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

.
U.S. Department of State 
96/08/26 Daily Press Briefing 
Office of the Spokesman 


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
I N D E X

Monday, August 26, l996


                                         Briefer: Glyn Davies

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Travel of Acting Secretary Talbott to Ottawa..................1
Resignation of Under Secretary Moose..........................1-2

LIBYA
Financial Dealings with Louis Farrakhan.......................3

CHINA
Reaction to U.S. Sale of Military Hardware to Taiwan..........3-4
Reported Transfer of Missile Technology to Pakistan...........4-7

ARMS CONTROL
Possibility of New U.S. Initiatives........            .......7-8

NORTH/SOUTH KOREA
Trial of Former South Korean Presidents.......................8-9
Travel of Cong. Tony Hall in North Korea/Status of Liasion....
  Offices.....................................................12,14
--Humanitarian Assistance.....................................12-13,17
--Four-Party Talks............................................13

IRAQ
Renewed Fighting between Kurdish Factions.....................9
Remarks of FM Re: Assisting KDP...............................10

MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
Consultations of Dennis Ross in Paris.........................10-11
Cairo Economic Summit.........................................11
Middle East Development Bank..................................11
Israeli Settlements...........................................11,14-15
Possible Meeting between Netanyahu and Arafat.................11-12

FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
Possible Postponement of Municipal Elections..................15

RUSSIA
Situation in Chechnya/Acting Secretary Talbott's Discussions..
  with Mamedov/Lebed's Negotiating Authority..................15-16

MISCELLANEOUS
Possible Reparations for World War II Internments.............9

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB #137

MONDAY, AUGUST 26, 1996, 12:55 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. DAVIES: Hello and welcome to the State Department briefing. I've got two announcements to make.

First, I'd like to let you know that the Acting Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, is making a brief trip to Ottawa. He leaves this afternoon. He'll be back tomorrow. He is going up for two purposes.

First, to meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mamedov to discuss a range of bilateral and European security issues. This is part of a regular pattern of meetings that he has had with his counterpart, Mr. Mamedov.

They will be following up the most recent discussion between the Secretary and the Secretary's counterpart, Foreign Minister Primakov.

There is much to discuss on the fall calendar. There is a fairly intensive diplomatic calendar coming up in the fall. Those of you who follow this know that Mr. Talbott has met with Mamedov a number of times, most recently in June at the Organization of American States meeting in Panama, and he has met previously with him in Canada on a couple of occasions.

The second reason for the trip to Ottawa is to have a brief meeting with his Canadian counterpart, Mr. Talbott's Canadian counterpart, Gordon Smith, to discuss a number of issues. Haiti, certainly, will come up in that discussion.

My second announcement pertains to an article that some of you may have seen in The Washington Post about Under Secretary Richard Moose's resignation. I wanted to say a word about the matter right off the bat, at the top of the briefing.

First, I want to emphasize that Under Secretary Moose made the decision to leave the State Department himself. Second, many of you have seen the statement that we put out on Friday. Under Secretary Moose will leave the Department on August 3lst. That is the effective date of his resignation. Acting in that capacity as Under Secretary for Management will be Assistant Secretary Pat Kennedy. In fact, he has already assumed the office on an acting basis.

Third, I want to let you know right off the top, right up front, that I will not, because I cannot, get into a discussion of any possible inquiries that may be occurring pursuant to this.

Fourth, and most importantly, I wanted to pass on a word about Under Secretary Moose's service to the State Department and to the nation.

The Secretary emphasized in his letter accepting Under Secretary Moose's resignation his deep gratitude for the Under Secretary's service over the past three years. Dick Moose played a crucial role shaping and guiding a number of far-reaching, imaginative programs such as the International Cooperative Administrative Support System and a strategic plan for information technology.

As the Secretary said, these programs have set us on the right course for the future.

Finally, the Secretary is confident that Dick Moose's new position at the Council on Foreign Relations will enable him to continue to contribute to the important debate on foreign policy resources.

George.

Q: Why are you unable to say whether the Inspector General's Office is looking into this matter?

MR. DAVIES: Because as a general matter we don't confirm or deny whether the Inspector General is conducting an investigation into any matter.

Q: Does the Inspector General's Office act on anonymous complaints?

MR. DAVIES: The Inspector General's Office would have to speak for itself on its modus operandi. I don't know on what basis they decide to look into a matter or not. I'm not sure what their threshold is, but I don't think that acting on any kind of a tip would be at all for them unusual. It would depend on their evaluation, I am sure, of whatever the information is. But you would have to ask them.

Q: A new subject?

MR. DAVIES: A different subject? Is that it? Good.

Q: Louis Farrakhan probably wants to pick up his million -- his billion dollar check from Libya. Do you have any information about that?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have any information about that. I read the Wall Street Journal article and we are aware of that. The article points to the Treasury Department as the agency of the U. S. Government that would be in the lead on that issue. It also indicates, if I am not wrong, that he may have in some fashion approached the Treasury Department and the Office of Foreign Assets Control for some kind of a license or permission to get that money.

So we are not in any sense the lead agency on that. You know, when Farrakhan traveled to Africa and the Middle East, we said a number of things at the time expressing some skepticism about the trip. We stand by all that, but on this matter, I think I'll let the Treasury do whatever is necessary.

Q: Theoretically, a foreign firm doing a significant amount of business with Libya would come in for U.S. sanctions, and Farrakhan is welcome to pick up his check?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know whether this constitutes business. I don't know whether this is actually going to go anywhere. All of that, I think, remains to be seen. Treasury will be taking the lead on it. So whether or not we end up seeing transfers of funds may still be up in the air. I just don't know. We'll have to see. We'll have to see whether what he undertakes is sanctionable.

Yes.

Q: China is calling on the United States to cancel planned sales of Stingers, launchers and other military hardware to Taiwan to prevent what it calls new damage to Sino-U.S. relations.

Do you have any comment?

MR. DAVIES: We have commented on this in the past. This is the Avenger sale to Taiwan. The Chinese have made known their views not just in public but also in private to us, so we know what their views are.

We have told them, and we have said publicly, that the sale is consistent with the 1982 U. S./PRC Joint Communique. The system, and we have said this before as well, is purely defensive in nature. It's a vehicle-mounted system designed for short-range defense against air attack. It, of course, does use the Stinger anti-aircraft missile.

The National Security Adviser, Tony Lake, when he was most recently in China, assured Chinese leaders that in reviewing all requests from Taiwan, including this request, for specific arms purchases, the U. S. will continue to abide by our undertakings, U. S. undertakings, in the three joint communiques with the PRC, including the 1982 Joint Communique, and, of course, it's consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act.

So that is pretty much what we've got on that. You know, the Defense Department has gone ahead with the notification and we are proceeding.

Q: Is there any thought being given to delaying the sale or changing it in any way to avoid further deterioration of relations?

MR. DAVIES: Well, we certainly don't expect that this will result in any marked further deterioration in our relations. We hope that that is not the case. Our relationship with China is a lot broader and deeper than one issue such as this, and a great deal of work in the last year has gone into getting the relationship back to a state where we can engage in a dialogue on a number of different issues, not simply relations with Taiwan but human rights and our trade relationship and the rest of it.

And we think we are on a good footing with the Chinese and plan to continue that dialogue.

Yes, Betsy.

Q: But hanging out there is the issue of the Chinese sale of technology and blueprints for a missile-producing factory in Pakistan. There was an article on Sunday which said that there had been a U. S. intelligence finding that in fact these transfers had taken place, and under the MTCR this government would be bound to act.

MR. DAVIES: Well, intelligence matters, you know what I've got to do on that. I can't comment on intelligence matters, can't tell you if there has been an intelligence finding or not, where that process might be. But in terms of the report itself which first appeared on Saturday, we take that report, as we take all such reports, very seriously.

The question of Chinese transfers of missile technology and other technologies to Pakistan is one that the United States has long been concerned about. We've raised it in the past with both countries, both China and Pakistan. We will continue to do that.

We will continue, in a larger sense, to monitor Chinese compliance with its commitments, including possible transfers of weapons technology, to Pakistan. As far as these reports that there's been some conclusions reached, we've not come to any conclusions at this stage that would warrant sanctions.

Q: Is this building involved in the decision-making process in this?

MR. DAVIES: I certainly hope so.

Q: Where does that stand?

MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to get into describing our internal deliberative process as we look at this issue.

Q: Are these issues in any way linked? That is, would either side, or has either side suggested that if you stop one, we'll stop the other?

MR. DAVIES: I'm not aware of any linkage between the two. There shouldn't be.

Jim.

Q: Leaving the Chinese for the moment out of it, is Pakistan manufacturing missile parts at a factory in Rawalpindi, as alleged?

MR. DAVIES: Again, I think that gets us back into the intelligence area which I can't discuss.

We're aware, in general, of these reports. We've been aware of these kinds of reports for some time. We do everything we can to follow up on them and to find out what we can.

We don't, when we're in the process of looking into these things, as a general matter, kind of lay out publicly where we stand. So I'm not going to be doing that because that is essentially an intelligence matter.

Q: Have you seen the public denial by the Chinese Foreign Minister?

MR. DAVIES: I have; I have.

Q: Do you take that to be true, false, or are you open on it?

MR. DAVIES: We've taken note of that. I believe the Pakistanis have also, for their part, issued a similar denial which came shortly after Shen Guofang made his statement. So we've seen both of those.

Q: At what point in the process does this government inform its public if it knows that a country like Pakistan is building missiles?

MR. DAVIES: When it makes sense to. When we have a level of confidence in the information that we've obtained that permits us, beyond a reasonable doubt, to make a finding, we make it public. But until that point, we don't talk about every step in the process, where we are in gathering intelligence, where we are in our diplomatic negotiations with the two countries. We take this seriously. That's my message du jour for you today. We take it seriously. We're looking into it, obviously, because it's an important matter, but we're not at a stage where we can say anything definitive.

Q: You are confirming that you are looking into this matter that was covered by article --

MR. DAVIES: What I'm confirming is that we are looking into the general matter of transfers from China to Pakistan of missile technologies.

Q: When there have been stories in the past about various types of transfers from China to Pakistan that would be illegal under certain agreements, you've been --

MR. DAVIES: Laws -- U.S. laws.

Q: You've been willing to discuss, at least, what the allegations were. This time, you're not even confirming that this is an allegation that you are specifically looking into.

MR. DAVIES: David, I don't know that what I'm doing today is any different from what we've done on any kind of a story that is sourced to the intelligence community or intelligence sources that draws on that and that describes conclusions that are reached in the intelligence world. We simply don't comment on that.

On the general matter of transfers from China to Pakistan, I've commented on it. I've said we take reports like this seriously. We're aware of these reports, and it's being looked at very carefully, very closely, and very actively to see if we need to reach any conclusions on this. Once we do, obviously, we'll make those announcements when the time comes. But we're not in that position.

Carol.

Q: China and Pakistan, you have denied --

MR. DAVIES: Right.

Q: Is that good enough at this point? Is there a need to --

MR. DAVIES: Denials from China and Pakistan? No, we make our decisions based on our own information-gathering, our own diplomatic discussions with those countries. Simply the fact that China and Pakistan have made public announcements won't alter the course of events from our standpoint, which is that we're going to continue to look into this very, very actively.

Bill.

Q: On this issue. The Indians have what some consider to be a nuclear capable missile called, I believe, the Prithvi. Pakistan may or may not have an M-11 that is also thought to be nuclear- capable.

The article in the Post, on Sunday, talked about raising the stakes here in the conflict between Pakistan and India. My question is, is this a situation where the United States would foresee or could foresee making anti-ballistic missiles available to both sides?

MR. DAVIES: Wow! You're in the stratosphere, and I use that term advisedly on that one.

First, I would note that the Washington Post gets the journalism prize of the week if not the month here, because their fine work is dominating the issues so far.

Bill, for goodness sake, I haven't considered that much less considered an answer to a question like that. We're not considering transferring any technologies like that.

Q: That is not a policy decision on anybody's plate as far as --

MR. DAVIES: Not that I'm aware of.

Q: The American attempt to play down military tensions in south Asia, you don't seem to be scoring a very high success rate. The Indians say they are determined to deploy the Prithvi. Pakistan looks determined one way or another to get an M-11 or a similar missile.

Is there any thought given to any sort of new American initiative in that region?

MR. DAVIES: I certainly don't have anything to announce to you.

The United States is, as a general matter, concerned about the stability of the sub-continent. Underscoring all of our discussions with the Pakistanis, the Indians, and others, including those not in the region but with interests in the region, is this concern for the stability of the sub-continent.

So we certainly direct our efforts at doing what we can to lower tensions in the region and to prevent any difficulties from arising. But I don't, here in the fourth week of August, have anything to announce to you about initiatives in that part of the world.

Q: Can I ask, South Korea?

MR. DAVIES: On South Korea?

Q: Yes.

Q: Another on China.

MR. DAVIES: I'm sorry.

Q: There was one other report today in NPR out of Beijing that the Chinese had complained to us about our decision to sell the Stinger missiles to the Taiwanese, though a defensive missile. Do you have any response?

MR. DAVIES: I think I did that.

Q: I'm sorry. I wasn't here. You did all of that?

MR. DAVIES: Have I done that well enough?

Q: (Chorus of yes's)

MR. DAVIES: I've done it bill, so it's in the transcript.

Q: I believe you have heard about South Korea's trial of the century; two of the former Presidents on trial yesterday. One of them was sentenced to death; one of them was sentenced to 22-1/2 years in prison.

Does the U.S. see this trial -- how does the U.S. see this trial? And do you have any comment on that?

MR. DAVIES: It would be inappropriate for us to make any comment on the sentencing of either gentlemen, either Mr. Chun or Mr. Roh, because, as we understand it, this process may not be over. There are possible appeals to come, so we're not going to wade into that at all.

Q: This is a somewhat off-the-wall question, but let me ask anyhow. I don't know if you have anything on this.

During World War II, about 22,000 Japanese -- people of Japanese ancestry -- living in Latin America were detained in the United States, similar to the Japanese-Americans in California and other states. They are apparently -- the descendants of them or survivors are beginning a lawsuit aimed at getting a similar kind of deal of reparations as the Japanese-Americans had. Is this something, do you know -- is the U.S. Government considering an apology and including them in reparations?

MR. DAVIES: Judd, it's not something that's come across my scope at all.

The process, as I understand it, that took place in this country as regards the Japanese-Americans who were in the interment camps was one that was run by the Justice Department. So it may be that they can give you some comment on that, but I can't.

Q: Can you check, just in case it's come up in the Department?

MR. DAVIES: I'm happy to check to see if it's come up or we have any kind of position on it.

Q: You put out a statement, I think late on Friday, saying that two Kurdish factions in northern Iraq had agreed to an American mediated cease-fire and that the leaders of the two factions were going to meet Assistant Secretary Pelletreau sometime next month. There was no date or location announced. So you have anymore details?

MR. DAVIES: On the prospective London meeting? No. But I do have a little something to say about the reports that came in over the weekend of renewed fighting between the PUK and the KDP, the two principal factions in Northern Iraq.

The United States calls on both sides to fulfill their commitments to implement an immediate cease-fire, to return their forces to positions they held before August 17, and to meet with U.S. officials to pursue reconciliation. That meeting in London would be the meeting I'm speaking of.

In our view, continued fighting between the Kurds would only set back their interests and would set back the interests of other inhabitants of northern Iraq and encourage outside forces to pursue their own agendas, not to mention, of course, inside forces such as Saddam Hussein whose interests don't appear to be in exact accord with those of the Kurds of northern Iraq.

We believe, and have called on both the parties, that they should live up to their commitments for the cease-fire to take hold and for this meeting to occur. But we are no further along in terms of setting a date or any specifics.

Q: I think also, over the weekend, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz, said that Iraqi forces were prepared to help the KDP because they say the PUK is getting help from Iran. Are you concerned about some sort of proxy war between Iran and Iraq developing?

MR. DAVIES: We're concerned about meddling in northern Iraq on the part of Iran or anyone else. In fact, we spoke to this last week a little bit.

Iran, in our view, can play no useful role in northern Iraq in this conflict among the Kurdish factions. We've made that plain to the factions involved and -- happy to repeat it publicly. We don't see any useful role for Iran or Iranian interests to play in that part of the world.

Q: Do you have anything about tomorrow's Paris meeting attended by senior U.S., Israeli, and Egyptian officials?

MR. DAVIES: I do. I can confirm for you that, in fact, Dennis Ross has traveled to Paris. Now, a couple of things about his trip there.

First off, he is going to consult with the French on peace process issues. They may, as well, get into some discussion of the Monitoring Group. There is no particular issue or problem there except that the United States and France are the two principal Western members of that process.

While he's there, he will be meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Osama el-Baz. He will also meet with Dore Gold, who is the Presidential Advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel. His discussions with those two officials will center on peace process issues, in general.

I believe the bulk of the meetings will take place tomorrow. That's correct.

Q: Do you have anything to say about the U.S. position regarding Mubarak's -- Egypt's President Mubarak's -- threat to cancel the Cairo Regional Economic Summit?

MR. DAVIES: One of the issues that I'm sure will come up in the discussions in Paris will be the Cairo Economic Summit, where Ambassador Ross will stress our interest in moving forward with the summit; that we are looking forward to the economic summit. We think it's important to hold that gathering, to move the process of economic reconciliation and growth forward.

There have been some summit meetings in the past, including last year in Amman, that were very successful and brought some new interests and business to the region. So we want very much for this November summit to go forward. We hope that it will; we trust that it will.

Q: On that same issue. Do you have anything on the Mideast Development Bank? The proportions have been outlined. The U.S. is going to get 21 percent. Japan, nine percent. Do you have that?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything on that. I can't confirm that. That's a project that we want to see through, but I don't have the specifics on it.

Jim.

Q: Also, on the Middle East. You were asked last week whether the Israeli addition of 300 trailer residences or classrooms, or whatever they are -- you were asked about them. Are they a hindrance, a complication to the peace process? Have you determined?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything to say pointedly about those caravans. This is an older issue. This actually came to our attention some weeks ago. We have taken on board what the Israelis have said about the caravans and their purpose -- some of them to serve as classrooms, others to perform other governmental functions. But I don't have a particular reaction to give you.

Q: Do you have any comment about the possibility of a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority President Arafat?

MR. DAVIES: That's a matter between the two parties. We leave it to them to set those meetings if they wish.

Q: Is that an important issue, or -- ?

MR. DAVIES: If and when they meet, perhaps we'll have something to say about it at that time, but not at this stage.

Q: North Korea. Same question I did Friday. Did you hear anything from Mr. Carl Richardson who accompanied a Congressman to North Korea?

MR. DAVIES: He went to North Korea to support the visit of Representative Tony Hall, who was there looking at some of the famine conditions in North Korea, particularly in the northern part of North Korea.

Mr. Richardson was expected to have met -- he expected to meet North Korean officials to discuss some technical issues related to the opening of Liaison Offices in Pyongyang and their office here in Washington, but we have no confirmation yet from him -- and I believe he's still there -- that such issues came up. I could check on his whereabouts. I'm not certain where he is. But that issue did not come up.

You'll recall that we agreed back in October '94 to open Liaison Offices in each other's capital. There are still some outstanding technical issues which we're working on, and he is, in fact, the person who is working on them presently. I don't have any definitive progress to report on that front.

Q: Richardson has already headed back to the United States.

MR. DAVIES: Is he back already? I don't know. I can't confirm that. Do we know? I'm not sure.

Q: Hall apparently said that the conditions are very bad in parts of North Korea --

MR. DAVIES: I saw that. Yes.

Q: -- and he recommended more food aid. Are you prepared to consider --

MR. DAVIES: We are prepared to consider other requests, if they come to us. The way it works, of course, in North Korea, is if we get requests from international organizations such as the World Food Program, we consider those requests. We take on board the facts that they give us and the arguments that they present to us and then make a decision about whether further food aid is warranted.

If we distribute food in the future, we'll do it as we have in the past -- through the World Food Program. Of course, you all know that the most recent shipment of food arrived just last week, of foodstuffs that were paid for by United States funds.

So we're absolutely open to any requests that we get from international organizations.

Q: Is there any relationship at all between U.S. willingness to send food aid to North Korea and North Korean willingness to join the Four-Party Talks?

MR. DAVIES: You would have to ask the North Koreans. We don't link the two. We don't link humanitarian aid to North Korea -- indeed, to any other country that I'm aware of -- to any movement on the political side. So we haven't linked the two at all.

Judd.

Q: I assume your previous answer meant that -- implied that you have not received any new requests?

MR. DAVIES: Not that I'm aware of. That's right. Thank you for bringing that -- that's right.

Q: What is the current total of the value of U.S. assistance to North Korea -- humanitarian food aid?

MR. DAVIES: It's in the tens of millions, but I don't have an exact figure for you. I can get it for you.

Q: Not this last shipment?

MR. DAVIES: No, not this particular shipment.

Q: I was asking for the combined total, to date?

MR. DAVIES: Say, over the last year or some such. I can get that for you.

Q: That was the latest ones -- 6.2.

MR. DAVIES: I think if you go back, though -- we'll get you a figure. You'd like it for the most recent 12-month period; is that right?

Q: Yes, including the most recent shipment.

MR. DAVIES: Most recent shipment. Okay, sure.

Q: The U.S. defends the question about whether Richardson and Hall were on a joint mission there. Were they sitting in the same meetings, or did Hall go his separate ways and Richardson stayed in Pyongyang to deal with the North Korean officials?

MR. DAVIES: That's my assumption based on what little I know about it; that, in fact, Hall did finish up his work and Richardson then stayed behind to conduct some other work. That's my understanding. I don't know whether they both attended the same meetings.

Q: You said that Richardson was dealing with some outstanding technical issues related to opening Liaison Offices in each other's capitals. Can you describe what some of those technical issues are?

MR. DAVIES: For example, things like leases on buildings and what precise kinds of quarters we would have, and where our offices would be. Any number of administrative technical issues that go into setting up any form of representation in another capital. There's a whole lot of them, obviously.

We're anxious and interested in moving forward with that. The North Koreans know that. That's one of the reasons that he stayed behind, to work on the issue.

Q: Going back to Israeli caravans going to the settlements. You say you don't have anything to say about them. Does that mean --

MR. DAVIES: Jim, what I can repeat for you is what we've said many, many times about the settlements issue, which is that --

Q: No, I'm asking you specifically about -- you say you don't have anything to say about them. Does that mean that you don't have a problem, then, with that edition?

MR. DAVIES: I think what it means is that I don't have any kind of a conclusion to report to you from the standpoint of the U. S. Government about those caravans, or what role they play in the process at this stage.

Q: But you have known about them for, as you say, several weeks.

MR. DAVIES: That's correct.

Q: And the fact that you are not saying anything, does that mean that you don't have a problem with them?

MR. DAVIES: I wouldn't lead you to conclude that it means that we don't have a problem with them or that we have a problem with them. What it means is that at this stage today we choose not to address ourselves publicly to the caravans issue.

Yes, Carol.

Q: Bosnia. The OSCE is considering postponing the municipal elections next month because of irregularities in registering Bosnian Serb voters. Does the United States have a position on whether municipal elections might be fraught with irregularities?

MR. DAVIES: Well, we do have a position on municipal elections, but what we are waiting for is an event that is supposed to take place tomorrow, which is a meeting by the Provisional Election Commission which, according to Ambassador Frowick, is to take place tomorrow to consider the issue of municipal elections.

I understand further that at the end of that meeting they will have something public to say, which I hope will give us time to react so they will hold some kind of a press conference about the results of their deliberations. And what we want to do is, you know, we'll react to what it is they decide, but they are the agency that is charged with dealing with the question of the municipal elections and whether or not the significant irregularities that we have acknowledged and have been reported by the press, will have an effect on whether or not some or all of these elections are ultimately postponed.

I would simply make one point, which is clear to anybody familiar with Dayton, and that, of course, is that the municipal elections are a different animal from the more important national level elections, that will set up the institutions that we are all looking to, to begin the process of reconciliation in Bosnia. In other words, the municipal elections don't have anything to say about the setup of the parliament or the presidency or those national level institutions.

Yes.

Q: Is Acting Secretary Talbott carrying any new ideas or thoughts from the United States about how the U. S. thinks the Russians might look or most constructively pursue peace in Chechnya, and who do you think -- does Lebed have -- does the U. S. believe Lebed has the authority to negotiate a peace treaty that will stick?

MR. DAVIES: Well, on your first question, David, Chechnya comes up whenever we have discussions with Russian officials, and I assume that it will come up tomorrow. I certainly have no announcements for you today that are dramatic in that regard.

With regard to Lebed and his position in the occasionally shifting constellation of forces in Russia, he -- what's important to us is that the work that he has done near Grozny has had the effect of stopping for the most part the fighting allowing civilian residents of Grozny, both Russians and Chechens, to leave the capital if they wish.

That cease-fire is generally holding, and that's good news. I think what I'll do is leave to the Russians any comment on the extent to which he has an appointment today or tomorrow or is having phone-call success with the President of Russia. I mean, that's really for them to address.

But right now, the situation in Chechnya is looking up, at least from this very important humanitarian standpoint. We hope that it is followed up by Lebed or others with a political agreement that puts an end once and for all to this conflict.

Bill.

Q: Drugs?

MR. DAVIES: Drugs. What about drugs?

Q: Yes, it's a very political question. Glyn, two points, two issues. Mr. Dole said that drug trafficking was as dangerous as international terrorism, and he vowed to use this, point one.

Point two, he vowed to use the military and intelligence community to help stop the drug trafficking.

What is the Department's reaction to this policy?

MR. DAVIES: Bill, the reason notebooks were snapping shut as you asked that question is because it is a political question and from this podium, from Department spokesmen, you will not hear any kind of pronouncements that, you know, would be at all related to what is being said in the campaign or written about the campaign. We are simply going to stay out of the political process as it goes forward and speeds up from now forward.

So I'm not going to get into commenting on what the Republican nominee has said about drugs or any other issue.

Q: Well, let me put it this way. Is there any plan on the part of the Administration to up the use of the military or intelligence for this particular problem, this drug smuggling.

MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything to announce to you today, Bill, and you know well the kinds of vigorous actions that we have taken in the past.

Aha, we have aid to the DPRK. See how fast we are? Let me give you some figures. In terms of -- this is all humanitarian aid -- cash assistance, September of '95 we provided $25,000; October of '95, $200,000; February of '96 $2 million; and then on the commodities side, as opposed to the cash side, to date we have provided $6.2 million. So that brings us to a grand total of humanitarian assistance from the U. S. Government for flood victims in North Korea of $8,425,000. There was a betting pool. Did you win on that? No.

Q: I thought there had been a previous shipment.

MR. DAVIES: Yes. I was wrong. I had thought so, too, and I was wrong.

Q: May I refer to your comments appearing in The New York Times about the so-called missile factory that is being built in Pakistan with the help of blueprints provided by China.

MR. DAVIES: Yes. This has been addressed.

Q: I have another question on that.

MR. DAVIES: Okay.

Q: The same report in The New York Times says that Vice President Gore suggested that such a factory exists there. Do you have the same perception?

MR. DAVIES: I wouldn't read into the Vice President's words any suggestion that this installation exists or any other installation exists or doesn't exist. He also said this is an intelligence matter -- I believe he did, if I am not mistaken -- and that he couldn't get into it.

Q: (Inaudible) remarks have been interpreted by The New York Times report.

MR. DAVIES: Well, okay. That's the wonderful thing about a free press. They can interpret remarks by senior officials as they see fit. But I'm not going to share that interpretation.

Q: Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:34 p.m.)

(###)

To the top of this page