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

U.S. Department of State
96/11/12 Daily Press Briefing
Office of the Spokesman

U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing
Tuesday, November 12, 1996

                                      Briefers:   Glyn Davies
                                                John Shattuck

  Welcome to Visiting Students from American University
    & Foreign Service Officers.............................          1
  Introduction of Assistant Secretary of State for
    Democracy, Human Rights and Labor..................... 1
  Update on Secretary Christopher's Travels................ 5-6
  U.S.-Jordan Civil Aviation Agreement..................... 6
  Update on U.S. and International Efforts in Zaire.....6-8  

  Statement on the Formation of an Advisory Committee on
    Religious Freedom Abroad...............................      1-5

  Reaction to UN Announcement of Canadian-led Intervention
  U.S. Participation in an International Intervention Force  9-12, 
  U.S. Assessment Team in Zaire............................     9-10
  U.S. Participation in Humanitarian Efforts..............  12-15
  U.S.-UN Cooperation on Zaire.............................     13
  U.S. Concerns About Rwandan Refugees................ 15-16

  U.S. Inter-agency Delegation in Greece and Cyprus.17-18, 
  Ex-KGB Officer Detained in New York................... 18-19

  U.S. Military Assistance to Bordering Countries       20-21

  Status of AmCit Hunziker.................................         21
  Status of Four Party Talks...............................           28

  Iran-Turkey Oil-for-Gas Treaty...........................       21-22

  Airplane Accident........................................               

  U.S. Veto of 2nd Term for Boutros Boutros-Ghali.....24

  Dismissal of Gen. Mladic from Bosnian Army...........24-25
  Cost of Delayed Train & Equip Arms Shipment.........26

  Monitoring Group Reaction to Bombing..................... 26-27

  Senior Dept. Officials Meeting with Riadys...............  27
  Philippines Barring Nobel Peace Prize Winners Entry to 
    APEC Meeting...........................................      27-28

DPB #182
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1996, 1:20 P.M.

MR. DAVIES: Welcome to the State Department briefing. Welcome as well to three students from American University. I don't know what side you're on. Scattered. That's why it looks so full. And also to 12 Foreign Service officers from the Political Trade Craft class at the Foreign Service Institute. Welcome to the briefing -- to you.

At the top of the briefing today, I'm going to do something a little different. We have an announcement that will be made by Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, John Shattuck. He will be talking a bit about the formation of an Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad.

Secretary Christopher is establishing an Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. It's part of the Administration's work to promote human rights issues. There will also be some word out of the White House on this today.

The Committee will be Chaired by Assistant Secretary Shattuck. What I'll do I think is turn the podium over to the Assistant Secretary to make the announcement, after which he can answer a couple of questions on the subject and then we can go back to some of the other issues, and there are quite a few to discuss today.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: I have a statement that I would like to provide to you and then also we will give you some additional information concerning this committee.

Religious and ethnic conflict have often been at the forefront of human rights dilemmas in recent years. The creation of an Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad represents this Administration's commitment to address these issues with new and creative means.

My own personal experience in addressing the human rights catastrophe in Bosnia, and working with Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim religious leaders in the long struggle for peace, justice and reconciliation has shown me how important it is for our foreign policy to stand up for religious freedom and tolerance. The Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad represents a wide spectrum of beliefs and knowledge on human rights among its 20 members, and its creation demonstrates the State Department's expanding outreach to the non-governmental community and its recognition of the positive role religious communities can play in promoting human rights.

The Advisory Committee will seek to achieve tangible results. It's primary goals include: Fostering greater dialogue between religious communities and the U.S. Government; increasing the flow of information to the U.S. Government concerning the conditions of religious minorities facing persecution around the world; and informing interested groups and individuals about the U.S. Government's efforts to address issues of religious persecution and religious freedom.

We are dealing with the continuing dilemma of the denial of religious freedom in other ways as well in the State Department. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, has established a Working Group on this subject to help bring greater attention to the issue and ensure its integration into our overall foreign policy. We will expand participation of the working group, as necessary, to include other representatives of other State Department bureaus and other U.S. Government agencies.

The Executive Secretary of the Committee will be Ms. Alexandra Arriaga, who serves as Special Coordinator for External Affairs and is the primary liaison for non-governmental organizations. She's worked very hard on this project, and I want to commend Alex for her efforts.

Religious freedom is a right we hold sacred in America. It is a right which we would look to see exercised in every corner of the globe. The creation of the Advisory Committee is a step in that direction.

The names of the Members of the Advisory Committee will be provided to you at this briefing, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have about the Committee and its work on this issue.

Briefly recognizing, as Mr. Davies has said, that we just have time for a few questions.

QUESTION: The Committee will report to whom, Mr. Secretary? And it will tell any powers to enforce its recommendations?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: The Committee is set up under the Advisory Committee system. It will report, which is established by legislation, and its work will be identified in the Federal Register, the meeting times of its meetings which will be open and public.

It will report at the working level to me as its Chair, but it's being established by the Secretary of State so it is basically reporting to the Secretary of State.

QUESTION: You say you want to achieve tangible results. So, specifically, what can you tell us -- what would be your first three priorities? What's your work plan?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: This is a committee that will provide information to the U.S. Government. That's its primary purpose, and representing a wide variety of religions from around the United States and organizations that are involved in religious freedom issues overseas. We look forward to receiving information from these organizations. Our human rights reports are now increasingly reflecting issues of religious intolerance and discrimination.

We're also looking for expansion of the role of non-governmental organizations in areas of reconciliation, such as in Bosnia where we expect there will be a lot of interest. Certainly, the Middle East is an other area; and then broadscale discrimination against religious groups in Asia and elsewhere.

QUESTION: About the timing. Why has the U.S. Government has decided to establish this Committee right now and not two years ago?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: The subject has become increasingly important to us. I mentioned in my remarks the fact that issues of ethnic and religious conflict have been very serious ones in our foreign policy over the last several years. Our experience in Bosnia and the Balkans, in general, and elsewhere in the world, I think, leads us to the conclusion that it's very useful to bring in expertise from non- governmental organizations who have a contribution to make in this field so that we can highlight some of these issues.

QUESTION: Your first priority is the Balkans?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: No, I didn't say that would be the first priority. I cited that as an example of where religious groups are working very closely together on reconciliation issues. We're going to have to see how the Committee itself wants to set its priorities.

QUESTION: I have two quick questions. As a way of forcing its work in the future, will there be an effort to link practices in terms of religious tolerance to American foreign aid as with human rights?

And the second one, you said the Middle East. Could you please explain what you mean by the "Middle East" -- which areas, which countries?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: The United States already uses human rights as one of its indicators for where foreign aid is going to be provided, both in positive terms -- that is, where human rights and democracy interests can be enhanced; and in negative terms, where countries are gross violators or are engaged in serious violations of human rights and where their aid might not be therefore forthcoming.

So certainly issues of religious freedom, which are very significant elements of human rights, are going to be taken into consideration here.

I'm not going to, at this point, get into specific examples in the Middle East or any other area. But I just wanted to cite that as an area where clearly issues of religious freedom and tolerance and efforts to get religious organizations to work together are very much part of the peace process in the Middle East.

QUESTION: Will this group be collecting information on the repression of the Tibetans? And, if so, what good could it do in that situation?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: That's a good example of the kind of information that might come through from the Advisory Committee Members and the annual reports that the State Department produces on the human rights situation in China now includes a special section on issues in Tibet. Certainly, one of the great focus points of our human rights concerns in China and Tibet has been problems of religious freedom and discrimination against those who are engaged in trying to exercise religious freedom.

QUESTION: Not on the issue of the committee. Today is the fifth anniversary of the East Timor massacre where 252 Timorese were gunned down, an issue you know well, I know. A couple of questions on that.

Will Secretary Christopher be meeting with the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winners -- Jose Ramos-Horta is in the United States today, this week -- especially in light of the fact that the Philippines has excluded him, has barred him from coming into the Philippines during APEC, when President Clinton will be there. Will President Clinton meet with Jose Ramos-Horta?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: As you know, Secretary Christopher is now in the Middle East and then is proceeding on to the Paris Peace Conference in the middle of this week and on through the week. But I do anticipate that Mr. Ramos-Horta will have meetings here and certainly will have meetings in the State Department.

QUESTION: In light of all that's come out around the Indonesian connection here in the State Department, will the State Department release all documents relating to meetings with the Riadys or other Indonesian businesspeople and the dictatorship to shed light on the kind of policy that's being made as a result of the relationship between Clinton and these people?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: I don't have any information for you on that. I will leave that to my good friend and colleague, Glyn Davies, when he takes the podium back. But I'm sure you will have good questions for him on that and other subjects.


(Following Assistant Secretary John Shattuck's departure, Deputy Spokesman Glyn Davies resumed the briefing at 1:31 p.m.)

MR. DAVIES: Let me, before we get to that and other topics, go through a couple of things for you.

First off, just to remind all of you of what the Secretary has been up to and where he's headed. He, of course, left Washington late Sunday for Cairo and Paris. In Cairo, Monday and Tuesday, had a number of meetings, including with the EU's Dick Spring, with Chairman Arafat, with Egyptian President Mubarak, Israeli Foreign Minister Levy. Then, of course, he gave a major speech which is available to you. We have a version of it - a copy of it in the Press Office.

Most of the press reporting on the Secretary's Cairo stop, which has just ended, and he's in the air now and will land in half hour in Paris, has been on his sidebar diplomatic discussions on the Israeli- Palestinian peace process. Specifically, the Hebron issue. I can go into that at greater length, if you would like.

But what I wanted to do was to underscore the importance of the conference itself which builds, of course, on the two conferences held last year and the year before in Amman and Casablanca.

What is significant here is that for the first time you've got a process building involving businessmen as well as governments to bring more investment, more attention to the need for business activity in the Middle East, specifically in the countries that are participating in the peace process. At this meeting, in Egypt, 1,500 business representatives took part, which is more than took part in either Amman or Casablanca.

All of this adds up to a strong vote of confidence in the important economic side of the peace process.

On Hebron, just quickly. The Secretary remains very optimistic that there will be a deal on Hebron. You have the words of Nicholas Burns on the wires on this as well as some of the other participants in this meeting. The Secretary expects and hopes that some kind of closure can be reached on Hebron sooner rather than later. But he acknowledges that substantial hurdles do remain.

The Secretary is off now, as I say, to Paris. He'll land in Paris shortly. He will attend the Steering Board meeting of the Peace Implementation Council. His purpose in going to Paris is to reaffirm to the parties the need to live up to their obligations, to work further with the international community to confirm the commitments that have been made on civilian reconstruction; and then, of course, to look forward to the coming months and years' work that will have to be done in Bosnia as the peace process there continues and IFOR's excellent work bears fruit.

We have an announcement in the Press Office on the U.S.-Jordan Civil Aviation Agreement. I won't go into this at length but just to point you in the direction of this announcement.

The United States and Jordan have concluded a Civil Aviation Agreement that will fully liberalize air traffic between the two countries. It's the so-called Open Skies Agreement. It was signed in Jordan by our Ambassador to Jordan, Mr. Wesley Egan, and the Jordanian Minister of Transportation, Mr. al-Lawzi. It advances U.S. international aviation interests and further strengthens the close and friendly relations between the United States and Jordan. It is the first Open Skies accord in the region and the first that we've concluded with an aviation partner outside of Europe.

Now, to the topic that's on most people's minds right now, which is Zaire. Just to let you know where we stand in the process of looking at how the international community should and could respond to the ongoing crisis in Zaire.

There is an emerging international consensus that humanitarian intervention will be necessary to address the crisis in eastern Zaire. There's also an emerging consensus that in order to be effective, a humanitarian intervention will require some sort of security component, so the United States is today actively studying what type of security component would be necessary for such an intervention.

We are also actively studying what role the United States could play as part of such a security component. Our objectives remain, as they have in recent days, twofold here.

They are first off to find a way to address the immediate humanitarian needs of the refugees and the inhabitants of eastern Zaire who are affected by this crisis.

Second, to encourage the maximum number of refugees to return home, and for the most part, of course, this means returning Hutu refugees to Rwanda.

What is the United States doing today about all of this. A U.S. humanitarian assessment team is expected to leave for the region shortly, and I think the Pentagon might have a little further on that.

USAID's Disaster Assistance Response Team, the so-called "DART" team, which is today in Rwanda, is attempting to cross into eastern Zaire.

There are also diplomatic initiatives underway, a number of them. In the early hours of Saturday morning, the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling on member states to plan for an international force in eastern Zaire. Following that action, the OAU held an extraordinary ministerial session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

We have in the region two officials. We've spoken about their activities before, but Ambassador Bogosian was in Kigali yesterday to coordinate mutual efforts in the region. On Sunday, he met with officials to help facilitate emergency humanitarian border crossing arrangements for non-governmental organizations.

Yesterday, Monday, in Addis Ababa, Howard Wolpe, our Special Envoy, met with the Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity, Salim Salim, and he stressed U.S. Government efforts to support a neutral humanitarian intervention force as envisioned at the Nairobi summit.

On the international scene, of course, a number of NGOs and international groups are very active. A team from UNHCR and the World Food Program and UNICEF, altogether, crossed in a six-truck convoy into Goma yesterday to assess humanitarian needs, and they delivered some initial emergency supplies. We understand that an NGO team also crossed into Goma with supplies yesterday.

These were the first humanitarian officials to go in since the last aid workers withdrew on November 2. UNHCR took with them, of course, 13 tons of biscuits. They also took blankets and plastic sheeting. They report that Goma appears relatively quiet, though there was one explosion that they heard, and they're witnessing a fair amount of looting. Only about one-third of the population of Goma remains in Goma.

A second UNHCR-led team crossed the border from Cyangugu in Rwanda on foot for a two-hour visit to Bukavu. They were not permitted to take relief supplies with them. They planned to go back in today. We don't have a report of their efforts.

In terms of the whereabouts of the refugees: Until the international community is able to gain access to the camps and get on the ground more fully in the region, it's difficult to know how many refugees are left in the camps -- we've all seen varying reports of numbers of refugees in the camps -- or to assess how many have fled further west into Zaire.

In terms of the food situation in Zaire, the UN team which went into Goma yesterday was told that food and other humanitarian assistance was urgently needed in Goma for both the townspeople and for the refugees in the area.

There is sufficient food and other humanitarian supplies available in the region for an immediate response. The key is getting the food to the people and arranging that access.

So our hope remains that the parties to the conflict will agree to an effective cease-fire and allow the international community immediate access to the refugees as well as to Zairians displaced by the fighting.


QUESTION: Do you have anything to say about the announcement this morning by Boutros-Ghali to the effect that a Canadian-led force between 10-20,000 is being formed to go to the region? Have you heard --

MR. DAVIES: I don't. I mean, you can ask the Canadians to comment on that. I can tell you that we're very aware of the Canadian idea. We are in discussion with the Canadians intensively in more than one venue about their proposal. What we have are a number of proposals, including the Canadian proposal, that are out there. What's important to do now is to look at all of these proposals -- in fact, this is being done; it's being done intensively; it was done intensively over the weekend -- and to figure out from the ideas that are out there what ideas from the standpoint of the United States will work and then to make some fundamental decisions.

Of course, no one is more mindful of the need to get all of this figured out and decided than is the United States, which has done a great deal in recent years to help stem the humanitarian crisis in eastern Zaire, which recognizes fully that we're facing a real crisis today.

QUESTION: Glyn, are you saying that the United States has agreed in principle to participate in an intervention force but just not how?

MR. DAVIES: I'm not saying that. No, I'm saying that we are in terms of crossing that line and actually letting you all know about what it is the United States can do and plans to do -- we're not across that line yet. The intensive work continues.

So I don't have any announcement for you on exactly what will unfold in coming days, and I would simply say stay tuned.

QUESTION: Then what is the assessment team doing in the region?

MR. DAVIES: Just that. They're taking a look at conditions on the ground. You have, for instance, a number of airfields in the region; they are all in the hands of Tutsi rebels. This is not a clean, permissive environment that we're talking about here -- there's no secret about that.

You have a number of different militias and ethnic groups who are in the field. You have, of course, the refugees themselves, and you have interspersed among the refugees rutilated throughout their numbers individuals who are of interest to governments in the region for some of their past activities.

It's a very complicated, very complex situation, and the essence of it for the United States is deciding what makes sense to do, what can we do, and then to make a decision whether or not to go ahead and do that. That decision has yet to be made. But you have the interplay of a number of factors that you don't normally have in a humanitarian crisis.

QUESTION: What's the composition of this team? What buildings do they come from?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have specifics on it. We can perhaps get you specifics on it, but I think it's safe to say that they're both military and civilian members of the team.

QUESTION: Glyn, last week Nick was saying that U.S. ground forces would not be used. Over the weekend, General Shalikashvili said that he didn't think that we should rule out the use of U.S. ground forces in getting this humanitarian aid to people. Would you agree with that? Is that -- where is the thinking of the U.S. Government on the use of ground troops?

MR. DAVIES: That would get me right into answering the questions that are right now at this moment unanswerable, which have to do with what is it that the United States is looking at doing, what could it do, in conjunction with the rest of the international community.

I think it's very important to keep looking at this crisis and at the response to it in an international context -- in the context of an effort that won't be a unilateral U.S. effort. It will be an effort on the part of a number of nations -- certainly the nations in the region, as well as Europeans, Canadians and Americans.

But, as I say, since no decisions have been made, what I don't want to do is open up a window on the discussions and thinking in the U.S. Government, because all that will do is serve to box us and slow us down.

QUESTION: But this controversy has been -- I mean, this situation has existed for awhile. I mean, what do you need in order to make a decision? There are people dying. I mean, when is this government going to act?

MR. DAVIES: This government has been second to none in the last three or four days in burning the midnight oil. Many officials have gone with very little sleep. The meetings have gone on over the weekend. U.S. officials are seized of the necessity to, in examining this crisis, figure out what is best for the United States to do. There are a number of very serious, very live options, some of which come from within the United States Government; some from others, and the challenge is putting the various components together so that you actually have something that can go into that very remote mountainous part of the world and work.

That's the challenge. That's the puzzle, if you will. Putting together something that will work, that will take best advantage of what the various players can bring to the mission. It's not simply a question of parachuting in foodstuffs or water to people, because in this situation, unlike other situations, we're not even sure where the people are.

I mean, we have some ideas, and we have some clues, and we have some reports. But you have to figure out a way to go in there, first to get the people together, but to do so in a way that doesn't return us to the status quo ante; that gets us to a situation where the people can get moving back where it's ultimately safe for them to be, i.e., Rwanda.

QUESTION: But the Canadian Government has made a commitment to do something and did publicly, and this government still seems to be --

MR. DAVIES: Look, I'm not in the business of characterizing the Canadian position on this. But I think one thing that's fair to say about this crisis -- you can correct me if I'm wrong; you've collectively read more of the press than I have one this -- is that all of the governments talking about plans to resolve the crisis indicate that the United States is an important part of this from their standpoint; and that U.S. thinking, perhaps U.S. support, is a key to all of this.

QUESTION: Have you set yourselves a deadline? People are dying, we assume, and possibly in fairly large numbers. Is there a deadline that the U.S. sets itself by which it should make a decision on all these matters?

MR. DAVIES: The deadline can be summed up in that old bureaucratic acronym, ASAP -- "as soon as possible." As soon as there is something that works, that makes sense, and that we can make some decisions on, we will do so. Those decisions I would look for in the near term.

But what I don't want to do is complicate the situation further by putting out all kinds of promissory notes or statements about what the United States is thinking prospectively, because all that's going to do is get us boxed and cross-ways with all the various actors out there.

QUESTION: Glyn, is there anything that's been ruled out?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything to report to you that's been ruled out. Again, what I don't want to do is narrow the focus of policymakers who are looking at all options and refining them right now.

QUESTION: But Nick ruled out ground troops last week. He ruled them out last week, and you're --

MR. DAVIES: Nick was asked that question on Friday, and Nick addressed it. I stand by what Nick had to say in response to the very same challenging tone that he got on Friday.

QUESTION: Is the United States hoping the a cease-fire can be worked out that would obviate the need for some sort of military intervention? Is that what you're working for? Is that your goal?

MR. DAVIES: One of the problems with this situation is being able to identify and get to those who are controlling the shooters, the militias, who are active in the region, so that you can even discuss something like that. This is not the European battlefield in 1918. It's not as if the General Command on one side sends up a balloon or a flag or a telegraph message and all is quiet on the front.

This is eastern Zaire. This is the part of the world that brought you the Simba uprising of the early 60s. You can go back and look at your history of the taking of the American Consulate General in Kisangani 30 years ago. There's a long history in that part of the world that involves the ethnic groups, it involves the actual governments in the region; it has to do with what is happening now in Kinshasa and Kigali as well as in capitals in Europe, Canada and the United States. It's a very, very complex situation that has to be done right if it's going to be done at all.

QUESTION: But there must be some point at which you decide -- I mean, the perfect becomes the enemy of the good.

MR. DAVIES: No, no. No government has greater experience in handling humanitarian disasters and crises than does the United States Government, and frankly that's part of why the United States Government is hunkering down behind folks like me at podiums and doing its work and is not out there floating options, trial balloons -- we're going to do this, we're going to do that -- and that's all well and good, and that's fine, and these are important ideas that are being advanced.

But we are attempting to integrate it from the standpoint of the United States and what we could bring to bear on this situation.

QUESTION: Mr. Davies, when you were answering George's question about the Canadians, you said you are talking to the Canadians, and you're coming up with their proposal, and that doesn't mention the Secretary General of the United Nations. Are you discussing the situation with him closely, and how much of your conflict with him is affecting any progress on this?

MR. DAVIES: First of all, we don't have a conflict with Boutros- Ghali, the Secretary General of the United Nations. Second of all, throughout the entire issue of a successor to Boutros-Ghali, the United States and the United Nations -- specifically the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations -- have done excellent work.

We're big enough, I think on both sides, that some of the positions taken by the United States have not affected the work-a-day world of UN diplomacy, the work of the United Nations and the interplay between Washington and New York. So that I would sort of reject one of your premises there.

In terms of work at the United Nations, we're absolutely engaged at the UN The UN is one of the best places in the world to do work on an issue like this, that involves so many international actors, that involves even in the region so many different players. The French called the UN the "Maison de Mot," the house of words. It's the greatest place to exchange ideas and words there is, so we're active there.

But we're also active in Ottawa. We're active in Washington. We're active in European capitals, and we're very active, as I described, in the region.

QUESTION: Is the United States hinging its participation in whatever is decided on, on the Rwandan Government's willingness to accept all the refugees and to guarantee their safety?

MR. DAVIES: An important part of this challenge to the international community is ensuring that a component of whatever solution is arrived at is repatriation of refugees. If the international community even were able to perform the miracle of reassembling these million or so refugees in a number of camps, you would then be faced with the same problems that we had, that the world had, of militias marauding at war with each other, at war with Zairian troops, with Rwandans and the rest of it.

So you have to untangle that ball of twine at the same time you get at the humanitarian end of it. They can't be separated. You can't simply air drop C rations or MREs, as they're called, in there and hope it all gets solved. You have 300 miles of jungle between Kisangani and the Kivus, and reports are that a number of the refugees are scattered in that region. So it's a very, very complex problem that we're facing.

QUESTION: The answer then is yes?

MR. DAVIES: Give me the question again.

QUESTION: The United States will not participate, whatever this mission becomes, unless part of the package is repatriation of all the Hutus refugees and assurances from --

MR. DAVIES: We believe very strongly that repatriation of refugees has got to be in the mix as we move forward here, and there has to be -- we've got to be further along -- and we can't simply go in there without a plan for dealing with repatriation.

QUESTION: The UNHCR has said that they are going to airlift some supplies into Kinshasa, and then truck stuff closer to --

MR. DAVIES: You can't truck things from Kinshasa to the Kivu.

QUESTION: Well, that they were going to truck it to Kisangani?

MR. DAVIES: The only way I think it could work -- and here are my two years' experience in that part of the world helps me a bit -- is you'd have to take it by riverboat to Kisangani and then cross 300 miles of jungle --

QUESTION: Sure, it's not easy, but they say that this is something they're going to do; it's something that's going to go in today and something in tomorrow.

MR. DAVIES: I can't speak on that.

QUESTION: The U.S. is not a part of this operation?

MR. DAVIES: I'm sure we're very much involved in it, but I can't speak for them. You're asking logistical questions about how they're going to move equipment, supplies, foodstuffs in there.

QUESTION: No, I'm asking if the U.S. is going to participate in this airlift.

MR. DAVIES: I can check that. You heard the announcement that Nick made at the end of last week about some of the aid that we're providing to alleviate the problem in eastern Zaire. I imagine that we are involved in this effort, but that's something I can check specifically.

QUESTION: Can you say what you're seeking from the Zairian Government? I mean, they've been of mixed cooperation with the UN I gather they've blocked a flight to Kisangani, and various things are coming out of Kinshasha. What do you want from them in order to agree to some kind of an intervention?

MR. DAVIES: Again, in a way you're simplifying it as if we've got demands or questions that are abroad in the world, and we have to get certain responses to these questions for us to make decisions and do things. But putting that aside, I think what's fair to say about the Zairians is we're looking for them to play a constructive role in the Kivus for Zairian troops to participate in any cease-fires that are arranged and for the Zairian Government not to lay down difficult requirements on the international community in terms of getting relief to those in need in the Kivus.

It's up to UNHCR and the NGOs to decide how best to get this aid out there. It shouldn't be up to governments from a political standpoint to dictate how that aid moves.

QUESTION: Go back to the question of the Hutu refugees, upwards of a million. You're proposing that all of them go back to Rwanda.


QUESTION: Okay, well, let me just -- many of these people are alleged war criminals -- allegedly participated in genocide. I mean, there's a million of them. Our policy, I understand, is not to forcibly repatriate refugees. Are you seeking some sort of amnesty for these people from the Rwandan Government? What guarantees -- can you offer to -- why would you offer guarantees --

MR. DAVIES: Actually, you're helping me out here, because you're helping explain some of the complexities that are confronting the international community here. The United States doesn't want to be in the business, and I think most of the international community would agree, of forcing people to go where they don't want to go.

So to a great extent, what has to happen is these Rwandan Hutus -- most of them have to be convinced that it is safe to return to Rwanda. That is yet another tough part of this problem.

I didn't say that all Rwandans should be trucked back across the border to Rwanda. People have to be convinced it's safe to go back or they're ultimately not going to go back. You can't force a million people to do what they don't want to do.

QUESTION: How about those who are suspected of war crimes? What happens to them?

MR. DAVIES: That's an important issue. That's absolutely an important issue, and those who are being sought by the Rwandan War Crimes Tribunal ultimately must be brought to the bar of justice so that they can face the judicial music. It's one of the wheels within the wheels that is very, very important. You have to have it straight before you get the whole thing rolling, in a sense, or at least know in what direction you're moving. But I don't have any magic answers for you here.

QUESTION: You were speaking of the American experiences in the past. Would it be correct to infer that one of the unspoken goals of the U.S. Government at this point is to avoid another Somalian type situation, where chaos and anarchy are the real enemies?

MR. DAVIES: I think what's fair to say -- comparing situations is always dangerous, and I don't think you can compare Somalia to eastern Zaire with any degree of safety or accuracy. But we did learn from Somalia -- we learned some lessons, and one of them is that you have to be awfully certain when you go into something this big, this complicated, this potentially dangerous, that you know what you're getting into. You have a plan for dealing with it. You have some conception of an outcome that you'd like to see, and you have some conception of how it's all going to end for you as well. In other words, getting in is fine and important, but you have to get out eventually.

QUESTION: One of the problems with such caution is that the train is leaving. One way or another there is going to be some sort of international operation with or without the United States. And at this point if caution is the main watchword in the U.S. Government, then it's going to be without the United States, is it not?

MR. DAVIES: I wouldn't look for that outcome, Jim. I just wouldn't look for that.

QUESTION: Le Monde reports this morning that one of the possibilities for the United States is airport security at Goma and Bukavu. I know you're not going to confirm that, but can you say whether that's one of the possibilities?

MR. DAVIES: There are any number of possibilities, but again I'm not a military planner. The plan doesn't yet have the sealing wax and seal on it. The plan hasn't even been approved. So I don't want to get into whether we're going to be operating at airfields, whether we're going to help secure the humanitarian routes, whether we'll fly, drive. I mean, all of that is up to others to parse out.

QUESTION: Glyn, southern Europe -- State Department Southern Europe Affairs Director --

MR. DAVIES: Is this a Zaire question?

QUESTION: No, it's not a Zaire question.

MR. DAVIES: Any more on Zaire? We've exhausted that? Okay.

QUESTION: State Department Southern Europe Affairs Director is heading a large U.S. delegation which includes some Pentagon and National Security officials. They are visiting right now in Athens, I believe. Tomorrow they will visit Cyprus. I don't know what are the other legs of their visit, and I want to learn what's their purpose, this visit? Can you give us something?

MR. DAVIES: Yes. I think this is the Carey Cavanaugh mission. Is that right, John? Yes, Carey Cavanaugh is leading an interagency delegation. I don't have the itinerary that he's on, but they are out there for discussions with the parties. They are not out there with any kind of an elaborate, new initiative in hand. They're simply getting views from the various parties out there.

They will come back to Washington and make their report, and we'll see where we go from there. But I don't have anything splashy to tell you about that.

QUESTION: But the U.S. Ambassador at Cyprus, Mr. Kenneth Brill, said that this delegation might be carrying some new proposal about the Cyprus solution, and he said that -- -- what is the new solution. Do you have anything on that?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything on that specifically, and I'd steer you away from concluding that they're out there to unveil some new shiny thing. I don't think that's the case. They're out there doing good, hard, slogging diplomatic work with the various parties, and we're all familiar with events on Cyprus recently. There's been a great deal of tension.

The United States wants to remain on that issue and be as helpful as we could be. So he's there to talk to both sides, both communities' leaders, and, of course, to consult with our Ambassador and others in the region, and we'll see what he comes back with. But I don't have anything specific.

QUESTION: Glyn, I understand Mr. Beattie is not included in the delegation.

MR. DAVIES: Mr. who?

QUESTION: Beattie.

MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything on that. Is he supposed to be?

QUESTION: Since he's the Cyprus Special Coordinator --

MR. DAVIES: That's right.

QUESTION: Isn't he supposed to be?

MR. DAVIES: This now comes back to me. He is not a part of this delegation. That is correct. But I wouldn't read anything into that. I mean, it's not a signal that anything has changed. He remains in his position. He very much has the lead on the issue. In fact, to some extent, this goes to my previous answer. We're not talking here about --

QUESTION: One would they expect him to be there?

MR. DAVIES: Not necessarily.


MR. DAVIES: No. He doesn't necessarily need to be on this mission. As they say, it's a working level diplomatic mission to discuss the state of play with the parties on Cyprus, and it is not, to my knowledge, a big Public Affairs new initiative kind of a mission.

QUESTION: Glyn, being a representative of a Russian business newspaper, I have to raise this sad issue. Some two weeks ago in New York, a Russian businessman was detained, and he's now in jail. According to the media reports, he was formerly an intelligence officer, and he didn't conceal it. My question is this: According to the reports, the issue -- the visa issued by the State Department was issued prior to the arrest order. Is the State -- or was the State Department kept in dark with respect to his future or ongoing arrest, or was the State Department part of the whole game?

MR. DAVIES: What I have to do on that is keep you in the dark, I'm afraid, because, first of all, you started off discussing -- asking about intelligence matters. That's not something we normally comment on. Second of all, this individual has been arrested, so we now have a law enforcement or judicial case on our hands.

QUESTION: According to the reports, he was not arrested. He was detained. And the -- well, somehow I am --he's not detained. I don't know whether the court issued the arrest or not.

MR. DAVIES: We're considering this a law enforcement matter, so you should direct questions about the case to the Department of Justice. The last thing I'm going to do is get into discussing what it is we have or haven't been told by other government agencies, or what we're telling other government agencies. That gets us into the work of the U.S. Government in ways that it's not in our interest to discuss.

QUESTION: Who shall I approach to get information on that matter?

MR. DAVIES: Go to the Justice Department.

QUESTION: Going on Turkey --

MR. DAVIES: Same issue?

QUESTION: What are the diplomatic implications to his arrest?

MR. DAVIES: None that I have to announce to you today.

QUESTION: Well, I mean, the Russian Government is very concerned, so they're obviously in touch with you, and so that's one obvious diplomatic implication. The second is that there may be some kind of reciprocity rather shortly.

MR. DAVIES: Roy, what we want to do is keep our diplomatic discussions with the Russians on this, as on all other issues, private, diplomatic and confidential. I'm not going to get into even confirming whether or not that's been raised by the Russians.

QUESTION: There was a story over the weekend which said that the Clinton Administration is arming Sudan's neighbors in preparation of an overthrow of that government. Is that true?

MR. DAVIES: I have something on that. (Laughter) I said I have something on that. I did not say yes.

QUESTION: Are you confirming this?

MR. DAVIES: The article -- and this is The Washington Post article which makes this case that the U.S. seeking to overthrow the Sudanese Government. The article is correct in supplying some information on our non-lethal, defensive military assistance program to Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, but it draws some incorrect conclusions about U.S. policy toward Sudan. We are not seeking the overthrow of the Government in Khartoum.

The issue of the future of the government in Khartoum is up to the Sudanese people. It's not for us to try to affect that. We maintain diplomatic relations with that government. We have an active dialogue with that government, and we continue to view Sudanese support for terrorism and its support for groups that seek to destabilize neighboring states as a threat to U.S. interests. We continue to raise that with the government in Khartoum.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) upset if there were a change of government?

QUESTION: Glyn, do you have any --

MR. DAVIES: Is this a follow-up to that?

QUESTION: You say non-lethal assistance. Can you name what type of --

MR. DAVIES: I don't have specifics on it.

QUESTION: Tents and boots, or ammunition --

MR. DAVIES: I'm thinking more tents and boots than ammunition and firearms. I don't know. That's something I can check into.

QUESTION: The dimensions of the --

MR. DAVIES: The Pentagon actually might be a better source since this is, in fact, military assistance. They're the ones who run that program day to day.

QUESTION: Could you just take the question?

MR. DAVIES: I'll see if I can find out more.

QUESTION: The size, dimension?

MR. DAVIES: I'm happy to look into that, sure.

QUESTION: (Inaudible)

MR. DAVIES: He did. He was visited by the Swedish Charge d'Affaires. Mr. Lovquist went to visit Mr. Hunziker. What the North Korean authorities apparently are doing is, they're keeping Mr. Hunziker in a detention center and then they bring him to a hotel, at a place called Sinuiju in northwestern North Korea, for these interviews with Mr. Lovquist.

Mr. Hunziker was moved to a detention center somewhere between Sinuiju and Pyongyang back on October 19, and has been brought back to this hotel several times. I think this was the third and fourth call that Mr. Lovquist paid on Mr. Hunziker.

The North Koreans haven't told us where this detention center is where he is being kept. We understand that Mr. Hunziker will be returned to the center -- is returned after each meeting.

According to the Swedish Consul, Hunziker appears to be in reasonably good physical health but he's in very, very low spirits. He expressed a strong desire to be allowed to go home as soon as possible.

We renew our call on the North Korean Government to release him immediately and to allow him to come home.

Let me go to Turkey first.

QUESTION: It is reported in the Turkish media today that the Turkish Government has rebuffed your request to get a copy of the oil-gas agreement treaty signed between Iran and Turkey. It is said that the Turkish Government told you the secrecy principle enshrined in this treaty prevent them giving you a copy of that treaty. Can you confirm this report? Or do you have anything on that?

MR. DAVIES: Are you talking about the Turkish --

QUESTION: Yes. The gas agreement between --

MR. DAVIES: The Foreign Minister's remarks about the pipeline?

QUESTION: No, no. I'm saying, on the oil-gas agreement, the $23 billion contract? You requested a copy of this treaty from the Turkish Government but the Turkish Government rejected your request to get a copy of this because --

MR. DAVIES: I can't confirm that. I don't know that that's the case.

QUESTION: How about the remarks of the Turkish Foreign Minister?

MR. DAVIES: We've seen the reports but have yet to confirm them with the Turkish Government.

We've said before -- I'll say again -- that we worked closely with Turkey, drafting the UN Security Council Resolution 986. As a co- sponsor of 986, which is of course the oil-for-food resolution, the U.S. is absolutely committed to its implementation as soon as conditions exist to do so.

We place the blame for the international community's failure to implement 986 squarely on Saddam Hussein. It's his fault that the plans that were in place and ready to go forward to implement 986 fell apart.

Mr. Lambros.

QUESTION: Do you know if Mr. Cavanaugh, during his stay in Athens, is going to discuss the Imia issue, too?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know.

QUESTION: I was told that Mr. Cavanaugh is talking also privately in Athens about jurisdiction over certain inhabited Greek small islands in the Aegean. Could you please confirm this?

MR. DAVIES: Can't confirm it for you, Mr. Lambros.

QUESTION: Could you please confirm reports that Mr. Cavanaugh is going to meet the (inaudible) professor who advised the Simitis government in favor of the partition of Greece in the Aegean via the Imia --

MR. DAVIES: Let me pre-empt -- you're probably going to go through every agenda item. I don't have his itinerary here.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) the main issue is the Aegean -- say something -- you have a full delegation in Athens. They're in the process to announce an initiative as far as for the Greek-Turkish differences. At least, say something, or make a comment?

MR. DAVIES: We have a good friend of mine and an important American official, from the standpoint of the State Department, out there. Don't paint this as some kind of a high-level delegation that's going out there to do big, splashy, newsy things. That's just inaccurate.

QUESTION: The last question. It was reported most recently that U.S. officials are briefing also the so-called former King of Greece, Mr. Constantine Glyxburg, on Greek-Turkish matters. I'm wondering why he should be (inaudible) by U.S. officials?

MR. DAVIES: I simply can't help you with that, Mr. Lambros. You're at a level of detail that takes me beyond my brief.

QUESTION: Can you take this question?

MR. DAVIES: We'll see if we can do it. If we can decipher it and look into it.

One last question on Turkey. Sure.

QUESTION: The Turkish Government has canceled this order of 10 (inaudible) Cobra helicopters here last week because the State Department delayed their approval for more than one year. How could you react to that?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have any particular comment on that. I was unaware of the Turkish Government's announcement.

QUESTION: Question one: You don't have anything, I presume, on the Indian crash and consular information --

MR. DAVIES: I'll give you what I've got. It's not too extensive. Obviously, we're following that with horror and interest. We don't have any details to add to the media reporting.

I can tell you, though, that our embassy in New Delhi is working -- of course, it's the middle of the night there and this happened, I think, after dark -- is working very hard with Indian authorities to verify whether Americans were on board either aircraft.

We think it may be likely that Americans might have been aboard the Saudi aircraft, the Saudi-flagged aircraft, but we don't know that yet. What we're engaged in now is trying to get a handle on who was on board that aircraft; and [whether] there were Americans on board the aircraft, or either aircraft.

The next step would be to notify next-of-kin and follow through in that respect. We hope that there were no Americans on the aircraft but our sympathies go out to all of those affected by this, if, indeed, it's the tragedy it appears to be.

QUESTION: Could I also ask you, on Boutros Ghali, is it still the position of the Administration that there can be no further extension, not even an abbreviated one, of his term in office?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have any change to report to you on our position, and you know our position quite well.

QUESTION: Is that your position?

MR. DAVIES: That is our position. That is our position.


MR. DAVIES: Sure. Anymore on -- UN? No.

QUESTION: As far as dealing with Mladic or his people, who should NATO, who should the U.S. -- I don't mean with Mladic, but with his people -- what is your position on his sacking? Who are you meeting with? Who is in charge? What should happen next?

MR. DAVIES: We think that the change in the leadership of the Bosnian Serb military is a step in the right direction.

His successor, General Colic, has taken the oath of office in a public ceremony. We expect that all of the Bosnian Serb military will comply with the orders of their civilian superiors. Of course, this was an order that came down from the Bosnian Serb leadership.

This does not let Mladic off of the war crimes hook, by any means. We continue, of course, to believe that Mladic as well as the other indicted individuals should be delivered up to The Hague. But we don't have any contact with General Mladic. Now that he's been stripped of his uniform, we'll have even less reason to have any contact with him.

QUESTION: Will there now be a ban on meetings between NATO and any of those formerly in Mladic's chain of command that aren't part of the new --

MR. DAVIES: You're asking kind of an IFOR-NATO policy question. You can put it to them.

We would have no reason to be in touch with officials of the Bosnian Serb military who are no longer in uniform or are no longer serving the positions they were serving in previously. We deal with those who are (a) put there by civilian authority, and (b) who are not indicted war criminals. That's the cohort of the Bosnian Serb military that we deal with.

QUESTION: On this point, are you sure that Mladic is no longer in power?

MR. DAVIES: All I can tell you is what I know from reports we're getting from our embassy out there, which is that he's been relieved of his position.

QUESTION: He's been formally relieved. But he's claiming to be still in power and so are all of his deputies who were also supposedly fired?

MR. DAVIES: I've seen the press reports. I would say this is just one more brick in the wall separating Mladic from whatever aspirations he might have had.

QUESTION: In other words, you can't confirm that he's been removed?

MR. DAVIES: Can't confirm that he's --

QUESTION: That he's been removed. He's been removed formally but that he's no longer in power, no longer exercising power. That's something different. You could tell that through all sorts of different means available to the U.S. Government who is actually exercising military authority there. Do you know, or can you tell us?

MR. DAVIES: I'm not in a position to tell you anything more than I've already told you. We hope and expect that Mladic has been removed from power and that that's a permanent personnel change. We certainly hope so.


QUESTION: Speaking of removal from power, is there any news on the Deputy Defense Minister?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have any news to report to you on Mr. Cengic.

QUESTION: Last week, in regard to the holdup of the release of equipment on train-and-equip, I asked Nick if he could find out how much it's costing for the ship to sit off Ploce. He said -- I don't know the exact words. But do you have an answer on that?

MR. DAVIES: I have a little something. I guess two points. First is, there is an expense, of course, associated with that ship not putting into port and off-loading its equipment. That expense is still within the monies appropriated for the purpose of obtaining the equipment and getting there.

All of that said, my understanding is that it's costing many tens of thousands of dollars -- close to $50,000 a day to keep that ship off of Ploce -- which then raises an issue of how long one can sustain that. Our expectation is that Sarajevo will come through on this one and that we'll be able to put the ship into port and off-load the equipment.

QUESTION: Fifty thousand dollars a day that's reduced from the amount that the Bosnians will get?

MR. DAVIES: That's a good question. I don't know the answer to it.

QUESTION: Are they the losers?

MR. DAVIES: They may be. I don't know the answer to that.

QUESTION: Is this our third week of waiting and expecting --

MR. DAVIES: I don't think it's that long. I don't believe it's that long. Is it? I can check that.

QUESTION: It's getting there.

MR. DAVIES: Got to get some footage of that ship.

QUESTION: Have you got anything on the situation in southern Lebanon over the week and the bombings?

MR. DAVIES: I don't. I simply don't have anything for you on that. I saw the press reports as did you.

QUESTION: Who is meeting? There has been any complaint?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have any information on whether the Monitoring Group is meeting to discuss those incidents. That would be their natural role. I think they have a spokesperson that you can talk to. Not here. I think in the region. At Naquora, is it not, that they meet? And then they are headquartered on Cyprus.

QUESTION: Meeting at Naquora, and they're headquartered in Cyprus.

MR. DAVIES: Right. Their offices are on Cyprus. So you might go to them there.

QUESTION: Did the Riadys meet with officials in the State Department to discuss policy on Indonesia and East Timor?

MR. DAVIES: I can tell you what the Secretary of State has said and I can tell you what Assistant Secretary of State Winston Lord has said. Neither of them recalls the man's name. Neither of them believes he's ever met with the Riadys or their representatives. That's not to say you couldn't perhaps on some guest list, at some do around town, find them both on the same list. But in terms of a meeting actually having occurred, no. We don't have any knowledge of any such meetings having occurred.

QUESTION: Would the State Department release all documents on Indonesian businessmen and Riadys who met with the State Department, whether or not it was with Christopher, Lord, or others?

MR. DAVIES: Would we release all documents on it?

QUESTION: Relating to meetings that they had?

MR. DAVIES: File one of those FYI requests. We'll scramble to help you out. If you want to know that, there's a process for asking for that.

My understanding is that it would yield perhaps a great big goose egg prior to all this news occurring, because I don't know of any visits that he had here or high-level meetings that he would have had.

QUESTION: So then you deny the New York Times piece that said that Riady acted as a back channel of negotiation on the issue of East Timor through the State Department?

MR. DAVIES: We don't normally talk about back-channels, even if they exist. I'm not going to confirm that this one existed. I don't have anything on that for you.

QUESTION: Last question, just on that point. And that is, has the State Department registered a protest with the Philippines for caving to the Indonesian dictatorship's desire to have Jose Ramos-Horta barred from the Philippines during APEC?

MR. DAVIES: I can check that. I don't know if we have made any representations like that to the Philippine Government.

QUESTION: What's the current status of the four-way talks, or briefings for the four-way talks? Are those now contingent on an apology from North Korea for the sub incident?

MR. DAVIES: No. The four-party talks proposal remains very much on the table. It is not contingent really on anything. All of that having been said, as a practical matter, North Korea must, we believe, take positive steps to improve the atmosphere for dialogue in the wake of the submarine incident. No pun intended there.

Peace on the Korean Peninsula, ultimately, is a matter that has to be resolved among Koreans, and the submarine incident was obviously important emotionally, diplomatically, politically.

The North Koreans have yet to accept the proposal for four-way talks. That proposal is unconditional and remains very much on the table.

QUESTION: At no point has the United States asked for an apology from North Korea following this incident?

MR. DAVIES: We don't have diplomatic relations with the North Koreans. We meet with them occasionally up in New York. I don't know whether we've made this point to them. But, in a sense, we're doing it here. I'm certain that if an opportunity presents itself, we would make the same point to them, that they have to get beyond the sub incident. They've got to figure out how to do that.

The sub incident certainly poisoned the atmosphere to a certain extent. In order to get beyond that poisonous atmosphere, the North Koreans have to take steps vis-a-vis South Korea.

QUESTION: Do you see a (inaudible) joint briefing with South Korea in terms of the four-party talks?

MR. DAVIES: What I've just said is that the proposals that were on the table remain very much on the table. There's been on change in that.

Thank you.

(Press briefing concluded at 2:26 p.m.) (###)

To the top of this page