U.S. Department of State 96/10/15 Daily Press Briefing Office of the Spokesman U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing I N D E X Tuesday, October 15, l996 Briefer: Nicholas Burns DEPARTMENT Overview of Secretary Christopher's Recent Trip to Africa ... 1-3,4- 5 --French Officials Criticism of Secretary's Trip to Africa .. 27-31 "This Day in Diplomacy" Series: 50th Anniversary of the Paris Peace Conference of 1946 .................................. 3 LEBANON Visit to U.S. by Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri ............. 3 UNITED NATIONS Candidates for UN Secretary General ....................... 4-6 ISRAEL Secretary's Meeting with Israeli Defense Minister ........... 6-7 Extradition Case of Mousa Abu Marzook ....................... 26 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Chairman Arafat's Suggestion re U.S. Troops in Hebron ......... 8,9-10 Israeli-Palestinian Talks/Dennis Ross Meetings .............. 8- 9,10-11 CYPRUS Greek Cypriot Civilian Killed by Turkish Cypriot Forces ..... 11-14 IRAQ Reports Kurdish Factions Have Resumed Fighting in North/ Meeting with Kurdish Faction Delegations in U.S. .......... 14-16 --Effect of Fighting on Implementation of Resolution 986 .... 17 IRAN/TURKEY Proposed Gas/Oil Deal ....................................... 17-18 CHINA Travel by Assistant Secretary Winston Lord/Meetings ......... 18-22 Status of Proposed U.S.-PRC Summit Meeting .................. 19 Reported Technology Transfer to Pakistan/U.S. Position ...... 22-23 Human Rights Situation in China/U.S. Position ............... 23-24 Trial and Arrests of Human Rights Dissidents ................ 24-25 Whereabouts of Chinese Dissident Wang Xizhe ................. 24-26 NORTH KOREA Status of Nuclear Freeze Program/Agreed Framework ........... 19-21 SOUTH KOREA Assistant Secretary Lord's Visit/Discussions ................ 18,19,21- 22 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Law Suit by Amcits Against Royal Family ..................... 26-27 BURMA Security Measures Announced/Actions Against Aung San Suu Kyi 31-32 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Assistant Secretary Kornblum's Travel to Region/Meetings .... 32-33
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING DPB #165 TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 1996, 1:37 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BURNS: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department briefing. Welcome back after a long weekend.
I want to welcome some students from American University who are with us today. Thanks for coming. Glad to have you with us.
The Secretary of State is back after a very long trip -- and I think a very successful trip -- to Africa. He's been back in the office this morning, meeting with people. He has a meeting in 25 minutes with the Israeli Minister of Defense -- Minister of Defense Mordechai -- and we can talk about that in a minute, should you care to do that.
He also had a series of briefings on Bosnia, on Iraq, and other issues. Of course, he's been monitoring these while he was in Africa, but our experts briefed him on those today.
Let me just say a word about the Secretary's trip to Africa. I think all of you -- I don't see any refugees from the trip here, at least those who were with him. I think journalists probably have taken a day off. But you all know that he went to Africa, to five countries: to Mali, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Africa, and Angola.
He met with some very impressive leaders, by the Secretary's account, and he felt particularly important was the discussion that he had on the Africa Crisis Response Force. He had an opportunity to present the United States views on this issue to a variety of African leaders, and all the leaders with whom the Secretary met endorsed the concept. Some pledged troops; others wanted to see the idea developed further. Some wanted to see other organizations brought in to help organize it. But, in essence, the Secretary was met with a very favorable response from his African interlocutors.
I think another aspect of the Secretary's trip that stands out was the discussion on who should be the next UN Secretary General. This was discussed at all of his stops, and it's clear that the United States believes that African candidates deserve special consideration, but the Africans need to come forward with candidates because, of course, the hour is growing late. There needs to be a vote in New York this autumn, and a decision this autumn, as to who the next Secretary General would be.
Particularly important was to see some of the peacekeeping efforts and peacemaking efforts by the African countries, particularly in Tanzania, in Arusha, in the meetings with the Tanzanian leadership and former President Nyerere. It underscored the interests that the United States has in a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Burundi.
In South Africa, the Secretary was pleased to see President Mandela and Deputy President Mbeki; I would refer you to the Secretary's major policy speech that he gave in Johannesburg on Saturday, which is available to you in the Press Office -- also available on the Internet and the State Department's Web Page at www.state.gov -- and I would encourage you to increasingly look at our Web Page for information on our foreign policy.
Finally, Angola. I was just having lunch with the Secretary. He was really affected by the visit to Luanda yesterday, at the conditions in the city and at the political impasse which seems to have developed there. The United States wants to do everything it can to promote national reconciliation between the government of President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi, and I know that Ambassador Don Steinberg flew out to see Mr. Savimbi yesterday. It was really unfortunate that Mr. Savimbi could not make it to Luanda for the meeting with the Secretary.
The Secretary believes that we've got to continue to work with our partners towards national reconciliation there. He was pleased to participate in the event to mark our efforts in the international efforts to end the scourge of land mines in Angola. It is a terrible ironic tragedy that there are more land mines now in Angola than there are people, and there have been tens of thousands of people who've lost their lives or lost limbs to land mines.
All in all, the Secretary was very pleased to have taken this trip. It was an eye-opener for many members of our delegation to see the dramatic progress that has been made on democratization in some countries like Mali, and I think that this trip certainly underscores the commitment that the Clinton Administration has given to Africa.
This Administration has given Africa more attention -- a sense of priority -- I think more than previous administrations; and despite some very negative and vituperative comments from Europe -- from a particular country in Europe -- this was a successful trip, undertaken for the right reasons, to preserve long-term American interests in Africa.
Two further notes: later on this week, Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri will be visiting Washington at the invitation of President Clinton. There will be a series of events at the White House. The Secretary of State -- Secretary Christopher -- is also going to host a reception at Blair House on Thursday evening between 6:00 and 8:00 for Prime Minister Hariri and members of his delegation. We are looking forward to this trip. Lebanon is important to the United States, and Prime Minister Hariri has proven himself to be a friend of the United States and a very capable leader -- someone that the Secretary worked very well with last April when we were working out the details of the cease-fire arrangement and the arrangement to put in place the Monitoring Group on the Israeli-Lebanese border.
A final note before we go to questions, and that is that in our never- ending quest to talk about the past as well as the future of American diplomacy, I'm issuing today another press statement: "This Day in Diplomacy," which marks the 50th Anniversary of the Paris Peace Conference of l946. This is the peace conference that by all effects ended the war in Europe. It was the conference at the Luxembourg Palace in Paris that negotiated the treaties of peace between the victorious powers with Italy, Finland, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania.
The United States was represented by Secretary of State James F. Burns and a 75-person delegation from the Department of State -- a very important conference, especially in hindsight -- and some of the decisions made there in Paris 50 years ago have allowed us to carry on during the Cold War but also have allowed us to move forward in the post-Cold War era since the collapse of the Soviet Union five years ago.
So I want to draw this to your attention. Again,
for those of you who are not familiar with our press statements on diplomatic history, they are meant to convey to the press as well as to the American public a sense of the history of American diplomacy and the importance of diplomacy in providing for America's national security.
Also Jim Palmer's birthday.
MR. BURNS: Is it Jim Palmer's birthday?
And in retrospect he looks pretty good too --
MR. BURNS: October l5th.
-- considering what the Orioles put up with.
MR. BURNS: Yes, that's right.
We'll get to vituperation in a minute.
I wanted to pursue with you for a bit why the sudden new emphasis on African candidates. Not too long ago -- I guess before the Chinese expressed interest, declared Boutros Ghali an African and described their interest in an African candidate, while the U.S. was fishing for support in the Boutros campaign -- the position at the podium was color, sex, gender -- nothing; no, we have no preference; we're just looking for a good person."
What is it about Africa that commends itself to special consideration?
MR. BURNS: Ever since the first UN Secretary Generals Trygve Lie and Dag Hammarskjold, there's been a tradition of Secretary Generals serving two terms. That will not be the case with Mr. Boutros-Ghali because, at least from the point of view of the United States, it is not advisable; and, as we've said, we will move forward to look for another candidate and to put one in place -- to put a new Secretary General in place by the end of this year -- and we'll use the veto power, if we have to, to make sure that that happens.
Because of this tradition, I think there is a broad sentiment in Africa -- and has been since the United States announced its decision many months ago -- that, at least, the next Secretary General should be an African in order to maintain this two-term tradition of a person from one part of the world.
We did say, in announcing this decision many months ago, that it didn't matter if it was a man or a woman. In fact, there are many, many good female candidates who ought to be considered.
Second: that we're looking for someone who is capable of leading the United Nations and reforming it from within -- someone who would see that as the primary responsibility of the UN Secretary General, not being the world's first diplomat but being the best manager possible for the United Nations.
We also said, I believe on the day that I announced this decision, that we would give special consideration -- that does not mean sole or unique consideration but special consideration -- to a candidate from Africa because of this feeling Boutros-Ghali is an African, Egypt is an African country, and that if we could find someone from Africa, and there are many good candidates to replace him, that would make a certain amount of sense -- at least, from the African point of view, and we're sensitive to that.
One thing that the Secretary said that I thought was important -- it did not get a lot of press play -- is that the African countries need to come up with a candidate. This decision is going to be made sooner rather than later. It's going to be made very soon in the United Nations. And if we can see good, credible, impressive candidates from Africa, they'll have very serious consideration. If those candidates do not come forward, then of course the United States and other countries will be looking elsewhere in the world.
So the Secretary feels that, based on his trip to those five countries, he had excellent discussions on this issue and that there are individuals who could be good candidates -- I can't name them now, but you can probably think of some names -- and we'll be glad to consider any candidates put forward by a group of African countries, or individual African countries.
From a practical standpoint, is there a feeling in the Administration that your best hope of getting a consensus is an African candidate? Considering the Chinese, considering the various people in Africa the Secretary spoke to?
I think your best --
MR. BURNS: I think, Barry, a lot of countries around the world, not just the United States, see that Africa should be given special consideration. However, I want to be clear: not sole consideration.
We could seriously entertain candidates from other parts of the world and, indeed, have done so.
Is the U.S. Government considering the thought or the idea of extending to Mr. Ghali for a year or two until you solve this issue? Because I understand that there was a proposal to give him another year, and that he will on his 75th birthday step down.
MR. BURNS: Well, that idea is not under consideration in the U.S. Government. We are assuming that there will be a new Secretary General, assuming it because we have made that firm decision. And we have said before, and I repeat again today, we will use our veto power if necessary to make sure that there is a new U. N. Secretary General.
Now, we don't want to come to that. It would be far better if Mr. Boutros-Ghali, who we respect and who has done, in some senses, a good job, would retire from the scene, would declare that he is not going to be a candidate for a second term, and allow the field to be opened to new candidates.
We have made that decision, so we are not considering some kind of compromise where he stays for a year or two until his 75th birthday. I think you remember Secretary Christopher did talk to him about that last spring in their private meetings, and Mr. Boutros-Ghali rejected that as a compromise.
The President and Secretary Christopher then made the decision that the United States had to move on because we care about the United Nations. We want it to be led by someone who is a good reformer, and we have an irrevocable decision here by the United States, a firm clear decision.
We will use the veto if necessary.
Still on this subject? Barry, any follow-up?
Actually, if everybody will permit me a half a minute, there is a bookkeeping sort of matter I'd like to bring up.
The Israeli Defense Minister is coming here -- as far as I know the first public visitor since the Secretary got back from Africa, at least his first public meeting.
MR. BURNS: That's right.
And also you realize the Hebron negotiations are at a critical juncture. That photo op is restricted to what is called silent cameras.
MR. BURNS: Camera spray, right.
Well, camera spray. I wonder if indeed it couldn't be open so reporters might be able to ask a couple of questions of the Israelis and the Americans.
The Americans have not been hiding. Both Dennis Ross and the Secretary; the Secretary especially is a frequent television personality, and we who cover this building think in such situations there should be access to him. I can't imagine why you -- not you, necessarily -- would make a decision which would screen out reporters. I mean the talking points must be digested by now. It shouldn't be so hard to ask a question and get an answer.
MR. BURNS: Barry, I understand why you are asking, and you have a perfect right to make that request on behalf of the press corps.
Actually it was my recommendation that the Secretary not make this an open press event for one very good reason. Minister Mordechai is the guest of Secretary Perry here. This is a visit to discuss security relations between the United States and Israel, not the Middle East peace process. And Secretary Perry and Minister Mordechai met the press this morning. There was a chance for any journalist to ask a question. In fact a lot of questions were asked and we can go into some of those questions if you like.
Secretary Christopher, who has met him of course in his visits to Israel, is anxious to see him and discuss a lot of issues, but we thought we would give the priority to Secretary Perry, who is the host in this case.
Now having said that, I just want to remind you that the Secretary just finished an eight-day trip to Africa where he made himself available several times during the day to your colleagues, those who are at home resting now from this trip. Several times a day, in fact, I know he sat down with them on the plane last night for 45 minutes just to talk. He had press conferences on board the aircraft. He had press conferences every day, sometimes a couple a day, when he was in the African countries, and the Secretary is going at a very rapid pace. He has got a very demanding schedule. He gets up early. He runs. He comes in. He works all day. He works all night on the phone. He tries to make himself available to the press as best he can.
So no slight is intended here. Had Minister Mordechai been invited by the State Department, I'm sure we would have had, as we normally do, a photo op in the Treaty Room, and you can expect that with official visitors in the future.
MR. BURNS: I think we want to keep on this subject first, Bill, and then we'll go to Iraq. Yes.
I have a number of questions on this subject that are relevant.
MR. BURNS: Why don't we defer to our --
MR. BURNS: Yes.
-- Arafat is voicing a desire to see American troops in Hebron as part of the solution. Is it your impression following the Minister of Defense in Washington that the solution is within reach without resorting to another peace mission by the United States, this time in Hebron?
MR. BURNS: This time --?
In Hebron. He said --
MR. BURNS: Right. Well, this idea has been raised in the past, very often in the past, by a variety of officials, and it is not under active consideration.
We think that the priority attention by Israel and the Palestinians has got to be on their own negotiations, their own efforts, to put things back in place.
Now let me just tell you what I know. I had a long conversation with Dennis Ross just about two hours ago. He was leaving Tel Aviv for Jerusalem for a round of meetings with the Israeli leadership. He flew to Amman last night by helicopter and saw King Hussein and Chairman Arafat late last night.
We are working very hard to bridge the differences on Hebron redeployment and on other issues between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Dennis has been meeting literally around the clock, and again he has had some nights where he hasn't gone to bed. He has been meeting, not just on the phone as he usually does through telephone shuttle diplomacy, but in person.
There has been some progress made over the last couple of days, and in fact, Dennis -- it was Dennis Ross's idea to defer the parties going back to Taba and Eliat because he felt they could make more progress through discussions with Dennis and the leadership, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat, in Gaza and in Jerusalem, as well as meeting with the experts in both places.
But I do want to accentuate the following: There has been much to much talk in the press of some kind of immediate positive outcome here. Following my conversation with Dennis and my conversation with Secretary Christopher just now, substantial differences remain between Israel and the Palestinians. That has been the case all along for the past couple of days.
They have got some serious problems they have got to contend with, and it is a little bit puzzling for us to read in the newspapers that somehow peace is going to break out four or five hours from now. We hope it does, and we are willing to, of course, stay as long as necessary as a participant in these talks, but I would just caution you progress has been made but substantial problems remain. They have a long wa} to go.
Now you see that's the kind of statement that would be very useful, more useful, if it came from the Secretary directly instead of requiring attribution through you.
The question about troops, would you give the same answer if they were called "peacekeepers." Like Bosnia, is there any distinction here --
MR. BURNS: I'm not playing with words here.
No, I don't mean you. American soldiers go overseas in various guises.
MR. BURNS: There are no plans to deploy U.S. troops to Israel or to Jericho or to Hebron or to Gaza.
Would a U.S. trip-wire, or U.S. surveillance be called a U.S. monitor?
MR. BURNS: There are no plans whatsoever. And we have heard various permutations of this, as you know, Barry, countless times in the past. We have no plans to do so.
I guess a natural question would be why not then, if Hebron is so important and if the U.S. apparently is the only reliable intermediary, and if Dennis is spending sleepless days and sleepless nights again, demonstrating how important getting this resolved is to the U.S. Government, why not involve U.S. peacekeepers in the operation?
MR. BURNS: Because we believe that this problem of Hebron redeployment can be worked out between the Palestinians and the Israelis. They have done a lot over the last three years since September 1993. They have moved the ball forward together. They have shown that in negotiations with just themselves at the table, and sometimes with the United States as is the present case, they can make progress. And they can make the peace together.
In the final analysis, they are going to have to live with each other, the Israelis and the Palestinians, from now forever more, into the future. And they have the capability, the inclination and they have the sophistication to get along with each other, and that's where these negotiations are headed. They don't need the United States between them physically on the ground.
(Inaudible) expanding the role of the Norwegian troops or observers there, adding more to them, and giving them a new mandate --
MR. BURNS: Which troops, Mr. Abdulsalam?
From Norway, the troops which are in Hebron, part of the United Nations observers there. There are the blue helmets.
MR. BURNS: I just have nothing for you on that, nothing whatsoever.
There was also over the weekend, it says today, excuse me, but over the weekend, some observations about the Israelis are asking for partition of the city of Hebron. What are the thoughts of the United States Government on that?
MR. BURNS: Well, the United States is an active participant in these talks and our ability to be active and credible will remain a function of our ability to be discreet. So therefore we won't talk about the substance, what progress is being made substantively or not. We are going to keep that to ourselves until these talks are concluded.
Without getting into the substance of the talks, the fact that Dennis Ross has asked for a postponement of the (inaudible)talks, does that suggest, as I think it does, that the progress is being made outside the framework of those talks?
MR. BURNS: It is a practical solution. Dennis, I think, has found that he can, on any one day, meet with all the negotiators, as he has yesterday and today, and also meet with the leadership -- Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Netanyahu. That would not be the case at Taba and Eliat.
We think that the option of going back to Taba and Eilat is realistic. It could happen at any time, but it's just a tactical decision that Dennis recommended to both parties and it's worked out fairly well because progress has been made. But I do want to accentuate, a lot more has to be made before there's a complete agreement here.
Can you give us an idea of how these outside or these direct contacts involving Dennis are taking place? Are they only by telephone, or is he shuttling back and forth?
MR. BURNS: No. He's shuttling back and forth. He's met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat several times. He's also meeting with the experts. He's going back and forth in a car between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and Gaza. He is, as I said, meeting late into the night. When I talked to him, he was leaving Tel Aviv and expected to be in Jerusalem until late this evening.
Has he gotten to the point where he is offering any American suggestions or ideas?
MR. BURNS: We are an active intermediary. We are offering our ideas when that's appropriate and when we think it can be tactically helpful and useful. We have never hesitated to do that.
On Cyprus, what is the U.S. reaction to the new unjustified killing of a Greek Cypriot by Turkish-based forces in Cyprus?
MR. BURNS: Of course, we're aware of what happened over the weekend, October 13, in eastern Cyprus. A Greek Cypriot civilian was shot and killed by Turkish Cypriot forces when he crossed the 1974 cease-fire line into the area controlled by the Turkish Cypriots.
The United States deeply regrets and condemns the use of deadly force in this incident. Although the Greek Cypriot civilian had crossed the cease-fire line into the area controlled by the Turkish Cypriots, the use of deadly force under the circumstances was unwarranted and unnecessary.
The United States urges all sides in Cyprus to avoid violence, to work closely with the United Nations, to establish mechanisms for peacefully addressing events along the buffer zone.
We support on-going efforts to promote negotiations aimed at a just and lasting resolution of the problems there.
Does the U.S. have any specific plan or take any specific actions right now to diffuse the crises?
MR. BURNS: We have said many times in the past that we are active, talking to all sides. And, when we can be helpful, we will be.
Ultimately, these problems must be resolved by the communities on Cyprus -- by the Cypriot Government, by the Greek and Turkish Governments. That's where the responsibility lies for resolving the problems. We are active.
Mr. Beattie, the President's Special Emissary, is active. Ambassador Ken Brill is active as are Ambassadors Tom Niles and Marc Grossman, in Athens and Ankara respectively. There's no lack of action by the United States, but this conflict has now gone on in Cyprus for a very long time -- for 22 years -- this situation, this stalemate.
We would like to be active in the future in helping to resolve it, but that must begin with efforts by all the sides, including the two communities, to do so.
Do you have any request from the parties on the island for mediation right now?
MR. BURNS: I'm not aware of any formal requests in light of this killing on October 13 for any specific, new American initiative. But I am aware that we are continuing to talk and have talked since October 13, just in the last two days, to all the parties about the need to go beyond this kind of political violence and to get back to a peaceful discussion of the problems that are separating the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.
On the same subject?
MR. BURNS: Yes, Mr. Lambros.
Why has it taken so long for the U.S. to give that type of response today?
MR. BURNS: Well, Mr. Lambros, I wouldn't say it's taken so long. This killing was on October 13. We are at October 15. We wanted to assure ourselves that we had a sense of what happened. We wanted to talk to the Greek Government, the Turkish Government, and the two communities, which we have done. Ambassador Ken Brill has looked into this very thoroughly. And we established our position yesterday.
I was available for phone calls yesterday but didn't get any on this issue. I got phone calls on many other issues yesterday -- on Iraq, on the Middle East peace process, on Russia. So, I was ready as of yesterday to say this.
As you promised to us, did you find the Turkish assassins of the previous Turkish criminal action against a Greek Cypriot in order to send them to justice, as you said specifically at that time?
MR. BURNS: Are you referring to this incident, Mr. Lambros?
To the previous one. You told us the last time that you are going to find those assassins --
MR. BURNS: There has been political violence on both sides. In addition to this killing, there was a killing of another young Greek Cypriot, as you know, as you remember, not too long ago. A Turkish soldier was shot and killed. We think that the killing ought to stop on both sides, and we lament the loss of life on both sides. We have urged both sides to try to find the killers of the Turkish soldier, for instance. That is the responsibility of the authorities on Cyprus.
As, you mentioned in your statements of October 10 and September 30, do you consider the Cyprus issue only as a dispute between the Governments of the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey or as a Greek-Turkish one involving Greece and Turkey and the two communities of the island?
MR. BURNS: I think we've said many times in the past, this is a conflict that needs to be resolved. There are people directly responsible on the island. There are many governments involved as well.
Senator Dole stated the other day, since late in 1970, he supported the demilitarization of Cyprus and continues to do so. I am wondering, do you support the full demilitarization of Cyprus?
MR. BURNS: Mr. Lambros, you know for 22 years, the United States has supported efforts to resolve the problem on Cyprus. If you want to ask technical questions, I can ask our experts to what we've said on technical issues. But, in general, the United States has played a positive role, and we'll continue to do so.
Nick, following your statement yesterday about Iraqi Kurdistan and the renewed fighting there; in fact, this new offensive. I would like to ask, first, if you know where Mr. Barzani is? Is he here in Washington consulting?
MR. BURNS: He's not in Washington.
He's not here consulting with the State Department?
MR. BURNS: No.
Is there a plan that he might yet do that this week? And, he made statements a couple of days ago that accused the PUK of having help from Iranian forces in retaking Sulaimaniya province. There were other independent reports that the Iranians had used their artillery, firing across their own border and giving equipment to the PUK in this offensive. Can you enlighten us about this?
MR. BURNS: First, Bill, the United States has no direct evidence of any Iranian or Iraqi involvement in the fighting that broke out this weekend between the PUK and the KDP. That is a murky situation. There is still fighting in the area, but there are many different contradictory reports that have emanated from the area.
We understand that the PUK forces have retaken much of the territory that they lost to the KDP in September, including the northern city of Sulaimaniya and the area surrounding Sulaimaniya.
We are closely monitoring the fighting. We've been in touch with both groups over the last several days. We have encouraged both groups to stand down from the fighting, to agree to a cease-fire, to engage then in political talks that would seek to negotiate the differences between them at the negotiating table rather than on the battlefield.
That, to us, is a critical point. Because the Kurds have an interest in stability and in relative autonomy for themselves in northern Iraq. They cannot have an interest in continued fighting. So that's the major point that we've made to them.
There is a KDP delegation in town. We invited them several weeks ago to visit Washington. It does not include Mr. Barzani. We're not expecting Mr. Barzani in Washington this week.
Will you be talking with this delegation here at State?
MR. BURNS: Yes. The State Department will conduct those negotiations.
Has this happened yet?
MR. BURNS: That has not yet happened.
Who's heading it?
MR. BURNS: Who's heading the KDP delegation? I can check into that. I don't know the name of the individual.
When did they arrive?
MR. BURNS: I'm not sure all of them have arrived. The KDP and PUK both have Washington representatives. So we're continually in touch. Throughout the weekend, we were in touch with the Washington representatives. I understand that the KDP delegation is beginning to arrive today, but I don't know who all of them are and I don't know when they'll all be here.
Let me also say that the United States has strongly encouraged both Iraq and Iran to stay out of this round of fighting. We don't see any useful purpose served by Iraq and Iran involving themselves in any way in this fighting.
Is there any indication that this might be happening militarily?
MR. BURNS: I answered that question. It's the first thing I said, that we don't have any direct evidence of Iraqi or Iranian involvement. Because we understand the past -- and remember the recent past -- it's a very good warning to make.
What's the point in talking to the KDP delegation when it's obvious that the KDP is not controlling the ground in northern Iraq? What do you expect out of this meeting? And did the latest developments come as a total surprise, frankly, to the State Department?
MR. BURNS: We've had contact with both the PUK and the KDP for years. But since the fighting broke out in September -- in late August/early September -- we've had contact with both continuously; really, on a daily basis both here in Washington and in the field.
A couple of weeks ago, when Assistant Secretary Pelletreau was in Ankara with his meeting with Mr. Barzani, they agreed that they ought to stay in touch.
Assistant Secretary Pelletreau invited a delegation of KDP leaders to Washington. This is now several weeks ago. The visit this week is simply the result of that invitation.
We were in touch with Talabani over the weekend and his representatives. So there's no lack of communication with both groups. That's appropriate given the fact that the United States is not taking sides, and we're calling upon both groups to act in such a way that they end the fighting.
My question is, what do you realistically expect the KDP delegation -- how can they make a difference in northern Iraq when they don't control what is happening on the ground?
MR. BURNS: I think you'll agree that the turf in northern Iraq is divided between the KDP and PUK. So the KDP is an influential group as is the PUK. Since we believe in a diplomatic solution to this problem and not a military one, talk does make a difference. Negotiations make a difference, and we've seen that all over the world in situations like this.
You would be remonstrating against us if we weren't talking to the KDP and the PUK. You would be saying that the United States is dropping the ball, forgetting its responsibilities, not acting in its own best self- interest. Of course, we're going to talk to them.
We're going to talk to them. We're going to talk to the PUK and we're going to try to convince both to move towards a cease-fire. That's the goal here.
Where is the PUK right now? I mean, the KDP delegation is in Washington and you're not talking to the PUK?
MR. BURNS: We are. As I said, we had contact with Mr. Talabani and his representatives every day this weekend. We are talking to both.
There's no plan for a three-party meeting in Washington?
MR. BURNS: I'm not aware of any plan for a three-party meeting in Washington.
How does the new fighting affect the possible implementation of 986? You said earlier that the U.S. wants to see it move forward but at the moment it was unsafe to put the monitors in. Obviously, it seems like it's still unsafe. Do you have any insight on this?
MR. BURNS: I can tell you -- the other day the United Nations considered this on Friday. It was the view of the view of the relevant UN officials on Friday that 986 is going to have some problems in going forward in the short term because of the actions of the Government of Iraq.
I understand the Iraqi Government wants to clear on the list of United Nations officials who would run the distribution program in northern Iraq. If that's not a ludicrous demand by a government that's not in a position to make such a ludicrous demand, well, then we haven't seen such demands in the past.
The fact is, the United Nations wants to go forward. The United States wants to go forward. Iraq is making it very difficult for us to go forward. We're very sensitive to the sacrifice made by the Government of Turkey over many years, because of the closure of the pipeline and because of the economic embargo placed upon Iraq. This is something that Mrs. Ciller and the other senior Turkish officials have raised with the United States. We're sensitive to that.
We want the Turks, of course, to prosper economically. We don't want this to be a long-term problem for the Government of Turkey. But right now our hands are tied because the United Nations says it can't go forward. The United Nations has made that determination because Saddam Hussein is not cooperating.
You obviously agree with this assessment?
MR. BURNS: The United Nations is in control of the program. The United Nations will have to run the program. The United Nations is made up of all the nations of the world. We are going to have to work with the United Nations closely. So we do accept the fact. And, frankly, we aren't surprised that Saddam Hussein is causing so many problems in trying to work out an effective implementation plan for UN Resolution 986.
One of the Turkish delegation was in town. They're asking the U.S. Government and the Clinton Administration to approve their deal with Iran -- the natural gas deal and the pipeline deal. Did you approve this deal? Or did you approach this deal warmly or welcoming?
MR. BURNS: We do not believe that the proposed gas/oil deal between Iran and Turkey, we don't believe it's been consummated. We don't believe it's been fully agreed to.
We have talked to the Turks about some on-going concerns we have about what we heard about the deal and the possibility that it might violate the recent legislation passed by the Congress and signed by the President -- the so-called D'Amato legislation. We're continuing our discussions with the Turkish Government on that issue.
You don't have any last decision on this subject?
MR. BURNS: We haven't been faced with the decision because we're not aware that the deal is actually going to go through. I think the Turks may find, as many other countries have found, that the Iranians like to have ceremonies where they sign agreements and then nothing happens. That may be the case here.
On the same vein. When the Turkish delegation was here -- high- energy senior bureaucrats -- was the Libyan deal also discussed with the Turkish delegation?
MR. BURNS: I can ask and see if it was. That's an issue that's come up in the past, as you know. There's a UN sanctions regime in place on Libya because Libya is a terrorist country. We have urged all members of the United Nations to respect the UN sanctions against Libya.
MR. BURNS: Yes. New subject, David.
Where is Winston Lord? And where has he been since Korea? (Laughter)
MR. BURNS: Where in the world is Win Lord? Win Lord is in China. He spent, as you know, several days in Korea. He had a wrap-up press conference which should tell you all you want to know about his thoughts after having finished the excellent discussions that he had in Korea where he put the United States squarely behind the Republic of Korea on this submarine incident and on a lot of other provocations that have been raised recently by the North Koreans.
Following that, Assistant Secretary Lord, as I hinted on Friday, has traveled elsewhere. He is in China. He'll be in Japan following his trip to China.
In China, he's talking to the leadership there about Secretary Christopher's visit for mid-November; also talking about a variety of issues in our relationship with the Chinese Government and Japan. He'll be consulting with the Japanese Government on the visits to China and the Republic of Korea on the very important role that Japan plays in both respects towards China and towards the problems in North Korea.
In the event of a win by President Clinton in the election, do you still foresee a summit meeting with the Chinese next year, and in which capital?
MR. BURNS: As you know, Secretary Christopher, following our elections, will go to China. He will definitely go to China and talk to the Chinese about all the issues in our relationship.
Secretary Christopher announced in Jakarta, at the end of July, that should President Clinton be re-elected, then we would expect there to be a series of Presidential summit meetings in respective capitals in 1997.
You'll go both ways in one year?
MR. BURNS: That was the decision that Secretary Christopher announced -- the expectation that he announced in July, in Jakarta.
Which capital would be first?
MR. BURNS: I don't believe that's been worked out.
Also, on North Korea. I assume you've seen the remarks this morning coming out of North Korea, stating that the nuclear freeze program may be threatened based on comments made by Win Lord over the weekend about South Korea -- about the U.S. standing squarely behind South Koreans on the sub incident. Do you have a reaction to that? Are you concerned that the nuclear freeze is in jeopardy?
MR. BURNS: I don't believe the nuclear freeze is in jeopardy. The nuclear freeze is in the best interest of the United States, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and frankly in the best interests of North Korea.
North Korea knows the heavy price that it would pay for violating, in any respect, the terms of the Agreed Framework, the nuclear freeze. That agreement is in place. It's working; it's working this morning. There have been no North Korean attempts on the ground beyond these words to try to change any aspect of the Agreed Framework. We're confident that it will remain in place.
Are there any mechanisms for opting of that --
MR. BURNS: Excuse me?
Is there a mechanism for opting out of that bilateral agreement?
MR. BURNS: I don't have the terms of the agreement with me, Barry. I'm sure that the North Koreans are going to abide by the terms because they know the consequences would be quite serious.
Your statement, your cautionary warning, your admonition goes to them of sort of doing something unfair and unwise; maybe even illegal. But most agreements have a perfectly straightforward mechanism for parties to decide it's no longer in their interests to continue this agreement?
MR. BURNS: Yes. And I believe, based on the facts, that North Korea will continue to assume and act on the basis that it's in their interest to continue the Agreed Framework because we are meeting our commitments in the delivery of fuel oil, in delivery of other technology, the efforts by Japan and the Republic of Korea to raise so much money to support this arrangement. There's no question about anyone violating it.
But say they come to a different conclusion. Can they just notify you and say we don't like this agreement anymore and we're dropping it?
MR. BURNS: I don't expect that will happen.
I know you don't.
MR. BURNS: It would --
Nor do you think it's wise for it to happen.
MR. BURNS: It's not wise.
But is it possible for them to do it and not be somehow violating the agreement?
MR. BURNS: They'd be violating the agreement if they walked away.
You mean, there's no drop-out clause?
MR. BURNS: I'm not aware of any drop-out -- why would there be a drop-out clause?
I don't know. Most agreements have a clause.
MR. BURNS: I don't know. We'll have to check with the terms of the agreement, Barry. Let's stick to the important point. Beyond the letter, whatever the letter is -- beyond the fine print -- the political and security interests of North Korea are tied up in that agreement. North Korea will not have a normal relationship with any country in the world should it violate that agreement. That agreement is important to the future of North Korea. It is fundamentally important to the vital, national security interests of the United States.
I use those words with great care and say them, I hope, with some degree of precision; the vital, national security interests of the United States are tied up in that deal.
The North Korean leadership understands the importance of that arrangement to the United States, to the Republic of Korea, and to Japan.
Could I just finish on the Lord trip? I'm just wondering whether you could tell us whether this trip was added to his schedule because of any recent developments? Was there any particular subject they needed to raise? I might as well put on the list, is he discussing with the Chinese the subject of possible nuclear-related sales to Pakistan?
MR. BURNS: I know that when Win Lord left Washington, he had in his mind the possibility of further travel beyond Seoul. Subsequently, he made the decision on the trip that he would go onto Beijing and Tokyo.
I think all issues are on the table in his discussions with the Chinese. It wouldn't surprise me at all if that issue of the alleged sale of items between China and Pakistan came up. Human rights. It wouldn't surprise me in the least given the developments of the last couple of days, if that issue came up. Commercial issues, political issues, geopolitical issues.
We have a very rich, very broad agenda with China. Assistant Secretary Lord, a former Ambassador to China, will discuss all the issues that make sense to him. I don't want to commit him to raising 19 issues and a list of 20, because it's up to him what he raises. But I would think that those issues would come up.
Did any one of those issues prompt him to decide he needed to go at this time?
MR. BURNS: Actually, I think not. I think he made the decision that it made sense to travel to Beijing for talks about a month before the Secretary travels there. We normally do that. Before visits to Russia or Latin America or Africa, it's normal to have the Assistant Secretary precede the Secretary for a round of consultations before the Secretary arrives. This is no different. He just hadn't firmed up his travel plans when he left here last week.
That last report of technology deals with Pakistan, your response to that included that these are the kinds of things that should be discussed at a high level; that diplomacy is the way to deal with such matters.
Number one, has the State Department changed its view of that report? And, secondly, did this report accelerate Win Lord's trip to Beijing?
MR. BURNS: We're never going to change our view of that report. It was an unjustifiable leak by someone in the intelligence community. You gave me an opportunity, Barry -- I couldn't resist just sliding that in there.
I understand that. Apart from how it surfaced, and whatever your feelings may be about the newspaper that published the report --
MR. BURNS: And the people who leaked the document.
-- and the judgment that the Chinese have not violated the May 11th, is it --
MR. BURNS: the May 11th -- I understand.
-- the May 11th pledge, that stands?
MR. BURNS: What I said last week stands. We do not believe that China has acted in a fashion contradictory to its May 11th statement made to the United States.
And you also made the point, then, that this kind of activity is -- I forgot your precise word -- but the point is, we're always looking at this --
MR. BURNS: We're monitoring this because there have been so many different allegations made. It is prudent for us to continue monitoring it, and we will. It wouldn't surprise me to see it come up in any number of U.S.-China discussions.
I just want to give Ambassador Lord some leeway to decide which issues he's going to raise with which officials. So I don't want to commit him to raising this in certain meetings. I would anticipate he would have kind of broad conversations on a variety of issues.
Your statement on human rights is rather passive, too. I understand you want to let him have leeway. But last week when you were talking about human rights, you were very aggressively denouncing the Chinese practices?
MR. BURNS: Barry, Barry, I have to respond to this. I did not use the word "leeway" juxtaposed to anything about human rights.
What I said last week on human rights stands. There have been a recent series of arrests in China of noted dissidents --
MR. BURNS: No. I have no alternative but to come back and put this on the record again.
I said you don't want to be specific what he is doing there. You want to give him some leeway to make decisions. But what I'm asking you about human rights, per se: whether you can say that he will very aggressively and very forcefully make an issue of the way China treats its own people?
MR. BURNS: Of course he will, and for this reason. Because a lot of people now read this on the Internet. They don't get to see the dynamics here in the Briefing Room. They see the printed word.
The United States has not made any soft comments about human rights violations in China. In fact, what we said last Thursday and last Friday is being repeated today privately. Of course, it will be raised by Assistant Secretary Lord, and that is that the United States believes that the recent arrests of noted political dissidents in China is unjustified because these individuals are being arrested solely for having exercised their political rights under the Chinese constitution, under their given rights by the United Nations to express their political views peacefully which each of these individuals has done. That is an issue between the United States and China. We raised it very forcefully last week. We'll continue to raise it forcefully this week.
To keep the record straight, I wasn't suggesting you're passive on human rights. I'm saying you weren't making a statement specifically about what Win Lord would do to give him leeway to take his own decisions?
MR. BURNS: He will obviously decide what issues are raised in what meetings on his trip to Beijing. But I can tell you that of all the issues in our relationship, given the fact that, as you know, we have two noted arrests of noted dissidents. That issue is going to be on his agenda. You also know there are some other celebrated cases that are in the news this morning. All of that will be on the agenda.
Those two cases: one was an arrest, indeed. The other, more specifically, was someone who had been arrested who the State Department feared might be about to be sentenced. Has that sentencing been imposed as far as you know.
MR. BURNS: I'm not aware that the sentencing -- I think you're talking about the case of Mr. Wang Dan.
The Number One human rights champion.
MR. BURNS: I don't believe that -- I'm not aware that he has been sentenced yet. We believe that he will be tried which in China sometimes is tantamount to being convicted, and we have seen many press reports about these developments which we find credible, and we have alerted the Chinese Government that they should in our view release him. Because he is not being convicted for any violent activity. He is being at least tried in this case and possibly convicted for the peaceful expression of his political views, which in our view is wrongheaded and unjustified.
The same goes with Mr. Liu, who was arrested last week and of course there are other dissidents who are under pressure in China today, and of course the United States supports the right of people to express their views peacefully in any society including China.
Can you turn to another dissident, Mr. Wang Xizhe, can you tell us where he is? Is he in the United States, and has he applied for or received any kind of asylum in the United States?
MR. BURNS: Well, I think, as you know from the press reporting over the last 24 hours, Mr. Wang Xizhe is expected to arrive in the United States. He has been documented to enter the United States under a public interest parole, pursuant to Section 2l2(d)5 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
This section of our immigration law gives authority to the Attorney General to permit a person to enter the United States temporarily for emergency reasons or when it is in the public interest.
Now, I can't discuss the details of his case because he has not arrived yet in the United States. When he arrives in the United States, it will be up to him to decide what he says and when he says it. But he is a noted champion of human rights. He is someone who the United States believes should not be under the threat of arrest in China. He is someone who has exercised his rights to express himself peacefully on political issues.
When is he expected to arrive?
MR. BURNS: I'm not at liberty to give out that information. He has requested some privacy in this matter. He doesn't want to have a scene when he arrives and therefore I can't give out the information as to where and when he will arrive.
There is a report --
MR. BURNS: I can't give out that information.
(inaudible) arrive in San Francisco. Can you confirm that?
MR. BURNS: I can't confirm that, no.
He is already here?
MR. BURNS: I don't believe he is here. I don't believe he has arrived, but I can't confirm when and where he will arrive, and that's really just trying to be considerate to him, and at the interest that he has expressed.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry this morning said it was -- Mr. Wang's case was an illegal emigration and expressed its displeasure.
MR. BURNS: Illegal emigration or immigration?
Immigration, I'm sorry.
MR. BURNS: "Im." You mean into the United States? No, it can't be, because the United States controls the borders of the United States. Our Attorney General decides when people who are not citizens of the United States and don't have visas to come to the United States can be allowed into the United States. So the United States has made a decision here to grant him entry into the United States under the section of the law that I asserted.
We are a nation of laws. We live under those laws. We respect them, and this individual has a right to come here, because we have decided he has a right to come here.
Nick, can you offer anything on the case of Mousa Abu Marzook, the Palestinian American who was detained and he is -- I think the courts in New York have proposed to extradite him to Israel, and is holding the extradition after this country will certify --
MR. BURNS: I cannot offer any opinion or view or even facts because this is a matter for the Justice Department, not for the State Department. This is a legal matter now, and I'm not -- I don't think it is helpful for me to comment on legal matters presently before -- presently in our legal system.
I think this one is admittedly not on center court, but the royal family of Abu Dhabi has been hit with a $44 million federal lawsuit in this country alleging that a member of that family was responsible for a boating accident in 1993 that resulted in permanent brain damage to an American girl, and recently my understanding is that a federal judge dismissed the royal family's request that this case be thrown out, and so the case is going forward.
I am wondering how closely the State Department is monitoring this case, and what strains, if any, it has put on U.S. relations with the Emirates?
MR. BURNS: We are -- the State Department is aware of this case. We have no opinion to offer publicly because, again, this is a matter before a U.S. court, therefore it is just not proper for the State Department to comment on an ongoing judicial matter, but we are aware of it.
Is it something that the State Department is monitoring?
MR. BURNS: To the extent that we monitor all affairs between the United States and the United Arab Emirates, we are monitoring the case, but not in any kind of responsible -- and I mean by that judicially responsible, way. This is a matter for our legal authorities, not for the Department of State.
Therefore we are bystanders. We are watching it develop, but in our system of government the U.S. State Department cannot intervene in a legal issue like this. This is a matter for our legal system, and for the Americans who brought this lawsuit.
(Inaudible) in Africa?
MR. BURNS: Yes.
Possibly have France in mind?
MR. BURNS: Yes.
What's the problem here? We went through this in the Middle East a few months ago.
MR. BURNS: Yes.
Is there sort of some feeling in Paris that Africa is a special -- has a special relationship with France and France should be given priority there?
MR. BURNS: Well, I hate to pile on here. I hope the French will understand that in the translation, but I hate to --
MR. BURNS: Yes. And I don't need to pile on to -- my boss, Secretary Christopher, I think, spoke more effectively than I could speak on this. Let me just take you back to the route of this problem.
A minister of the French Government publicly criticized Secretary Christopher for having gone to Africa. He didn't like the fact that the trip was scheduled for October 1996, a month before our national elections. He alleged that the motivation for this trip was political -- to enhance the position of the President before a national election. That is ludicrous, and it just shows that not everybody in Paris has a good understanding of how the American political system works, much less American diplomacy.
If M. Godfrain had checked, if he had done his homework, if he had just paused to reflect, before he commented, on the fact that our Vice President, Al Gore, has a special commission with the South African Deputy President, President Mbeki; that in his travel to Africa, our National Security Adviser -- who is an Africanist by profession -- Tony Lake, has taken a special interest and has visited the continent several times in August; that our Deputy Secretary of State has visited; that our Assistant Secretary of State has been there practically every other week; that we have argued endlessly with the Congress for more development funds to support small countries that are actually democratizing like Mali. If M. Godfrain had done his homework, he would have seen that the United States under the Clinton Administration has taken a more active role.
It is true that some people in Paris seem to live under the delusion that certain parts of Africa can be the preserve or the domain of a certain colonial power, -- ex-colonial power, by the way. That is a far-fetched notion indeed, because I think Secretary Christopher found in his trip to Africa -- and he said this in his Johannesburg speech -- that all of us need to be engaged to help the Africans fight the problems that that continent faces; the problems of economic development, in some countries of malnutrition and hunger -- certainly in Central Africa; in Burundi and Rwanda the threat of genocide; the threat of massacres, of the civil wars that we are still seeing the residue of in Angola; the nation-building that we see underway in South Africa; the terrible problems that Nigeria is suffering from because of the lack of leadership in Lagos.
Certainly, the French Government and Monsieur Godfrain are not trying to suggest that France alone can save Africa -- that French officials alone can take trips to Africa without being accused of politicking -- of politics. This is a ludicrous charge made by someone who's not paid attention to what the United States has done. It ought to be retracted.
I suppose it won't be retracted now, because we've seen several days of the most mundane -- the most mundane -- comments from the French Foreign Ministry about this, as if it wasn't a highly unusual scene -- an episode -- to have a Minister of a NATO allied government criticize the Secretary of State. We never do that with the French Government. We would never dream of criticizing the French Foreign Minister in the way that Monsieur Godfrain criticized Secretary Christopher.
I'm going on at some length so that we are perfectly clear to the French Government about this and about our anger about this incident.
I thought there was another -- quote "another" --
MR. BURNS: Excuse me, Charlie?
Why don't you tell us how you really feel about this?
MR. BURNS: Exactly! (Laughter) I could go on for a half hour. Do you want me to say more?
No. There was another statement by another Minister, indeed. But the political charge aside -- I mean the U.S. has called France a special experience in Africa --
MR. BURNS: Of course, it does.
-- and there have been occasions where France even committed troops to bring about a peaceful solution to problems.
MR. BURNS: And that's the irony here.
Well, it's more than irony they have experience and, they -- I guess, feel they have a special expertise. Does the U.S. acknowledge that the French may know a little bit more about Africa, for instance, in its recent past than the U.S. does?
MR. BURNS: Because France was a colonial power in Central and West Africa, and France has retained a very active role since the independence movement -- the days of the early l960s -- yes, the French have a special role to play in Africa.
In fact, I remember a couple of months ago when the French just deployed troops to Bangui -- to the Central African Republic, that eventually saved the lives of some American Peace Corps volunteers; and we were terribly grateful. Do you know what we did at the time? We praised the French Government publicly?
We have not sniped at the French; we have not sniped at them. And we expect that kind of treatment in return. We don't expect that allies are going to make the most ludicrous, unjustified statements about our Secretary of State. And that's what we're saying here.
The French have a big role to play in Africa -- but with us, and with others. These comments -- as if the United States shouldn't even be involved, are ludicrous. I think the French know it; and as I said on Friday, I can't believe that his superiors -- Monsieur Godfrain's superiors -- knew he was going to say this in advance, because it's just too far-fetched to believe that the French Government would codify these remarks.
I hope you didn't spend every single, strong word --
MR. BURNS: I think we have a follow-up, and then we're going to --
You are giving us your feelings, or Christopher really is angry about the comments?
MR. BURNS: No. I always speak here on behalf of the Secretary of State. I don't stand up here and give you my personal views; I'm giving the views of our Government on this issue, and I'm serious. And it's no secret -- you might wonder why the Secretary talked about this issue in general in his Johannesburg speech. You might link that back to some of the comments that we saw earlier in the week.
We are not pleased by this. This is not the way an allied government should treat the United States. We do not criticize allied leaders in public. We do not do that -- not unless there's a very, very good reason to do so; and Monsieur Godfrain had no reason to do so.
Chris reported French wine down the drain (laughter) on the plane.
MR. BURNS: The Secretary is partial to California wines --
MR. BURNS: -- which recent polls, I think worldwide, have determined to be the superior wines in the world. (Laughter). So, you know -- no? And that's an objective --
Can they be (inaudible).
MR. BURNS: -- of viticulture experts around the world -- really. I think there are a lot of people who would agree with that statement here.
Did the Secretary come back from his trip to Africa expressing to you, so that you could express to us and the rest of the world, any opinion about ongoing policies by former colonial powers in Africa -- having viewed that nation firsthand now? Was he critical of what some of the former colonial powers are doing currently on the African continent?
MR. BURNS: No, he was not -- and is not. As I said, I think to be absolutely fair here and balanced, the French Government has played a stabilizing role in many parts of Africa and I'm sure will continue to do so.
It's a very important role. We want to work with the French. We don't want to have to work across purposes.
For the sake, I think, of all this -- that matter -- there is a new awareness in the French Government that they would like to be involved separately from the influence of the United States. Take in example of the Middle East and take other parts of the world. France would like to have initiatives, if you will, to take things into consideration -- and possibly put that imprint on it like they are trying to do in Africa, and this is why they're criticizing your approach to them.
MR. BURNS: France is a NATO ally. We'll continue to work well with France on European security issues; on the Middle East, where Minister de Charette and Secretary Christopher have agreed to work together; in Africa, where they've agreed to work together -- I'm taking the high road here.
We respect the French role in the world -- which is considerable -- and France has given a lot to the world, and will continue to do so. It's a very capable country and government.
We want to have a relationship where we have no surprises in public -- where, if we have differences, we have them in private -- and where we respect each other in public as well as in private. That's the only message I'm trying to give today.
Over the weekend, Burmese SLORC officials blockaded Suu Kyi's home. In addition, new security measures were announced today in Burma. You said last week the U.S. is still considering upping the sanctions on Burma, specifically implementing the remaining part of the Cohen Amendment. Is there any new consideration, now that there's been some more activity over there?
MR. BURNS: This situation is under active review by the U.S. Government. There are a number of options available for our policy- makers to consider, should that be necessary. We are displeased by the continued harassment and discrimination by the SLORC -- the military dictators towards Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, and we're very displeased to hear about further problems over the weekend in Rangoon.
You said that --
MR. BURNS: The last question.
-- Secretary Christopher asked about Bosnia -- that Secretary Christopher was briefed by his assistants about other issues.
MR. BURNS: Yes.
What Kornblum has said about his trip to Bosnia -- is it fair to say that his mission has failed?
MR. BURNS: The United States has not failed in Bosnia. The United States is succeeding in Bosnia -- first point.
The second point is Secretary Christopher was briefed by John Kornblum this morning about John's recent trip to Sarajevo. I can tell you that he met with Mr. Krajisnik in Sarajevo, which we thought was important -- that Mr. Krajisnik would come to Sarajevo for the meeting. The talks were constructive. They discussed plans for a meeting of the joint presidency -- soon.
I must say Mr. Krajisnik has said all the right things, but he hasn't yet done all the right things. In addition to the fine words, we need to see fine actions. We need to see Mr. Krajisnik and the Bosnian Serbs actually participate in the construction of a new government and the new institutions and to come to Sarajevo for those meetings. And actions are going to be more impressive to us than words.
Let me ask -- it's important for me. There's some diplomats that are pretty sure behind the scenes -- Karadzic is a master of the game. How would you consider his position?
MR. BURNS: He's definitely not the master of the game. He's going to be ultimate loser in this game because some day he's going to end up in front of an international court charged for war crimes. So he's going to lose -- he'll be the ultimate loser here along with Mladic.
The winners will be those people who work for a united multi-ethnic Bosnia.
MR. BURNS: Thank you.
(Press briefing concluded at 2:42 p.m.)
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