U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #61, 00-06-19
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
Monday, June 19, 2000
Briefer: Richard Boucher, Spokesman_
1 Hamouda Children Reunited With Mother
1 Easing Sanctions on North Korea
1 Community of Democracies Briefing with Assistant Secretary of State
1-6,8,9 Easing Sanctions on North Korea
2-4 Restrictions on Trade and Missile Testing
3-4 Reducing Tension on the Peninsula
5-10 "States of Concern" versus "Rogue States"
10-11 Milosevic Exit Strategy
12 Senate FRC Hearings, Carpenter, Grossman Testimony
12-13 ABM Treaty/Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott Meeting with
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mamedov/Secretary Cohen's Meeting
with Russian Defense Minister Sergeyev and President Putin
13-14 UN Withdrawal, the Security Council Resolution 425; Secretary
Albright Talk with President Lahud
13,20 Secretary of State Albright and Dennis Ross' Travel to the Middle
East; No Meeting with Iran President
14-15 Death of US Citizens
14 The Chilean National Truth and Reconciliation Commission
15-16 Investigation of Human Rights Abuses
14-15 Death of Horman, Teruggi, Weisfeiler
15 Murder of Fernando Letelier and his American Assistant, Ronni
15-16 Postponement of Migration Talks, Preoccupation with Elian Gonzalez
16-17 President of the Provisional Electoral Council flees to the US
17-18 Agreement Signed by the Foreign Ministers on cessation of
17 Status of UN Peacekeeping Mission
19-20 Elections/International Observers from the National Democratic
Institute, the International Republican Institute, and Embassy
19 Cuban Doctors
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPB # 61
_MONDAY, JUNE 19 2000 12:15 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)_
MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We'll be putting out
a couple statements today. The first one deals with the reuniting of three
daughters with their mother on June 18<SUP>th</SUP> at Dulles Airport. The
girls of the Hamouda family were returned after the intervention of the
State Department's Office of Children's Issues, the US Embassies in Beirut,
Riyadh and Bern, and law enforcement authorities, who helped locate them in
Lebanon. The children had been abducted by their father almost two months
ago from their home in Rockville, Maryland, so that's a good news story
that we'll be putting out a statement for you on after the briefing.
Second of all, we'll be giving you a fact sheet on the easing of sanctions
on North Korea that we've talked about before. The <I>Federal Register</I>
notice is out today with a full and complete description. We'll give you a
fact sheet as well. And we are going forward with implementation of these
steps that were announced in September of last year, and you'll remember
the context was the improvement in relations, the missile talks that we had
had, and the continuation of the missile moratorium. All those things
continue and remain important to us.
I remind you of the briefing by Assistant Secretary of State Harold Koh
this afternoon at 2:30 on the Community of Democracies, and just mention
that we're trying to put together a briefing on at least the early portions
of the trip that we're about to embark upon tomorrow night. And we'll get
more information to you on that. I'm not clear whether we're going to do
it today or tomorrow, but we're working on doing something on that so stay
All right, with those mentions, I'd like to take your questions right now.
QUESTION: Are you able to elaborate at all on the prospective impact of
the easing of sanctions against North Korea?
MR. BOUCHER: Let me talk a little bit about what it is, give you a
clearer picture on that. And then we'll have to see on the prospective
impact, I think is probably the best answer; that this is a part of a
process, as you know, that was designed by Secretary Perry, former
Secretary Perry. The idea was that we would address issues of concern and
that we would continue to work in a process.
In September 1999, the President announced his decision to ease some of the
sanctions under his authority. The sanctions that we're easing will allow
most imports and exports of non-sensitive consumer goods. Also permitted
in the easing are direct financial transfers from one person to another,
such as from a family in the United States to family members in North
Korea, or for legitimate commercial purposes.
The decision also allows for relaxation of most restrictions on investment
and on transportation rules to permit US commercial vessels and aircraft
carrying approved goods to call at North Korean ports, subject to existing
The step does not unblock frozen assets or address claim settlements
issues, nor does it affect our counter-terrorism or nonproliferation
controls on North Korea which prohibit exports of military or dual-use
items and most types of US assistance. Restrictions currently in place due
to US missile sanctions and multilateral arrangements will also remain in
It is our understanding and expectation that North Korea will continue to
refrain from testing any long-range missiles for the duration of our
negotiations that are aimed at improving our relations. Of course, we will
judge North Korea as we always have, based on its adherence to its
commitments, and the US decision to ease a limited number of sanctions is
not just based on North Korean promises alone.
At the same time, further steps to improve our relations will look
obviously at other North Korean actions in other priority areas that are of
concern to us as well. As far as the commercial implications, there are
members of the US Chamber of Commerce in Korea that are looking at
traveling up there to see what the opportunities are.
I think we have to be realistic and understand that the actual
opportunities for trade may be limited by the state of North Korea's
economy, but the fact here is that the United States is making it possible
to engage in consumer transactions, normal transactions while not changing
our regulations on terrorism, nonproliferation concerns, missiles, and
military use goods.
QUESTION: Building on that last point, I mean what theoretically --
possibly, what do you expect that the United States might import from a
country that's leading imports seem to be kind of misery and starving
refugees across the border into China? Is there any goods that North Korea
now produces that might be exportable to the United States?
MR. BOUCHER: I think, Matt, the key issue in this easing of sanctions by
the US Government is precisely to say that's no longer a US Government
decision; that's a commercial decision the commercial people can make on a
commercial basis. Trade both ways, so that will be up for entrepreneurs
and traders to figure out if there is.
QUESTION: You actually don't know of any product --
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not forecasting some explosion in trade, or some
particular product that would be traded. The point is that we're allowing
most of these decisions in all areas that are not sensitive, that don't
involve sensitive goods either way, imports or exports from the United
States, we're allowing those decisions to be made by commercial people on a
QUESTION: Can I just ask -- you said that relaxation of rules for
investors. Does that mean that people will no longer need a license to do
MR. BOUCHER: I think licenses will still be required, but people will
have to get them. That is something -- I'm trying to see if I have the
exact language, or if that's just something I happen to know. All right,
we'll have to get you the precise language on what licenses are required.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- Treasury, Commerce?
MR. BOUCHER: I think it's Treasury that handles these things.
QUESTION: You said that in terms of other further steps that might be
taken in terms of North Korea beyond the easing of sanctions, you'll have
to continue to look at North Korea in action in other areas. What might
those other further steps include, and what action in other areas will you
be looking at?
MR. BOUCHER: I think it's probably speculative at this point on what the
exact next steps will be. We will continue our discussions with North
Korea on the Agreed Framework, on the missile issues, basically dealing
with the nuclear questions, the missile questions, and the whole process of
improving a relationship in the future. That process can involve a whole
series of steps, as forecast in the Perry Report.
QUESTION: Senator Helms said Sunday that if this is a genuine
reconciliation between North and South Korea, the United States should look
at pulling out the 37,000 troops it has there. What's your response to
MR. BOUCHER: The question of US troops in Korea is really a question
solely to be addressed by the United States and South Korea, the Republic
of Korea. We will do that. I think that's quite clear. We very much
welcome the change in atmosphere and the prospect for a reduction of
tensions on the Peninsula, but our troops are there as long as we and the
South Koreans think they're necessary for defense, and that situation
hasn't really changed at this stage.
QUESTION: There was an old-style attack on the United States in the North
Korean media over the weekend. How much weight do you attach to that? Do
you dismiss it as just a sort of reflex of the old style, or --
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I would say it's outdated rhetoric. It's a bit
puzzling why it appeared in publication at this point but, to make
absolutely clear, the report is incorrect; we are not increasing tensions
or escalating the risk of war on the Peninsula.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- just the North Koreans who are doing that, right?
MR. BOUCHER: Matt, I don't want to counter charges with counter-charges.
Let's just say the report -- any implication that we're somehow increasing
tensions is just plain wrong. We welcome the inter-Korean summit. We hope
that the progress it has started will lead to reduced tensions on the
Korean Peninsula and, for that matter, we'd look forward to a reduction in
this kind of outdated rhetoric as well.
QUESTION: You say it's your expectation that the North Koreans will
continue to refrain from missile testing. Is that based on a statement or
assurances from them?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, they've had a missile moratorium in place. We made
quite clear when we announced the easing of sanctions in September of last
year that it was done in the context of our talks on missiles and of their
moratorium on missiles. That remained very important to us then, and it
remains very important to us now. I think I have to stop at that.
QUESTION: Have you heard during the summit, were there any further
assurances given about missile testing?
MR. BOUCHER: That's a question you'll have to ask the South Koreans.
QUESTION: Why did you wait from September until now to ease the sanctions?
MR. BOUCHER: It just takes a long time. These are very complicated
regulations that have been built up over 50 years. It involves a lot of
people in the bureaucracy, a lot of lawyers. And I think when we announced
in September, we said it would take many months, and we've said something
like six months, and the answer is: Everything always takes longer then you
QUESTION: You probably answered this before, but does the United States
believe that North Korea is still able to develop its missile program
without carrying out these very obvious tests?
MR. BOUCHER: Sorry?
QUESTION: Does the United States believe that North Korea is still able
to develop its missile program without carrying out tests? And there was a
follow-on to that.
MR. BOUCHER: You mean, can you develop a missile without testing it? I
don't know, that's kind of a factual matter. We do know that they have a
fairly advanced program. Let's put it that way.
QUESTION: So you would still see them -- that this continuing moratorium
doesn't make any difference to the equation in terms of NMD?
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, I wouldn't be forecasting any change on missile
defense. I don't think -- well, let's put it this way, I don't think
anything has changed on missile defense at this point, and the evaluation
of the threat will have to take into account the capabilities that they
have developed over time.
QUESTION: Is the Trading With the Enemy Act sanctions, is that's what's
MR. BOUCHER: Bingo. Ease substantially sanctions in categories that fall
under the Trading With the Enemy Act, the export administration
regulations, and the Defense Production Act.
QUESTION: Can you tell us what remains -- I mean, for example, if we get
a visa to North Korea, does that mean that private people can spend as much
as they want, that you don't need to have the -- I mean, a license or
permission? I mean, when you talked about licenses, we'd like to know a
little more about that.
MR. BOUCHER: Direct personal and commercial financial transactions will
be allowed between US and North Korean persons. Again, I have to get the
exact language for you on licenses, just to make sure that we know which
pieces are subject to license and which aren't. I don't want to wing that
QUESTION: On a related matter, the Secretary said today, this morning,
that the United States has abandoned the expression "rogue states" in favor
of "states of concern." I wondered if you could sort of give us an idea of
the ideological shift that's involved in this change in terminology.
MR. BOUCHER: The vast ideological shift? First, I want credit for having
admitted that we changed something.
All right. The phrase "states of concern" is a more general phrase. I
think that the issue was whether you have one policy that tries to fit all,
and when all these states are opposed to the peace process and opposed to
the international situation and opposed to any form of liberalization and
democracy, it's easy to describe in one basket.
What we see now is a certain evolution, different ways in different places.
Some places that were described that way have embarked upon more democratic
internal life; others have been willing to address some of the issues that
are of primary concern to the United States; others have addressed
partially issues like terrorism but not completed what the UN, in the
example of Libya, has asked them to do in terms of cooperation with the
So the point, I think, is just a recognition that we have seen some
evolution in different ways in different places, and that we will deal
appropriately with each one based on the kind of evolution we're seeing and
what we think is possible in terms of getting them to live more
harmoniously with the international environment and, in particular, to
address the concerns that the United States has.
QUESTION: Does abandoning the "rogue state" tag mean that you're more
open to engage with such countries if you see the opportunity to encourage
them to change?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think if you look at what we've been doing, where we
have an opportunity to address our concerns, we have tried to address those
concerns. This is more a change in our description of things rather than a
change in what we've been doing, because we have been, for example, in the
case of North Korea finding ways to address our serious concerns about
nuclear weapons, about missiles, about the overall relationship, including
things such as terrorism.
With Libya, we continue to stress the importance of Libya meeting the UN
requirements on cooperation with the trial, even as we've noted in our
terrorism report that they've taken a certain numbers of steps -- and I
grant not complete ones yet -- on distancing themselves from certain
So I think it's just a recognition that what we were doing was, in fact,
addressing the issues where there had been decisions to make a change,
where there had been decisions to change the internal workings, like more
democracy in Iran or where there have been decisions on their parts to
address some of the issues that we were concerned about.
QUESTION: Can you explain to us why no one was told that she was going to
make the -- do this interview this morning? And it seems to be that only a
few people who heard about it from friends or whoever, who happen to listen
regularly to the Diane Rehm Show, were the only ones that were aware of it?
I mean, there's a schedule out that says no public appointments on it.
This is obviously a public appointment. She did announce -- apparently
announced this change in policy, and yet very few people in this room who
cover this building -- who would be interested in this -- knew about it.
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I'm sorry it wasn't on the public schedule. I do
believe it was advertised by the radio station, so it wasn't a secret. It
should have been on the public schedule, and I'm looking into finding out
why it wasn't.
QUESTION: Not being a regular listener of that station -- I mean, is that
how we're going to -- is this --
MR. BOUCHER: No, we're going to try to get you the information in the
future because it should have been there. Okay?
QUESTION: So now that you have countries that, I guess, are in between,
does that mean that there are going to be some countries that you wouldn't
go all the way to consider them "rogue states;" that you might have a new
category delineation like on the terrorism list, countries that aren't
state-sponsored terrorists but are not officially cooperating in terms of
MR. BOUCHER: I think the point is we're not trying to create new
categories; we're trying to deal with each situation in US interests. And
if we see a development that we think is in US interests, we will respond.
If we see "states of concern" that continue to be of concern because
they're not willing to deal with some of the issues we're concerned about
-- phew. If we see countries that are not willing to deal with the issues
that are most important to us, we're not going to have much of a response
QUESTION: Is "rogue state" then out of the lexicon as of today?
MR. BOUCHER: I haven't used it for a while.
QUESTION: Is it possible that some states will still be referred to as
"rogue states" if they --
MR. BOUCHER: If they want to be rogues, they can be rogues, but generally
we have not been using the term for a while, I think.
QUESTION: So it's not a matter of some countries continue to be "rogue
states" and others have progressed to "states of concern;" all of them
henceforth are "states of concern"?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: But does this lower the bar for what a "state of concern" is,
now that there's no "rogue state"?
MR. BOUCHER: Does this lower the bar? No, because, as I said, it's more
a description than a change in policy, because the issue is: Are various
countries whose activities around the world have been troubling to us, are
they actually dealing with the issues that we have been concerned about?
And if we are able to encourage them or pressure them or otherwise produce
changes in their behavior, and therefore a change in our relationship,
we're willing to do that. If they're not, then we're going to keep our
sanctions on and we're going to keep our restrictions on and we're not
going to change our policies.
QUESTION: PR-wise, does that make it easier for the Administration if you
ease sanctions on a "state of concern" than if you ease sanctions on a
"rogue state"? So isn't this just as much for you as it is them?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I think the determination will be state by state, where
if we do something with an individual country that people think is
unmerited, I think we'll hear about it.
QUESTION: Can you tell us how many there are?
MR. BOUCHER: No.
QUESTION: Has anybody actually done a rough list?
MR. BOUCHER: We have found the opportunity to express our concerns about
different states at different times in different ways. We try to deal with
each one on its behavior, on its actions, on its merits.
QUESTION: So there would be many, in fact, because you have often
expressed concern about various aspects of countries?
QUESTION: Is Pakistan a "state of concern"?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not trying to create new categories. The essence of
this is not trying to categorize people. The essence of this is trying to
describe our relationships with individual nations in terms of the issues
that are most important to the United States and our ability to make
progress on those issues.
QUESTION: So just coming out and saying that we're concerned about an
event in a country, wherever country, does not necessarily mean that it's a
"state of concern"?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not trying to categorize or re-categorize anybody. I'm
trying to say that we're going to deal with each country based on the
situation and the merits.
QUESTION: So are the same seven countries -- or however many countries it
was that were considered "rogue states" before -- are they all now
considered "states of concern"?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes, they would be. But I have to say the point is not to
categorize them; the point is to deal with each country on the basis of
what we can accomplish in terms of what we care about.
QUESTION: But when you change the category, that is necessarily a
MR. BOUCHER: We'll discuss that over lunch sometime. I think that's too
philosophical for me to deal with from the podium.
QUESTION: Well, I just want to know -- I mean, I think it's a valid
question. I mean, are there any more countries that are "states of
concern" than there were previously described as "rogue states"?
MR. BOUCHER: No, because we're not adding a large new category. We're
trying to say that we deal -- we changed the description, okay? Let's not
make this an enormous policy step. Our policies towards each of these
countries is very well known, and we've been quite clear over time -- we're
talking about North Korea today, talking about countries in our terrorism
report, talking about developments in Iran in the Secretary's speeches.
We've been quite clear about each of these countries where we saw good
things happening, where we wished to progress, where we thought we could
But we've been quite clear that we have different policies towards
different places because the key issue here is not to categorize or write a
book; the key issue is to get developments and progress on issues the
United States cares about because we have our interests in these places in
QUESTION: Can we change topics and go to the Balkans?
QUESTION: I just want to ask a question on the former rogue state of
North Korea. (Laughter).
MR. BOUCHER: The state previously known as rogue; is that it? (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Are they still going to be denied -- is the United States still
required to vote against World Bank and IMF loans to that country?
MR. BOUCHER: I think that's a consequence of their being on the terrorism
list, and therefore it would continue to be.
QUESTION: One more question on that. Wouldn't it be more accurate for
you to think of not "states of concern" but "issues of concern" to the
United States? And would you -- you started to give a list and you didn't
get very far with the list. Is there such a list?
MR. BOUCHER: This is descriptive. There are some countries with which we
have a lot of concerns. These correspond to the countries that we have
previously called "rogue states." The description of "states of concern"
is as good as any. I'm sure there's a thousand other that wordsmiths could
dream up. The point of this whole thing is to say that we will deal with
each of these countries based on the kind of relationship that we think we
can have, based on the kind of progress that we can have, that we can
actually see, on the issues that are most important to us.
QUESTION: Is it merely coincidental that this comes up on the same day as
we ease sanctions on North Korea, or was this something that was prompted
longer in the works, but prompted today by a redefinition of the North
MR. BOUCHER: I think it was prompted by questions, actually. As I said,
I think if you look back to my briefings, and Jamie's briefings, and the
Secretary's statements, that we actually haven't used the word "rogue" for
quite a while.
QUESTION: When was the definitive shift?
MR. BOUCHER: Over the past few months we've changed the terminology, I
QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- reason you've done this is because you think
there's a better chance of engaging with a country if you stop calling it a
MR. BOUCHER: No, I think it would be fair to say that we think the
category has outlived its usefulness.
QUESTION: This is more than just semantics, partly because this
Administration, in justifying publicly the need for a national missile
defense, was that it would guard against "rogue states," not against the
former Soviet Union, for example. Now, since it was the category, and it
was the justification for a national missile defense, does the term of
reference for national missile defense change at all?
MR. BOUCHER: No, absolutely not. The threat that the President -- one of
the four criteria the President's going to have to deal with is not based
on what term we're using for places, it's based on the fact that there are
nations out there who are developing missile capabilities who do not appear
to be bound by the traditional strategic stability that exists, for
example, between the United States and Russia, because of the network of
treaties that are involved.
Therefore, we need to look at other ways of dealing with that new threat
that's emerging, and the President will look at the threat and the cost and
the feasibility and the nature of the international arms control regime, as
we've said, in making that determination. This is not a cookie-cutter
approach; it's an attempt to say that we have to deal with each situation
as it comes.
QUESTION: You guys have just walked into a huge mine field, maybe a
rhetorical mine field, but I mean there are tons of countries out there,
and even some that are not official -- Afghanistan and Somalia, for
example, that are "states of concern" to the United States, that are not
"states of concern."
MR. BOUCHER: I guess what I would say, Matt, is we don't sit around here
with a basket marked "states of concern" and try to throw countries into it
every day. We actually grab situations, and try to work on them, and
improve the interests of the United States with regard to that situation.
If you look at what we've been doing, we have been dealing with these
issues, with these countries, with these developments overseas, in ways
that we thought were most advantageous to the United States.
It's not really a change in behavior or policy or what we're doing as much
as it is finding a better description, or a better description because a
single description, one size fits all, doesn't really fit any more.
QUESTION: Can we get a transcript of the Diane Rehm Show, though?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure it's probably available very soon.
QUESTION: Can you confirm or deny that any kinds of talks are taking
place, either formal or informal, as regards an exit strategy for
Milosevic, as reported by the <I>Times</I>, and anything else you want to
say about that article today?
MR. BOUCHER: There's no truth to the allegations that we're exploring or
seeking some kind of deal by which Milosevic would be allowed to leave
office with guarantees. The only place Milosevic should even consider
traveling to is The Hague. There's been no change in US policy that
Milosevic must go to The Hague to stand trial for war crimes. The policy
is fairly simple. It's: He should be out of power, out of the country, and
in The Hague.
QUESTION: I have a couple of questions on that. One is that there is
some admission from various Administration officials that, while no such
plan currently exists, that there have been informal talks, and that the
US, if such a plan existed, would have to consider it, and might even be
willing to accept it. Do you accept all of those premises?
MR. BOUCHER: No. We haven't seen any proposals along those lines, nor
would we be interested. Our policy remains very simple: Out of power, out
of the country and in The Hague. That's where we think he ought to go.
QUESTION: Okay, well, following up on that. You also distribute those
wanted posters for Milosevic with his face on it and everything, and I
think you got a letter from Senator Helms a couple months ago saying, I
know where he is, he's in Belgrade, and you can go get him any time you
want him. There's a lot of members of Congress who are saying if you
wanted to prosecute Milosevic as a war criminal you could do so, and the
Administration hasn't been very serious about pursuing that. Your response
to those criticisms?
MR. BOUCHER: We don't really accept them. Certainly he is an indicted
war criminal and needs to be brought to justice, but the actual mechanism
of doing that I think I have to leave to the side for the moment.
QUESTION: Can you asses the state of the opposition, I mean as long as
we're on the subject today, because the opposition is also mentioned in the
article as being very fragile and weak? Is that the US assessment of where
MR. BOUCHER: Without making any particular predictions, I think it's
clear that the opposition is growing, is widening, is quite clear that the
people of Serbia don't feel like they've had a choice, and it's quite clear
also that Milosevic is lashing out at independent voices, be they in the
media or the opposition or elsewhere. As we said the other day, that the
regime has created a climate of lawlessness that really harms all the
Serbian people. Our goal is to see that they can enjoy the same choice,
the same democracy that other people are being able to enjoy more and more
in the region.
QUESTION: Can you say whether this topic of trying to get rid of
Milosevic somehow has come up in talks in NATO or in other capitals? Are
our European allies becoming antsy enough about this that somebody is
looking for a way to get him out of there?
MR. BOUCHER: We have not seen any proposals along these lines, nor are we
interested in seeing any.
QUESTION: Have there been any informal discussions along these lines?
MR. BOUCHER: Again, we haven't seen any proposals like this. We're not
interested in the subject. We have a very clear policy: He's an indicted
war criminal, and he belongs in The Hague.
QUESTION: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently, just within
the past hour, faxed over a notice that there will be hearings, or it would
have hearings, on the subject of State Department security and that
Mr. Carpenter and his boss, whose name escapes me at the moment, would be
QUESTION: His boss is the Secretary.
QUESTION: Well, there was somebody else.
QUESTION: Grossman and Carpenter.
MR. BOUCHER: Oh, Grossman. The two of them. Okay.
QUESTION: Okay. Anyway, has there been any new development that has
precipitated this hearing and, if not, how would you characterize it?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know of any particularly new development. We have
been obviously consulting very closely with Congress. Our Director General
Marc Grossman, Assistant Secretary for Security David Carpenter, have been
up on the Hill several times recently to discuss things with various people
in the Congress that are concerned about security here, as we are. We have
been quite clear on our determination to make a change in the security
situation, so I think they've just decided it was the moment to talk about
this in hearings.
But, no, I'm not aware of any new developments that would precipitate a
hearing. I think this is an ongoing subject of concern to us and to the
Congress, and an ongoing subject of discussion between us and the Congress.
QUESTION: Interfax is reporting that the US and the Russians are holding
arms talks somewhere in Norway. Do you have anything on that?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes. I could stop there. The presidents agreed in Moscow,
as you'll remember, in the signed Statement of Principles that the US and
Russia will commit to intensified discussion on the ABM Treaty and further
reductions in strategic forces within a START III framework. Deputy
Secretary of State Strobe Talbott is meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign
Minister Mamedov today in Norway to continue the dialogue.
Secretary Cohen, as you'll remember, also met with Russian Defense Minister
Sergeyev and with President Putin in Moscow last week on arms control, as
well as on other issues. So this is part of the continuing discussions
that we've had with the Russians since the summit when the President and
President Putin determined that we should continue our discussions.
QUESTION: Lebanon. Everybody except the Lebanese Government seems to
think that the Israelis have, in fact, pulled out of South Lebanon. Do you
have any message to -- I mean, would you like to tell the Lebanese
Government anything in public about this? I mean, do you think that
they're deliberately obstructing the deployment of UN force? What do you
think about this?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I don't think I need to particularly send them a
message in public. The Secretary has been talking to President Lahud over
the weekend for several hours in various conversations, so they're quite
aware of our views and the United Nations views. I think in general I
would say that Israel has withdrawn from Lebanon. The UN Secretary General
has confirmed the withdrawal in accordance with UN Security Council
Resolution 425. On Sunday, the Security Council endorsed Secretary General
Annan's report confirming the withdrawal and they issued a President's
Statement from the Council.
Secretary General Annan is now in the region. He has made clear to all
parties that the identification of the withdrawal line was the sole
responsibility of the United Nations pursuant to the Security Council
Resolution 425 and that both sides should respect the line as identified.
The Secretary General has also made clear that any claims of violations of
the UN line should be reported to the United Nations and that UN forces
will have the responsibility for investigating those claims.
QUESTION: Staying on the region, has anything been firmed up on the
Secretary's trip there next week? Do we have a date when Dennis is going
this week? And, actually, if we could begin on the Secretary if we have
anything more firm on the first part of her trip as well, to Asia and
MR. BOUCHER: Okay, let's stay in the region first, then. The only word I
can add to what you've just said is "middle." Dennis Ross will be
traveling to the region in the middle of this week. The Secretary will
travel to the Middle East next week.
As far as the Secretary's itinerary, we can give you the dates for China
and Korea. I don't think I can give you much beyond that.
QUESTION: The <I>Jerusalem Post</I> is reporting that the Israeli
Government is considering and very well might turn over Abu Dis and another
Jerusalem suburb on Friday to the Palestinian Authority. Do you think that
this would be a positive step toward the resolution of the Jerusalem issue?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure I would characterize it that way. I think
certainly these villages are an important issue and that we would welcome
anything that Israel could do to improve the atmosphere and the environment
QUESTION: Can you tell us a little bit more? There were reports over the
weekend that she made phone calls regarding the Security Council resolution
and was able to help move it along on Sunday. Can you tell us who she
called and what was the nature of the calls?
MR. BOUCHER: She talked to President Lahud for several hours, including
conversations with United Nations officials who had been involved in order
to ascertain exactly where the differences were. I'll have to check on
other phone calls besides that.
QUESTION: A couple hours is a very long time for the Secretary of State
to talk to the Lebanese president.
MR. BOUCHER: She devoted a lot of time and energy to this issue, and it
looks like it's working out.
QUESTION: What was the outcome of this telephone call? They disagreed in
MR. BOUCHER: Well, the outcome is, I think, a clear understanding that
it's up to the United Nations to confirm the withdrawal, and parties who
think they see violations of the line need to report them to the United
Nations and have the United Nations deal with them. The outcome is that
the United Nations Security Council has, in fact, supported the Secretary
General in his determination.
QUESTION: Can I ask a follow-up? Did she discuss at all the
participation of the partly US-trained Lebanese army in covering the border
MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure the issue of Lebanon exerting its government
authority in the south was discussed, but whether -- how specific she got
on that, I don't know.
QUESTION: Chile. Last week I asked you if the United States was thinking
to change the way it was dealing with the investigation and the
disappearance of Americans in that country. There is an article in <I>The
Washington Post</I> saying that the State Department requested more
information of the fate of three Americans in Chile.
Can you give us more details on that?
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. We asked the Government of Chile in late March to
undertake renewed efforts to provide as full an accounting as possible in
the deaths of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi in 1973 and the
disappearance and presumed death of Boris Weisfeiler in 1985.
Much has been done in recent years to shed light on these and other crimes.
The Chilean Government has itself done much to come to terms with the
legacy of human rights abuses left by the Pinochet era in a manner which
fosters accountability and national reconciliation. The work of the
Chilean National Truth and Reconciliation Commission, also known as the
Rettig Commission, has received international recognition.
The Commission's final report in February of 1991 expressed the conviction
that Horman and Teruggi were victims of extrajudicial execution by agents
of the state, in violation of their human rights. The Commission did not
have sufficient information to reach a conclusion regarding Mr. Weisfeiler.
Our present request builds on the work of the Commission and the
considerable information we ourselves have made public on these cases under
the aegis of the NSC-directed Chile Declassification Project. We have
received a response from the Government of Chile. It highlighted the
investigations currently underway in Chile on the disappearance of
Mr. Weisfeiler. It also noted that no investigation of the Horman and
Teruggi murders can take place outside the framework of the Chilean
At present we're studying the Chilean Government's response to our request
so I can't really give you any next steps. But I would note that
additional documents on the three cases will be made available as part of
the third and final tranche of documents, this to be released as part of
the Chile Declassification Project.
QUESTION: Do you believe the socialist persons in Chile, a country like
the United States who are investigating cases of citizens who have been
killed, you will be able to get more details about the human rights
violations committed in Chile during the Pinochet regime?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I could speculate one way or the other. I
think these cases remain important to us and important to our families, so
we would welcome any kind of cooperation that we could get in providing
additional information for the families.
QUESTION: If the United States finds any implication of Pinochet himself
or involvement in the assassination of Fernando Letelier and taking into
effect that he doesn't have any more senatorial immunity, you will be able
to have a legal action against him?
MR. BOUCHER: There is an investigation that the United States is
conducting regarding human rights abuses, including the murder of Fernando
Letelier and his American assistant, Ronni Moffitt. I think it would be
speculative to say how that might change, depending on things, but I do
think the investigation continues.
QUESTION: I understand the migration talks scheduled for next week have
been postponed. Do you have that?
MR. BOUCHER: Late last week the Cuban Interest Section here informed us
that they were postponing the migration talks that they had agreed to
participate in that were scheduled for June 27. They cited their
preoccupation with the return of Elian Gonzalez as the reason for the
QUESTION: They cited the preoccupation; is that a quote?
MR. BOUCHER: That's not in quotes, but I think it's a fairly accurate
paraphrase of what they told us.
QUESTION: You mean that they are incapable of dealing with anything else
on the foreign policy spectrum?
MR. BOUCHER: You'll have to ask them.
QUESTION: Is that taken -- (inaudible) -- that they are impatient and
they want Elian released before they engage in any other dialogue with the
MR. BOUCHER: You'll have to ask them. We told them that we strenuously
objected to the last-minute postponement, that we were fully prepared on
our part to proceed with these semi-annual talks as scheduled. We continue
to press the Government of Cuba to provide us with another date for these
talks to be held.
QUESTION: There is no date -- (inaudible) --?
MR. BOUCHER: Not at this point.
QUESTION: Can we stay in the hemisphere?
QUESTION: I would like to stay on the Cuban Interest Section for a
moment. Has the Metropolitan Police Department ever finished its
investigation of the incident outside the Cuban Interest Section some
months ago now?
MR. BOUCHER: I'd have to check for our side. You might also check with
QUESTION: If they had, would you know about it?
MR. BOUCHER: I assume we would know about it. We've been cooperating and
working with them on this matter.
Another Cuba question.
QUESTION: Do you have any reaction about the proposal to create the new
bi-national -- bi-partisan commission to review the US policy toward Cuba?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't have anything on that. I'm not sure the
Administration's taken a position at this point.
QUESTION: Haiti. Over the weekend, the head of the electoral commission
fled the country, fearing for his life, and is now someplace in the States,
and this morning the election council, what's left of it I guess, has
postponed the second round of elections that were scheduled for this week.
As I recall, you said that the first round, or that the US believed that
the first round -- you were waiting for the OAS report, but you were
pleased with the high turnout. I'm wondering what these latest
developments do to your analysis of the situation?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, we did say that we were pleased that the first round
was peaceful and that there was a high turnout. But, remember, we also
want the Government of Haiti and the country's electoral authorities to
complete the vote count in accordance with the precepts of the Haitian
constitution, and the electoral law. The United States and the
Organization of American States are indeed following the post-electoral
situation in Haiti very closely.
I would point out that Mr. Leon Manus, the President of the Haitian
Provisional Electoral Council, is in the United States. He and his wife
entered on valid US visas that they already had in their possession. Our
understanding is it was entirely their decision to depart Haiti.
QUESTION: Of course it was, because the guy was scared to death. So what
about the postponement?
MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't heard about the postponement. I'll have to get
something separate for you on that.
QUESTION: Okay, does the entry of Mr. -- I don't remember his name -- he
and his wife fearing for their lives say anything to you about what's going
on down there?
MR. BOUCHER: It says a lot about the difficult situation in Haiti. I
think the important thing is we try to get the vote count to be conducted
in accordance with the constitution and the precepts that are down there,
and their electoral law. That remains the task that we want to see
QUESTION: Does the absence of this man make you at all more concerned
about whenever they hold this runoff that it's going to be okay, or is this
just can things go on okay?
MR. BOUCHER: We'll have to see. I don't know.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- a negative comment about President Aristide and
his supporters throughout this process. Do you have anything to say about
MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. I do think that it's important for everyone in
Haiti, and we've said this before, to allow the conduct of these elections
in an atmosphere that's free and fair, in accordance with the precepts that
are laid out in Haitian constitution and law. Therefore, we think it's
incumbent upon all the parties to cooperate with that process.
QUESTION: Do you have any reaction to the signature yesterday in Algiers
of the cease-fire agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea?
MR. BOUCHER: The Foreign Ministers of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed the
agreement on cessation of hostilities on Sunday in Algiers, as you point
out. The cessation agreement includes an end to hostilities, provisions
for Ethiopian withdrawal, and the creation of a peacekeeping mission.
The initial stage of the next stage of negotiations, which have already
begun under OAU auspices in Algiers, will build on these areas of agreement
that have been reached over the past two years, including Eritrea's
acceptance of the OAU's technical arrangements last July, and the
understanding reached with the Ethiopians in March. Differences remain,
however, and will have to be negotiated during the next round.
QUESTION: There is some report that Ethiopia has begun withdrawing its
troops from military out. Can you confirm that? Some other reports saying
that it's just a tactical move.
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything up to date on the situation on the
ground. They're supposed to submit redeployment plans for troops that are
-- from positions taken after February 6, 1999, which were not under their
administration before May 6, 1998. Redeployment is to be completed within
two weeks after the deployment of the UN -- of the peacekeeping mission,
and the verification by it, by the peacekeeping mission.
QUESTION: Before they're deployed -- the Security Council still hasn't
yet approved of a peacekeeping mission, correct?
MR. BOUCHER: That's right. That will have to be looked at.
QUESTION: Does the US support a peacekeeping mission, and what sizes do
MR. BOUCHER: I think all that is being worked out, but certainly the UN
is going to be asked to deploy a peacekeeping mission under the auspices of
the OAU. It will terminate when the process of delimitation and
demarcation of the border is completed. Size and composition have not yet
been determined. There are discussions ongoing between the OAU and the
United Nations on that point.
QUESTION: But on the composition, if it's OAU, does that mean it will be
an entirely African peacekeeping force? Would the US consider sending any
US soldiers to participate in such a force?
MR. BOUCHER: Again, the size and the composition of the thing have not
been worked out yet. I wouldn't prejudge it one way or the other at this
QUESTION: Can I move to another election, Zimbabwe? The government has
refused to accredit the EU, or a team of EU observers. I'm just wondering
if you are aware of any problems that the US-sponsored observers there
might be having, if they're having any at all?
MR. BOUCHER: We remain very concerned about the freedom and the fairness
of the elections. We --
QUESTION: But this is about "state of concern"? You had to expect that.
MR. BOUCHER: I will disregard certain comments here. We are funding
certain international observers from the National Democratic Institute and
the International Republican Institute. Embassy officials will also be
observing the June 24-25 parliamentary elections. Neither the National
Democratic Institute nor the International Republican Institute have yet
received their accreditation, despite multiple requests to the Government
of Zimbabwe, and we urge that they be accredited quickly.
QUESTION: There has been no explanation for why they haven't gotten
MR. BOUCHER: Not that I have at this stage.
QUESTION: The Cuban doctors.
MR. BOUCHER: Let me try to remember where we are on that. I don't think
I have anything new to report. Our focus is still on the release of the
Cubans to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. We are continuing to call
on the Government of Zimbabwe to live up to its international obligations,
and we also think that the ongoing detention of individuals who are
lawfully present in Zimbabwe without adequate justification or due process
of law appears to violate certain fundamental international human rights
QUESTION: Can I just go back to the observers for a second? Which ones
have not -- have the embassy people gotten accredited, or is it --
MR. BOUCHER: The National Democratic Institute and the International
Republican Institute have not yet received their accreditation.
QUESTION: But the embassy observers have?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check and see if the embassy requires it.
Obviously they're present in country, and will be able to watch what's
going on. Whether they need special accreditation to go to polling places
QUESTION: Do you know when they applied or how long they've been waiting?
MR. BOUCHER: I think we've had repeated, multiple requests to the
Government of Zimbabwe, so this goes back over a period of time.
QUESTION: Do you know how many people that is?
MR. BOUCHER: We were prepared to fund over 10,000 domestic and African
observers, in addition to these.
QUESTION: How many people are we talking about who haven't gotten --
MR. BOUCHER: Who have not gotten -- who will be on these particular
teams? I'll have to check for you on that. I don't know.
QUESTION: There was a BBC report last night that the Secretary will be
meeting with the Iranian President during her long trip. Is there anything
to that report?
MR. BOUCHER: No.
QUESTION: No refueling stop in Tehran?
QUESTION: Well, he is supposed to be in Beijing around the same time,
correct? You are aware of that, right? I mean, I know that they were in
the same building in Syria for the funeral and they didn't meet there, but
are you aware that Khatami is going to be in Beijing when she is?
MR. BOUCHER: I wasn't particularly aware that he was going to be in
QUESTION: So they might yet bump into each other?
MR. BOUCHER: As our colleague has helpfully pointed out, they've been in
the same building in places before and have not bumped into each other, so
I wouldn't have any higher expectation this time. Thank you.
(The briefing was concluded at 1:15 P.M.)