U.S. Department of State 96/07/26 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Friday, July 26, 1996 Briefer: Nicholas Burns ANNOUNCEMENTS US Senate Vote on Burmese Sanctions Amendment................. 1 Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's Visit/Mtgs................. 2 German Govt's Decision to Contribute to Training Support for Federation Forces in Bosnia............................. 2-3 Press Stmts Released: Situation in Niger Following Elections/ Situation in Liberia & Rpts on Intl Contact Group Mtg/ Situation in Chad Following Elections....................... 3 Release of Foreign Relations Volume on Intelligence........... 3 BURUNDI Update on Situation: --Amb Hughes' Mtg w/Major Buyoya/US Condemns the Coup d'Etat/ Spec Envoy Wolpe to Return to Region/US' Ongoing Discussions & Support of Arusha Peace Process/US Review of Humanitarian Aid & IMET/GOB's Future Plans on Ending Ethnic Violence..... 3-8,17 --All AmCits Safe/Warden System in Effect..................... 4 --President Ntibantunganya Remains at Amb's Residence/ Departure Plans............................................. 4-5 MEXICO Domenici Amendment to FY 97 Foreign Operations Bill........... 9 --Contact Group Established on Issues Against Counter-Narcotics/Upcoming Mtgs............................. 9 --Extradition of National Garcia Abriego & Others............. 9 COLOMBIA ForMin Maria Emma Mejia's Mtgs on Relations with US: --Need for GOC to Strengthen Laws Against Drug Traffickers.... 10-12 --Pres Samper's Revoked Visa/GOC's Actions Needed to Remove Revocation.................................................. 11 NORTH/SOUTH KOREA Foreign Ops Bill Restores KEDO Funding........................ 13,17 Allegations of South Korean Embassy of Investigating Reporters Asking About KEDO or Situation in the North................. 17 No Agreement Yet on Participation in Four-Party Talks......... 16-17 Talks re MIAs................................................. 17 IRAN/LIBYA Pres Clinton to Sign Bill on Sanctions/US to Counter Terrorist Group Support Being Given To Others......................... 13 Libyan Citizens Responsible for Bomb on Pan Am Flight 103 Being Harbored.............................................. 14 SYRIA Remarks on US Policy/Sanctions Against Not Working............ 14 HAITI Alleged Article re Emilio Constant/US Position on Constant's Deportation................................................. 15 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Situation in Mostar/US Supports European Union................ 15-16 A/S Kornblum's Travel/Mtgs in the Region...................... 16 --Update on Karadzic.......................................... 16 ARMS CONTROL US/Russian Joint Stmt on CTBT/Ongoing Negotiations with India. 17-18 BURMA Secretary Christopher/Spec Envoy Brown's Talks at ASEAN re Democratic Countries Being Able to Speak Out/US Support for Aung San Suu Kyi and Natl League for Democracy.............. 18-19 US Debating Humanitarian & Counter-Narcotics Assistance, Promoting Human Rights & Democracy, and Sanctions........... 19-20
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING DPB #122 FRIDAY, JULY 26, 1996, 1:10 P. M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BURNS: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department briefing. I've got a couple of brief announcements to make, and then I'll go to your questions.
The first concerns the vote by the U.S. Senate last night on a Burma sanctions amendment. This amendment was offered by Senator Cohen of Maine, and it provides the Administration the flexibility that we need to press the Burmese regime to make progress in the areas of democracy and human rights and counter-narcotics.
For this reason, the Clinton Administration is very much supporting the amendment offered by Senator Cohen. It's an important amendment. You remember this is an issue that Secretary Christopher raised with all of our partners at the ASEAN meetings this week in Jakarta. The action taken by the Senate is very much consistent with the message that Secretary Christopher delivered in Jakarta this week, and that is that the international community ought to be concerned by the human rights situation in Burma and by the actions of the Burmese Government to violate the human rights of Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League of Democracy and others in Burma who stand for democracy and human rights.
This amendment provides for sanctions on new U.S. investment if the Government of Burma has physically harmed, rearrested for political acts, or exiled Aung San Suu Kyi or has committed large-scale repression or violence against the democratic opposition. We think that this flexibility given to us by the Congress, this flexibility to undertake these kinds of measures in the future should the authorities in Burma cross a certain line, will be a helpful instrument to U.S. diplomacy towards Burma.
We supported this amendment to send a very clear signal to the military authorities in Burma that action against Aung San Suu Kyi or large-scale repression of the opposition will lead to a strong United States response.
I'll be glad to take any questions on this should you wish to go into it.
I want to remind you that the President of Egypt will be visiting Washington in just a couple of days. President Hosni Mubarak is scheduled to arrive here on Sunday. He'll have meetings on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday of next week -- an official working visit. Secretary Christopher is returning early from his Asia trip and will see him on Monday, and will also participate in the President's meeting with him on Tuesday. He has a very large and important delegation with him, and I believe that Vice President Gore will be having a session of the Gore-Mubarak Commission, which is one of the three commissions that the Vice President has, along with the commissions with Russia and South Africa.
In addition to meetings with the President and the Vice President and Secretary Christopher, President Mubarak will also be seeing Secretary of Commerce Mickey Kantor, Congressional leaders and various American business organizations.
Our discussions with President Mubarak are going to focus primarily on our mutual effort to see progress in the Middle East peace negotiations; also on our common fight against terrorism. We'll talk to him about some other regional problems in the Middle East, and we'll also be talking to him about the upcoming Cairo economic summit that will be held in the autumn of this year.
In addition to that announcement, I wanted to draw your attention to a decision made by the German Government that was announced this morning in Bonn by the German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe. That decision is that Germany has decided that Germany will now contribute training support for Federation forces in Bosnia.
This is a very important decision. It's the first time that a European Government has stood up and agreed that the Bosnian Federation military forces do require training, so that at the time when IFOR forces depart, there will be a level playing field, and the military capacities and capabilities of the Federation forces will have been enhanced.
The United States welcomes this decision by the German Government, by Minister Ruehe, and we look forward to working with the German Government in order to help the Bosnian military forces enhance their capabilities.
I also just wanted to point out to you -- I will not read them -- that we issued three press statements late last evening on African affairs: one on the situation in Niger in the aftermath of the elections there; a second on the situation in Liberia that reports on the international Contact Group meeting that was held here on July 18; and a third on the situation in Chad following the elections in Chad.
Finally, there's also a press statement available to you. The Department of State is issuing today another volume of our "Foreign Relations of the United States" series. This covers the period 1961 to 1963, and it deals with United States policy in this hemisphere, in Latin America. I commend it to you, and there is a press statement -- a fairly lengthy press statement that describes this volume to you.
Q: Did the Ambassador in Burundi have his meeting with the new military leader, and, if so, what did you learn from that meeting, and do you have any comments on the press conference held by the new leadership there?
MR. BURNS: Yes. Ambassador Hughes went in this morning and saw Major Pierre Buyoya and had a long conversation with him on the situation in Burundi. As a result of that conversation, I would just like to reiterate that the United States strongly condemns the coup d'etat by military forces in concert with various political figures in Burundi.
We regret very much that these military and civilian leaders did not choose to resolve their political differences through established constitutional mechanisms that have existed in Burundi for a number of years. We believe that politicians there and military figures should use established constitutional and legal means to reach consensus on issues of national importance.
The United States believes that all parties in Burundi must now work together to end the violence and engage immediately in efforts to try to achieve national reconciliation. We expect them to protect the lives of American citizens and of other foreigners in the capital and throughout the countryside.
We would hope that they would act to maintain the democratic institutions of the country, although it looks like the leaders of the coup are not headed in that direction. We would hope very much that the leaders of the coup would enter into peaceful negotiations with the established political leaders of the country for some kind of resolution of this political crisis.
As you know, President Clinton had decided to dispatch his special envoy, Howard Wolpe, to the region for discussions and negotiations over the course of the next couple of days. He'll be traveling to meet with former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. He'll also be traveling to Burundi for discussions with the authorities who took over yesterday.
We are closely involved in discussions with African governments and with others around the world, including in the United Nations, to try to see what together we can do to use our influence to produce a positive outcome to this very sorry situation.
The United States remains committed to the Arusha peace process, which has been organized by African states in the region. We continue, as I said, to support the mediation of former President Nyerere. I can also tell you that the situation in the city of Bujumbura this morning is relatively calm.
The airport remains temporarily closed, although I understand the problem is more that flights are able to come in but people are not able to leave. They're allowing, apparently, non-Burundians to enter the country but not allowing Burundians to depart the country.
As far as we can determine -- and we've been in contact with all American citizens in the country -- all American citizens are safe. They have not been threatened in any way. We expect the situation to stay that way, and we have asked the new authorities to make sure that Americans and other foreigners are protected.
Yesterday, I think I told you that the number of Americans is 80. That is the permanent American population that lives there. I understand there are probably an additional 11 or 12 people who are there temporarily -- American citizens -- just passing through or on temporary duty attached to our Embassy. That would bring the total population today to, I think, 92 people in Burundi, but a permanent population of 80.
We do have a warden system in effect. We have contacted all these people, and we'll stay in touch with them.
As for President Ntibantunganya, he remains at the residence of Ambassador Hughes. He is there with three of his advisers. I understand that other members of his government have taken refuge in other Embassies in Bujumbura. He is welcome to stay in our Embassy residence as long as he wishes to stay there. We will not ask him to leave. We will remain in contact with him, and we hope very much that he and the people who led the coup yesterday might be able to engage in some kind of political dialogue in the days ahead.
Do you have a follow-up, George, or is that -- Sid.
Q: Why is the United States engaging with the people who have undertaken this coup rather than isolating them as you all threatened two days ago?
MR. BURNS: Sid, I don't know what you mean by the word "engage," but let me tell you that our Ambassador, Rusty Hughes, was invited to two meetings with Major Buyoya -- one yesterday and one today, as you know.
We felt it was in our interest to go to those meetings, because the reality is that a new group of people have taken power in Burundi. Since we have an interest in trying to end the possibility of massacres and to use our influence to see political stability return to the country, we felt it was in our interest to have conversations with him and his advisers.
That does not mean that the United States favors the course that they have taken. We have strongly condemned the course that they have taken, but we will remain in contact with those leaders.
When Mr. Wolpe returns from his trip, which I would expect to be in a week's time or so, then, of course, he would report back to the President and Secretary of State and perhaps suggest some way forward in terms of the options that the United States clearly still retains.
We have the ability, should we wish, to try to cut off the very little economic assistance -- humanitarian assistance largely -- that is currently in place. We have, I think, on a more practical basis the option of working with the African countries and some European governments to consider what other response the international community might want to take.
In terms of what we have done to date in the country, I believe we've pledged $3 million in 1996 for humanitarian aid programs for Burundi and $50,000 for international military and educational training -- IMET. Both of those programs are now under review because of the events of the last two days.
Q: Aren't you sort of caught on the horns of a dilemma here? If you do follow up on this threat to isolate Burundi, should you choose to, then that would just -- and pull out and cease (inaudible) -- that would just sort of open the door to further ethnic slaughter. So in practice, your interest in preventing that sort of slaughter outweighs any sort of squeamishness you might have about dealing with the Major and his people.
MR. BURNS: I think it goes without saying that one of the prime interests that the United States and other Western countries have in Burundi is to make sure that our actions are fully consistent with our interests in forestalling any kind of massacre or any kind of repetition of what happened in Rwanda in the spring of 1994. That's a very high interest and a real interest that all of us have.
Therefore, I think it does behoove us to remain engaged and to continue to talk to the people who are ruling Burundi; and that, I'm sure, will continue. We would like to try to use our influence to motivate them to maintain the established constitutional processes and the institutions that frankly were a welcome departure from the history of Burundi. In the last couple of years, the Hutus and Tutsis have worked together in one government and have shared power.
With the coup yesterday, the preponderance of that power has shifted to one of the groups -- the Tutsis -- and it is tragic, really, that that has happened. It's most unfortunate that that has happened. So I think on a practical basis, we will have to work with these people, but we will hopefully be able to do so in such a way that they are motivated to listen to us -- all of us in the international community -- and motivated to put their attention and their efforts into trying to limit ethnic conflict and the type of massacres -- and there's no other word for them -- that we have seen over the last several years and more recently over the last several weeks.
Q: Also on the question of IMET, International Military Education and Training, did Major Buyoya ever -- was he ever in that program here in the United States? Can you say how many Burundians --
MR. BURNS: I don't believe he was. I believe he was trained in Europe --
Q: Are there Burundians --
MR. BURNS: -- in Belgium.
Q: -- members of the Burundian military, the group that has undertaken this coup, currently being trained in the United States?
MR. BURNS: I don't know, but that program is under review. When I say "under review," we're looking into whether or not that program should go forward. We've only had 24 hours, of course, to react to the events there.
Q: Nick, give your stated preference for an end to and a ceasing of the ethnic violence and slaughter there and the return to stability, doesn't that exactly match what Major Buyoya said his goals are as well?
And, secondly, given his record historically in the country, does the United States tend to accept his statement of plans for the country, or is there a great deal of skepticism about what he is saying?
MR. BURNS: We listened carefully to what he said in his press conference -- in his speech, actually -- this morning. We take note of what he said.
What will be important, of course, is what he does -- his actions, the actions of the people that now lead the government. If they will act to end ethnic violence and to restrain both the armed forces and the rebel groups that are operating in the countryside, that, of course, will be a welcome step forward.
However, the United States is not in a position and is not inclined to applaud the illegal and unconstitutional overthrow of legitimate leaders, and that's what happened yesterday. That's why we strongly condemn the coup d'etat. It didn't have to come to this. There were other ways for the current group that has taken over to achieve their political ends. There was a political order in place to do that. That was a power-sharing order that made sense for this particular country that has seen so much ethnic violence.
So we're going to have to judge them, Steve, by their actions and by their record. We hope that their actions are as good as the words. Of course, in this situation, there's no way of telling whether or not their actions will meet their rhetoric.
Q: Is Ambassador Hughes working to establish a dialogue between the former President and the coup leaders since he is resident at the Ambassador's house?
MR. BURNS: I think he is certainly positioned to do that should the two wish for that to happen. It's a little bit unclear what attitude and posture the new authorities will take towards the President.
The President is a guest of the United States, in the residence of Ambassador Hughes. If both the President and these coup leaders wish us to at least be a conduit of information, I'm sure that we would agree to do that. I don't, however, know if that is, in fact, occurring on any significant basis at this time.
Q: Isn't it kind of unusual to put humanitarian assistance under review? Doesn't this amount to punishing people for events which they had nothing to do with?
MR. BURNS: We've put the humanitarian assistance, which is given to the Government of Burundi -- there are other ways of conveying humanitarian assistance to people who need it. A very effective way is through non-governmental organizations that are objective, that aren't part of the political scene there and that are international.
I think, George, we certainly want to continue that kind of thing. But if there are programs that are currently being funneled through the government, then that might be a program that you want to look into.
But again, we've made no decisions but they're under review, which tells you that we're seriously looking at the rationale for continuing them.
MR. BURNS: Yes. I think certainly IMET, of course. It's a very, very small sum of money. But, nevertheless, we want to be in a position to have our actions be consistent with our rhetoric. That's also a goal that all governments should aspire to.
Any more on Burundi? Can we leave? Yes, sir.
Q: On Mexico. Do you have any reaction to the amendment that was approved last night by the Senate on the Foreign Operations appropriations bill asking the President of the United States to stop foreign aid to Mexico until the Mexican Government extradites the most powerful drug lords, and also establishing a six-month period for the Mexican Government to apprehend and prosecute those drug lords?
MR. BURNS: I believe you're referring to the Domenici Amendment to the Fiscal Year '97 Foreign Operations Bill.
The Clinton Administration strongly opposes the Domenici Amendment. U.S.-Mexican cooperation in the fight against drugs, narcotics trafficking, has never been better than it is right now. U.S. interests, we believe, are well served by this cooperation that we have already achieved with the Zedillo government which we believe the Domenici Amendment would imperil for the following reasons.
This amendment would impose extraordinary requirements on the Mexican Government in terms of the operations of its own judicial system. It would give ammunition to those in Mexico who continue to resist President Zedillo's strong commitment to cooperation with the United States in the fight against drugs.
The Domenici Amendment would also impose a certification requirement on a foreign head of state. That would be an unprecedented act, in our experience, and one which would be very unwise.
We're working closely with the Mexican Government to expand our cooperation against drug traffickers. When the President certified that Mexico is cooperating in the fight against drugs earlier this year, he ordered the establishment of a high-level Contact Group on drug cooperation with Mexico.
That group has made solid progress on the issue of extraditions, on law enforcement, on money laundering, and in other areas that are pertinent to the fight against drugs.
The second meeting of this group is scheduled for next week in Washington. Director McCaffrey -- General McCaffrey -- and Deputy Attorney General Gorelick -- Jamie Gorelick -- will chair the U.S. side of this meeting.
We think that, actually, we're doing quite well with Mexico. Over the past year, Mexico has extradited Mexican nationals to the United States for the very first time on the issue of narcotics. They have expelled to the United States Juan Garcia Abriego who is one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted drug kingpins.
If you look at the record of what we've been able to do with Mexico and you match it against the extraordinary intrusions into the Mexican judicial system that the
Domenici Amendment would require, I think the answer is quite clear. We ought to continue with our present course of action, and we'll continue to oppose the Domenici Amendment.
Q: The Foreign Minister of Colombia has been in town. This was her last day. She mentioned at the press conference this morning that her original intention in coming here was to improve relations.
Do you think that she did manage to do that at any level?
MR. BURNS: I think it's too early to make any determination that somehow U.S.-Colombian relations have improved by any significant extent.
The visit of the Minister was a welcome visit. It's always important to have communication. She met the people who matter at the sub-ministerial level here, certainly -- Assistant Secretary Gelbard, Assistant Secretary Davidow, John Shattuck, General McCaffrey, Jim Dobbins of the NSC. They listened to her and she listened to us.
Our message was, if we see a pattern of actual efforts, concrete efforts, to improve Colombia's performance on narcotics, then there will be an improvement in our relationship. But meetings don't improve relationships. Actions improve relationships, and that's how we're going to judge the Samper government.
Q: She said in the press conference today that some of the requests made by the U.S. Government are impossible to be met. For instance, Colombia cannot extradite Colombian nationals to the United States. At the same time, she mentioned that Colombia has introduced laws to toughen the sentences of drug traffickers.
Given that scenario, what would be your reaction?
MR. BURNS: We would just respectfully suggest that it's a good thing to toughen your laws. It's a better thing to make sure that when you implement the laws that are on the books, you're taking tough actions.
Some of the drug sentences have been remarkably mild against the drug kingpins -- two and three years, living in very plush prisons, operating their narcotics trafficking networks from prison. That's not a tough sentence.
The best laws and the toughest laws in the world will mean nothing if the Samper Government doesn't implement them in a tough way.
So we would respectfully request that the Colombian Government take some actions, real actions, against the drug kingpins.
Q: Specifically, what would the Colombians have to do to have the visa of President Samper lifted?
MR. BURNS: He is not welcome to come to the United States because of the fact that drug money influenced his campaign and drug money has influenced his actions in government. Until we see some fundamental change there, I know that our decision will stand.
Q: Nick, she also mentioned that the suspension of the visa of President Samper was a symbolic action by the United States. Do you agree with that?
MR. BURNS: If he had no intention to travel to the United States, then you might read it as a symbolic action. But in international politics, symbolism is sometimes quite important. The symbolism of the United States publicly declaring that a head of state of another country is no longer welcomed here -- it was a quite powerful signal and, really, almost unprecedented signal to send.
We hope that the message behind the symbolism is felt and understood in Bogota, and we think that it has been. So I wouldn't diminish the power of symbolism.
Q: The visa issue. Is there something Samper has to do for himself, or is the country? When you say that he has to do something, does it mean that he personally has to do something or the country has to do any other thing?
MR. BURNS: The government. The government that he heads has to have a much better record in fighting the narco-traffickers that it has to date. Despite some of the positive rhetoric of the past week during the Minister's visit, we need to see positive action.
Q: (Inaudible) choose a person, that you want that the country do something; choose the country but not the person?
MR. BURNS: Because he's head of the government; because he was elected with drug money, and because drug money has affected his decision-making once he's been President. That's a very serious charge to make, but we have made it, as you know. We made it the justification of our decision to deny him a visa. We've made it because we think the issue of counter-narcotics is important to the
United States. It's important to every man, woman, and child in this country.
We wouldn't have made the decision had drugs not become such a problem in our own society.
Part of the solution is an American solution: reduce demand here. Part of the solution is for Colombia and other Latin governments to get their own houses in order. We can work together on this. We've not seen that kind of commitment from President Samper and his government. That's why we took the action we did.
Q: Realistically, can relations improve between the United States and Colombia while the President of that country is not allowed to enter the country -- this country?
MR. BURNS: It's up to the government of Colombia to make it in our interest to improve the relationship by its actions. So, yes, the relationship can improve if their actions improve.
Q: When you talked about the Domenici Amendment, you referred to the fact that you oppose that intrusion presented in that amendment. But in Colombia, there's a lot of people that believe that all your actions are intrusions in the actions in Colombia -- in the Government of Colombia. How do you respond to those --
MR. BURNS: I respond to it by saying that the actions of the Colombian Government to go soft on the drug kingpins affect inter-city kids in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, California, Boston, Massachusetts.
What Samper does or does not do has a direct effect on the ability of the drug kingpins to get cocaine and other drugs into the United States that have wreaked havoc with an entire younger generation of mainly poor kids in the United States. If that's not in the interest of the United States, then I don't know what it is.
We have a right to speak out when our citizens are being affected by the negligence of another government. That's what at stake here.
The Colombian people have to understand that what they do or don't do does affect the United States and vice versa. So we have an absolute right to speak out and to take the actions that we're taking. This is a matter of national security. We're protecting our citizens, and there's no more fundamental obligation of any government. We're accountable to the American people. They expect us to take these decisions.
Q: The Foreign Operations bill also restored the $25 million in KEDO funding. I'm surprised you didn't mention that in your opening statement.
MR. BURNS: I was remiss because that has been a major priority of this Administration. Secretary Christopher has talked to the Congress about that and talked publicly about it. It's the least we can do to continue our commitments to KEDO along with the Republic of Korea and Japan. So it's a very positive and welcome development.
Steve, you had a question.
Q: I understand that the White House -- the President is probably going to sign the Libya-Iran sanctions bill today. You were speaking earlier about symbolism. I was just wondering if you could run through the rationale on the United States support for that again?
MR. BURNS: I don't know when the President will sign the bill. I know he will sign the bill.
The reason the Clinton Administration is supporting this legislation, passed by both Houses of Congress, is the following. The United States needs to take extraordinary steps to counter the extraordinary support that Iran and Libya are giving to terrorist groups all across the Middle East and, in fact, beyond the Middle East.
Iran and Libya have been the two foremost supporters of terrorism that has plagued the United States, our European allies, Israel and other moderate Arab governments. It is high time we believe that we took extraordinary actions to combat it.
We are asking European countries to join us in this effort. We're asking them to see the limitations of their so-called critical dialogue with Iran.
Despite some happy words from the Iranian Government and the continuation of seminars and political discussions between Iran and some European governments, the reality is this: Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. A government like the government in Tehran cannot be trusted with them.
Second, Iran is a direct contributor -- financial contribution -- and political supporter of the most radical and vicious terrorist organizations in the Middle East. There hasn't been one bit of evidence produced by anybody apologizing for Iran that it has stopped those actions. It continues them today.
Libya is a special case because Libya is harboring two Libyan citizens who placed a bomb on board Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988 that killed over 260 people, the majority of whom were Americans. That is the justification for the legislation and the reason why the United States Government is supporting it.
Q: Yesterday, the House International Relations Committee held a hearing about Syria. On both sides of the aisle, they criticized the Administration very harshly. They said that the Administration's approach to Syria is very soft; Syria doesn't have any attitude or behavior different than Iran and Libya.
Also, they claimed that the sanctions against Syria doesn't work, which Ambassador Wilcox also admitted. What is your answer?
MR. BURNS: I agree with everything that Ambassador Wilcox said yesterday when he testified on Capitol Hill. I think he did a brilliant job. He did a very good job in enunciating the very clear policy we have on this issue.
Syria is on the terrorism list because we believe it has provided support to terrorist organizations. We have a very strong opposition to this.
Q: Did you see the story about Emmanuel Constant today in the Baltimore Sun?
MR. BURNS: I think I am aware of the story, George. I didn't read it. Are you interested in that story?
Q: Yes. It says that he's free to leave the country, to take up residence elsewhere. The question arises, why was he not deported back to Haiti? Originally you said that there is a possibility that he'll be returned to Haiti but that the real reason he wasn't sent back to Haiti over the past year was that he is a man of such notoriety that he would place an undue burden on Haiti's fledgling democracy.
If you don't have any guidance on that, perhaps you could take the question.
MR. BURNS: I actually do have guidance.
Q: You do?
MR. BURNS: Yes. I've talked to Tom Casey and others in the Inter-American Affairs Bureau, and I've been educated on this issue.
Our position here, George, is the following. We are determined that Mr. Constant at some point should be deported. We have concerns that an immediate deportation would place an undue burden on Haiti's judicial and penal systems and create the potential for instability in Haiti itself. As I said, we fully intend to deport him, but the current situation does not permit that.
Given this, the agreement that we have allows Mr. Constant to request permission to leave for a third country. We have agreed to consider any such request to do so, but we retain the right to deny any request for any reason, should we deem that necessary; and under no circumstances can Mr. Constant depart the United States without the express approval of the United States Government.
As you know, the facts are that he was found deportable on foreign policy grounds in March 1995, and he remains deportable on those grounds today. The timing of his actual deportation to Haiti is a separate matter, and we will handle it very carefully, in concert with our monitoring of the security situation within Haiti itself. We will proceed with deportation when we believe that the conditions are right for that.
Q: This is not the case of a man who knows too much, and you're worried about what he might say in a trial in Haiti?
MR. BURNS: I think I've expressed adequately the position of the U.S. Government, but I couldn't possibly speculate on a question like that.
Q: On Bosnia.
MR. BURNS: Yes.
Q: Do you have anything on (inaudible).
MR. BURNS: In Mostar?
MR. BURNS: I don't have anything specific on the situation in Mostar except to say that the European Union is working very hard to try to have the various parties there agree on some reasonable course to follow in the future, and they've set a deadline now. They've set a deadline for people to respect the agreements that they've made, and we
very much support the European Union on the position that they've taken publicly.
Q: You're not going to get involved.
MR. BURNS: As you know, the European Union has had a special role to play in Mostar, and they've had some very good people working on this problem, including Mr. Steiner, who is a very impressive man with a lot of experience. So I think we'll support the European Union, but they're in the driver's seat. They've taken the lead on this particular issue of the distribution of political power in Mostar, and we'll continue to support them.
On the issue of the Balkans, as you know, Assistant Secretary Kornblum will be leaving on Monday. He'll begin his trip in Brussels where he's going to attend a meeting of the Peace Implementation Council, and then he'll travel to the region. I don't have his specific schedule available, his specific itinerary, but he will be in the region at the instruction of Secretary Christopher next week. His goal, his mission, is to work on the major Dayton compliance issues, including focusing first and foremost on the elections.
Q: Nick, can you say what level of -- to what extent Mr. Karadzic has absented himself from power from the elections?
MR. BURNS: This is one of the issues that John Kornblum will be looking into. It seems to us that there has been general cooperation and adherence to the agreement worked out a week ago today by Ambassador Dick Holbrooke, meaning that Karadzic has not appeared on television or on radio. He's not campaigned and certainly he's not put himself forward for political office in the September 14 elections. We will continue to monitor him and his associates to make sure that this agreement is implemented to the "T." That's our major concern here, Betsy.
Q: Go back to KEDO. Do you think amendment can be positively announced in North Korea -- their participation in the four-party talks?
MR. BURNS: We hope that the North Koreans will elect to participate in these talks. It's in their interests to do so. It's certainly in our interest to continue this. I have nothing to say, though, by way of -- really, in any detail on that, because they have not yet agreed to participate, but we hope they will.
Q: Speaking with today's amendment, is it positive?
MR. BURNS: It's positive, yes, of course, it is. I mean, the fact that the Administration will now receive full funding is a positive development.
Q: Do you have any comment on the condition that North Korea has to cooperate on U.S. search on MIAs -- missing soldiers in North Korea?
MR. BURNS: We expect that to happen. That's an important issue for the American people, and we've kept that issue at the forefront of our discussions with the North Koreans, and we expect full cooperation -- the kind of cooperation we've received from North Vietnam on that particular issue.
Q: Nick, are you aware that the South Korean Embassy has been investigating reporters who ask questions about KEDO or the North Korean situation here at this briefing, and do you have anything to say about that?
MR. BURNS: I'm not aware of that allegation. No, I've never heard of it. Never heard of it.
Q: But, your Bureau -
MR. BURNS: Never heard of it.
Q: Do you know when Howard Wolpe is leaving for Central Africa?
MR. BURNS: Yes, I believe he'll be leaving tomorrow.
Q: Do you have any new guidance on CTBT?
MR. BURNS: Just to say that following Secretary Christopher's meeting with Foreign Minister Primakov, we were very, very pleased that he and Foreign Minister Primakov could issue a joint statement, pledging U.S.-Russian cooperation in reaching a CTBT this year.
Following his meeting with Qian Qichen and his meeting with the Indian Foreign Minister, the United States intends to continue as a very high priority foreign policy matter our negotiations in Geneva that are multilateral, as you know, to complete the agreement for a Comprehensive Test
Ban Treaty and to have it signed this autumn in the United States.
This is a very high priority for us, and we believe that now that the United States and Russia see eye to eye on this and are standing together on this, that we'll be able to work productively in Geneva beginning on July 29, which is when the negotiations resume at the Conference on Disarmament. We believe that we can achieve this, and we look very much to China and to India to help us achieve this.
Q: Yes, but how are you going to get around the Indian hurdle?
MR. BURNS: We'll continue our negotiations, continue our private discussions, and hope that India will agree that India should not stand in the way of an agreement that is so important to people all over the world.
Q: On Burma, do you have any plan to send the two envoys back to this region, and how do you assess the impact on the neighboring countries, who are reluctant to impose sanctions?
MR. BURNS: Secretary Christopher had a very good series of talks with our ASEAN partners in Jakarta this week. Ambassador Bill Brown, who was one of our two envoys a month or so ago, was in Jakarta with the Secretary and participated in some of those meetings and had his own consultations. So in effect we've just had a round of consultations in Southeast Asia about this issue, and we'll continue our efforts.
I think Secretary Christopher made clear that we believe that democratic countries, free countries, have an obligation to speak out when democrats are being victimized by autocrats, which is what's happening in Burma, and that we have an obligation to stand up for people whose voice is not being heard. Many members of the National League for Democracy are not being allowed to speak out.
So the United States has taken a very strong position on this, and now with the passage of the Cohen Amendment, we have the flexibility to introduce very tough measures against the Burmese authorities if we see that they take any accelerated and tough measures against the National League for Democracy and Aung San Suu Kyi.
We're very pleased to have this flexibility. We hope that the authorities in Rangoon understand what this means. To date, the United States has already taken a variety of very strong steps against Burma. We certainly have worked to prevent the international financial institutions to put
forward economic assistance. We are not encouraging American investment in Burma. We've taken a number of others actions, but those actions will get tougher if we see more anti-democratic steps directly against Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters.
Q: Nick, on that subject, it was reported that the Secretary said yesterday, I believe, that the U.S. will further crack down on the Burma Government if the dissent continues to be repressed in Burma. Can you tell us what other actions might the United States take?
MR. BURNS: Let me just tell you that the Cohen Amendment prohibits the issuance of visas to Burmese Government officials. It requires the United States to vote against any assistance from the international and financial institutions to Burma. We've already been working on that plane. It allows for the time being some humanitarian assistance, counter-narcotics assistance and assistance promoting human rights and democracy to continue if the Administration believes it's in our interests.
If the government gets tougher with the democrats in Burma, then, of course, we could take action in any one of these areas, given the flexibility of the Cohen Amendment, to make it clear to the Burmese authorities that their actions would not be cost-free. These would be significant, and sanctions that would prohibit new U.S. investment in Burma would be, I think, felt in Burma and felt by the government, and it would not be welcomed by them.
So they've got to think hard now about the consequences to their relationship with the United States of their own actions.
Q: What specifically would the trigger be to these sanctions coming into force?
MR. BURNS: The language of the amendment as passed last evening says that if the Government of Burma has physically harmed or rearrested for political acts or exiled Aung San Suu Kyi or has committed large-scale repression or violence against the democratic opposition, then the Administration would have the flexibility to implement sanctions against new U.S. investment. That would be a very tough measure indeed, and I think we have very clear language from the Congress and very helpful language.
I should just put a cap on this by saying for a long time now the Congress and the Administration have been debating this issue. You now have a unified American
position. The Clinton Administration and Republicans and Democrats in Congress are unified that the United States should have these tougher measures available against Burma, should that be necessary.
Thank you very much.
Q: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:53 p.m.)
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