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

U.S. Department of State
96/08/12 Daily Press Briefing
Office of the Spokesman


DPB #131

MONDAY, AUGUST 12, 1996, 1:06. P. M.

MR. DAVIES: Hello. Welcome to the State Department briefing. A couple of announcements to start off with. This is a surprisingly packed house. I'm impressed, though I know it's not for me that you are here. It's what's going on in the world.

Today, a visitor, Mr. Friso van der Oord -- I hope I have pronounced it correctly -- who is an intern at The Netherlands Embassy here in Washington -- is joining us to see how we do it in the State Department.

We are putting out a few announcements today and I thought I would briefly review for you what they contain so that you can decide whether you will make the trek down the hall to pick them up.

First off, another volume in our Foreign Relations of the United States series is being released today. This is Volume XVII on Eastern Europe from the period when Lyndon Johnson was President, and the highlight of this volume is the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and how the United States dealt with that. We've got a long announcement for you. You can read about what's in that volume, and if you care to pick up a copy of it and read further, go right ahead.

The second announcement is that we are releasing formally another in our series of "This Day in Diplomacy" announcements, just to keep you up to date on the accomplishments of the United States over the years in diplomacy.

This is a little different. This is with a bit of a twist. This commemorates the 50th anniversary this week, in fact this Wednesday, of the Foreign Service Act of 1946 which became the law of the land 50 years ago this Wednesday. It was signed by President Harry Truman as the Foreign Service Act of 1946. It allowed the United States to meet its new global responsibilities as a superpower and a leader of the world's democracies.

What it did, in effect, was gather together the various foreign affairs services and activities into a single integrated foreign service. So it was the foundation of the modern foreign service, that has since been revised in the Foreign Service Act of 1980, which is more familiar to those of us serving today.

The third and final announcement that we are putting out is a very brief one and it is on -- now we are getting into topical matters -- this is on the Cyprus demonstration that occurred on August 11.

The United States deplores the violence that occurred in the UN Buffer Zone of Cyprus August 11 and particularly the brutal killing of a young Greek Cypriot. This tragic violence underscores the need for both sides to reduce tensions along the UN Buffer Zone and to move to direct and comprehensive negotiations to end the division of the island. I can answer questions about that if you wish.

One final note for those not aware of it -- the Secretary is, of course, off today for a four-day visit to Europe. He'll be back on Friday. He starts off in Brussels; then goes to Geneva where he will meet with Balkan leaders; and then on Thursday, he will be in Sarajevo.

George, your questions.

Q What do you have to say about the trade agreement between Turkey and Iran?

MR. DAVIES: We have thus far seen, of course, the press reports on the nature of that trade agreement between the two nations. Our general reaction is that we believe that this deal's conclusion sends the wrong message to Iran. As its details become known to us, we, of course, will have to evaluate whether the provisions of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act will be brought into play in reaction to it.

We remain convinced that Iran is pursuing unacceptable behavior in the international community on at least three major counts: its sponsorship and support for terrorism; its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction; and its opposition, vocal opposition, to the peace process.

We believe that some of these pursuits of Iran -- especially its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction -- threaten neighbors of Iran, including Turkey, and we believe that this is the wrong kind of deal to conclude with Turkey and certainly the wrong time to do it. We'll know in coming days and weeks whether or not the Act applies to this case.

Q Well, quite apart from the Act, whether it is a violation, how will this affect U. S. relations with Turkey?

MR. DAVIES: We'll have to wait and see how it affects U. S. relations with Turkey. We have a very, very strong relationship that goes back many years and covers a lot of issues, a lot of very important issues, security issues especially.

We've got to examine what this agreement entails. We've seen what Turkey has said about the agreement at their most senior levels -- that it does not constitute investment in the Iranian petroleum sector -- and we have to be the judges of that from our standpoint, of course, and we will.

But first we've got to see a bit more about the agreement and evaluate it. Of course, the law, the Iran-Libyan Sanctions Act is a recently passed law and we don't yet have all of the implementing language for that.

So, we'll have to look at both of them and see whether it implicates the law, and we'll have to take it into account as we go forward with our relations with Turkey. But we certainly don't expect that this will cause a major rift in our relationship. We hope it won't.


Q Glyn, does the United States believe that Turkey needs this kind of agreement with Iran, or do you think that there are other sources for Turkey's energy needs?

MR. DAVIES: Well, I am not an oil broker. I can't tell you whether or not Turkey needs this oil in order to fuel its economy. I can't make that kind of economic analysis for you.

Q But the State Department has experts in this area, and you must have some idea whether you feel that this is a need or not.

MR. DAVIES: I don't know whether this is even a question of Turkey justifying or not purely on the basis of need necessarily. It's for Turkey -- I can't speak for them, but it's a source of oil. So one can understand why they would be interested in various sources of oil.

But the point that we are making to them -- and we have made it as recently as this morning at very senior levels -- is that this action, signing this deal, is not the kind of signal that we in the West should be sending to what is, in effect, a rogue government, that opposes us on many important fronts, and, most importantly, appears to harbor aggressive intent toward a number of nations in the West, particularly through sponsorship of terrorism.

Q When you said that this was made known at senior levels, what are we talking about?

MR. DAVIES: I can give you some details on that a little later on. We have had contacts with the Turks at very senior levels from Washington. I can perhaps give you a little detail on that a bit later on. What I don't have now for you is the chapter and verse on it.

Q At this point, have the Turks not explained the nature of this deal to the Americans? I mean, this is not the first that we have heard of it. It was telegraphed long before today.

MR. DAVIES: No. We had indications that this might occur. I'm sure somewhere within the U. S. Government are those who have a fair amount of detail about it. But what we need to do now is from both the perspective of our enforcement of the law and from the perspective of our policy in the region, we have to look at the deal as it has been finally consummated and signed, and decide what its effect will be on both the law and on our stance toward the region.

But sure, we have had a fair amount of detail on this, I think, as we have gotten closer to this point. But a deal is never a deal until it is finally concluded and announced, so that's where we are now.

Q Nick indicated last week that such a deal would come under the sanctions, the new sanctions law.

MR. DAVIES: Well, we'll have to see --

Q And now you seem more hesitant about it.

MR. DAVIES: Well, we'll have to see. I mean, on the face of it, a $23 billion deal over 23 years, it's a big deal. Can it simply be purchasing of petroleum products? Can it avoid investment in the infrastructure of Iran's petroleum sector? We'll have to see.

Alot depends on how you define investment, and I haven't seen any kind of a detailed definition of investment under the Act. So, we've got some work to do on that score.

Q When a senior Iranian official was speaking about this agreement, he is calling for, I think, the establishment of an Islamic Common Market, sort of, and creating new alliances in the neighborhood.

Do you have any fears or apprehension about such call for -- he is talking, I think, of Syria, Iraq and other countries to get together for a new alliance in the area.

MR. DAVIES: Mr. Abdul-Salam, I think today what I can do is pretty much confine my comments to the news that this deal has been concluded. Our policy toward Iran has been repeated so many times from this podium -- and the rationale for it so many times -- including seven and a half minutes ago that I don't need to go into it.

We obviously don't think that Iran is a country that can be dealt with today given its policies. And so this kind of action, we think, flies in the face of all the evidence that all of us have about Iranian behavior and intentions.

So that's our departure point for reacting to this news today. And I haven't seen anything more specific on efforts for the regional nations to get together and form any kind of an alliance.

Q The technicalities of the deal aside, does the mere fact of such a large transaction suggest to the United States that the Islamic leadership in Turkey is embarked on a new policy direction?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know if it suggests that. It certainly implies that Turkey is out looking for sources of oil. It might imply more. It might imply more. And we'll simply have to evaluate the deal and decide whether or not this is a sea change or kind of a tectonic shift in Turkey's stance in the region or not.

They remain very much a strong friend of the United States, a NATO ally. We do a lot of business with Turkey. We consider them a very friendly nation. And I don't believe that any of this news that we have gotten today changes the fundamentals of the very strong and deep American-Turkish relationship.

Q You may know something that I don't know, or maybe you misspoke. You talked of Turkey's need for oil. I thought this was only natural gas.

MR. DAVIES: I'm sorry. This is natural gas. That's correct. I'm sorry. Fuel. Fossil fuel.

Q Glyn, this very large contract, does this not give Iran a great boost in their credit insofar as purchasing weapons and, of course, developing weapons of mass destruction -- but purchasing other weapons and their funding of terrorists can then be increased? Is this a concern of the U.S. Government that this is going to facilitate more hostility coming out of Iran?

MR. DAVIES: Whether this will facilitate more hostility or not, any sort of boost in Iran's resources is, of course, a matter of concern. But Iran is an oil producer. They've had the wherewithal for many years and continue today to have the wherewithal to acquire lots of sophisticated military hardware and mount an armed force of considerable strength and size.

I don't know that this will necessarily give them any kind of a quantum leap ability to improve their armed forces or abilities. The point is that Iran is a big nation. It's an oil producer. It's had the capability to act militarily and to support terrorism up to now, and I don't know that this will change that. It certainly won't change their policies.

Q You mentioned part off the problem with assessing this gal deal is that the implementing language isn't complete. When should we expect to see more specific guidelines and understanding of how this law will be enacted for this and other deals?

MR. DAVIES: We'll move to act on that as soon as we can, and, of course, it's the State Department acting in conjunction with Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. Among others, they are the bureaucratic actors who will put this implementing language in place. It can take awhile when you have legislation that's as complicated as this, but we would hope to do it as soon as possible. I don't know whether that means days or weeks. We'll have to see.

Q There's a report that Tansu Ciller announced that she had actually signed this deal earlier, and that this was actually just the formalization of the deal, and that that was part of the reason why this deal should not be subject to sanctions. Is the State Department aware of such a claim that the deal had been signed already?

MR. DAVIES: I'm not aware of that. I haven't even seen that in the press, no. I have not.

Q And also on another Iran question, there was a report out of Tehran that Iran is going to make a claim at The Hague to sue the U.S. over supposedly the authorization of $20 million in covert operations in Iran. Are you aware of that? Has Iran notified the U.S. that they intend to file this suit at The Hague?

MR. DAVIES: I've only seen the reports, and I don't know that they've notified us formally, no.

Q I apologize. I came a few minutes late. I don't know if this question was asked. Probably the first one was on the natural gas deal, right?

MR. DAVIES: Now that I've got gas and oil straightened out, I can begin.

Q Now there are a few more developments in that region between Turkey, Iran and Iraq, and one of them was when Prime Minister Erbakan visited Tehran, he said this is a quadripartite pact between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Was this question raised?

MR. DAVIES: It was.

Q Okay. Then my second question would be Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's tough religious leader, asked Prime Minister Erbakan to cancel the military training and cooperation agreement between Turkey and Israel. What would be your comment on this?

MR. DAVIES: That's another kind of straw in the wind that I haven't seen a confirmation of necessarily. We think that Turkey should continue developing its relationship with Israel as they have in the past. We think it's important that relations with Israel in the region continue to strengthen. That's been the trend in recent years, and we've welcomed those developments when they've occurred. We think that the cooperation that's begun between Turkey and Israel is important and that it continue.

Q Two Turkish ministers are right now in Baghdad talking to the Iraqi regime. How do you welcome that piece of news?

MR. DAVIES: It would be a version of our reaction to news that Turkey and Iran are doing business. I don't know that it's necessarily our place to react to every single trip or meeting that occurs in the region among various people. Our policy toward Iraq is very well known.

I think what people are trying to do is kind of paint a big picture of something happening here that is going to change our relationship towards Turkey, and I don't think we're there. I mean, I don't think we're at a stage where the United States is making any kind of a rock bottom, fundamental reassessment of its relationship with Turkey.

We've got a good relationship with Turkey, and we hope to continue it. We've seen no indications from the Turks on a bilateral basis that they wish to end our relationship, nor do we expect that.

Q On the Cyprus incident that you mentioned, from what the U.S. Government knows about it, do you attach any particular blame to either side?

MR. DAVIES: From what we know about it, the violence was deplorable. The violence appeared to be, from the information we've got, violence directed against those who were coming to the zone as part of this group of many thousands of individuals -- some of them, I guess, on motorcycles -- to protest the fact that the island is divided.

I think today what we'll do is confine ourselves to deploring the fact that the violence occurred and look forward to the results of an investigation that we understand has already been launched into what occurred there and why it occurred. We'll what to know precisely what triggered this, I think, before we make any further assessment.

Q From the preliminary reports from the United Nations observers, I gathered the original -- the first blame seen by them attaches to the Greek Cypriot authorities for allowing the bikers and the demonstration to go into this restricted zone in the first place. Is that also your reading?

MR. DAVIES: I can go over what we know about this a little bit, which is to say that there were, as a result of what occurred, 40 to 50 who were injured, and according to the media reports we've seen and some of the reports we've gotten, this Greek Cypriot who was killed was beaten to death inside the buffer zone by persons who entered from the northern side of the island.

You're kind of taking us back one step to are we going to lay blame on those who permitted this to happen. We're simply not going to do that. This appears to have been a peaceful protest that these individuals were engaged in, and certainly there should not have been the level of violence that we saw, including the very brutal killing of one of the protesters who came into the zone.

From our standpoint, our Ambassador and other mission officials on Cyprus were in touch with United Nations and Cypriot authorities throughout the period when this occurred on August 11. The situation evolved very quickly and in what were to us very unexpected ways. U.N. peacekeeping forces and the Cyprus police reacted to the events as they unfolded.

Our Ambassador today, Ken Brill, who is our Ambassador, will meet with the U.N. Chief of Mission in Cyprus to evaluate what occurred and how what happened might help the United Nations and others on the island avoid such incidents in the future.

Q On the weekend, President Clinton made a recess appointment of his Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Wyche Fowler, to try and circumvent the Senate process that's delayed that appointment for a couple of months. Do you know how soon there's going to be a swearing-in on that?

MR. DAVIES: First, to question your premise. I think the reason Wyche Fowler was appointed now was because our relationship with Saudi Arabia is very important, and it's important that we get an envoy out there to further solidify the relationship. So that is why the President went ahead and took that action and appointed Wyche Fowler as a recess appointment.

I don't know when he'll be confirmed, but the word is that he's to arrive at post -- get out there within about a month. So we expect that he'll be arriving out there soon. I don't know about when up on the 8th floor he'll take his oath of office or any of that.

Q Can I just follow up. He apparently met Friday afternoon with the Secretary here. Do you know anything about the meeting? Can you just tell us --

MR. DAVIES: I don't. It would be unusual for us to give a readout of a meeting between an American designee and the Secretary of State. We just don't usually talk about those kinds of meetings.

Q Bosnia. What can you tell us about the plans to pull back forces from vulnerable places in Bosnia? What is the point of this operation? Is it, as has been reported, only to make the point to the Bosnian Serbs that they had better allow NATO to inspect a weapons site in Han Pijesak or, as has also been reported, is their concern about possible Iran-inspired terrorism against American targets in Bosnia?

MR. DAVIES: The good news there, of course, is that we've just heard and had confirmed that the Bosnian Serbs have indicated that they will permit this inspection to go forward. That means then that IFOR in the next 24-48 hours -- and their spokesman has said as much publicly -- will go ahead and conduct that inspection -- the facility near Han Pijesak.

In terms of the broader question of why DoD has gone ahead and issued these orders and why the United Nations is itself drawing some people back, this is, if you boil it down, a clear sign of how seriously IFOR regards violations of the peace agreement, such as this weekend's incident, in which the Bosnian Serbs denied an IFOR inspection team access to a military site.

So the proximate cause is the order that was issued -- as I understand it, was to lay the groundwork should any further action be required, and it appears now as if it might not be, but we'll have to wait and see whether this inspection is allowed to go ahead.

You could talk to DoD about all that's implied in this Operation Fear Naught, as they call it, that has just been activated.

Q Could I just try to ask you whether you've seen the reports and whether you have anything on them that there might be terrorism planned against an American target in Bosnia?

MR. DAVIES: I haven't seen any reports along those lines.

Q Is Jerusalem considered to be an issue for the discussion of the final status between the Palestinians and Israel, and what are your comments to Mr. Netanyahu telling the Palestinians yesterday that his government will not discuss the issue of Jerusalem as well as the Palestinian state issue in his talks with the Palestinians?

MR. DAVIES: We haven't fully explored with the Israelis yet precisely what he may have said. I think all we have at this stage is a wire service quoting -- a report quoting an Arabic language newspaper, I believe, of what he had to say. So I really don't have any further details on what the Prime Minister said.

Our view of the issue is clear. It remains very much the same. We believe that the appropriate mechanism for Israel and the Palestinians resolve sensitive matters, including Jerusalem, is through direct permanent status negotiations, and, of course, we look forward to those negotiations occurring.

Q Do you have any comment on the Palestinian Authority call or suggestion that they will go to the Security Council of the United Nations or the International Court of Justice in The Hague in order to implement the accords with Israel, which look like Mr. Netanyahu is reneging on or he's abdicating his -- the earlier commitment by the former Israeli Government to implement?

MR. DAVIES: If there is such an appeal made to the United Nations, we'll deal with it then, but I don't think there's been any such appeal.

Q There was a statement from the Committee of Fatah yesterday that met --

MR. DAVIES: No, I understand that.

Q -- in Cairo.

MR. DAVIES: But as far as I know, nothing has yet occurred in the United Nations. I don't think they've made any kind of an appeal in the United Nations. We'll react if in fact there's action taken by the Palestinians, but our policy is, as I've stated it, quite clear on this. We look forward to final status talks, and that is where questions of the status of Jerusalem are to be resolved.

Q Do you have any idea when will these talks begin, because Mr. Netanyahu made conditional talks with the Palestinians for this status -- the final status, conditional on the cancellation or eliminating any Palestinian activity in East Jerusalem. Do you see that this condition has been in the Oslo Accords or the other accords?

MR. DAVIES: Mr. Abdul-Salam, I don't have anything further on the timing of those. I mean, it's between the two parties to conduct those talks, and so they'll be the ones, I'm sure who will be the first to indicate when it is they intend to hold those talks.

Q I'm asking, because, you know, you are a signatory to the accords, you know, more than anybody else in all these agreements you signed in the White House. But when someone makes this stipulation and enters a new element into this about the status of the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, which has been guaranteed by the letter from the former Foreign Minister of Norway given to the Palestinians during Mr. Peres. If he is -- Mr. Netanyahu is telling the Palestinians that you have to take -- close all your offices in East Jerusalem in order to possibly begin talks, isn't that a ridiculous situation that he's putting the whole peace talks into this picture?

MR. DAVIES: That's your question?

Q Yes.

MR. DAVIES: Is this a ridiculous situation. No, I mean, I'm not going to stand up here and say today that anything has become ridiculous about the process between Israel and the Palestinians. We look forward to its continuing, and we look forward to final status talks, and I don't have anything further on the timing of those final status talks. Obviously, we're following all of this with great interest; and where we can, we play a role in helping the two parties continue their efforts.


Q Israeli officials apparently believe, according to a London newspaper, that Tehran is prepared to wreak destruction on Western Europe and the United States, should the United States retaliate against Iran militarily for its role in spreading terrorism. What do you have on that?

MR. DAVIES: A journalist, in fact, alerted me to this story. I really don't have any particular reaction to that. This is a threat by Iran if we take military action. I mean, for goodness sake, I'm not aware of any military action planned, so I'm not going to be reacting to reactions of things that haven't occurred.

Q New subject?

MR. DAVIES: Sure, please.

Q Thank you. Cuba is saying that the United States has asked for the repatriation of Mr. Vesco, and the United States never requested the extradition of Mr. Vesco. What is the situation?

MR. DAVIES: With Vesco? That's not one that I'm up on right now, frankly. I'm happy to look into it for you and find out where we stand with Mr. Vesco.

Q Okay. I have another question on Cuba. Do you have any news from the situation of this Cuban pilot who hijacked an airplane to Guantanamo base? Where is he now?

MR. DAVIES: No, I don't. In fact, is that today's news? I hadn't seen that.

Q No, no.

MR. DAVIES: No, I don't. Where we last left that, he was there, and he was, I think, being questioned. I can check that for you. I'm not sure of that.

Q Do you have any birthday greetings for Castro?

MR. DAVIES: Oh, is it his birthday?

Q Tomorrow.

MR. DAVIES: Well, maybe we'll have one of these historical announcements about it, if we can tie it into U.S. diplomacy. I don't.

Q On Burundi. We're hearing that the U.S. evacuation flight into Burundi on Wednesday may have been cancelled. Do you have any comment or confirmation?

MR. DAVIES: I'm not sure what evacuation flight is being referred too. I heard a report that we had a small military aircraft that was to have gone in, and it was decided that it wouldn't go in. I did not get a reason why it was, if you will, cancelled. I don't know why that happened.

We're still very, very concerned about what's occurring in Burundi in regards to the overall situation. We've taken note of the sanctions that the neighboring states have imposed. We hope that they spur progress in Burundi on issues of concern, such as restoration of constitutional institutions and especially bringing an end to the violence.

We're certainly impressed by the degree to which the regional leaders have stepped up to this problem and displayed unanimity and resolve. We share their concerns and the goal of avoiding possibly a terrible humanitarian disaster, and that's where our efforts are focused today.

Q Taiwan.

Q May I follow up.

MR. DAVIES: Related. I'm sorry, go ahead.

Q Do you know how many Americans might have taken the call of the State Department to leave?

MR. DAVIES: It's always difficult. I remember from the Liberian situation how hard it is to do a numbers count. What I have, as of today, is that all Americans in Burundi are safe. They've not been threatened in any way; there are approximately 23 official Americans, and actually that numbers is solid, but approximately 41 private Americans in the country, most of them in Bujumbura, the capital, and most of those private Americans working with non-governmental organizations and missionary organizations. Of course, we're in touch with all of them through what we call the Warden Net.

Q Taiwan's Vice President Mr. Lien is arriving in New York today for a transit visit. Do you have anything new to say on that? Secondly, when AIT Chairman, Mr. James Wood, meets with Mr. Lien, is he passing on any messages from the Administration?

MR. DAVIES: I did not know that there was a meeting between the AIT Chairman and the Vice President, and I don't have any particulars on his schedule. When we last talked about this issue from the podium, of course, he was coming through on a transit to do some work in Latin America, and his visit was and remains very much unofficial. He's not conducting any press events or meetings with U.S. Government officials. I'm happy to see if there's some way I could check with AIT if they're meeting with him, but I don't have anything on that.

Q Same topic. In view of the extended and laborious visit of Tony Lake, that seems to have set a new cadence, a new tone, to Chinese relations, isn't this granting of a visa, no matter how transit, counterproductive to U.S. policy in China?

MR. DAVIES: We have a policy on granting visas, transit visas, for those traveling here through the United States from Taiwan, and that policy is that for the convenience and safety of the traveler, we'll do it on a very selective basis.

Q Carte blanche?

MR. DAVIES: No, it's not. Every visa that we issue is adjudicated separately, so every time we're approached for permission to come to this country, whether it's somebody from Taiwan or somebody from anywhere else, we make a decision based on the merits of the case whether to issue the visa.

Q So there is no conclusion to be drawn from the issuance of this particular visa.

MR. DAVIES: You're all paid to draw conclusions, so go right ahead. But we, the United States Government, don't have any particular conclusions to put out about it.

Q Can you confirm reports, out of the Middle East, that dozens of Iraqis have been executed recently as punishment for an attempted coup against Saddam Hussein. And another Middle East question, is the State Department involved at all in the FBI's decision to go to Israel to interview this Palestinian terrorist about the TWA flight 800.

MR. DAVIES: On both scores, I don't think I have anything to offer you. Obviously, the reports of repression in Iraq have all too familiar a ring to them. Whether they're true or not, I'm not in a position to say. And on the second issue, we're going to steer clear, I think, of getting into any discussion of that investigation as it proceeds. It's not in our interest to talk about every coming and going.

Q It's not in your interest. You know, we keep seeing these leaked reports that Iran or a foreign country is involved in both the Dhahran bombing and in TWA, and officially every day we're told, "Well, we can't comment on these ongoing investigations," yet there are these leaked reports.

MR. DAVIES: Yes, but you're equating leaked reports with what the U.S. Government collectively in its wisdom cares to say on the record from podiums like this. People leak for a variety of reasons, and I'm not going to assume that the leaks you're getting are officially sanctioned or set out in some strategy paper somewhere. In fact, I'm sure they're not.

Q Colombia. Have there been any concrete reports after the Colombian Attorney General visit to Washington?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything to report beyond what was said last week about the Attorney General. Are you talking about the Attorney General, Valdivieso?

Q Valdivieso.

MR. DAVIES: Yes. I don't have any final report to give you. We will continue to work with Mr. Valdivieso, and would like to in the future, and we find him a very able interlocutor, and somebody we can work with.

Q Let me ask a last question. Have there been any progress in the dialogue between the U. S. and Colombia regarding legislation between forced penalties concerning drug crimes?

MR. DAVIES: Concerning drug crimes?

Q Yes.

MR. DAVIES: Unfortunately, I don't have any progress to report to you today.

Q Glyn, do you have any comment on King Hussein's first visit, or visit the first time, to Saudi Arabia since 1990 and his meeting with King Fahd, and King Fahd went to the airport to meet with him? Do you have an assessment of this -- ?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have an official assessment for you. It is always good when two friends of the United States have meetings at that level, and it has been a while since there has been such a meeting. So, other than in a general sense of welcoming it, I don't have anything more specific to tell you.


Q Glyn, I believe at this time the greatest intensity warfare on the planet for the last week has been around Grozny with about 200 Russians dead, Russian soldiers dead, and about 800 wounded.

Mr. Lebed, Alexander Lebed, has been there. Does the United States support the efforts and the policy that Mr. Lebed has taken to make a truce in this situation?

MR. DAVIES: Well, we welcome all efforts to attempt to resolve the conflict peacefully, and we hope that his talks, which he held over the weekend, provide a basis for the peaceful resolution of the war in Chechnya.

As many of you know, he travelled to Chechnya, and in fact held meetings in a village south of Grozny over the weekend with some Chechen rebel leaders, and then on his return, gave a press conference in which he indicated that some progress was made, and that the Chechens had indicated that they would withdraw from Grozny.

We hope that his meetings and the efforts that he undertook in fact enable the parties to return to the June 10 cease-fire. It is our view that it should be reinstated and that the conflict, of course, has to be resolved through peaceful means, because it cannot be resolved through force of arms.

One more. Cyprus.

Q You said that Ambassador Brill is on a sort of fact-finding mission as though this was something totally new.

MR. DAVIES: No. I simply mentioned that he is having a meeting with the U. N. chief on the island. I didn't say that he has gone off like Sherlock Holmes.

Q My question is, the Turkish Government and the Turkish Foreign Ministry have been warning the United Nations, Britain, and the United States, for a week, that if this unilateral attempt to violate Turkish-Cypriot territorial integrity takes place, then the parties had to live with the consequences.

So the State Department knew about this about a week ago. Did you get in touch with the Greek-Cypriot administration on the island?

MR. DAVIES: Well, I disagree. The State Department did not know that there would be such a brutal act of violence perpetrated against a participant in the demonstration.

Q I'm talking about the demonstration itself.

MR. DAVIES: Of course we have been working with all the parties, including the United Nations authorities on the island, to try to find out as much as we can about it. It is obviously not, in the first instance, the United States's responsibility to maintain security and peace on the island. So, to a certain extent, I kind of take issue with the premise of your question.

Q But you knew about the demonstration, right?

MR. DAVIES: The demonstration was known about, sure.

Q So did you get in touch with the Greek-Cypriot administration concerning the demonstration since you knew that this would take place?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know precisely all the diplomatic moves or conversations that the United States had in the days and hours leading up to the demonstration. But, again, I would reject the implicit charge that somehow the United States knew this was going to happen and could have stopped it or prevented it. You know, I don't think that's a correct assessment.

Q It was not charged, but you already admitted that the U. S. knew about it.

MR. DAVIES: It's not an admission, you know, it's a fact. As I recall events, it was not a surprise that there would be a demonstration, and it was hoped that it would be peaceful. Sure.

Q Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:46 p.m.)


To the top of this page