U.S. Department of State 96/08/14 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Wednesday, August 14, 1996 Briefer: Glyn Davies ANNOUNCEMENTS Update on Secretary Christopher's Travel to Geneva/The Balkans --Need for Strengthened Adherence to Dayton Peace Plan........ 1 SAUDI ARABIA Status of Investigation of Al-Khobar Bombing, Dhahran --FBI & Diplomatic Security Manpower/Saudi Cooperation........ 1-3,5- 6,10 Alleged Rpt of Saudis & Other Countries Funding Terrorist Activities/Fact Sheet on "Osama bin Laden, Islamic Extremist Financier".................................................. 3-5 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Party Platforms' Policies..................................... 6 Settlement Activity: --Reports on Dispersing of Caravans/US Discussions with GOI.. 6 Israeli Action on Loan Guarantees............................. 7 Alleged Mtg Between Chairman Arafat & Israeli PM Netanyahu.... 7-8 Private Visit to US by Israeli ForMin David Leavy............. 14 Alleged Visit to US by Ariel Sharon........................... 14 ARMS CONTROL CTBT: --India & Iran Block Text/US Position To Move Forward/ Chairman Ramaker Continues to Meet w/Delegations............ 8-9 --Studies re Reducing US Arsenal/Zero Nuclear Weapons......... 9 --Canberra Commission Report Issued on Nuclear Weapons........ 9 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Security Concerns for US Troops in Bosnia --IFOR Heightens Security Status/Unauthorized Surveillance & Photography of Installations/Alerts to AmCits............. 10-11 --Non-Bosnian Fighters Disbanded/Train-&-Equip Program Moved Forward............................................... 10-11 CYPRUS Status of Unauthorized Incursions Into Buffer Zone/UNFICYP To Investigate Incidents/Amb Ken Brill Closely Involved..... 11-12 TAIWAN Request To US For Avenger Anti-Aircraft Missile System --Natl Security Advisor Tony Lake's Discussions w/Chinese Leaders re Adherence to 1982 Joint Communique & Taiwan Relations Act 13-14 JAPAN Food Poisoning Update/Notification to US Citizens............. 15 INDONESIA US Message to GOI: --Protect Rights of Citizens for Peaceful Assembly, Speech & of Association/Arrest and Detention of Labor Leader Muchtar Pakpahan & Others/Allow Independent Monitors Access To Those Arrested........................................... 15 CUBA Status of Migrants Picked Up Off Florida Keys................. 15-16 Number of Immigrants Since Formation of 1994 Agreement........ 17
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14, 1996, 1:05 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. DAVIES: Welcome to the State Department briefing. Just a quick update on the Secretary of State's travel, and then we can go to questions.
For those of you who have not been following it closely, the Secretary is, of course, continuing his latest round of Balkan diplomacy today after meetings yesterday at NATO Headquarters with Secretary General Solana, General Joulwan, Ambassador Frowick of the OSCE and others. Today, he's in Geneva for meetings with Presidents Izetbegovic, Tudjman, and Milosevic. Tomorrow, he travels to Sarajevo.
The very strong message that the Secretary is delivering on this round of Balkan diplomacy is about the need for continued and strengthen adherence to the Dayton peace plan, especially in the run-up to the September 14th Bosnian elections.
With that, George, I go to your questions.
Q Do you have anything on suggestions by a Saudi opposition group that there have been a number of arrests concerning the Dhahran bombing?
MR. DAVIES: I don't. The investigation continues. We are working very closely with the Saudis. The FBI is representing the United States in this and is present in force in Saudi Arabia conducting the investigation. Since the investigation is on-going, I think we should hold our fire from this podium and not have any comment.
Yes. Is there another one on that?
Q On that, there has been some comment that some people have been detained or questioned and, in some cases, as many has hundreds. Do you know of any people who have been detained and questioned in connection with this?
MR. DAVIES: This is a version of the same question. The investigation continues. As long as the
investigation is continuing, we're not going to be in a position from this podium or, indeed, any other podium around the government to make any comment on it. When the time comes and there's something to say publicly, we'll say it. But at this stage, we simply don't have anything.
Q Glyn, you said just now that the FBI is present in force in Saudi Arabia. Is it really? Or how many FBI representatives --
MR. DAVIES: You'd have to ask the FBI. I don't have exact numbers of how many agents were sent over. But we all recall the dispatch in the early hours of the aftermath of this tragedy of quite a few FBI agents and diplomatic security agents and other from around the government, in fact, at Saudi request, to help them conduct this investigation -- all, of course, in the wake of King Fahd's request for help and his pledge that Saudi Arabia would cooperate with the United States. So that cooperation continues.
Q Are you confident -- can I just follow up? Are you confident that the Saudis are keeping U.S. investigators fully abreast of their progress in the investigation?
MR. DAVIES: David, I don't have any reason to question Saudi cooperation at this stage.
Q Has the U.S. made any request to interview any suspects that the Saudis may have?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to get into the conduct of the investigation or dealings with the Saudis on this at this stage.
Q Certainly, if there had been any arrests in this case, you would want that to be public, I would assume.
MR. DAVIES: I wouldn't assume that necessarily.
Q You wouldn't assume that?
MR. DAVIES: No.
Q You'd want to keep that secret from --
MR. DAVIES: I wouldn't know. Again, it's up to those conducting the investigation to decide what's best for the investigation. The idea is to get to the bottom of what happened in the Khobar Towers bombing.
Whether it makes sense to hold press conferences daily and describe the progress of the investigation or to say nothing until most of it's wrapped up, that's up to the investigators to work out and for us to work out diplomatically with the Saudis.
Q Are you aware of any arrests in this case? I mean just the word "arrest?"
MR. DAVIES: I just don't have anything for you and won't until we make a decision about whether we'll have any announcements to make on this. There's been no decision taken that we should indicate at this stage where we stand in the investigation, so we're not going to do it.
Q But we could take them as if the United States is holding information pertaining to this case in secret.
MR. DAVIES: The investigation is being conducted, obviously, confidentially, as many criminal investigations are conducted. This is a criminal investigation into a terrible terrorist act. The Saudis and the United States are working together closely on it. We'll continue to work together closely.
If and when we decide there is something that makes sense to put out publicly, we'll do so.
Howard, did you have a follow-up on this?
Q Just coming from the other side, you're not denying that there have been any arrests?
MR. DAVIES: I'm just not going to confirm, deny reports of arrests, interrogations, any of the rest of the news that's out there.
Anymore on this? In the back.
Q Same general topic, on the New York Times article today that some private citizens in Saudi Arabia and other Emirate countries might be funding terrorist activities?
MR. DAVIES: On the general matter of private funding of terrorist acts, that is a serious problem and it's a matter of very serious concern to the United States. It's difficult to track and it's difficult to counter because it is very secretive by nature, but we've made some progress. Of course, the United States has been in the forefront in fighting the problem of financing for terrorist attacks. I could go through -- and I will briefly -- some of the things we've done.
Of course, last year, President Clinton signed an Executive order blocking the assets in the United States of terrorists and terrorist groups.
In April, the President signed the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 which bans terrorist fund-raising in the United States.
In June, of course, at the Lyon Summit, the eight countries in attendance agreed on measures to promote the seizure and forfeiture of criminal and terrorist assets.
At a follow-up meeting of counter-terrorism experts in Paris on June 30, the eight agreed further to fight the financing of terrorists and terrorist organizations.
Of course, in a matter like this, there aren't, nor can there be, guarantees that clandestine funding will be stopped completely. But we believe -- and we act on this -- that we have to use all the legal means available to us and available to all of us -- all the nations in this fight against terrorism -- to try to counter this private funding of terrorist acts.
We will have for you, in the Press Office afterward, a Fact Sheet on this that you should feel free to pick up. It's actually a document that we've had for some time but simply haven't made available in any kind of an organized or general way to people. So you can pick that up.
Q What can you tell us about Osama bin Laden in this connection, the Saudi millionaire? Is he one of the chief suspects? Has there been increased surveillance or investigation into him since the recent terrorist activities?
MR. DAVIES: I think what's I'll do because there are other issues to get into today is just refer you to this Fact Sheet that we're putting out that is entitled "Osama bin Laden, Islamic Extremist Financier," and it goes on at some length. So it's all right there for you.
Anything else on this?
Q Do you have an idea, or do you have a thought, that this private funding of terrorist acts have been sanctioned or approved or possibly was silenced or acquiesced by the countries in the Gulf countries that have been mentioned in the New York Times story?
MR. DAVIES: Anything that I would have at this stage would be available to you either in the Fact Sheet or in our terrorism report, which you've all had a copy of. I don't have any information that would lead me to confirm reports like that, no.
Q Wasn't some of these countries, or most of the countries in the Gulf participated in the Sharm el-Sheik Conference against terrorism?
MR. DAVIES: Most of them were there. Yes, they did. On this, still? Bill, do you have a question on this? Let me come back to you if it's on the same thing.
Q To what extent do you think these people, this private funding are funding terrorism throughout the world? And, also, which acts do you believe they're suspected of being involved in?
MR. DAVIES: I can't give you a percentage of how much the terrorist activity is privately funded and how much is funded by state sponsors of terrorism. I simply don't have those facts available. I don't know if they are available, so I really can't answer your question.
Q Which acts which you suspect?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have chapter and verse on which acts we think are privately funded and which are publicly funded. I would imagine, though I'm not in this field full time, it's perhaps a little bit difficult to follow the money back and necessarily determine in each instance who funded the act; but, I don't have that information for you here.
Q Glyn, you used the word "cooperative" of Saudi officials and U.S. officials. Can you say, or do you know, are U.S. officials -- FBI, military, State Department -- are they privy to the information that the Saudis have not just from the investigation but specific detainees, specific suspects? Are we getting as much as the Saudis have? Have our people, in fact, interviewed any of these suspects, or do you know?
MR. DAVIES: Bill, it's a version of the question, again, that I've had before. I'm simply not going to talk about the conduct of the investigation: who may be in custody; who may not be in custody; interrogations; whether we've had access or not.
It's an on-going investigation and it's best left to go on without public comment being made at this time. If we have a comment to make, we'll make it.
Q I'm not asking for specifics about who might be. Just, is it, indeed, cooperative? And how do you define "cooperative?"
MR. DAVIES: The Saudis have made an undertaking to us, in the aftermath of this, that they would, indeed, cooperate with us. To this stage, I have nothing to contradict that undertaking. As far as I know, they've been quite cooperative with us, and we certainly hope they'll remain so in the future. We expect they will. They promised it at the highest levels.
Anything else? Middle East? Is it Middle East or not?
Q Yeah, Middle East.
MR. DAVIES: Sure.
Q The peace process in the Middle East was the product of the Bush Republican Administration. We all know that there was a bipartisan support for this process. So how come the Republican Party platform adopted some policies which are considered obstructionist, where no mention of continuing the peace process which created the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan and the Declaration of Principles between the Palestinians and Israel? How do you comment on this platform?
MR. DAVIES: Which Nick Burns took the pledge not to get political -- I wasn't up here with him to raise my hand at the same time -- but I've taken the same pledge. We're not going to get into commenting on party platforms. It's not in our interest to do so.
Q Can you comment on any reaction to expanding Jewish settlements, approving sending 300 caravans to the West Bank by the Israeli Defense Minister overnight?
MR. DAVIES: We've seen the reports that there are these so-called caravans -- I guess perhaps hundreds of them -- that have been dispersed to some of the settlements. We are discussing this matter with the Government of Israel.
Our well-known view on settlement activity, I can repeat for you that we believe it creates tensions and is a complicating factor in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. What we believe is important now is for both of the parties to create the best possible environment for the resumption of negotiations.
Q Last question on this area. What are your thoughts --
Q Can I just follow that?
Q Oh, excuse me.
Q A couple of weeks ago or maybe about a week ago, I asked you if the amount of loan guarantees had been drawn down by the Israelis and if there had been any penalty imposed by the United States in terms of the loan guarantee because of money spent on the settlements? You said you'd come back with an answer, and you haven't.
MR. DAVIES: I imagine we were probably prepared the day after you asked that to answer that question, but it's since faded from memory.
Q At least it was never put down on paper and put any place where we could see it.
MR. DAVIES: I'm sorry, you were told that -- we never came up with an answer?
Q You never did.
MR. DAVIES: Okay. Let me go back to the well and see if I can't help you.
Q You are discussing this with Israeli authorities?
MR. DAVIES: Yes, we are. We are.
Q And in connection with Jim's question, if you see that the money has been used from the $10 billion loan guarantees that Israel received from the United States, what will be the action that you will take?
MR. DAVIES: You're asking me to speculate, which I'm not going to do. I mean, I don't know.
Q My last question in this area. What are your thoughts about an immediate meeting between PNA President Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in light of the fact that PNA President Arafat told Israeli authorities that he will not meet with Israeli Defense Minister before meeting with Netanyahu. This was the latest in that area.
MR. DAVIES: That's kind of a complicated question. I don't think I have any views for you right now. That's something I'm happy to look into. I doubt that we would necessarily pronounce ourselves directly on that. I just don't have a reaction for you.
Q Would you look into it?
MR. DAVIES: Yes, I'll look into it for you.
Q India apparently has blocked the CTBT in Geneva.
MR. DAVIES: I don't think India's position has necessarily changed on the CTBT. Certainly, our position hasn't changed, which is that we believe it's very important to move forward with it and to try to stick with the timetable that's agreed to by the bulk of the nations in the Conference on Disarmament negotiating it.
Q Both India and Iran have in fact indicated in working level meetings in Geneva that they are not prepared to join a consensus on the treaty text. What we've been reiterating to both of those nations, certainly to India, is that the draft treaty enjoys the overwhelming support of the international community, including notably all five of the declared nuclear weapons states.
We expect, therefore, to find a solution that will allow us to move the treaty forward and open for signature on the timetable that was agreed to in the U.N. General Assembly last year which, if you'll recall, was a December resolution calling for opening the text at the outset of the 51st UNGA which opens in late September.
Q Are you accepting this as India's final word now, though, that they are in fact officially blocking the transmittal of the text, and you're going to have to find some alternative --
MR. DAVIES: We may be in the end-game, but we're not, we think, at the end of the game yet on this, and we're still working very hard. Of course, the Chairman of the negotiations, Chairman Ramaker, has been meeting with all of the delegations, both informally and under the auspices of his negotiating committee. We expect him to do so. We understand he intends to do so.
So we will continue to make the point about the importance of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to bring about for the first time in history a true zero-yield that's universal.
Q Are you saying that you still think you can convince India to change its mind, or are you now prepared to make an end-run around the CD and just take the treaty to Europe?
MR. DAVIES: I don't want to talk about tactics at this stage. The negotiations continue in Geneva, and certainly there aren't all that many weeks left before the opening of the UNGA in September. So we know that time is short, but we remain hopeful. We continue to press our case. We are part of a very vast majority that wants to go forward with the process, and we hope that at the end of the day the Government of India and the Government of Iran and the others who are blocking this would see the merit of putting in place for the first time in history a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that takes us one more step down the road toward nuclear disarmament.
Q The Canberra Commission today issued its report on nuclear disarmament and called for the five nuclear powers to disarm. What's your reaction to that, and is the United States engaged in any studies at this time on potentially reducing your arsenal further and possibly going to zero nuclear weapons?
MR. DAVIES: On the second half of your question, I can't give you a status on any studies that might be underway in the government, but we will study closely the report of the Canberra Commission that's only just been released. It was presented today to the Australian Government. We've gotten it just today.
Successive U.S. Administrations have embraced the objective, the ultimate objective, of nuclear disarmament that is our ultimate goal. Last year at the NPT Review and Extension Conference, the U.S. reaffirmed its commitment to the goal in the conference's statement of principles and objectives, and we've made a lot of progress over the last five years.
So we'll take a look at what the Canberra Commission report says and perhaps react to it, but I don't think that our reaction is going to be much beyond that. We look at nuclear disarmament as ultimately a goal, and we've made a great deal of progress. I mean, everybody is familiar with the story of struggle on START II, the hope-for ultimate drawdown of worldwide nuclear arsenals from about 40,000 warheads to close to 6,000, which could occur in a number of years if we can continue the START II process.
All of it's very helpful, but we work in the realm of the possible and what's politically possible, and unfortunately we're not at a stage where we can just up and declare an end to all nuclear weapons. We hope that day comes at some point.
Q Another subject.
MR. DAVIES: Yes. Was there a follow-up on that or -- no?
Q Bosnia. There have been reports about security concerns regarding U.S. troops in Bosnia and apparently security over there now is at its highest level. Could you elaborate on any threats that the Pentagon was mentioning yesterday, and is Christopher over there to do something about it? What --
MR. DAVIES: Security in Bosnia is at a heightened level, that's true, and IFOR spokesmen have talked about this and the reasons why a decision was made at the level of IFOR to go to a heightened security status. I really don't have anything to add to what they've said. They've spoken of instances of unauthorized surveillance and photography of some of the installations, of other intelligence information that they've been given, all of which led into their heightened state of alert.
We're not going to talk about the specifics of security measures, but U.S. troops are taking all appropriate actions to protect our forces against any threats.
Q Have there been any -- obviously, this is also linked to the Dhahran bombing. I mean, has there been anything --
MR. DAVIES: I don't know if it's obviously linked to the Dhahran bombing. IFOR is operating in Bosnia, and they're making their decisions based on the conditions that they see and the information that they're getting on the ground there. So I'm not going to make that kind of a leap or that kind of a tie-in.
Q Nick, whatever happened to the Iranian forces or the Iranian personnel who used to be in Bosnia, and I think -- I don't know -- have they found a way to get them out, or were they out? This is the question which is I think related to IFOR, or something like that.
MR. DAVIES: This takes us back now some weeks actually.
Q What happened to these Iranians? Were they removed, or were they sent home to Iran?
MR. DAVIES: Maybe I can shorten this by simply saying that we have sufficient assurance in the United States Government that the organized groups that existed at one time of non-Bosnian fighters have been disbanded, and that was why we made a decision to let the train-and-equip program go forward.
Q So the heightened security -- I mean, all these measures that are being taken are not linked to any concern regarding any organized groups that would still be there?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have specific information on it. I know what IFOR spokesmen have said, talking about surveillance, and so forth, and I simply haven't been privy to the intelligence information. Even if I had been, you know, I wouldn't be talking to you about it.
Q Just the same question I asked Ken Bacon yesterday. Up to this point, is there any I.D. on any of these people? Have any of them been picked up and interrogated? Can you say anything at all about --
MR. DAVIES: Bill, Bacon is the better guy to ask on this. He speaks for U.S. forces who are part of IFOR. He's closer to this action than I am.
Q Let me ask it this way. Is the State Department putting out any alerts to U.S. citizens or to its own assets because of this surveillance at U.S. bases?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know of any alerts on the civilian side. I mean, all Americans in Bosnia have been very alert -- in a heightened state of readiness and alertness ever since IFOR went into Bosnia. I don't think that that's changed. I don't think there's necessarily any need for anything more than is already being done. Of course, we know what IFOR has done because IFOR spokesmen and Ken Bacon have talked about it.
Q In Cyprus, there's been some bloodshed along the demilitarized zone.
MR. DAVIES: That's right.
Q There have been people crossing, and there have been killings.
MR. DAVIES: That's right. The situation in the area around the buffer zone on Cyprus does remain tense. The message that we're sending to all of the sides there is that it's very clear that they need to take more resolute measures to prevent unauthorized incursions into the buffer zone. We've seen the media reports of what's happened in recent hours on Cyprus, and there has been a continuance of this tragic situation unfolding. We know that a large crowd of Greek Cypriot demonstrators entered the zone today in the same area as the disturbance of the weekend; that according to these reports we've received, a Greek Cypriot youth attempted to pull down the Turkish flag on the other side of the buffer zone, Turkish Cypriot forces fired on demonstrators. Greek Cypriot riot police deployed and succeeded in dispersing the demonstrators.
All of this has to be investigated very closely by UNFICYP, by the parties on the ground, but even before we get the results of any investigation that might occur, we believe it's very important that both sides on Cyprus move quickly and strongly to prevent any further incursions into the buffer zone.
Q There have now been two incidents in a matter of days, and I just wondered, you know, whether this suggests to you an increased -- it seems apparent there's an increased tension there and whether you're worried that this whole situation may erupt in uncontrolled --
MR. DAVIES: We certainly hope it doesn't, and that's why we're sending this very vigorous message to the parties that provocative acts really have to stop. That's the only way to end the violence and the bloodshed that's occurred in recent days, and that's where our diplomatic message is today.
Q How is this message being communicated, in capitals or was the Acting Secretary on the phone?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know of any phone calls out of Washington just today, but certainly our Ambassador on Cyprus, Ken Brill, has been very closely involved in this, as you would expect, since events of the weekend. So I think it's principally through our Ambassador there that we're doing the immediate work of passing messages to those on the ground.
Q Does the U.S. believe that firing on demonstrators who are trying to tear down a flag, for example, is an excessive use of force or not?
MR. DAVIES: I think in order to avoid inflaming a situation that is already red hot, it's important that I confine myself to the very basic message that we're giving to both sides, which is to work hard to prevent these unauthorized incursions into the buffer zone and to do this starting now, so that there are no further provocations, no further incidents that can lead to bloodshed.
Any more on Cyprus?
Q Yes. You called on both sides to prevent the incursions into the buffer zone. Is it your information that the Turkish Cypriots also entered into the buffer zone?
MR. DAVIES: The only information we've got now is really from press reports, from some very sketchy preliminary reports that we've gotten from our diplomatic sources. I don't want to go back and parse -- give you some kind of an accounting of the events very recently beyond what I've already done, because it simply wouldn't be responsible for me to do so. I don't have all the facts. We need to get all the facts in order for us to know what occurred, and I think it's a mistake to try to point fingers and examine all of this with a microscope right now.
We need now to send this message, as we're doing, to the parties on the island to do everything to prevent unauthorized incursions into the zone and to prevent bloodshed from occurring.
Any more on Cyprus? No.
Q Is the Administration reconsidering a decision to sell Stinger missiles to Taiwan following Tony Lake's visit to Beijing?
MR. DAVIES: Let me see if I've got something on that. I know that this is an issue that came up recently. I don't have anything on Stingers. I've got something on the Avenger anti-aircraft missile system. Is that related, or is that the same? It is.
We are processing a request from Taiwan for the Avenger anti-aircraft missile system. The system is purely defensive in nature. It is a vehicle-mounted system designed for defense against air attack, and it can use the Stinger missiles; that's correct.
The sale would be consistent with our policy on arms sales to Taiwan as framed by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, and, of course, the '82 Joint Communique with the People's Republic.
Q Is there any plan to reconsider this decision?
MR. DAVIES: I don't believe there's any plan to reconsider it. As I said, we're processing the request. The system was approved for sale three years ago to Taiwan, so this is not anything new -- the fact that this system was one that was available for transfer to Taiwan.
Q What's the value?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know the value. I could find that out for you.
Q When do you expect the Administration to notify Congress of the decision?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have the timetable here. We'll do it as the law requires, and I'm not sure at what stage in the process precisely we are right now, so I don't know when that notification would occur or if in fact it already has. I just don't know.
Q Are you saying you received the request three years ago or that you've been processing it for three years?
MR. DAVIES: No, all I have to tell you now is that three years ago the system was approved for sale to Taiwan -- in 1993.
Q Is there veracity to the report that Tony Lake promised the Chinese in his most recent visit to Beijing that the United States would withhold sales of all arms until the end of the year? Do you know anything about that?
MR. DAVIES: All I know on that about the Lake meetings is that in his discussions with Chinese leaders, the National Security Advisor assured them that in reviewing all requests from Taiwan for arms purposes, we would hew to the 1982 Joint Communique; and, of course, the policy on arm sales as framed in the Taiwan Relations Act. He reiterated our policy, in other words.
Q Israeli Foreign Minister, David Levy, is visiting the United States. Are there any plans for him to meet any officials here in this building within his --
MR. DAVIES: He's here on a private visit. I don't have any word on any plans to meet with U.S. Government officials.
Q He did not request a meeting --
MR. DAVIES: Not that I know of. I know that there are no plans for meetings with the Foreign Minister on his current, private visit to the United States. I think he went to New York.
Q Ariel Sharon is visiting the United States. Did he request a meeting?
MR. DAVIES: Again, I have no information on any requests he might have made or any meetings that might have been set up for him.
Q Glyn, a wave of food poisoning has swept across Japan in recent weeks. Upwards of 9,000 people have been affected. Has the State Department been monitoring health conditions in Japan for the benefit of U.S. tourists and residents?
MR. DAVIES: I don't believe we've put out any specific warnings on that, from the level of the State Department. Whether or not it's been done out of our Embassy in Tokyo or one of the Consulates, I'd be happy to check for you.
I know that we have offered to help the Japanese as they deal with this problem, but I don't have a status report on where that stands. We certainly do stand ready to help them deal with it.
Q Glyn, what do you see the situation in Indonesia?
MR. DAVIES: The situation in Indonesia?
MR. DAVIES: I've talked about that for a couple of days now. I don't know that the situation is much changed. We're sending a message to the Indonesian Government -- have done so consistently -- calling on them to ensure that they do everything possible to protect the rights of their citizens, the basic rights that are guaranteed to them of freedom of peaceful assembly, of speech, and of association.
We've expressed a particular concern about the arrest and continued detention of certain individuals, including a labor leader by the name of Muchtar Pakpahan, but also others. We'd like the Indonesian Government to make a full accounting of those who have been arrested and those who are missing, and to allow independent monitors full access to those arrested.
It's important that all sides in Indonesia refrain from provoking violence or engaging in it.
Q Cuba. The latest on the status of the rafters picked up on Monday off the Florida Keys? Anything on the fact that the Coast Guard is reporting that they're looking into the incident as a possible smuggling?
MR. DAVIES: I can give you a brief status report on that incident which is on-going, the capsizing of a vessel. There were 27 people -- perhaps a few more on board that vessel.
I can tell you that seven of the 27 migrants who are now on board a Coast Guard cutter, the Nantucket, have been brought into the United States; five of them, because they are immediate relatives of the two deceased who died in the capsizing of the vessel; two of them who were injured in that capsizing. So seven have been brought off of the Nantucket and on to American soil.
The other 20, their case is being adjudicated now. They've had their interview as provided for in our understanding with the Cuban Government, the May 2, 1995 agreement. The results of those interviews are now being evaluated by U.S. Government officials. So a decision remains in their case.
I reiterated yesterday -- I'll do so again today -- that this incident further underscores the necessity of using the mechanism that's available to come to the United States in an orderly fashion -- those who wish to come to the United States. Those Cubans who have such an interest should avail themselves of the mechanism that exists that's set forth in the May 2, 1995 agreement between the United States and Cuba. It seems to have worked, really, very well.
Q How about the two who took off in a raft?
MR. DAVIES: There are two individuals who were reported to have left the capsized vessel, the area, in a rubber raft. The search continues for those two.
Q How about the family members of the two victims? Will they be allowed to remain in the U.S.?
MR. DAVIES: That, I don't know. You might check with the immigration service. I doubt very much that any determination has been made. I'm sure that the results of the interviews with those individuals will have to be looked at as well as the results of the others. All of that will have to be looked at by the INS.
Q No word on the possibility that there could have been a smuggling incident?
MR. DAVIES: I just don't have any information to give you that would help you with that.
Q Do you have a number for the Cubans who have come to the United States with this agreement, the 1995 Agreement? How many Cubans have been able to --
MR. DAVIES: I could get you a number. Just roughly speaking, I think there have been some 470-plus since this agreement was reached who were processed, according to the agreement. Of those, 40 were not returned to Cuba but were either parolled on a humanitarian basis into the United States or went to third countries. I can't break down the 40 any further and tell you how many came into the United States. I don't know, perhaps --
MR. DAVIES: Thirty of the 40? Thirteen?
Q No, no. Thirty all tolled, as opposed to 40.
MR. DAVIES: As opposed to 40?
MR. DAVIES: I can check that for you. We had that information the other day. Sure.
Q Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 1:39 p.m.)
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