U.S. Department of State 96/02/29 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Thursday, February 29, 1996 Briefer: Glyn Davies DEPARTMENT Release of Annual Human Rights Report .............. 1 "Open Skies" Agreement with Germany ..... 1 CUBA Homestead AFB/NORAD Aware of MiGs in Flight ...1-2 Category of Downed Aircraft ...................3-4 US Reaction to Protests Planned for 3/2/96 ....4 US Military Accompanying BTTR ..............4 Allies' Cooperation with Embargo ...........4 Helms-Burton Legislation ...................4-8 BANGLADESH Freedom of the Press/Conflicts and Arrests ...9 RUSSIA Military Strike in Ingushetia ..............10 Conflict in Chechnya .......................10 Call for Protectionist Measures ............10 Thermonuclear Power Project with China/Iran/India .10-11 PAKISTAN/CHINA Transferring Technology to Pakistan ........11-12 US Talks with Pakistan .....................11-12 Consequences for Pakistan ..................12-13 M-11 Sale: Sanctions Against Pakistan ......12 M-ll Sale: No Sanctions Against China ......13 Secretary's Letter to Export-Import Bank ...15 LATIN AMERICA Secretary's Promotion of Business ..........14 NORTHERN IRELAND Visa for Gerry Adams .......................15 PEACE PROCESS Wye Plantation Talks .......................15 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Pursuit of War Criminals ...................15-18 Status of War Crimes Tribunal ..............18-19 Residents Remaining in Sarajevo Suburbs ....19 Foreign Fighters ...........................20 Equip-and-Train ............................20-21 NORTH KOREA Meeting on Missile Proliferation ...........21-23 SYRIA/IRAN Iraqi Opposition Meeting ...................21-22
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 1996, 1:09 P. M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. DAVIES: Welcome to the State Department briefing. I was going to apologize to Barry because I've got a few announcements up front, but I don't see him. So I'll be quick, and we can get to your questions.
First off, to welcome visitors. Seven Middle East broadcast professionals who are in the U.S. as part of the USIA International Visitors Program. They're accompanied by two escort interpreters. Welcome to the State Department briefing. Good to have you here.
Second, just to let you know about how we're going to handle release of the Annual Report on Human Rights Practices -- the Human Rights Report. It's a little late this year. I think most people know it's usually delivered to the Congress the last day of January, but the various shutdowns and furloughs delayed it.
So we're going to release it next Tuesday, and Under Secretary Wirth and Assistant Secretary John Shattuck will brief the press on that report Tuesday, March 5, at 12:30 p.m., here in the briefing room. We'll have a notice that will explain to you how you can get a hold of those country reports and when precisely they'll be available.
Finally, an announcement on the German "Open Skies" Accord, just to draw your attention to Transportation Secretary Pena's announcement earlier today that the United States and Germany have initialed a bilateral "Open Skies" aviation agreement. Once in effect, this "Open Skies" agreement with Germany, which is the second largest European market for U.S. carriers, will allow U.S. and German carriers to fly to any destination in either country and to third countries without restriction on flight volume, routing or price. That's a very positive development, and with that, George, your questions.
Q The Boston Globe is saying this morning that the Secretary has reprimanded Ambassador Flynn for inappropriate remarks concerning the Congress of the United States. Do you know anything about that?
MR. DAVIES: I know a little something about that, but I'm not going to have any comment on it. I think that there may be Privacy Act restrictions that pertain.
Q He's an Ambassador. How could that be applicable?
MR. DAVIES: Regardless of whether there are Privacy Act restrictions, I am at this stage going to decline to make any comment on it.
Q So you're saying you don't know whether there are Privacy Act restrictions. You're just invoking this --
MR. DAVIES: I'm saying there may be. I don't yet know that. But regardless of whether there are, at this stage we'll have nothing to say about it.
Q At what stage will you have something to say about it?
MR. DAVIES: We may not at any stage, but we'll see. We'll see.
Q But you're not denying the story.
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to deny the story, no.
Q You will have something for us, right? You will say, "We can't comment because of Privacy Act considerations"?
MR. DAVIES: We're going to look into that. We just saw the story, so we'll have to look into that for you.
Q Are you confirming the story?
Q He's not denying the story.
MR. DAVIES: I'm not denying it, Sid. That's where we are on that. The story appeared this morning. At this stage we've decided we're not going to have anything to say about it. I'm not going to deny it, and we'll see if later on perhaps we can say something to you. But right now I've got nothing for you on that.
Q Can you say whether there were inaccuracies in the story?
MR. DAVIES: I'll tell you the truth, which is that I haven't even read the story yet. We get the Globe here but we get it a day late normally. We tried to get a hold of a copy of the article and couldn't get it, so I haven't read the story yet. I don't know if there are inaccuracies in it. It refers to some letters of reprimand. I haven't seen copies of these letters of reprimand, if indeed they exist. I'm not going to deny the story. I can't at this stage help you with it. Perhaps we can help you with it soon.
Q On another subject, on Cuba.
MR. DAVIES: Right.
Q Today in a hearing, Congressman Dan Burton says that he got a phone call from Homestead Air Force Base last night, telling him that on Saturday NORAD knew that these MiGs had taken off from Cuba and that they were headed towards the civilian aircraft. And furthermore that Homestead Air Force Base, after these MiGs took off, requested to scramble to intercept the MiGs, and that this request was denied. Do you all have any information about this?
MR. DAVIES: I don't. I've just heard that report. I note that that question was put to Under Secretary Tarnoff, and he indicated that he hadn't heard that report. So that's something that will be looked into. I would imagine that the best place to put that question would be the Department of Defense, since Homestead Air Force Base is one of their facilities. But I don't have anything to give you at this stage.
Q Have you seen in any of the delineations of the time line of that day, any requests for scrambling?
MR. DAVIES: No. I've seen no indication. This is the first I've heard of it. I've seen no indication that Homestead knew about it or NORAD knew about it or anybody knew about it.
Q Is it the State Department's position that this was a commercial airplane? How do you categorize the airplane under the Chicago Convention?
MR. DAVIES: It sounds like a fairly technical question. Barry, we've been calling it a private aircraft.
MR. DAVIES: All the aircraft, private aircraft. That's right. I don't know if the Chicago Convention actually has that category or if it just talks about commercial and military. I'm not sure.
Q I think it might. But it wasn't on any business, so that raises questions, what kind of plane is it. But, anyhow --
MR. DAVIES: Well, we've --
Q I know they were bad guys to shoot it down, but the point is they may have been in Cuban airspace, and a country is not totally without rights when planes that are not on a commercial venture, venture into their airspace.
MR. DAVIES: But the two airplanes that were shot down, we have said and we believe, were not ever in Cuban airspace. So shooting them down was an unlawful criminal act in cold blood and all the rest of it.
Q What's the government going to do Saturday when this protest takes place?
MR. DAVIES: There may well be an announcement, I think, at the White House in short order. It probably won't happen at 1:30, because I understand meetings are still going on, but a bit after that I think the White House will have something to say about how the events of the weekend will be handled.
Q Is the United States considering having military aircraft accompany any "Brothers to the Rescue"?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything for you on that. I just don't know.
Q Or Coast Guard?
MR. DAVIES: I just don't know. I really don't.
Q Under Secretary Tarnoff also talked about the United States seeking cooperation from its allies to enforce the embargo on Cuba.
MR. DAVIES: Right.
Q What can you tell us about that?
MR. DAVIES: I think that gets us into Helms-Burton -- the legislation that the Administration is embracing as a reaction to the events of Saturday. There are a number of provisions of Helms- Burton, one of which is a call on the Executive Branch to pursue a mandatory international embargo against Cuba in the U.N. Security Council. Then there are other provisions. The top three that I would point to in that legislation, as we understand it, is that it will codify existing Executive Orders and regulations imposing the trade embargo.
So in other words, the embargo that's been in place, henceforth could not be lifted or modified without congressional approval.
Second, that it will prohibit visas for individuals and family members who buy, improve or expand expropriated property in Cuba.
And then, third, the so-called "Title III," which is that it grants rights to sue in U.S. courts for compensation from third- country companies that buy, improve or expand expropriated property.
So those are the three main provisions. There are many others in the bill that I'd be happy to go over with you. The difficulty is, of course, that that bill hasn't yet been passed, and there will be, obviously, a great amount of implementing language that will have to be worked out in order to make clear exactly how the government will proceed on each of these issues.
Q The Secretary had a long list of objections last September, I guess it was, and the objections were such that he felt the President should veto the legislation. Has each of the points that he raised in his statement of last September been addressed since then? Have they been softened as this process has gone along?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know that they have. What's happened in the interim is that the Government of Cuba has shot down a couple of unarmed aircraft, and the President decided and then announced that this legislation to his mind in light of that becomes an appropriate response to the illegal, cold-blooded shootdown on Saturday the 24th; and that the legislation will promote our overall goals of pursuing democratic change in Cuba. That's been the change.
Q Can you say how what happened last Saturday invalidates the concerns addressed last September?
MR. DAVIES: It changed, clearly, the President's conception of his concerns. He wanted to take strong measures in reaction to what Cuba did, and this was seen as a way of demonstrating American resolve and of tightening sanctions against Cuba.
Q Well, among other things, there's one provision there that the Secretary said would handcuff the President's authority to carry out foreign policy or to make foreign policy.
MR. DAVIES: Which provision is that?
Q Well, it's been a while since --
MR. DAVIES: Let me just sort of lay this out. This is a multi-faceted piece of legislation with a number of provisions in it that are going to present some challenges to the Administration in the implementation. There's no question about it. The visa provisions, some of the provisions that relate to extra- territoriality. There's a lot of work that has to be done between now and when we can actually begin to implement these provisions.
Obviously, for those in the government charged with implementing the provisions, it's not going to be easy, but the President decided that this legislation is now in our interests to support, and he has said he supports it and, if passed, he'll sign it.
Q What do you mean? What is the period where there are going to be challenges? You mean the legislation needs to be fine-tuned so --
MR. DAVIES: No, no.
Q Or once it's enacted, it's -- of course, it's challenging. It has provisions that you, yourself, said were illegal only a few months ago. That's more than a challenge.
MR. DAVIES: I'll give you an example. For instance, on the visa provisions here where, according to the Act, we will have to deny visas to CEOs of companies that somehow trade in expropriated property. We'll have to work out exactly how this will operate in the future. Some countries have visa waivers, and their nationals don't need visas to come to the United States.
Q There are certainly two legal issues that I wish -- despite the total reversal by the Administration and your unfortunate need to defend a reversal. It's a hard job for a spokesman to do, because just the other day you were agreeing that provisions of legal -- that were questionable on their legality.
Does the Administration as a matter of fact want Congress -- want to create a situation where you need Congress' approval to remove an embargo that you have taken -- that you have asked the United Nations -- the Security Council of the United Nations has adopted. Does the U.S. as a foreign policy matter want to have -- want to set up a situation where Congress must consent to the removal of an embargo?
MR. DAVIES: Can I answer that?
MR. DAVIES: The U.S. has decided -- the President of the United States has decided -- that it is now in our interest to pass this legislation, to see it passed and to see it written into law. That, clearly, is one of the key provisions of this legislation.
If you're Fidel Castro and you see this kind of a change occurring, it's going to send you a signal --
Q Breaking laws send signals, too --
MR. DAVIES: -- of hardening on the part of the United States. That's the purpose of the President's decision to support this legislation.
Q I'm just questioning whether the Administration wants to take extra legal actions, questionable legal actions, to send a signal to Fidel Castro, and also, of course, to send a signal to Cuban-American voters?
MR. DAVIES: I'll convey that policy advice.
Q It goes beyond Castro. You're setting a precedent if you approve this legislation that before you can get an embargo lifted against the Bosnian Serbs or against -- I don't know who -- Iraq or Libya, you would want Congress to give its consent before that embargo could be lifted. That is what you're setting up here -- the Administration is setting up here. I wonder if that's what the Administration would like to set as a precedent?
MR. DAVIES: The Administration has taken into account all of the permutations of this, has taken into account that problem, as well as some of the other challenges posed by implementing this bill, and has decided that on balance it is in our interest to see this legislation become the law of the land.
MR. DAVIES: To send a signal to Castro.
Q You're saying the President -- the Administration - - is willing to cede some of its power over its ability to conduct foreign policy in the interest of tightening the embargo on Cuba?
MR. DAVIES: Is willing to cede some of its power?
Q Over foreign policy to Congress?
MR. DAVIES: That may be your interpretation of what the Administration is doing in this case, and it may be --
Q I'm asking if that's a correct assessment.
MR. DAVIES: I don't think that that's necessarily a correct assessment, no. The Administration has decided that this bill, with provisions that the Administration likes, with provisions that the Administration previously may have questioned and said it doesn't like, in its entirety now is an important way of signaling to Fidel Castro our resolve, as a nation, in the wake of the illegal shootdown of two unarmed civilian aircraft. That's what this represents on the part of the Administration.
There was a desire to react, to demonstrate resolve, to tighten sanctions against Cuba. The decision was taken that this legislation would help do that. So the President, if it's passed, will sign it.
Q Does the Secretary of State agree with this action?
MR. DAVIES: Of course, the Secretary of State agrees with this action. The Secretary of State, in fact, is in the region. He's in Latin America now. As the President's primary national security adviser, along with others, was consulted in working out this policy. So, of course, he agrees with this.
Q How about the idea of last September that Title III will overwhelm the U.S. court system?
MR. DAVIES: We'll have to see. Now, Title III, there are waiver provisions built into this legislation so that the President, in certain circumstances, can defer at six-monthly intervals implementation of that portion of the legislation.
MR. DAVIES: Starting August 1; that's right. That's when it goes into effect.
Q Thank you, Glyn. This is Arshad of the Daily Inquilib. A classic case of repression against the journalists and free press and democracy. The home ministry in Bangladesh has assured lately warrants of arrest against several newsmen in the country, including the leading editors and journalists, which also includes me, unfortunately -- writing reports and sending reports out from and raising questions to the State Department. They say they don't like it.
The same way I voice my concern today, that a good friend of us here, Lambros has been fired for the same case that he has been writing reports, raising questions of the State Department, and his government has been very kind enough to fire him from the agency.
Now, to the United States, we have this Administration -- does this Administration believe that the press freedom and democracy, which they champion to protect, will you protect it here in this honored podium and will be left open-ended so that we can fall victim to repressive measures by any government? Thank you.
MR. DAVIES: Mr. Arshad, our view on press freedom is clear. The press is free. You're free to come to this briefing. You're free to ask questions, free to report answers. I was unaware that Mr. Lambros has been fired. It's obviously up to employers to make decisions about who is going to work for them. I don't know the facts of the case.
If you're a journalist and you're duly accredited, you're welcome to come into this room and ask questions. We, of course, support press freedom.
In terms of what's happening in your nation right now, we continue to be concerned by reports that various individuals are being rounded up or arrested or taken into custody. The Mayor of Chitagong, I think, was picked up. Those arrests are of concern to us.
We would call on all sides in the conflict there in Bangladesh to work toward a peaceful resolution of their differences.
I'll be happy to look into this matter of Mr. Lambros. But I'm just learning this for the first time, right now.
Q A question about Russia. There's a report out of Russia today that there was a military strike in Ingushetia, apparently right over the border from Chechnya. I wonder if you knew anything about it and whether there was any concern that the war in Chechnya may be spreading?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know about that particular strike. We've long been concerned about the conflict in Chechnya. I don't know that the signals that it's necessarily spreading. Obviously, that, again, is a case where we've called on all involved, including the Government of Russia to exercise restraint and to work for a peaceful outcome.
There are OSCE mechanisms that can be engaged there. In terms of that particular incident, I can look into that and see if we have a reaction to it.
Q Some senior Russian officials, including Chernomyrdin, today apparently called for, or said they were going to introduce protectionist measures. I wonder how you reacted to that? Is this just a political -- what you expected in a political season, or is there a deeper concern about reform?
MR. DAVIES: I don't think that there's any deeper concern about reform based on that action. We obviously take at their word that the Russian Government's pronouncements that they're committed to reform. We believe the government is. We have yet to see any signs that reform is in serious jeopardy.
Q Really, huh. One more. There was also an announcement from Russia today that Russia, China, Iran, and India have set up a research foundation to try to work on thermonuclear power projects for commercial uses. Are you aware of that? Are you sort of concerned about that grouping of comrades?
MR. DAVIES: The whole issue of nuclear material is of concern to us. We're always concerned of the possibility that material could fall into the wrong hands, which is why we work with Russia and the other former states of the Soviet Union through, in particular, the Nunn-Lugar program, but other programs to identify and address problem areas related to fissile material security.
Q But specifically in this case, were you aware of this endeavor?
MR. DAVIES: No.
Q Have you discussed it with the Russians?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know, but I can check into that.
Q If you haven't discussed it with the Russians, is there any intention to discuss it with the Russians?
MR. DAVIES: That, I can check into. I don't know, Carol.
Q (Inaudible) purely peaceful use of nuclear energy?
MR. DAVIES: Pardon me?
Q Do you also object to the purely peaceful uses of nuclear energy?
MR. DAVIES: Do we object --
Q This obviously is for peaceful use.
MR. DAVIES: I'm unaware of the details of this. As a general rule, the United States doesn't have difficulties with the purely peaceful use of nuclear energy, but we do have serious proliferation concerns which we've expressed.
Q Can I follow on that?
MR. DAVIES: Sure.
Q The business of Chinese sales to Pakistan. Much has been made in the last few days of talking to the Chinese, trying to get a better understanding of what they did. Has the U.S. talked to Pakistan and asked the Pakistanis to what use they're putting the material that's under discussion?
MR. DAVIES: I believe we have. There's a process underway with Pakistan to pose to them questions on this matter, but I don't have any details for you.
Q You don't know if they -- in a general sense, even, are they saying whether these rings will be used for -- what? -- a civilian --
MR. DAVIES: Barry, that would get me into the substance of our dialogue with Pakistan. Obviously, it's up to us as a government to get to the bottom of this and to make sure that our facts are straight before we make a decision on whether or not this is of sufficient proliferation concern that we would take action.
What I can't do is go into the substance of our conversations with either the Pakistanis or the Chinese.
Q We do know what the substance -- there's been no question -- it's not the substance at all. It's the general theme. The theme of the Chinese is whether, first, the M-11 equipment three years ago and now these rings, whether they were sold with knowledge that they would be used in a nuclear weapons program. That's what everybody understands the Administration is asking the Chinese about.
MR. DAVIES: A number of questions were posed to the Chinese, right.
Q Are those the questions -- generally, are those questions you're asking of the Pakistanis?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know for a fact that those are the questions, in general, we're asking the Pakistanis. I know that we're engaged with the Government of Pakistan on non-proliferation issues. I would imagine that this issue is among the issues we're discussing with Pakistan.
Q If the answers are the wrong answers, we know that action will be taken --
MR. DAVIES: There are grave consequences; that's correct.
Q There are consequences.
MR. DAVIES: That's right.
Q Do those consequences apply to Pakistan as well as to China?
MR. DAVIES: My understanding is there would be consequences that would apply to Pakistan, but I can't today, for you, detail what they would be.
Q Do the Pakistanis admit even getting a shipment?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have any more detail for you on that matter -- the question of the so-called ring magnets.
Q Just to dredge up a little bit of history on the M- 11 case, why were the sanctions waived against China for the M-11 shipment and not against Pakistan?
MR. DAVIES: You're getting, Sid, into a little bit of history.
Q It's very pertinent to this case, though.
MR. DAVIES: There's a relationship, to be sure. They're both questions of proliferation. We laid out our reasons at the time for taking the action we took. If you'd like, we can go back into the record and give you that. I don't have it here to rehearse for you, though.
MR. DAVIES: That's missile proliferation, not --
Q The general theme was, if you commit not to do this, to identify yourself with the treaty, we'll forget about the sanctions. Was the same deal offered to Pakistan?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to go into what deals were offered to Pakistan or China. In general, we don't offer deals on such matters. We try to establish the facts and then we make a determination. Then we follow through according to the law.
Q It's perfectly clear you're trying to cut a deal with China on this. But, anyway, is the relationship with China more important than the relationship with Pakistan? Why would you not try to offer Pakistan the same type of concessions you're offering to China?
MR. DAVIES: Sid, our relationship with Pakistan, our relationship with China, they're two different relationships. I can't compare the two. If you'd like to, you can. The point is, we make determinations based on what's in our best interest vis-a- vis each nation. I'm not going to get into comparing why we did one thing with China and perhaps another with Pakistan. Cases are different. Countries are different. Circumstances are different; and our interests, while they can be generally the same, can occasionally be different with different nations.
Q You said yesterday a decision would be taken soon, you thought. I hope you don't mind, we'll try to remember to ask you every day so we don't find out he sent a letter -- the Secretary of State sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or something.
MR. DAVIES: Barry, can I jump in quickly?
MR. DAVIES: The Secretary of State has got the right to send letters to whomever he wishes without our having to announce it from the podium.
MR. DAVIES: In some cases, it's best to wait for the response before making an announcement about what he's done.
Q I understand he has the right. He has a right to open Wal-Mart stores. Those are announced. Those major actions are announced. But when a minor action like suspending up to $10 billion worth in loan credits, where hundreds of American businesses is taken --
MR. DAVIES: Okay, one, I'm really going to miss -- I wish I could be here with you tomorrow to, once again, for the third time --
Q The post-Wal-Mart store opening -- the follow-up -- (Laughter)
MR. DAVIES: I think the Secretary's business development and business promotion in Latin America is a very serious business --
Q You just write off $10 billion worth of credits in the United States. That more than makes up for a Wal-Mart opening.
MR. DAVIES: Barry, we haven't cut them off --
Q This is the wrong day to talk about promoting business.
MR. DAVIES: Let me make a couple of points. Let me make a couple of points. First, what the Secretary is doing in Latin America is very important. An American Secretary of State hasn't been down there taking as extensive a tour of that region since 1988. It's important, and an important aspect of his trip down there is business promotion, business development. Part of --
Q (Inaudible) NAFTA before the election?
MR. DAVIES: Hang on a second.
Q Don't open that door.
MR. DAVIES: Let me finish. So that's very important, what the Secretary is doing down in Latin America, whether he's opening Wal-Marts or making speeches, or the rest of it. He's also having meetings with leaders to discuss very important matters down there. That's point one.
Point two is that on the Ex-Im matter, I don't think it really would have been fair for us to have made a public announcement before Ex-Im had a chance to consider the matter. It was their call. I think it was probably -- if you'll permit me this -- their call to make an announcement, one way or the other. But next time, I'll try to slip under the door the letters --
Q No, they were not compelled to say --
MR. DAVIES: That's right.
Q Like lifting sanctions against Bosnia --
MR. DAVIES: Just for the record, you want to know if there are any further developments on this.
Q Any developments, any announcements, any sanctions? Any determinations made?
MR. DAVIES: I've got no determinations, announcements, hints or leaks.
Q Gerry Adams. A determination on that?
MR. DAVIES: Nothing for you today on Gerry Adams.
Q There's an (inaudible) official come to the United States. You have anything new about visas --
MR. DAVIES: They're Taiwan officials.
Q Have you got anything to say about the talks?
MR. DAVIES: I don't. No. The talks have been underway for just a little while. They started yesterday afternoon at about 4:16, I think. I don't have anything yet for you. They're ongoing. They're ongoing.
What did they have for dinner, Barry?
Q I can't -- my sources won't --
MR. DAVIES: We're going to go to Bosnia.
Q A question on war criminals and the pursuit of war criminals. From this podium and others within the Administration, there have been comments about how difficult it would be to do car- to-car searches, for instances, of various indicted war criminals. But there are reports from the region that, in fact, there are some car-to-car searches taking place and that they're in fact have been liaison officers assigned to the Tribunal, representatives who are going to be investigating crimes.
Has there been a change in the policy in terms of war criminals?
MR. DAVIES: I don't think there's been a change in the policy. We all followed the development of the policy over the last month or so.
What I understand is that the posters, the information about war criminals, that information and those posters have been decimated very widely. A number of units now have them. Troops have been sensitized to the requirement to apprehend war criminals if an opportunity -- a safe opportunity -- presents itself. That's where we are right now.
Q If opportunity -- the widely reported incident of Mr. Karadzic being sighted by IFOR troops and not being apprehended. Can you give us any information on that --
MR. DAVIES: I can't really give you anything beyond what IFOR commanders have said. That was a decision made by the IFOR commander on the spot, on the ground at the time. He or she made that decision, as I understand it, based on considerations that I'm just not going to second guess.
Each situation is different. In that situation, it was decided not to try to wrestle Karadzic to the ground.
q Could that kind of situation repeat itself two, three, four, five, ten times and still elicit that response from the Administration -- from you, the State Department? Would it be acceptable, and would it enhance the Bosnia peace effort if, on a regular basis, Karadzic and IFOR troops were in the same locale and somehow they never connected?
MR. DAVIES: Carol, that's a hypothetical question. You're asking about the future. I think the basic point to take away from this briefing is that we respect the right of the commander on the spot to make a decision based on what they're confronting. This was a case where the commander made a decision. Admiral Smith has spoken about this. The IFOR spokesman has had something to say, and we stand by the decisions that were taken and the action that was taken.
Q You talk about wrestling to the ground. I know it's a figure of speech, but I think you also mean something by it. You mean if there's some risk involved, some physical risk involved?
MR. DAVIES: Again, that's up to the people in uniform who are out there dealing with this issue to puzzle out themselves.
Q If you take that position, if the U.S. acquiesces in that judgment, then essentially you're saying a war criminal has the wisdom to travel around with bodyguards and not simply waltz into the arms of a NATO checkpoint guard. Reasonably, you assume, he will not be apprehended. No?
MR. DAVIES: Barry, I'm saying --
Q (Inaudible) in Argentina, are they?
MR. DAVIES: -- every situation is different. If I were a war criminal in Bosnia, I'd be real scared. I probably would be packing heat.
Q (Inaudible) after this action, though, or inaction?
MR. DAVIES: I probably would have 10-15-20 leather-coated thugs around me as well.
Q Right, and that the poor NATO kids would have to wrestle them to the ground, and not being willing to do that or not having license to do that, the war criminals --
MR. DAVIES: Barry, the challenge that faces our military -- IFOR, which includes some of our people, is to make a decision on the spot; and in some cases, it may be the case that they want to avoid an "O.K. Corral" with civilians caught in the middle.
Q I mean, I don't mean to be argumentative, but if you're not going to look for them, and if you're not going to wrestle them to the ground if they bring their bodyguards with them, that sort of makes it impossible unless they come and, you know, raise their hands and say, "Hey, guys, here I am. Take me. I'm yours."
Q They'll make a terrible mistake.
Q They'll make a terrible -- I guess you're hoping for a terrible -- maybe you're not -- maybe the State Department isn't --
MR. DAVIES: We're calling for those indicted individuals to be brought to justice. We're calling on the parties to the Dayton agreement to facilitate that, and IFOR is at the ready to do what it can, based on the judgment of the commander on the ground to play a role here.
Q Excuse me, but I said, you're not hunting them down, right? You're not going to wrestle them to the ground, and, I should have added -- and you reminded me -- when he travels to Belgrade to meet with Milosevic and he isn't arrested, that forecloses that channel. It doesn't leave a lot except willingly surrendering.
MR. DAVIES: We'll just have to wait and see how this works out, but I think the point to make about war criminals is they can't rest easy, they can't sleep easy, and they won't be able to, I would imagine, for the rest of their lives. We would hope that the vast majority of the rest of their lives is spent behind bars.
Q A lot of World War II Germans lived very nice long lives, and, you know, I don't know that they slept uneasily.
Q Are you planning after all this development -- are you planning to resolve the International War Crimes Tribunal. It's some kind of funny instrument. It doesn't have any job, and it isn't doing anything. No one obeying these orders.
MR. DAVIES: I disagree. I disagree strongly.
Q You are paying American tax dollars for something some organization is doing nothing.
MR. DAVIES: You're beginning to sound like an American journalist. It scares me. (Laughter)
Q I am.
Q That's the free press.
MR. DAVIES: I like it, even though I'm on the receiving end of this.
No, the War Crimes Tribunal is a very serious instrument. It is something new in the annals of history, if you will. It's a body that's been set up before the end of a conflict to try to sort out the issues of justice associated with the conflict.
You've got one big piece of this, which is peace -- with an "eace" -- and the other big piece of this is justice. The United States is committed to both peace and justice in Bosnia. The War Crimes Tribunal, which we've been the strongest supporter of, is the instrument for achieving eventually justice in Bosnia, at least at the level of these war criminals who have been engaged in committing these terrible acts or ordering them or being associated with them.
We stand behind the War Crimes Tribunal foursquare, 100 percent, and we believe that it's an effective instrumentality and will be. It makes no sense to think in terms of going in any other direction. They're working hard with the resources they've got, and we think at the end of the day, they'll prevail, and we'll support them in that.
Q Two on Bosnia. Two other issues. Glyn, today Sarajevo is liberated, is free, but in the suburb of Ilijas now, occupied by the Muslim and the Croat authorities, that is, only ten percent of the Bosnian residents -- Bosnian Serb residents still remain. They have fled now from two neighborhoods.
So in fact -- de facto, I guess, is the way to put it, the separation -- ethnic separation is being effected by fear and IFOR -- NATO has failed to instill confidence in the Bosnian Serbs. Is that a fair assessment?
MR. DAVIES: I think it's too early to tell how this is going to end up. I think it is a sad development that so many Bosnian Serbs have chosen to leave their neighborhoods, their suburbs, and flee to Bosnian Serb territory.
Some of them have remained, have stayed. Some of them are even now banding together, I think, peacefully to form groups to look after their interests, which sounds to me sensible. A few people are coming back, because, lo and behold, there isn't the sort of retribution that was feared by many of the Bosnian Serbs.
So we'll have to see how this plays out in the end. We, obviously, would call on all Bosnian Serbs to stay put in the suburbs, not to leave. It's been a terrible humanitarian tragedy as these people have left under terrible conditions.
Many of them may find that in fact it's not such a great thing to have joined this exodus, if you will, from the suburbs. So we'll see. It's early days yet with the Dayton peace accord on the ground in Bosnia, and we hope that things will change for the better in the future on that score.
Q (Inaudible) A high-ranking, well-informed, should I say, defense official yesterday revealed that the Iranians are not leaving the training bases. They're still there, and they're still being watched by IFOR. Do you have any comment pointed to the Muslim government about this particular matter?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know where we are today, February 29, on the presence of foreign fighters on the ground in Bosnia, but all I can do really is repeat that the United States calls on all foreign fighters to leave Bosnia -- calls on the Bosnian Government to get them out. We've been many times over the consequences of failing to do that -- that equip-and-train won't go forward, and so forth.
Once again, I think I would renew our call on the Bosnian Government to get the foreign fighters out.
Q Those generals are due back here, I think, tomorrow, if they're on schedule -- you know, the two --
MR. DAVIES: Right.
Q -- making the round of three army bases. Today at Leavenworth, I believe, and they're supposed to go home Saturday. Will they be told on their way out that unless the Iranians and other foreign forces are out, this project won't go ahead?
MR. DAVIES: I think they've been told that all along. I don't think there's any secret about that.
Q We were told that the State Department officials responsible for letting out the contract for arming and training Bosnians -- (inaudible) arming and training -- that they would meet I believe it was Saturday, three contractors -- three Beltway contractors.
Can you tell us a little bit about that meeting? Has the contract in fact been let?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have any kind of a readout of that meeting. My understanding is that the contract has not yet been let, John (Dinger), is that right? I don't believe the contract has been let yet, but, if there's something to say about that meeting, I can check into that.
Q Why is there so much secrecy surrounding the letting of the contract?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know that there's a whole lot of secrecy. We can --
Q Can you say the names of the three northern Virginia-based companies?
MR. DAVIES: Not if a contract hasn't been let yet, I imagine I can't. But I don't have them here to give you anyway. What we can do for you, if you're interested -- perhaps tomorrow I think Jim Pardew is going to be back in town, and I'd be more than happy to put together a group to talk to him.
MR. DAVIES: Pardon me?
Q You just blew the background rule.
Q If we can get him on the record, that would be great. Maybe he could come here and --
MR. DAVIES: We'll see. Somebody who works on train-and- equip might be able to be available for you.
Q Just switching back to another proliferation Asia issue, I was wondering if you have anything for us on a U.S.-North Korean meeting some place in Europe over missile technology?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have the foggiest clue about that. No, I really don't. I don't have anything for you on that.
Q I was told you were giving guidance on it, so that's why I wanted to check up on it.
MR. DAVIES: A U.S.-North Korea meeting?
MR. DAVIES: I don't think so. No. I just talked to the boss.
Q Thank you.
MR. DAVIES: Wait. Sid, do you have another one?
Q There's been a lot of reporting about a planning for a meeting of the Iraqi opposition. The Syrians and the Iranians talked about it openly yesterday. I know that this is something that the United States is interested in helping with. Is the United States supportive of such a meeting? Is it just beginning the discussions for planning of such a meeting? Is it willing to discuss the situation in Iraq with the Iranians?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything in particular on that. It's been our general policy to talk to the Iraqi opposition, obviously, since we have such strong differences with the regime in Baghdad. So we're in contact with them. In terms of the degree of our support or this particular meeting, I don't have any specifics for you today.
Q Could you take that question, please, because it was announced in Damascus yesterday.
MR. DAVIES: I can look into that for you. I'm happy to. And I was just handed something on North Korea missile talks. Can you believe that? (Laughter)
We'll see how this helps you. Can we confirm that the U.S. will hold talks on missile proliferation? What I've got is that North Korea's missile programs and its export of missiles to the Middle East are a cause for concern, and we have long sought to engage the North Koreans, the DPRK, in discussions of missile proliferation issues, but we haven't scheduled any yet.
Q Are you looking to schedule a meeting?
MR. DAVIES: It's something that we raise with the North Koreans when we have discussions with them informally, but I can't get into the substance of those exchanges.
Q Have they indicated that they're willing to meet finally, and that you're just setting a date? Are we --
MR. DAVIES: I don't know where we are.
Q The reason this is coming up is because the South Koreans and Japanese are all saying that the meeting is set for Geneva in April -- it's going to be Deputy Assistant Secretary level -- so we're looking for a confirmation of that or a denial that it's not --
MR. DAVIES: I can check into that. Obviously, it's something we're trying to get going on, but we don't have any dates and nothing to announce yet.
MR. DAVIES: I think that's what I said: that we've long sought to engage the DPRK in discussions of missile proliferation issues.
Q That's quite different than saying you're trying to arrange a meeting with them.
MR. DAVIES: There may be a nuance of difference, but I wouldn't read too much into that nuance, to use a French word.
Q Thank you.
MR. DAVIES: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:55 p.m.) (###) -22- Thursday, 2/29/96
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