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U.S. Department of State
96/07/15 Daily Press Briefing
Office of the Spokesman

                          U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                            DAILY PRESS BRIEFING 
                                 I N D E X  
                           Monday, July 15, 1996 
                                             Briefer:  Nicholas Burns 
   Amb Richard Holbrooke's Travel to the Balkans/Upcoming Mtgs 
     w/Presidents of Bosnia, Croatia, & Serbia................... 1-2 
   A/S Win Lord Returns from Asia/Briefing on July 17 re 
     Secretary Christopher's Upcoming ASEAN & AUSMIN Mtgs........ 2 
   National Foreign Policy Town Mtg, July 18, at Department...... 2 
   Secretary Christopher's Travel to Asia........................ 3 
   US Position on Possible Reimposition of Sanctions............. 3,7 
   Amb Holbrooke's Mission to the Region:........................ 3-6 
   --Reinforce Compliance w/the Dayton Accords................... 3-4 
   US Continued Support of Amb Frowick's Decision on Elections... 4-6 
   Arrest of War Criminals Karadzic & Mladic: 
   --Provisional Electoral Commission To Decide On Karadzic's 
     Arrest/Alleged Report on the French Having UNSC Issue 
     Warrants & Clarify IFOR's Role re Arrests................... 4-5 
   --US on Future Arrests/Elections.............................. 7-8 
   --Bosnian Serb Police Chief's Warnings Of Attacks Against 
     IFOR Making Arrests......................................... 8 
   Helms-Burton Law: Implementation of Title III: 
   --No Decision Yet By Pres Clinton on Suspension............... 8-10 
   --Alleged EU Discussions Today on Retaliatory Proposals....... 9-10 
   --Addtl Letters on Title IV Sent to Sherritt Corporation...... 10-12 
   Pres Yeltsin's Health/Postponement of Mtg w/VP Gore........... 10-11 
   USUN Amb Albright's Trip to the Region/Cypriot Issue on Agenda 12 
   --Alleged Report from Athens re US Deployment of Ships........ 12-13 
   --Alleged GOG Report on Turkish Involvement of the European 
     Union Mediterranean Project "Mecca"......................... 13 
   Status of FBI Director Freeh's Pending Bombing Investigation.. 13 
   --Security Support of US Military Troops: 
     --Alleged Press Reports re Moving Troops/DOD To Prepare Rpt. 14,18-19 
   --Status of Diplomatic Relations/King Fahd's Commitment to US. 14,18 
   Continued Leaks of Classified Documents to Washington Times... 14-17 
   Monitoring Group Negotiations................................. 17-18 
   Israeli DepPM Eitan Stmt on Settlements/Talks to Continue 
     Between Israelis & Palestinians/Alleged Arafat Rpt to 
     Pres Mubarak on Israeli PM Netanyahu Unyielding............. 19-20 
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MR. BURNS: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department. I have a couple of very brief announcements. We issued a statement yesterday, Sunday, that Ambassador Richard Holbrooke would be returning to the Balkans. Secretary Christopher has asked him to travel to the Balkans this afternoon to meet with the Presidents of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia to discuss the state of Dayton implementation. Ambassador Holbrooke is here in the Department. He's having lunch today with the Secretary. He's had other consultations in the Administration. He, as you know, has continued to serve both Secretary Christopher and Assistant Secretary of State John Kornblum in an advisory capacity since he left office in February of this year. This trip is part of his advisory role. He is uniquely placed, we think, to make this trip. We are reaching a very important time in the process of building peace in Bosnia where we need now to have the parties commit in a way that they have not committed to date to adherence to the Dayton Accords; specifically, to the war crimes provisions of the Dayton Accords. So Ambassador Holbrooke will be talking tomorrow in Sarajevo with President Izetbegovic and with Prime Minister Muratovic and the others about that issue. He will go on Wednesday to Belgrade where he will meet with President Milosevic about this issue, and on Thursday to Brioni where he intends to meet President Tudjman. Upon his return -- we hope that there will be enough time for him to return here and on Friday brief the Secretary of State -- Secretary Christopher -- before the Secretary departs on his trip for Jakarta and Sydney. The departure is scheduled for early Saturday morning. Ambassador Holbrooke is undertaking this mission because he continues to believe that the Dayton peace agreement needs to be implemented to the full. We agree with him, and we're very pleased that he's accepted this assignment from the Secretary of State. Two notices on briefings for you. The first is that Assistant Secretary of State Win Lord, who is returning this evening with Tony Lake, the National Security Advisor, from their trip to Asia, will be here in the Briefing Room this Wednesday at 12:30. He'll preview the Secretary's trip to Jakarta for the ASEAN meetings and the ASEAN Regional Forum and to Sydney for the AUSMIN meetings. So I'd invite you all to take part with us here in the Briefing Room. He'll be On-The-Record and On Camera. Last, Secretary of State Christopher will open and deliver welcoming remarks to the National Foreign Policy Town Meeting, which is being organized by the State Department here in the building. Secretary Christopher will speak here on Thursday, July 18, at 8:45 a.m. It will be in the Loy Henderson Conference Room. If you remember, this briefing has been designed for media primarily outside the Beltway, for media from across the United States who normally do not have contact with the State Department. We expect a very large turnout of your colleagues -- both reporters and editors from print, TV, and radio -- here in the Department for a full day of On-The-Record briefings from State Department officials. In addition to Secretary Christopher, who will speak at 8:45, Ambassador Craig Johnstone will speak on the issue of resources; Dennis Ross will speak on the Middle East; Under Secretary of State Joan Spero will talk about international economic issues; Jim Steinberg will give a presentation on transatlantic issues; Jeff Davidow on Latin American issues. We will have briefings on East Asian issues, I hope by Win Lord or someone he designates -- he's going to be very busy this week --and presentations on Russian issues as well. It's going to be a very good turnout. All these people will be On-The-Record. All of them will be taking your questions, with the exception of Secretary Christopher. I expect he'll just have a statement to make at the beginning. We would cordially invite all of you who normally cover us to attend any one of these sessions in the Loy Henderson Auditorium. There is a sign-up sheet, however. We do need to know if you're coming and which sessions you're going to attend, if you can let us know. A sign-up sheet is available in the Press Office, and just contact anybody in the Press Office after this briefing and identify yourselves and let us know what you're interested in. As you know, the Secretary is leaving for the trip to Asia on Saturday. We have taken down the sign-up sheet for that trip. We have a good group of journalists travelling with us. George. Q What thoughts does the Department have on the possibility of sanctions against Serbia in light of the impasse vis-a-vis Karadzic and Mladic? MR. BURNS: Our position hasn't changed on that. The reimposition of the sanctions on Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs is an option available to the United States and to the international community. It's a strong option and a live option. It all depends on the compliance of the Serbs and the Bosnian Serbs to the War Crimes provisions of the Dayton Accords. It has been an option now, of course, ever since the Dayton Accords were signed. But I think frankly, George, just in the last couple of weeks -- I would say the last four, five, to six weeks -- as we have assessed and surveyed the situation, it's our belief that both the Serbs and Bosnian Serbs could do a lot more to comply with the Dayton Accords. We need a much better level and measure of cooperation from them. This is a message that Secretary Christopher passed to them in Geneva, I believe it was the first of June -- the Sunday in the first part of June when he was in Geneva. It's a message that John Kornblum has passed repeatedly on his trips, and it's certainly, I think, the focal point of Dick Holbrooke's trip to the Balkans this week. He will be looking at all Dayton compliance issues, but he will focus on the issue of war crimes. He'll focus on the issue of Karadzic and Mladic. I think that's the primary focus for his mission. I think it goes without saying that I would expect that Ambassador Holbrooke would have very direct and very tough discussions with these leaders on the war crimes issue. Of course, he is in a position -- as someone who is a consultant to the Administration but someone who was present at the creation of this part of the Bosnian drama, he is in a strong position to represent the Secretary of State and Assistant Secretary Kornblum to send the basic message that if compliance is not improved, reimposition of sanctions, of course, remains an option available to the United States and our partners. Q Is this a last chance that he's conveying? It sounds a little less than that. MR. BURNS: Oh, I don't want to describe it as the "Last Chance Saloon," or whatever. It's an attempt by us to reinforce again for them the critical nature of compliance with the Dayton Accords. He is uniquely placed to do that. He has spent hundreds of hours with these three individuals, particularly with President Milosevic. He knows them well. He's a very tough negotiator, and I think he'll get his point across. Carol, did you have a follow-up? Q It seems like you're reaching a point of desperation, that the final line is about to be crossed? MR. BURNS: We're never desperate, Carol. We're always calm. We have, I think, taken a very calm and methodical approach to this. In fact, if you compare the situation today to a year ago, that word just doesn't apply. We have fundamentally transformed the whole situation. We're certainly better off than we were before. We have options at our disposal that will hurt -- options that will make our views felt by the parties, by some of the parties who are not complying. We also are working very closely on the elections issue with our partners in Europe and with the OSCE, and particularly with Ambassador Frowick, and very much support Ambassador Frowick's decision which he announced this morning to delay the start of the campaign, the formal campaign for the September 14 elections. He said he was doing that until the end of this week -- delaying it from today until Friday -- because he wanted to give the Bosnian Serbs one last chance to see if they could find a way to take Karadzic out of the political picture leading up to those elections. He made a very strong statement, and we agree very much with it. I think the process would be that the Provisional Electoral Commission will make some kind of a decision -- a formal decision -- on this at some point in the future. But, certainly, we applaud and support the direction in which that part of the process is moving. Q The French apparently are talking about having the U.N. Security Council issue arrest warrants as well as The Hague Tribunal. What's your view of that? MR. BURNS: I've only seen press reports on that. I don't believe we have any kind of official confirmation of such an idea; so therefore, I couldn't comment on it. I'm just not sure if it's accurate. Laura. Q The French are also trying to, through the Security Council, get a clarification of IFOR's role, or perhaps a more aggressive approach with IFOR troops to war criminals. Do you have a position on that? Are you aware -- MR. BURNS: Maybe it's a different phraseology -- I thought that's the question I was answering -- Carol's question. We've just seen press reports on that. We haven't received, I don't believe, any kind of official communication from the French Government. I'm not aware of one; therefore, I don't have any comment on it. I think you and we need to go back and check the full accuracy of these various reports. I saw them yesterday, too. There were lots of press reports on this, but I can't confirm them. Charlie. I'm sorry, Charlie. Laura had a follow-up. Q Actually, this is just a follow-up to Ambassador Holbrooke's trip. It does appear to be, despite what you've said, an act of desperation. You said it isn't. We're reaching a critical point in the whole Bosnian scene. Sending Ambassador Holbrooke, who has been out of the Bosnia mission for awhile, back in would signal that there is a great deal of concern that the parties are not complying and perhaps there is a deadline that he's going to be delivering? MR. BURNS: I guess I have a neuralgic reaction to the use of this word "desperate." We're not. The fact is that we're in the driver seat here and have been since September/October of last year. We've completely transformed the political and military landscape. If anything, the desperation ought to be in Pale, in the ski chalets there, where the people are increasingly cornered. They're the ones who ought to be desperate because they're facing now the possibility that the entire political party that Karadzic has built will be thrown out of the elections unless the political party itself gets rid of Karadzic. If anybody needs to be desperate and feel desperate today, it's Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. So we're just going ahead and doing our business. The elections are going to go ahead regardless. They're going to go ahead. We hope they go ahead with the participation of the SDS, but that remains to be seen, and it's fully going to be based on their own attitudes here. Also, Laura, the fact is that Holbrooke has been in constant communication with the Administration since February 21 of this year, the day he left. All of you who know Dick will not be surprised at that statement. He's used the phone. He's been down to Washington to see a number of us. We talk to him all the time, and he is a formal consultant to the Administration. Let's face it, Dick Holbrooke is uniquely qualified and uniquely placed to undertake this mission. We're very glad he's accepted it. The Secretary has asked him to undertake this mission. The Secretary is talking over with him right now the framework for his mission, and we very much look forward to hearing from him when he returns. Carol. Q As a formal consultant, does he get paid? MR. BURNS: I don't think Dick needs to get paid. I mean, Dick's doing pretty well on the outside in his current job and a variety of activities. I don't know the answer to that question. I've never asked him. Q Could you find that out, please? MR. BURNS: I'll be very glad to, although knowing the U.S. Government as I do, I'm sure there's nothing we could do to attract him financially to the position of consultant, because he's certainly doing well enough on the outside without our very meager offerings. But let me check on that. I just don't know the answer. Q When Ambassador Holbrooke came in, he said he was going at the bidding of the President as well as the Secretary of State. Which is it -- an envoy from the Secretary of State or from the President? MR. BURNS: I'd just refer you back to the statement that we issued yesterday. The Secretary of State. He's a consultant to the Secretary, and the Secretary has asked him to go back to the region. The President is aware of this and fully supports it. Still on this issue, Jim? Q Yes, still on that issue. Exactly what do you want the Serbs to do? Do you want them to deliver these two indicted war criminals in handcuffs to The Hague, or would you be satisfied if they were simply separated visibly from political influence and power? MR. BURNS: Delivering them to The Hague in handcuffs would be a good thing. That's one of our objectives, to have them end up in The Hague. But I think it goes like this, Jim. I think to be pragmatic and realistic, it would be a good start if Karadzic, for instance, would be removed from his positions of influence in the party. He has just been renominated as head of his political party, and he currently serves as head of his political party. He ought to step down from that role or be forced out of it, so out of influence. We also think it would be a good idea if they were out of the country altogether, so that there would be no chance of his exerting political influence during the campaign. Beyond that, we would very much agree with your proposition that they'd handcuff him and send him to The Hague for prosecution as a war criminal. We agree with all of that, and I would just give them to you in that order. Q At which point are you prepared to forego further sanctions? In other words, if they'd comply with what your first step was, would that be enough to remove the threat of sanctions? MR. BURNS: I think it remains to be seen. I'd rather leave that in some doubt right now. I think they know that they have got to work much harder than they currently are on the provision with Dayton on war crimes, and they've got to show us and demonstrate to us that they are worthy of avoiding any penalties. And I use that word advisedly, and I don't want to be detailed in prescriptions here. We'll know it and they'll know when they have reached that state of being, where they are much more cooperative than they currently are. Bill. Q On the same subject, you stated just a few minutes ago that the elections will go on, no matter what the SDS does about Mr. Mladic, but the Bosnian Muslim Government has stated, a number of times and has reiterated, that they would withdraw from the election process if Karadzic remains in power. Now, is this what the Bosnian Muslims are telling our government? Is this the reason for the urgency of sending Holbrooke at this point? MR. BURNS: The Bosnian Government was party and agreed to the decision of the provisional Electoral Commission to schedule the elections on September 14 and to have those be national elections. I think that's the most meaningful statement we've heard from them. Q They are not communicating to the United States Government? MR. BURNS: They've made their voice heard in the Electoral Commission itself, which is where the decision was made. I take that to be the relevant Bosnian Government statement on this issue. Yes, another subject? Still on Bosnia? Howard. Q The Bosnian Serb police chief in Pale has warned of attacks against IFOR and international police monitors if any attempt is made to arrest the two leaders. Any reaction to that? MR. BURNS: If he knows what's good for him, he won't make remarks like that. The fact is that IFOR is there to enforce the Dayton Accords. It has done so successfully. IFOR has been very clear about one issue: Any attacks on IFOR forces, on anybody belonging to the IFOR forces there, will be met with a very determined response. I don't think that this mayor should be foolish enough to continue spouting off, as he is clearly now doing. So we take seriously any threats against IFOR, and he ought to understand and his supporters ought to understand that if they try anything, they'll be met with superior physical force. Q On Cuba. Has the Secretary made a recommendation to the President on Title III? MR. BURNS: The President, as Mike McCurry said this morning, has been given a series of options on this issue. He's looking at the options, and I believe we'll have a decision by tomorrow. Q And what is the Secretary's thinking about this issue? MR. BURNS: The Secretary's thinking is private. He's communicated his views, of course, as you would expect, privately to the President. It wouldn't be in my interest or his to communicate those views publicly, certainly not while the President is currently deliberating. Q Is that because this is a politically controversial decision? MR. BURNS: It's the normal way that we do business. The Secretary gives private advice to the President. He does not give public advice, and he certainly would not wish that I would surface publicly his private views and private recommendations to the President. Q Well, it's not a unknown that he makes his point of view clear. MR. BURNS: Right. And I can tell you that the Secretary has clear views on this, and they're understood by the President, but it's up to the President to make the decision, and the Secretary would not want me to get into the business of talking about that publicly. Q The Secretary has said on many occasions that it was his intention under this Helms-Burton Act to maximize the impact on Castro and minimize the impact on the allies. Is that still his view? MR. BURNS: That's been our general view all along, but I wouldn't lead you to try to link that with any decision made by the President. The President has recommendations before him. He now will make this decision. We'll just have to wait and see what that decision is. Q I'm just going to try one more on this. Does the State Department think that full implementation of Title III would complicate your relations with the allies? MR. BURNS: It wouldn't be reasonable, proper, wise or politic or politically correct for me to talk about that before a decision was made. But good try! (Laughter) Laura, yes. Q Are you aware that the EU is talking today about drawing up retaliatory proposals to Helms-Burton? Did they warn you that they were going to do that, and do you have a response? MR. BURNS: I saw something about that on MSNBC. Very interesting new network we're watching this morning. There was a good report on it. I saw the ministers walk into the meeting. That's all we know. I would say this: Helms-Burton is a law of the United States. We believe that Helms-Burton is consistent with our international treaty obligations. We've said that since March 12 of this year. We will implement Helms-Burton, and we ask our European allies, including Canada, and we ask Mexico to understand that and to work with us privately and not to try to escalate the issue further than it already has been escalated. Q But they have indicated -- in particular Canada and Great Britain -- last week after you sent those nine letters to the shareholders of the Sherritt Corporation, they expressed their displeasure. Despite the fact that you're calling on them to understand that you must implement this law, how far are you going to take it to implementation at the expense of the relationships with some of our close allies? MR. BURNS: Again, I can't speak about Title III -- I mean, that was Carol's interest -- because again the President must make the announcement on that tomorrow. On Title IV, however, I can tell you, we are going ahead. We sent the letters to the Sherritt board. None of those people, unfortunately, will be able to enter the United States after roughly mid-August of this year. I haven't really counted it to know what the specific date is, but 45 days from last week when the letters were issued and for very good reason. Again, just very briefly, the Sherritt Corporation has taken possession of a nickel industry -- a nickel investment in Cuba that is the property of an American corporation. It is unfair for Sherritt to have done this, and Sherritt now has to pay the penalties under U.S. law. We will continue implementing Title IV, and as of tomorrow, of course, we'll be able to talk about what decision has been made on Title III. Q Do you know what the drill is tomorrow -- announcements, briefings, etc.? MR. BURNS: I would refer you to the White House. I think this announcement will come out of the White House, and I'd refer you to Mike McCurry and Jim Fetig and Brian Cullin for how they're going to handle it specifically. I think they're still in the process of deciding on that. Q Do you find it peculiar or worrisome that President Yeltsin suddenly went on vacation when he was scheduled to meet with Vice President Gore? MR. BURNS: I'm not in a position to know and really to respond adequately to your question. Vice President Gore made a statement on this this morning, saying that his meeting this morning had been postponed until tomorrow. There is a meeting scheduled for tomorrow at Barvikha, and the Vice President said he was looking forward to that. I'm just not in a position to assess for you the state of President Yeltsin's health. That's an assessment that has to be made by the Russian Government. I believe you had a question. I'm sorry. Q No, it was -- MR. BURNS: It was answered? Okay. And then you're next. Q Speaking of Title IV, could you tell us (if the) U.S. Government sent other advisory letters to some foreign companies? MR. BURNS: On Helms-Burton? Q Yes, advisory letters. MR. BURNS: We sent advisory letters to a number of companies some time ago. But the additional letters informing the Sherritt Corporation that the law in fact would apply to that corporation were sent last week, and I believe that's the only corporation that had the second round of letters sent to it. I don't want to foreclose the possibility that now other corporations in foreign countries would receive the second round of letters. Is that clear? Q Actually, my question is there was a Reuters report on Friday that said the U.S. Government sent advisory letters to three companies -- French companies, Israel companies and Spanish companies? MR. BURNS: I'm just looking to Glyn (Davies) because Glyn briefed on Friday. But I believe the facts are currently that Sherritt Corporation is the only corporation that has received the letters that tell them that their principal shareholders and senior executives will now fall under the provisions of Title IV. It is possible that we will send another series of letters to other companies, but I don't believe we've yet done that. MR. DAVIES: But the first round of letters, that's an ongoing process. MR. BURNS: Yes, the first round of letters have -- it's complicated. The first round of letters, as I said, have already been sent to a number of companies; but I believe that Sherritt is the only corporation that received the second round of letters which actually tells them they're in violation -- they are in violation and will now come under the provisions of the law. Q Can you tell the number of companies -- how many numbers, or how many companies? MR. BURNS: No, we've never done that. We're very secretive here, and we very rarely give out the numbers and sometimes even the names of the corporations, much to your disappointment. Q (Inaudible) you had asked your European allies to work with you privately. I mean, what do you mean by that? Can you elaborate on that? MR. BURNS: We're not interested in having an open public debate about this is what I mean, and there has been probably too much of that in the past couple of months. We prefer to continue to have private discussions. We obviously have a major disagreement here, a very clear disagreement. I don't believe we'll be able to bridge that disagreement any time soon, but we need to continue talking about our respective views. Better to do that privately than publicly. Mr. Lambros, I believe you're next. Q Do you have any readout on Ambassador Albright's visit to Athens today? MR. BURNS: You know, I don't, but perhaps by tomorrow we'll have something to say about her trip, which began today and which I think runs six days. It's through the Mediterranean and Greece and Turkey and Cyprus -- a very important trip where she hopes to make some first inroads in resolving the problem in Cyprus, at least in this latest round of discussions. Q One more question. Could you please comment on a lot of reports from Athens that your Administration is planning to deploy U.S. warships in the middle of the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey for security reasons in that sensitive area? MR. BURNS: I have nothing to say on that. I have no information on that. It's the first I've heard, so I have no comment on it. If you're talking about U.S. warships, the best place to go would be the Pentagon; but I have nothing to say on that. Q Yesterday the Government of Greece, they announced that they were against the Turkish involvement in the European Union Mediterranean Project, which they are calling that (inaudible). When Madeleine Albright is in Athens and Ankara, are you planning to open this subject or discuss this subject also? MR. BURNS: I'm not aware of the specific issue; I did not see those reports. I can certainly tell you that our continued belief is that Greece and Turkey should resolve the problems between them. The United States will continue to be a good and faithful friend to both of them, but I have no further comment on that particular issue. Carol. Q Do you have any readout of FBI Director Freeh's trip to Saudi Arabia and his discussions with the Kingdom on security and the case? MR. BURNS: I don't. I think I should leave it to the FBI, to Director Freeh and his spokespeople, to talk about his own trip. Obviously, we were fully involved. Our Charge d'Affaires, Ted Kattouf, was fully involved; but I'm going to leave it to the FBI and Justice to characterize the trip. We continue to participate in the ongoing investigation -- "we," the U.S. Government -- with the Saudi authorities and remain hopeful that we will sooner or later find out who did this and have them punished. Q But do you know if he got to see King Fahd and got any commitments from him? MR. BURNS: I don't know about his specific itinerary, so I'd refer you to the FBI on that. Q Perhaps you could characterize the level of cooperation. Presumably Director Freeh went not because the level of cooperation is so great but perhaps because there were some problems. MR. BURNS: Again, since Director Freeh just completed his trip -- I believe he returned yesterday -- I would leave it to Director Freeh and his staff to handle that question. We continue to work very hard with the Saudi authorities to find out the origins of the bomb against the building at Khobar, and we will continue to work with them to apprehend the killers. Q How do you feel about those comments, though -- I believe it was the Defense Minister -- on the whole subject of moving some of the troops to a different location to have perhaps a lower profile and for their security -- the fact that he's come out and said that's not going to happen? It doesn't seem that they are cooperating. MR. BURNS: We have seen the press reports. In fact, there were a lot of press reports yesterday on this; and frankly these press reports do not correspond to our discussions with the Saudi authorities on that particular issue, and these are senior Saudi authorities. I know that the U.S. military is preparing a report on the requirements that we clearly have to protect our soldiers, and that report will be conveyed to the Saudi authorities. I don't believe it has yet been conveyed, and there is a U.S.-Saudi agreement at the highest levels that together we will do whatever we have to do to protect our troops -- United States troops in Saudi Arabia. So I cannot confirm these reports that one member of the royal family, Minister Sultan, has made this clear. Q Could you go a step further, though, and say affirmatively that you feel confident or the U.S. Government feels confident that it has Saudi Arabia's agreement to make these troop movements? MR. BURNS: That is a decision that the Saudi Government has to make with primarily the Defense Department. As I said, I think that this story is a little ahead of the facts. The facts are that the U.S. military, the Pentagon, is preparing a report for the Saudi Government for steps that we can take together to protect our troops -- certainly to take steps to enhance protection for our troops, considering the fact we've had two bomb attacks now that have killed many Americans. Since that report has not yet been conveyed to the Saudis, I can't tell you that there is an agreement or not because we haven't even made our requests formally known to the Saudis. Q Do you have anything on the publication of the Primakov letter to the Secretary which appeared in the Washington Times this morning? MR. BURNS: I can't say we were surprised, George. There's been so much of this, this trail of leaks to a particular reporter in the Washington Times. My policy on this has been to say that if someone is leaking highly classified documents, I will not reward that person by responding to the leak. I will tell you, however, I was a little bit surprised by the Times when it printed an alleged letter from Primakov to Secretary Christopher and, if you look very closely -- this is in the Times today, and this I think is a front-page article -- there's a signature block that says "Primakov," and then underneath it says "Source: State Department." It was very helpful of them to put that there, I suppose; but I found that very odd because I can tell you, since we are the branch of the State Department that presents information to the Fourth Estate, we did not publish this letter or any letter like it. We don't publish diplomatic correspondence from one Minister to Secretary Christopher. For the Times to publish it as a "Source: State Department" conveys an impression that the State Department gave this letter to the Times to print. We didn't. We didn't do that. We wouldn't do that. Any diplomatic correspondence between Primakov and Christopher is going to remain confidential, so I'm not going to talk about it. Q By describing it -- MR. BURNS: It was odd. It was a very odd thing to do, I thought, for a major newspaper. Q By describing it as a leak, are you confirming the accuracy of the letter, though? MR. BURNS: I'm not going to talk about the letter at all, because I would reward the leaker, who is violating U.S. law, somewhere inside the U.S. State Department. I just can't, Jim. You understand the reasons why I can't do that, to be completely serious for a moment. Q (Inaudible) MR. BURNS: Yes, I do understand what you're asking. I do. Q If I understand exactly what you're saying, you're saying that you, as the official Spokesman of the Department, and the people who work for you did not officially give this out. But you're not saying that somebody in this building of thousands of people may not have passed it along? MR. BURNS: Oh, I think it's -- we have a problem here. We have somebody inside the U.S. Government who has access to classified information who is passing it on to a certain reporter -- Bill Gertz at the Washington Times. There's been a steady stream of these leaks to him. I'm not going to deny that there have been leaks in the past and that this may have been a leak. I was very surprised to see us as the source of this because I can tell you authoritatively we do not give letters like this to any newspaper, including the Washington Times. Q How many people have access to the Secretary's high-level correspondence? MR. BURNS: I'm sure that someone could give you an exact count, or maybe even a count approaching that. I don't know how many. I suppose it's a fairly high number. You never can tell about leaks. You never know where they're coming from. You never know who is doing them. They are routinely investigated -- and I mean routinely; they're always investigated on a routine basis. Our success in finding out who is leaking documents is hit-or-miss. Not only our success in this Administration but over, I think, the course of many Administrations. All I know is that to leak a highly classified document is wrong. It's also illegal. Q Who would be investigating this? MR. BURNS: The proper authorities. It depends on the agency involved. In this case, our Diplomatic Security. Q Is the IG investigating this? MR. BURNS: I don't know. Q Nick, what are the ethics of this? Is the reporter culpable that takes these documents and publishes them? MR. BURNS: Bill, in the past I've chosen not to comment on the reporter's end of it. I have only commented on the U.S. Government end of it, meaning what are the responsibilities of an employee of the State Department who has a Top Secret clearance and who takes a Top Secret or highly classified document and gives it to a reporter. There are very clear laws that say it is illegal for an employee of the State Department or any other branch of the U.S. Government to do that. I'm not going to comment on the reporter's end of it. Q You're not saying that the reporter should cease and desist? MR. BURNS: I'm just not going to have any comment on it. But I'm certainly in a position to comment -- I want to protect the State Department and let the readers of the Washington Times know, through all of your services, that we did not give this document. They ought not to do this in the future. They ought not to say that the source is the State Department when it clearly isn't the State Department. Q Doesn't that help you? MR. BURNS: Pardon? Q Doesn't that help you? MR. BURNS: It doesn't help us at all. It looks like we're just giving diplomatic correspondence at will to reporters. I'm sure the Russian Government wouldn't want us to do that, and we don't want to do; so it doesn't help us, no. Good try, though. Q Do such letters circulate to interested committees on the Hill? MR. BURNS: Excuse me? Q Do such letters circulate as part of a normal course? MR. BURNS: When Congress requires information -- various committees of Congress -- on our diplomacy, they routinely ask us for classified documents. I have no idea of knowing whether this document was one of those transferred to the Hill, and I'm not pointing my finger at the Hill at all. I'm pointing it clearly at people in the Executive Branch of the Government. Q Do you have anything on the Lebanon talks -- Lebanon Monitoring Committee talks? MR. BURNS: Yes. Q Have you gotten word back from the capitals now that everybody has signed off on the agreement? MR. BURNS: I believe the agreement is a done deal. It was announced here by Glyn and others on Friday. Q It wasn't a done deal. They had gone back to the capitals for signature. MR. DAVIES: I don't know if there was to be a formal signature. The agreement was reached here and the document has gone back to capitals for information. MR. BURNS: I believe, Sid, we're quite comfortable with the way the negotiations came out on Friday. We believe that this is, for all intents and purposes, a deal, and that the Monitoring Group now is established and has certain responsibilities, which you'd know about -- I believe you had a briefing on this. The Monitoring Group finally is in place. Q The briefer said it would be a couple of weeks. Are you saying it's now up and functioning? MR. BURNS: The agreement is in place, Sid. It's going to take a couple of weeks to physically move people to their assigned positions and all of that, yes. Q Just one final question on Saudi. Have diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia been strained or suffered as a result of the on-going investigation? MR. BURNS: Carol is answering the question. Do you want me to pass the microphone? I'm just reading your lips here. No. Not at all. Our relations with Saudi Arabia remain very good, very positive. Prince Bandar was in last week to see the Secretary. They had an excellent meeting, and we'll continue our very good, strong relationship with the Saudi authorities. Q On the question -- just to go back to the question of where the request to move troops is with the Saudis. You're saying they're considering it? MR. BURNS: I was very specific that the Defense Department has to make a report -- is going to make a series of suggestions to the Saudi authorities. We'll then need to work out those suggestions with them into a course of action. That's exactly where we are. Q That means they're considering the request? MR. BURNS: The request hasn't been made officially to them. The report by the Pentagon, as I understand it, has not yet been conveyed to the Saudis. Therefore, they couldn't consider a request that has not been given to them. Q Why are you doing the report for the Saudis? MR. BURNS: Report, memo, series of suggestions, list of things to do -- the United States has an obligation to protect its troops. We are now drawing up a list of measures which we believe would enhance protection for our troops. We're going to continue working with the Saudis on that. We'll make a formal report to them. We'll give them a formal list of suggestions and then work with them on that. I just want to be clear about where we are in the process, which leads us back to yesterday's wire stories which I believe were not entirely accurate. Q They didn't ask you to say -- they didn't say, "We'll think about it. Why don't you prepare -- write down your ideas and give them to us so we can consider them better?" MR. BURNS: I wasn't in the room in Riyadh or in Jeddah when these conversations were held so I can't tell you how the conversation went. We have a very clear commitment from King Fahd that he will do what he must to cooperate with us to enhance and improve security for our troops. That commitment was given to the President and to Secretary Perry. We take it very seriously because he's a valued ally of ours and we trust him. So we trust that we will work well with the Saudi Government on this. Q Could you imagine them turning down a direct request to take certain steps to ensure the security of U.S. troops? MR. BURNS: I think given what has happened in Dhahran and in Riyadh since November, we would expect the highest level of cooperation from the Saudi authorities. Q Nick, also on the Middle East. Rafael Eitan, who is the Deputy Prime Minister in the new Israeli Government, talked yesterday about Israel moving ahead with a plan to triple the size and number of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Have you seen that? Does that give you any unease? MR. BURNS: It's long been the United States position -- certainly, the position of this Administration -- that settlement activity is a problem and a complicating factor in the Middle East peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israeli Government. The Israelis and the Palestinians agreed in their Declaration of Principles that the issue of settlements would be taken up in final status talks. Those talks formally began in early May. We hope very much that they will resume. Our position, therefore, that I have enunciated today on settlements -- a long-standing position -- remains true. That would be my basic reaction to Mr. Eitan's statement and the statement from some of the settler groups that they plan to triple the number of settlers and settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Q Was a statement along these lines made by Netanyahu when he was here talking to the President and the Secretary? MR. BURNS: If it was, I'm just not aware of it. I didn't hear anything publicly on that and wasn't aware that it had been conveyed privately. Bill. Q There seems to be a prejudice on the part of Mr. Arafat in speaking to Mr. Mubarak of Mr. Netanyahu being unyielding -- the Israeli positions being unyielding. It seems this is kind of a self-defeating attitude on the part of the Arabs. How does the U.S. Government view the prejudgment of Mr. Arafat? MR. BURNS: I don't want to accept all the premises of the question. I haven't seen the press reports. I think we said quite a lot on this last week when Prime Minister Netanyahu was here. We have the greatest respect for the peace negotiations, the peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We want to support it. We are in constant communication with Chairman Arafat. We support continued U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinians. We firmly hope that the Palestinians and Israelis will continue their discussions. That's a part of the peace negotiations; that must continue. But I can't comment on press reports. Q Does the U.S. Government see Mr. Netanyahu as being sincere in his desire for settlement? MR. BURNS: I think the President spoke to this better than I could last week. We hope the peace negotiations continue. Q Thank you. (Press briefing concluded at 1:48 p.m.) (###)

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