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Excerpts from DoD News Briefing Transcript, 97-06-19

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HR-Net note: The extraneous HTML code which appears in the passage is duplicated here exactly as it appears in the original.

DoD News Briefing
Thursday, June 19, 1997 - 1:30 p.m.

Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD(PA)

Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon. Welcome to our briefing.


Q: It was reported that the (inaudible) meeting Greek Deputy Secretary Yanos (inaudible) and that DoD Under Secretary Jan Lodal gathered here at the Pentagon. They discussed (inaudible) some military initiatives over Cypress and the Aegean Sea. Could you please clarify what types of military initiatives they discussed.

A: What types of military issues they discussed?

Q: ...As it was said, even by Nicholas Burns.

A: They primarily discussed the Holbrooke appointment and the approach that he'll take to trying to resolve the crisis situation. That was the main focal point of their conversation. They also discussed various ways to improve relations between Greece and Turkey. In that regard, one of the issues they focused on were the confidence building measures that have been proposed by the NATO Secretary General Javier Solana. Those have been described in the past. But that was the gist of the meeting. It was 30 minutes long so they didn't have a chance to go into great detail about all issues involving Greece and Turkey.

Q: ...answer to the proposal which has been...

A: I don't know that. That's really something that's being brokered by the Secretary General, and I think it would be most appropriate to ask the NATO people about that.

Q: Your mapping agency, NIMA, stated for the public record that he has been advised recently by the Department of State to include in the U.S. maps in the future the island of (inaudible) as under Greek sovereignty, and (inaudible). Could you please comment and confirm?

A: That's true.

Q: It's true? news/Jun1997/b06191997_bt321-97.html">that the island is under Greek sovereignty as it always has been. That map is a nautical map for mariners, and it's available to the public. So you can go and check for yourself to make sure that the island is listed under Greek sovereignty. **

Q: I'm raising this question because it's a kind of dispute between the DoD and the Department of State...

A: There's no dispute. There's no dispute here.

Q: ..that to the State Department that the island is Greek...

A: These questions are actually decided by the State Department. They have an official geographer over there. In fact the title is the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues at the State Department. He's the guy who decides the appropriate nationality of properties around the world. We follow his advice.

The reason this was listed as undetermined sovereignty, it was listed that way because a mistake was made. As soon as the mistake was called to the attention of the Defense Mapping Agency, which of course no longer exists because it's been subsumed into NIMA -- the National Imagery and Mapping Agency -- it was changed. So I don't think it's fair to characterize this as a dispute. This is something that we cleared up as quickly as it was called to our attention.


Press: Thank you.

** -- In this briefing, I mistakenly said that the Aegean island of Imia is "under Greek sovereignty." In fact, the sovereignty of that island is in dispute between Greece and Turkey.

It is long-standing U.S. policy not to take a position on conflicting claims to sovereignty, or on other countries' boundary disputes. We believe this policy helps us to act, where appropriate, to facilitate the resolution of such disputes.

The State Department spokesman said on February 1, 1996: "Both Greece and Turkey claim sovereignty to that particular islet. We have decided, upon reflection, that we will not proclaim our view of sovereignty."


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