U.S. Department of State 96/03/04 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, March 4, 1996 Briefer: Glyn Davies DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND LABOR Postponement of Release of Human Rights Practices Report 1 INTER-AMERICAN AFFAIRS Secretary Christopher's Trip to Latin America MIDDLE EAST Bombing in Tel Aviv --Secretary Christopher/Amb. Ross Contacts w/ME Leaders 2,7,10 --Hamas Organization/Activities/Support 5-6,9-11,13-15 --Chairman Arafat/Syrian Assistance in Fighting Terrorism 8-10 --White House Mtg. 2,12-13,15 Wye Talks--Israeli Delegation to Return to Israel 2,7,12,16 --Discussion of Security Concerns 11 Closure of Territories by Israel 9-10,15 Reports of High-Level Syrian-Iranian Mtgs. 6,10-11 BANGLADESH Political Crisis 13 SPAIN Elections 14 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Closure of Soros Foundation/Studio B 16 Foreign Forces/Equip and Train 16 Bosnia Relations w/Iran 17-18 CHINA/TAIWAN Taiwan Relations Act/Communiques 17-18
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, MARCH 4, 1996, 12:51 P. M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. DAVIES: A couple of things to start with. First off, we're postponing by about 24 hours the release of the Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, because Assistant Secretary Shattuck, who was integral to that process, is in Europe -- in Vienna at an OSCE meeting, and he can't make it back here in time to do it tomorrow. So we will look to do that the next day, and we'll give you details as they develop.
Q So it will be Wednesday.
MR. DAVIES: Wednesday, that's correct. Also I would point you to a number of very good statements that the Press Office has, reporting on the Secretary's trip -- the tail end of his trip to Latin America. He's had a very successful swing through Latin America. He had good meetings, for instance, yesterday in Manaus, in the Amazon, and was able to do some work on the environmental and scientific front.
Today, he had some meetings in Trinidad, in Port-of-Spain, with Trinidadian authorities. He was able to give the Trinidadians some support in their anti-narcotics efforts, including the provision of four fast boats valued at something on the order of $330,000.
Also, he concluded some legal agreements with the Trinidadians to strengthen their anti-narcotics cooperation.
Finally, to the news of the day, the bombing in Tel Aviv today. You've all, I'm sure, seen what the President has had to say. The Secretary before leaving Trinidad was also able to make some comment on it.
For our part, I'd like to say that the bombing in Tel Aviv today, like the bombing in Jerusalem yesterday, was an outrageous and cowardly act. These heinous killings underscore the need for a regional and international effort to combat the terrorist threat to Israel.
The U.S. is now engaging in a high-level review to find ways to intensify our efforts to combat terror. This act only strengthens the resolve of the United States to do everything possible with the nations of the region to ensure that terrorists do not succeed.
You know that the Secretary is returning to Washington several hours early in order to meet with the President's National Security team. The Secretary will chair a meeting to decide what the United States should do in light of these attacks over the last 24 hours.
I can also point to press reports coming out of Israel that indicate -- and we've been informed here as well by the Israelis -- that the Israeli delegation to the Wye River talks is going to head back to Israel very soon to participate in the officially declared period of mourning there.
We don't have any word to give you at this stage about when the Wye talks will proceed. We would hope, obviously, that they will. We'll have to see how things develop.
And with that, George.
Q Basically, you're saying that the peace process should continue as soon as possible. Is this the message that you're passing here?
MR. DAVIES: The message is that what the terrorists have done by committing these acts should not deter any nations interested in achieving peace in the Middle East from pulling out all the stops to do so.
The United States can contribute in a number of ways. One important way, of course, is our sponsorship of the talks now in their third session at Wye River. So we're obviously very interested in continuing that process as soon as possible.
Q Glyn, has Secretary Christopher or Ambassador Ross spoken with any of the Syrian leaders -- Foreign Minister Shara or President Assad?
MR. DAVIES: The Secretary has over the last 24-36 hours spoken with a number of leaders in the Middle East, including Chairman Arafat, Prime Minister Peres. He was attempting to get through to Foreign Minister Shara in Damascus. There were, I think, some phone difficulties.
But we've been in touch with the Syrians. I believe Ambassador Ross was going to go in right about now or at about this time in Damascus to deliver a message, so we are in touch with the Syrians.
Q Were you asking the Syrians to publicly condemn what is going on, and have you ever asked them to publicly condemn what is going on?
MR. DAVIES: We certainly condemn what is going on. We call on all nations to condemn what is going on and expect all of those who are committed to a comprehensive peace to condemn these acts. That obviously includes Syria and all other nations in the region.
Q You seem to be suggesting that --
MR. DAVIES: I'm sorry.
Q What does it say if Syria does not do this, either just by instinct as to what is good and decent when you're engaged in serious peace negotiations with a partner, or even at the behest of the United States? What do you say if Syria does not do this?
MR. DAVIES: I think, obviously, there are a number of ways it can be interpreted. I'm not sure that it's useful for me, given the fact that this bombing just occurred, to give you an off- the-cuff interpretation of serious failure so far to condemn the act.
But I would renew the call that we've made on all nations in the region, and that, of course, includes Syria, to condemn these acts -- to condemn them strongly. These were acts by cowards to derail a process that ultimately will benefit all of the people of the region, and all nations should step up to condemning the attacks for the bloody crimes that they are.
Q Clearly, there are groups within that region that don't agree with the fact that all people in that area want peace. What is it that the United States can do to help Israel and/or help the Palestinians to deal with this crisis?
MR. DAVIES: We can obviously do a range of things, starting with some of the public statements that you've seen. I think the President's remarks in Detroit were very powerful and appeared very much to be from the heart -- and I believe they were -- and I think that kind of a message gets through to people.
Beyond the rhetorical, there are a number of steps that we could take. I don't think that it's a good idea, given the fact that the President's National Security team is getting together in just a few hours in the White House, for me to kind of give you a list of the actions that we could take.
But what I do want to make clear is that the United States is committed to doing everything possible to help Israel and to help the other parties to the peace process to see this through. On the terrorist front, we are committed to combating this scourge of terrorism with every means available.
We would note that Israel has said that it has declared war on these terrorists, and we support Israel in the actions that it's taking.
Q Betsy asked most of my question, but I was going to say what is there that the United States can do to stop terrorism in the Middle East that the best secret service in the Middle East doesn't seem to be able to do?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to theorize what the United States could do to help Israel, but while the Israelis may have some very good security services, I don't think that even the vaunted Israeli security services can be counted on to do everything.
So, obviously, the United States and others can help Israel in combating terrorism and can work with other nations in the region to see that this is not just an effort on the part of Israel alone, but an effort that other countries join in as well.
Q Glyn, it was reported this morning and I'm sure many times before that the direction for this particular terror attack is coming from Hamas bases in Syria and Lebanon. And does the United States, (1) think that that is correct; and (2) wouldn't it then be incumbent upon the Syrians to crack down?
MR. DAVIES: Bill, it's just not useful for me to speculate about where the roots of this terrorism might be, where the support might be. The point is that now it's important for all nations to step up to the fact that these terrorist have to be eliminated, root and branch -- their structure -- the nations involved in that region, who have a stake in that region have to do everything possible to go at the organizations as well as the individuals.
We will be discussing what we can do to help Israel and the other nations, but I'm not going to have any specific announcements for you now.
Q Glyn, without asking you to comment on specific U.S. options, could I ask for information about two subjects that are related, perhaps. One is to what extent are Hamas or Hamas- related organizations conducting fund-raising in the United States, and are there any laws under which the United States could stop such fund-raising?
And as long as I've got you, the second one is: Secretary Christopher said today that he was going to try to get countries in the region to stop harboring terrorists or to cooperate in an effort against terrorists operating in Israel. Which countries was he referring to?
MR. DAVIES: On your first question, Hamas and their fund- raising -- obviously, that's a concern. If Hamas is able to raise funds in this country, that's something that we have to look at very carefully and to decide if there is action we could appropriately take.
In terms of your second question, I'm not going to go into what nations we believe might be harboring Hamas terrorists. I think what's important now is two things: (1) the nation of Israel has a period of mourning that I think we ought to respect, and they ought to be allowed to bury their dead.
And (2) what has just occurred has to renew the impulse of everyone interested in peace in pursuing every avenue to achieve peace. I've discussed a little bit how Hamas and other terrorists really have to be rooted out.
But I'm not going to talk about specifically where they're getting their support, where they're being harbored or any of that at this stage.
Q Following up on the first question, if I could, the Hamas organization runs schools and hospitals and other, obviously, innocent activities. And there is money raised for some of these organizations by other groups in the United States. Is there any thought being given to sending a message to Hamas by not allowing them to raise money even for such purposes, and under what law would such prevention be put into place?
MR. DAVIES: We'll have to look at that, David. There is implicit in your question the notion that Hamas is some kind of a vertically integrated organization that is not at all factionalized or splintered, and I don't know that that's the case. I don't know; and if I did, I wouldn't be prepared to say from this podium what precisely Hamas' organization chart looks like.
As I said, I think it's now time to redouble all efforts. Obviously, whoever perpetrated this act, we've got to try to find out as much as we can about them. We've got to work with Israel. Israel is on the frontline. It's their security that's being shattered by these bombings.
But they should know that we are standing with them in what is, for them, a very trying and troubling time.
Q Would you continue to stand with Israel if they decided to redeploy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip?
MR. DAVIES: Sid, that's a theoretical question. I don't know that Israel is necessarily going to do that. It wouldn't be useful for me to comment on very possible measure that Israel could take.
The basic point to make about Israel is that it's fighting a plague. It's fighting a scourge. It may not be fighting a lot of people ultimately. We think there aren't necessarily legions of people involved here. This is, we believe, a relatively small number of people who are behind all of this.
Israel has to take some fairly serious measures -- they've been taking some -- in order to combat this. Today's message is that we stand with Israel as it does what it has to do to protect itself.
Q Glyn, I'm sort of puzzled by why you're being so coy about Syria. Syria is certainly among those countries that has Hamas groups operating within its borders. So that's the first question: Why are you protecting Syria?
Two: Recently a high-level Iranian official was in Damascus and met with Hamas and other Palestinian radicals. I just wondered if you had looked at this visit a little more closely and gotten any information about it from the Syrians, and whether you saw this visit perhaps a little more ominously given the recent events?
MR. DAVIES: To answer your second question first, I don't know that the meeting in Damascus is one that we view more ominously in light of the events that have just occurred yesterday and today.
It's difficult to draw conclusions about precisely who was supporting the people who were behind those events.
We're not protecting Syria. We tell Syria exactly what we think. The Secretary of State goes out frequently to Damascus as part of his effort to do everything he can to assist the peace process. They know what we think.
I've said here today that Syria, as well as all other nations in the region, should step up to condemning these terrorist acts that have occurred. There's no question about that. We call on all nations to condemn what occurred over the last 24 hours in Israel. Because what occurred was a series of criminal acts against innocent people who are no party to any of this. Blowing people at bus stops, street corners is beyond what's acceptable.
Q (Inaudible) of any negotiations was considered to be giving those terrorists what they really want. This time, I would say the Israeli delegation in Washington could probably stay if there was a clear-cut condemnation. Would you share the view of some of the Israelis that it's too little, too late, the same version that was in the Syrian Daily Times?
Is there an intention on the part of the Secretary to go to the region and maybe salvage what seems to be a crucial crisis right now? And is there a specific demand in this message by Ambassador Ross in Damascus to shut down the terrorist headquarters in Damascus?
MR. DAVIES: No. Again, I think it's awfully early to be answering a lot of specific questions such as, what are the Secretary of State's travel plans, precisely what messages are being sent, what does this signal that the talks at Wye River are recessing? All I can do is keeping coming back to a couple of basic themes, which we can call "the themes of the day."
Just to hit one of them, the United States is committed to the peace process. We'll do everything we can to see that it continues. I think it's very understandable that Israeli negotiators would want to return to be among their countrymen at a time of very deep mourning. So we respect and understand the decision that they've taken.
Q In December, the State Department endorsed Yasser Arafat's efforts to fight terrorism as a condition of the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act. Everyone has been crawling over themselves, at least in the Administration in the last couple of days, to say Arafat should do more, could do more. Which is right? That he was doing enough two months ago or that he needs to do more now?
MR. DAVIES: What needs to happen now is an all-out systematic attack against terrorism, an effort on the part of everybody engaged to do whatever they can to root out this cancer. It's imperative that Chairman Arafat coordinate and cooperate closely with the Israelis in his efforts. He has taken some important steps to combat terrorism against Israel. More steps are needed. He faces a daunting challenge as much as anybody. Much of the weight of this effort, given his position, has to fall on his shoulders.
So we do look to Chairman Arafat to continue his efforts. We hope he'll intensify and deepen them.
Q If I could follow up. If you saw problems in the analysis of his efforts two months ago -- endemic problems -- why did you give him such a glowing report on what he was doing. Clearly there were things he was not doing that you all felt he should do. But to allow aid to continue to the Palestinians, you endorsed his efforts. Why? Why did you do that?
MR. DAVIES: Chairman Arafat is head of a newly constituted authority in that part of the world. He has a number of problems that he's confronting across a spectrum of challenges facing the Palestinian people.
Now, of course, terrorism has come to the fore as by far the most important challenge he faces. If you saw a little bit of carrot-and-stick in our attitude toward Chairman Arafat over recent months, it's because we want to encourage him in many of the efforts that he's undertaken because there are some positive things to point to. But we also want to point out -- and I'm doing it again today -- that there's more to be done and he is in a unique position to do more. So we look to him to intensify his efforts.
Q Has the U.S. recently offered him any kind of additional help in rooting these people out -- in handling this delicate question for him?
MR. DAVIES: I don't want to get into the kinds of cooperation that we're engaged in with Chairman Arafat. Obviously, to the extent we can, consistent with our responsibilities and undertakings in the region, we do want to assist Chairman Arafat. I don't think it's a good idea for me to enumerate the various ways in which we're assisting him at this time.
Q This morning, the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations said that Israel has evidence that Hamas is being financially supported and also supports training for Hamas -- Iran is supplying this directly.
Does the United States have some information? Does Iran supply direct financing and training for Hamas?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have any information on that. Certainly, it wouldn't be surprising given Iran's record over now close to two decades of support for terrorism and opposition to the peace process.
One of the nations that's made no secret of its opposition to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East has been Iran. I wouldn't lead you away from that kind of conclusion. But what I don't have for you today is any kind of detailed information I could give you.
Q The Ambassador also said that some of the financing is coming from elements in the United States and Europe. Does the United States have evidence that that is so?
MR. DAVIES: I think it's clear that Hamas has a number of sources of financing; that they're not confined to nations such as Iran with which we have great difficulty. It's important, obviously, that we look at how Hamas gets its support. We look at ways in which we can contribute to the Israeli effort to shut down terrorist activity.
Part of this goes back to my earlier point about Hamas, as an organization -- what precisely is it these days? Is it a unified organization? Is it a split organization? I don't know, and I don't think it would be very useful for me to try to parse that out for you right now.
Q I'm sorry I came late. I don't know if you touched on this issue. What are the specific steps should Arafat undertake if the explosions happen in Israeli territory? And what short of civil war between the Palestinians themselves do you want him to do?
MR. DAVIES: I think I've already addressed the whole question of Chairman Arafat and what it is what we'd like to see him do in this process.
Q The second one, if I might. Do you think that the continued closure of the territorties will stem the tide of terrorism inside Israeli territory, seeing what's happening now?
MR. DAVIES: I think Israel is on the frontline of this battle and has to make some tough decisions about how it combats terrorism. I am not going to second-guess some of the decisions that Israel has made, and I can't predict the future and tell you what I think a week or a month from now will be the effect of some of the actions it's taken, such as closure of some of these territories.
Carol. You're next.
Q You've put some heavy pressure on Arafat to take steps to combat terrorism. You've just called on Syria to condemn what happened today and yesterday. Are there steps that Syria should take? Why aren't you calling for Syria to crack down on the Palestinian radicals that are based in Damascus?
MR. DAVIES: I'm sure there are steps that Syria can take. We'll be talking to the Syrians about what those steps might be, but I'm not going to rehearse them publicly.
Q Another source of Hamas funding comes from the Gulf, specifically Saudi Arabia, although they say it's only charitable. Would you like to see those sources dry up as well?
MR. DAVIES: When I said earlier, as I think I did, that we've been in contact with all the nations of the region, I meant to draw a circle that included the Gulf states. We've been in touch with a number of nations, including the Gulf states on this.
While I won't go into the specifics of our diplomatic correspondence with them or conversations with them, we hope very much that the Gulf states will be part of the solution to this problem.
Do we have anymore on -- same subject.
Q Two weeks ago, if I'm correct, Iran and Syria had a high-level contact with each other. We heard about that in this context, that both countries -- some intelligence officer and some other groups -- they came together and they discussed the same subject. Isn't that some kind of strange coincidence, that after this meeting the Hamas' bombing increased? It's two or three times. Do you pay attention to this meeting --
MR. DAVIES: Of course, we pay attention. But, in light of what just occurred, speculating about what might or might not have transpired at meetings or -- I would consider that kind of a meeting perhaps a side-light at this stage. We pay attention to it. We're very interested in what goes on. We try to find out everything we can. It's just not useful to make any further comment on it at this time.
Q In light of the recess of the Wye Plantation talks, could you now characterize -- or not now -- could you later today characterize what happened last week?
MR. DAVIES: Let me see if it's possible to do something more. I made a brief statement on Friday; not a statement, but I had a couple of things to say during a walk-through. I think some of your colleagues might have that. I'd be happy to dig that out and give it to you. I didn't have -- it won't surprise you -- a great deal of substantive comment to make other than the fact that they discussed security concerns and that the talks went well.
Q Do you know if Hamas is related to Iran?
MR. DAVIES: I spoke to that just now, Lambros.
Q (Inaudible) magazine disclosed recently that Germany and Iran are also cooperating on matters of intelligence; actually, very, very close. I'm wondering, did you ask the German Government to exercise its influence for the termination of that type of killings?
MR. DAVIES: I've said that all governments should play a positive role in ending terrorism. That goes for all governments, to include Germany.
Q It's very specific, Mr. Davies, because they're cooperating. It's since April 1992. So I'm wondering if your government asked the German Government to extend its influence to this effect so far?
MR. DAVIES: We stay in close touch with the German Government. We would hope that the German Government, and every other government, will use its influence with any of its interlocutors in the region to put an end to this terrorism.
Q Did you get any response? It's a matter of hope.
MR. DAVIES: Mr. Lambros, I'm not going to go into the substance of our conversations with the German Government on this. You can be assured that we're discussing this with the German Government as we are with all other allies -- important U.S. allies.
Q You just said a few minutes ago that what's needed now is an all-out systematic attack on terrorism. Would you agree with some of the officials of the Peres Government who are saying that that's needed before the peace process can continue; that the peace process has to be stopped now until there is a systematic attack?
MR. DAVIES: It's up to the government in Israel to decide the basis on which it wishes to proceed with the peace talks. They came to the Wye River conference site. There were meetings last week. It's our hope and expectation that we can take up those meetings again.
It's useless to comment on what various factions of the government in Israel are saying about it.
Q A part follow-up on David's question. I was going to ask what the reaction of the U.S. Government was to reports that Mr. Peres' popularity was nose-diving -- one? And how you might expect that would affect the talks --
MR. DAVIES: That gets me into a discussion of the domestic political scene in Israel, and I'm not going to discuss that.
Q You say the bombing, then, affecting the talks and the will of the Israeli people to talk with Syria, who they believe harbor these terrorists, or at least some of them. I wonder, have you a comment on that?
MR. DAVIES: Bill, there's a lot of causality happening here. This is three-dimensional chess, if you will, unfortunately with a very bloody history to it.
For me to talk about the popularity of the Prime Minister of Israel or what effect that's had, it just doesn't help matters, so I'm not going to do it.
Q Finally, you believe then, Glyn, at the present time that the talks are only suspended, are only in hiatus, and are expected to resume?
MR. DAVIES: That's our present hope. The Secretary of State is returning a couple of hours early. There's going to be a meeting at the White House to talk about the Middle East peace process. We'll have to see what comes out of that meeting, I think.
Q Do you expect decisions from that meeting, or is this just preliminary discussion of what's possible?
MR. DAVIES: This is a meeting that was called very recently. I don't know the precise agenda of the meeting nor do I know if it has an action plan to produce decisions that will be announced immediately. It's clearly an important meeting, and one the Secretary of State takes seriously enough to cut short a very successful trip to Latin America. We'll simply have to wait and see what comes out of the meeting.
I've been waiting to call on Mr. Arshad.
Q Thank you, Glyn. This is Arshad of the Daily Inquilab. I'm referring to the article in the New York Times by John Burns. In the last conclusion of his article, he stated, "Western governments have pressed for a political price worked out between the political parties without military intervention."
Glyn, is the United States committed to a political solution among the political parties with or without the army intervention following this election which has been tantamount to absolute farce? It seems now that the Prime Minister is yielding to the opposition demand.
MR. DAVIES: Mr. Arshad, the United States does not support military interventions against democratically elected governments. We would not include an intervention by the military in Bangladesh as on the list of options that would be acceptable to us.
Q Jut as a follow-up to that, the Prime Minister, in her latest address to the nation, was quoted to have been saying that she would give in to the opposition demands in the forthcoming session of the parliament if they do recognize this election to be fair and to be legitimate. So what would be your stand on that, on the comments, and how the United States would stand for this election, to judge it fair and democratic?
MR. DAVIES: We're for any solution in that important nation that is peaceful and acceptable to all Bangladeshis and is consistent with democratic principles.
Q A two-part question. (Inaudible) Israel, on Friday, said there had been -- a U.S. envoy had turned over several names of Hamas people that the Israelis wanted Arafat to pick up. Do you know anything about that?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything for you on that.
Q I don't know what envoy means. Maybe it's an intelligence man. This brings up the subject of the FBI and their involvement in terms of Hamas on this side. Are you making the same distinction between Hamas hardliners and Hamas softliners who want to see some sort of a resolution that would re-establish the six-month ban, which they observed very religiously, from August until January 25 when Ayash was killed?
Do you want to see the same distinction there between the two wings of the Hamas and the distinction that the President is making with regard to the IRA?
MR. DAVIES: What a leap. We have an analysis, of course, of both Hamas and of the IRA on the two very different issues, and we'll be sharing our analysis with those most directly affected. But not right now.
Q I don't know who the Gerry Adams of Hamas would be, but I'm sure there is one.
MR. DAVIES: What I won't be doing today is sharing with you any of our analysis about Hamas as an organization.
Q Any reaction to the election in Spain yesterday?
MR. DAVIES: Yes, we do. First, some words of praise for Prime Minister Gonzalez, who is an imaginative leader. Over the years, the United States has appreciated his cooperation, energy and vision.
The recent campaign and elections held in Spain yesterday -- Sunday, March 3 -- are a credit to Spanish democracy, a democracy which the King of Spain and the Spanish people have built over the past generation.
We look forward to working with the new Government. Mr. Aznar has been a leader of the opposition in Spain. He's well known to us, favorably known, and we congratulate him on his victory.
Q Could we have a copy of the statement?
MR. DAVIES: It's not a statement. It's an answer. We'll have a transcript of this later, if those words were golden enough to retain.
Q Do you know if Dennis Ross' earlier intention to go to the region as the next step after the Wye Plantation talks is still valid or is it cancelled?
MR. DAVIES: I think we'll just have to wait and see. Dennis Ross, the Secretary of State -- all of those engaged on this issue -- travel to the region when it's useful to do so, and it's a bit early to say, especially since the meeting that we're looking to this afternoon hasn't yet occurred. So we'll have to see.
Q While you are in the area, Glyn, is the United States Government looking into the possibility of trying to allay the financial or economic suffering of the Palestinians now inside Gaza and the Jericho and the other cities while there is a closure -- even UNRWA and other international agencies, NGO, international agencies, are restricted by this closure -- to make things possibly livable for these thousands of people who are the most threatened this morning in Gaza for the peace and --
MR. DAVIES: I don't know of any emergency measures that we're discussing. We're very committed to the economic development of the Palestinian people, and I would remind you that the Secretary was in Amman, Jordan not too many months ago for the Amman economic summit, one of the centerpieces of which was to work on this problem -- this challenge of developing the Palestinian people economically.
So we're very committed to that, but nothing for you on --
Q There was a statement made by Yasser Arafat last week that the closure costs the Palestinians every day $6 million, and that the assistance that is coming from the donor countries to the Palestinians is, you know, very, very little from that amount of money that has been pouring in and making the economy work and - -
MR. DAVIES: Right, and we are not at this time considering any emergency measures to help alleviate some of those conditions.
Q Another country which harbors Hamas members or allows them to operate is Jordan. Are we doing anything to address this problem with the Jordanians?
MR. DAVIES: First, I'd note that -- and I haven't seen the text, but I understand that Jordan has condemned the bombings that have occurred, and that's a positive development.
Second, just to take you back to what I said earlier, I'm not going to get into any kind of a breakdown on who's supporting Hamas, give you any kind of bar graphs as to who and how much and where that support's coming from.
We call on all nations of the region now to meet the challenge of combating this terrorism, which is not just terrorism that's killing people on the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but it's terrorism that is setting back, we hope only briefly, the cause of peace from which all nations will benefit ultimately in the Middle East.
Anything else? David.
Q Bosnia. President Milosevic appears to believe that his successes at Dayton give him the flexibility to shut down opposition press like Studio B and to close down the Soros Foundation's activities in Serbia, which were in support of pluralism in that country.
You put out a statement condemning that. Are you going to do anything more than just talk? Are you going to use carrots or sticks to try to get him to put Soros back on the ground there?
MR. DAVIES: There are some sticks out there, if you will. There is the outer wall of sanctions which relates to all of this. That nation will be ultimately denied the full measure of membership in various international organizations and recognition from the United States if it does not reverse this disturbing trend that we've seen of anti-democratic measures, which include the closure of the Soros Foundation office and its Studio B. We've made clear to the Serb Government that we believe the Soros Foundation should be permitted to continue its work unhindered; and we're very concerned and have expressed concern over these anti- democratic measures that we've seen.
Q Can you give us any update on the foreign fighters in Bosnia and our efforts to train the Bosnian army?
MR. DAVIES: To train the Bosnian army? We haven't yet engaged in an effort to train the Bosnian army. We wouldn't do that anyway. It's an effort that we would lead, but United States forces wouldn't be engaged in any training of Bosnian forces.
We've discussed a number of times from this podium what needs to happen for the full measure of the train-and-equip program to go forward, and the primary obstacle now is the continued presence of foreign fighters in Bosnia.
We've made clear to the Bosnian Government that they have to show those fighters the door. We're still expectant. We expect and believe that they will do that, but have yet to see evidence that all of the foreign fighters are out. So until we see that evidence, we will not proceed with our leadership of the train-and- equip effort.
One more, Bill.
Q On Taiwan, I understand the PRC has begun its military exercises designed at influencing the election in Taiwan, and that Mr. Woolsey, retired Admiral Leo Edney and Mr. Stephen Bryen have just witnessed there in Taiwan to the Parliament, I believe, about the U.S. commitment, and that essentially is what Ambassador Lord said, and it goes a little bit further.
Are you aware of their visit and aware of their remarks to the Taiwanese about the U.S. commitment for the defense of Taiwan.
MR. DAVIES: I'm aware of the visit but only in very general terms.
Q Okay. I guess I would ask then, he said there should be no ambiguity about the seriousness with which the U.S. takes this issue or the fact that in consultation with Congress we would respond to the threat -- any threat to Taiwan. That's what Woolsey said in this public hearing. I take it that is consistent with our policy, is that correct?
MR. DAVIES: First of all, our policy is spelled out in the Taiwan Relations Act, on the one hand, and in the communiques that we've concluded with the People's Republic of China, on the other hand.
We don't see any imminent threat to the island of Taiwan. I have not seen reports that these exercises have begun, so I can't comment specifically on those exercises. But our commitment to Taiwan is spelled out in the law, and I would refer you to that for the golden language on how the United States relates to Taiwan in defense terms.
But I don't see any need now to make any further statements about the U.S. commitment to Taiwan's security.
Q Glyn, any comment on The New York Times' report over the weekend about Bosnian forces allegedly being trained in Iran?
MR. DAVIES: Of course, that was a report that we read very carefully. I don't have any kind of numbers to give you or specific information about training that might be occurring in other nations. We are troubled by Bosnia's relationship with that nation, with Iran, and we've made clear to the Bosnian Government our displeasure at that continuing relationship, and we'll continue to do so.
Q Is it a violation of any of the Dayton accord provisions for them to be sending troops to Iran for training?
MR. DAVIES: I think what's important to note about the Dayton accords is that by signing the Dayton accords, the Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina made clear its commitment to working with the U.S. and the West in integrating itself into modern European society.
As I say, we've made clear to the Bosnians that we're troubled by this relationship with Iran, and we find it unfortunate that it's continuing.
Q What is your understanding of the relationship?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know that I can characterize it in its fullness. I know, for instance, that the Prime Minister of Bosnia has been visiting Iran recently. We simply would reiterate that involvement with the Government of Iran on the part of Bosnia threatens the success of the peace process.
Q Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:37 p.m.)
-17- Monday, 3/4/96
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