U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #2, 00-01-12
From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>
U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing
I N D E X
Wednesday, January 12, 2000
Briefer: James P. Rubin
1-2 UZBEKISTAN: Presidential Elections Flawed / US Aid
2-3 Situation Update / Detention of Chechen Males
3 Chechen FM Visit to the US / US As Mediator / OSCE Role
4-5 Albright-Ivanov Discussion / Moscow Multilateral Talks / Albright's
5 Israel-Syria Talks
8-9 Golan Heights / US Aid / President Asad's Role / FM Shara's Role
10-11,12 Impact of Talks on Syrian Public Opinion / Update on
5-8 Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Satellite Photographs of
Missile Program / Space-based Remote Sensing
11 Role in Water Issue Between Israel-Syria / Are they A Participant
in Multilateral Talks
LATIN AMERICA (COLOMBIA, PANAMA, MEXICO)
12 Secretary Albright's Trip to the Region / Visit to Panama / Canal
13 US Aid Plan / Congressional Support for Plan / Funds Directed for
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2000, 12:35 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. RUBIN: Welcome to those of you who have returned after your necessary
breaks from Shepherdstown. Some of the rest of us were here yesterday. I
just wanted to welcome you back..
QUESTION: The Russian offensive in Chechnya --
MR. RUBIN: Hold on a second.
QUESTION: You mean you've got more to say?
MR. RUBIN: Let me just add one more thing while you --
MR. RUBIN: While you do what you need to do, I'll do what I need to do
On January 9th, Uzbekistan held a presidential election. The results were
announced yesterday. Incumbent President Karimov won reelection with 91.9
percent of the vote. The US Government believes that this election was
neither free nor fair, and offered Uzbekistan's voters no true choice. The
government of Uzbekistan refused to register truly independent opposition
parties, nor did it permit members of these parties to run for president.
The sole candidate permitted to oppose President Karimov was a public
supporter of Karimov's policies and leadership and was quoted during the
campaign as stating he, himself, intended to vote for Karimov.
Following seriously flawed parliamentary elections on December 5th and
after reviewing preparations for the presidential election, the OSCE's
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights decided not to send
official election observers to the election. The US Government fully and
publicly supported this decision.
We regret that the government of Uzbekistan in its conduct of this election
has failed again to meet its freely given commitments as a participating
state in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
That is the only statement I have today.
QUESTION: Before you go to Chechnya, can I ask one question?
QUESTION: Are you going to ask on Uzbekistan?
QUESTION: You said "failed again"?
MR. RUBIN: Right. And there have been previous elections --
QUESTION: -- which have been equally as --
MR. RUBIN: Correct.
QUESTION: Free and fair?
MR. RUBIN: Correct.
QUESTION: Also, does the United States have a democracy-building
MR. RUBIN: We are trying to do our best to support those independent non-
governmental organizations that would support a transition to real
democracy and free market economic efforts. AID has worked there and I can
try to get you after the briefing some details on their proposals. But,
obviously, that work can only succeed if the government itself, in its
wisdom, finally decides to allow the kinds of procedures and practices to
develop that would enable a free and fair election to take place.
QUESTION: Is the United States providing any assistance to them?
MR. RUBIN: As I said, we are providing some assistance, primarily in the
area of building democracy.
QUESTION: All right. Well, we'll move on to another part of the former
Soviet Union: Chechnya. The Russian offensive is on again. Resistance seems,
at least for now, to have melted away. Is there anything new to be said on
MR. RUBIN: We don't believe that the result of the use of force is going
to be the melting away of resistance. Welcome believe that the Russians are
in a cul de sac; that they can not, by their current strategy, come to the
end of the road because there is no end to this kind of fighting.
We have called for both sides to implement an immediate cease-fire across
Chechnya to avoid indiscriminate attacks on civilians and to ensure freedom
of movement for people displaced by the fighting, and to take meaningful
steps towards a political solution.
With regard to the recent announcement on the arresting of males or the
press reports to that effect indicating that they will detain Chechen males
between 10 and 60 to check whether they have ties to rebel forces, we are
trying to clarify exactly what was said yesterday and what the intentions
of Russian forces are. We are going to follow up with Russian authorities
But we do believe that it is essential that Russia respect the fundamental
human rights of civilians in and around Chechnya, not endanger the lives of
noncombatants, and ensure freedom of movement for displaced persons.
QUESTION: The Chechen foreign minister is in town, as he calls himself.
Do you know if he is supposed to be meeting with anyone here?
MR. RUBIN: I'm not aware of any meetings scheduled here, and I will check
that for you.
QUESTION: I want to follow up on that, Jamie. This morning, the foreign
minister of Chechnya said, "We are ready to compromise,. welcome a rational,
reasonable solution, but we need a middleman who can help broker the peace.
We do not need middlemen who can offer us money or arms."
Now, within that context, do you feel United States may be a suitable
middleman or do you feel at least somebody from the Administration would be
willing to talk with him while he is here?
MR. RUBIN: With respect to the second part of your question, it's the
same as your colleague's question. And I said I would get an answer to him
and, in getting an answer to him, I'll try to get it for you.
With respect to the first part of your question, we haven't seen ourselves
in that role. We do believe the good offices of the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe can be helpful in promoting a long-term
solution to this crisis. There are other potential interlocutors in the
region that have been discussed from time to time, including senior
officials in Ingushetiya.
I don't think it's so much a lacking of a mediator or an interlocutor
between the two, so much as we haven't gotten to a point where discussions
have begun on a meaningful political solution, and then we think that's
what the Russians ought to do.
QUESTION: He also mentioned that, as far as you know their relationship
with United Nations goes, is that they have been pointing -- deal with
Russia through OSCE. So if they are pushed through to deal with all those
organizations through Russia, they have no alternative, basically.
MR. RUBIN: Well, it is our view - the United States view - that we
respect the territorial integrity of Russia, including Chechnya within
Russia. That has been our view. OSCE has played a role in Russia in the
past - I'm sorry, in Chechnya in the past in terms of working on the
elections there. So the OSCE has been involved in the discussions between
Chechens and Russians about developments in Chechnya, so they have a past
history of being able to operate there. It's more a question of will than
mechanisms or procedural devices.
QUESTION: On Russia?
MR. RUBIN: Sure.
QUESTION: The Russian Foreign Ministry says that Secretary Albright spoke
with Foreign Minister Ivanov by telephone, today I believe?
MR. RUBIN: Yesterday.
QUESTION: Yesterday? And were discussing these multilateral talks that
are coming up, and they also said that Beirut has already denied the
invitation. And after last week, of course we're interested in finding out
whether Syria will attend this time. Can you update us on that?
MR. RUBIN: Right. Since the multilateral track was begun after Madrid,
Syrian and Lebanese participation has always been welcome. It hasn't
happened yet. As the parties step up the pace of their bilateral negotiations,
the multilateral track can provide important support to their efforts.
We hope that the Syrians and Lebanese will find a way to participate in the
Moscow meeting, which will be an important opportunity to re-launch the
multilateral track. All I'm saying is not that we expect them to participate,
but we think that it's important that they do so.
Others who have accepted so far are Egypt, the Palestinians, Israel - and I
don't want to go beyond that because I don't know how many others are
publicly committed at this time. But we do expect to have substantial
participation at this meeting.
QUESTION: What date is this?
MR. RUBIN: It's February 1st, I believe.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) - meeting?
MR. RUBIN: Roughly, yes. I mean, she may be in Russia for more than a
QUESTION: No (inaudible) experts following up or preparing for it?
MR. RUBIN: I'm sure there will be some preparatory work. I don't know
that it would involve people necessarily traveling there much beforehand,
but I suspect some experts or lower level officials will.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) on the phone conversation?
MR. RUBIN: Well, they spoke about a number of issues, including the
multilateral track. Secretary Albright briefed the Foreign Minister on what
has happened in Shepherdstown and she talked a little bit about her visit
to Russia and what that might entail. They talked about the venue for the
visit and trying to perhaps not just be in Moscow, so we're working on some
QUESTION: Wouldn't you imagine she'd see the Acting President once she's
MR. RUBIN: I don't want to predict what she'll do when she gets there,
but I think she will, provided she has the time, have an opportunity to
meet with other officials beyond Foreign Minister Ivanov.
QUESTION: On Shepherdstown, do you have a venue for the next round yet?
Because time is running short and arrangements have to be made.
MR. RUBIN: We're aware of the clock. It's 12:45 here on Wednesday,
January the 12th, which is seven days from the resumption of the talks.
We're working on that subject quite hard. I've spoken to Pat Kennedy and
others involved, and that is something that is taking up a fair amount of
officials at the State Department's attention to try to nail down where
that will take place. But I don't have any location to offer you today.
QUESTION: Can you tell us what the criteria are? Are you happy with --
MR. RUBIN: As you may remember from my --
QUESTION: Is the seclusion factor still a big factor?
MR. RUBIN: You may remember from my last briefing in Shepherdstown that
we did want to make very clear to the people of Shepherdstown and all those
who worked so hard there what a great job they did and how welcome we all
felt and how the arrangements were as good as they can be. We haven't made
any final decisions about where we'll be. I don't want to say anything that
could steer you one way or another until that decision is made.
QUESTION: Is Shepherdstown in the running?
MR. RUBIN: Sure.
QUESTION: Do you expect - I mean, we've been on this before. Do you think
we'll have an idea before the Secretary leaves for Latin America?
MR. RUBIN: As soon as it's nailed down, I'll be the first one to want to
QUESTION: Jamie, the Federation of American Scientists published --
MR. RUBIN: I remember them well from my former life, yes.
QUESTION: You remember them. They run a website and they published some --
MR. RUBIN: Just like the State Department Public Affairs Bureau runs a
QUESTION: They are both very nice.
QUESTION: But never with satellite photos.
MR. RUBIN: You never know.
QUESTION: Actually, you did have some satellite photos.
MR. RUBIN: We did have some photos when we did presentations. There you
QUESTION: Now you're saying that you're admitting they were satellite
photos, not just national technical --
MR. RUBIN: Okay, Eric go to it.
QUESTION: Let me get you out of this bind.
MR. RUBIN: Thank you.
QUESTION: So they published what are acknowledged to be satellite photos
from a commercial satellite company which, although it is commercial, has a
resolution that hasn't been commercially available before. And they
published some photographs of some of these suspected long-range missile
sites in North Korea.
And I wonder, number one, the FAS' analysis of these photographs were that
these were fairly shabby launch sites based on the conditions of the roads
and on numbers of buildings, et cetera. I wonder if you could comment about
that? But I wonder if you could also comment more broadly about the
implication of the availability of commercial "spy satellites" material?
MR. RUBIN: Let me respond to your first question. It may take me a few
minutes to respond to your second question.
On the first question, we certainly welcome the entrepreneurial analysts'
effort to assess the capabilities of other countries, and we recognize the
serious effort that organizations like the Federation of American
Scientists make in this area and other areas. But it is our judgment from a
panoply of intelligence sources and methods that go far beyond this rather
limited capability that the Federation of American Scientists has put on
its website that there is a genuine threat and a risk from the potential
missile program of North Korea. We believe this is a real danger that
we are dealing with.
So far, we feel we've dealt with it rather well to date in getting North
Korea to agree, during the period of our discussions with North Korea, to
not conduct further tests. But to suggest that this isn't a problem because
the equipment isn't as modern as American equipment, we recognize that this
isn't that kind of level of technology. But, nevertheless, we believe there
are risks and there are threats. We don't believe we've been exaggerating
the threat, and perhaps the FAS might be underplaying it a bit.
With respect to the general issue, there was a policy put forward in 1994
on space-based remote sensing that allows US companies to commercialize
remote sensing imagery, provided it is consistent with national security
and foreign policy objectives. Space Imaging Company and all US commercial
remote sensing companies are regulated by the National Oceanographic and
Atmospheric Agency. The restrictions on imagery collection and dissemination
are contained in the particular license. Space Imaging's operating license
did not prohibit the issuance of these images. The US retains the right at
all times to restrict such commercial imagery for national security or
foreign policy reasons.
And so let me say again in response to your first question, we have no
doubt in our minds that North Korea has developed and deployed missiles
capable of striking our forces and friends and allies in the area, and is
working on increasing the range of its missile systems. We take this threat
very seriously and, as I said earlier, we're taking and pursuing a variety
of measures to deal with it.
QUESTION: Can I go back to the Middle East?
MR. RUBIN: Sure.
QUESTION: -- and ask you if you have any legal --
MR. RUBIN: You mean from space to the Middle East?
QUESTION: Shabbiness really has nothing to do with it, does it? Jonathan
and I heard, I think, an expert on North Korea this morning and he
described the missile program as sort a flat bed truck with enough power to
deliver at least one deadly missile. I'm not sure how slick an installation
it is --
MR. RUBIN: I'm sorry, are we on North Korea or the Middle East?
QUESTION: We're on North Korea, but let's switch to the Middle East.
MR. RUBIN: I thought you said Middle East.
QUESTION: Is there a - well, I mean, you didn't address the shabby. I
don't what shabby has to do with it.
Is there a legal barrier to --
MR. RUBIN: I think I did address the potential danger.
QUESTION: Oh, you think there's a danger, yes.
MR. RUBIN: Okay.
QUESTION: Now about the settlers, the Israelis who live on the Golan
Heights. Is there any legal barrier, should it come to an agreement and
should the United States feel disposed to providing some assistance for
their relocation, is there any legal barrier to that because of your
persistent opposition to settling or living outside the 1967 lines?
MR. RUBIN: I'm not aware of any such restriction but, again, I'm not a
lawyer. We've made it clear that the future of the Golan Heights is an
issue for discussion between the parties and that we're not going to
comment on the substance of these discussions. As for aid to the parties,
that depends on the kinds of agreements that are struck, and since we're
not there yet we don't want to speculate on what such an agreement will
look like. But I'm not aware of any specific restrictions.
QUESTION: Israeli Prime Minister Barak said this morning in an interview
that he believes that the deal, the potential deal --
MR. RUBIN: Interview with who?
QUESTION: With CNN, CNN. Not with us. He predicts that there will be a
peace deal but that Asad, President Asad, would definitely need to become
involved. We talked about this a little bit last week and you said that you
expected contact with the President to be coming. Would that be within the
US role as host, mediator, to be drawing Asad into these conversations, or
is that something that you feel will come naturally as they progress?
MR. RUBIN: I do think that we will play a role in drawing President
Asad's involvement. I think we agree with the Israeli Prime Minister that
President Asad will have a role to play before this act is completed, if it
is going to be completed. But that doesn't mean that we can't make progress
and can't advance our objectives with the negotiating teams as formulated,
and we still believe - and I think it was clearly demonstrated in
Shepherdstown by Foreign Minister Shara's actions - that he is empowered
and authorized and has plenipotentiary power to negotiate on behalf
But I think Prime Minister Barak is also correct that before this deal is
done, if it is done, it would be reasonable to assume that a role would
involve the President of Syria, and it is also reasonable to assume that we
would promote that involvement of President Asad.
QUESTION: Could we get into the word "negotiate" a little bit?
MR. RUBIN: Maybe she could follow up on her question.
QUESTION: Sorry. Have there been any such conversations yet? You said
that you didn't think it had happened last week while we were --
MR. RUBIN: It still has not happened, to my knowledge.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: I wonder, I'd like to take you up on "negotiate." I mean, if
you mean it in a generic or a real sense. There is no question that in an
authoritarian government you can delegate somebody to state a given
position, but the question becomes, in the give and take of negotiations,
does that person have the authority to make compromises, to begin to
restate or change the initial instruction.
Did the US find in its role as mediator that on borders or any other issue
that the Syrian Foreign Minister had the authority to refine, to alter, or
whatever, the position? Or was he there simply restating and stating and
restating the well known Syria position, which on borders is elegantly
expressed as, "We want everything, all the way to the Sea of Galilee"?
Does he have room to compromise?
MR. RUBIN: I think for someone who spent as much time in Shepherdstown as
you did and for others in this room, I made very clear that during the
course of the discussions at Shepherdstown we went well beyond simply
stating and restating, eloquent or not eloquent, the positions of the two
sides, including the Syrian position.
I'm not going to specify on what issues, but as I indicated in response to
your colleague's question, we believe the Foreign Minister's actions at
Shepherdstown demonstrated that he has the authority and he is empowered
and he has plenipotentiary power to negotiate - negotiate - on behalf of
Syria. That is our assessment of the situation. That doesn't mean that
before a deal is finally struck or nailed down that we wouldn't expect as a
matter of course for there to be some involvement of the President of Syria
in such a monumental development.
QUESTION: Could I ask you one little follow-up on that? Does it strike
the US as perfectly proper that now that you're going to a second round,
you had eight days of a previous round and who knows how long this might go
and how many you might need, that you have a Prime Minister on one side
negotiating face to face, when you can arrange that, with a Foreign
Minister of another side. Isn't there something a little bit imbalanced
MR. RUBIN: Well, I think that imbalance is in the eye of the beholder,
and I do not believe that Prime Minister Barak has a problem with this
organizational structure. And given the number of factors, we believe that
this structure is the appropriate one. It has worked well so far, and
second-guessing on that sort of part of it we think is pointless at this
QUESTION: A couple of questions. I realize you think it's still a little
premature for the United States to make bridging proposals, but I wondered
whether during this interim period you were working on any just in case you
felt that during the second round the time had come to present something as
a possible compromise.
MR. RUBIN: Let me suggest the following to you: My Pentagon colleague,
Ken Bacon, has a stock answer to questions like that when it comes to
military plans, which is that his building is paid to have options and
plans. So I can assure you that on the diplomatic side folks in this
building are as careful and have an ability to think ahead for all
contingencies, as they do in the Pentagon.
QUESTION: You've spoken a lot in the last week about Israeli democracy
and public opinion. I wondered what assessment the United States had made
about the state of Syrian public opinion and how flexible they would be to
compromise on these issues, and whether you were taking this into account
as a factor when you mediate between these two sides.
MR. RUBIN: Well, we do not regard Syria as a democracy. We don't expect
the Syrian Government to submit any potential agreement to the people of
Syria for a referendum in the same kind of way the Israeli Government does
On the other hand, it is fair to say that Syria and its government have
defined itself in recent years by being one of the last countries
surrounding Israel to move towards a posture of making peace and increasingly
normal relations. And so if Syria were to make an peace agreement, this
would involve a fundamental geo-political shift in the region and for them
in how they have defined themselves and the role that they have played in
opposition to Israel and in opposition to the peace process so far.
So that will obviously entail significant effects on the views of the
people in Syria, and we don't think the people of Syria are a monolith.
There is a broad spectrum of religions and ethnicities in Syria, and we
recognize that as well. But in terms of the short answer to your question,
we believe that the decisionmaking and the need for ratification by the
people of Syria is not even close to what it is in Israel.
QUESTION: Does the example of Egypt not count for anything in this? I
mean, after all, President Sadat was basically assassinated because he made
peace with Israel.
MR. RUBIN: That's a different question than the question of democracy and
national referendum and the views of the people in Syria and the views of
the people in Israel. In answering the question, I was clear that Syria and
many of its people and many of the organizations that support the Syrian
stance have supported it precisely because it is in opposition to the peace
process and to normal relations with Israel.
And I said in answer to your original question that, therefore, a decision
by Syria to carry forward and implement a peace agreement would carry with
it a very, very different status for the Syrian Government, and that has a
potential impact. But I think that's different than asking the question to
what extent the views of the Israeli people, who it looks like they will
vote in an actual referendum, as opposed to the views of the Syrian people
where the regime is not democratic in any sense of the word that we
would describe as a democratic regime.
QUESTION: Well, I want to change the subject so --
QUESTION: I want to stay with it. Have you received any comments back on
the working document since the parties left?
MR. RUBIN: I do not have a daily update for you on that kind of question,
but I believe we're in contact with the two parties. But I don't have an
update for you on that.
QUESTION: Jamie, it is widely known that the water issue between Syria
and Israel is one of the major issues on the talks. My question is related
to Turkey: Has United States talked to Turkey within the last two months
about the water issue between Turkey and Syria? That's number one.
Number two is: On February 1st talks on the Middle East, I notice Turkey's
name is not there among the invited parties. Is there a general sense among
the group that maybe Turkey has nothing to offer in the Middle East issues,
or is it just simply an oversight?
MR. RUBIN: There is a standard list of invitees. If you're referring to
my list of acceptees - can you get the list of invitees right away for me,
QUESTION: You didn't mention their name reading off the names.
MR. RUBIN: Today?
QUESTION: No, no, no. Last week.
MR. RUBIN: Are you saying - let me get the answer to the question of who
was invited and what the normal practice is, and we'll address that when I
can get back to it.
With respect to your first question, we are in regular contact with the
government of Turkey on a number of issues of mutual concern. This issue is
obviously one where we have made very clear that the water question is a
very important, major issue that is being discussed. And water, given its
nature, is an issue that is not only between Israel and Syria but has a
regional dimension as well, including Turkey, and any solutions could have
So we would certainly want to be in regular touch with Turkey, a NATO ally
and friend of the United States, about this development in the talks. Their
government has been generally briefed, it's my understanding, on the talks.
But beyond saying that in general, I do not want to comment specifically on
any discussions we may or may not have had with Turkey about water.
QUESTION: Jamie, when the talks resume next week, will the United States -
is the United States planning on submitting a revision, an update, whatever
you want to call it, of the working document that will incorporate whatever
comments and clarifications the two sides had and what transpired since the
document was drawn up?
MR. RUBIN: I think it would be normal diplomatic practice to take on
board the comments and clarifications that we've received during the course
of the final days of Shepherdstown and in the interim period before the
recess is over and incorporate those into our work. I don't know that we're
going to drop a new draft of this working document or not but, yes, we will
take into account the comments and clarifications.
If we offer a new text at that time, as I indicated in response to one of
your colleagues, it's seven days from now; I would prefer not to tell you
now what we intend to do seven days from now other than to generally say
that we would be taking into account and taking on board their views.
QUESTION: A new subject?
MR. RUBIN: Please.
QUESTION: I want to ask about this weekend, if you can give us any more
specificity in terms of the Secretary's schedule. What days? Is she going
to spend one day in each country?
MR. RUBIN: The schedule is still being worked out. We're in touch with
the governments to work out the specific timing of the schedule, and the
meetings have not been nailed down. I don't have a time frame for each of
the stops, but she does intend to go to those three countries.
This trip was just put on very quickly because we wanted to be able to go
forward with this trip despite the fact that the Shepherdstown talks ended,
I guess it's several days ago, and the Syrian-Israeli peace talks are
scheduled to resume around the time we were considering a trip. So we're
putting it together as quickly as we can, and as soon as we can give you
times and dates and places, I'll try to do so.
QUESTION: Would it be fair to say that the Secretary is going not just to
Colombia but, I mean, that she's going to Mexico and Panama in part because
in the past year she has had to cancel trips to --
MR. RUBIN: I think it would be fair to say that she had wanted to go to
the Panama Canal hand-over ceremony and the peace talks had gotten in the
way with her ability to follow through on that intention. She indicated at
the time that she wanted to visit Panama as soon as she could in the New
Year, and this is a time that seems to be working.
With respect to Mexico, she has had a number of important meetings with
Mexican officials both here and there over her tenure, and she did want to
get to that region early. So, yes, she is going to Panama because she
indicated at the time of having to cancel her participation in the Panama
Canal ceremony that she wanted to go in the New Year.
QUESTION: Same subject. From the contacts between the State Department
and Congress, how do you assess at the moment the ease with which you will
be able to get congressional support for the 1.6 billion dollars?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I think we've been encouraged in our contacts with
Congress. We believe that this approach to Colombia, this multi-track
approach of the peace process, of economic support as well as anti-drug
interdiction programs, is one that does have strong bipartisan support in
That doesn't mean that there isn't going to be serious questions. We're
talking about a substantial amount of money -- $1.6 billion - and Congress,
in its responsibilities, has the right and has traditionally asked the hard
questions. We believe that the questions can be answered about the
rationale and motivation and implementation of these programs, and so we're
hopeful and confident that this is a program that will pass muster in
QUESTION: Again, a second question. Most independent observers of
Colombia don't see that it's really practical to separate the war against
guerrillas and the war against the drug traffickers. How does the United
States intend to keep these two things separate, or do you perhaps don't
mind if there's a little kind of slippage or ambiguity at some stage?
MR. RUBIN: Well, we do mind. All of our assistance to the Colombian
military is intended for counter-narcotics operations, not counter-
insurgency operations. We recognize, however, that the guerrillas and
paramilitaries, both of them, are heavily involved in many aspects of the
narcotics trade. To the extent that they are involved in that trade or they
attempt to hinder counter-narcotics operations, US assistance may be used
appropriately to oppose them.
So there are areas of Colombia where counter-narcotics assistance won't
necessarily apply directly to those guerrilla organizations who participate
in the narcotics trade. The easiest way for us to have these things
separated is for the guerrillas to see that they're paying such a heavy
price for their participation in the narcotics trade and that their
disincentive to continuing that participation will grow, and then it will
be easier and easier to distinguish between the two.
(The briefing concluded at 1:15 P.M.)