U.S. Department of State 96/06/24 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, June 24, 1996 Briefer: Glyn Davies ANNOUNCEMENTS: Secretary Christopher's Travel to Jerusalem/Cairo/Lyon .... 1 Secretary's Breakfast with NATO Sec Gen Solana ............1-2 Dep Secretary Talbott's Meeting with NATO Sec Gen Solana ..2 PEACE PROCESS Arab Summit --Reaction by U.S./Communique .............................2-3, 4 --Arab States Deserve a "Pat on the Back" .................3 --Do The Results of the Summit Open Doors .................4 Secretary's Meeting with Arafat in Cairo/Mtg in Gaza ......4, 9-10 Arafat's Role in Peace Process ............................10 Briefing by Secretary Following His Return From Mid East ..17-18 LIBYA Qadhafi's Flights In and Out of Egypt for Arab Summit .....3 --Violation of UNSC Sanctions/Civilian Flight vs. Military.3-4 Is U.S. Willing to Talk to Qadhafi ........................14 Pan Am 103 Bombing Suspects ...............................17 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Secretary/Solana Discussion of Dayton Accords --Implementation/Successes ................................5 --Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims by Serbs in Banja Luka ......5 --Success of Civilian Police ..............................5 --Follow-on Force to IFOR .................................7-8 Karadzic Running for Election/Remain as President of Party.6 NATO Recent Progress on Enlargement ............................6-7 RUSSIA Yeltsin Aides Taking USG Money from Russian White House ...7 Diplomatic Discussions with General Lebed .................17 G-7 Agenda/Attendance by Boutros-Ghali; Re-election Discussion. 8 UZBEKISTAN Agreements with U.S. ......................................8 GREECE Death of Former PM Papandreou/Attendance at Funeral .......8-9 BANGLADESH Swearing-in of PM Sheikh Hasina/Change in Policy/Election . 10-11 HAITI Release of Manuel Constant/Deportation/Restoring Democracy.11-12 Extradition of Constant/CIA Informant/FRAPH Documents .....15-17 IRAQ General Looney Remarks re: Ownership ......................12 CUBA G-7 & EU Upset Over Helms-Burton/Threatening Retaliation/ Discussion at G-7 .......................................12-13 COLOMBIA Possible Sanctions Imposed on Airlines/Bullying by U.S. ...13-14 INDONESIA Sale of F-16's/Suppression of Opposition Party ............ 15 ISRAEL Visit of PM Netanyahu to Washington ........................17 IRAN U.S. Offer of Dialogue Rebuffed ...........................18
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, JUNE 24, 1996, 12:43 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. DAVIES: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department briefing. Great to be back at the podium, let me tell you. I missed this deeply.
A couple of quick announcements, and then I'll go to your questions.
First, to welcome a visitor to today's briefing. Joining us today is Ullrich Kloeckner, who is a Foreign Service Officer in Germany's Diplomatic Corps in the United States, at the Department of State, on a German-U.S. exchange program that's been going on for quite a while -- since 1991. This is a true exchange because an American Foreign Service Officer, Mark Scheland, will depart very soon to serve a year in the Foreign Ministry in Bonn.
Ullrich has been in the European Bureau for about a year, involved in the office that works on OSCE issues. When he finishes up here at the end of this month, he will become Counselor at the German Embassy here in Washington in its Press, Information and Public Affairs Section. So congratulations and welcome.
Second, just to update you on the Secretary of State and his travels. He left this morning. He's off first to Israel. He'll have meetings tomorrow in Jerusalem and stay overnight. Then he travels to Cairo for meetings there with President Mubarak and perhaps others. Then he will move on to Lyon at mid-week to join the President for the G-7 summit in France.
Third, let me give you a very brief readout of the Secretary's meeting this morning -- a breakfast meeting -- with Secretary General Javier Solana, who is in Washington this week as part of his regular series of consultations with the U.S. and other NATO allies.
Secretary General Solana met with Secretary Christopher at breakfast. They talked about three principal sets of issues. First, the alliance's successful implementation of the Dayton peace agreement and IFOR's continuing role in Bosnia.
They talked about next steps in the alliance's internal adaptation as agreed at the June 3 Berlin North Atlantic Council ministerial.
And, third, they discussed continued progress that's being made in the NATO enlargement process.
After the breakfast, the Secretary General met briefly with Acting Secretary of State Talbott, where they discussed many of the same issues.
He will also -- Secretary General Solana -- meet with Secretary of Defense Perry. He'll meet with National Security Advisor Anthony Lake and with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Shalikashvili, and Congressional leaders.
Then he moves on to Norfolk for his first visit to SACLANT, which is one of those great NATO acronyms. This one stands for Supreme Allied Command, Atlantic.
With that, George, your questions?
Q: The Secretary is not yet in the Middle East. Does that give you an opening to say something thoughtful about the Arab summit?
MR. DAVIES: It actually closes off opportunities for me to say much about the summit because, of course, the Secretary is going off to work on that issue and to get first-hand a readout from leaders in the region of recent developments.
In Israel, of course, he will talk to the new Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and get some sense for the Prime Minister's thinking.
Then, in Cairo -- and, of course, the Arab summit has just closed in Cairo -- he will hear from the host, President Hosni Mubarak, about what transpired at that summit.
Once he gets initial readouts from those two places, I'm sure he'll have something to say. We certainly don't view the events of the weekend in any kind of a negative context.
Q: You're not viewing them in a negative context --
MR. DAVIES: That's where I can't go, really.
Q: Maybe you'd like to agree with Iran then, which says that the Arab states should be patted on the back for the stand that they took at the summit. Would you agree with that?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not in a position right now to be patting anybody on the back. What we're in a position to do -- and the Secretary is doing this -- is to go out there to look first-hand at what's been developing recently in the region and then to decide what's in America's interest to do next as we continue to try to play our role as a friend to the peace process.
What I can say about what's positive, of course, is that both parties are essentially talking about how to go forward with peace; that's positive.
Q: On Bosnia, then?
Q: Can I just ask a related one? The Libyans are apparently still cheering and celebrating Qadhafi's flights in and out of Egypt. Do you have a comment on that as it regards the ban?
MR. DAVIES: This is just another example of Qadhafi's flagrant violation of the will of the international community. He did violate United Nations Security Council sanctions against Libya by doing that. Of course, those sanctions, among other provisions, state that all Libyans are denied air transportation to or from their country by civil aviation. This applies to all Libyans, including Muammar Qadhafi.
Just to remind you all, of course, those sanctions were imposed as a result of the Qadhafi regime's role in bombing both Pan Am 103 and UTA 772. So the bottom-line is that we view very dimly Qadhafi's flouting of U.N. Security Council -- of the will of the international community, really.
Q: Just as a matter of legal, finer --
MR. DAVIES: Legal finery?
Q: A refinement. Are you sure he flew on a civil aircraft?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know. I can't quote you the tail number. I don't know how he flew out there.
Q: So if he didn't, it wouldn't be a violation of the sanctions; right?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not even sure about that. It's true that the sanctions do talk about civil aircraft. Our view is that by taking off from Libya and flying to Cairo, as he did, he violated sanctions. But I'm happy to try to find out for you what type of aircraft he flew in and whether that had an effect. I don't believe it did. We view it as a violation.
Q: (Inaudible) Bosnia and the talks --
MR. DAVIES: Ready to go to Bosnia?
Q: -- between Solana and Christopher?
Q: Could I ask one more Middle East, please, Jim? Just a minute? Are you all still trying to set up a meeting with Arafat in Cairo?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything to announce. If the Chairman is there and it works with the Secretary's schedule, I'm sure we would like to find a way to do that, but I don't have any announcement to make about the schedule. If that occurs, it will be Wednesday, I think.
Q: Do you have more of a reaction to the communique that was issued at the summit?
MR. DAVIES: I don't right here, now. As I said, what we need to do first is talk to those who were at the summit and get from them a first-hand account of what was behind the communique of the discussions that occurred at Cairo. The Secretary is on his way out there to do that.
The summit just occurred. Given this fact that the Secretary is going to the Middle East, I'm just today, right now, not going to have any comment for you.
Q: You said you're urging the Arabs not to close the doors. So do you think the result of the summit, it opens the doors?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to get into "door" analogies -- revolving, opening, closing, one way, two-way, or otherwise. I'm really going to leave this one to my boss, who is on his way out there.
What I tried to do is strike a generally positive note about the whole nexus of issues here, both developments in Israel and developments in Cairo and around the Arab world. We tend to view everything that's happened in a generally positive light. We'll be able to make more refined judgments about what's happened after the Secretary's had a chance to talk to people out there.
Q: You said that Solana and Christopher talked about the successes in the implementation process of Dayton. However, in the last 24 hours there have been some reports to the contrary. In Banja Luka, for example, Muslims apparently are being ethnically cleansed, thrown out by the Bosnian Serbs, and other issues like that. Did those things come up at this meeting?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know that they did. It's true that a little over six months into the implementation of the Dayton Accords there are still some imperfections, some serious problems to be worked out. Many of them include the freedom of movement issue.
On the positive side, many, many thousands of people do cross that inter-ethnic boundary line all the time. On the negative side, we continue to get reports that some have not gotten the message about freedom of movement and the importance of freedom of movement.
Another area, of course, that was in the news was Brcko. There were reports of continued unsettled conditions there.
This is something that has to continue to be worked. One of the issues that I'm sure will be raised at Lyon when the leaders get together is Bosnia. In fact, we're counting on discussing the continuing implementation and the challenges to it.
Q: Incidents like Brcko and Banja Luka seem to be a symptom of a larger problem, which is the civilian police force apparently just is not working. Or do you take the view that it is working?
MR. DAVIES: The civilian police is a work-in- progress, it's clear. There's obviously work to be done. But it's an area where the international community has dedicated its efforts. The United States is working very hard on the IPTF to try to improve it and make it better.
People are concentrating on the failures thus far without, I think, noting some of the positive elements of what's occurred. The IPTF exists. It's out there. It's patrolling. I think it's gaining in strength every day.
As the international community isolates these areas where difficulties still exist, I think more effort can be brought to bear to right the wrongs being committed.
Q: Have you seen reports that Karadzic may not run now? Do you have a reaction?
MR. DAVIES: We've seen those reports. We've seen them, obviously. What we can't do, at this stage, is to parse them sufficiently well to know exactly what's going to happen. So it's unclear to us what his plans are, what the plans are of his party.
What we think is important to underscore is simply that under the terms of the peace agreement, Karadzic is not eligible to run for office.
We would note that at the Florence summit meeting, recently held, the final statement called for his removal from the political scene; and that's what's got to happen. The United States and the international community are not going to be fully satisfied until Karadzic is brought to justice in The Hague.
Acting Assistant Secretary for European Affairs John Kornblum is on his way back out to the region to continue work on this. So that's, I think, where we come out, and we'll just have to wait to see what his party does or what he does.
Q: Reports also suggest he may stay on as president of the party. Is that also unacceptable?
MR. DAVIES: What's unacceptable is that he remain in any position of power, and it's unacceptable that he indefinitely avoids being brought before the bar of justice and dealing with the charges that have been brought against him. He is an indicted war criminal and as such we simply have no use for him and no place for him.
Q: In talking about the Solana meeting, you cited continued progress on NATO enlargement; and I wondered what recent progress there had been.
MR. DAVIES: Certainly, there was the meeting June 3 at Berlin, the North Atlantic Council Ministerial meeting, where the issue of NATO enlargement, of course, came up, and it was discussed publicly as well in the press conferences afterward.
This is an ongoing process, underway now for some time. It has some ways yet to go. I think NATO's meetings further down the pike, especially in December, will perhaps contain a bit more news on that front. But NATO is committed to a gradual, transparent process of enlargement; and therefore it's a discussion that occurs any time you get together with NATO's Secretary General because it's one of the action items on the agenda.
Q: Can I just ask, as long as I have you, a Russian election question. At the time the two aides -- the two campaign aides of Mr. Yeltsin's were arrested by Presidential bodyguards a little time ago, it was charged that these two were trying to take a large sum of money out of the Russian White House -- something in the area of $200,000. It was further alleged that this was money from the United States Government. Was it money from the United States Government or not?
MR. DAVIES: Sort of marked bills or --
MR. DAVIES: I don't know the answer to that. I simply don't, and I don't have anything on that. So I can check into it for you.
Q: Back to Solana, was there any discussion about a follow-on force to IFOR?
MR. DAVIES: It was brought up, and, of course, the Secretary and then Acting Secretary Talbott -- because he became Acting Secretary when the Secretary took off at 9:00 -- both reiterated to Secretary General Solana our position that, of course, IFOR's mission will end on December 20 of this year; that one year will have been sufficient time to implement that portion of the Dayton Agreement that IFOR was constituted to deal with.
We're simply not at a stage where I think we're going to discuss what kind of international presence there might be in Bosnia down the road.
Q: Did they agree to have any planning for NATO after that time? Did they discuss that NATO has to have any planning after December 20 or they don't discuss anything at all?
MR. DAVIES: Did they discuss whether NATO --
Q: Will have to start planning about after December 20, even if NATO is not going to be part of - - or will be different -- his assistance to the process?
MR. DAVIES: To my knowledge, they didn't get into any discussion of NATO's planning process for the future, whether it relates to Bosnia or elsewhere. So I don't have anything on that.
Q: Two questions: One will be on the G-7. Do you know what is to be expected of that summit? Specifically, Boutros-Ghali is going to be attending, I believe, the last days of the summit. Is the subject of his possible -- his reelection going to be brought up again between the different members?
MR. DAVIES: I don't think that there's an agenda item that centers on the future of the Secretary General-ship of the United Nations, so I don't believe that in a formal sense that will be brought up at all. It's not our intention, as far as I know, to raise it in any kind of a formal sense. It's true that Secretary General Boutros-Ghali will be at Lyon.
Lyon is another in this series of very successful efforts by the leading industrialized countries of the world to get together to talk about both economic and political issues. On the economic side, there are, of course, the macroeconomic issues -- unemployment, inflation and trade and what have you -- and there will be discussion there. The United States, I think, will have a lot to crow about, given our recent success with many of those indices.
Then on the political side there will be a wide-ranging discussion of all matters of interest to the industrialized countries, to include, as I said earlier, Bosnia and how it's going and what the future looks like.
Q: I notice the President of Uzbekistan was visiting here. Are there any specific agreements between the U.S. and Uzbekistan that are on their way right now, or something we should know?
MR. DAVIES: He is in town, that's correct, and he will be having a series of meetings here in Washington. I don't have any information. He hasn't come into the building yet, I don't believe, or, if he has, it's only just. So what I think we might be able to do for you is perhaps tomorrow give you a little bit of detail or, if there's something startling, this afternoon. But I don't know of any startling developments that are going to come out of it. This is his first visit, I think, to Washington, so it's in a manner of speaking kind of a first contact with him here.
Q: Does the State Department have any reaction to the death of the former Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Papandreou?
MR. DAVIES: Yes. The U.S. Government certainly reacted in the form of an announcement that was put out on the weekend by the White House in the name of the President. Our reaction, as you would expect, is very much along the lines of the White House announcement.
We are saddened by the death of former Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou. We worked closely with him for many years and certainly extend our condolences to his family and to the people of Greece on his death.
We really don't have much comment on the issue of his party and what's to happen with the party leadership because, of course, he resigned the Prime Ministership back at the beginning of the year, but he retained his Chairmanship of PASOK up to his death. So we'll have to wait and see what happens.
There is to be a party congress, I believe already scheduled, on the part of PASOK; and we'll see what comes out of that.
Q: Also, do you know about the representation at the funeral on the part of the American Government?
MR. DAVIES: Funerals -- that's a task that the White House has charge of. I know that we're talking to the Government of Greece about how that's to work. I believe that they've set a date, and it is Wednesday, if I'm not mistaken. I think I know further that the Greek Government would like to keep representation down to a minimum from all the many countries that will be visiting. So we will work within the parameters they've given us, and the White House will make a final determination of who will represent the United States at that funeral.
Q: I'll go to the Middle East with you, if I can. Do you have a confirmation of a meeting between Secretary Christopher and Chairman Arafat in Cairo, and why aren't they meeting in Gaza, Jericho or Erez checkpoint?
MR. DAVIES: I can't confirm that the Secretary will meet with Arafat. I know that we had some interest in meeting with the Chairman if schedules could be worked out in Cairo. But, like you, I await confirmation from the party that that meeting will or won't take place.
Q: Is it that hard to get in touch with Arafat? Arafat's in Gaza today, and, if they want to meet, they could meet there.
MR. DAVIES: I wouldn't read much into the fact that we don't have an announcement yet to make about that. I mean, if it's possible for a meeting to take place, I'm sure it will. The Secretary would like to meet with him. Given the fact that the Secretary has little time before the Lyon summit, he can only whistlestop Israel and be there for just about 24 hours, and has to meet with the new Prime Minister and the new government.
It may work best to meet with the Chairman in Cairo. But, as I say, those kinds of schedule details and confirmations will come from the party.
Q: Is he still a partner in the peace process? I mean, is he considered a full partner in the peace process or he's put on the sidelines these days, like Mr. Netanyahu is doing to him?
MR. DAVIES: As far as I know, Chairman Arafat's status has not changed at all. We view him as a friend of the United States and always happy and willing to work with him on the peace process.
Q: Thank you, Glyn. This is Arshad of the Inquilab. The new Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has been sworn in yesterday. Your comment on her swearing in as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
Number 2, the question on the fairness of the election, the observers' role, particularly the NDI's role, which has been applauded, along with the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka in judging this election. Your comment to that.
As well as the last part of the question is, will there be any shift to policy towards Bangladesh following this change in administration?
MR. DAVIES: Mr. Arshad, to start at the end. First, I don't know of any shift that will occur in our policy. I doubt it very much. We congratulate Bangladesh's new Prime Minister on her inauguration yesterday, along with 19 members of her cabinet. We look forward to working with Sheikh Hasina and her government to strengthen the longstanding ties of friendship that exist between Bangladesh and the United States.
But in a larger sense, we congratulate all the leaders and members of all the political parties and all of the people of Bangladesh, as a matter of fact, on an election that appears, from the standpoint of those who observed it, to be generally peaceful and transparent, and all in all very important evidence of Bangladesh's commitment to democracy.
To sum it up, we extend our warmest wishes to her and to her government as they embark on what we think will be a new and very positive chapter in Bangladesh's history.
Q: A question on the release of the Haitian paramilitary death squad leader, Manuel Constant. There are warrants for his arrest in Haiti for murder, for arson, for torture, and I know that Mr. Christopher approved his deportation. Who approved his release into the United States, and why was it approved?
MR. DAVIES: I think the short answer to your question is the INS would have approved his release. I don't know the precise process. I'm sure, to be fair to the INS, there was an interagency process that occurred, in which the State Department probably played a role.
Why was he released? The basic answer, as I understand it, is procedural; that you can hold somebody for a certain period of time -- and I believe it's six months --
Q: Why didn't they deport him, then?
MR. DAVIES: -- before you really have to release the person. The decision to not deport him to Haiti was based on our assessment of the effect that his return to Haiti would have as, if you will, a shock to the Haitian system -- the legal penal system and political system. It doesn't close all doors for all time, but that was the assessment that was made at the time.
Q: Well, then let me -- can I just follow it up with this question? Why was he released into the streets of the United States, considering he's wanted for murder, for torture and for arson?
MR. DAVIES: He's under INS control, if you will. I mean, he is not -- he must stay in touch with the Immigration Service. You'd have to talk to them about the precise terms of his having been actually let out the doors of a detention center. But he does not have full, free status. He's still under the overview, the oversight of the Immigration Service.
Q: The last follow-up, and that is, in Haiti if the U.S. is hailing it as a great foreign policy success, restoring democracy to Haiti, and they say they want him returned to try him for these crimes against humanity, why isn't the U.S. respecting that?
MR. DAVIES: I tried to answer that as best I can without any golden guidance to help me. But I think, as I recall from late last week, to reiterate, a decision was made that it is not in our best interest to deport him at this time to Haiti, given, if you will, the ability of the justice system to absorb a person such as Constant. It doesn't mean that he is for all time going to enjoy the status he has now, but it means that right now we've decided it's not in our interests to send him back.
Q: There's a story today in The Washington Post, quoting Defense Week that General Looney talks about Iraq. Did you see that story? He said that the United States owns Iraq, owns its space, and does he speak for the Administration when he's talking like that or he's speaking for himself?
MR. DAVIES: That the United States owns Iraq.
Q: He said, "We own them. We own their airspace. We own what they talk, what they say."
MR. DAVIES: I would have to see that in context, but I think you're making a lot out of what sounds to me like a military man's statement of pride in the ability of the United States Air Force to play a strong role in enforcing some of the "no-fly" zones, which is what --
Q: Would you look into it and to see if you can get an answer, because a lot of your friends would be offended in the Gulf by something like that, I think.
MR. DAVIES: Two things: I'm really not going to look into it, because -- I will check my answer to see if this is right on. But do not -- my answer is he was not trying to indicate that the United States owns, in the common sense of the word, Iraq. I mean, that would be, of course, ludicrous.
I think he was talking about the prowess, the ability of the United States Air Force to help enforce the "no-fly" zones that exist. I think, full stop, that's where he was going with that kind of a remark. If that's wrong, I'll let you know.
Q: On the G-7, members of the European Union are pretty upset at the Helms-Burton law and are threatening now with retaliation. What do you think the effects of this will be in Lyon?
MR. DAVIES: We'll have to wait and see. We've heard from all of our G-7 partners in one form or another and have, in fact, been in intense dialogue with them about this issue, because they're clearly very concerned.
The G-7 is a forum that, I think, exists to deal with larger issues than how the United States is choosing to act with regard to Cuba. It may come up on the margins of the summit meeting in Lyon. We don't expect that the Helms-Burton legislation will at all dominate the summit or take up much time there. It shouldn't, because we've explained to a great extent what our position is on Helms-Burton, why we've done it, how we felt compelled to do it in the wake of the February 24 shootdown of those two civilian aircraft.
They've heard what we've had to say, and they've asked questions, and we've tried to answer them. So I don't expect that it will be a big issue at Lyon.
Q: And what about, as far as retaliation from this kind of action over Cuba?
MR. DAVIES: Again, I think what you're asking is a question that's best directed at those who perhaps are making noises about retaliating against the United States. I can't speak for the European Union or Canada or any of the others. So go ask them, please.
Q: When you say you have this means that you already checked with them and say this is not a forum to discuss the issue or what?
MR. DAVIES: I am not aware that the Helms-Burton legislation is being keyed up in any kind of a big way as a major topic of conversation at Lyon, and it is the view of the United States that the Helms-Burton legislation should not come up in any kind of a major sense at Lyon.
Q: Glyn, on Colombia, do you have anything on the possible sanctions that the Department of Transportation -- well, U.S. Government basically -- will impose on Colombian airlines?
MR. DAVIES: Only that at the end of last week, the second round of our discussions with the Government of Colombia ended unsuccessfully after three days of talks. I think it was Wednesday or Thursday that they ended. What we're talking about in this regard is how to implement a 1956 agreement on civil aviation between the United States and Colombia, according to which we believe American Airlines has the right to make some alterations in its service to Colombia, and the Government of Colombia has not permitted that to happen.
We had a first round of discussions with the Colombians in April. American Airlines shortly thereafter filed, if you will, for redress. We chose to go back to the table with the Government of Colombia, and we did, and then after three days it did not end successfully. So we will now take up the question of what kinds of sanctions should be imposed against Colombia.
I should caution you, this has nothing to do with Colombian counter-narcotics cooperation. It's not a related issue at all. It has to do with a 1956 agreement on civil aviation.
Q: What do you foresee will the sanctions be? What kind of sanctions will these be?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know. I'm not in a position to announce those. I'm not sure, in fact, if the State Department will be the department that does announce those. But let's give it a couple of days, at least, to see what transpires.
As I say, we're at the stage where we are considering imposing sanctions. We have reached an impasse with the Colombians on this, and we think that we're right -- American Airlines is right -- and it ought to be able to make some changes in its service to Colombia.
Q: Many in Colombia are characterizing these as, once again, the U.S. bullying a smaller country. How will you respond to that?
MR. DAVIES: We're talking about an agreement that was signed between sovereign nations -- Colombia and the United States -- back in 1956 that set up a regime for regulating flights by civilian airliners and companies to and from the two countries. So it's a much narrower issue.
I would hope that the people of Colombia don't view this as any kind of an affront to their sovereignty. We're talking about asserting some rights that are enshrined in a 1956 agreement. It's all about civil aviation. It's not about counter-narcotics. It's simply not related at all.
Q: I understand that you addressed the Libyan leader's trip to Cairo. I want to ask about his interview on CNN.
He had very kind words to say about President Clinton, that he's a man of peace. He said he's willing to help if you talk to him. Is the United States willing to talk to him in order to solve the problem -- the Lockerbie problem?
MR. DAVIES: Muammar Qadhafi, first, has to deliver up those suspects in the Pan Am 103 case before we're going to be prepared to do any talking to him.
I, too, saw that interview. I guess I would sum it up with one word: "Surreal." The whole thing was a very strange kind of interview.
What's important with Qadhafi is what he does, not what he says. Talk is cheap; action is everything. We simply haven't seen the kinds of actions from Qadhafi and his government that we need to see in order for us to get back on anything like a normal track.
Q: A question on the F-16 sales to Indonesia. What is the status of that deal right now? And why is the U.S. selling these planes to Indonesia considering the brutal, illegal occupation of --
MR. DAVIES: I'm happy to look into that for you. I don't know the precise status of the F-16 sales right now.
Q: Why are they doing it, to begin with?
MR. DAVIES: It's part of our defense relationship with that nation. This is a sale that's been looked at from the standpoint of U.S. interests, and we've decided to pursue it. But I don't know the status of it right now.
Q: Do you have anything to say about the suppression of the major opposition party in Indonesia?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have any comment on that right now. No, I don't, but I'm happy to look into it for you.
Q: Can I return to the case of Mr. Constant? As I understand, you were saying it was the U.S. Government view that his return to Haiti would be an unacceptable shock to the somewhat fragile political system. But the Government of Haiti has asked for his return so that he can stand before the bar of justice.
MR. DAVIES: I know they have; right.
Q: One, has there been a formal request for his extradition from Haiti? And, two, has that formal request been denied?
MR. DAVIES: Well, formal request or no, we do know the position of the Haitian Government. I can check for you on whether there's been a formal request for his extradition. But we know that they would like him returned to Haiti for prosecution.
Let me narrow a bit my comments about it. It's not simply -- I don't think it's fair to say that just dropping Constant into Haiti would all of a sudden upset the apple cart down there. More precisely, we're talking about a judicial system and a penal system that may not at this stage yet be prepared to deal with a guy like Constant.
They're making a great deal of progress in Haiti in developing their institutions. But they have had, for instance, some jail breaks and other difficulties in making the penal system work at 100 percent capacity or efficiency.
"Toto" Constant would be the biggest, if you will, case for them to deal with. That's why we decided at this stage not to send him back.
Q: Some Haitians, and those that are investigating -- involved in the investigation of his case -- say the U.S. isn't returning him because he was paid by the CIA, and if he goes on trial there, he'll sing.
MR. DAVIES: I've seen those charges. I would deny that. Our decision on Constant is not at all related to any relationships he might have had, or contacts with U.S. Government officials of various kinds.
Q: What about the status of the documents that the U.S. Government hasn't returned to Haiti yet that would also help them in building cases against Emmanuel Constant and many others there -- the FRAPH and file documents?
MR. DAVIES: That case, which dates back -- I want to say five/six months -- as far as I know, the documents, while we are willing to turn them over, the conditions that we've imposed on turning them over to the Haitian Government, thus far have not been acceptable to the Haitian Government.
We wanted to redact, to take out of some of those documents and references that we thought might be damaging to individuals, even perhaps to some American interests or concerns. It was on that basis that we offered the documents to the Haitian Government.
You would have to go to them, today, to find out where they stand on the issue. If I can be so bold as to characterize it, their position is, "All or nothing." Either they want all the documents and the material -- because it's more than just documents -- or they don't want them at all.
Q: Are they theirs?
MR. DAVIES: I think they're still sitting over at the Pentagon?
Q: Aren't they theirs -- the Haitian Government's?
MR. DAVIES: It's our view that the documents ought to be returned to them. It's our view that it's in our interest to take out, redact, magic-marker over, some of the information in them because we don't want that information conveyed to the Haitian Government. Ninety-nine percent or more of the information, we've got no problem with going back to the Haitian Government.
Q: On Russia. Glyn, do you know if any American diplomats in Moscow have met with Alexander Lebed since he's been appointed to the Russian --
MR. DAVIES: I don't know that.
Q: Can you check?
MR. DAVIES: My guess is, he's too busy campaigning on behalf of the President, or in his new position as the Security Counsel Chief, but I don't know. We can check into that to see if he's had a contact with us. First, I think he had to set up his office and the rest of it.
Q: Can we go back to Libya? One of the resolutions of the Arab summit suggested that Libya is ready to deliver the two suspects to Scotland to be tried under the Scotland laws. How appealing is this to solve the problem?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have a specific reaction to that. I believe our position is that they should come back to this country and be dealt with here. But that's something I'm happy to check into. I'm not aware of the specifics of any such offer by the Libyans.
Q: To England?
MR. DAVIES: The U.S. or the U.K.; that's right. Not Scotland.
Q: Do you have a date by now set for Mr. Netanyahu to visit Washington? I think they were talking about July 8. You still have that visit --
MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything to announce. I don't have anything to announce in that regard.
Q: Can we ask for a briefing by the Secretary after his return from the Middle East? Maybe you will possibly ask, or tell us about resumption in the peace talks or something going on after the summit and after all of these meetings.
MR. DAVIES: Of course,
Q: Can you take this --
MR. DAVIES: I'll take it upstairs. I'll go upstairs and ask.
Q: Thank you, Glyn. Has the issue of Iran and a report today in the Washington Times that an initiative has been made by the United States Government to open up frank dialogue with Iran and has been rebuffed completely; is that correct?
MR. DAVIES: This is an older issue. I was interested to see it resurface. I guess it was triggered by some questions and answers that were printed in a media outlet in the region.
We continue to pursue our tough-minded approach to diplomatic and economic pressure aimed at getting Tehran to change its unacceptable policies.
The comments on Iran that were attributed to the President in this recent edition of a newspaper, the al-Sharq al-Awsat -- is that it? -- reflect well-known and long-standing U.S. policy. He said it before.
Q: (Inaudible) opening. The Iranians have not opened to any kind of --
MR. DAVIES: From our standpoint -- and I can only talk for the United States -- this is not a change in our policy at all.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:24 p.m.)
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