U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #60, 00-06-16
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
Thursday, June 16, 2000
Briefer: RICHARD BOUCHER_
1 Secretary Albright's Travel
1 Community of Democracies Meeting
2-3 Agenda with the People's Republic of China
4 Secretary's Visit/Development of the Korean Peninsula/Easing Sanctions
5-6 South Korean Officials Visit to Washington
6-7 U.S. Cooperation on Counter-Terrorism
7 Attack on Vuk Draskovic
7 Violence fostered by the Milosevic Regime
7-8 Prithvi Missile Testing/Nuclear Capabilities
8-9 Talbott and Pickering Talks/Restoring Democracy
10 UN to Toughen Sanctions Against Taliban
MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
10-13 Andrews and Bolling Talks
12 Dennis Ross' Trip
14-15 Iraq-No Fly Zones
15 Reaction to Oil-For-Food Program
15-19 Russian Missile Defense Proposal
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPB # 60
FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 2000 12:55 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Okay, let me start
off with a couple things. First, I want to tell you about the Secretary's
travel and offer you a chance to sign up. Second of all, I want to tell
you a little bit about the Community of Democracies meeting in Poland in
about a week or do. And, third, I want to say something about Vuk
Draskovic and the shooting that occurred. And then we'll go to questions.
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright will travel Tuesday, June 20, to
the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea. From June 25 to
27, the Secretary will travel to Poland to attend the Community of
Democracies conference and meet with Polish officials. Other stops in
Europe and the Middle East will be included in this trip. Sign-up for
press wishing to travel is going to be available from today in the Press
One of the events on this trip is the first-ever meeting of countries
representing the world community of democracies. This meeting will be held
in Warsaw June 25 to 27, hosted by the Government of Poland and co-convened
by a number of other governments, including the United States. We'll give
you a complete announcement on this meeting and, as I mentioned yesterday,
we'll be doing a briefing here Monday afternoon.
But I want to point out this is a new initiative to try to form an
international consensus among countries that are committed to the
democratic path, to support and deepen democracy where it exists and to
defend it where it's threatened. And we hope this meeting will help result
in the shared commitment to a core set of universal democratic principles
in a declaration that can be issued at the ministerial. This is an
important trip, an important get-together of democratic countries and
countries that are trying to build democracies. And we look forward to
that meeting in Warsaw.
Any questions on the trip or the Community?
QUESTION: Well, you were a little vague about the Middle East. That
MR. BOUCHER: No, I didn't say "follows." I just said, "Other stops in
Europe and the Middle East will be included." We don't have the dates
pinned down yet.
QUESTION: You mean you have room between China and Poland to get the
Middle East squeezed in, possibly?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to try to design this trip in a public
briefing. This trip is being designed by people who set up trips and
schedules. They're not finished with their work yet. And when we know the
sequence, order and dates, we'll be glad to share it with you. All I can
tell you is we're leaving Tuesday.
QUESTION: Well, you're leaving Tuesday and you're going to be in China
MR. BOUCHER: After Tuesday.
MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I'm sorry. The schedule's not set, okay?
QUESTION: Really, it's so bizarre. I mean, this has been -- it's all
over the wires already out of China that she's going there. It's described
as an incredibly hastily arranged meeting that I don't know what the
urgency is, and I don't understand why you're flogging the meeting in
Warsaw when you have the important stops in China, Korea and the Middle
What brings her in a rush to go to China? Is it the Korean summit or is
it -- as it's being described by so-called Western diplomats out there_ --
_an attempt to continue to improve relations with China? What is the issue
that takes her to China in a hurry?
MR. BOUCHER: Okay. Is that the question?
QUESTION: Well, if you can't tell us the order at least of where she's
going, which is bizarre, which is bizarre four days before she goes --
MR. BOUCHER: Okay. I take it the question is: Why is she going to
QUESTION: Well, that's one of the questions.
QUESTION: Even if that's not the question, we can start with that --
QUESTION: It'll put words on the wire. Go ahead.
MR. BOUCHER: All right. I want to point out we have a broad agenda with
the People's Republic of China. The Secretary's upcoming visit is part of
a series of ongoing, high-level exchanges as we pursue our interests with
this important country. This will be the first senior visit, I think,
since the House vote on permanent trade relations. Our discussions will
include both areas of agreement and areas that are well-known differences
During her visit, we expect the Secretary and her hosts will continue our
efforts to expand strategic dialogue, to discuss regional matters such as
the recent developments on the Korean Peninsula and in cross-Strait
relations, to discuss nonproliferation issues, bilateral economic issues
including the recent passage by the House of Representatives of Permanent
Normal Trade Relations status and also, of course, human rights issues.
QUESTION: What about Taiwan?
MR. BOUCHER: I said cross-Strait relations was one of the issues that was
going to be discussed.
QUESTION: In which column, difficult or not difficult, does Taiwan fall?
Trade has moved into another column. Where's Taiwan now? Is there still_ -
- _because the new leader of Taiwan seems to have cooled down tensions at
least, and is that still an area of disagreement or an area of semi-
MR. BOUCHER: Barry, these are all issues we will discuss in their
completeness and their complexity. Obviously, we hope we agree on the need
for a peaceful resolution and a peaceful dialogue across the Taiwan Strait,
but we obviously have other differences in approach.
QUESTION: Just to try and -- I realize your reluctance to give
specific dates because they're not down yet. But this isn't going to be
like around-the-world-in-eight-days with the Secretary, is it? Or is it?
Are we going to be back -- is she going to be back for the 4th of July
QUESTION: Are you going to be back, right?
MR. BOUCHER: Are you going to be back for the 4th of July weekend? Yes,
you will be and I will be and I suspect she will be too.
QUESTION: But do you have an expected return date?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have an exact return date.
QUESTION: Late June, early July?
MR. BOUCHER: I would forecast -- I am virtually certain we will be back
by the end of the month.
QUESTION: Virtually certain?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: Can you tell us more about Korea?
MR. BOUCHER: I can tell you a little bit more about Korea. Obviously,
this is the moment that we want to talk very closely with our Korean allies
in the Republic of Korea. The Secretary's visit is obviously part of our
pattern of close coordination and cooperation on issues related to the
Korean Peninsula. While in Seoul, we expect to continue our discussions
with South Korean leaders regarding the historic summit meeting that took
place this week in Pyongyang and, of course, the Secretary will also
reaffirm our strong bilateral relationship with the Republic of Korea.
QUESTION: And since we haven't yet officially lifted the sanctions that
have been announced that they would be lifted --
MR. BOUCHER: Easing.
QUESTION: Easing. Are they going to try and time that so that she can
do that while she's on her trip?
MR. BOUCHER: No. That's the simplest answer.
QUESTION: Korea is going to be a big issue with the Chinese, I take it,
after she has left Korea?
MR. BOUCHER: I said developments on the Korean Peninsula was clearly one
of the issues that we wished to discuss with the Chinese. And we have had
good cooperation in this area in the past and we'll obviously want to
discuss the most recent developments.
QUESTION: Originally, the Secretary was going to China in mid-July, and
I understand that it was the US who initiated to move this schedule up. So
can you tell us why she's going next week?
MR. BOUCHER: I explained why she's going next week and all the important
issues that we have to discuss. Exactly when pieces of trips and visits
get scheduled is an arcane science. It depends on a whole lot of factors,
and I don't think we should try to explain those in any policy terms. We
put things together when we can.
QUESTION: Well, a lot of people are going to be a little upset with
that. You just called all the trip planners arcane.
MR. BOUCHER: They're rocket scientists.
QUESTION: Is there an envoy coming from South Korea to brief you folks
on the summit?
MR. BOUCHER: Let me say yes and then see what more I can tell you. All
right, here's what I can tell you. Mr. Hwang Won-tak, President Kim Dae
Jung's national security advisor, was in Pyongyang for the summit. He will
arrive in Washington this afternoon to meet at the State Department with
Secretary Albright and with members of our North Korea policy team,
including Counselor Wendy Sherman, Assistant Secretary Stanley Roth and
Special Envoy Ambassador Charles Kartman.
Mr. Hwang will see President Clinton earlier today in New York. For
further information on that meeting, obviously I will refer you to the
We continue to consult very closely with our South Korean ally, and Mr.
Hwang's visit is another welcome example of the extremely close cooperation
between our two countries.
QUESTION: His visit?
MR. BOUCHER: His visit to New York and Washington.
QUESTION: The Secretary is going to both China and South Korea. Is
there any chance that she might consult with the Japanese, perhaps in South
Korea while there? Are there going to be one of these trilateral
consultation meetings, perhaps?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check on that. I'm not aware of any such plan,
but I'd better check on it before I say no.
QUESTION: Can you just expand so we can get this on the record, when you
talk about recent developments in the inter-Korean -- or whatever it was
that you said, can you exactly say just that we're going to be talking
about both the historic summit and Kim Jong-il's visit to China?
MR. BOUCHER: We will discuss the whole issue of developments in the
Korean Peninsula. I would expect both of those things to come up.
Obviously, the most immediate event, the most dramatic event, is the summit
and the reduction in tensions that we hope to see on the Peninsula.
QUESTION: Do you have any specifics on the Middle East countries
MR. BOUCHER: No.
QUESTION: Do you have any schedule to ease economic sanctions to North
Korea -- by next week or this week?
MR. BOUCHER: We've talked about this a number of times. We're in the
final stages of implementing the easing of sanctions that the President
announced in September. We understand that the revisions to implement the
President's decision to ease sanctions on North Korea will appear Monday,
June 19th, in the Federal Register, and we'll take your questions regarding
the details at that time.
QUESTION: Yes, on Greece. In the Senate hearing yesterday on terrorism,
Senator Paul Sarbanes brought the issue of Mr. Lesperoglou, who has been
arrested in Athens with a false passport. Do you have anything or do you
know what it is about, about this case?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. I'll have to check on it for you. We'll get
back to you.
QUESTION: Senator Paul Sarbanes brought the name of the former prime
minister of Greece, Konstantin Mitsotakis, and his daughter, Dora
Bakoyianis regarding terrorism in Greece. Do you think your government is
planning to use Mr. Mitsotakis as a witness in any form during your
continuing effort to fight terrorism in Greece?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I'll have to check on that as well.
QUESTION: And, also, a follow-up. Some former US officials are
questioning now if the Olympic Games should take place in Athens in the
summer of 2004 in connection with terrorism. I would like to know the US
position on this crucial issue since it's an obvious campaign against
Greece and the Greek people.
MR. BOUCHER: That's a question that I will look into but I don't
necessarily promise that we've taken a position on that at this point.
QUESTION: Why your government, why your government has decided on this
campaign to clamp down on terrorists in Greece now after 25 years and not
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to say, I think that's a question I will respond
to. That is a question that I will respond to.
We just had a very unfortunate and very regrettable killing of a British
military attache in Athens. We have had continuing concerns that we have
expressed along the way about the situation in Greece. This very tragic
event only, I think, serves all of us to deepen our resolve to deal with
Now we've said we think the way to deal with the problem is to continue and
deepen the cooperation that we've had with the Greek Government on the
counter-terrorism issue. But it's very important to all of us that this
cooperation work and that we get to results in terms of stopping the
QUESTION: But the campaign, Mr. Boucher, started prior to the assassination.
And I'm wondering why did you start it now?
MR. BOUCHER: I reject the use of the word "campaign." We've made quite
clear our views. We made them quite clear in the Patterns of Global
Terrorism Report, we've made them quite clear in other responses to
questions and things that we were asked. We have our concerns about this.
We have expressed our concerns about this and will continue to do so until
we feel that the problem is really being handled and is really under
Okay, can we go back to Betsy? Oh, I was going to talk about Draskovic,
wasn't I? Okay, let me do Draskovic in response to a question.
I want to make clear that the United States strongly condemns the very
cowardly attack on Serbian Renewal Movement leader Vuk Draskovic yesterday
on June 15. We're heartened to hear that Mr. Draskovic suffered only
relatively minor injuries in the shooting and that he is out of the
hospital. We have conveyed our wishes to him for a speedy recovery.
This attack is the latest appalling incident reflecting the climate of
violence and lawlessness that the Milosevic regime has fostered in the
former Yugoslavia. In the last several months, the regime has been
responsible for a wave of arrests, beatings of students, closures of media
organizations and court prosecutions to stifle any dissent. Regime
insiders participate in criminal activities. A wave of murders of senior
figures has gone unsolved.
The regime has responded by launching ludicrous charges against nonviolent
dissenters and outside forces. The regime's responsibility for the
violence and oppression in Serbia, which Draskovic has rightly called
"state terror", emphasize again the importance of Serbia's making the
transition to democracy and assuming its rightful place in Europe.
Questions? All right, Betsy.
QUESTION: This is a different subject. The Indians fired a Prithvi
missile today, test fired. Do you have anything on that? And does that,
do you think, relate at all to a question I asked you about several weeks
ago about the relative strength of the Pakistani and Indian nuclear
MR. BOUCHER: Well, let me talk about the missile first and then I'll talk
about the relative nuclear capabilities as much as we can. First, I want
to make clear we regret the Indian Government's decision to proceed with
this test. We have long urged countries developing missile systems,
including India and others, to exercise restraint. Missile testing has the
potential to increase tensions in the region, and we hope that India will
consider the impact of missile tests under current circumstances.
On the question of relative nuclear capabilities, as before, this is not an
issue that we can address in any kind of detail but we are troubled by the
kind of speculation that these reports have generated, in the region
especially. It is clear that both India and Pakistan have the capability
to assemble and to use nuclear weapons, that both are pursuing means of
delivery and both continue active programs to produce more fissile material
for weapons. We're not prepared, as I said, to get into a public
discussion of these capabilities. Suffice it to say, while there are
differences in the programs between the two countries, overall we believe
there is rough parity in their nuclear and delivery capabilities. Whatever
differences exist do not appear to be strategically significant.
We note that both sides have said that they wish to avoid an arms race.
However, we and the rest of the international community continue to be
concerned about the possibilities of that kind of competition which would
greatly add to the tensions and dangers in South Asia. Speculation about
who could deploy more bombs or who has more nuclear-capable aircraft or
missiles is, in itself, potentially destabilizing. We've had some
experience with this in the Cold War, when misunderstandings and misinformation
led to accelerated strategic competition. We hope that India and Pakistan
do not go in that direction.
QUESTION: Could I do a follow-up, please? Is the Prithvi a nuclear-
ready missile? Was the test successful?
MR. BOUCHER: I think those are questions you're going to have to ask the
Indian Government. I'm not sure exactly how they have described it, and I
am not in a position to do that here.
QUESTION: I think you may have answered this in the end, but when you
said you were troubled by the kind of speculation these reports have
generated, are you troubled by the fact that there is speculation at all or
are you troubled by what the speculation actually is? You're certainly not
suggesting that analysts and other people looking at this shouldn't be
saying what -- giving their opinion about it?
MR. BOUCHER: I think what I would say is we're troubled by some of the
conclusions being drawn; we're troubled by some of the speculation about
the implications of differentials which, as I said, we think there's
basically strategic stability, equality of capabilities. We're worried
about the potential that perceptions of some kind of gap or difference
could lead to more actions that in themselves enhance destabilization in
the region, and so worry that the perceptions of strategically significant
differences, which we don't think exist, could then lead to actions which
would have further destabilization.
QUESTION: Are you suggesting that pundits and experts in this area just
shut up and stay quiet, not say anything?
MR. BOUCHER: We're trying to help them with their conclusions so that
they understand the situation better in their analysis and have the benefit
of ours as well.
QUESTION: Has this topic come up in the meetings between the Pakistani
Foreign Minister and Mr. Talbott or Mr. Pickering? And what else has been
going on in those talks.
QUESTION: Okay, let me try to give you a rundown. Pakistan's Foreign
Minister, Abdus Sattar, met with Deputy Secretary Talbott on Thursday, June
15. After an hour-long, one-on-one session, the Deputy Secretary hosted a
working lunch with the Foreign Minister.
Discussions between Minister Sattar and the Deputy Secretary focused on our
mutual concerns about preserving South Asian security, about preventing the
proliferation of nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems. The two
also explored how to reduce tensions between Pakistan and India, primarily
There was agreement to continue to work closely together to prevent further
proliferation, an arms race, and conflict in the region. The United States
urged Pakistan to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty soon, as it has
indicated it would. The two sides discussed how best to move ahead on
negotiations over the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty at the Conference on
Disarmament in Geneva, and the possibility of a multilateral moratorium on
the production pending conclusion of the treaty.
They also agreed on the need for further consultations on enhancing
Pakistan's export control mechanisms so as to better support the objective
of preventing the spread of nuclear missile weapons technology and
The Deputy Secretary last met with a senior Pakistani official to discuss
these issues in February of last year, and this remains a subject of great
importance to the United States.
Minister Sattar also met with Under Secretary Pickering to discuss other
important issues. Secretary Albright briefly joined that meeting. They
viewed the steps that Pakistan has taken to restore a democratically
elected civilian government. While the United States is pleased that
General Musharraf has accepted the Pakistan Supreme Court three-year time
limit for restoring democracy, we continue to believe that a detailed road
map should be presented and that the process should be carried out as
quickly as possible.
Minister Sattar and Under Secretary Pickering discussed our shared concerns
about terrorism, Usama bin Laden, and ending the use of Afghanistan as a
haven for terrorists. They also talked about Pakistan's economic reform
efforts. Under Secretary Pickering noted that the United States supported
the reform measures to overcome Pakistan's economic difficulties.
That's the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
QUESTION: A question on that. Mr. Abdus Sattar came here with a
proposal for reciprocal nuclear restraint by Pakistan and India. Can you
tell us whether they discussed that, and how does the United States feel
about that? Do you have any ideas on how they might go about agreeing on
MR. BOUCHER: I think the issues that we discussed are quite clear. It
involved a considerable amount of restraint and adherence to international
regimes with regard to nuclear issues. That's our position. I don't have
a comment on any specific positions that he might have brought.
QUESTION: Can we still stay on this?
MR. BOUCHER: Okay, we'll stay on this and then we'll do Cuba.
QUESTION: You mentioned Usama bin Laden. Has there been any further
sign that the Pakistanis are going to help find him or help the US bring
him to justice in some respect?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything new on that. I think that's the only
way I can answer that.
QUESTION: Do you have anything new to tell us about the proposals to
toughen the sanctions against the leadership of the Taliban? And what's
your response to Abdus Sattar's comment that these sanctions are, in fact,
counter-productive and that the best thing to do is to engage with the
MR. BOUCHER: I didn't see those comments, but I think certainly I can say
that we believe that the best thing to do is to carry out the United
Nations resolutions with regard to the Taliban and to continue the efforts
that we're making to see that they live up to those.
As far as tightening the sanctions, I'll see if I can get your something on
QUESTION: Do you have any comment or reaction to the proposal of Senator
Dodd to create a new bipartisan commission to review the US policy toward
Cuba in the last 40 years?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check and see if the Administration has taken a
position on that. I don't know at this point.
QUESTION: Two quick questions about the talks at Bolling and Andrews.
The difficulty with the prisoner release and with the third redeployment
were probably discussed with the President. Are those talks continuing in
the absence of the Secretary or are they breaking up today, or what is the
situation? And I have a follow-up on that.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay. The talks at Bolling and Andrews are ongoing.
Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Barak both remain committed to working
to achieve a peace agreement. We've said the parties have expressed their
desire to have American help. We're doing that. President Clinton has
made clear that we're willing to do whatever it takes to get there.
As far as the issue of another troop withdrawal, this was an issue that was
discussed between the President and Chairman Arafat yesterday, as well as
by the Secretary in her lunch with Chairman Arafat. It remains an issue of
discussion between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The important thing
is that both parties continue constructive discussions on issues like
QUESTION: May I have a follow-up on that? You didn't mention the
prisoner issue. As you know, they've offered only 3 out of 250, and there
are 10 Americans among those 1,500 being held by the Israelis. We have
affidavits indicating that there were torture and confessions forced from
some of those Americans, and I know that the Secretary raised this with
Foreign Minister Levy -- am I saying that correctly -- last August/September.
Is there any advance on the subject of raising with the Israeli Government
the release of Americans who obviously have been committed with torture and
false confessions in the background?
MR. BOUCHER: I have to check on anything -- any update of the
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: On the --
MR. BOUCHER: I was going to go over here, if I can. I'm going to stand
more squarely in the center. George.
QUESTION: Good idea. Did you see the story in the Post about the
consequences of the air campaign in the no --
QUESTION: Can we please stay with the Israeli-Palestinian talks?
QUESTION: Go ahead.
QUESTION: You asked yesterday about taking a position on the June 23
deadline for the third withdrawal.
MR. BOUCHER: I asked?
QUESTION: You were asked. Can you tell us whether -- you didn't have
an answer yesterday. Do you have an answer on that one? And why is it
that the United States is so reluctant to take a position on implementation
of agreements which are, in fact, written down and public?
MR. BOUCHER: Jonathan, I think I was just asked about another troop
withdrawal, and I just gave you an answer on that.
QUESTION: You didn't take -- you didn't say whether you were_ --
_whether your position
was that the agreement should -- that the withdrawal should take place
prior to June the 23, which is the question.
MR. BOUCHER: I was just asked about what our view is of another troop
withdrawal, and I gave you our position on that. Now, I didn't say what
you want me to say, but I said what our position is.
MR. BOUCHER: I said the important thing is that the both parties continue
constructive discussions on issues like these.
QUESTION: You're still not taking a position on whether --
MR. BOUCHER: That's our view of the situation.
QUESTION: Why are you so reluctant to take a position on implementation
of a written agreement?
MR. BOUCHER: I've told you what our position is. Why am I reluctant to
take the position that you're advocating for me? Because that's not our
QUESTION: Whoa, wait. Well, first, I don't think he's advocating any
position. But you haven't -- you just said it was discussed. Anyway,
that's not my question.
MR. BOUCHER: I'm asked a question about this issue. I'll tell you what I
can. I'll tell you what our view is. But I can't just go putting words
into my own mouth.
QUESTION: Okay, can I ask you this, then? Obviously, you're now deeply
engaged in this Israeli-Palestinian thing. Have you yet got to the stage
of making your own proposals?
MR. BOUCHER: That's a question I'll have to check on, whether we've made
any so-called bridging proposals, as they are known in the trade.
QUESTION: You say that the talks at Bolling and Andrews are ongoing. Do
you have any kind of idea -- I guess the Palestinians are saying that
they expect them to be over on Sunday. Is that a likely time frame? And,
also, do you have -- is Dennis Ross' trip next week contingent on when
these talks end? Or has that been set or has it not been set?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have dates yet for Dennis Ross' trip next week. I
think we said yesterday we would expect the talks to continue for a few
days. That's not inconsistent with what you might have heard elsewhere.
QUESTION: Well, I know it's not. But is his trip out there, is it
contingent on when this "few days" is over? I mean, are we looking at
early next week, the middle of next week, end of next week, for him to
MR. BOUCHER: We're looking at next week for him to go. I would expect he
would go after the talks in Washington, after the discussions in Washington
had concluded and when the negotiators travel back to the region to talk to
their leaders. At some point then --
QUESTION: The answer to my question, then, being yes?
MR. BOUCHER: I think that's right. "Contingent" is a little strong.
QUESTION: All right, Richard, I have another question on that. Is this
partly a result of waiting for the new Barak Government, if there is one,
or waiting for things to settle down in Israeli politics?
MR. BOUCHER: No.
QUESTION: Is that why Ross is being so indeterminate on what she's going
to do? She's not going to Damascus this time?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any specifics on the stops in the Middle
QUESTION: You said the talks are ongoing. Can you just be a little more
specific? Can you say that both tracks -- in both tracks of talks the
Israelis and Palestinians sat down together today?
MR. BOUCHER: The meetings at Bolling and Andrews are ongoing.
QUESTION: Did you hear anything after the meeting yesterday between
Chairman Arafat and Shlomo Ben Ami? The two met briefly at Andrews as
Arafat was leaving. Did you hear anything out of that meeting?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a readout of their meeting. I knew that the
parties were going to meet yesterday and have discussions. I don't really
exactly know who, and I certainly don't have a readout of their meeting.
QUESTION: Same issue? When you say "ongoing," of course, that leaves
two things out: whether they actually met today and whether it's the
Americans meeting with either or both groups separately or they meeting
with each other. It's not an academic question; it goes to the Palestinians
having broken off part of the talks and demanding now, through an anonymous
negotiator, that the prisoners issue and the withdrawal issue be resolved
within 10 days or -- because they don't know her schedule either, any
more than we do -- before Albright gets there.
So can you tell us if they actually had face-to-face talks today? And I
guess that's the point. Did they meet today, and are they between Israelis
and Palestinians as well as between Americans and either or both sides?
MR. BOUCHER: I think it's fairly clear, at least to me, to say that the
talks are ongoing at Bolling and Andrews is to say that they are having
meetings at both locations between the parties. To say that we are
participating means that some of those meetings involve us as well.
I'm not sure I'll ever be able to give you a precise schedule of meetings
and say that they have met as of this moment. But there are ongoing talks
between the parties at both locations.
QUESTION: You may have seen the story in The Post this morning about the
attacks over the past 18 months in the no-fly zones and the toll on the
civilian population in Iraq. Is that State Department or Pentagon
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think, first of all, the Pentagon will give you more
information and operational details. But I do want to take the opportunity
to talk about some of the basic facts of the no-fly zones.
They were established under UN Security Council Resolution 688 following
the Iraqi regime's brutal action against its own citizens in the south and
the threat against Iraqi citizens in the north. The American and British
flights in the no-fly zones are there to maintain protection for Iraqi
citizens in those regions. There is no relationship between enforcement of
the no-fly zones and the United States regime change policy for Iraq.
Coalition aircraft act in response to Iraqi threats. They never target
civilians or civilian facilities. If Iraq would stop targeting these
aircraft that are carrying out a humanitarian mission of protection, there
would be no need for pilots to respond in self-defense. Since the no-fly
zones were established, they have succeeded in preventing the Iraqi regime
from using air power to threaten citizens in the south and the north as
they have done in the past.
Under this protection and with UN supervision in the region, Iraqi citizens
in the north live in far better conditions than Iraqis who live under the
rule of Saddam Hussein. We look forward to the day when these protective
flights are no longer needed and to an Iraqi Government that respects and
protects its own people.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- just a minor question. Are the French part
of one of the no-fly zone operations, as they have been? They were
balking -- if you happen to know?
MR. BOUCHER: I'd have to check on that, Barry. I don't remember.
QUESTION: On the same topic. You know, this ongoing public relations
problem that the Administration and the State Department have over Iraq.
Pickering was heckled loudly with a group of Arab-Americans last week and
that was over Oil-For-Food and now this Washington Post article got a great
deal of prominence and led with the death of a 13-year-old innocent
So in terms of just the public relations of the US policy towards Iraq,
including Great Britain in the no-fly zones as well, but what are your
concerns in terms of how other Security Council members have become
increasingly distanced from US policy?
MR. BOUCHER: I think the first thing to say is that these resolutions
continue in effect. The policies continue in place because they are the
right policies and they are the best policies for all of us. Naturally,
any time innocent civilians are killed, it's a very regrettable incident.
These facts are very regrettable. The suffering of the Iraqi people is
But we follow policies which we think and firmly believe are in the best
interests of the Iraqi people. We remember the use of aircraft by Saddam
Hussein to bomb and kill his people in the south and in the north. And we
think that the kind of protection afforded by the no-fly zones is what's
preventing that from happening again. We remember and note the cruelties
with which Saddam Hussein's regime has handled his own people. We know
that they are the major impediment to full implementation of the Oil-For-
Food Program. Where the Iraqi Government is not in the way, in the north,
UNICEF and other reports show that the health and welfare of the population
is much better.
So we try to make these programs work. We try to help the Iraqi people
where we can, whether it's protection of the no-fly zones or the Oil-For-
Food Program and helping get them the kind of food and medicines that they
need to survive. But in the end, the fact that the Saddam Hussein regime
maintains a kind of cruelty against its own people that it's always had, is
really the best argument in favor of maintaining the kind of sanctions
regimes and UN resolutions that we still do have, so that they do not again
become the kind of threat to the neighborhood and to their own people that
they were in the past.
QUESTION: Would it be a fair and accurate paraphrasal of your remarks to
say that these civilian casualties are a regrettable but acceptable
collateral damage for a good policy, or at least a well-intentioned
MR. BOUCHER: No.
QUESTION: As you know, last week one of the chief advisors on arms
control to the State Department, Richard Garland, spoke here on limited
missile defense shield. And he said it would be far easier to put a shield
over North Korea than an umbrella over the United States. And his proposal
was actually very similar to that of the Russian president.
Subsequently, our government rejected the Russian proposal and there was a
very large article yesterday in The Washington Post you probably saw about
the fact that our assistance on constructing missile defense is undercutting
our credibility in all the arms control treaties, including the NPT. And
can you comment on the inconsistency between general policy and the
suggestions and advice of the top advisors to the State Department in
MR. BOUCHER: All right, there are a lot of pieces involved in that; let
me try to break them down a little bit.
First of all, on the issue of umbrellas or boost phase or some of these
other ideas that are out there that we've heard from the Russians and
elsewhere, we do in fact have cooperative relationships with the Russians
on various aspects of theater missile defense. We see these ideas as
potentially valuable; we are willing to explore them. But they do not
appear to deal with the kind of threat that we see emerging. We consider
them possible complements but not substitutes for the kind of missile
defense we think we need to pursue. That's been made quite clear; that's
been discussed, and I think we had more discussions when Secretary Cohen
was in Moscow the other day.
On the other aspect of sort of where we stand in the arms control regimes
generally, we have had what we consider a very successful review conference
for the Nonproliferation Treaty in New York. I would say, despite some of
the criticisms of the United States and, in particular, our failure to
ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, we are able to pursue these arms
control regimes and try to strengthen them and build on them.
Naturally, we hope that other things could happen, like ratification of the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, that would help us in that endeavor and so
we wouldn't hear the criticism. But, in the end, we managed to get a
successful result from a conference in New York.
QUESTION: The United Nations inspectors from the International Atomic
Agency, the IAEA, said that they proposed that aggressive diplomacy would
be a far more effective way of handling this and they said that North Korea
was, in fact, very cooperative with their efforts to have ongoing
inspections. So there seems to be at least from other -- other analysts
a real reduction in the threat from these few small countries, and how then
to justify such a large-scale program?
MR. BOUCHER: I guess what I would have to say on that is, I think if you
asked our friends, neighbors and adversaries around the world, they would
feel that we have been pursuing pretty aggressive diplomacy on the issues
of nonproliferation, export controls, missile technology and the other
international regimes that are in place, largely with the strong support
through the work of the United States. We do cooperate with many countries
in this regard, but it hasn't prevented successfully at this point the
emergence of capabilities that we're going to have to deal with.
As we see these capabilities proliferate around the world, we continue to
try the diplomatic route of putting in place the kind of regimes on
technology and other components that could prevent the spread of these
kinds of weapons. But we nonetheless see technologies emerging and
capabilities emerging in the near future, and part of that judgment and
that ongoing assessment is what will form the President's decision.
We see these technologies emerging, capabilities emerging, that we have to
deal with because they're a threat to the United States.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Boucher. Ken Bacon yesterday did reveal from
the meetings with the Russians, Mr. Cohen's meetings with the Russians in
Moscow on this national missile defense matter, he did reveal that the
Russians -- Putin had said to Mr. Cohen that they wanted teams to get
together and bridge the gap. And apparently on the 25th of June, there
will be a meeting of experts on missile defense in Moscow to do just
And my question is, that's a good thing, I'm sure. Second is, does this
represent the beginning of Russia and the United States doing what the
President suggested about getting together, working together on missile
defense? Has that started, do you think?
MR. BOUCHER: I hate it when somebody gives my only news on the subject in
the question. Okay, we had a statement on strategic stability that was
issued in Moscow, as you correctly note, with the President during the
President's visit there. And in that context, we noted that we would
follow up when we had discussions.
We do agree that we face a growing missile threat; the United States and
Russia do, as noted in that statement. Russia, as you know, has made some
proposals on how to address this threat, which we are studying. We've
agreed to talk with the Russians -- and with our NATO allies as well_ --
_frankly about theater missile defense systems. And as the President has
agreed, this goes back actually to agreement between President Clinton and
former President Yeltsin in Cologne last June and then again during the
Moscow summit. The US is engaged in high-level discussions with Russia on
the ABM Treaty.
Since Cologne, we've had extensive discussions with senior Russian
officials on both START III and ABM issues. These discussions are ongoing
and there's a bilateral meeting in this context that's being held in Moscow
on the 25th.
QUESTION: So what do you think? Have we begun the process of colluding
with the Russians on missile defense, on defending against rogue nations?
MR. BOUCHER: Again, I refer you back to the statements issued in Moscow.
We've always had a willingness to cooperate with the Russians on theater
missile defense. In Moscow, in the statement, you will see an acknowledgment
that there is a threat and naturally we continue to believe that the
national missile defense will be necessary to deal with that threat.
QUESTION: Richard, on the same subject?
MR. BOUCHER: Let's try this side.
QUESTION: Different subject. That's okay.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay, let's stick with this.
QUESTION: Just this morning, Putin has issued -- basically issued an
invitation for Europe to join with the US and Russia in cooperating on
missile defense. And I'm wondering if you think this is anything new or is
this just basically what, you know, the US has said all along? Or are the
Russians trying to preempt possible US plans for a larger scale system by
making this invitation?
MR. BOUCHER: I think we've seen ideas like this before. I don't know the
exact nature of President Putin's statement today. We have discussions
with the Russians on all these strategic issue and we have cooperation, or
try to have cooperation, on theater missile defense in other areas. We're
setting up, you know, joint early warning in Moscow on these things.
At the same time, I have to say, we have been through this subject quite
extensively. The President has decisions to make in the near future
because there is an emerging threat. Russians have recognized that threat
in the statements in Moscow. The question now is how to deal with
As we've looked at the question of how to deal with it, we continue to come
back to the National Missile Defense as the most viable option to deal with
this. And these other ideas that we've seen, some of them have been looked
at, some of them will be studied further. But we see them as potential
complements and not a substitute for the need for a real National Missile
That decision -- final decisions on these things will be made by the
President according to the four key factors.
QUESTION: Which is all great. But what about this invitation that Putin
just made to the Europeans?
MR. BOUCHER: Not knowing the specifics of it, I would lump it in with
these various ideas that have been discussed, that deserve more study and
discussion, but that we don't see it as a substitute.
QUESTION: In Japan, the Dowager Empress died today, and I was just
wondering if you had a comment on that.
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to get you something later on that. I'm
QUESTION: This may be news to you too, but Kofi Annan announced that all
Israeli troops have withdrawn from Lebanon finally. You haven't heard
anything on that, perhaps?
MR. BOUCHER: As I came in here, I was still told it was expected
QUESTION: You didn't prepare something in case? No?
MR. BOUCHER: The verification process is nearing completion. We hope the
Secretary General will be able to confirm the withdrawal this weekend. So
if he's done it already --
QUESTION: He's done it.
MR. BOUCHER: Obviously, this is something he's been working on for quite
a while, something we've welcomed. And we will again look for all parties
to cooperate with the United Nations to help implement Resolution 425 and
maintain peace, stability, security and restraint in the area.
QUESTION: Apparently the wife of Edmond Pope feels that the Government
hasn't done all it can on behalf of her husband. Can you comment on that,
MR. BOUCHER: We talked about this quite a bit yesterday.
QUESTION: Do you have anything to add?
MR. BOUCHER: I guess what I'd say is that we have raised the issues of
concern about Mr. Pope repeatedly and at pretty senior levels in Russia. I
was asked yesterday what level we've raised the letters question and,
frankly, I didn't have an answer on that. But I think we do need to point
out that we have raised with the Russian Government the specific issue of
his not having received the more than 50 letters. We have raised the
general issues related to Mr. Pope's situation.
Ambassador Collins has personally raised Mr. Pope's situation on two
separate occasions with Deputy Foreign Minister Mamedov on May 30 and again
yesterday, just before we spoke. Both times, Ambassador Collins requested
that the Russian Government provide the Embassy with additional details
about the specific actions of Mr. Pope that led to his arrest and charge,
as well as more information about the time for the investigation.
Ambassador Collins also requested that, in light of Mr. Pope's medical
history and condition, that the Russian Government release Mr. Pope from
prison to remain in Moscow where his family can arrange for him to be seen
by appropriate medical specialists familiar with his condition pending
further adjudication of his case.
QUESTION: I have three questions on Latin America on three different
countries. First on Chile, the loss of Mr. Pinochet, of his senatorial
privilege, do you think will change the investigation of human rights by
the United States?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. That's something I'd have to check on. I'm
QUESTION: And second, on Mexico, Lino Gutierrez, the Assistant Secretary
for the Western Hemisphere Affairs, in the House told the legislators there
will be no surprise for the United States if there will be claims of fraud
and irregularities on the elections of July the 2nd. And two opposition
candidates in Mexico have just said there is kind of intervention by the
United States in the Mexican national issues. Do you have any response to
MR. BOUCHER: No, I'd just say we stand by the testimony.
QUESTION: Stand by the testimony. And the last one on Cuba. Senator
Dodd -- you said you didn't see the proposal for the new bipartisan
commission, but he said that the United States is playing a two-faced
foreign policy toward Communist countries. There is now the Administration
position to have permanent commercial relations with China and now you are
thinking about to lift sanctions against North Korea. And the Administration
is saying your policy of commerce and contact with Communist countries will
be at the end, open the door for new change in those countries. And he
says, why cannot it be with Cuba now? Do you have any response to those
MR. BOUCHER: I haven't seen the full context of the Senator's remarks. I
would say that we have seen those kinds of arguments before and the thing
that we point out is, first of all, you can't have the same policy for
every country in the world because countries are different and situations
are different. And, frankly, in different situations, you want to apply a
different mix of pressures and incentives.
Second of all, we respond best to places where there has been a fundamental
decision for change. We have made quite clear that our policy towards Cuba
would change dramatically if there was democratic government in Cuba.
QUESTION: In the case of North Korea, you are worried about the threats
of nuclear attacks. Cuba doesn't have any things like that.
MR. BOUCHER: That's pointing out that things are different in different
places. We have different policies to deal with those things.
QUESTION: Why you are still applying a US policy that has been in place
for almost 40 years and Fidel Castro is still in power? It's obviously a
failure of the US policy toward Cuba. Isn't it, 40 years?
MR. BOUCHER: Would you like me to agree with that? No.
Look, it may be the right policy to pursue. It may continue to be the
right policy. Certainly there have been a succession of administrations of
both parties, including I would say responsible people from both parties on
the Hill and elsewhere who believe this is the right policy to pursue. The
Secretary has in recent years -- the Administration has -- tried to
open up a bit more contact and space for contacts with the Cuban people
because we don't want them to be the ones to suffer. But vis-a-vis our
attitude towards the government, I don't think that necessarily has to
change with the duration of time; I think that should change with the
change of policy in the Cuban government.
QUESTION: Are the Cuban people suffering as a result of this policy?
You say you don't want them to suffer. It's 40 years. There might be some
impact by now on the Cuban people. Can you measure it and are they doing
as well as the -- I don't know what, some of your other targets?
MR. BOUCHER: Barry, I think I'd have to say that we think that the
suffering and the difficulties experienced by the Cuban people are the
result of the Cuban Government and not the result of our sanctions. And to
the extent that we can open up some avenues for the Cuban people to have a
better life, we're happy to do that.
QUESTION: Richard, on the same subject, should the Castro Government
draw the conclusion that the way to gain Washington's attention is to
develop a nuclear and a missile program_ --
MR. BOUCHER_: No, I think they should draw the conclusion that the way to
draw our attention and have better policy is to have a democratic
QUESTION: On Albania, the other day you issued a travel advisory for
Albania. Do you know what prompted you to do that and -
MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry, I'm not hearing the question.
QUESTION: Sir, the other day you issued a travel advisory for Albania.
Do you know what prompted you to do that and how long will it be effective,
this travel advisory?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to go back and look at the text. I think the text
of the travel advisory usually explains the reasons for it.
QUESTION: Can we go back to Draskovic for a second?
MR. BOUCHER: Okay.
QUESTION: Do you have any reason to believe the accusations made by him
and his wife that Milosevic was personally behind -- not pulling the
trigger, I mean, but -
MR. BOUCHER: I think, technically, that the details of the shooting are
still under investigation in Montenegro. We do take seriously the
statements by Draskovic and by the Montenegrin Government that assign blame
to Belgrade. But I don't have any independent information for you.
QUESTION: What does that mean, you take seriously? Does that mean you
MR. BOUCHER: That means we take them very seriously.
QUESTION: But does -- well, do you believe that Milosevic personally
is behind not just this attack but also previous ones, the ones that were
perpetrated against his opponents?
MR. BOUCHER: Matt, I don't_ --
QUESTION_: Okay, you can answer that.
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any independent information to share with you.
We have seen the statement by both Mr. Draskovic and by the Montenegrin
Government, and we treat those statements with great seriousness because we
believe that those are responsible people in this situation.
As far as the general climate and the many other things that have occurred,
I said before that we hold the Milosevic Government responsible for the
climate of lawlessness and for many of these things that are occurring.
Does that mean that I can actually accuse him of a specific crime? Maybe
not. But the general atmosphere that is being created there and the
situation that has been created there by the Milosevic regime to us is
quite clear and is very much his responsibility.
QUESTION: Just to recall, you have joined on in accusations, specific
accusations against Milosevic before -
MR. BOUCHER: If we have the information, we'll join in. At this point, I
am not able to do that on this particular situation.
QUESTION: You said you take the statements seriously. Would it be too
far to say you don't differ with his statement?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't differ with those statements; no, we don't
QUESTION: But taking the fact that the Secretary will be out of the
country, when are we going to have the announcement of another suspension
of Chapter 3 of the Helms-Burton? She has to.
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know the timing of that. I can't tell you at this
QUESTION: It has to be next week.
MR. BOUCHER: I assume then it will be, if it has to be. We'll get it
done one way or the other.
QUESTION: Mr. Gusinskiy has now been charged with embezzlement. Have
you prepared anything on that? Does this kind of change your -- does
this appease your concerns to any extent, the fact that they've charged
him? Or are you suspicious of the charges against him, as you were
suspicious against the motives for the raid on his headquarters?
MR. BOUCHER: I'd go back to what I said yesterday, basically. We're
aware of the fact that he's now been charged with violating Section 159 of
the Criminal Code, of large-scale fraud. I think I mentioned yesterday
that Ambassador Collins was raising our concerns with senior Russian
officials in Moscow yesterday and his lawyers are now saying it's unlikely
he'll be released soon.
Our concern remains where it was yesterday, that there be due process, that
the rights and the protections accorded in the Russian constitution be
respected. And we've noted the fact that many Russian political and
business leaders have spoken out over apparent political motivation behind
Gusinskiy's arrest and the raid on Media Most. Russia's international
standing will be severely damaged, we believe, if the government lets stand
actions that are intended to intimidate independent media and those with
whom it does not agree. There have been a series of events in Russia which
have drawn our attention to this and we are following these circumstances
QUESTION: Okay, but independently of what prominent Russians have said,
do you have any reason to believe that these charges are politically
MR. BOUCHER: I guess I would probably have to say we take those concerns
very seriously. The circumstances and the series of events that have
occurred are, indeed, of concern to us.
QUESTION: Is the timing significant, so soon after the President's trip
and his pitch, or the US pitch, for press freedom and other virtues of
democracy? Is this, do you think, some sort of slap at the United States
that they moved so soon after the summit as they did?
MR. BOUCHER: There have been a series of events, Barry, and some of them,
like the raid on the Media Most headquarters, occurred before the summit.
This perhaps more difficult event, more grave event, has occurred after the
summit. What we're concerned about is this pattern that seems to be
developing and the prospects that this is a politically motivated campaign
against the media. We think independent media are a very important part of
free society. The President and the Secretary made that point quite
clearly when they were in Moscow.
(The briefing concluded at 2:10 P.M..)
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