Browse through our Interesting Nodes of Greek Local Authorities & Servers Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923) Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923)
HR-Net - Hellenic Resources Network Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Saturday, 13 April 2024
 
News
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  Announcements
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Hosted
  Mirrored
  Interesting Nodes
Documents
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  Constitutions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Other
Services
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts
  Tools
  F.A.Q.
 

U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #18, 00-03-06

U.S. State Department: Daily Press Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>


808

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

I N D E X

Monday, March 6, 2000

Briefer: James B. Foley

ANNOUNCEMENTS
1	Horn of Africa Briefing and Mozambique Scheduled Tuesday, March 7
	 Led by USAID Administrator Brady Anderson and Assistant
	 Administrator Hugh Parmer 
1	Statement on the Democratic Republic of the Congo
1,2-3	Secretary Albright will Meet with Korean Foreign Minister Lee in
	 Washington on March 13 
1	Press Briefing on Forced and Slave Labor Talks on Wednesday, March
	 8, 3:00 p.m. by Deputy Treasury Secretary Eizenstat and His German
	 Counterpart, Count Lambsdorff, Loy Henderson Conference Room  
SUDAN
2	Special Envoy Harry Johnston Scheduled to Meet with President
	 Bashir / Sudanese Bombing of an International Relief Office 
SLAVE LABOR TALKS
2-3	Allocation of the Capped 10 Billion Deutchmark Settlement Amount
CHINA
4-6	Taiwan Election / China Threatens War Against Taiwan if it Moves
	 Towards Independence / US Supports Cross-Strait Dialogue and One
	 China Policy / Taiwan Security Enhancement Act 
MOZAMBIQUE
6-8	US Flood Relief Efforts
RUSSIA
9	Russian Membership in NATO
MEPP
10-11	Israeli Withdrawal from Lebanon / Syria and Israeli Talks

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB #18

MONDAY, MARCH 6, 2000, 1:10 P.M.

(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. FOLEY: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department in this sparsely populated briefing room. I assume we have a quorum such that we can begin the briefing. The dean or the -- what is your title, Charlie?

QUESTION: President.

MR. FOLEY: President of the State Department Press Corps. Do we have a quorum? What's that -- commandant?

QUESTION: Subcommandant.

MR. FOLEY: Do we have a quorum, Mr. Wolfson?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. FOLEY: All right, we shall begin. A few announcements. First, we're going to have a briefing tomorrow on the situation in the Horn of Africa, what AID is doing to assess the potential famine and drought in the region, how the US will respond if that occurs. It will be led by USAID Administrator Brady Anderson and Assistant Administer Hugh Parmer. They are also going to be taking questions that you may have about the latest status of our relief efforts vis-a-vis the flood situation in Mozambique.

We have a statement to post on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which you can get after the briefing.

Let me also note that Secretary Albright will be meeting with Korean Foreign Minister Lee in Washington on March 13th. This will be Foreign Minister Lee's first trip to the US since being named to his position in January. Secretary Albright and Foreign Minister Lee will consult on North Korea policy coordination, other matters of bilateral concern, and discuss their close cooperation on a range of international matters such as the June 25 through 27 Community of Democracies Meeting in Warsaw.

We will also have a special briefing on Forced and Slave Labor Talks -- which will take place here in the Department on Tuesday and Wednesday -- and this briefing will occur at the close -- correct me if I'm wrong - at a 3:00 p.m. joint press conference by Deputy Treasury Secretary Eizenstat and his German counterpart, Count Lambsdorff, here in the Loy Henderson Conference Room.

QUESTION: On Wednesday?

MR. FOLEY: On Wednesday, right, at the conclusion of the talks.

With that, let me go to your questions.

QUESTION: On Sudan, this is Harry Johnston's third day there.

MR. FOLEY: Right.

QUESTION: Do you have an update? And, plus, any comment on the Sudanese bombing of an international relief office?

MR. FOLEY: Well, as you know, on your latter question, Secretary Albright issued a very strong statement Friday evening condemning the bombing.

QUESTION: This is a new one, I believe.

MR. FOLEY: I have not seen such a report. But as the Secretary's statement made clear, we believe that the government of Sudan has a responsibility to refrain from all aerial bombardment of civilian targets and so the Secretary was very clear in expressing her dismay and condemnation over the bombing that took place on March 1.

This was to be raised by Special Envoy Johnston in his meetings in Sudan. He is scheduled to meet with President Bashir today. It's obviously too early for me to give you a readout of that. I don't know if that meeting has taken place yet. We might be able to say something about his three days of meetings in Sudan following the end of his visit, perhaps as early as tomorrow or on Wednesday.

But I have not seen that report. If it is true, we certainly condemn further aerial bombardment of civilian targets in Sudan by the government of Sudan forces.

QUESTION: Can we go back on the Slave Labor talks?

MR. FOLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: Can you tell us anything else about, you know, what is expected? I understand that this is -- at least Count Lambsdorff is saying that he thinks this is going to be the final meeting and that everything will be settled.

MR. FOLEY: Well, our view is that we don't think it is useful to set artificial deadlines. Deputy Secretary Eizenstat has expressed the hope that negotiators will be able to work out an agreed allocation formula at this session. In other words, the primary focus of the session will indeed be allocation of the capped 10 billion deutschmark fund that the foundation will have, and they're considering the various broad categories of recipients to include slave laborers, forced laborers and other personal injury cases, Banking-Aryanization-Insurance, the Future Fund and administrative costs. Participants may also raise other issues.

Again, we don't think it's useful to set artificial deadlines, but Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Eizenstat has expressed the hope that negotiators will be able to work out an agreed allocation formula at this session. Completion of other details, we think, will take additional time and we do not expect that this will be the last negotiating session.

But let me state for the record our fundamental goal in these talks is to see payments begin as soon as possible, before the end of this year certainly, given the advanced age of the recipients of the allocations that will come out of this fund.

QUESTION: On another thing that you mentioned at the beginning, the meeting with the South Korean Foreign Minister on the 13th. I guess that's going to be taking place shortly after or maybe even still during the talks in New York?

MR. FOLEY: Right.

QUESTION: Is there anything more you can tell us about how you expect -- what you expect out of the New York talks that, I guess, begin informally tomorrow and then formally on Wednesday?

MR. FOLEY: We had a rather extensive briefing on that subject in this room on Friday. I won't go over all of that ground, but we see these talks in New York as the final session necessary to lay the groundwork for the anticipated high-level visit by a senior North Korean official to occur roughly one month from now. Both the meeting this week in New York between Mr. Kartman and the Korean Vice Foreign Minister, and even more so the high- level visit to take place about a month from now, we see as a critical milestone in the path towards normalizing relations that we have set out with the North Koreans in the context of the work that former Defense Secretary Perry has been engaged in.

And so I don't have more detail to offer you than what was provided on Friday on that subject.

QUESTION: Does the State Department have any (inaudible) to the various belligerent statements coming out of Beijing in the last few days over the Taiwanese elections?

MR. FOLEY: Well, we've seen quite a number of remarks that have come out of Beijing in the context of the National People's Congress, which is currently meeting in Beijing. Several senior Chinese officials, including President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu have spoken on the Taiwan issue. I would note, in the first instance, that these comments take place just in advance of the Taiwan elections, which are scheduled for about two weeks from now, and probably can be interpreted in that context.

We have spoken to the Chinese at senior levels to say that we believe the comments that focus on the possible use of force are counterproductive and unhelpful to the peaceful resolution of differences across the Taiwan Strait. As far as the United States is concerned, we have a clear and long- standing and unvarying position on Cross-Strait relations, emphasizing especially the need for a peaceful resolution of differences between the PRC and Taiwan. We consistently have supported Cross-Strait dialogue as the best way to resolve those differences, and we will continue to adhere to our One China policy.

QUESTION: You spoke about having spoken to Chinese senior levels. Okay. Can you tell us if the latest such senior contact with the Chinese was on this specific issue?

MR. FOLEY: I don't have specifics to offer you in terms of who has spoken to whom, but it has been at senior levels. We've had senior level visitors in Beijing recently. But I think the point that we've continued to emphasize is our commitment to and insistence on the peaceful resolution of differences across the Taiwan Strait. I think you've seen a cacophony of comments coming out of Beijing lately, including Vice Premier Qian Qichen's comments -- I believe about a week ago -- indicating that, from his perspective, China's latest pronouncements on Taiwan do not vary from long- standing Chinese positions.

And he, at the same time, noted China's commitment to peaceful resolution in principle of the Taiwan issue. But, again, we have been troubled by some of the new formulations coming out of Beijing on this score. We believe they are counterproductive, unhelpful. We continue to emphasize our commitment to a One China policy, our commitment to a peaceful resolution of Cross-Strait relations and differences, and to advocate Cross-Strait dialogue as the best means of achieving such a peaceful resolution.

QUESTION: If I may follow please, Jim, apparently the latest of threats against Taiwan has come from General Zhang Wannian, the military leader of China that says if there is any move towards independence on the part of Taiwan, there will be war. I would ask this question: The US Department of Defense says China hasn't got the wherewithal, hasn't got the sea lift capabilities to invade Taiwan. I would ask you, is China acting like a paper tiger or perhaps a paper dragon in this situation before elections in Taiwan?

MR. FOLEY: Well, you'd have to ask the Chinese themselves as to their motivation in making these statements and these comments. The General's remarks we've seen, along with those of other senior officials I mentioned a minute ago. It probably is not accidental that these comments are being made, as I indicated a few minutes ago, in the context of the run-up to the elections on Taiwan in two weeks time. So there may be a certain amount of posturing involved.

At the same time, we cannot in any way dismiss the fact that threats continue to be made, and we believe they are very counterproductive, that they are at variance with the fundamental requirement of the situation which is a peaceful resolution via a Cross-Strait dialogue. And so we continue to urge the authorities in Beijing to adhere to the principle of peaceful resolution of the differences between them and Taiwan.

QUESTION: Just a follow-up. China has built up quite a missile force against Taiwan. If China were to begin to use those missiles, how -- well, I know this is a what-if, but can you make any comment about how the US would react?

MR. FOLEY: Well, obviously you're raising a very sensitive matter. It's not the first time you or your colleagues have raised such an issue. We're not in the habit of laying out contingency plans in a public setting. I think that what you should refer to is the Taiwan Relations Act, which states it is the policy of the United States to declare that peace and stability in the area are in the political, security and economic interests of the United States and are matters of international concern. We have stated on numerous occasions that according to the Taiwan Relations Act, we would consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means as a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the US.

QUESTION: Don't you think that, given you've called these "new formulations" and you said that you can't dismiss that these threats are being made and the Administration has been against the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act -- which is sort of making its way through the legislative process now -- don't you think that these new threats and these sorts of new formulations work against your argument against the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act? Doesn't this make it harder for the Administration to argue against enhancing Taiwan's security?

MR. FOLEY: I can't accept the premise of your question. Just because something has a certain title, in this case the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act, does not mean that that's what it does. We believe, on the contrary, that it will complicate matters across the Taiwan Strait, not add to Taiwan's security.

The fundamental test is how well we've been able to meet Taiwan's legitimate defense requirements over the years, and this Administration has a very solid record in that respect. I know Mr. Rubin has laid out for you in detail some of the defensive weapon systems that have been sold to Taiwan over the last few years. We believe that the Taiwan Relations Act is working very well, the Administration is adhering to it, and that the Act itself is very clear. Let me quote from it. The US makes available arms of a defensive character "in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability." In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. We believe it's working well and that we're implementing it very well.

QUESTION: I have a China question. Just a very quick one. Do you expect this -- you drew a link with the elections in Taiwan. Do you expect that this cacophony will, in fact, subside after the elections?

MR. FOLEY: Well, certainly differences between the PRC and Taiwan will continue until they are resolved. We think it is, obviously, fundamental that they be resolved peacefully. That goes without saying. But the vehicle towards resolution we believe is the Cross-Strait dialogue, which has been in abeyance for too long. So we would hope to see movement towards restarting that dialogue, but it's impossible to predict when that can happen.

QUESTION: A different area on China. Have you been notified by the Chinese authorities of the arrest of a group of Americans in Beijing -- Falun Gong types? There are reports from --

MR. FOLEY: I've seen the wire reports to that effect. I've checked with the China Desk here in the Department. I don't have word yet as to whether we've been able to confirm those arrests. Certainly, the Embassy will be following up on those reports.

If, indeed, American citizens have been arrested in China, they will enjoy the full assistance that our consular authorities always provide to Americans in difficulty overseas. I can't confirm it, though, but maybe we'll be able to do that later today or tomorrow.

QUESTION: A different subject?

MR. FOLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: There has been a groundswell of criticism that the US did not respond in as timely a fashion as it could to the problems in Mozambique. Do you believe that this government responded adequately?

MR. FOLEY: Yes, I do. And, of course, Mr. Anderson and Parmer will be able to give you more information about not only the current status of our relief efforts but the relief efforts that have occurred over the last several weeks. Simply looking back a little bit, to answer your question, a USAID assessment team arrived in Mozambique shortly after our Ambassador there declared a disaster on February 7th. Initial assessments showed that regional search and rescue teams could handle the search and rescue needs. It was not until February 25th, that a second surge of water caused rivers to overflow and caused a much greater disaster than had been initially anticipated.

At that point, USAID activated its 24-hour operations center and began mobilizing a disaster assistance response team. AID contracted locally and quickly to hire three local helicopters and six fixed-wing airplanes, which began flying on March 2nd and were engaged in the efforts that you saw in the last days to rescue people from the rising waters.

I think we're moving into a different phase of relief activity now. My information is that, in the last week, more than 12,000 people were rescued from roofs and trees and utility poles by a number of nations, especially South African defense forces, and that there are approximately 600 -- a little more -- people remain marooned. The focus of relief activity is going to be shifting now in coming days to providing food and medicine to people who are displaced by the floods.

Just to review a little bit about what we're doing. the United States is indeed actively engaged in rescue and relief operations. USAID, as I indicated, has now contracted 11 civilian helicopters and small aircraft to support rescue and delivery efforts. We have also deployed a 14-member boat rescue operation from Metro Dade, Florida, which began rescue and delivery operations today. Also, a 5-member Coast Guard team of water rescue specialists will arrive shortly to help coordinate overall boat rescue and delivery efforts.

As you know, on March 1st, President Clinton authorized the Department of Defense to deploy a joint task force and search and rescue assets to support the flood response in Southern Africa. He subsequently authorized a drawdown of 37.6 million in defense articles and services to support military humanitarian assistance efforts in the region. And to date, as far as AID assistance is concerned, I believe that total has now reached a level of $12,600,000 of assistance.

Going back to the DOD package, though, it includes an estimated six heavy- lift helicopters and small boats to conduct search and rescue operations, six C-130 aircraft to deliver relief supplies and command and control elements. I believe over the weekend, it was worked out that DOD will establish its base of operation in, I believe it's called Hoedspruit in South Africa and at various locations in Mozambique.

Three US military aircraft arrived in Hoedspruit over the weekend and more aircraft are scheduled to arrive in the region today. My information is that the helicopters will start to arrive tomorrow and begin operations as soon as possible. Also, one military aircraft arrived in Mozambique on March 1st delivering plastic sheeting to shelter 10,000 families, 6,000 5- gallon water containers, 6,000 blankets, 30,000 pounds of high-energy biscuits. A second aircraft delivered 140 large tents and about 4,600 blankets to South Africa on March 3rd.

Again, to get back to your question, we deployed civilian and military personnel to Mozambique and South Africa when the flooding began, and we provided funding through the World Food Program for regional air operations to support assessments and delivery of relief supplies. So some of what you saw on TV in the last week was funded by the United States.

But, again, during the week of February 22nd, the flood needs appeared to be subsiding and several donors began deploying assets elsewhere, although our experts did remain in the region. You had a cyclone that suddenly passed through the region the weekend of February 27 and, as neighboring countries released their dams, water poured into Mozambique causing major flooding and leaving tens of thousands of people in need of rescue.

As the extent of the new needs emerged, we quickly deployed additional funding to those in the region who were best placed locally to respond quickly, and then at that time were developing our robust package of military assistance that the President approved on March 1st. But it is a fact that we are very far from the region, and to get our assets from our bases in Europe to Southern Africa is a major undertaking and we've deployed them as quickly as possible. But in the meantime, we were providing a lot of funding so that people who were more easily on the scene were able to engage in relief activities very quickly.

QUESTION: And can you tell me please, when and if you could review for me, please, when a disaster happens, the US doesn't unilaterally go in and do things, is that correct; the country involved must request aid? Do you know when Mozambique first began requesting aid?

MR. FOLEY: Well, I'm sure we were in immediate contact through our Ambassador and our Embassy with the government. As I indicated, I believe from the get-go we began to take action based on the reporting of our Embassy and the stated needs of the Mozambique Government.

If you're referring to the question of where to base our major military package which is going in, I know Jamie Rubin was asked that question on Friday, and modalities for the deployment of US military forces to South Africa were worked out and South Africa gave permission on March 4th for US forces to deploy to South Africa for such operations. And we certainly thank the government of South Africa and its military for the excellent cooperation we are receiving.

QUESTION: You don't have a longer answer to that, do you.

MR. FOLEY: You ask, you shall receive. .(Laughter).

QUESTION: On that score, I know this sounds a bit like a "damned if you do, damned if you don't," but on BBC last night there was a report from the scene that said that other relief agencies are watching with apprehension as the Americans approach because, as the correspondent said, the Americans have a tendency to demand to run things their own way or something like that. Can you tell us how the various relief efforts are being coordinated, if at all?

MR. FOLEY: I think I'd leave that question -- first of all, the idea that we're going to act in ways that tend to undermine the humanitarian purpose is completely baseless and unfounded. We've already for several weeks, as I said, been doing all that we could to facilitate rescue operations, and you'll see an increasing American role now as this task force is deployed. But, obviously, there is an enormous amount of coordination that takes place with the host government, with regional governments, with non- governmental organizations and international organizations. I'm sure that Mr. Anderson will be able to provide particulars on coordination when he briefs here tomorrow.

QUESTION: Do you have any thoughts on the comments this weekend by Acting President Putin about Russia possibly -- now he could see a time when Russia would join NATO and whether they are preparing an induction ceremony in Brussels right now?

MR. FOLEY: Well, obviously, you are asking the question with a grin on your face, literally, and the way you formulate the question matches the look on your face. I think it's fair to say that Acting President Putin was not launching a trial balloon. You can ask the Russians for an authoritative answer. He was merely responding to a question. His answer was one that we find positive in the sense that it indicates that there is a renewed willingness in Moscow to improve relations with NATO, to begin to work again with the alliance in the spirit of the agreements that were reached between NATO and Russia a couple years ago.

So we welcome Acting President Putin's determination to establish good relations with the West and we see his statement in that light. I think he also made clear that the question of membership in NATO is not currently on Russia's agenda. The United States is certainly prepared to work with Russia and our allies in pursuing closer cooperation. We think that this relationship between NATO and Russia is, obviously, a cornerstone to security in the wider Europe, and we want to see that develop.

The fact of the matter is that those relationships have been in some kind of a freeze for the last year, though there has been a recent thaw, a welcome thaw, and that was demonstrated when Secretary General Robertson was in Moscow recently. We think we need to focus on the joint NATO-Russia agenda and breathe new life into it. One essential step is to resume substantive consultations in the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council on a broad range of security issues. Until now, Russia has been limiting discussions there to KFOR and Kosovo issues only. Acting President Putin told Secretary General Robertson in Moscow last month that Russia was ready to return to a broader agenda, and this is now being worked on with the Russians.

We look forward to a PJC, Permanent Joint Council, ministerial with Russia when NATO ministers meet this coming May. We see a number of areas where NATO and Russia could move quickly to demonstrate renewed cooperation on a practical level. So in other words, your question has to do with some very theoretical construct. But we have an agreement between NATO and Russia. We'd like to see it implemented. Many of these sorts of practical areas for work include science, air traffic safety, civil emergency preparedness, and officer retraining, beyond which, as I indicated, we'd like to see the broader security dialogue take shape in a way that it was intended to when the original framework agreement was reached between Russia and NATO.

QUESTION: Has anything happened over the weekend on attempts to convene a meeting of the Lebanese Monitoring Group or indeed to get Syrian-Israeli peace talks back on track? And also, how does the United States feel about the prospect of Israel withdrawing from South Lebanon without an agreement?

MR. FOLEY: Okay, that's three questions. I should have called on Terri, I think. How many did you have?

QUESTION: I had at least two of those.

MR. FOLEY: Okay, it's pointless to regret my decision then. On your last question, I think you saw the statement that Mr. Reeker put out in Prague over the weekend and I can summarize it for you. AFP is very much on top of all these things.

QUESTION: Thanks for that plug.

MR. FOLEY: We noted that Israel has made clear for quite some time that it is committed to withdrawing its forces from South Lebanon by the middle of this year. So in other words, we don't interpret the cabinet decision as necessarily new. This is in line, in keeping with Prime Minister Barak's stated intent to withdraw Israeli forces from Southern Lebanon by the middle of the year. So this intent was reaffirmed by the cabinet vote. But in answer to your question, the Israeli cabinet also made clear that Israel would prefer to effect or undertake this withdrawal as part of a negotiated settlement with Lebanon and Syria.

As far as the United States is concerned, we believe that the needs of all the parties are best addressed through negotiations. Therefore, we would like to see, obviously, negotiations resume, and that's what we're working on. This leads to your first question for which I don't have a specific answer. At least in terms of the Monitoring Group, I can confirm that our efforts and that of the other co-chair, France, continue with capitals with the aim of reconvening the Monitoring Group, which is, in our view, the critical forum for addressing tensions and reducing tensions in Southern Lebanon. I don't have an announcement to make about the reconvening of the Group, but we and France remain hard at work in capitals to achieve that purpose.

QUESTION: Has there been any progress over the weekend in trying to convene Syria and Israeli talks?

MR. FOLEY: I see. I was just going to answer two out of three. I thought I would get a good grade on that basis. We're still at work on the issue. Obviously, if we had a breakthrough, we'd be announcing a breakthrough. That doesn't mean, though, our efforts are not continuing. They are, but we're not there yet.

QUESTION: That was more or less the answer to my question, but I have a follow-up on it.

MR. FOLEY: But you had several though, you said to me.

QUESTION: Not anymore, not anymore. You did well. You said that the US believes that the needs of both sides would best be met through dialogue. Does that indicate that there are some negatives or some drawbacks to Israel coming out with this announcement without the context of talks going on?

MR. FOLEY: What I said was the following: Israel has declared its intent. Now the cabinet has affirmed the Prime Minister's commitment to withdraw its forces from Lebanon by this summer. I didn't say anything about dialogue. I talked about negotiations in the sense of a negotiated settlement would be the best way of addressing the needs of all the parties including Israel, including Lebanon, including Syria. That certainly is the ideal. That's what we're working hard on, trying to revive the Israeli- Syrian track. So we would hope that such a withdrawal would be possible for it to be effected within the context of a negotiated settlement.

QUESTION: There are those who say that withdrawing from Lebanon unilaterally outside of the context of a negotiated settlement could create increasingly negative results for all the sides, various scenarios are put out there. Would the US counsel Israel not to withdraw unilaterally? Would you state your opposition to it?

MR. FOLEY: First of all, I've been very clear that we would like to see a negotiated settlement, number one. That's what we're working hard on on all the tracks, Israel-Syria, eventually Israel-Lebanon, and on an ongoing basis, the Israel-Palestinian track. That is our aim, our over-arching goal. An ambitious and difficult agenda for the Year 2000 and we're hard at work on it on all fronts. So our number one goal is a negotiated settlement, comprehensive settlement overall.

Secondly, we believe that an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in the context of such a settlement, particularly between Israel and Syria and Israel and Lebanon, would be the best outcome. But if you ask whether, as you did, we would oppose Israel's withdrawal, let me state for the record that we voted for UN Security Council Resolution 425, which calls on Israel to withdraw from Lebanon. We stand by that vote, and so the answer to your question is no.

QUESTION: Is Dennis [Ross] going back to the region this week?

MR. FOLEY: I would say within the next day, roughly, he will be returning to the region, yes.

QUESTION: Which region would this be, the Israel-Palestinian region or -

QUESTION: Antarctica. (Laughter).

QUESTION: -- the Israel-Syrian region?

MR. FOLEY: I asked the same question. (Laughter.) The Israeli-Palestinian region, as it were. That's your formulation, not mine.

QUESTION: Do you have anything about the Turkish helicopter deal because of the US -- several US companies?

MR. FOLEY: I don't have anything with me. I'll check to see if I have anything after the briefing.

QUESTION: Just a quick one on the Middle East. Is there some sort of a meeting here at the Department today about Israeli export controls and Israeli non-proliferation?

MR. FOLEY: I'd have to check. Obviously, you've been dialing around the building more than I have this morning.

QUESTION: Who's in charge today in this building? Is it Talbott? And is he Acting Secretary?

MR. FOLEY: That has unhelpful historical echoes, the way you formulated it.

QUESTION: Yeah, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to -

MR. FOLEY: The Acting Secretary is Strobe Talbott.

QUESTION: Did he have any meetings today?

MR. FOLEY: I would certainly hope so and would expect so.

QUESTION: I mean with foreign visitors, especially perhaps someone -- a Prince from Qatar.

MR. FOLEY: He's a hard-working guy, I can tell you that.

QUESTION: I know that. But, once again, it said he had no public appointments and I have suspicions that he actually did have some appointments. And I once again renew my -

MR. FOLEY: There's a difference between public appointments and his typical hard-working day.

QUESTION: Well, when the Secretary of State has meetings that are closed the press, they are still announced. And I think that when someone is the Acting Secretary of State -- I mean, I've asked this before especially when he's met heads of state. And I don't think it was a head of state today and I may be wrong but, anyway, I renew my -

QUESTION: The Prince of Qatar, you're saying?

QUESTION: I think so because this guy is from -

MR. FOLEY: Okay, I take your point. It's a legitimate one and we will be in touch with his office to bring his public schedule to your attention. Did you have a particular item, though, of a meeting that you'd like me to follow up on?

QUESTION: Well, was there a meeting with this guy in this building? I know he's meeting with the --

MR. FOLEY: With which guy, Matt?

QUESTION: With the Prince from Qatar because he is meeting at the Pentagon with Secretary Cohen.

MR. FOLEY: Well, we'll look into that for you.

QUESTION: Matt's question was that he wanted to ask about the egg incident. It was Matt's question, he forgot.(Laughter). Do you have anything -- can you give us a readout --

MR. FOLEY: We must be at the end of the briefing. That's how I would conclude --

QUESTION: Do you have a readout on this at all?

MR. FOLEY: A readout? A readout on eggs?

QUESTION: An analysis of the two egg throwings?

QUESTION: I remember my question.

MR. FOLEY: Matt.

QUESTION: No, I think you better answer Terri's first.

MR. FOLEY: Okay. Well, of course, I don't have firsthand knowledge. I think Mr. Reeker is with the Secretary's party and is talking to your colleagues and can shed more light on it. I read that the Czech authorities had detained two self-described anarchists, which was reassuring. I, therefore, knew I could rule out Matt Lee, who I guess was not on the trip, and Barry Schweid, who I understand broke off in Lisbon. But I have no information beyond what Mr. Reeker presented.

The Secretary had another really wonderful day in the Czech Republic, very warmly received. There were a couple, as I said, anarchists at the back of a crowd of students who were greeting her, who apparently pelted her security detail especially. And those guys, they may have yolk on them, but they're not yellow. They're proud to stand by the Secretary, and that's what they did. I wouldn't read anything into it, though. I think the students who were with her apologized for the behavior of these two individuals.

QUESTION: North Korea and US have a meeting in New York. How is it going?

MR. FOLEY: Well, I did at the beginning of the briefing talk about that. So if you check the transcript afterwards, you'll --

QUESTION: They have another meeting in this coming May for high-level meeting.

MR. FOLEY: You're talking about the high-level visit?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. FOLEY: Well, I talked about that. That's expected to take place about a month from now.

QUESTION: I remember what my question was, and it really wasn't the egg question. I'm just wondering if there's anything more to report about consultations with other countries about a possible resolution condemning Russia for its actions in Chechnya at the UN in Geneva?

MR. FOLEY: I believe that Mr. Koh, in response to a question, made some response to that question. I'm not aware of anything concrete on it, but I'd be glad to look into it for you. Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:50 p.m.)


U.S. State Department: Daily Press Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
Back to Top
Copyright © 1995-2023 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
All Rights Reserved.

HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
std2html v1.01b run on Tuesday, 7 March 2000 - 3:43:02 UTC