U.S. Department of State 96/07/09 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, July 9, 1996 Briefer: Nicholas Burns ANNOUNCEMENTS Introduction of Director of the Jordanian Information Bureau Rania Atallah............................................... 1 CUBA Hijacking of Cuban Aircraft to Guantanamo Bay................ 1-3 --Natl Assembly President Alarcon Stmt on LtCol Pupo/ Hijacking Agreement Termination............................ 1-3 --Migration Accords.......................................... 2-3 ISRAEL Secretary Christopher/PM Netanyahu Breakfast................. 3 USUN Org of African Unity Declaration for New UNSYG Candidate..... 4-5 Other UNSYG Candidates/Requirements.......................... 5-6 RUSSIA DepSec Talbott/DepForMin Mamedov Mtg on U.S.-Russian Relations: CTBT/START II Treaty/Bosnia.................... 6-7 Secretary Christopher's Upcoming Mtg in Jakarta with MFA Primakov............................................... 7 Escalation of Fighting in Chechnya/Russian & Chechnyan June 10 Agreement.......................................... 7-8 SAUDIA ARABIA Khobar Towers Bombing/Public Testimony of SecDef Perry, Chairman of JCS Gen Shalikashvili, & Gen Peay.............. 8-9 MEXICO Alleged Report of Radiation Detection Devices on U.S./ Mexican Borders............................................ 9 JAPAN DepSec Talbott Mtg w/Ambassador Saito........................ 9 CHINA Secretary Christopher's Upcoming Mtg in Jakarta w/Min Qian... 9 CYPRUS US Concerns of Greek/Turkish/Cypriot Military Exercises...... 9- 10,14-15 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA DAS Rudy Perina at Contact Group Mtg, London, on Dayton Agreement Compliance: --Possibility of Sanctions/Further Arrest Warrants Needed for Karadzic & Mladic/UN Cooperation....................... 10-11 Status of Train & Equip Defense Law: --Federation Parliament to Pass/Delivery of Equipment/ Training Begins/IFOR Departs............................... 12-14 --Turks Began Training Session............................... 14 VATICAN Alleged Statement on USG Veto of Partial Birth Abortion Bill............................................. 15
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, JULY 9, 1996, 12:10 P. M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BURNS: Good afternoon. Welcome. Nice to see all of you here.
Rania Atallah is our special guest today. She is Director of the Jordanian Information Bureau, which is part of the Jordanian diplomatic mission here, and she's spending the day with us to observe how the United States State Department conducts its press relations. Rania, welcome.
Q Do you have any information on what Mr. Fernandez Pupo is telling U.S. investigators in Guantanamo, (a). And (b) has Cuba asked that he be returned to Cuba?
MR. BURNS: Lieutenant Colonel Jose Fernandez Pupo is still being held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base. He is being interviewed by representatives of several U.S. Government agencies. As I said yesterday, we have not yet made any decision as to how we are going to proceed in this case.
We are considering our options, based in part on what we are hearing from him. I did note that there was, I think, a public statement by Mr. Alarcon yesterday to the effect that we should either prosecute him in the United States or turn him over to Cuba under the terms of the U.S.-Cuban migration accords.
What I can tell you there, George, is that we will proceed in this case in accordance with American law. We are quite mindful of American law and also our international agreements, and we will make a decision once we've satisfied ourselves that we have all the facts necessary to make a decision.
At this point I can say very little about it because it's in the hands of the Justice Department. It is a criminal case, as you know.
Q Nick, what's the precedence in this? There apparently have been a couple of earlier cases of -- '94 or earlier than that. What has the United States done in those cases? Did you prosecute here or send people back to Cuba?
MR. BURNS: I can't give you an exhaustive diplomatic history of how we've acted in these cases. George asked yesterday if the 1973 Hijacking Agreement with Cuba was still valid. The answer is no. Cuba formally renounced that agreement in 1976, October 1976. So the agreement was terminated, I believe, in early -- in April of 1977, so we have no hijacking agreement to fall back on.
I think what we're going to do is -- what I know what we're going to do is question him closely, as we've been doing now for a second day running. And, based on our own understanding of our laws, American laws, we'll proceed accordingly.
Q Do you have any idea when this will be wrapped up?
MR. BURNS: I would suspect this would be wrapped up fairly quickly, in a matter of days. I don't see it going much beyond that. This is - you know, we have already a fairly good idea of what happened. We just want to complete our questioning of the Lieutenant Colonel to satisfy ourselves that we've covered all the angles from our own perspective.
Q What's to determine? He hijacked an aircraft, right?
MR. BURNS: Yes. I mean, I think it's absolutely true that he hijacked an aircraft. He put at risk the lives of three crew members and 14 passengers, all of them Cuban nationals; and he, as I said yesterday, he has then sought at least some discussions with U.S. officials. We have been holding him in the brig. He is being held under suspicion of a very serious crime -- air piracy -- and we, obviously, condemn all acts of air piracy.
Q You said at the top that the U.S. decision will be based, I guess it was in part on what we hear from him. Can you elaborate on that?
MR. BURNS: We just want to satisfy ourselves that we understand fully all the circumstances surrounding this. I don't mean to say when I explain it that way that we have much sympathy for him. Here's an individual who had a variety of ways to resolve any kind of dissatisfaction he had with his life in Cuba, but he took a dangerous and illegal, under international law, step of hijacking an aircraft and of putting innocent civilian lives at risk.
That's a very serious charge, and air piracy is something that we cannot turn away from. We have to confront it squarely and condemn it, and we have in this instance. But beyond that, Howard, since I'm not the one doing the questioning and since I don't represent the agency of the U.S. Government that will make the final decision here, we're going to have to leave it to the Justice Department to announce the final U.S. action in this matter.
Q I may have missed it when you were asked about Alarcon and his statement that the Migration Agreement applies, essentially barring attempts to get to the U.S. illegally. Can you go over that again?
MR. BURNS: (Inaudible) when we agreed to the Migration Accords -- I think it was May 2, 1995 -- we explained at the time that our belief is that migration should occur on a safe, legal and orderly basis. People taking to seas is not safe. It's not orderly. People hijacking airplanes do so illegally and unsafely and unwisely, and there are ways for people to get out of Cuba.
Unfortunately, most Cubans, the great majority of Cubans, don't have an avenue out, and that's a great pity, because of the dictatorship there. But we are providing up to 20,000 places for Cubans every year during -- through our migration program.
George, I think I said 10,000 yesterday. The figure is 20,000. I did go back and check it. You were right on that one. So I think there are ways through which the Cuban people who are dissatisfied at least can talk to the United States about possible channels for coming to this country. But we really can't have much sympathy for someone who hijacks an aircraft to do so.
Q Nick, could I ask you about this morning's breakfast meeting between Christopher and Netanyahu. What was the subject -- what were the subjects discussed and the tone?
MR. BURNS: The Secretary has not come back from that session he spent after the breakfast at Blair House, which began at 8:30. He has spent the rest of the morning -- most of the rest of the morning over at the White House, and he's currently at the White House for the meetings. So I think what I'm going to do on that is go into radio silence, TV silence and let the President and Prime Minister Netanyahu speak for each other, and for themselves, at their press conference in a little over an hour from now, because the Secretary's meetings are part and parcel of the meetings the President is having.
Q On a related question but less direct. Does the United States intend to take a tougher line toward Syria to be consistent with the Israeli Government -- the new Israeli Government?
MR. BURNS: Carol, I think that it's really wise for me today to let the President take the lead on all Middle East issues or issues concerning the Middle East peace negotiations that involve Israel. That only stands to reason.
Q Nick, yesterday the Organization of African Unity gave what seemed to be a somewhat tepid endorsement to Boutros Boutros-Ghali, asking that consideration should be given to his candidacy for another term at the U.N. How do you read that? Do you have a reaction?
MR. BURNS: I would agree with you. I think it was a tepid suggestion. We understand that at the annual assembly of the Organization of African Unity yesterday a declaration was issued recommending that a representative of Africa be elected to the next five-year term as the U.N. Secretary General. I believe that resolution commended the candidacy of Mr. Boutros-Ghali by saying that consideration should be given to him. I believe those were the words that I read in the declaration.
But we do not believe the declaration represents a formal decision of the Organization of African Unity, much less a formal recommendation of Mr. Boutros-Ghali. Normally, the OAU operates in its resolutions through a consensus. At the session at which the declaration was issued, I believe that only 18 of the 53 African heads of state were in attendance -- participated, and several delegations -- more than just a few -- opposed the declaration itself.
So this is certainly not a regional endorsement of Boutros-Ghali by the Organization of African Unity. We believe that the appropriate course now is for Mr. Boutros-Ghali to step down; for the United States and other members of the Security Council and General Assembly to work very hard in identifying a candidate who can take his place when his term expires in December of this year.
We are sympathetic to African aspirations for the post of Secretary General. We believe very strongly that the next Secretary General must have the commitment and the leadership and the skill necessary to undertake U.N. reform. There are a lot of good candidates in Africa who we believe could carry forward that program of U.N. reform and of leadership to make U.N. programs more successful.
We do not limit ourselves to African candidates -- there are a number of good candidates beyond Africa -- but I do want to note that there are special African aspirations, because the tradition has been, of course, that each region would have a candidate for two terms. Since Mr. Boutros-Ghali will not be serving a second term, then it stands to reason we'd look carefully at African candidates but not exclusively.
Q Have you identified any African candidates who might pass muster?
MR. BURNS: We are not going to go public with people in whom we are interested. It certainly wouldn't be appropriate, and it might not be wise diplomatically to do that. But we do have our eye on a number of people in Africa and also beyond Africa.
And as I said before, there are, I think for the first time, a very large group of women who are serious candidates, and it's high time that women were serious candidates for this post. I think you know that there's some supremely well qualified women around the world who would also fit the bill.
Q Can I follow?
MR. BURNS: Yes.
Q Is there a language requirement? Is English and French required?
MR. BURNS: You know, I'll have to check with our experts on that. I don't know if there's a formal language requirement, but I could be mistaken. Does anyone out -- George, do you happen to know?
MR. BURNS: Swahili. That's interesting, George. I didn't know that.
Q I'm told the French are going to insist that it be French- speaking, which would seem to me --
MR. BURNS: Well, the international language of diplomacy is English these days -- I think you know that -- in the 20th century and as we approach the 21st century. So we assume that a candidate for Secretary General would speak English. I mean, if you go around the world, as you do with us sometimes on these trips with the Secretary, you'll see that -- that English is really the language of diplomacy.
And I think, obviously, if a candidate spoke other languages, that would be helpful. But let me check specifically on that question. It's an interesting one.
Q Another subject. Can you say anything about Deputy Secretary Talbott's meeting yesterday with Mamedov?
MR. BURNS: Deputy Foreign Minister Georgiy Mamedov was in Washington over the last couple of days -- I think he arrived on Sunday -- for one of his periodic visits here. He's been a close partner of ours for three or four years now. He is often in Washington consulting with us.
He - Mamedov, and Strobe Talbott had a series of discussions about the U.S.-Russian relationship: how we go forward from here on a number of important security issues, political/economic issues, now that the Russian elections have been held and successfully completed. And he saw a variety of other people in the building and I think some around town during his stay here.
Q Can you be more specific? How are you going to approach NATO; how are you going to approach arm sales to Iran? Can you be a little bit more forthcoming?
MR. BURNS: We have a full agenda with the Russian Government. Let met start with a couple of obvious issues, Carol, that are of interest on the security side. We --
Q I'm specifically interested in what Talbott might have said new to Mamedov?
MR. BURNS: Well, see that's what I don't want to do. I don't want to go into their private diplomatic discussions, because they're private. And we've quite consciously not made them public, but I can tell you what's on the agenda with the Russians, if you'd like.
Q I already know.
MR. BURNS: You know. Okay. For those of you who may not know and are reading this transcript later -- and I think that's important -- your colleagues out there in cyberspace, Carol, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is a major priority with the Russian Government. It wouldn't have surprised me at all, Carol, if that issue came up in the course of the discussions this week with Deputy Foreign Minister Mamedov and the fact that we want to work with the Russians to gain an international agreement in Geneva so that it can be signed in September.
The START II Treaty, which has been ratified by the U.S. Senate now awaits ratification by the Russian Duma. Since that treaty is one of the most vital components of our own national security structure, vis-a- vis the Russians, we hope that is quickly ratified by the Russian Duma.
Bosnia. Lots of other issues were on the table this week and, of course are part of the agenda.
But I don't want to go into the detail of it because that would violate the confidentiality of the discussions.
Q Is the Secretary going to see Primakov in Jakarta?
MR. BURNS: We expect that Minister Primakov will be in Jakarta. That was the plan when they met in Lyon a couple of weeks ago. They said they would see each other there, yes. I expect that to happen.
Still on -- Mr. Lambros, before you get to Cyprus, I just want to make sure we're --
Q On Russia?
MR. BURNS: Yes, on Russia.
Q On Chechnya, there's reports of fresh fighting. Russian military troops seem to be countering President Yeltsin's pledge to demilitarize it. Do you have anything on that?
MR. BURNS: We're very much concerned by the escalation of fighting in Chechnya. We have -- we certainly would call on both sides to refrain from actions that could further exacerbate the violence. We don't believe that the atmosphere currently is conducive to constructive dialogue. It's an atmosphere of threats and counter-threats.
We very much welcomed the June 10th agreement and the subsequent discussions between the Russians and the Chechens as a very significant step forward towards a final -- some kind of resolution of the Chechen war. But, unfortunately, that promise of June 10 has not been fulfilled.
So we call upon the Russian Government and the Chechen authorities to fulfill their obligations under the June 10 agreement and not to take any action that would further undermine efforts towards peace in Chechnya.
Q Do you see the escalation in fighting as perhaps evidence that Yelstin's government really wasn't serious about making peace in Chechnya and just did what they did in order to remove it as an issue in the election?
MR. BURNS: I wouldn't take that approach. I don't take that approach. I think it's important to remember, Carol, that there are two sides to this conflict; not just the Russian Government but the Chechen fighters.
And the Chechen fighters on many, many occasions over the last year and a half have been responsible for outbreaks of fighting, for provocations. So I think you've got to point the finger in both directions and expect and hope that they will both come to the realization that continued warfare will not resolve the problems -- the essentially political and social problems that caused the war, in the first place.
Q In this instance, Nick, it seems to be the Russian military - the Russian army that's on the offensive. Is that your understanding also?
MR. BURNS: We have an incomplete understanding. We don't have diplomats in the region. We don't have any American -- official Americans in the region. We rely on press reports which are, admittedly spotty in this situation. So I'm very hesitant to make a statement like that. But I am quite willing to say that we are concerned that there is an evident increase in the fighting, and we hope that can be reversed, that trend.
Q Yes, Bill.
MR. BURNS: Yes, back to Saudi Arabia. Defense Secretary Perry and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Shalikashvili, and General Peay are testifying or have just finished testifying over in the Senate Arms Services Committee.
One of the reported quotes -- I'd like to ask you about -- for the truck -- those responsible for the truck bombing of the U.S. Air Force facility in Saudi Arabia had, and I quote Secretary Perry, "Extensive support from an experienced and well-financed international terrorist organization."
And my questions to you are, do you find -- does that resonate with the State Department's understanding of the capability of the terrorists? And have you anything to add?
MR. BURNS: I can't add a lot to the very extensive public testimony this morning given by Secretary Perry and General Shalikashvili. We obviously fully support here at the State Department what they have said and the description that they have given on the security situation. And I think Secretary Perry said what he did but he deliberately did not give a lot of detail because it wouldn't be appropriate to do so.
Q On a slightly different topic. Last week, it was reported that radiation detection devices had been set up on the U.S. borders with Mexico. Can you confirm this and add anything as to why this is being done?
MR. BURNS: I can't confirm that, Bill. I can look into it for you, but I have nothing to say today on that issue.
Q Do you know the contents of Strobe Talbott's meeting today with the Japanese Ambassador?
MR. BURNS: I'm sorry, I don't. If you're interested, we can check and see if we can give you something on that, but I have nothing to say right now.
Q A different subject. Anything on presidential visits between the United States and China?
MR. BURNS: Presidential visits?
MR. BURNS: No. I've nothing to announce by way of presidential visits, but Tony Lake is in Beijing, as you know. Secretary Christopher will be seeing Minister Qian in Jakarta, but no announcements, I'm quite sure, on that issue.
Q Will there be an announcement today in Beijing?
MR. BURNS: No, I wouldn't lead you in that direction.
Mr. Lambros. What would you be interested in today?
Q Cyprus, Cyprus. The U.S. filed yesterday and protested with the Greek Government because Greek military planes flew over the free area of Cyprus last month -- in June -- at the request, however, of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.
I'm wondering, then, why such a protest now? And under which basis, authority, and capacity? If you are acting as a (inaudible) of the Turkish Government and if you've been asked by the Turks, what is the State Department spin on this extremely unusual action in international affairs? And if you are challenged (inaudible) the Cypriot Government not to exercise its sovereign rights to the entire island?
MR. BURNS: As you know, Mr. Lambros, there have been a series of military exercises by Greek, Turkish, and Cypriot forces over the last month in and near Cyprus that included flights by Greek and Turkish aircraft over Cyprus, as you indicate. We have repeatedly expressed our concerns that these recent military maneuvers by all the parties in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean have escalated tensions unduly.
We've urged the parties to restrain themselves in these activities. That's really all I can say on that issue.
Q (Inaudible) protest? Otherwise, because the Greek spokesman said today it was a protest on behalf of your government as far as --
MR. BURNS: On the which government?
MR. BURNS: Excuse me. A protest -- excuse me, I didn't understand your question.
Q The U.S. Government protested with the Greek Government for these activities.
MR. BURNS: We have made our concerns known to all parties.
Q To all parties?
MR. BURNS: Yes. Yes. Carol.
Q Is there a Contact Group meeting this week?
MR. BURNS: Yes, there is. There's a Contact Group meeting at the political director level tomorrow in London. Rudy Perina, our Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, will represent the United States.
This is a meeting that will focus, as all of these meetings have over the past couple of months, on Dayton Agreement compliance, particularly on the issue of Mr. Karadzic, which is a big issue these days for all of us -- major growth industry in the Bosnia business -- one in a regular series of meetings. We need to keep in touch with our partners.
Q Is this meeting suppose to make a decision on sanctions, pursuing sanctions?
MR. BURNS: It won't be a decision-making meeting, no. It will be a meeting where we exchange views with our partners.
Q Sanctions will be discussed -- right? -- and recommendations might be made --
MR. BURNS: Sanctions are always a possibility, as I've said, since we have not seen any action by Mr. Karadzic and Mr. Mladic or Mr. Milosevic that would conform to their obligations under the Dayton Accords on war crimes, sanctions are an open possibility. I wouldn't look, if I were you, for any decision or any announcement of anything like that tomorrow, however. This will be a discussion with our partners about this issue.
Q Will this also include discussion of what happens if subpoenas -- I'm not sure what the correct judicial term is -- if world- wide subpoenas are released for Mladic and Karadzic by the War Crimes Tribunal, would this country have some policy in place that would deal with that, that would call for us to respond?
MR. BURNS: I addressed this yesterday, and I essentially have the same thing to say today. It's interesting to note that when Karadzic and Mladic were first indicted in November of last year for the massacres at Srebrenica -- and we're coming up on the one-year anniversary of that -- there were arrest warrants issued to Bosnia- Herzegovina and to Belgrade. A warrant, I believe, was also made available and made known to the Republic of Srpska officials.
So the warrants, in essence -- at least, some form of warrants -- were already out there. We now have the chief prosecutor at the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague suggesting publicly that further warrants should be issued. This is a decision that needs obviously to be taken by the full War Crimes Tribunal.
If it does take this decision, as I said yesterday, I think the United States would be in a position, obviously, to support the War Crimes Tribunal.
I cannot recall, and neither can our experts, any significant issue concerning the War Crimes Tribunal where the United States Government has not supported the Tribunal itself. And, in fact, the Security Council resolutions that established the Tribunal call upon member states to comply with the request made by the Tribunal itself.
So I think as a matter of policy the United States would have a quite clear position.
The follow-up question yesterday, "What does that mean for IFOR?" I think before I can answer that question and before IFOR can answer the question, or any other member state can answer the question, we would have to see what the specific request was. In the absence of that, it's hard to know what they will be asking IFOR or anyone else to do.
Q What does it mean, separate and apart from IFOR, with other branches of this government? What other responses could we have?
MR. BURNS: What it would mean in theory is that all member states of the United Nations would be called upon to cooperate. For instance, just to take a hypothetical, if Karadzic or Mladic or any of the other war criminals were to go to a third country, outside of Bosnia, then the authorities in that country would be asked to apprehend them and to turn them over to The Hague. Now that's a hypothetical that probably will not materialize.
So then we're left with the real life situation that we're in right now. The primary responsibility to detain and arrest them lies with the governments involved in the region -- the signatories to the Dayton Accords -- and they have failed in their responsibility, for the most part, to apprehend the war criminals.
The Bosnian Government has turned over a couple of people to The Hague, but the Serbian Government, of course, has not acted. The Republic of Srpska officials have not acted as well.
Q Do you have anything new on train-and-equip?
MR. BURNS: I just know that the defense law is being debated as we speak by the Federation parliament. I would expect action to be completed by the parliament in just a couple of hours. Should they pass a defense law, then that would be a significant step forward towards allowing the United States to proceed with equip-and-train.
It would, in effect, George, satisfy the second condition we've had. In addition to ridding the country of the organized foreign fighters, the passage of the defense law would allow the United States to begin the equip-and-train program.
I would expect then, that in a matter of a couple of a days, perhaps by the end of this week -- on Friday or Saturday -- the Federation would be in a position to sign a formal contract with the private contractor from Alexandria, Virginia -- MPRI. The first training session would begin, we would hope, in three to four weeks.
The United States has pledged $100 million worth of military equipment. Deliveries of that equipment would include tactical communications equipment, small arms and ammunition. It could even include armored personnel carriers, battle tanks, anti-tank weapons, utility helicopters -- equipment of that sort. We would begin delivery of that equipment through the contractor.
We would also then, of course, go back to our partners in this process and make sure they were also ready to begin their efforts -- the Turkish Government, other Islamic Governments around the world.
As you know, some of the European countries involved in the Bosnia peace over the last year have elected not to participate. That is a pity, because we think this is the way to make sure that there is a deterrent effect in place once IFOR withdraws at the end of the next year, and that's very important to prevent future conflict between the various militia there.
Q Who besides the United States and Turkey are going along with the program?
MR. BURNS: A number of other countries. As you know, the Turks hosted a conference about two months ago. I don't want to -- perhaps what I can do is come up with a list for you, because I don't want to mention countries and leave others out. But it was well attended by Islamic countries, Moslem countries; not well attended by European countries who have decided not to participate.
That's a great failing, and it's a great error, we think, in a strategic view of what happens after IFOR leaves. The peace will not be kept magically. It can only be kept if you create a situation on the ground of general equilibrium among the various military forces, and that is the strategic rationale for undertaking the training-and-equip program. So that's something to watch for in the next couple of hours, I think, from Federation Parliament.
Q Just to clarify. So if the Federation approves this new Defense Law today, it will take at least a few days before --
MR. BURNS: (Inaudible)
Q -- well, I mean, you said a couple of weeks -- three to four weeks before the training gets going, and how long before the equipment would begin to flow?
MR. BURNS: Again, the stages, I think, would be -- a contract must be signed with the private contractor, which I think could happen in a matter of days. Equipment could be -- training could be begun, and I think that would be a matter of a couple of weeks -- two, three, four weeks -- and then equipment deliveries would be made, and that would just simply depend upon transport problems -- or transport opportunities.
I shouldn't think that would take a considerably long time. Our objective here --
Q You're talking a couple of weeks.
MR. BURNS: Yes, because -- well, weeks and months, I think, ahead. Our objective here is to have the training and equipping essentially completed by the time the IFOR troops leave, so that we will have successfully built up the capabilities of the Federation forces in order to have this deterrent effect in place by the time IFOR leaves.
Q Do you think the Turks already began some training?
MR. BURNS: The Turks did. After the conference, about five or six weeks ago they had a short training session. We would have preferred that the former Turkish Government had not undertaken that action, simply because we felt it was important to wait until a Defense Law was passed. The Turkish Government subsequently agreed with that and did not initiate additional training.
But I think now when this law passes, I think that will unleash the Turks as well as the Americans and others to help the Federation military. It's a very important step forward, because, as you know, the Federation has been a difficult process. Building the Federation has been step-by-step and sometimes three steps backwards and two forward; and creating a common militia and doing common training for the common military is a very important step that they will take.
Q One more?
MR. BURNS: Yes.
Q That action was not a protest but a kind of advice to both parties, as I understand.
MR. BURNS: We're concerned about -- the final word on Cyprus. We are concerned about some of these recent military maneuvers, and we have advised all parties of that concern.
Q And I would like to know if your Ambassador in Ankara, Mr. Grossman, has taken a similar step, since Turkish military planes are constantly violating the air space over Cyprus and other Greek islands.
MR. BURNS: Mr. Lambros, I think my statement covers that. We've advised all parties.
Q Advised, but what I'm saying --
MR. BURNS: All parties. Turkey is one of the parties. Greece is a party. Cyprus is a party.
Q But your Embassy yesterday protested --
MR. BURNS: I can't think of any other parties.
Q But your Embassy yesterday protested in Athens, and I was wondering if your Embassy in Ankara has taken the same steps, a similar position?
MR. BURNS: I'm just going to stay with what I said. I think it's clear, and I think it covers all the bases that you would want to have covered. You can be assured of that.
Bill, one last question.
Q Yes, just one more. This is old, from last week, Nick. The Vatican spokesman just very much slammed the -- this is the veto of the partial birth abortion bill by the Administration. Does the State Department have any kind of a response to the Vatican on this particular matter? Apparently they were incensed with it.
MR. BURNS: No.
MR. BURNS: I have no comment on that.
(The briefing concluded at 12:41 p.m.)
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