U.S. Department of State 96/08/21 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Wednesday, August 21, l996 Briefer: Glyn Davies ANNOUNCEMENTS Welcome to 12 Press Secretaries from The Ukraine.............. 1 US Condemns Renewed Kurdish Fighting in Northern Iraq......... 1 IRAQ US Calls Upon KDP & PUK to Exercise Restraint, End Offensive Actions, and Participate in Talks in London................. 1-2 --Rpts of Iranian Interests Expanding Influence in the Region. 2-3 Complaint to UN re Resolution 986............................. 15-16 PKK/MED-TV Broadcasting on Intelsat........................... 22 --Brother of PKK Founder Attends PKK Celebration.............. 22 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Israeli ForMin Levy's Mtg w/Amb Indyk: --Continue MEPP Without Conditions/Return To Negotiations With Syria.................................................. 3-5 Israeli/Syria Peace Track: --US Supports Facilitating Continuance/Issue of Golan Heights. 4-5 ARMS CONTROL CTBT: --Ramaker Text Update on India's Position & Motivation/Iran's Position/US Negotiator Mr. Ledogar's Remarks in Geneva...... 5-10 COLOMBIA Amb Frechette/Amb Gelbard's Comments re Coup Last Year........ 10 Ex-AttyGen Vasquez Velasquez' Allegation...................... 10-11 NIGERIA Sen Moseley-Braun's Private Visit to Lagos and Region/ Cong Bill Richardson's Official Visit to Lagos/Policy Toward Abacha Regime........................................ 12 RUSSIA Alleged Press Rpts re Power Struggle of Succession to Pres Yeltsin................................................ 12-13 Pres Yeltsin's Health/Press Rpts re Current Activities........ 15 Chechnya: --Gen Lebed in Grozny/US Supports Efforts Towards Peace/ Pres Clinton's Msg to Pres Yeltsin/Pres Yeltsin's Endorsement of Ultimatum to Rebels...................................... 12-15 NORTH/SOUTH KOREA Update on Demonstrations...................................... 16 No Formal Assignment of Chief to Liaison Office in Pyongyang.. 17 Food Aid Delivery............................................. 17 IRAN/LIBYA Sanctions Act: --Rpts of Pakistan & Malaysia's Signed Oil Deals with Iran/ US Working with OFAC........................................ 17-18 PAKISTAN/INDONESIA No US Decision on Sale of F-16's/Pres Clinton's Request to Find Alternative Buyer/Role of Human Rights Issue in Indonesia... 18-19 ISRAEL: Alleged Rpt of Arrow Anti-Missile Manufactured.......... 19 HAITI US Military Troops Dispatched for Previously-Planned Training/Support............................................ 20 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Rpt of Posters of Karadzic In Serbian Part of Bosnia.......... 20-21 Bosnian Serbs Living Up to Agreement.......................... 20 MISCELLANEOUS International Narcotics and Crime: --FBI's Presence Overseas..................................... 21-23
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21, 1996, 1:01 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. DAVIES: Welcome to the State Department briefing, and welcome also to 12 press secretaries from Ukraine who are in the United States as part of a program to help press secretaries from emerging democracies develop media skills. Welcome to you. Glad you're here.
Then one announcement before I go to your questions. This is on the situation in northern Iraq on the Kurdish fighting there. We condemn the renewed fighting among the Kurdish parties in northern Iraq. Continued fighting will only set back the interests of the Iraqi Kurds and the other inhabitants of the region and create opportunities for outside players whose agendas have nothing to do with the best interests of the citizens of northern Iraq.
Prior to the outbreak of the fighting, we invited the Kurdish leaders to meet with us in London to pursue the reconciliation process under our auspices. We therefore call upon the leaders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and of the Kurdistan Democratic Party to exercise maximum restraint and defensive actions immediately and participate in these talks with us. Peaceful discussion remains the only way for the Iraqi Kurds to resolve their differences.
Q Have they agreed to go to London?
MR. DAVIES: I don't think I have any agreement to report to you. It's something that we'd like to do in the near future. If we can arrange this, then Bob Deutsch, the official who's been representing the United States in that part of the world, would represent us in London. But if we can get to this in the next couple of weeks, that would be very good.
Q Do you have any details on the fighting?
MR. DAVIES: I do, I think, have a little bit of detail on the fighting. Of course, there's been a fair amount of press about it. We don't for our part -- the United States does not have a permanent presence in that part of the world. So we don't have a great amount of detail on it, but we've seen the reports that there is renewed fighting among the Kurdish groups in northern Iraq, the Kurdish parties who are there. To the United States these reports are deeply troubling.
We think that the fighting is really only going to set back their interests and not just the interests of the Kurds but of all the other inhabitants in the region. So we think that what needs to be done now is the parties should lay down their arms and answer our call and come to London to discuss their differences.
Q In your phrase "creating opportunities for outside parties," who is that in reference to?
MR. DAVIES: A "for instance" would be Iran.
MR. DAVIES: I think I'd prefer simply to mention Iran as an outside -- I mean, any outside party, in our view, who comes into that conflict would be an unhelpful addition to it. We think it's important to try to get the leaders of the Kurdish factions together, to do it outside the region. We've proposed that that happen in London, to try to talk through their differences, and do not think it's a good idea for the Kurds to continue fighting or to try to seek allies in the immediate area.
Q Iran just did a small military action in that region. Do you think they or that may have played a role in what's going on now?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know if Iranian military action has played into what's going on. I mean, our analysis of what's happening in northern Iraq is that the Kurds are in the first instance going at it for their own parochial reasons, and the situation could only be exacerbated if others from outside that part of the world come into northern Iraq and try to give advice or aid to either party.
Q I don't see how Iran could get in there. I mean, they're not friendly with either of these groups, really. What's your rationale for even mentioning that Iran could somehow insert itself, and why?
MR. DAVIES: We've seen the reports that I think everybody else has seen of Iranian interests in expanding their influence in the region. That is a neighboring country and neighboring area. We simply want to make clear to Iran that they cannot play a useful role in northern Iraq.
Q In the area. Do you have any details on a message the U.S. passed on to Syria on behalf of Israel?
MR. DAVIES: What I can tell you about that is that our Ambassador, Ambassador Indyk, was asked to come to a meeting with the Israeli Foreign Minister, Mr. Levy, which he did. He went in and spoke with the Foreign Minister, and the Foreign Minister conveyed to Ambassador Indyk a couple of points that are well known points about Israeli policy.
The first is that Israel is attached to the notion of continuing the peace process without conditions. The second notion is that Israel would like to get back to negotiations when it's possible to do so.
He asked that we convey that to the Syrian authorities, and that is indeed what we'll do, which has been our role in that part of the world for some time.
Q It wasn't actually a letter or any document?
MR. DAVIES: No, I think it was just orally conveyed to the Ambassador.
Q The reports are saying that he also offered -- gave assurances that they wouldn't attack Syria; that that was not part of their strategy.
MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything on --
Q I mean, that's what the reports are saying.
MR. DAVIES: That might be what he said, and I don't know if he said that to the Ambassador or not. That's not the information I got.
Q Glyn, you said two points that are well known or something. Does the U.S. understand Israel's position to be as the Foreign Minister enunciated it to the Ambassador? Do you see Israel attaching any conditions? Does the State Department think Israel is making a genuine, unconditional offer of negotiations with Syria?
MR. DAVIES: We believe that the Foreign Minister of Israel was sincere in making these points to us and was sincere in wanting us to convey them to the Government of Syria, so we're going to go ahead and do so, sure.
Q How will you do it?
MR. DAVIES: The mechanics of it are in a sense unimportant. Whether we do it through our Ambassador in Damascus or whether we do it in some other fashion, we'll convey the points.
MR. DAVIES: Again, we'll do it as soon as we can.
Q There is a rising level of rhetoric going back and forth between Israel and Syria, especially since the testing of the Scud missile the other day. Does that level of rhetoric give rise to any concern on your part?
MR. DAVIES: I think to the extent the United States is concerned, we're concerned, of course, that the parties are not at this stage in the kind of negotiations that we would like to see them in. So the United States will do what it can to facilitate a continuance of the Israeli/Syria peace track. It's very important to us, and, of course, we have had in the past instances where the two sides have sat down together with the United States in attendance.
We'd like very much to see the parties get back to that, and our efforts are directed to facilitating that kind of contact.
Q Both the Secretary and Dennis Ross are on vacation, is that right?
MR. DAVIES: I don't think Dennis is on vacation.
Q Is he back?
MR. DAVIES: I think he's back, yes.
Q He's going back out, isn't he?
MR. DAVIES: He may be. I don't know. But he's in the building today. I talked to him.
Q Do you think it's realistic for negotiations -- to imagine negotiations can resume without a serious discussion of the Golan Heights?
MR. DAVIES: I mean, this is an issue that we've been around and around on in the recent past. The bottom line for the United States is that it's up to the parties to set conditions for their getting back to negotiations. What's positive on both sides is that they both indicated an interest in continuing the peace process between Israel and Syria.
So for our part, we are happy and willing to do whatever we can to facilitate their getting back together, and to the extent we have thoughts on whether or not they should discuss the Golan first or second or third and what they should say to each other, we're sharing those ideas with them in private.
Q Did you say when Indyk saw the Foreign Minister? What day?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have that. I believe it was today. I could check on precisely when that was.
Q If you're checking, could you see when he saw him last?
MR. DAVIES: Okay, sure. I'd be happy to do that, absolutely.
Q To follow up with Mark's question, though, it has been policy to endorse the view of peace on the basis of land-for-peace, hasn't it?
MR. DAVIES: Generally put, it is the U.S. view that they will have to, at some point, discuss the disposition of the Golan Heights. I mean, I don't think there's any question about that.
Q If I could shift to Geneva. Now that India has vetoed the CTBT, where does the Administration plan to go from here?
MR. DAVIES: What we plan to do is the following. There's one more day in Geneva -- that's tomorrow -- so we're going to give it a college try again tomorrow in Geneva. But we don't entertain many illusions that we'll be able tomorrow to create the kind of consensus that would be needed for the Conference on Disarmament to convey the treaty by consensus to New York, where we've pledged to have the treaty by mid- September open for signature.
This is kind of an important juncture because we've been at it in Geneva for two-and-a-half years. We've been working hard at this treaty. We have consensus among all but one country. We've been working at arms control in a larger sense for about three-and-a-half decades and we've seen a lot of progress in arms control, not so much in the beginning, but in recent years -- more and more positive progress in nuclear arms control.
All of this, of course, in the context of a half century's worth of the nuclear era. We now have a chance -- the international community -- to once and for all enshrine into international law a global zero-yield comprehensive test ban. So we are consequently determined to open the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty for signature in New York.
What we'll be doing in coming days and weeks is examining our options for doing so. But, as for the process in Geneva, it appears to be all but over, unfortunately.
Q Glyn, one more thing. There's a report in one of the agencies yesterday about the possibility of a signature conference outside the U.N. Have you heard anything about that?
MR. DAVIES: No, I haven't. I haven't heard anything about that other than a few press reports. We will in the next few days and weeks be talking to all interested nations, certainly all of the nuclear powers -- because, recall, that all of the nuclear powers had signed onto the treaty text, the so-called Ramaker text, at Geneva -- about how we can get this treaty in its current form -- because we're very attached to the language that we have now -- to New York and open it for signature and complete a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty this year.
MR. DAVIES: Steve.
Q On the same point, is your view of what India wants -- has that changed in the last few days? There are reports that India, actually in the end, might be willing to negotiate some final changes that have more to do with inspections and security and somehow seem to have less to do with the principle of world disarmament.
MR. DAVIES: We've seen all these various theories about why India is doing what it's doing. I think it's probably best to leave to India to explain its rationale for blocking consensus in the Conference on Disarmament.
We are still focusing all of our effort on moving the treaty forward and don't think it would be productive to lay out our thinking on India's rationale for doing what it's doing.
We have reminded the Indians, publicly and privately, of our respect for their tradition in arms control; that India is one of the fathers, if you will, of the notion of a comprehensive test ban. We have asked the Indians to be true to that tradition and to support a consensus on CTBT such as it exists now.
It remains very important, we think, to try to do this by consensus, to try to do it this year, since we've done so much work over the last two and a half years. All of our efforts with India are in that direction.
Q Are you concerned -- is this government concerned that if you find another mechanism whereby to bring this to New York outside of the established way and have to go around the principle consensus that you might be setting a dangerous precedent for future arms control talks and the way the Conference on Disarmament works?
MR. DAVIES: Doing this outside of the CD would be something very new. It's never been done before.
One of the points we've made all along about the negotiations in Geneva is about the importance of the CD process itself -- about the Conference on Disarmament -- and using that mechanism which has served us -- "us," the international community -- well for a number of years.
I think it's much too early to sound the death knell on the Conference of Disarmament. It's an important mechanism. I'm sure we will continue to use it to the extent we can. But we'll simply have to see what happens in coming days and weeks. As I said, we still have tomorrow to try to get this done formally through the Conference on Disarmament. I don't know if 24 hours is enough for India to change its mind. I guess hopes are fading, but we'll see what we can do.
Q Glyn, when you said it was early on -- was India the only holdout?
MR. DAVIES: I think formally it was. Formally, it was.
Q Did you have a chance to go around the table to find out if there were any others who would have blocked consensus? Iran, for instance?
MR. DAVIES: Iran made noises made about blocking consensus. But my understanding is that at the end of the day they did not do it formally. India did.
The way the CD operates in Geneva is by consensus. If a country has an objection, they make their objection known. They can block consensus quite easily.
India has done so, and they are the only country that's formally done so.
Q ITN-TV last night had a Pakistani delegate. I don't know where it was -- at the U.N. or in Geneva -- threatening, warning of retaliation, measure-for-measure; anything India might do on a build-up. Is the State Department aware of that? Is there any message here for Pakistan?
MR. DAVIES: Again, this comes back to the earlier question which is -- what is India's motivation in blocking the treaty? Right now, job one for the United States, as we see it, is to move the treaty forward. I'm just not going to get into the geo-strategic situation on the sub- continent or try to indicate what it is we think about India's motivations or who --
Q The consequences, is what I'm asking about. If this doesn't go through, what are the consequences in the region?
MR. DAVIES: We prefer to put all our efforts into getting it done and getting the treaty signed. We have some time, and we think we may have some options. So we're going to look at what those options are and try, within the next couple of weeks, to get a treaty to New York and open it for signature.
Q On the question of motivation, the U.S. delegate to Geneva said that he thought the real reason that India was vetoing was that India wanted to continue with the testing option. Is that the State Department's view?
MR. DAVIES: It's the same question popping up in different ways. I'm not going to get into Indian motivations for doing what they're doing. They can speak for themselves, explain why they're blocking consensus. We have called on them in the past not to block consensus. I'm doing it again today. They should not. They should support this treaty. It's an important treaty. It's one of the biggest steps forward in nuclear disarmament of all time, not just of recent years. That's the call we're making on the Indians.
I don't think it serves us to try to psychoanalyze why India is taking the steps it's taking. We will share those thoughts with the Indians directly, to be sure. But publicly, we're going to put our efforts into getting the Test Ban Treaty forward to New York.
Q Just to follow. Except that Mr. Ledogar was speaking for the U.S. Government in public. Was he accurately reflecting the position of the U.S. Government?
MR. DAVIES: Mr. Ledogar, our negotiator in Geneva -- one of our finest diplomats -- has put his heart and soul into getting this treaty through the Conference on Disarmament by consensus to New York open for signature. I think what I'll do is permit him a degree of frustration as he sees the curtain ringing down on his efforts. He has one more day. He'll keep at it through tomorrow. We hope that the Indians respond.
That is how I would explain what Steven Ledogar had to say in Geneva.
Q Two questions -- one is, what is so sacred with the Ramaker text? The Ramaker text -- it has been amended once to accommodate the Chinese. So what is the difficulty in accommodating India?
Secondly, some people think there is (inaudible) for psychoanalysis of India's motives and that the reason is the big neighbor next door, namely, China. Do you have any comment on that?
MR. DAVIES: No, I'm not going to comment on the second question for the same reasons I really haven't commented on the first.
For two and a half years, the international community at Geneva has worked hard to create a text they could agree on and ultimately to create a Comprehensive Test Ban worldwide. We're at that stage. We have the opportunity now -- the international community -- to go forward with this very important step in nuclear arms control.
It's being blocked by one country -- by India. We think that's too bad. We think India should support the agreed text that now exists in Geneva. We think it would be a big mistake to reopen the treaty and try to reinvent all of that work over two and a half years that culminated three and a half decades of arms control progress in the last half century.
Q My question was, it has been amended once to accommodate the Chinese. All the sacredness of the Ramaker text disappeared when it came to China. What is so sacred about not reopening the treaty now?
MR. DAVIES: What I can't do for you is go back into the negotiating record and explain why on Day X we made the moves we did. It was certainly very important in negotiating the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that the declared nuclear states were comfortable with the text.
China is one such declared nuclear state. There are only five on the face of the earth. China is also the world's largest nation and a member of the U.N. Security Council. So we absolutely had to -- "we," again, the international community, not that I've just been elected spokesman for the world here. We, the United States, understood that we had to ensure that the Chinese would support this.
At rock bottom, you need to have the nuclear states of the world behind you if you're going to try to create a regime for ending, once and for all, nuclear testing. That was the rationale for ensuring that China supported the treaty.
Q Will India's position on this create an impediment to better relations in the future? Also, would the U.S. consider some sort of economic sanctions after three years?
MR. DAVIES: This is not about punishment. The objective is not to look at ways we can strong-arm India into supporting this text. We prefer to try to convince the Indians of why it's in their interest to support the text. So we're not going to make any threats against the Indians, threaten them with economic sanctions or anything else to get them to support the text.
Anything more on CTBT?
Q Yes. Last week, Ambassador Frechette told the reporters in Colombia that some civilians asked him a year ago to coup President Samper. This week, Ambassador Gelbard assured in a live national radio show that the Colombian Government knew about the coup a year ago -- calling Mr. Samper and Interior Minister liars.
Does the State Department agree with this declaration?
MR. DAVIES: We stand by the words of our Assistant Secretary and our Ambassador. Absolutely.
Q Do you agree with the -- the State Department agrees?
MR. DAVIES: We stand by what they said, sure.
Q Another question is, Mr. Vasquez Velasquez, the ex-Attorney General from Colombia, last night assured that he has proof of a U.S. Government fund of $70 million to pay a witness against the Colombian Government. Is that sure, or any answer about these accusations?
MR. DAVIES: If we had $70 million, I'm sure we would use it for something much more useful than that. I don't know anything about that. I can't help you with that.
Q Do you have any comment to make on Senator Moseley-Braun's opening to the Abacha regime? Have you found this helpful, unhelpful, constructive? How would you describe it?
MR. DAVIES: Or otherwise. Senator Moseley-Braun went to Nigeria on a private visit and apparently met with some senior people in Lagos and, I understand, may have traveled outside the capital. She was not an official envoy of the United States Government.
We were not advised of her trip to Nigeria nor were we asked to brief her or assist her. You have to look to her for a description of what she did.
Had she made some time and come and talked to us before she went, we could have explained to her what our policy is toward the Abacha regime and toward Nigeria. It's always better if senior people from the government, regardless of branch, speak with one voice, especially on issues as important as returning a nation of that size to constitutional rule and, of course, getting the Abacha regime to move to a higher degree of respect for human rights.
So we wish we'd had an opportunity to talk to her before she went but we didn't.
Q Did you try to persuade her not to go?
MR. DAVIES: I can speculate about what we might have done in a meeting with her. If she had indicated that she was determined to go, I think we would have used the opportunity at that meeting to talk to her about our Nigeria policy.
Q Could a trip like that, if she had been briefed, be helpful?
MR. DAVIES: It could be, as I said, if she delivered the kind of message that we've been delivering to the Abacha regime, which is to help the country move back to constitutional processes and constitutional government and to cease some of the human rights violations that have caught our attention since Abacha came to power.
Q You don't know if, in fact, she did not convey these messages?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know that for a fact, except that we haven't heard her indicate that she has. I haven't seen any reports that while she was in Nigeria she delivered any kind of a message like the message that we've been delivering to the Abacha regime.
Q She and Congressman Richardson were there about the same time; perhaps even the same day. Richardson was there --
MR. DAVIES: In a different capacity. Bill Richardson was there at our request, the request of the United States Government. He was there for two days -- two or three days -- the 18th through the 20th of August. He was delivering the message that we've delivered to Abacha and his cronies since they came to power, which I've repeated a couple of times. They must cease what they're doing on the human rights front, which is a complete lack of respect for human rights -- you can go back to the killing of the Ogoni tribesmen many months ago -- and to put Nigeria back on a track to constitutional government and respect for democracy. That was the message that he took.
The Nigerian Government has shown some slight signs of an interest in a dialogue with the United States. So we thought it was important to have somebody go out. Bill Richardson agreed to do it and deliver that kind of message and explore whether or not the Nigerians were at a stage where we could have some kind of a constructive dialogue with them. He's just come back and we're talking to him, and we'll decide whether that's the case.
Q He's not back yet.
MR. DAVIES: He's left Nigeria, I think.
Q Is there any indication --
MR. DAVIES: I don't have any indications to report to you, unfortunately, that he's been successful with the Nigerian regime. I don't.
Bill, you had a question.
Q Yes, on Russia. Or Chechnya, specifically. Press reports from a number of sources now saying that there's a power struggle going on in the Kremlin, a power struggle of succession to Mr. Yeltsin. Certainly, a dichotomy, a division in the military command within Russia. That's issue one. Does the United States Government have anything official to say about this disturbing situation?
And, second, I understand that Mr. Lebed is back in Grozny, or near Grozny, trying to forestall an offensive by other Russian forces that would more level, make more dust out of rubble in Grozny. Have you any comments about these reports?
MR. DAVIS: Chechnya is, in many respects, Russia's biggest challenge right now. It's a complex problem for Moscow; one of the most difficult that President Yeltsin and his government have had to face and grapple with.
President Yeltsin committed himself to resolving the Chechnya crisis. He understands that his public, the international community, everyone looks to him to resolve it.
We've said to Yeltsin, we've said to the Russian Government and to the Chechen rebels time and time again that force will not work. Military arms are not the answer to the problems posed by the Chechen rebellion.
We are, therefore, urging both sides to get back to the peace table. Lebed, as you say, has just arrived in Chechnya, near Grozny. He's back to the process that he began last week in his talks with rebel leaders, Mr. Maskhadov and others. We wish him well. We hope that that process succeeds. We hope that a means can be found to achieve a durable cease-fire.
It is certainly frightening to think about any kind of a generalized attack on the city of Grozny when you have at least 50,000, and probably many more, civilians still in the city, both Russians and Chechens.
So we made a call yesterday -- I'll do it again today -- on the Russian authorities not to execute any kind of a military campaign against civilians within Grozny. That's the message that we're sending to Russia consistently.
Q So the U.S. Government then supports the efforts of Lebed and his peacemaking effort?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to get into supporting one faction or another. We support efforts toward peace. We certainly support what General Lebed is doing in Chechnya. As far as the rest of these reports of there being factional fighting, I simply don't have anything for you on that.
In fact, I might add -- and I think this is already public knowledge -- that the President himself has sent a message to Yeltsin underscoring our concern about the Chechen crisis and making some of the same points that we've making in public.
Q Has the President received anything back from Yeltsin --
MR. DAVIES: No, I think that message just went.
Q -- to explain why he's on vacation while all this is going on?
MR. DAVIES: No. I think the message just went. Mark.
Q Glyn, from the evidence available to you, is the Russian military under civilian control or not?
MR. DAVIES: I haven't asked that question, specifically, but I don't have any reason to believe that it's not, as has been the case for many years now, since the Russian revolution -- the second Russian revolution.
Q What's your understanding about whether or not President Yeltsin endorsed this ultimatum to the rebels to move out of Grozny?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything to share with you on that. As far as is evident to us, President Yeltsin is the President of Russia. He's very much in charge. We, as I say, have expressed at the very highest levels -- this message from the President to President Yeltsin - - our support for efforts at achieving a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Chechnya.
Q On the same, asked a different way. Does it concern you that the chain of command in the Russian military seems to be confused and broken?
MR. DAVIES: I don't think I'm competent, really, to talk about that. I don't know enough about the Russian chain of command to know if, in fact, it's broken at this stage.
Certainly, what is happening in and around the Chechen crisis is pretty much transparent to all of us. We know that Lebed has gone down there. We know that he's meeting with Maskhadov and others. That's all very positive.
I can't tell you for certain who, in fact, on the scene in Grozny, is issuing the orders. But I don't have any evidence that there's been any kind of a generalized breakdown that would portend chaos in the ranks of the Russian military.
Q On a related theme. What's the latest state of -- your view of the latest state of President Yeltsin's health? And does the State Department still believe him to be on vacation and not in Moscow?
MR. DAVIES: I know what I've seen in press reports about President Yeltsin's current activities; that he is, indeed, still undertaking some rest and is outside of Moscow. I don't know whether he intends to come back to Moscow in order to more directly handle this crisis or not. I simply don't have any information.
Q Where did President Clinton send his message?
MR. DAVIES: Probably to our Embassy which will get it to the right place. In the modern day, presidents are capable of being in more than one place and still running things. I'm certain that's the case in Russia.
Q Can I change the topic?
MR. DAVIES: Are we still on Russia -- Lebed, Yeltsin?
Q I'm going to the U.N. and Iraq. Today, Iraq complained to the U.N. that the number of monitors required for 986 is so much that it's going to cost aid for the Iraqi people because the money to pay for the monitors comes from the same general fund that's going towards aid.
Since the U.S. was the strong proponent of having so many monitors in place, is there any chance the U.S. is going to retreat on that position or change at all as a result of --
MR. DAVIES: No, I sincerely doubt that we're going to change our position on 986.
On the monitoring regime that was hammered out over a period of weeks in New York, it's very important that as 986 goes forward and is implemented and Iraq is able to sell a billion dollars worth of oil every 90 days, that there be in place sufficient monitors to ensure that none of this money ends up in Saddam Hussein's pocket or ends up in fixtures in his palaces, to echo words said from this podium in the past.
We're not contemplating modifying the regime at all. I don't know that it's going to be such a dire expense for the Iraqis that they won't be able to do it. But I'm happy to look into that and see to what extent it might be a burden on the Iraqis to pay some of those charges.
Q Glyn, is there anything to be said about the way South Korean police pummeled demonstrators after they had surrendered?
MR. DAVIES: Barry, you know, I can't confirm --
Q You can just look at the film of those beatings --
MR. DAVIES: -- some of those reports have occurred --
Q They're not reports. They're visible. They've been televised. They're beating them on the back and kicking them and pushing them. These young demonstrators simply docilely walking in a line away from the scene and surrendering.
MR. DAVIES: It's true that there was a qualitative difference between the way the Korean Government handled these protests from years past, because it's an unfortunate fact of life in Korean society that this has become an annual event -- these protests that occur around liberation day, and the Koreans did, I think, for the first time come onto campuses and use helicopters and the rest of it to suppress the demonstrations.
We are thankful that by all reports there was no loss of life in the demonstrations and the way the government handled it, and we are also thankful that the demonstrations, that whole episode, appear to be over. But I don't have any -- beyond those observations, I don't have anything to share with you.
Let me go here first.
Q You don't consider that an abuse of human rights, and is that all you can say is that you're just thankful that there was no loss of life?
MR. DAVIES: I really don't have anything else to say on it right now, Mark. I don't. I mean, we saw the same images that everybody saw, and, as a human, one naturally reacts to those kinds of images. But these were events that occurred in Korea. Obviously, not events over which we had any kind of direct control, and it was on a human level very difficult to see what happened -- to watch what happened, the images.
But we are certainly glad that the demonstrations didn't escalate - - the reaction didn't escalate, and that no one as a result did die. I think that's an important thing to underscore here.
Q I'd like to know the exact day when U.S. humanitarian goods (inaudible) will arrive to North Korea. I think this week it will arrive in Pyongyang or somewhere. And I'd like to also ask you about how U.S. Government will monitor the process of distributing these humanitarian goods to Korean people -- not to the Korean military side.
My second question is whether you have already assigned somebody for the future chief of the liaison office in Pyongyang or not.
MR. DAVIES: I don't think a formal assignment has been made of a chief to our Liaison Office, though I think we do have somebody in mind. But on the humanitarian goods question, I don't know when those goods are arriving. I don't believe that this is direct bilateral aid. I think this is aid that we've helped fund that is being brought to Korea by a non-governmental organization. But I'm happy to check to see what our understanding is about the delivery schedule of that.
Q Two countries, Pakistan and Malaysia, recently signed oil deals with Iran. Any response?
MR. DAVIES: Those deals have -- we saw the reports of those deals. I don't have any response in terms of the Iran/Libya Sanctions Act, which is the legislation that might apply to those deals having been concluded.
We are still examining the implications of the act and trying to draw up implementing language so that we can determine which of the deals that have been concluded might be sanctionable under the act.
Q I've been told by other people in the State Department that this is wrong; there will not be implementing language drawn up. There's nowhere in the bill that calls for implementing language, and so as a result there won't be any, and that the State Department will take a lead in enforcing this on a case-by-case basis.
MR. DAVIES: I guess it's a term of art -- implementing language. I think you're right that there won't be formal implementing language that will be published in the Federal Register or what-have-you. But given legislation as complex as this, you have to figure out how you're going to enforce it and how it will be implemented.
In point of fact, that process is underway. We're looking at the act, looking at what it requires and moving to implement it as fast as we can. Whether or not the term of art for that is "implementing language" or not, I'm not sure. But the bottom line is we're not at a stage yet where we can say that any one of those deals implicates the act or brings sanctions down upon those who have concluded them.
Q You'll be giving like formal guidance at least to Office of Foreign Assets Control?
MR. DAVIES: We're working with the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Treasury Department. We are the two players in that.
Q Right. But when you say that there won't be anything published in the Federal Register, will there be anything on --
MR. DAVIES: I don't know that. I mean, I could look into the mechanics of this. You're asking kind of a detailed question about how the act is implemented. But we'll work with OFAC to get this done, to implement the law, since the President has signed it.
Q Pakistan. Has the Administration decided yet to notify Congress on the sale of that -- the F-16s that were supposed to go to Pakistan to Indonesia?
MR. DAVIES: There's been no decision made on those aircraft. We are still seeking to carry out President Clinton's commitment to find an alternative buyer for the F-16s which were originally paid for by the Pakistani Government but weren't delivered because of sanctions against Pakistan.
Our concern about human rights in Indonesia, of course, brings into play our long established policy prohibiting the sale of items which could be used to stifle internal dissent. These would be items such as crowd control equipment, small arms, what have you. F-16s don't fall into the category of such equipment.
Nevertheless, we're seriously concerned about the events that have occurred in Indonesia, and we will be monitoring the situation there and considering carefully how to proceed in light of events.
Q I thought you had a deal with the Indonesians already.
MR. DAVIES: We've been in discussion with the Indonesians, absolutely, but we haven't gotten to a stage where the deal has been concluded finally or we have notified the Congress. The sale to Indonesia has not gone forward yet.
Q Glyn, is it possible for you to find out if the crowd control equipment used by the South Korean police is homemade?
MR. DAVIES: I'm happy to do that, Barry, sure.
Q On Israel. The Arrow anti-missile missile is a hit. I believe it made in fact a direct metal-to-metal contact in a test yesterday.
MR. DAVIES: You know something I don't know, Bill. I didn't know that.
Q What I'd like to know about that --
MR. DAVIES: Do you have its apogee?
Q That's, I think, pretty good news, but what I'd like to ask you is the deal we have with Israel in developing this missile, does this allow the United States to manufacture it, or should we -- would we buy it from Israel? That's question number one.
MR. DAVIES: Bill, I just don't know the details of any deal we've got with Israel on the Arrow missile. I know that in the early going, there was a degree of cooperation on its development, but I don't know where that stands.
Q And, second, would you know if that Arrow is capable of taking out any kind of warhead that might be on a missile?
MR. DAVIES: I can't help you with the characteristics of the Arrow missile. I'm sorry.
Q Do you have anything on the U.S. troops being sent there?
MR. DAVIES: I know that Mike Doubleday over at the Pentagon addressed this yesterday. He was asked the question. There are, as I understand it, about 50 troops who have been dispatched to Haiti, but this was arranged before some of the recent shootings and other events in and around Port-au-Prince. So it's unrelated to those events.
The Pentagon had some details on the purpose for which they've been dispatched to Haiti. I think they're there for some training and for some support, and there to work with some of the assets attached to the U.S. Embassy.
Q Glyn, does the State Department make anything of the fact that Karadzic posters are dancing in the air in the campaigns in Bosnia? It sure looks like him. Is he back in the process in some way or another? Has someone not made good on a recent promise?
MR. DAVIES: Karadzic is not going to be a candidate for office in Bosnia by agreement of the parties involved. That was one of the things that the Secretary of State worked out in some protracted and successful diplomacy.
I can't confirm that there are indeed posters of Karadzic plastered on walls in the Serbian part of Bosnia. If they are, I hope they're "wanted" posters and not election posters. They shouldn't be election posters.
Q Glyn, do you think that the Bosnian Serbs are living up to the terms of that agreement?
MR. DAVIES: That would be wonderful if the Bosnian Serbs have put up "wanted" posters for Karadzic.
Q No, no, but are they living up to the terms of Karadzic not only not running for office but not part of the process?
MR. DAVIES: As far as I know, they're living up to the terms. This is new information which I'm happy to check into more. But, if these are election posters, they shouldn't be, and, sure, I can check into that for you.
Q To refine the question, is that a violation of the agreement that was reached a few weeks ago?
MR. DAVIES: I suppose it depends on who's putting up the posters.
Q Well, they're not put up. They're posters like maybe Republicans would carry --
MR. DAVIES: Placards.
Q -- for Dole at a convention.
MR. DAVIES: People are carrying placards around.
Q Yes, placards. I should say placards.
MR. DAVIES: We keep refining this information. I suppose it would depend on who has produced them and how, and he is not to be a candidate for office. He's not to be involved in running the Government of the Republic of Srpska at all. Our understanding is he's not, and that that will remain the case.
Q Maybe he's available for a draft.
Q Could I ask a question about the report in yesterday's Post about the new FBI offices overseas?
MR. DAVIES: Okay.
Q It quotes anonymous State Department people -- diplomats questioning the value of the plan and how effective it will be in reducing terrorism overseas. Can we get some on-the-record comment on this, how effective it will be?
MR. DAVIES: No, I mean, you can't get on-the-record comment in direct response to unnamed sources or leakers -- those on background discussing this -- but I'm happy to talk very briefly -- since some of you have already heard this -- about what's underway with the FBI.
Q (Inaudible) Department's views on the plan?
MR. DAVIES: Absolutely. That's what I'm going to do. It's a good plan, and we've worked with the FBI for some time to set this up. It follows up on the President's pledge to do more to fight the threat posed by transnational crime and international criminals, syndicates, which are increasingly sophisticated. So the FBI, which is already present at a number of our Embassies overseas, will now join us in greater number, and that is a welcome development. We look forward to having a greater FBI presence overseas. They will bring their expertise in law enforcement very usefully to the diplomatic work that we do, and they will serve as liaison with local law enforcement officials -- national law enforcement officials in these various nations.
Of course, some of what the article was about was how this will work logistically overseas, and on that we are, if you will, negotiating with the FBI a memorandum of understanding so that we understand exactly what obligations we have to support them and how they will fit into our missions.
Of course, FBI agents overseas, as with all U.S. Government employees at our Embassies, are under the authority of the Chief of Mission, the Ambassador, or otherwise.
Q I have two questions. MED TV, which is a front for the PKK terrorist organization, has recently started its broadcasts through Intelsat, and Intelsat is -- its headquarters is in Washington and U.S. is a founding member of it. What is your reaction to that? And I have another question.
There are reports that the brother of the PKK leader attended the 50th anniversary of the KDP anniversary celebration, and that was in northern Iraq. And KDP leader was there, too. Given the level of U.S. Government commitment to northern Iraq, what is your comment? How do you evaluate the relationship between KDP and the PKK?
MR. DAVIES: The PKK is a vicious terrorist organization that we've condemned repeatedly. MED TV operates out of London, as I understand it, and it's, I believe, true that they may be broadcasting some of their programming through Intelsat, and it may also be true that some of the programming that MED TV puts on the air is very sympathetic to the PKK.
Because Intelsat is -- the mere fact that Intelsat is headquartered here in Washington and we're a member, along with many other nations, does not necessary mean that Intelsat should be passing judgment on the political content of broadcasts of various broadcasters, of various companies. So I really don't have much on that for you.
What can I say about the brother of the founder of the PKK attending some kind of a meeting in northern Iraq? I mean, we condemn the PKK.
Q The relationship. The nature of the relationship between the KDP and the PKK. Do you have a comment on that?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know what that signals, if he's there. I don't know to what extent --
Q One you described as a terrorist organization; the other you don't, and you have relations with.
MR. DAVIES: We would call on anybody in that part of the world to cut all ties to the PKK.
Q KDP should cut all ties to PKK?
MR. DAVIES: Absolutely, sure, and that goes almost without saying.
Q Nick, FBI offices overseas -- is the DEA and FBI going to work together against the drug war?
MR. DAVIES: I'm sure they will, but you might want to ask the DEA and the FBI. I'm sure they will. We're all on the same team overseas. You can have as many as 20 U.S. Government agencies under the same roof at a U.S. Embassy. We all work together. Sure, sometimes there are bureaucratic differences; sometimes there is stepping on other people's toes, but we work hard to work that out.
Q Thank you.
MR. DAVIES: Sure.
(The briefing concluded at 1:52 p.m.)
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