemn the bombing. Forget -- keep Dennis Ross out of it because then you can take refuge in what you call private talks. So just as a matter of policy, Dennis Ross aside, would the State Department like to see Syria and other countries join in publicly condemning terrorist attacks?
MR. DAVIES: Whenever there's a terrorist attack such as occurred on the weekend, a bloody attack like that, obviously the United States is going to come out and condemn it, and obviously to the extent other nations condemn the attack, we're pleased by that.
But I don't think it's useful for me from this podium today to call on the Syrian Government to denounce the attacks. I've noted what we think is a positive development, and I think you'll agree is a positive development, which is that the Syria Times has come out condemning the attack. That's positive. It would obviously be positive if the Government itself issued a statement, but I'm not going to sit here and call for it.
Q Change subject to Cuba?
Q I have another on Syria. In the past, the Government of Damascus, they deny always the cooperation of giving safehaven to terrorist organizations; but the whole world knows that the PKK, for example, had a base in the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley; and the leader of the PKK, he is living in Damascus.
Did you see any change from the Government of Damascus for the terrorism or supporting country situation?
MR. DAVIES: What we've got to say about Syria and terrorism and their support of terrorism is contained in reports that are available to you. I really don't have anything to add to that. I think we'll be coming out with new sets of reports relatively soon, and so you can at that stage get whatever we have to say at that point.
But I don't have anything to add to what we've already said about Syria and its support for terrorism. It's an issue that divides us -- that's clear -- but there's been this positive development, and I wanted to note it. That's as far as I'm going to go.
Q Do you happen to have anything about Iraqi troop movements within Iraq?
MR. DAVIES: No, I don't, Barry.
Q There were reports -- moving against certain provinces.
MR. DAVIES: No, I don't have anything on that.
Q Do you have anything the Assad-Farrakhan meeting last week?
MR. DAVIES: Like a readout? (Laughter)
Q Any --
MR. DAVIES: We did a backgrounder. (Laughter)
MR. DAVIES: We've reacted at great length to Minister Farrakhan's meetings on his tour of the Middle East and Africa, and I'm just going to stand behind the statements that have already been made from this podium and not add anything at this stage.
Q Can we go to Cuba, please?
MR. DAVIES: Sure.
Q What's U.S. policy as we sit here today on rafters and whether they should be returned if rafters are picked up today or tomorrow?
MR. DAVIES: Charlie, our policy hasn't changed.
Q They are to be returned to Cuba, to the government.
MR. DAVIES: We have an agreement worked out that is based on considerations of the safety of the rafters themselves. According to that agreement the rafters are repatriated -- that's right -- under certain procedures to Cuba.
Q What, if anything, on a related question, in terms of the upcoming planned protest this Saturday, are you trying to do officially to stop the protest? Are you trying to stop it, or are you trying to just influence people not to take part?
MR. DAVIES: I've rehearsed for you at some length what this building and what this government has done over the last eight months to warn any individuals of the dangers of going into Cuban airspace or Cuban territory or flying over it.
All I can say right now is that we're studying ways -- we're studying what to do essentially about this most recent development, which is that "Brothers to the Rescue" has announced that they're going to go down and drop a wreath or lay flowers at the site where their comrades were shot down.
I don't have any announcement to make nor would I necessarily look to this building ultimately to make an announcement about that. But the President and his advisers, as you might imagine, are engaged on the issue because we're talking about the safety of American citizens and we're talking about how we should react in response to this wanton violation of international law; but there's been no decision made as yet.
Q To follow up on the first question about the rafters, is the President and his advisers also engaged or is the building engaged in looking at the policy on rafters to see if you want to continue to keep that policy?
MR. DAVIES: I don't think there's any move afoot to change our policy on the rafters.
Q Further on the rafters, Glyn. Has there been any indication from the Cuban Government that they intend to reneg on that agreement, if rafters were returned to Cuba that they would refuse them?
MR. DAVIES: Carol, I haven't seen anything like that. No.
Q Glyn, has the Administration asked the FAA to ground the "Brothers"?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have any information. You could ask the FAA that question. I have nothing to offer on that.
Q There are some reports circulating around Washington that Castro may not be well, particularly referring to his mental condition. Have you heard anything along those lines? There may be a power struggle in Cuba that somehow Saturday's incident is tied up in.
MR. DAVIES: Judd, I've got nothing to offer on his health, failing or otherwise. I just don't.
Q As far as you know, he's well.
MR. DAVIES: I haven't seen a recent report on his health, so I don't know.
Q On Colombia, Glyn?
MR. DAVIES: Yes.
Q There was an anti-drug activist, Max Londono, who was an occasional contributor to EIR, who is up here in the United States lobbying against certification. On his return to Colombia, he's received a number of death threats against himself and his family that are formulated in such a way that unless he makes statements in favor of certification, his family and he will die.
I was wondering if there's any pattern of such threats being done now in the light of the upcoming decision on the part of the U.S. with regard to certification of Colombia, and will these types of threats affect the debate within the Administration on that issue?
MR. DAVIES: I was unaware that such threats were being made. If they are, that's obviously something we would reject. But I can't speculate about how that might play into the process that we're engaged in now of making determinations about certification or decertification.
Q Same subject. Do you know how the certification announcements are going to be handled? Is it going to be Friday, here?
MR. DAVIES: Yes. I've made an announcement about --
MR. DAVIES: That's okay. -- about how all this will work, and we have an announcement that lays out the four or five different vehicles through which you can get that report, starting at about 10:00 a.m. on Friday. If you come by the Press Office, we'll have copies for you.
It will be embargoed. I should have made note of that.
Q Not the report, but the Presidential certification -- the page or two that goes along with it. Is that going to be released?
MR. DAVIES: Is that a part of the report?
Q I think it's separate.
MR. DAVIES: I can check that to see whether it's separate.
Q Embargoed until when?
MR. DAVIES: Until the briefing is concluded. That's correct.
Q Which will start at 12:30?
MR. DAVIES: One o'clock I think it starts, and we'll have both Under Secretary Wirth and Assistant Secretary Gelbard here to talk to you about it.
Q Do you have anything on the request to the Ex-Im Bank to suspend all credits to China, or rather loan guarantees to China?
MR. DAVIES: As everybody knows by now, we're reviewing reports that China provided sensitive nuclear assistance to Pakistan. As part of those deliberations, we're engaged with the Chinese diplomatically to help determine the facts of the case. We're not at all negotiating with China.
At the end of last week, the Secretary did ask Ex-Im to hold off on loan approvals or disapprovals to China pending the outcome of our deliberations. But our intention, of course, is to fully implement our responsibilities under U.S. non-proliferation statutes, and we're reviewing carefully the allegations in this case.
Our objective here is to be effective about this, and we want to use the non-proliferation statutes to advance our interest in assuring that China implements the NPT.
Q Did you ask China to join in the research efforts, to investigate themselves as to what they've been doing?
MR. DAVIES: As you would expect us to, we've put a number of questions to the Chinese Government. We're not negotiating with them. We haven't called on them to investigate themselves. This is our responsibility -- the U.S. Government's responsibility -- to come to a determination, and we will. We'll come to a determination in the fullness of time.
Q A wire story says that a Chinese delegation will come to this country to discuss this case. Do you have any information?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know of any Chinese delegation coming here specifically to discuss this case. I've seen mention of some upcoming visits, which we can get you detail on, but I don't think that anybody's rushing to Washington to discuss this, no.
Q The dates on this coincide pretty well with -- coming up with the election on the 23rd in Taiwan. I was wondering if there was any feeling that you wanted to hold this over the Chinese head at this point to make sure that they didn't try to interfere with the election in Taiwan?
MR. DAVIES: I wouldn't necessarily draw that linkage.
Q Are there any discussions going on between the United States and its allies -- specifically Britain and France -- on possible joint action on sanctions against the Chinese?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not aware of any negotiations with our allies to come up with a joint sanctions discussion -- to come up with any kind of a joint action plan on this, no.
MR. DAVIES: I can look into that, sure. China's one of the countries that obviously we talk to our allies about a lot, because what happens in our relationship has an impact on our relationship with other countries. But I can check to see if we're doing anything on that.
Q Do you think you could provide that list of upcoming Chinese visits? Nobody is suggesting that they "rush over here" to talk only about the business of sending technology to Pakistan, but there are lots of things the Administration wants to talk to China about -- not all of them positive --
MR. DAVIES: We have a very active dialogue with the Chinese, and their visits are important.
Q Right, and defense officials are coming, senior Chinese officials are coming. It just makes it easier if you had a ready list of expected visits with the names of the people, and we could use that.
MR. DAVIES: Let me try to get you one.
Q A letter was sent to the Export-Import Bank yesterday, according to the spokesman for the Bank. While the Bank is independent, it is immediately acting on what they call a request -- they don't consider it an order, but they complied and have suspended credit loans that haven't been approved yet, consideration of new credit loans.
I just wondered whether when we hear announcements about Town Meetings and visit from George Washington University students and other somewhat less than weighty matters, we could also be told when the Secretary of State, who we had told had no recommendation yet to make, had already formally requested of the Export-Import Bank that it take action.
MR. DAVIES: So what you're saying, Barry, is that every time the Secretary takes any action that relates --
Q No, Glyn, what I'm saying is --
MR. DAVIES: How do we get into your and know what it is that you're --
Q Well, we can make a deal. The deal will be don't give us trivial announcements if you're not going to give us substantive announcements. But if you're going to give us trivial announcements and we've been -- not you particularly -- but, you know, we know the Near East will get nothing, because we know how those folks operate. So that's in another category.
But China -- people on that podium are asked about almost daily about China, and the impression the Administration --
MR. DAVIES: So the deal is that any time there's a development on China, we trot that out for you.
Q Not any development. We're reporters, and most of us have been successful in getting this development on our own. We don't need to be handed it. But what I'm saying is --
MR. DAVIES: But you'd like to be handed it.
Q No, no. What I'm saying is the State Department has given a misleading impression -- if you want to come down to brass tacks -- it has been giving the impression that the decision on what to do about China is so far in the future that the Secretary of State, who would be a very key figure in that decision, hasn't even made a recommendation yet to the White House on what he thinks maybe we ought to do.
MR. DAVIES: I disagree. Barry, I disagree.
Q So you know we're interested. We keep asking, and there is a request. He sends a letter to the Export-Import Bank, saying suspend consideration of new credits. I think in light of the importance of the issue and that we've been asking about China regularly, it would be decent to say, "indeed, he has come up with an idea, and in fact he's officially put it on paper and asked that action be taken."
It sort of reverses the standing impression that he's still thinking about it while he's watching the bulls run in Argentina.
MR. DAVIES: Madonna's down there, too.
Q He doesn't exactly see her evidently, or else he would have gotten more press. (Laughter)
MR. DAVIES: First of all --
Q Lee Katz is rushing down there.
MR. DAVIES: First of all, if I could just say a couple of things, because you've had your say, and I've heard you.
Q Well, I had to make it clear.
Q And there's some support to that.
MR. DAVIES: There's some support. I'm sure there is. I'm sure there is, that's why this is armor-plated. (Laughter)
The announcements that I make up front may appear trivial to you, and they probably are from the standpoint of your core concerns, which are the Middle East and China, I guess.
Q Russia. The Balkans.
MR. DAVIES: Yes, a few other things.
MR. DAVIES: I'll make the effort in future to try to read minds and figure out what it is that ought to be announced, and then I'll fight the bureaucratic battle to do it. I heard what you had to say. Okay?
Q Thank you, Glyn, this is Arshad of the Daily Inquilab. Congressman Bill Richardson stated in Dhaka lately that "I fully support the statement of U.S. State Department that there has been serious talk in the Administration of the elections." The democratic loving people of Bangladesh rejected this election. They are now a hostage to an undemocratic, vindictive, repressive government. Bangladesh has up until now and lately suffered enough for protecting its democratic rights and democracy. And the people of Bangladesh are looking to the United States, the most powerful nation on earth, just to stand with them and say without fear or favor that the elections of February 15 were unfair and wrongful.
Having said that, will the United States continue its support of the Government of Khaleda Ziaur?
MR. DAVIES: Mr. Arshad, the elections were clearly unsatisfactory. I don't know that I can sit here and unequivocally place blame on one side or the other and blame the government or blame the opposition.
There was a lot that was wrong about that election. There's been violence in the streets of Dhaka. That's a very negative development. We are very much engaged in Dhaka, as you know, through our Embassy there and our Ambassador.
But I don't think it's going to improve the situation if we, from this podium today, make an announcement that denounces the government or denounces the opposition.
There are a lot of issues to work through. The Government and the opposition have to work through them. The election was unsatisfactory from a number of standpoints. I'm simply not going to step up to that and make the sort of announcement you want to hear, I'm afraid.
Q On another subject but one which recalls Barry's -- things we're interested in, and maybe it's been done and slipped by me. But has the Gerry Adams visa request been acted upon?
MR. DAVIES: It has not, to my knowledge.
Q Still debating that?
MR. DAVIES: It's still pending; right.
Q Back on China. Were there any other actions taken recently that we maybe have not yet been apprised of? Or is there anything eminently coming up this afternoon?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know of anything that happened yesterday or is coming up this afternoon that you need to know about. I can't know everything that's going on with China.
I think on the question of the ring magnets and sanctions, we're continuing our deliberations here. Whatever decision we reach, I don't think we'll reach it, as Barry has suggested, many, many moons from now. I would hope and expect that it will be relatively soon, though I can't define that and I apologize.
Whatever we decide, it will be consistent with our commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to our stated policy on proliferation.
Q Are any visits by senior U.S. officials being considered, underway, or planned to China?
MR. DAVIES: Why don't I do this: Why don't I do what I can to put together a list in very short order and have it for you by the end of the day of anything we can say about Chinese coming here and Americans going to China.
Q On the Christopher recommendation issue, I'm not sure that his request to the Export-Import Bank amounts to a recommendation on sanctions. That's an action. It's sort of a side holding action.
Has the Secretary -- if you need to find out, maybe you can -- has the Secretary weighed in yet with a recommendation to the White House on potential sanctions and whether they should be waived? He hadn't last week discussed it.
MR. DAVIES: Right. My understanding is that there's been no recommendation made yet to the White House.
Q Speaking of visas in Cuba, the Cuban Foreign Minister alleges that his visa request was held up by the United States so he couldn't make it to the U.N. in time. Is there anything to that?
MR. DAVIES: No. That's absolutely not the case at all. The Foreign Minister was a bit of a moving target over the last couple of days in terms of trying to get him the visa that he needed to come here, once he indicated to us that he wanted it. We, in no way, impeded issuance of the Foreign Minister's visa. In fact, quite the contrary.
We facilitated his entry at every step. If you're interested, I can tell you really quickly how this worked: That on Sunday evening, the 25th, we were notified that he wished to travel to the United Nations. We contacted the Immigration Service to seek a visa waiver that would allow Foreign Minister Robaina and his party to travel directly from Europe, where he was, to New York.
A couple of hours later, the Government of Cuba told us that Robaina would transit through Mexico City and would apply for his visa there.
We were advised that Robaina and party would arrive in Mexico City late on Monday, the 26th, and depart on a 10:00 a.m. flight the next morning. So we were all set. Visas were pre- cleared. The Embassy arranged to stamp passports at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday.
At around 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday our Embassy in Mexico City told the Government of Cuba that -- no, our Embassy was advised that Robaina was going to travel by chartered aircraft -- private aircraft -- and that he wanted to leave right away. So this is 2:00 in the morning. So we then scrambled with the Immigration Service, working with our Embassy, to immediately arrange for a waiver for Foreign Minister Robaina so that when he stepped off his aircraft with his people, he could arrive in New York via Houston without difficulty.
Q By "moving target," he changed his plans --
MR. DAVIES: Yes. He was moving around. We understood that he was going to be following a certain itinerary and they changed signals on us. A lot of backfield running, and we finally got him his visa when he landed in Houston, I assume.
Q Just a little bit of a change of subject. I guess there was a series of meetings yesterday and today over at the Pentagon involving Tom Hubbard, Kirk Campbell and the Japanese delegation on the Okinawa situation. I was wondering if you had any comment on how those went or --
MR. DAVIES: No. You'd have to put those questions to the Pentagon.
Q Well, Tom Hubbard was there, so that's why I --
MR. DAVIES: I understand, but I would look to the Pentagon for comment on that.
Q Do you have any comment on the Kuwaiti Amir's visit with Vice President Gore today and former President Bush tomorrow?
MR. DAVIES: I don't think I have any particular comment on it. Obviously, it's a State visit -- perhaps not a State visit, strictly speaking, but a head of state visit. The White House may well have something to say since his primary purpose for coming, I think, is to talk to the President and the Vice President. So I don't have anything really to offer.
Q Thank you.
MR. DAVIES: Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:43 p.m.)
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