U.S. Department of State 96/04/05 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Friday, April 5, 1996 Briefer: Glyn Davies FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Crash of Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown's Plane in Croatia --Plans for Return of the Remains........................ 1 --Investigation Continuing at Crash Site................. 1 --Messages of Condolence Being Received at the Department 2 Shipment of Arms to Bosnian Government by Iran........... 4-8 --Criticism by Senator Dole of Arms Shipments as Reported in Los Angeles Times................................... 4 --U.S. Adherence to Requirements of International Arms Embargo.............................................. 5-6 --U.S. Efforts to Discourage Cooperation Between Iran and Bosnia............................................... 7 Diminution of Numbers of Foreign Forces in Bosnia........ 5-9 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Letter to Secretary from Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Abuses in the West Bank and Gaza................ 3 Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command Operating Radio Station in Damascus............ 17 NORTH KOREA Violation of Status of Joint Security Area by North Korean Soldiers........................................ 3-4 DEPARTMENT Proposed Settlement of Class Action Discrimination Suit, Thomas v. Christopher................................. 10-11 LIBYA Construction of Chemical Weapons Plant --DOD Secretary Perry's Remarks re: Deterring Development of Plant............................................ 11 --U.S. Consultations with Allies........................ 12 CHINA Status of U.S. Determination on Technology Transfers..... 12-13 EUROPE Greek/Turkish Dispute in the Aegean...................... 14-15 BELIZE Withdrawal of Request to Establish Consulate in Sarasota, Florida................................................ 16-17
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, APRIL 5, 1996, 1:17 P. M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. DAVIES: Welcome to the State Department briefing. I want to start off by welcoming some special guests -- 12 students from our own nearby George Washington University. Welcome very much to the State Department briefing.
On the plane crash, to give you just a little bit of an update, based on some checking that we've just done: you've all seen that they've now recovered the remains of 35 persons, which does account for all the persons on the plane -- all the persons listed in the manifest that we issued yesterday.
The last body was recovered at the site today, and collection of remains has now been completed. All the bodies have been transferred to the temporary morgue, which is set up in Dubrovnik, and a mortuary team is currently working in Dubrovnik. We expect the remains will be ready to transport soon from Dubrovnik back to the United States.
It's my understanding that the White House will have an announcement on that a little bit later on today.
In terms of the status of the investigations at the crash site itself -- that is, the investigations pertaining to why it was that the plane went down -- an interim Air Force team is continuing its investigations at the crash site. Croatian officials are also present. They're assisting in the investigation. A formal Air Force team of investigators, including representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board -- the NTSB -- and Boeing has been assembled at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.
The team has already begun researching the maintenance records of that particular T-43 aircraft, the civilian version being a 737. The team is expected to arrive at Dubrovnik tomorrow morning, Saturday. Major General (select) Charles Coolidge is leading that team.
The condolence messages from around the world continue to come in. We haven't done a final count. This is ongoing, but it now appears as if a majority of the world's nations have in one form or another expressed condolences on the deaths of Secretary Brown and his party. I do have some details that afterward I'm happy to give out about those condolence messages.
With that, I think I will go immediately to your questions.
Q Glyn, Human Rights Watch has sent a letter to the Secretary, saying he should be more critical of the Palestinians and the Israelis in their treatment of detainees. Do you have a response to that?
MR. DAVIES: That the Secretary should be more critical?
Q That the State Department should be more critical of the human rights abuses by the Israelis and the Palestinians of detainees.
MR. DAVIES: Our position hasn't changed on what's occurring out in Israel and in the West Bank and in Gaza. Clearly Job One right now is to create a secure environment for the people that live there. They are still, I think, feeling the effects of the suicide bombings that occurred.
We have taken some steps -- the United States and the international community as well -- to try to relieve the effects of the closures on Palestinian citizens. Of course, Israel has itself increased recently the numbers of trucks that have been allowed into the Gaza strip and the West Bank.
So we look forward to that proceeding, but for right now the world community is focused, I think, on the problem of terrorism and of trying to get at these terrorists who were behind the suicide bombings that occurred.
Q So your message is human rights abuse is okay if it stops terrorism?
MR. DAVIES: No. I'm not even going to get into characterizing what's occurring out there as human rights abuses. I would dispute that as a premise.
Obviously, we're concerned, as are, I think, all friends of peace in the region, that the process of reconciliation between the Palestinian people and the Israeli people continue. We fully expect it will. But in the near term, there is the problem of the security of Israel that has to be insured, and that's the job that Israeli officials have before them.
I'm not going to get into characterizing whether the steps that are being taken out there would at all constitute human rights violations.
Q But they're also talking about the Palestinians as well, not just the Israelis -- abuses on both sides.
MR. DAVIES: That may be. I'm just not going to react to every statement that's made by every group that has an interest in that area. They've said what they want to say, and we obviously don't choose to associate ourselves with it.
Q Do you have anything today on the North Koreans saying yesterday that they weren't going to man their posts at the DMZ anymore? Has the U.S. seen any evidence of this? Any movement -- any military movement?
MR. DAVIES: We understand that what's happened out there is that a group of armed North Korean soldiers has entered the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom, and this has happened before, so this is not unprecedented. But what's important to note is that it is a violation of the regulation concerning the status of the Joint Security Area.
The Pentagon, of course, could give you a lot more detail, I think, on what's occurred, but what's important from our perspective is what we said yesterday, which is that the military armistice agreement that's been around for 40 years has served the Korean peninsula well. It's maintained stability on the peninsula, and it's very important that North Korea abide by its responsibilities under the armistice and avoid provocative actions.
Q Have we in any way contacted, through any other country, the North Koreans to try to get some sort of explanation of this? The Chinese, for instance?
MR. DAVIES: Betsy, I don't have anything on that, that we've in any way been in contact with them. But what I can tell you is that according to information we have from the Pentagon there has been established out there a higher watch condition, which is not the same as a higher defense condition.
What U.S. and Korean forces have done is they've placed themselves in a higher state of surveillance, if you will, or watchfulness. It doesn't mean, it doesn't indicate that the threat of hostilities has increased, and, of course, again I think the Pentagon would have further details.
Q Glyn, what do you mean that this group of armed North Korean soldiers had entered the DMZ? What are they dong there, just sitting around or --
MR. DAVIES: I don't know precisely what they're doing; don't even know if they're still there. But the armistice agreement has a lot of very specific provisions about how soldiers on both sides are to conduct themselves, to act. It has to do with armbands they have to wear, when they can wear sidearms, that kind of thing.
I think just in general what's happening is the North Koreans are monkeying with those provisions. They're stepping back. We think it's only incremental at this stage, but stepping back from the provisions that regulate activity in the Joint Security Area. You'd have to talk to the Pentagon about precisely when this occurred and whether they're still there.
Q But how many people and what --
MR. DAVIES: I don't have those details.
Q Glyn, are you saying this is a provocative act?
MR. DAVIES: We consider this to be an act that is not in keeping with the undertakings that the Government of North Korea made about 40 years ago, and I would characterize it, I think, as a very negative act. It's one that we would call on the North Koreans to cut out. They should go back to the provisions that they've signed up to and start again to comport themselves as they should.
Q Senator Dole has said today that he regards as duplicitous the Administration's policy that has been reported in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere as being turning a blind eye to Iranian arms shipments to Bosnia. In fact, while knowing about these shipments, saying nothing about them.
Would you care to respond to the Senator and comment, please, on that policy?
MR. DAVIES: I have something for you on that. It may, to some extent, sound familiar because this is, in our view, an old story, or an older story.
The Administration -- just to take you back -- opposed the arms embargo and sought unsuccessfully to lift it multilaterally, but we always abided fully by its terms. We didn't provide arms to the Bosnian Government or to Croatia directly or indirectly. And then, of course, beginning in November 1994, Congressional legislation made it illegal for us to enforce the arms embargo against third countries.
The Intelligence Oversight Board looked into this matter and found no evidence that U.S. laws governing covert action were in any way violated.
Regarding the larger question of Iranian influence in Bosnia, we expect -- and we made this plain to the Bosnian Government, and indeed to all other parties to the Dayton Agreement -- that they must abide by the agreements' provisions on withdrawal of foreign forces.
Moreover, we've made clear to the Bosnians that we're committed to leading an effort to train and equip their forces but that is very much contingent still on withdrawal of all foreign forces. Some have left, some remain. Then, of course, there is still out there the issue of Bosnia's military and intelligence links with Iran. We've made plain to the Bosnian Government that we don't view those at all helpful. In fact, they're very much detrimental to carrying forward with the peace process.
They understand how seriously we view those links that exist.
Q For example, the Republicans, such as for example, former Secretary of State Eagleburger have said that there was a change of policy, one that they don't like. He pointed out that when Mr. Bush was President the Croats allowed a 747 full of arms, allegedly from Iran, to land and that this was found out and that the Bush Administration called them on it and the Croats ended up stopping the arms from going through.
By contrast, this Administration, it is alleged, has turned a blind eye, knowingly, to large and continuous arms shipment from, among other places, Iran to the Bosnians. Was this a change in policy between the two Administrations? Do you think that the policy was correct to knowingly allow Iranian arms to go into Bosnia?
MR. DAVIES: I can't really get into what sorts of internal policy deliberations occurred on this issue over the last months and, indeed, years, nor can I really get into our confidential diplomatic exchanges with the Government of Croatia or with other governments in the area.
Then, of course, also in your question, if I were to take it on directly, I would have to get into what we know and when we knew it about various arms shipments that might have taken place which would then would get me into intelligence matters. I can't discuss those.
I think for today I really just want to stick with what I've given you, that the United States did not provide arms to the Bosnian Government or to Croatia directly, or indirectly. From November 1994 on, it was illegal for us to enforce the arms embargo against third countries.
This Administration's view of the arms embargo is well known. The view of the arms embargo is, in fact, one that's been relatively the same across party lines, if you will, or across Administrations.
Q Let me make just one more try. Is it the Administration's view that the arms embargo, which was international law -- which is still international law -- no, I guess it isn't anymore -- which was international law did not require nations to alert anyone if they had evidence that it was being violated?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not sure who would be alerted.
Q The United Nations.
MR. DAVIES: The United Nations resolutions, other provisions that the United Nations adopts are essentially agreements among member states at the United Nations to act in a certain way. The United States has acted consistently insofar as our provision of arms to the Bosnian Government or to Croatia, which is to say that we've not provided arms directly or indirectly. So we've abided by those provisions in the United Nations.
Q (Inaudible) which was that President Clinton directed Secretary Christopher to tell Ambassador Galbraith, when he met with the Croatians, that we did not take a position on Iranian arms shipments? In other words, giving him the green light. Can you confirm or deny that? And in an overall sense, confirm or deny the L.A. Times story?
MR. DAVIES: What I really can't do is get into how we conduct our diplomacy and the substance of messages that have gone from Washington to the field; indeed, the substance of what our diplomats have said to foreign governments. Those diplomatic exchanges, diplomatic instructions are confidential and I can't get into that. There was a lot in that report about internal policy deliberations; a lot about intelligence information that the United States Government had about shipments occurring at various points in time. Those are all, in essence, prohibited areas for me to get into. So I'm simply not going to do it, and I'm going to stand pat with what I've given you.
Q Clearly, if there was flagrantly incorrect information in that story, I would presume you would be standing up here and saying X,Y and Z are totally false?
MR. DAVIES: It's never a good form from the podium to kind of deal with a particular story and get into it in any great detail or try to bat back various points that are made. So I'm not going to violate that very general kind of rule of form by doing that on this article. I'm not going to go through it. It was a long article. It had a lot of detail in it. It's not in our interest, I don't think today, to try to address every single thing that was said.
Q Glyn, didn't these series of arms shipments provide Iran with a foothold in Bosnia that now threatens American forces that are there on the ground?
MR. DAVIES: Our position on any interaction between Bosnia and Iran is very clear. We don't see it as positive beyond, of course, normal diplomatic relations which are fine. We have no problem with that.
We believe that there shouldn't be any kind of cooperation occurring or provision of aid in any form; certainly, intelligence- sharing. Those types of activities are not on, from our standpoint. We've made that very clear to the Bosnian Government and they've acknowledged that they've heard our message.
We've seen some progress on getting foreign forces out of Bosnia, for instance. There has to be more. We've got to get to a point where all foreign fighters are out and where all cooperation beyond normal diplomatic cooperation between the two countries ends. That's our position.
Q Aren't you in a very difficult position asking the Bosnian Government to cease their cooperation with Iran now when you acquiesced in a strong level of cooperation over a number of months -- from '94 to '95?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to dignify the premise of that question by saying that we acquiesced in any shipments of arms that might have occurred.
What's important to note is that there was an international arms embargo. We, the United States, respected it. We didn't ship any arms to Bosnia or to Croatia. We abided by those strictures. In fact, the Intelligence Oversight Board, which is an independent body, looked into how the United States had conducted itself. They concluded that, in fact, no laws were broken. So that's the end of the story.
It's a story that's been written about before. In fact, if you go back, you can find stories months and months ago alleging that U.S. aircraft were flying and dropping arms over Bosnia or flying into Bosnia. There's been a lot out there. Very little of it, in fact, true. But, for today, I'm just not going to get into trying to discuss the veracity of this or that point made in that particular article.
Q Why didn't you say no to the Iranian arms shipments for Bosnian Muslims from the beginning? Why didn't you say no?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know that it was up to us to be saying no. The point is that there was an arms embargo. We respected it. We abided by the provisions that had been agreed internationally, and that we signed up to and others signed up to.
We are not responsible for everything that occurs on the part of everyone else.
Q A request came from somewhere, and asked, "May we send?" You said --
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to get into --
Q It's a cable already.
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to get into what requests were made of us by foreign governments in confidential diplomatic channels. Otherwise, we would never get anything done if all we did was talk about what we were doing privately with other governments. So I'm not going to confirm anything that was in that story.
Q Just to follow up on something you mentioned a moment ago. You said there has been some progress in getting foreign fighters out of Bosnia but there needs to be more. What kind of progress have you seen in the last few months?
MR. DAVIES: I'm talking in longer term terms, which is to say, when the Dayton process began, there were quite a few foreign fighters in Bosnia. There are now a great deal fewer.
I don't have numbers to give you today. I don't think we ever had really firm numbers. You've all followed, generally over the months in the press, the various numbers being reported. I don't know that I dispute them.
Basically, there's been progress. It's been insufficient. What's important is that that progress continue to a point where there are no longer any foreign fighters in Bosnia. It's at that stage that we'll be able to go ahead with what is a very generous program of training and equipping the Bosnian forces to ensure that once the Implementation Force pulls out of Bosnia, there is a sufficient balance of power to prevent any side from seeing any incentive to take up arms again.
Q What are the Bosnians doing that make you feel there is progress? What tangible things have you seen so that you can say there are fewer? What do we know has happened?
MR. DAVIES: All I can say is, since the Dayton process began, there's been a diminution in the numbers of foreign fighters in Bosnia. It hasn't gone down to zero, which is where it's got to go. That's what we await, and that's the call that we've made on the Bosnian Government. They understand full well that position.
Q Could Bosnia have survived without foreign arms shipments in violation of the arms embargo?
MR. DAVIES: That would require me to play history professor. Obviously, our position back when this conflict was raging, a conflict which ended up costing a quarter million people their lives and many millions of their homes, we were very concerned about the imbalance in forces. There's no hiding that.
We've made our position on the arms embargo known. It was well known. From November 1994 on there was a Congressional prohibition on enforcing the arms embargo. So we've adhered to the letter of the law all along on this.
Q Can you comment, or do you have anything on the settlement of this bias suit by black Foreign Service officers?
MR. DAVIES: Yes. I've got a little bit to give you. This would be on the article that appeared this morning in the Washington Post. I've got a fair amount here, in fact, if you'll just let me go through it.
What's occurred, of course, is that there's been a settlement, a proposed settlement agreed to in a suit that's called Thomas vs. Christopher. It's a class action discrimination suit brought by African-American Foreign Service officers.
The proposed settlement provides for several things: First off, individual relief; then injunctive relief; and then, finally, prospective reforms.
On the individual relief front, this includes a $3.8 million lump, if you will, of monetary relief to those affected. There are to be 17 retroactive promotions, and reinstatement of four former junior officers who have been denied tenure since 1984.
The injunctive relief requires that the Department not discriminate on the basis of race across the broad range of personnel practices, including assignments, promotions, tenuring, what we call "selection out" -- which is a process by which people must leave the service -- performance evaluations, training, and those sorts of things.
The agreement provides a monitoring mechanism for the District Court, which has been engaged here to monitor the Department's performance in those areas for four years on the basis of annual reports.
The prospective relief required under the agreement is designed to address any underlying practices that may lead to discrimination in various personnel activities. Prospective relief focuses on, for instance, reforms in the personnel system; training for supervisors in managing a diverse workforce; specialized training for promotion panels that make the decisions to promote Foreign Service officers; awards, panels, that sort of thing.
We, as a Department, are satisfied with the settlement in the Thomas suit.
Early on in the Administration, Secretary Christopher directed the Under Secretary for Management and the Legal Advisor of the Department to make a strong, good faith push to resolve the lawsuit. So we're pleased that we've gotten to this stage.
Director General Quainton, in fact, was quoted in the article that I think prompted your question, saying that "We believe the settlement is eminently fair." So that's our position.
Q I have a question about Libya. Yesterday, Secretary Perry said that they were pursuing diplomatic options with other countries. He also said they have very strong capability to deter development of chemical weapons and that military action would be sort of a last resort.
Q When he referred to the "capability to deter development of chemical weapons," was he referring through diplomatic ties or militarily?
MR. DAVIES: What he said, I think yesterday, which was a follow-on to some remarks that he made earlier when he was out in the region, is that we don't believe that completion of this plant is imminent. In fact, I think Secretary Perry might have said it will be beyond a year before this thing would be completed, if it went forward.
What I want to avoid doing is getting into any more details, really, about the installation itself which is a work in progress.
The United States believes that the international community now has to firmly demonstrate its opposition to this plant. In the months ahead, all members of the international community ought to work together to help ensure that it is never completed and that it never goes into production, because if it does, it may well be the world's largest chemical weapons plant, and it would be a very deadly production, indeed, that would come out of it.
The message we're giving to all of our partners in the region and outside the region who have an interest in it is that this simply must not be allowed to continue -- this construction in Libya. We hope very much that we're able to get enough of a consensus going in the international community to pressure Libya to cease and desist.
Q What specifically was he referring to when he said he had very strong capability to deter that?
MR. DAVIES: First off, the United States has a diplomatic capability, I think it's fair to say, to provide evidence to jawbone other countries, to convince them of the dangers inherent in this plant if it's to go forward. Beyond that, I don't want to rule in or rule out anything, but the United States is a world power. There are other powers that would have an interest in this.
Libya should take seriously our seriousness, really, to see that this plant does not ever go into production.
We are resolved that the key will never be turned on this Libyan chemical weapons plant. That's the effort that we've got under way, and we've got some time to do this. We'll work at it in the coming months.
Q Have you talked to anybody besides the Egyptians about the Libyan plant? Did you have a reaction from the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Amre Moussa, yesterday?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to do a rundown on the nations that we've discussed this with, nor will I get into the substance of our diplomatic exchanges with Egypt.
What I said yesterday remains true, that we were engaged in a very broad range of contacts with other governments on this. We're presenting the evidence that we've got, and we're making the case that this chemical weapons plant is a dangerous development and it shouldn't be allowed to develop. That's where we are.
Q Has this diplomatic jawboning paid off to any extent yet?
MR. DAVIES: That's a version of the previous question. Diplomacy sometimes takes a long time to bear fruit. I don't have any splashy announcements to make now about a consensus necessarily forming, but we're confident that one will. We believe that as other governments take a look at this and see the danger that this plant represents, that they'll come on board, and that eventually enough nations will be with us, and we'll be able to put an end to this.
Q Has the loss of Secretary Brown delayed in any way the Administration's response to allegations of Chinese ring magnet sales to the Pakistanis?
MR. DAVIES: No, I don't believe it has. It certainly hasn't delayed it in any long-term sense, if you will. I spoke yesterday about the shock that accompanied news of what had happened in Croatia -- the fact that the aircraft went down -- and it's fair to say that for a couple of days people were very much frozen in their tracks by the sadness of it. But the work goes on, and the work will go on on that issue as well as many others.
Right now the Secretary has the evidence before him, and he has to make a determination, as I've said repeatedly, and he will.
Q He hasn't done that yet.
MR. DAVIES: I have nothing to report to you.
Q He has all the (inaudible) is that correct?
MR. DAVIES: The Secretary has information, and he's at a stage where, if he needs more, he'll ask for it. If we need to ask questions, for instance, of the Chinese, we'll ask questions of the Chinese. But I'm not going to say that he now has necessarily every bit of information that he needs to make this determination. We've been at this a while, and, if it takes a little while longer to get it right and make sure that the decision is the proper one, then we'll take that time.
Q Do you think he would need to talk to the Chinese Foreign Minister before the U.S. Government makes its decision on that?
MR. DAVIES: I'm just not going to speculate about what's inside the Secretary's head on this. He'll do what's right in terms of the law and in terms of U.S. interests, and he'll make the decision when he's ready to make it. He's a very careful man, and he'll be careful about this.
Q He hasn't sent the recommendation yet.
MR. DAVIES: To my knowledge, there's been no recommendation sent.
Q Is there any expectation that it will come to closure today?
MR. DAVIES: I'm just not going to say when it might come to closure. I'll stick with where I was yesterday. It's under consideration -- serious consideration -- and he'll make a decision when he's got what he needs.
Q Is he working this afternoon?
MR. DAVIES: The Secretary of State? Yes, he's in the building. He has a schedule. It's essentially, I think, a private schedule. He has no public appointments. So he's here today, yes.
Q Glyn, another subject. Greek-Turkish relations. The last week President of Turkey, when he visited, he put officially Turkish proposal -- open-ended proposal to solve the Greek-Turkish dispute in the Aegean and other issues. And he asked at the White House officially to mediation from the United States. The next week -- I believe it's Monday or Tuesday -- the Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Simitis, is visiting the United States. Are you planning to play as a mediator, or do you expect from the Greek side to offer same kind of suggestion?
MR. DAVIES: We'll play whatever role the sides want us to play that we're comfortable with, and we've said publicly that we're very interested in insuring that two of our closest allies -- Greece and Turkey -- are able to work out their differences.
We've called on Greece and Turkey to do so peacefully, and we have, as a member of NATO, a strong interest in doing everything we can to ensure that this does play out peacefully. Right now I'd say signs are hopeful.
But this probably falls under the category of diplomacy that's best left outside the light or glare of media or public attention. Perhaps we'll have something to say -- I don't know -- after the next visit, but for right now I'll confine myself just to reiterating the importance of a peaceful resolution of this issue.
Q Next week also the Foreign Minister of Greece has a bilateral meeting with the Secretary of State Christopher in this building. Do you have any agenda, what kind of subject they will discuss --
MR. DAVIES: I don't.
Q Would you take the question?
MR. DAVIES: Closer to the date, we'll have something, I think, to say to you about that.
Q Since February 1, your government does not recognize Greek sovereignty over Imia islet based on what you suggested that only the ownership should be addressed to the International Court of Justice. Since the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Constantine Simitis, and the Foreign Minister, Mr. Pangalos, will be visiting Washington this coming Sunday, I'm wondering if the Greek Government so far filed a protest against your decision not to recognize Greek sovereignty over Imia islet?
Once again, since the upcoming visit, could you please clarify U.S. position vis-a-vis to the Greek sovereignty over Imia prior to the crisis and today?
MR. DAVIES: Mr. Lambros, I'm going to try to extract the questions from that. Let me leave it at this: That our position hasn't changed at all on that issue. I'm not going to get into predicting what will occur when the Prime Minister comes, but you can expect that during his visit, perhaps after his visit, we'll have something to say about the visit.
But I have no new developments for you on Imia/Kardak from the U.S. standpoint.
Q (Inaudible) your position has not been changed so far since February 1, vis-a-vis to Imia?
MR. DAVIES: I don't even want to say that our position changed on February 1. It was, I think, after that that we began to pronounce ourselves in some fashion on that issue, and I don't know that we'd ever spoken about Imia/Kardak directly before then.
Q Did they protest so far -- I'm saying the Greek Government.
MR. DAVIES: I don't know of any protest.
Q And one more question. Since your suggestion that only the ownership of Imia should be addressed in the International Court of Justice, I'm wondering if you consider the present Greek-Turkish border on the eastern Aegean as a border also between Turkey and the European Union?
MR. DAVIES: I think you may be mischaracterizing our position on Imia/Kardak. I don't know that we've said that it can only be addressed in the International Court of Justice. I think you have to draw back from that. Our position is that we want very much for Turkey and Greece to work out their differences, to do it peacefully; that there are various ways that that could be done, and that the International Court of Justice is one such way. I think that's how we've put it.
Q Your suggestion is pretty clear, as expressed by the President, that the issue of the ownership should be addressed to the International Court of Justice. It's up to the two sides to decide.
MR. DAVIES: Right.
Q If I'm correct.
MR. DAVIES: That's correct.
Q Do you have anything on the talks that Lynn Davis had this week with the Russians and others on export controls? I believe it was earlier this week.
MR. DAVIES: I don't. I think we might have issued a statement on that, if I'm not mistaken, which we can get for you, but I don't have anything beyond that to give you today.
Q Do you have any more information about the attempt by the Government of Belize to open consulates in Sarasota and New York City with Kenneth Dart -- an American who is attempting to evade taxes by renouncing his citizenship -- as Consul General?
MR. DAVIES: That case is one that from the standpoint of the State Department is closed. There's been a lot of reporting on the case over a long period of time, so I think the facts of it are quite well established.
What I can tell you is that in February of '95, the Government of Belize requested permission to open a consulate in Sarasota, Florida. In the course of our taking a look at that request, it came to our attention that they intended to name former U.S. citizen Kenneth Dart to that position -- the position, I guess, of Consul in Sarasota.
We indicated then informally to the Government of Belize that while we had taken the request into consideration, we wouldn't be responding to it in the foreseeable future. Then the Government of Belize withdrew its request, so from our standpoint here at the Department of State, that closes the matter. There may be further questions about Mr. Dart specifically, and you could address those, I think, to the Immigration Service, because we're not in charge of monitoring his movements, if you will. They may have some information on it.
But it's kind of a standard development, I think, that occurs sometimes when nations wish to make application to open up a new consulate or consulate general or mission in the United States. In this case, they did so, and then they withdrew it. So as far as we're concerned, the matter is over, at least for now.
Q Would it be safe to say that we would not have accepted him as a consul general?
MR. DAVIES: I wouldn't want to speculate. We had some concerns about their naming of Mr. Dart to that position, so we expressed those concerns to the Government of Belize, for whatever reason, and they could speak to that. They chose then to withdraw their request to open up some kind of a mission in Sarasota.
Q Glyn, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command is allowed to operate a radio station in Damascus. According to a report today they had been broadcasting taunts at the Israelis about the recent bombings. Do we have a position on President Assad's allowing them to operate that radio station?
MR. DAVIES: Our position on the PFLP -- and I think it's spelled out in our terrorism report -- it's not an organization that we look on with any great favor. Of course, it's our position that governments that provide or allow terrorist organizations to operate out of their territory, we make requests of those governments repeatedly not to do so, and I think the Government of Syria knows well our position.
I don't have anything specific about this radio station or any taunts that it might be directing at Israel. But the PFLP is a terrorist organization, and we've condemned it, and we've got information about it available in our terrorism report.
Q Back to Bosnia, can you tell us what the State Department knew about arms shipments from Iran to Bosnia?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to get into that, because that would take me immediately into intelligence matters and sources, and it's simply not in our interests to do so. So I won't be getting into that.
Q Thank you.
MR. DAVIES: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:59 p.m.)
To the top of this page