U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #49, 00-05-24
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, May 24, 2000
Briefer: Philip Reeker
1 Background Briefing on Friday, May 26 on Economic Aspects of the
1 Background Briefing on Friday, May 26 on President Clinton's
Upcoming Travel to Portugal, Germany and Russia
ISRAEL / LEBANON
2-7 Situation Update / Israeli Withdrawal
2 Secretary Albright's Contacts on Issue
3-4 Reported Israeli Warnings of Action Against Syria
6 Issue of Shebaa Farms Area
7 Status of Israel-Lebanon Monitoring Group
7-8,17-18 Foreign Minister Ivanov's Comments on Visit of Yugoslav
8-9 Reported Russian Preparations for Bombing Attacks in Afghanistan
9-10 Reports Pakistan Planning Another Nuclear Test
10-11 Under Secretary Pickering's Travel to Region
CHINA / TAIWAN
11-12 Reported Designation of Taiwan as Intelligence Threat
12 Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline/Caspian Energy Developments
12-14 US-North Korea Bilateral Talks in Rome / Agenda
14 Status of High Level Visit
14 Visit to Kumchang-Ni
15 Defense Trade Security Initiative / Adjustment to US Defense Export
16 US-Indonesia Military Relationship
18-19 Results of Elections
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, MAY 24, 2000, 1:30 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. REEKER: Good afternoon. Let me do a couple quick announcements. If we
haven't already, we'll put out statements, notices, immediately about a
couple of special briefings we've organized in the days ahead. Specifically,
for Friday, in light of President Clinton's upcoming travel to Russia,
Senior State Department Officials will brief the press on background on
economic aspects of the US-Russia relationship. This briefing will be held
Friday, the 26th, at 11:15 here in the Press Briefing Room. As usual, the
officials will have some opening remarks and then respond to your
Also on Friday, to prep you for long weekend, at 2:30, two Senior
Administration Officials will preview for the press, on background,
President Clinton's upcoming travel to Portugal and Germany, which of
course are on the way to Russia. This briefing will be Friday, as I said,
the 26th, at 2:30 here in the Press Briefing Room.
QUESTION: Is there some reason that they're being done here and not at
the White House?
MR. REEKER: I think it was a matter of convenience.
QUESTION: It was a matter of the White House press corps wanting to go
home early on Friday and us having to stay here?
MR. REEKER: Matt, we knew you wanted something for Friday since we will
not be having a daily press briefing that day.
QUESTION: Can we have another briefing at 5:00 or 6:00 on Friday?
MR. REEKER: You can call me. I'd be happy to take your call.
QUESTION: You won't have regular briefing Thursday and Friday?
MR. REEKER: No, no briefings planned Thursday and Friday from here.
No questions from Mr. Schweid, okay. And I'm open for all your questions.
QUESTION: May I?
MR. REEKER: Please.
QUESTION: Okay, thanks. I think anyone would start with Israel. Northern
Israel seemingly becomes less secure; weapons are falling into the hands of
the Hezbollah, who is coming to the border, I understand -- right to the
northern border of Israel.
Is there anything behind the scenes here that you can tell us about that
will give us confidence that this is not going to destabilize militarily
the situation; specifically, Syria and Israel, they have a deal behind the
scenes here or something?
MR. REEKER: Let me start by talking of what we already discussed
yesterday, and I don't have a lot more to add to that. I'll also note that
the Secretary spoke to this question of the situation in Lebanon at her
press conference in Florence, so I would refer you to that transcript,
which we can certainly get for you.
She noted there that she has been in touch again today with Prime Minister
Barak and with UN officials from Florence and, of course, consulting with
her colleagues there, including Foreign Minister Vedrine. As we noted
yesterday, the UN Security Council endorsed the Secretary General's report,
and the Secretary General's Special Envoy, Terje Larsen, is now there with
his team in the region today. So it's very important that the UN confirm
the Israeli withdrawal as quickly as possible. That's all part of the
process under UN Resolution 425.
QUESTION: Isn't that kind of a formality at this point right now?
QUESTION: Albright said that at least three times the other day. What do
you mean? You don't think they mean it? You don't think they want to get
MR. REEKER: That's the process.
QUESTION: You don't trust them?
MR. REEKER: Barry, that's the process that has to be done under the UN
QUESTION: Why don't you confirm what Hezbollah is up to?
MR. REEKER: That has to be done under -- if you let me finish --
QUESTION: You sort of suggest that your good friend is not telling the
MR. REEKER: Once that's been done -- and, as I said, that should be as
quickly as possible -- the role of the UN will then be to restore
international peace and security and to assist the Government of Lebanon in
ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area. The Secretary
and others have called for restraint and calm; as I said, yesterday
indicated in this regard the Lebanese Government has a responsibility for
security in the south, and it's important that they move quickly to assume
Once the withdrawal has been confirmed under 425, then UNIFIL, the United
Nations force, will assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring its
effective control over the area. And, of course, we're working closely with
the French and other UN Security Council partners to see that they can
carry out their responsibilities, and it's important that everyone
cooperate on this.
So, as I said, the Lebanese Government has a responsibility for security in
the south, and it's important that they move quickly in this regard.
QUESTION: Israeli officials have threatened actions against Syrian forces
or interests either in Lebanon or Syria. Does the United States know
anything about this? Will it support an Israeli action if there is
anything? And how does that put the Israeli-Syrian track? Is there still
mediation between King Abdallah of Jordan or Saudi Arabia going on?
MR. REEKER: Let me just say, I think -- and repeat what I've said -- that
it's important for all parties to cooperate. The Secretary noted again
today in Florence, reminded folks that she had spoken with Foreign Minister
Shara; she has spoken with leaders throughout the region and, of course,
with the UN. So it's important that all parties cooperate, that everybody
urge restraint and calm in the region as we take these steps to implementing
the UN Security Council Resolution 425.
In terms of the Syrian track, I don't have anything new on that.
QUESTION: And as for the threats against Syrian targets, there is any
incident by Hezbollah or anybody?
MR. REEKER: I don't have anything further on that except to say to you
that we're urging restraint and calm, and that all parties should cooperate
to do that as we wait for this next step with Mr. Larsen and his team there
in the region already.
QUESTION: I notice that you did not say that the Secretary had talked
with anyone else in the region except Prime Minister Barak.
MR. REEKER: Yesterday, we went through a lengthy description. In the
statement from Monday we also had quite a length of the people that the
Secretary has spoken with. As you know, she is in Florence. She did say in
her statement -- and I spoke with Mr. Boucher a short while ago, and he
confirmed -- that she had spoken with Prime Minister Barak, certainly with
her colleagues there and with UN officials.
QUESTION: What about President Lahud?
MR. REEKER: She has spoken with President Lahud. I don't know about
today. She's in Florence. But she had spoken with him previously as well as
others in the region.
QUESTION: Can I go on to ask what do you see will be the relationship
between the United States Ambassador in Beirut and the Hezbollah who are,
after all, in parliament and are a fully functioning political party in
Beirut, in Lebanon? Is he able to see members of the Hezbollah and talk
with them and get it from the horse's mouth, or does he have to --
MR. REEKER: I would have to check on that specifically. I haven't looked
QUESTION: Or is it like the PLO days when, you know, you couldn't talk to
MR. REEKER: I'd have to check on that, Gene, for you. I didn't get into
that. I was focusing today in my conversations with folks here in the
building and at the UN on the next steps in the process, where we're
QUESTION: What is -- the UN's responsibility is what? Does it cover what
might happen, or what seems to be happening to the Lebanese who assisted
Israel in maintaining a security belt? Is their fate of any interest to the
United Nations? The gentleman behind was asking about Israel's threats to
retaliate to hold -- or at least to hold, as Barak, said Lebanon and Syria
responsible if Israel is attacked.
MR. REEKER: Well, right now, let's look at where we are. On that subject,
we're calling for everybody to remain calm and exercise restraint and
QUESTION: I know that.
MR. REEKER: Yes, I know you know that, Barry.
QUESTION: I mean, you --
MR. REEKER: So the role of the UN is --
QUESTION: You've made your message for days now that you want calm and
you want restraint.
MR. REEKER: That's right.
QUESTION: We're asking --
QUESTION: Well, there's no shooting apparently today. People are just
throwing melons across the border.
MR. REEKER: Melons.
QUESTION: Yeah, melons, melons. Not a rock, a melon. The question is, the
questions you've been asked -- and if you can't -- if the State Department
doesn't want to deal with them, that's fine, but we don't have to hear
about calm and restraint one more time.
The question is, Israel has -- the Prime Minister of Israel has said that
he will hold -- he's pulling back, it's a dangerous situation, and he would
hold Syria and Lebanon responsible [for] any attacks. Then the Syrians have
30,000 troops in Lebanon. Does the US have any interest in that? Would you
like them to leave? There are Lebanese who were allied to Israel; they've
been called traitors by other Lebanese. And the question is, does their
well-being or fate -- is that in any way the responsibility of UNIFIL
or of the UN, or are they on their own? Those kinds of things. There
are a lot of things going on.
MR. REEKER: Let me try to do that, and that's why we have to let things
go on and let the developments there take place in terms of having Mr.
Larsen make his determination. Of course, talks are going on in New York at
the UN as we speak in preparing for their next steps.
UNIFIL will be able to carry out its responsibilities -- that's an
important aspect of that -- after the withdrawal has been confirmed, and
they will assist the Government of Lebanon to ensure its effective control
of the area. To repeat once again, the Lebanese Government has a responsibility
for security in the south, and it's important that they move quickly in
Pursuant to some of your other questions, Barry, we've made our view clear
all along that all foreign forces should withdraw from Lebanon and that
Lebanon should exercise full sovereignty over all of its territory. For now
-- again, without repeating calm and restraint -- our focus is on
implementing the UN Security Council Resolution 425 and 426, so that means
confirming Israeli withdrawals and restoring the Lebanese Government's
authority in the south.
QUESTION: Now on a large substantive matter, the Syrians wanted Israel's
withdrawal to be connected, to be part of an overall agreement where they
would also get the Golan Heights back. And those talks didn't succeed.
Has the fact that the Israelis unilaterally withdrawn from Lebanon make it
more difficult for the US to revive Israeli-Syrian negotiations?
MR. REEKER: Israel has withdrawn, as they said they would, in according
with the UN Security Council resolution, and that's what we support. We
want to see that resolution fully implemented, as I've already said, as
pointed out numerous times. That's really where we stand. Of course, we're
looking at the broader picture of a comprehensive Middle East peace. That's
what everyone would like. That's why we call for calm and restraint.
There's no place for violence. In this it doesn't move anybody's work
ahead. And so we're going to take this one step at a time and let Mr.
Larsen make his report and get on with the full implementation of
the Security Council resolution.
QUESTION: Can we change the subject?
QUESTION: I'd rather stay on Lebanon for just one more minute. Does the
United States -- the United Nations doesn't seem to be pressing Israel to
withdraw from the Shebaa Farms area. It's still kind of in dispute whether
that is part of the border of Lebanon or Israel. And does the United States
share, you know, the United Nations view that it's not mandatory right
And then, also, is the United States looking to the French to kind of come
up with any ideas on how Lebanon could take -- as you said, move quickly to
assume responsibility of the security?
MR. REEKER: Let me try to answer your second question first. We talked
with the French. Obviously, as I said, Foreign Minister Vedrine is in
Florence where the Secretary is, and I'm sure they're discussing the
subject. You know, the French will work with the rest of the Security
Council partners on developing the next steps once Larsen has reported back
In terms of the Shebaa Farms thing, if you look at the report of the
Secretary General, which was fully endorsed by the Security Council
yesterday, we note that the UN will be determining a line for the practical
purpose of confirming the Israeli withdrawal. That's all part of Mr.
Larsen's job. And that's going to be without prejudice to any future border
agreements. So once the UN has confirmed that withdrawal, we'll look at
Matt. Are we done with Lebanon?
QUESTION: Just one more follow-up on this, please, Phil
MR. REEKER: Sure.
QUESTION: Does the United States feel that the events of the last few
days -- the withdrawal of Israel, armed forces of Israel back into its own
northern borders -- is going to increase or decrease the security of
MR. REEKER: The United States supports the UN Security Council resolution
which called for that withdrawal, which Israel has undertaken, which under
the process to implement the resolution, the Secretary General has sent an
envoy out to confirm that. And the next steps will evolve. I think, again,
as I've said numerous times already, that Lebanon -- all parties should
cooperate in this implementation of the resolutions and that the focus is
on implementing and ensuring that the Government of Lebanon has asserted
its full authority over the south.
QUESTION: Can I ask you one more question on that?
MR. REEKER: Yes, Gene.
QUESTION: Is the Monitoring Group at Ras Naqura going to be involved with
the UNIFIL attempting to keep the peace until the arrival of the Lebanese
MR. REEKER: The ILMG?
MR. REEKER: My understanding is that still remains a very useful facility
for dealing with these issues, but I don't have any specific details on
that. It's up to the parties to convene that.
QUESTION: What are they doing now, for example?
MR. REEKER: I'd have to check back in. That's something that's up to the
parties to convene.
QUESTION: On Russia?
MR. REEKER: Yes, Russia.
QUESTION: You can't have another question on this, can you?
MR. REEKER: Can we move on to Russia? Thanks. Go ahead, Matt.
QUESTION: I will yield to the gentleman.
QUESTION: I'm not aware that the Secretary has addressed this. It came up
in Florence, and so I apologize if she has but I haven't seen it yet. But
Foreign Minister Ivanov has basically given an apology for the invitation
that was given to the Yugoslav Defense Minister to visit, and also said
that Moscow had explained fully what happened to the ICTY.
I'm wondering if the US has --
MR. REEKER: Obviously -- and, I'm sorry, I should have mentioned that I
would defer that to the party that's traveling with the Secretary, because
she did discuss that in her morning press conference. She's been meeting
with Foreign Minister Ivanov.
QUESTION: She discussed it in saying that the US still found it
unacceptable and hard to understand.
MR. REEKER: Right, and that she's met with Foreign Minister Ivanov --
QUESTION: But my question is not really what her reaction is. I want to
know about what you heard what the Russians said. Ivanov said that they
sent an explanation to the ICTY.
MR. REEKER: Ivanov is there also with the Secretary, and I'm leaving
anything that has to do with their discussions or any of these things to
the party out there.
QUESTION: The US Government said it had a request on an "urgent basis" in
Moscow to know why they had extended this invitation. Have you received a
response to your inquiry, which was an urgent inquiry, you all said?
MR. REEKER: Let's go back to what we said, that Russia has obligations
under UN Security Council Resolutions 827 and 1244. We expect Russia to
fulfill those obligations regardless of any dialogue with the Yugoslav
leadership. We're certainly urging Russia to avoid steps that reduce the
international isolation of the Milosevic regime; after all, this is UN
Security Council resolutions that the Russians voted for.
I don't have anything for you in terms of specific responses. As I
mentioned, the Secretary is with Ivanov now.
QUESTION: My question was not about the Secretary's response to what
MR. REEKER: Right.
QUESTION: My question is what is the US response to the Russian
explanation that was given to the ICTY, which is in The Hague, which is in
a different country from Florence?
MR. REEKER: And that response would still come from the party that's
QUESTION: Okay. Second question on Russia. Richard didn't want to answer
this on Monday because it was speculation, but there are now more
indications that the Russians are at least preparing or in the planning
stages for possible attacks, bombing attacks, in Afghanistan if the Taliban
continue to -- or if they support the rebels in Chechnya.
And this has caused a lot of concern, especially in the region with what's
going on with the Taliban now saying that they're going to hold Russia
responsible for --
MR. REEKER: I saw the same reports, or some of them. Obviously, as we've
said all along, we would hate to see any expansion of the conflict in
Chechnya. Our position on that has always been that there is no military
solution and that they need to find a peaceful resolution to the Chechen
conflict and get to the sources of the problem and find a peaceful
resolution that way.
QUESTION: So you would be opposed, then, to Russian air strikes?
MR. REEKER: We would be opposed to expansion of the Chechnya conflict. We
think there is not a military solution to that conflict. That's something
we've said from all corners for a long time now.
QUESTION: But those comments have been confined to what's actually
happening on the ground in Chechnya. This is something that --
MR. REEKER: For the Chechen conflict, we would be opposed to expansion --
QUESTION: Well, as far as I know, I mean, Afghanistan really isn't in the
Chechen conflict at the moment.
MR. REEKER: I think my words stand for what they said: We don't want to
see an expansion of that; there isn't a military solution that, in our
view; and they should undertake a dialogue to come up with a peaceful
political solution to the problem there.
QUESTION: New subject?
MR. REEKER: Sure.
QUESTION: Under Secretary Pickering will be heading to Pakistan tomorrow,
MR. REEKER: Right.
QUESTION: Amid reports by US officials that they fear Pakistan is
preparing another nuclear test. What do you have on those concerns, and
what you expect Pickering to be taking with him?
MR. REEKER: I don't believe that there were reports by US officials to
that effect. Last week, Pakistan's press reported that the government was
preparing another nuclear test. While we don't consider these reports
highly credible, we did take the occasion to remind the Government of
Pakistan of the serious consequences of another test for our bilateral
The Governments of Pakistan and India have both said repeatedly and
recently to us that they intend to continue their moratoria and have no
plans to test. So we remain very concerned about proliferation issues in
South Asia and elsewhere. Any other nuclear tests in South Asia could lead
to further serious escalation of tensions in the region and would threaten
to undermine global nonproliferation norms.
QUESTION: There are reports from US officials as of yesterday.
MR. REEKER: Right. I think what I said just stands for that. I think we
took the opportunity of the press reports to remind the Pakistani
Government of our concern about these things.
And as far as Under Secretary Pickering, since you asked yesterday, I did
check into his travel schedule and I wanted to reiterate what I did find.
This was long-planned travel. It's been scheduled for many weeks. He is in
New Delhi today. In fact, he just spoke by phone with one of the worldwide
news networks and talked about his trip there. He's visit is primarily
focused on Asian security issues; obviously, Indo-Pakistani relations;
regional issues, including developments in Sri Lanka where he'll be on
Monday; and nonproliferation.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- in Colombo, does he intend to meet with the
MR. REEKER: I'm not sure whether he expects to meet with Norwegians or
not. He addressed that a little bit in his TV interview that I saw just
before I came out here.
QUESTION: I missed that. Did he say anything about -- I mean, are his
plans still on considering the bomb that exploded in the Norwegian
MR. REEKER: He is still planning to go to Colombo. He did note the
excellent contacts that the Norwegians have there and their work in trying
to find a way to bring the two sides together.
QUESTION: Post-bomb or pre-bomb?
MR. REEKER: I would have to go back to timelines. I'm sorry, I don't have
QUESTION: So as far as you know, the bombing of the embassy is not cause
for any -- at the moment, there is no change in his plans?
MR. REEKER: No change in his plans, as of just a little bit ago.
Obviously, we watch the situation in Sri Lanka closely. And with Under
Secretary Pickering going there, he'll have a chance to meet with their
officials. The Sri Lankan Government, of course, has not asked the US for
US involvement in any mediation, and his visit has been planned for quite a
while so it's not a mediating visit, just to make that clear.
QUESTION: A new subject, okay?
MR. REEKER: Anything more on Pickering schedule?
QUESTION: How about afterwards?
MR. REEKER: From Colombo, my understanding is that he will go to Tokyo to
discuss preparations for the G-8 Summit in Okinawa in July.
QUESTION: And that's the only other stop?
MR. REEKER: And I'll get the further details if there's anything further
he's doing in East Asia, or South Asia to East Asia.
QUESTION: Is there any response by the State Department for Janet Reno
putting Taiwan on her list of secret hostile intelligence nations?
MR. REEKER: I knew someone was going to ask about that. In fact, I think
generally, as you know, we don't comment on intelligence matters, so if you
were looking on a comment on that specific article I'd refer you to the
Justice Department which is, of course, responsible for counter-intelligence
QUESTION: Okay. Well, has there been any contact with Taipei since this
revelation that they're going to be on this list?
MR. REEKER: I'm sure we have the usual contacts with Taipei, unofficial
contacts that we have. You know, if you want any comment on that list, I
can refer you to the Justice Department. I don't have anything for you on
that since we don't discuss this.
QUESTION: I was just going to -- how do you think that this is going to
affect diplomatic relations with Taipei, and how do you think --
MR. REEKER: We don't have diplomatic relations with Taipei.
QUESTION: Have you got more on that?
MR. REEKER: Do you have more?
QUESTION: Well, we do have some kind of contact with Taipei. And how is
it going to --
MR. REEKER: We maintain contacts with the people on Taiwan, according to
the Taiwan Relations Act. I'm not sure what your point is here.
QUESTION: It's pretty clear, I think. She thinks that Taiwan is being
declared a terrorist entity, and she thinks possibly this might have a bad
MR. REEKER: I have not seen anything referring to terrorist entities.
QUESTION: I saw a page one story today, but I don't know whether it's
MR. REEKER: Let me just -- I don't have anything for you on that
QUESTION: She's sort of, I think -- if I may infer from her question, she
thinks maybe it would sour whatever dealings you have with Taiwan if this
country were so branded, I think. Isn't that what you're trying to
QUESTION: Yes, I was.
QUESTION: Whether it's formal diplomatic relations or not.
MR. REEKER: If you want something on that report, I can only refer you to
the Justice Department because I'm not in a position to discuss intelligence
QUESTION: Can we go to a different report?
MR. REEKER: Are you asking what you asked me yesterday?
MR. REEKER: I referred the question on the detail, in terms of the
Turkmenistan question, and I referred it upstairs to the people that know
that. And I know they were checking on it, and they just didn't get back to
me before 1:30.
QUESTION: So you don't have an answer?
MR. REEKER: I don't. I know we very much have supported the pipeline, and
that remains the case. In terms of those details, I just need to get more.
So if you want to check with me directly after, maybe they will have sent
me the answer already.
QUESTION: On the North Korean talks are extremely empty, right? No
agenda? They can't even say when an agenda is -- the poor folks trying to
cover that event, believe it or not, are relying on what you didn't say
yesterday as their information.
MR. REEKER: And I wouldn't want to add much to what I didn't say
QUESTION: Well, you did a good job of not saying anything yesterday. But
I would think, I wondered if it would, you know, rupture world stability if
you would say what's on the agenda.
MR. REEKER: The agenda in Rome, you're talking about, Barry, not the
visit to Kumchang-ni?
QUESTION: No, the agenda in Rome.
QUESTION: But can we get that, too?
MR. REEKER: I think those talks have begun, as they were expected to,
yesterday. I did go through the delegations. I don't think anybody asked me
about the agenda yesterday, Barry.
QUESTION: The talks began today?
MR. REEKER: Began today. The delegation for the DPRK is led by Vice
Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan. The US delegation, as you know, is led by
Ambassador Charles Kartman. This is a resumption of the talks that
adjourned March 15th in New York.
We're using this meeting to begin talks on Agreed Framework implementation,
and we're going to continue to discuss the full range of issues of common
concern, including missiles, as we seek to improve relations with the
The talks are taking place in Rome, as I mentioned, at a facility provided
by the Italian Government. We wanted to thank the Italian Government for
that. There is no fixed ending date for these talks and, as you know, the
usual procedure is not to comment specifically on the talks while they're
QUESTION: (Inaudible) a total briefing on everything that happened.
MR. REEKER: That's right. The purpose of the ongoing dialogue, if I can
anticipate your further questions, with the DPRK is, as I said, to address
a broad range of issues, beginning with those related directly to our
national security. These include especially North Korea's nuclear and
missile programs and those issues that are identified in the Perry report.
We're going to cover in Rome the implementation of the Agreed Framework and
other issues of related concern.
Kumchang-ni, which we can get to, is an example, of course, of such an
issue where our concerns were addressed successfully. And that visit is
So we're seeking to set the stage for a fundamental change in the way we
and the DPRK conduct our bilateral relations as our concerns on these
issues are addressed.
QUESTION: There's a juxtaposition between the phrase "common -- you have
to be almost biblical scholars here -- a juxtaposition between "common
concern" and the framework agreement. I understand you're concerned about
missiles. You haven't found a way yet to, you know, get a hold of that
problem. But I thought six years ago you resolved the concern about their
nuclear program, the nuclear weapons program, you know, with an agreement
where you provide et cetera, et cetera.
MR. REEKER: Right.
QUESTION: Is there concern now that that agreement is -- that North Korea
is holding to that agreement or the related "common concerns" on other
MR. REEKER: I think the latter is what we're focusing on in terms of
discussing the full range of issues of "common concern." I can't delve into
those in any great detail. You've seen the Perry report, and those are the
issues that they're talking about as we try to sort of seek a fundamental
change in our relationship there.
Anything further on North Korea?
QUESTION: How hopeful are you that the North Koreans will still send a
senior government official to Washington?
MR. REEKER: As I said yesterday, we expect the high-level visit. You'll
remember that they accepted our invitation for that reciprocal visit. It
was just a year ago, in May '99, that Dr. Perry and Ambassador Sherman
visited Pyongyang, and so I'm sure in Rome today, perhaps tomorrow, they
will be continuing discussions on that visit.
QUESTION: Has the North asked for more food or made any other requests
during the just-started talks?
MR. REEKER: As I said, I'm not aware of anything coming out of those
talks and, as usual, we won't have anything to read out on them until the
QUESTION: Can we actually go to North Korea -- to Kumchang-ni?
MR. REEKER: To North Korea, and I'm not going to be able to add
QUESTION: It's still supposed to start tomorrow?
MR. REEKER: The US team is there and the schedule calls for the site
visit to begin tomorrow, that's right, the 25th.
QUESTION: How long will be going the meeting -- these talks in Rome?
MR. REEKER: The Rome talks -- they don't have a set end date so we'll
wait and see how long they go.
QUESTION: Phil, in the interest of something else, all those helpers
aren't here today so this may be -- you know the business about changing
licensing regulations? It's all right if you don't have the answer because -
MR. REEKER: I would refer you back to the lengthy transcript of the
QUESTION: Oh, no, I was here for the lengthy transcript. But the kind of
things that don't get mentioned at lengthy transcripts by proponents of
changes is what might have gone wrong. See, they're not going to come
forward. What I'm trying to say is the Council for a Livable World, which
is suspicious of this arrangement, they think it'll make -- they think
weapons, insanely enough, will be moving around a little more rapidly with
the easing of restrictions on export licenses.
But, specifically, the question -- and if you don't have an answer I can
understand, you know, because we're getting into fine-tuning there -- they
say Canada was on this privileged list and last year was found to have made
illegal transfers and was taken off the list. By privileged, I mean what
you're cutting in -- what you're doing in for Britain and Australia. And
they say Britain and Italy both have been detected by the US Government to
be making illegal transfers.
I feel a little uneasy about just -- I would like the US Government - you
may not be able to do it on the spot --
MR. REEKER: I can't.
QUESTION: Are those allegations correct? And if they're correct, why are
you going ahead with --
MR. REEKER: We'll have to get back to you on that. While they may not
have addressed those specific questions yesterday --
QUESTION: No, they didn't. We were here.
MR. REEKER: -- because nobody asked them.
QUESTION: Well, it didn't come up in here.
MR. REEKER: Exactly. So we can refer you up to some of those folks that
spoke yesterday; back to the briefing transcript, but I don't think you'll
find the answers in there.
QUESTION: It's not there. I was there for the briefing. Look at the rings
under my eyes.
MR. REEKER: And I can just note that the Secretary, as expected, did
present in her intervention today --
QUESTION: I was going to suggest maybe we can cut the red tape here and
get an answer more easily. But you happen to have new rules on getting
answers to questions.
QUESTION: Let's go to a newspaper report that I think you'll be able to
talk about, and that is a story about US and Indonesia resuming military
MR. REEKER: Indonesia, yes. In one of our nation's fine newspapers. I did
read that report.
The Indonesia Government has demonstrated its interest in pursuing reform,
including in the military area where it has moved to establish civilian
control over the military and accountability for the military abuses in
East Timor and throughout Indonesia. So we're going to continue to look for
further progress in this area, and we support changes that will result in
fundamental improvements in governance and protection of human rights in
We have been looking at ways to encourage this positive change in the
Indonesian military and, in doing that, looking at our military-to-military
relationship as part of the effort. But let me stress that no final
decisions have been made in that regard on resuming military cooperation
with Indonesia, and of course we'll be consulting with Congress before
initiating any fundamental change to our current policy.
QUESTION: Is there even a slight change?
MR. REEKER: What you may have noted is that we decided earlier this month
- and I think we may have spoken about it at the time - to invite some
Indonesian air force officers to observe the exercises in Thailand, I think
called Cobra Gold, which they did. And we also authorized Indonesian
participation in a humanitarian assistance, a disaster relief exercise that
I believe involved Marine and Navy equipment and - I don't want to say
soldiers because they're not soldiers. It's the Marines and from the Navy.
We had informed interested Members of Congress of those decisions which -
let me stress again - were not part of a change in our fundamental policy.
And if you want more information on those specific things, I'd send you to
QUESTION: Right. But I'm talking about diplomatically and militarily from
where it was when there was a suspension of all - there is a - there are
small incremental steps being taken, although there has been --
MR. REEKER: I wouldn't see those as small incremental steps. Those were
two individual decisions to include them in that. As you know, in September,
the President suspended virtually all military-to-military ties during the
violence and chaos in East Timor to promote Jakarta in working with the
multinational peacekeeping force to restore order there. So there's
definitely an interest that's been demonstrated by the Indonesians in
pursuing reform, particularly civilian control of the military which, as
you know, we consider extremely important; and accountability, which
they've taken steps to do.
So we're looking for further progress, and as we watch for that progress
we're - and trying to find ways we can encourage positive reform, we will
be examining our own military-to-military relationship. But no decisions
have been made, so the basic policy established in September remains.
QUESTION: About Iranian involvement of the international terrorism. Do
you think the last couple of months the Government of Tehran, they moved a
positive direction to fighting international terrorism?
MR. REEKER: I would just refer you to our report on Global Terrorism,
"The Patterns of Global Terrorism," which we rolled out just a few short
weeks ago, in there.
QUESTION: It was reflecting 1999, not 2000.
MR. REEKER: And Iran remains on our list of state sponsors of terrorism.
QUESTION: But that only meant up to '99, correct?
MR. REEKER: The report measured that. The list is current.
QUESTION: How do you respond to reports that the European Union,
according to the Portuguese prime minister, I believe, is considering
lifting sanctions on Austria? Is the US considering any such measures -
backdown on measures?
MR. REEKER: I saw those reports. I think our position on Austria remains,
at this point, very much the same. We do work closely with Austria on a
wide variety of issues, and expect that cooperation to continue. And our
position has been one of meeting with members of the government at a level
when it's in our mutual interest to do so, but at the reduced level that we
discussed before. So there's no new development there, but I've noted
the European Union thing. And it's probably a subject of discussion
that the Secretary will be involved with, certainly with her colleagues
that are in Florence and at the US-EU Summit perhaps in Lisbon.
QUESTION: But there are no signs that we're considering it yet?
MR. REEKER: We don't have any changes to report in our Austria policy.
QUESTION: If I may go back to Russia just for a moment, I'm allowed since
I've been gone for a week. Just for the record, what information was - or
what communication took place before the Secretary left and saw Foreign
Minister Ivanov about the visit by Ojdanic? Because when we asked about
this last week, there wasn't much information.
MR. REEKER: It was raised.
QUESTION: But how, and by who?
MR. REEKER: And I don't have details on how and by whom. I believe Mr.
Berger was in Moscow and raised that issue there.
QUESTION: Was the apology good enough? I mean, is that good enough for us
MR. REEKER: I think I sort of answered that as much as that, and I would
defer any further discussion on that to the party right now if you're
looking for more complete answers on that. Obviously, this is something
that we'll continue to raise and we think it's extremely important that
Russia live up its obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions
which Russia voted for.
QUESTION: Can I ask, then, if in that intervening time before the
Secretary left, did it become any clearer to the State Department whether
this visit had been - whether the Defense Ministry in Moscow had told
anyone that he was coming?
MR. REEKER: I'm not sure if I --
QUESTION: Well, obviously, I assume one of the questions being asked was,
"Was this visit authorized only at the Defense Ministry level or did they
tell the Foreign Ministry?"
MR. REEKER: That's a question I'd have to have you ask the Russians.
QUESTION: Okay, thank you.
QUESTION: No, wait, wait.
MR. REEKER: Let me actually confirm more specifically, because I turned
to the right page, May 18th we raised this with senior officials. That
gives you a specific date in Moscow.
QUESTION: I'm sorry to do this. I've got two obscure election questions.
MR. REEKER: Obscure elections.
QUESTION: The first one isn't so obscure. Barry, you might want to stay
for this, actually. On Monday, you guys said that you were waiting for the
OAS report on the Haitian election to make a judgment on it. That report
has now come out saying that there was not - that while there were isolated
incidents of irregularities, there wasn't any widespread horrible event to
destroy the credibility of the elections.
MR. REEKER: Right. I don't believe, however, that the final results are
out on that. If that's come out since I was last talking about this --
QUESTION: They were on the wires just before.
MR. REEKER: Let me just run through on Haiti again to reiterate our
overall satisfaction with last Sunday's high turnout and generally peaceful
voting. The independent electoral council, provisional electoral council
and the OAS, as you know, were looking into all reports of irregularities
and some confusion in tabulation of results. We expect that to take several
days, but I'm not aware of a report coming out specifically now.
QUESTION: Well, are you planning on saying anything before the second -
the run-off is supposed to be, like you did with Peru?
MR. REEKER: I can --
QUESTION: Or do you not know yet?
MR. REEKER: I can look into that and find out. At this point, it was
still considered, when I was preparing to come out here, premature to
speculate on any results because we weren't expecting actual results of the
elections to be out until Friday. And then, of course, there is a second
round, as I said.
QUESTION: Now for the really obscure. Suriname. Do you have anything to
say about the elections there tomorrow?
MR. REEKER: I'm afraid I don't have anything to say. We hope those
elections are free and fair. I can say that much.
QUESTION: I'm sure the Surinamese will be pleased that they're getting
MR. REEKER: And if you are particularly interested in those elections, I
would recommend you check back with us after those elections take place and
we'll try to see what information we can give you.
(The briefing was concluded at 2:20 P.M.)