Return to: Index of 1994 Daily Briefings || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

.
U.S. Department of State
96/07/16 Daily Press Briefing
Office of the Spokesman


                          U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                               DAILY PRESS BRIEFING 
                                          I N D E X  
                           Tuesday, July 16, 1996 
 
 
                                             Briefer:  Nicholas Burns 
 
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS 
   Introduction of Moroccan Parliament Chief of Staff 
     & Protocol Mr. Radouane Himdi............................... 1 
   Secretary Christopher's Mtg Today w/Future Cmdr of IFOR Forces 
     Admiral Joe Lopez........................................... 1,6 
   Natl Foreign Policy Regional Town Mtg, July 18th.............. 1 
   A/S Winston Lord to Brief Tomorrow on Secretary Christopher's 
     Upcoming Travel to ASEAN & AUSMIN Mtgs...................... 2 
   Change of Policy on Conducting Daily State Department 
      Briefings.................................................. 2-4 
   Signing of Train & Equip Contract w/MPRI & Bosnian Federation. 5 
   Amb Richard Holbrooke's Travel To/Mtgs In the Balkans......... 5-6 
 
FORMER YUGOSLAVIA 
   Dayton Accords Compliance: 
   --NATO Policy Remains the Same/Increased Patrols in the Bosian 
     Serb-Held Areas............................................. 6-7 
   War Criminals Karadzic & Mladic: 
   --Alleged Press Reports of France's Suggestion that NATO 
     Consider "Military Snatch Job" on Karadzic & Mladic Not True 7 
   --IFOR Cmdr Has Option to Take Any Measures Necessary To 
     Enforce Dayton Accords...................................... 7-8 
   --US Preference on Option for Stepping Down................... 10-11 
   Elections: 
   --Campaign Suspended/Karadzic's Political Party To Be Outlawed 8 
   Amb Holbrooke's Travel to the Region/Unpaid for Services...... 8-10 
   Train & Equip: 
   --Monies Allocated............................................ 9 
   --US Funds for Turkey's Ongoing Program....................... 10 
 
COLOMBIA 
   US & Colombian Officials' Mtgs on Airline Routes Between 
     New York and Bogota......................................... 11-12 
   Additional Visas of GOC Officials Revoked..................... 12 
 
SAUDI ARABIA 
   Dhahran Bombing Investigation: 
   --Possible Foreign Influence/Involvement...................... 12 
 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB #115

TUESDAY, JULY 16, 1996, 1:02 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. BURNS: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department briefing. Welcome back to Barry. I know that Barry's in a good mood because the Red Sox are in a five-game winning streak.

Q Six.

MR. BURNS: Six? We're only 15 games behind the Yankees. Nine games under 500. The Yankees are faltering. Everyone from New York is getting nervous. I can feel it -- momentum.

Let me welcome to the briefing today Mr. Radouane Himdi, who's Chief of Staff and Protocol with the Moroccan Parliament. He's in the United States observing how the State Department interacts with the public and the press, and you're most welcome. Glad to have you with us.

I wanted to let you know that Secretary Christopher will be meeting today at 2:30 with Admiral Joe Lopez. Admiral Lopez, as you know, will be succeeding Admiral Smith in Sarajevo as Commander of IFOR forces in Sarajevo. I believe a transfer of command takes place in just about ten days time, and they will be meeting to discuss the situation concerning compliance with the Dayton Accords and the Secretary's great interest in that issue.

I also wanted to remind you that on Thursday the Department will be sponsoring a Regional Town Meeting for the press, and especially for press outside the Beltway -- but all of you inside the Beltway are welcome as well; and the Secretary of State will be giving the leadoff address at 8:45 a.m. Thursday morning in the Loy Henderson Auditorium.

At this point, I am not inclined to do a daily press briefing on Thursday because you'll have a variety of people from the Department, including the Secretary and Dennis Ross and Joan Spero and Jim Steinberg ON THE RECORD about all these different issues. If there is some kind of universal wish for a briefing, we can entertain that request. I don't expect that to happen, however.

Assistant Secretary Winston Lord will be here with us tomorrow at l2:30 to brief on the Secretary's trip to Indonesia and Australia. My briefing will follow immediately thereafter.

I want to announce a change of policy regarding how we conduct the press briefing. This is a change in ground rules governing what you members of the press can and cannot say during the briefing and what you can and cannot use. As you know, for several decades we've had an embargo in place here that has restricted reporting on the contents of the briefing until the end of the briefing itself, until its conclusion. I have decided, after talking with many of the journalists in question, to do away with this embargo. This change, I believe, will give all news organizations the right to play in a level playing field and it will give everyone equal access to the news. So effective tomorrow this briefing can be carried live by any news organizations without first asking us. You can also leave the briefing at any time to report on any of the contents of the briefing, or someone else listening beyond this room in any kind of news outlet -- whether it be a wire, a newspaper, radio or TV -- can use any part of the briefing during the briefing.

So there's a fairly fundamental change. I gave this a lot of thought. I talked to a lot of people. There was a vote by the State Department Correspondents Association, and there was a very slim majority in support of this change and I've decided to come down on that side of the house.

Carol.

Q Just for the record, I just want to state at least the objections of the wires to this. You said this would give everybody a level playing field. Everyone has always had a level playing field if they wanted to come here and participate, and I think that this will only harm the people who seriously participate in the briefings.

MR. BURNS: Duly noted, and I very much respect your point of view.

I hope very much that this change will actually help those who cover foreign policy seriously and those who come to the briefings.

Q (Inaudible) because he had a grab-and-run situation. You know, you're going to say two words and someone's going to run and file it; and sometimes those two words need some nuances, which can't be done all in one gulp. One of the benefits of the old system here was that there was a chance to accept it if it was really hot news when there was an opportunity to take a break. This is great for sound bites, but the point of the regular -- having a briefing without a free-for-all -- was to give you and the press an opportunity to get into a subject until it was pretty much exhausted. And now, I'll tell you, the first words out of your mouth are liable to go crashing around the world; and there might be a point you want to make, a corollary point, and it's going to have to chase it, and I hope it catches up with it.

MR. BURNS: Let's see how it works.

Q Sure.

MR. BURNS: We gave this a lot of thought, Barry; and I think that we were the last agency --

Q Right.

MR. BURNS: -- that I know of in Washington that had this embargo in place. I think it was somewhat of an anachronism, given the explosion of all the different media that cover foreign affairs now and the demand for almost an hour-by-hour coverage of foreign affairs. I think it makes sense for the Department of State --

Q But what's going on --

MR. BURNS: -- and, obviously, I took this action because I think it makes sense for those of us who work in the press operations here at the State Department.

Q So this applies to briefings given by other folks as well.

MR. BURNS: This applies to anything that's done from this podium, and it will take effect tomorrow, July l7.

Q I would like to associate myself with the comments of Carol and Barry and to say that the effect is going to be that you will have less and less people in here to ask questions, and I wonder whether there's any relationship between your announcement and the opening up of MSNBC. We all obviously cater to the networks.

MR. BURNS: Sid, I feel that we cater to the wires as well as catering to the networks and the major newspapers. I think we do. We make a good effort, as you know, on trips and here in Washington to try to be fair to all representatives of the various media who cover us.

I think there have been various times when the wires have benefited from information that we've given you. There are other times when, clearly, the TV or radio may have. We try to be fair about this process.

I was asked to make this decision by your Correspondents Association because your Correspondents Association voted on this -- 7 to 6, as I understand it, among the people who were there that day -- and 7 people voted to change, and 6 people voted to keep the old system.

I have decided to agree with the 7, and I'm mindful of the concerns of the wires because I did talk to a senior wire reporter a couple of times about this. I even had a written communication from you on this.

I talked to representatives of the TV and radio media -- some of the people in the room today -- who favor the change, and I don't take it lightly. It has nothing to do with the arrival of MSNBC at all, because I was asked to make this decision two months ago; and, frankly, when I started considering it I was inclined to keep the embargo. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to make the change.

Q It's your thought by now, but since you brought the vote up -- it's just for the record -- during that vote there was not one representative of an major American newspaper in that room to vote.

MR. BURNS: Sid, I was not present. I did not engineer the vote. This was a vote by your Correspondents Association; I had nothing to do with it. So if you have a complaint about that, you should direct it to your own colleagues.

Q So the newspaper editors who read these transcripts understood no -- that there were no newspapers represented during that vote.

MR. BURNS: All I can say is, Sid, that's up to you correspondents. I mean your association has to govern itself. We have nothing to do with your association, as you know.

Q Can we move on?

MR. BURNS: I'd like to -- I'd like to. I actually have a couple more things to say.

Q Oh, I'm sorry.

MR. BURNS: I have a couple of announcements.

Q Well, I just want to go out and file some things, so -- (laughter).

Q Hey, Barry, do you think it will rain this afternoon?

MR. BURNS: You have to call for a filing break until tomorrow. No, old rules are in place today.

Q Well, then, let's just go along leisurely and talk more. (Laughter)

Q Correct. (Laughter)

MR. BURNS: Thank you, Barry. Thank you. You'll be in a good mood tomorrow when Clemens beats Jimmy Key tonight.

I wanted to let you know that officials of the Bosnian Federation and officials of the private consulting firm MPRI signed a contract today in Sarajevo to effectively put into place the equip and train program for the Federation. This marks the beginning of the train and equip program.

The term of the contract is for l3 months, with an option for the Federation to extend for up to an additional year. The contract will be funded by international donors.

I expect that the total value of the contract will be roughly $400 million. Of that, $l00 million has been pledged by the United States Government.

Again, the train and equip program, we believe, is an essential effort to create a level playing field for the various military forces in the area once IFOR leaves. That's why we've worked so well with Turkey and with Saudi Arabia and other Moslem countries to try to build up support for this program.

When IFOR leaves, we don't want to have an incentive for any of the various parties to attack another. If we can raise the level of the Federation military capabilities, we believe that a deterrent capability will be in place that will help us preserve the peace.

Last, I just wanted to let you know Dick Holbrooke is on the first leg of his journey, his trip through the Balkans this week. He met in Brussels this morning with the NATO Secretary General, Secretary General Solana and with General Joulwan. They met at the Brussels airport.

I think as a result of the meeting, it is clear that the United States and NATO are in complete agreement that the Dayton Accords need tighter enforcement by the signatories of the Dayton Accords, by the parties to them; and you'll see from some of the public comments made by Secretary General Solana and General Joulwan that they fully support Secretary Christopher's decision to send Dick Holbrooke to the region.

Dick went on to Sarajevo. He met with Carl Bildt, with Bob Frowick, with Michael Steiner, the Deputy High Representative. He met with Admiral Smith and General Carter and received a military briefing from them. He is now in a meeting with President Izetbegovic and Mr. Ganic, and after that meeting he'll meet Haris Silajdzic who, as you know, is now an opposition political leader inside of Bosnia.

Again, the Secretary decided to send Dick to impress upon the parties, particularly the Serbs and the Bosnian Serbs our belief that much more vigorous efforts are needed to comply with the Dayton Accords, and our belief that the Bosnian Serbs and the Serbs are failing. They are failing in their compliance with the Dayton Accords, particularly on the issue of the war criminals -- the indicted war criminals who have not been turned over to the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal for prosecution.

Secretary Christopher is keeping abreast of Mr. Holbrooke's trip to the region. Secretary Christopher, of course, is seeing Admiral Lopez today. He wants to get a firsthand account from Admiral Lopez about his plans to enforce the Dayton Accords, and I expect that Secretary Christopher will have a report from Dick Holbrooke by the end of this week on his trip to the region.

Q You speak of a more vigorous effort required. Will NATO make a more vigorous effort to carry out the obligation of apprehending for trial war crimes suspects, particularly Karadzic and Mladic, or will they still wait for him to ski right into their laps? MR. BURNS: No skiing this summer, Barry. I can tell you this: I think the proper way to look at this question, just to argue for a minute, is to put the responsibility in the lap of the people -- the leaders who signed the Dayton Accords. They are contractually responsible as signatories to turn these people over, and the proper press and public attention should be focused on them first and foremost.

Secondly, NATO rules have not changed on that issue. They're well known. I can go into them if you'd like.

Q Well, but no change. No change. You know, there was the last change, which wasn't really a change, because it didn't have any effect, was more active patrolling. I don't think it resulted in apprehension of anybody, unless I'm wrong. So the rules have been changed, and more than the rules, you know, this sort of modus operandi haven't changed so far as they see them and they can't get out of the way, I guess they'll arrest them.

MR. BURNS: That's not the policy.

Q What is it? I mean, it's incredible --

MR. BURNS: The one change that we can point you to is from the Secretary's trip to Geneva on June 1 when we said publicly, I think, for the first time that Admiral Smith had ordered an increase of patrols in the Bosnian Serb-held areas, including in Pale, and that has taken effect. There have been increased patrols, and you can check with NATO on the facts and figures to buttress that claim.

There has been no change in the rules of engagement for IFOR forces pertaining to war criminals, and they will apprehend them if they encounter them.

Q On the rules, Nick, General Nash is quoted in The New York Times this morning as saying that the military is capable of conducting I think what he called a "military snatch job" on Karadzic and Mladic, if ordered to do so. Is that an option?

MR. BURNS: I do want to try to strike down one thing. I think there have been a lot of press reports about a supposed new suggestion by France that this should now be an option that NATO should consider, and I understand that that is not the position of the French Government; that no such suggestion has been put forward in NATO circles.

I think Holbrooke said it best in Brussels today. Under Annex 1-A of the Dayton Accords, the IFOR Commander on the scene has the option to take any measures necessary to enforce compliance with the Dayton Accords. He has a fairly broad mandate, and I think it's useful to keep that in mind, and it's useful for the Bosnian Serbs and the Serb leadership to understand that and to remember that aspect of the Dayton Accords.

Q Nick, what I kind of keep in mind is the Secretary saying several months ago that for there to be a democratic process and for people to have faith in this new arrangement, and for the peace to last, they have to see war criminals brought to trial and brought to justice; that it's a test of the system, and it's a very important message for people embarked on -- what is it? -- essentially a new arrangement.

Isn't it likely you're going to have elections with Karadzic and Mladic still hanging out?

MR. BURNS: I think it is useful to remember those words. No country has done more than the United States to try to make peace with justice -- justice being a very important component of the outcome here, a reality. No country has done more than the United States to support Justice Goldstone and the Tribunal -- and I think you all ought to remember that when you report on this.

I believe that the necessary steps will be taken to make sure that these elections are free, and that they are fair. The campaign has been suspended -- the beginning of the campaign -- until Friday.

After that, if the associates of Karadzic have not taken steps to relieve him of his responsibilities or to convince him to do so unilaterally, then I think it's a fairly good bet that his political party will be outlawed for the elections. I think they are mindful of that message now, and we hope it will have some impact on their thinking and on their actions.

Q Two questions. One, as you said, no suggestion was made in NATO by France or anyone else presumably for a "snatch operation." Any suggestions outside of NATO?

MR. BURNS: Really, the only meaningful place would be in NATO, because NATO controls the military forces -- the 60,000 troops in the area. I'm not aware of any suggestion within NATO to change the present rules of engagement.

Q Secondly, you said the obligation rests upon signatories to enforce Dayton. That raises the question, when does Holbrooke go to Belgrade?

MR. BURNS: Holbrooke is in Sarajevo today, Belgrade tomorrow and Brioni on Thursday.

Q Nick, on -- I find what you said earlier in answer to my question -- you said that IFOR has the ability to do whatever it wants. Would its latitude include conducting such an operation or "snatch job," "military snatch"?

MR. BURNS: I would just like to leave it where I had it, which is that IFOR -- the parties must understand that IFOR will do whatever it takes to enforce the Dayton Accords. We would prefer it if the parties took matters into their own hands, for instance on the issue of war criminals, and took the responsibility of turning these people over to The Hague -- took that personally.

Now, that's something that Mr. Milosevic can do. It's something that the Bosnian Serb leadership beneath Karadzic can do, and we hope that they'll come around to that decision. If they don't, we retain a variety of options at our own disposal to make sure the Dayton Accords are adhered to.

Q Nick, you gave out a figure of $400 million for the arm-and-train program. I know about the $100 from the U.S., the 140 that --

MR. BURNS: $100 million.

Q -- Lake and company collected when they were out in the region and 120 from this other unnamed Gulf country, but where is the rest coming from? Did you get some more money in there?

MR. BURNS: We think the rough package right now is $400 million, and that's from all sources, and it's a variety of money, as you know.

Q Have you got any new money in the last two weeks?

MR. BURNS: We have received some new allocations just in the last couple of weeks.

Q And besides this Gulf country, what else?

MR. BURNS: I'm not in a position to go into all of -- you know, a detailed breakdown except to say that we issued a statement last week on I think five of the contributors beyond the United States who have given a substantial sum of money. I can refer you to that.

Q There's only one donor country that hasn't been publicly identified, is that right?

MR. BURNS: I don't know. I know that one has definitely not been publicly identified. There may be others, but I know of one where that is actually the case, yes.

Q Nick, you were asked yesterday about how much Holbrooke had been paid in his capacity as a formal official consultant to the United States. Were you able to give an answer to that?

MR. BURNS: He's an unpaid consultant to the United States. He's not paid; unpaid.

Q (Inaudible)

MR. BURNS: He is a consultant on a voluntary basis. When he travels in the region, as he's doing now, he gets per diem. You know what per diem is -- it covers hotel and meals. He's not paid for his services. He's very well paid by his current employer.

Yes, Charlie.

Q Nick, you've spent a lot of time talking about the possibilities to marginalize, to use an old word here, Mr. Karadzic if he doesn't step aside voluntarily and to marginalize his party and to count him out.

What about General Mladic? Can he remain "General Mladic in power" as the elections approach? If Karadzic does indeed either step aside voluntarily or if somebody removes him or if his party removes him, can Mladic still remain there since he's an appointed person?

MR. BURNS: Our preference is for Mladic to also step aside, to be removed from his position of influence, and our preference is for him to end up in The Hague as well, in the dock. That's our preference. We're not going to allow the continued presence of any of these indicted war criminals, however, to derail the elections themselves. The elections are important. They must go forward, and we believe they will.

Q So in theory, he can still be "General Mladic in power" even if he's in his bunker and elections could go forward?

MR. BURNS: I think you could design a hypothetical future where that is the case. It's not our preference, but we're not going to allow his -- if he does stay in Bosnia, we're not going to allow that to derail the elections themselves. If we did that, if we chose that avenue, we'd be giving them a fairly strong veto power over the wishes of the international community, which we will not do.

Q Now that the train-and-equip program is on, do you know if Turkey will receive any U.S. funds for its already ongoing program?

MR. BURNS: I do not, but I can certainly take that question and get you an answer to it.

Bill.

Q Yes. Nick, going back to this "snatch" idea --

MR. BURNS: But we don't want to go back to that idea. (Laughter)

Q Huh? What?

MR. BURNS: We don't want to go back to that idea. We've already answered that question. Jim asked that question twice.

Q Let me try this. Let me try this. Is it the policy --

MR. BURNS: And I didn't answer it really, did I, Jim? Not to Jim's satisfaction at least.

Q Well, is it the policy of this country, the recommendation -- that these two major war criminals -- indicted war criminals be captured alive, taken and tried alive rather than in absentia, and doesn't it in fact risk martyrdom to have some kind of a trap whereby these men might be caught in a firefight, and the Serbs then be very angry about the whole situation?

MR. BURNS: Bill, we think they should end up in The Hague. That's our preference here --

Q Alive.

MR. BURNS: Well, yes. I mean, we think they should face the charges of the international community and face the judgment of the international community. We believe they'll be convicted if they do face trial.

Q You would favor that these men be captured without harm, is that correct?

MR. BURNS: Out of power -- out of influence, out of power, out of the country, in The Hague. That's the easiest way to describe the policy.

Q Colombian officials in a (inaudible) delegation from the airlines are here today in meetings about the -- to discuss the routes between New York and Bogota. What result is the State Department expecting from these meetings today?

MR. BURNS: From the meetings with the Colombian officials today?

Q Yes.

MR. BURNS: If you're asking about a specific meeting that we're having, I'll have to ask our Latin America Bureau to get that information for you. We took the decision last week to take very strong action against President Samper, but we are committed to continuing to work with his government and with him from time to time to further our interests in fighting the narcotics traffickers.

So you'll see us doing business with Colombia. I just don't have any specific comment on this particular meeting.

Q Another 24 visas were canceled for Colombian officials. Is the State Department making this list public?

MR. BURNS: Last week we did note that several other Colombian officials beyond President Samper had had their visas revoked, and I named those officials, and I'd just refer you to the announcement I made last Thursday on that. But I have no other names to give you.

Q He thinks 31 more people have had their visas revoked -- Colombian officials. Is that the figure?

MR. BURNS: I have nothing for you on that.

Q Why not?

MR. BURNS: Why not?

Q Yes. (Laughter)

MR. BURNS: I'm sorry, Sid. I have nothing for you on that. I have no information on it -- it's not extraordinary. If you'd like me to make up information, Sid, we can turn this into a fictitious briefing. I try to give a factual briefing.

Q Do that tomorrow.

MR. BURNS: I have no facts. (Laughter) I have no facts at my disposal.

Q Do you have anything more on Dhahran, specifically foreign influence --

MR. BURNS: I don't.

Q A foreign involvement.

MR. BURNS: No, nothing more to say on that than what we have said in days past.

Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:26 p.m.)

(###)

To the top of this page