U.S. Department of State 96/03/07 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Thursday, March 7, 1996 Briefer: Nicholas Burns DEPARTMENT--Announcements Welcome to Fraternite Matin Journalist 1 International Women's Day Ceremony/Forum 3/8/96.1 UK/NORTHERN IRELAND Allegations re: Gerry Adams Visa .1 CHINA/TAIWAN Report of Sale of Chinese Cruise Missiles to Iran .2,7-9,15-16,23,5 Secretary Christopher's Mtg. w/Mr. Liu Huaqiu 3 --Allegations of Nuclear Weapons Technology to Pakistan.5,9-12,14-15 Military Exercises/Tests off Taiwan 3-7,9-11,16-17 U.S. Visas for Taiwan Officials to Attend Olympics 5 U.S.-China Relations 12-13 Human Rights 11,13 PAKISTAN Deputy Secretary Talbott Mtg. w/Pakistani Ambassador.10-11 CUBA Political Isolation 13 Helms-Burton Bill.27-28 Participation in Olympic Games 28 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Transfers of Authority 7-18,23 Foreign Forces/Minister's Muratovic's Trip to Iran.18-22 Equip & Train/International Conference.18-21 MIDDLE EAST Fight Against Terrorism 24,30 Alleged Hamas/Israeli Right Connection .27 Funding for Palestinian Authority.29-30 PLO Compliance Report 30 GREECE/TURKEY Turkish Foreign Ministry Ambassador Oymen's Mtgs. in U.S. 25 Aegean Islets 26 Former King Constantine Visit to U.S. 26 RUSSIA Alleged Testing of Nuclear Weapon.28-29
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 1996, 1:05 P. M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BURNS: Welcome to the State Department briefing. Good afternoon, everyone.
I'd like to welcome Madame Honorine Kouman, who is here from Abidjan, from Cote d'Ivoire. Welcome. She's a journalist from the paper, Fraternite Matin. Welcome.
I have one announcement, and that is that tomorrow is International Women's Day. The Department will have a ceremony commemorating that. Under Secretary of State Tim Wirth will sponsor with our Open Forum here a celebration of International Women's Day. This is tomorrow from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. in the Dean Acheson Auditorium. This is open to the press.
Secretary of State Christopher will open the program. He'll present certificates of appreciation for women members of Congress, for their leadership on international women's issues. Ambassador Geraldine Ferraro, the U.S. Representative to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, will be the guest speaker.
The event will honor the success of the 4th World Conference on Women. As you know, our delegation to that was led by Mrs. Hillary Clinton. That's tomorrow, 9-10, and you are all invited.
Q Would you go into the business of Ambassador Smith and whether she stifled people in the Embassy who objected to the visa for Gerry Adams?
MR. BURNS: Barry, I'm not able to do that. Inspector General reports are covered by privacy considerations and the Privacy Act, and due to that I'm not able to go into a report which is confidential and private and which concerns individuals here in the Department.
Q If you can't deal with that, could you tell us whether the Administration is considering further sanctions
of some kind against China for its presumed sale of cruise missiles to Iran?
MR. BURNS: We've seen some press reports about this, Jim. I'm not aware that we have a lot of information on this. We've seen some press reports. We'll certainly look into the press reports. I'm also not aware, however, that there are any sanctions being contemplated right now concerning that particular issue.
Whenever we see press reports about allegations of that nature, we look into them. We take them seriously. But I don't want to take the story any further than that today.
Q Nick, the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency said on the record that you were considering it. Several Pentagon officials said on the record that when the missiles were test-fired last month, that it happened, and we're worried about it. Why can't you expound on it? Are you denying what Mr. Holum said?
MR. BURNS: I don't want to expound on it. That's why I can't expound on it. I don't choose to expound on it, and I don't choose to expound on it, because the allegations that are raised in this question are very serious allegations, if you believe the press reports.
We have an obligation to look into the press reports, but I don't have an obligation to make a dramatic statement about what conclusions we're going to reach at the end of a process that is not yet complete.
Q Well, why are you referring to press reports? Is that the sole basis of your information?
MR. BURNS: Actually, most of my information on this is from press reports.
Q But we're not talking about your sole information.
MR. BURNS: That's what I'm talking about, Sid. I'm talking about my information. That's all I can do when I stand up here is tell you what I know; and what I know, having seen the comments in the press this morning by Ambassador Holum, is that, certainly, we'll look into this. I'm just saying to you that I'm not aware that there's any contemplation of sanctions at this point that are immediate at this point.
Everything like this has to be looked into, but I wouldn't draw any broader conclusions at this point.
Q Would you go into tonight's meeting -- the Secretary's meeting with a Chinese Minister? There have been all sorts of issues. Can you with some specificity tick off some of the things they'll talk about?
MR. BURNS: I'll be glad to. This is an important visit. It's a private visit by Mr. Liu Huaqiu, who is the State Council Foreign Affairs Director and Vice Foreign Minister. He will be in Washington -- in the United States, excuse me -- I believe until about the 12th. He'll be meeting with Secretary Christopher from 6:00-8:00 p.m. this evening. They'll start with a one-hour meeting upstairs on the 7th Floor. They'll continue their deliberations over dinner on the 8th floor from 7:00-8:00.
I know that Tony Lake, our National Security Adviser, will be seeing him tomorrow; that Defense Secretary Perry will also be seeing him.
We intend to discuss with him the full range of issues between the United States and China -- all of the issues: political, economic, military, security. Some of these are bilateral and some of these are multilateral.
Clearly, one of the issues that is foremost in our minds right now is the Chinese decision to conduct military exercises and military tests off the coast of Taiwan. We have expressed our deep concern about these missile tests, and, as I said yesterday, we believe these tests are irresponsible, and we believe that they are potentially destabilizing. We've informed the Chinese Government, both in Beijing and here in Washington, that there will be consequences should these tests go wrong. That's the message that we will be delivering at a very high level to Mr. Liu today.
Q Do you know, though, very much more about the tests themselves? What types of missiles will be fired? How many firings will there be? What is the range of the missiles?
MR. BURNS: I think I'll leave it to the Chinese Government to describe what type of missiles will be fired. I think we understand what happened last summer. We'll just have to await the tests and see what kind of missiles are fired; where they are fired.
It's the proximity to Taiwan -- the very close proximity to Taiwan -- that concerns us. This is a difference between these tests and the ones last summer, and we think they're potentially very serious, and we're concerned that the tests could go wrong, and they could have consequences that the Chinese may not intend them to have.
Q But my question is whether you know about the details of the test? Have the Chinese informed you? Whether you want to inform us or not is another question.
MR. BURNS: I'm not at liberty, I think, to talk about that aspect of the question. I think that that question should be directed to the Chinese Government.
Q But can you not say whether -- did you ask the Chinese for the details of the tests?
MR. BURNS: I'm sure our Embassy in Beijing has inquired about the details of the test. The Chinese have informed us of roughly where the test areas are, just north and just southwest of the island, and I think I gave you the coordinates as best as we understand them the other day. They are close to Taiwan, and that's part of the concern that we have here.
Q But have the Chinese responded to that very specific and very obvious question?
MR. BURNS: We've had vigorous discussions with them on this matter, and I can't say that we see eye to eye. We believe that the Chinese are going to go forward. I wouldn't be surprised, given the time differences, if we begin to see some news reports of missiles being tested just in the next couple of hours because of the time difference, and that's of great concern to us. Obviously, the Chinese don't see eye to eye with us, because, if they did, they would have cancelled the tests.
Q In 1995, they tested roughly one per day. Is it your expectation that there will be multiple tests and not just single tests?
MR. BURNS: That's up to the Chinese to announce. I think our general understanding is that they're not talking about firing one missile; they're talking about a series of tests, yes, Roy.
Q I mean, you're leaving us with the impression that they have not told you the details.
MR. BURNS: Roy, I don't think it's proper for me to communicate publicly everything we know about these tests. I do think it's the responsibility of the Chinese Government, however, to give some details to the Taiwanese people and others about these tests.
Q Are the Chinese naval forces in the missile range area to recover their hardware? Has it been their habit in the past to try to recover their boosters, etc.?
MR. BURNS: I would suggest you direct that to the Chinese Government. I just don't know the answer to that question.
Q Can we go back to tonight's meeting just briefly. You touched on this. You remember last week, sanctions -- limited sanctions -- were imposed by the President because of allegations that the Chinese had provided technology to Pakistan for a nuclear weapons program.
The Chinese -- there was delay, more deliberation, to talk to the Chinese about that. Is that a subject he's likely to go into tonight?
MR. BURNS: Yes. I think that all the prominent issues in our relationship with China, including that one, will be dealt with in the course of these discussions, yes.
Q Nick, one other issue that I happened to read about this morning is the issue of the Olympics coming up and Taiwanese officials being allowed to come to the United States to watch the Olympics.
Does the United States expect to issue visas to, say, the Taiwanese President if he asks -- if he wants to come and watch his team participate in the Olympics?
MR. BURNS: I think there are a couple of questions here. One is visas to Taiwan officials for the Olympics. The other is a visa to President Lee.
Q It's a general question of whether Taiwanese Government officials will be allowed to come here in an unofficial capacity to watch the Olympics -- their team compete?
MR. BURNS: I'm not aware that President Lee has announced any intention to attend the Olympics in Atlanta. I don't believe we have a request to do so for this, so therefore that's not a pertinent question from my point of view.
What is pertinent, however, is the nature of Taiwan's participation in the Olympics and anyone else from Taiwan attending those games. What I'd like to do is take that question and get you a good answer to that.
Q Earlier you made reference to consequences in terms of the tests. Is this something that has already been discussed with the Chinese, or is this something that will be brought up tonight specifically, or are you just leaving it there to let it play out later?
MR. BURNS: I think we're going to let that question be discussed in our private channels today and in the future days with the Chinese Government. We believe that the tests are destabilizing. We believe that they are irresponsible, because we're not completely sure that the consequences of these tests can be foreseen -- the accuracy of the missiles and so forth. The proximity to the coast of Taiwan is troubling to us.
Q When you say if something should go wrong, there would be consequences. What could go wrong?
MR. BURNS: David, I just addressed that. These are international waters. There is shipping of all kinds, including American shipping and Taiwan shipping in the area. There are people in the area, so we certainly want the Chinese Government to understand that there could be consequences from these tests. We think the tests, therefore, are not the right way to go by any stretch.
Q By inference, you're saying that -- you seem to be suggesting that what you're concerned about, the things that the Chinese don't intend by conducting these, like an accident or --
MR. BURNS: Well, Barry --
Q But, I mean, the very fact of the test, does that trouble you? Is it intended to destabilize Taiwan?
MR. BURNS: I think we've said quite consistently over the past couple of days that we believe that these tests are designed for political reasons to intimidate the people of Taiwan prior to the March 23 elections in Taiwan.
We do not believe that these tests or the military exercises represent any kind of imminent military threat, a direct military threat, against Taiwan or any Chinese military action against Taiwan.
What troubles us are perhaps some of the unintended consequences, should the tests go wrong, should the tests not come off as the Chinese believe they will come off. I'm talking here in terms of accuracy of missiles, and so forth. I think that's what troubles us. No one, I think, in our government believes that there's any kind of imminent threat to Taiwan that would be more direct.
Q But is it possible that these missiles' trajectory will carry them over Taiwan itself?
MR. BURNS: That's a question for the Chinese Government. We certainly hope not.
Q I mean, you know the locations where they're being fired from. You know the locations there -- the target box. Does that not pass over Taiwan territory?
MR. BURNS: We certainly hope that that would not be the case, Roy. Again, I think these are good questions, and I understand why you're asking them. I would direct them to the Chinese Embassy here in Washington or have your colleagues direct them to Shen Guofang, my colleague in Beijing.
Q But I'm sure you're asked the same questions of the Chinese.
MR. BURNS: Of course, we've discussed this matter in detail with the Chinese. I'm just not at liberty to give you all the details of that discussion.
Q Do you have satisfactory or unsatisfactory responses from them?
MR. BURNS: Again, I think if I were to pronounce us satisfied, we wouldn't be seeing any missile tests beginning today and over the next couple of days near Taiwan, and I think we're going to see some missile tests, and that is troubling to us.
Q In saying, then, yesterday that the tests were irresponsible -- and I think Mr. Lake used the word "reckless" -- then that indicates that the responses were unsatisfactory.
MR. BURNS: I think that's accurate. I don't believe we've had a satisfactory response in that sense.
Q (Inaudible) the original question I asked. Looking back, you left me confused, which may be your intention.
MR. BURNS: I would never want to confuse you. I always try to be clear.
Q You talk about press reports. Press reports of these missile sales or press reports about what the United States is considering?
MR. BURNS: Are you referring to the question on cruise missile sales to Iran?
MR. BURNS: I only mean to say that most of my information -- most of my information -- comes from press reports. I have also seen the reports of --
Q On what, specifically? That's what I want to know.
MR. BURNS: Okay. This is the issue that Sid raised of the allegation that China has transferred cruise missile technology to Iran. Correct, Sid? This is your question?
MR. BURNS: Roughly. Not word-for-word.
Q Actually, I wasn't aware that the U.S. considered this sale itself an allegation. My impression was, you were saying the sanctions question --
MR. BURNS: That is the pertinent question here. The pertinent question is whether or not --
Q But I think Jim is asking if you were questioning whether the sale itself took place?
Q As I understand it a U.S. naval commander in that region has stated, as a fact, that the Iranian forces now possess such Chinese missiles which pose a new level of threat to U.S. shipping in that area. Is that not correct?
MR. BURNS: The pertinent question for us is the question of sanctions which was addressed this morning by Director Holum. What I've said to you today is, obviously, we'll look into the reports of the transfer and the allegations made this morning. But I don't want to lead you in the direction that there's any kind of imminent decision here. That's what I meant to say, and I'm glad to repeat it again.
Q I just want to pin you down on this one. Do you accept the assessment of the U.S. naval commander in that area that, in fact, there has been a sale of Chinese missiles to Iran which raise the qualitative level of the threat to U.S. shipping?
MR. BURNS: I've not seen any comments by naval officials. I don't know which naval officials we're referring to. So I don't want to comment on unnamed reports.
Q (Inaudible) held a news conference in Washington January 20. At that news conference, he commented on Iran's test-firing of a Chinese manufactured-cruise missile. There was no question in that news conference. There were numerous stories following that.
MR. BURNS: I've not seen the transcript. I don't remember that particular press conference, so I don't want to comment on something that I'm not familiar with.
Q Has there been any determination about Chinese sale of magnet rings to Pakistan as yet?
MR. BURNS: No. The decision has not been made.
Q Before talking to the Foreign Minister, or Vice Foreign Minister today, would you go with some information --
MR. BURNS: We'll certainly raise that issue with Mr. Liu today. It's a prominent issue in U.S.-China relations. It involves Pakistan. It's a very serious allegation, so it's going to be raised. We certainly would like to have as much information about this allegation from the Chinese Government as is possible.
Betsy has been waiting for a long time. I just want to go to her.
Q Nick, there are people on the Hill that are calling on this Administration to be more specific as to what the U.S. response would be were there to be trouble in the Straits where these tests are going on. How would you respond to these people who call for more specificity of how we would respond to this threat?
MR. BURNS: I would say that with all due respect, our policy -- the policy that's been in place since 1979, which has been a Republican and Democratic-agreed policy, bipartisan consensus -- has worked very well. I don't believe we need to improve on that by detailing publicly exactly which steps the United States would take should there be any kind of a military threat to Taiwan. The Taiwan Relations Act is clear in our view.
What is most important here is that we believe that the Chinese Government, the Government in Beijing, has a very clear understanding of the grave nature and the grave consequences of any kind of Chinese military threat or any kind of hypothetical attack on Taiwan. That's clear, I think, to them. That's what's important to us. They understand how serious this issue is to the United States.
Q You've termed the missile firings an attempt to intimidate. Is such an attempt to intimidate acceptable or unacceptable to the United States Government?
MR. BURNS: Steve, I think I'm just going to keep to the language that I used yesterday and I'll be glad to use again today. It's irresponsible. National Security Advisor Lake termed it "reckless." These are strong words. I think that conveys the seriousness of this situation. It conveys the strong opposition that we have to the test and the military exercises by the government in Beijing.
Q The thing is, there wouldn't be a question of unforeseen consequences if the missiles weren't going to be fired. So the whole issue is the firing of the missiles, not the consequences if one happens to land on a ship or Taiwan? Isn't that your --
MR. BURNS: I think you have to understand that all nations that have militaries have to test weapons and test --
Q North of Taiwan?
MR. BURNS: No. I didn't say that. I was coming to that, Steve. I was going to make a distinction. All nations that have militaries, of course, and have military equipment need to test that equipment. There are ways to do that, of course, that minimize any possible threat to civilians or any possible threats beyond the borders of a country.
We don't believe in this case that it makes sense to conduct these tests in the region where they are to be conducted because of the close proximity to Taiwan. So that's the difference here, and that is what we are objecting to.
Carol, you had a question?
Q Do you know of Strobe Talbott's meeting today with the Pakistani Ambassador? Does this relate in any way to the arms issues?
MR. BURNS: Deputy Secretary Talbott did have a meeting this morning, I think, at 11:00 a.m. We have a lot on our agenda with Pakistan. Strobe Talbott has been involved closely in that relationship. He's made a trip to the region, and he raised a number of issues this morning and had a good exchange on a number of issues. So that issue and others. I wasn't there so I don't have a detailed readout on the meeting, even though I want to say for the
record, we did ask for a detailed readout. So we hope to get that --
Q Kantor is threating sanctions on child labor. Was child labor taken up?
MR. BURNS: I don't know if it was raised this morning. I don't know. I can check on that.
Q Do you have any kind of assessment on how shipping in the Straits off of Taiwan is being affected? Have we heard reports that ships are not sailing into those ports because of the possibility of these missile tests and the warnings that this and other governments have sent out about that?
MR. BURNS: Let me say this. I think there is an important point of principle here, and that is the point of innocent passage or free passage by seafaring nations in international waters. These are international waters in the Straits of Taiwan.
The United States is a Pacific naval power. We have exercised in 1995, at several junctures, our right of passage, we'll continue to do so. I'm not saying we'll continue to do so tomorrow or the next day, but we'll continue to exercise that right.
There is extensive commercial shipping in the Straits of Taiwan. It's very important that the Chinese Government be sensitive to that and understand that, and understand the consequences should things go wrong. That's at the heart of the concern here.
I've seen various reports, Betsy. It's really hard to give you a better answer than this. Some reports from shippers in the region say that they won't deviate from their routes; others say that they will deviate from their routes. We'll just have to see what happens. We think great care should be taken. Great care.
Q This is not a tough question but it's a sound bite.
Q The human rights report --
MR. BURNS: I will hold you --
Q With the human rights report yesterday, with the intimidating behavior in the Straits, with new missile allegations on two fronts -- Pakistan and Iran -- how as the
Secretary goes into this meeting tonight would you characterize the state of U.S. relations with China?
MR. BURNS: I'm not sure I'm going to be able to satisfy you on your sound bite criteria, Barry, but we'll see --
Q Give us a general -- it sounds kind of negative. But then, again, you've given trading -- not trading privilege -- you give them the same trading rights as other countries.
MR. BURNS: I think what impresses the Secretary and our other policymakers in the Department is that the U.S.-China relationship is critical for both countries -- critically important given the size of the two countries, given the power of the two, given the geographic location of the two. We are both Pacific nations.
There's no question that we have had a number of problems in the relationship during the last year. You an illustrate them as well as I can. There's also no question, we need to surmount those problems. We need to try to achieve resolutions of those problems.
It's important that we have a continuous series of high level meetings. That's why the Secretary appreciated the fact that Mr. Liu was willing to visit him while he was in the United States. The Secretary looks forward to conversations in the future with his counterpart, Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Qian.
We need to have these high level consultations. The Defense Minister of China will be in the United States shortly, Mr. Haotian. We need to talk through these problems. We need to resolve these problems because what the U.S. and China can do together can promote security and stability in the Pacific.
If we can't resolve our problems, that has negative consequences for both of our countries and for the Pacific and we want to avoid that.
So we don't take an entirely pessimistic view of this relationship. There are opportunities for us in this relationship, and we want to seek those opportunities and try to fulfill them.
Q Going back to the sanctions. I understand that you have said that you are not aware of any serious consideration yet. But others in the government are saying that there is some consideration towards sanctions.
Yesterday, Mr. Shattuck said that further isolating China cannot be expected to enhance their respect for human rights. Does this Administration believe that further isolation of China would somehow alter the military behavior?
MR. BURNS: We are opposed to any policy, and we would not follow a policy of isolating China. We are engaged in a policy of discussion and activity and, in general, engagement with China.
China is too big a country to be isolated. China plays too important an role in the world to be isolated, so therefore we must work with China.
We have our differences. When we have our differences, we must be clear about them. We were very clear yesterday about our differences with China on human rights, about China's treatment of its political dissidents; about human rights abuses that occur in Chinese prisons. They're catalogued. You've got the report and you can see it. We're not going to stop talking about those issues, but we would not choose to follow a policy of trying to isolate China. That policy would be self-defeating. It would not work and be contrary to the interests of the United States.
Q (Inaudible) policy toward China --
MR. BURNS: Because they're different countries.
Q What's the difference?
MR. BURNS: The difference is that China is a very large country with over a billion people in Asia which is a global power and whose actions have a critical impact on United States national security interests. We believe that in the case of China, it being a vastly different country culturally and historically and politically and economically than Cuba, the only correct policy is to try to work through differences while you engage them on those differences.
Cuba is a very different country. Cuba has isolated itself. China cannot isolate itself. Cuba has. Cuba is the only authoritarian country in the entire hemisphere. That was never more clear to us -- to Secretary Christopher and all us -- that during our trip to five countries in the hemisphere last week.
Cuba has isolated isolated itself. It's out of touch. It's got policies that made sense perhaps for leftist revolutionaries in the 1960s -- that are completely antiquated. It deserves to be isolated, and it is effectively isolated.
Q (Inaudible) -- culture --
MR. BURNS: Cuban policies are repressive at home, antiquated in terms of Cuban foreign policy. They are a major violator of international law. They're close to our shores. They're out of step with the hemisphere. They deserve to be isolated. They an be isolated, and they will be isolated until the regime changes; until one day when democracy comes to Cuba. That will be a great day.
MR. BURNS: Cuba.
Q Wait a minute, Sid. Wait a minute.
Q Except they're close to our shores.
MR. BURNS: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. That's a cute question. It's a very cute question. But, Sid, you're totally off the mark. You're 180 degrees from where I was. For anybody reading the transcript, I was talking --
MR. BURNS: Barry, I'll include you. (Laughter) It's sometimes in our interests to isolate the wires. I was talking about Cuba.
Q Which wire service has a billion subscribers?
MR. BURNS: We haven't even left China yet. We haven't even gotten to Bosnia yet.
Q Could I follow up on Jim Anderson's question? You just said that we oppose any policy of isolating China. Should we read that to mean that the United States would oppose any steps to limit trade with China or take any sanctions against China? Does that mean that you are not even considering sanctions against China for these alleged arms sales?
MR. BURNS: We have to carry out our law. There is sanctions law in the books in the United States which must be carried out by this Administration -- by any Administration -- if we find that China or any other country in the world is in violation of the sanctions law. If that evidence is incontrovertible, then, of course, we must find them to be in violation and must impose sanctions. That is not the case. We have not yet made that determination.
Q Should we take it that you don't think the law is correct and the law should be changed?
MR. BURNS: I didn't say that, David. In fact, I said the reverse. There is a law. There are many laws pertaining to sanctions. It is the duty of all of us in the Executive Branch to follow those laws, be true to them, and implement them if we have incontrovertible evidence that countries are in violation of them.
But in response to Jim's question, we have not yet arrived at that decision. In response to the question on ring magnets, we have not arrived at that decision.
We're not arguing with the law, but we must be sure when we measure countries against our laws, that our facts are straight and that they're true and the facts amount to a violation of the law. We've not yet made that determination.
Q Nick, can I just continue --
MR. BURNS: Could we theoretically make that determination? That was your question. Well, of course, if the evidence leads us there, we'll have to make that determination.
Q What I'm asking you is really this. Do you think the steps that are required by the law, should you make that determination, would have the effect of isolating China further than it is now?
MR. BURNS: David, that's a difficult question because it depends on which law you're talking about, what issue you're talking about. China is a big country. China has a multiplicity of relationships -- trade relationships, political relationships, security relationships. I think, theoretically, that would not amount to isolating China, no.
There would be an application of U.S. law in the theoretical basis on which we're talking about.
Q Is the Clinton Administration in support of these laws? Or does it think they should be changed -- the ones that cover the ring magnet sale and the missile sale to Iran?
MR. BURNS: We support U.S. law. We have to support U.S. law. We do support U.S. law. We're not the lawmakers. Congress makes the laws. We have to implement them.
Q (Inaudible) M-11?
MR. BURNS: What about the sale? What about it?
Q Have you made any determination? It's nearly two years since you've been saying --
MR. BURNS: We have not yet determined that China is in violation of U.S. sanctions law or its MTCR commitments.
MR. BURNS: Right.
Q What did you say?
MR. BURNS: I said, we have not determined that China is in violation of U.S. sanctions law.
Q But you found reason to impose sanctions in '93. You lifted them in '94.
MR. BURNS: No, no, no.
Q The missile --
MR. BURNS: He's talking about more recent allegations of April 1995. In fact, April 17, 1995, by a leading newspaper in Washington, D.C. That's what we're talking about. We're not talking about 1993; we're talking about '95.
Q But it's the same M-11 situation; new parts, new components for the same M-ll. You made a judgment on that and you let them out from under in '94 --
MR. BURNS: I don't agree with the language.
Q You want to say waived?
MR. BURNS: I don't agree with the language. Roy is suggesting that we move the conversation to Bosnia.
MR. BURNS: Bill, we've done so much on China. Are you still China? One more question. That's it on China.
Q Mr. Shen Guofang in Beijing, he said he refused to accept your allegation made yesterday. Do you have any response to that?
MR. BURNS: Which allegation?
Q Generally, what you've said regarding the Sino-U.S. relations.
Q Excuse me, I didn't catch the name of the person.
Q Shen Guofang.
MR. BURNS: Shen Guofang, my colleague. I said yesterday that China's prospective missile tests would be irresponsible and destabilizing. I have said that again today, so we have a disagreement here.
Q Go to Bosnia. There's been a number of developments there. Among them, three suburbs have now been turned over to the government. Almost no Serbs have stayed behind. The Serbs have moved to other places, places in eastern and northern Bosnia. The result is going to make it much harder for anybody else to move back to their homes in those locations where the Serbs have now moved to.
I wonder whether you have any conclusions about the way this process is going. It has an appearance, although it's gone without much violence, it has an appearance of being counterproductive in terms of the goals of Dayton -- maybe to use a stronger term?
MR. BURNS: Sarajevo has been a multi-ethnic city for many centuries. We think that Sarajevo should remain a multi-ethnic city.
It is disturbing to us that the Bosnian Serb leadership has chosen to encourage the Serbian population to leave -- number one.
I would also say, however, that on a human basis, it is certainly understandable why some Serbs, why Muslims, why Croats would feel vulnerable as these transfers of power and authority take place, given all of the scars of the last four years.
It is incumbent upon the Bosnian Serb leadership to be rational and to exercise judicious leadership, not to try to incite people to believe that the worst will happen when these transfers of authority take place.
It is also incumbent upon the Bosnian Government to say the right things and to do the right things that will send positive signals to Serbs and Croats that they should stay in their homes as these transfers of authority take place.
Roy, you've asked a very good question. The facts are -- and you know them as well as I -- this is not taking place. The Bosnian Serb leadership, I think, has been irresponsible in its exhortations to its public. The Bosnian Government has said a few things on the record but probably not enough to assure the local population that they'll be taken care of.
Carl Bildt is working very hard on this problem. He's done an excellent job of trying to sort out all the problems that flow from this. What is really tragic is that the thousands of people leaving their homes are now refugees. They must be supported by the international community and this exacerbates the general problem in the area.
So I don't have a positive thing to say about this. That is our analysis of the problem.
Q Do you conclude that maybe something has been wrong in the concept that IFOR has had or that the United States or that the Western community has had, because it doesn't seemed to have worked?
MR. BURNS: No, I don't conclude that. I think IFOR has done an outstanding job in its mission which, as you know, is quite specific.
The problem has been inherited here by Carl Bildt and the civilian administration. He has done, I think, outstanding job in trying to deal with, admittedly, a terrible problem in human terms -- of thousands of people becoming refugees overnight.
Q Another problem stemming from Dayton. What's the status of the foreign fighters there? How many do we think are still there?
MR. BURNS: The status of the foreign fighters is not positive, in this sense. We don't believe that all the foreign fighters have left. There are new allegations just over the last 24 to 48 hours the Iranians may continue to train elements of the Bosnian military. We think that there are perhaps upwards of 100 to 200 foreign fighters left. These are the figures given to us by IFOR and that have been given to you publicly by IFOR.
Our position is the following. This is a fundamental obligation of the Bosnian Government. Secretary Christopher has made this clear to the Bosnian Government leadership. This is going to have an impact on equip-and-train.
Let me tell you what we're going to do with equip-and-train and what we won't do. The assessment of the military needs of the Federation has been completed and we've had full discussions with the Bosnian Government about their military needs, post-departure of IFOR.
I think very soon the Bosnian Federation will name a private U.S. contractor to manage the equip-and-train program. On March 15, Turkey will be hosting an international conference for those countries interested in helping on the problem of equip-and-train. However, the United States will not implement equip-and-train. We will not transfer equipment to the Bosnian Government -- even though we are taking these initial steps to implement the program -- until we can be assured by all means necessary that all the foreign fighters have left Bosnia.
We're taking these steps to build the framework of the equip-and-train program but we're not going to implement it until the Bosnian Government proves to us that these Iranians and other radical fighters who pose a threat to our forces have left.
Q Nick, a follow-up. The fact that the Secretary has seen the political leadership of Bosnia and there still are no results weeks and weeks later, what conclusions do you draw about your ability to influence the Bosnians in this regard?
MR. BURNS: I don't accept the question in this respect, Charlie. If, as most people believe, the starting number of foreign forces was in the high hundreds or low thousands -- the estimates were between 800 and 2,000 -- then we know that most of these people have left because we have asked them to leave. Number one.
Number two: When the Iranians were caught red-handed a couple of weeks ago in that safehouse near Sarajevo, we know that those Iranians were deported. They left the country because they were forced to leave the country. That was a positive contribution made by the Bosnian Government.
What is disturbing to us -- and here is where I agree with this part of your questions -- is that Iranians, we believe, remain -- some Iranians. Those people have to leave.
Q Nick, on the Iranian question. What is your view of the trip to Iran that Prime Minister Muratovic made? Do you see that as sinister or innocent, hopeful, or worrisome?
MR. BURNS: We have a very dim view of that trip, in this respect. Iran is an outlaw state sponsor of terrorism. The Bosnians may believe that Iran was helpful at some point during their war. Iran cannot help them now. There are 60,000 NATO troops helping to ensure the peace, helping to build the new Bosnian state, giving them a year of respite from the war. They don't need a few hundred Iranians.
We would encourage the Bosnian Government to drop this notion that somehow any relationship with Iran can be positive to them.
Q Can I follow up on that? What about the report in the New York Times story that the Bosnians had troops in Iran being trained? What can you say about it? I don't know if you --
MR. BURNS: I don't know that we corroborate that report. We've seen it. We're quite interested in it, and we're following it up with the Bosnian Government.
Q Can the United States stop the Bosnian Government from equipping and training itself?
MR. BURNS: What is behind your question? Do you want to say a little bit more?
Q Can it go forward? Can the Bosnian Government equip-and-train themselves with Iranian weapons, Turkish weapons, Pakistani weapons, French weapons, whatever, even if the United States steps aside and says, "Sorry, we're not going to participate in this anymore?" Do you have some way to prevent them from going forward under their own auspices?
MR. BURNS: The Bosnian Government would like the United States to play a role in the international effort to equip and train them. Their strategic objective here, after IFOR departs, is to have a rough equilibrium of military forces corresponding to Croatia and Serbia; especially Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs. They've come to us for assistance to lead that effort. We're doing so.
I don't believe they will be successful without the support and participation of the United States. There's no reason to think they will.
As you know, this idea has not been met with overwhelming support in Europe. We are working very closely with our ally, Turkey, and with other countries in the Arab world about this. I think if the United States stepped aside and said it wouldn't support the program, that would
be a very severe blow to the program. That's part of the incentive for the Bosnian Government, and they know that. They need the United States here, and our base-line objective is to get those foreign fighters out, or else we won't go forward.
Q Is there, though, something in place now that would prevent the Bosnians from purchasing weapons on their own?
MR. BURNS: No, there isn't. But I don't believe that they'll be successful. They don't have the money, and they don't have the resources, and I don't think that there will be many nations inclined without a positive signal from the United States.
Q Can I follow up on that. I just want to understand what you said before. The United States plans to go forward and let the contract, but you're not going to transfer equipment to the Bosnian Muslims. Does that mean that just the United States isn't going to transfer equipment? I mean, other participants like Turkey could go ahead anyway and transfer under that program? And what about the training component?
MR. BURNS: The idea here, Carol, is that we're building a framework. We're implementing the first few steps, but we're stopping short of actually transferring equipment until we can be assured that the conditions of the Dayton peace accords, which should have been met on January 19, are met.
Q But does that include Turkey as well?
MR. BURNS: To get to your question, I can't speak for the Turkish Government or any other government. But I can tell you -- and this gets back to Sid's question -- I believe that without the support of the United States, this would not be a very effective program.
Q Would you attend the donors conference?
MR. BURNS: Yes, oh, yes.
MR. BURNS: Jim Pardew, who, as you know, is our coordinator in the Department of State, will go to Ankara on March 15. We want to get this rolling, and I'll tell you why, because we have the expectation that the Bosnian Government will comply with the Dayton accords, and all the foreign fighters will leave, and therefore we'll be able to
go ahead. That's our expectation. We're planning on that, and we expect that to be the outcome of this issue.
Q So when is the contract going (inaudible).
MR. BURNS: I think very shortly. I think the Bosnian Federation will announce this fairly shortly.
Q Is there anything specific out of Muratovic's visit to Tehran that disturbs you? I mean --
MR. BURNS: I'm not aware of all the details of his visit. I just think our advice to a friend -- and the Bosnian Government is friendly to the United States -- is that they will rue the day that they associated themselves too closely with the Iranian Government.
Just look at the history of the Iranian Government and how they treat their supposed friends. Do they meet their commitments to them? What kind of activities are undertaken by the Iranian Government? You know what we think about the Iranian Government's support for Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
Q But, Nick, do you know what the purpose of the visit was?
MR. BURNS: You'll have to ask him.
Q Are you sure he wasn't going to say, "Thanks, but we've got to stop seeing each other." (Laughter)
MR. BURNS: I just direct the questions to Prime Minister Muratovic.
Q Nick, I know you guys don't do comparisons, but this begs the question: Why is it so bad for the Bosnians to go to Iran and it's not bad for the Iranians to go to Damascus?
MR. BURNS: Sid, I don't do comparisons. (Laughter) But, listen --
Q Syria's a different country.
MR. BURNS: No, I don't do comparisons. We don't think Iran has a constructive role to play.
Q Anywhere, any time, anything.
MR. BURNS: No, and we would never advise a country to have a good relationship with Iran.
Q Can I ask just a minor -- maybe we could be told later in the day under what specific legislation could sanctions be invoked if indeed Iran was provided with cruise missiles?
MR. BURNS: I'll be glad to take that question.
Q I think there's separate legislation to do with Iran and Iraq, but I'm not sure what it is.
MR. BURNS: I'll be glad to take the question.
Q Could I follow --
MR. BURNS: Are we still on --
Q -- Barry's question.
MR. BURNS: Actually, I think Roy has the floor. We're still on Bosnia. We've just made a little interlude.
Q There's a lot of signs that the Federation, which is an American-sponsored entity, is in trouble, and that things are going badly on many fronts. What is your assessment, and what plans do you have to send somebody or to do something about it?
MR. BURNS: The Federation is an internationally sponsored and supported idea. Germany has been as much a supporter, for instance, of the Federation as the United States. We both strongly support it. The Federation has had a number of difficulties, but in essence has held together, Roy. It is together, despite all the differences between Croats and Moslems, and we're going to use our influence whenever we can to help resolve at their request some of the problems in implementation.
Q I mean, there have been several reports in the last couple days. Croats have been sent in, apparently, in Hadzici and were trying to take over the police station there. The Croats are accusing the Bosnian Government of setting up some kind of an agency, an intelligence and almost domestic police agency. I don't know -- are they serious?
MR. BURNS: I think in the case of Hadzici, there was the incident with the Croats, but the transition took place yesterday.
Q Middle East.
MR. BURNS: Middle East, yes.
Q Chairman Yasser Arafat has proposed yesterday -- will submit to fight terrorism. What is your reaction?
MR. BURNS: President Clinton spoke to this this morning and said that there were many options that were being considered, and, of course, we would consider the ones that made most sense. I certainly would just call your attention to the President's words on this.
Q A follow-up. Second, does fighting terrorism with U.S. assistance and support mean all terrorist acts around the world, including in Egypt and Algeria where a car bomb killed yesterday two people and wounded 52?
MR. BURNS: We certainly condemn terrorism -- the indiscriminate use of violence to achieve political ends -- anywhere in the world. We condemn it. When countries ask us for help in trying to combat terrorism, we consider that on a country-by-country basis.
We certainly support the Israeli people, which is the pertinent question here, in their fight against Hamas.
Q (Inaudible). Are you aware of such a plan or was it discussed with you what kind of -- how serious is that idea?
MR. BURNS: I'm just going to have to direct you to the President's words. He spoke on the record. He was sitting with King Hussein this morning and said that there were many options available to us; that, of course, we would consider serious options.
The broader point here is that in addition to providing Israel with specific equipment to combat terrorism, as we have done over the last two days, we want to launch an international effort to support Israel in the fight against terrorism.
We'll consider options that make sense towards that objective. Yesterday -- I won't go over it in detail at all -- but the Secretary did convene a very important meeting of the Israeli Ambassador -- Ambassador Rabinovitch -- with the Arab Ambassadors and the European Ambassadors to launch this effort.
What we found in that meeting, what we heard what unstinting support for Israel in the fight against terrorism and denunciations of Hamas for the bloody terrorism of the past 11 days.
Q Specifically about this summit, there is more than just those declarations of the President?
MR. BURNS: I can't do any better than the President did this morning, and he did very well on this. I would just direct you to his words.
Q Then there will be a summit or not?
MR. BURNS: The President was asked, and what he said was, "We want to build international support, and we're considering a range of options." I can't improve upon that.
Q Nick, does not the introduction of a cruise missile into the hands of the Iranians, who have the nuclear material already --
MR. BURNS: I thought we were talking about the Middle East.
Q Does this not constitute a new terroristic threat to Israel and the whole Middle East -- these kind of indefensible missiles?
MR. BURNS: I've said what I have to say on the issue of cruise missiles. I think I've repeated myself a couple times today.
Q Wait a minute --
MR. BURNS: Mr. Lambros, yes.
Q May we have a readout of today's meeting here in the State Department between Deputy Secretary of State Talbott and the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Onur Oymen?
MR. BURNS: Yes, the Under Secretary. Turkish Foreign Ministry Ambassador Oymen met with Deputy Secretary Talbott today. He's also seeing Under Secretary Tarnoff. He's seeing officials in our Bureau of European Affairs, led by John Kornblum. He's here to attend the American-Turkish Council's annual meeting, and he's here to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues, including Operation Provide Comfort, the situation in the Aegean, and the situation on Cyprus. I knew that would interest you.
I can also tell you that Ambassador Marc Grossman, our Ambassador in Ankara, is back for these meetings with the American-Turkish Council, and he's also in the building.
Q Including the Aegean?
MR. BURNS: Including the Aegean, yes.
Q Do you know when the Turkish President, Suleyman Demirel, is coming to Washington, D.C. Do you have a specific --
MR. BURNS: I don't. That would be an announcement by the White House.
Q I was told that the recent CRS report on Congress on Imia, a State Department official stated, "Since the validity of at least one of the documents" -- i.e., the 1972 Protocol -- "that (inaudible) the question of ownership and sovereignty of Imia is disputed, they believe that the best thing would be the International Court of Justice or another consensual body."
May we have the name of the official and the full statement? What is it about?
MR. BURNS: The name of the official?
MR. BURNS: You can just use my name. (Laughter) I mean, we think -- (laughter). I'm up here every day.
MR. BURNS: I think you've expressed in the last part of your question our policy: that we believe the International Court of Justice is a logical place. But, you know, it's up to Greece and Turkey to make this decision.
And let me tell you about King Constantine, because you asked about this yesterday.
Q I had a couple of questions --
MR. BURNS: He's a private individual. He's welcome to visit the United States any time. Private visitors to the United States do not normally receive any special treatment or government protection. I would refer any questions about his visit here to him, King Constantine.
Q What about his passport and his visa?
MR. BURNS: I can't talk about his passport and visa, because --
Q I was told that --
MR. BURNS: It's not my purview to do that.
Q Okay. I respect that. I was told that Mr. Glyxburg had the same (inaudible) and last Thursday a meeting has taken place here in the State Department to this effect. Mr. Glyxburg actually was trying to arrange a meeting with a U.S. retired military officer via Pentagon with prior approval of the State Department. Could you please comment?
MR. BURNS: Mr. Lambros, there are so many meetings. There are thousands of meetings that take place in this building every week. I can't talk about all of them. I know nothing about that particular one.
Q Nick, Chairman Arafat said this week -- he indicated that there was a greater collaboration between the extremist groups on the Palestinian side and extremist groups on the Israeli side.
Is this not unnerving that if both parties came together in a kind of united front, that this would indeed be a greater threat than the two of them separately?
MR. BURNS: I am not quite sure that's what Chairman Arafat said. I know that you may have interpreted it that way. That's not the way I heard it. I don't believe there is any connection between Hamas and these radical groups that foment terrorism -- suicide terrorism and what you would refer to as the "right wing" of the Israeli political spectrum. I don't think there's any evidence that connects those two.
Just a couple more questions, then we're going to leave. In the Middle East or Spain?
Q No. Cuba. (Laughter)
MR. BURNS: Latin America.
Q (Inaudible) today to put out a statement, because you are worried about the law and how you're going to implement it. Also, Mexico and Canada say they're going to fight through the NAFTA agreement. Do you have any comment, and do you know what's going to happen? You have any meetings with them to explain to them how you're going to proceed?
MR. BURNS: We've heard a lot of concern expressed publicly and privately from not only Canada but some of our European allies. The President has said he will sign this bill that has now passed both houses of Congress, so he will sign it. I think our message to our European allies and to Canada is, "Join us in isolating Cuba."
It's the only authoritarian regime left in this hemisphere, and Castro has pursued ruthless policies towards his own citizens. You know that prior to the downing of the two planes, the Administration at one point had some concerns about some aspects of this bill. I think those concerns had to evaporate in the aftermath of the deaths of four Americans, and the crude violation of international law by Castro.
So we are united with the Congress -- and there's a bipartisan policy support to build on the Cuban Democracy Act and to have the President sign this particular bill. It's the right way to go.
Q Nick, on this question of the Helms-Burton Bill, does that not amount to a secondary or tertiary boycott, and is that not something that the United States has habitually objected to?
MR. BURNS: I think if you look at all of the provisions of the bill negotiated by the Administration and Congress, we believe that the bill is consistent with international law -- if you look at all the provisions of the bill.
Q Are you going to meet them to explain how you're going to do it?
MR. BURNS: We certainly will. We certainly will listen to the concerns of our allies on this and our other neighbors, and we will certainly have a discussion with them on this.
I've got time for literally one or two more questions, and it's over.
Q Nick, still on Cuba, are you giving any thought to trying to exclude Cuba from the Olympic games.
MR. BURNS: I will just have to take that question, Patrick.
Q Nick, do you have any comment on the report of a Russian nuclear test?
MR. BURNS: Are you referring to the New York -- no, the Washington Times article this morning?
Q You don't have to limit it to that article, but just the general allegation that the Russians tested a nuclear weapon a couple years back.
MR. BURNS: I can tell you the United States considers that the Russian moratorium of 1992 on nuclear testing continues. We're looking forward to a successful nuclear summit in April, when President Clinton will travel to Moscow. We're looking forward to Russian support for the conclusion, the completion of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in time for his signature this fall at the U.N. General Assembly, and we continue to cooperate quite well with Russia on all nuclear matters.
Q Well, would the alleged test have taken place prior to their moratorium on testing?
MR. BURNS: As I read the article this morning, it alleges that tests were conducted in January of this year. The Russians imposed their own moratorium in 1992. So what I'm saying is we believe that the Russian moratorium continues.
Q So you're saying you don't think that they've tested.
MR. BURNS: I'm saying we believe that the moratorium continues, yes.
Q Nick, just one more on the Middle East. The question of the funds for reconstruction of the Palestinian areas has become much more important in the last few days, and it has been emphasized by Administration spokesmen to try and get a greater flow into the area.
Now we're being given assurances yesterday by Mike McCurry and others that these funds were going into the area, but the Palestinian officials say they have not received anything since September of any significance. Do you have any numbers on this, or do you have any idea what's actually happening on that front?
MR. BURNS: The United States has committed $500 million to the Palestinian Authority over five years, and we have disbursed over half of those funds. We have recently called upon all of the potential contributors to the Palestinian Authority to expedite their delivery of assistance to the Palestinians.
In fact, one of Secretary Christopher's messages yesterday to the Arab countries and to the European countries was, "This is the time when the Palestinians need our economic support," and we certainly would reject any calls by people here in the United States to freeze American assistance to the Palestinians.
Arafat is fighting terror, and he is trying to be true to his commitments to Israel. We ought to encourage him and not penalize him for the efforts that he's undertaken just in the last couple of days to arrest suspects for these bombings.
Thank you very much.
Q One more point on that. Nick, in terms of the numbers, you said $500,000 --
MR. BURNS: $500 million.
Q I'm sorry, $500 million was committed --
MR. BURNS: More than half has been disbursed.
Q More than half. Since when? What is the time period?
MR. BURNS: Since the inception of the program, and I believe that was about two years ago.
Q Any response to complaints on Capitol Hill today that the PLO Compliance Report was inadequate, that compliance has not been adequate?
MR. BURNS: We don't agree with that assessment. We submitted the report. We stand by the report. We believe that American assistance to the Palestinians is absolutely critical at the present time when Arafat is trying to help Israel prevent another outbreak of suicide terrorism.
Thank you very much.
(The briefing concluded at 2:03 p.m.)
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