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State Department Daily Press Briefing

Kyrgyzstan - Middle East Peace Process – Lebanon – Israel – Cuba – Libya – North Korea – Russia – Austria – Czech Republic – Mozambique – Sudan – China - Iraq


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Daily Press Briefing Index Monday, February 28, 2000

Briefer: James P. Rubin

KYRGYZSTAN 1 Statement on Concern Over Pre-Election Irregularities

MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS 1-2 Ambassador Ross' Travel in the Region 1 Status of the Israeli-Palestinian Track 1-2 Status of the Israeli-Syrian Track

LEBANON/FRANCE 2-3 Israeli-Lebanon Monitoring Group 2-3 French Prime Minister Jospin's Comments

ISRAEL 3 Reported US-Israeli Draft Strategic Agreement

CUBA 3-6 Update on Expelled Cuban Diplomat / Return to Cuba Via Canada

LIBYA 6 Reported Easing of Passport Restrictions / Sanctions

NORTH KOREA 7 Preparations for High-Level Visit to Washington

RUSSIA 7-8 Welfare and Whereabouts of Journalist Andrei Babitskiy

AUSTRIA 8 Secretary's Meeting with US Ambassador Hall

CZECH REPUBLIC 8 Reports Secretary Albright Considering Running for Presidency of Czech Republic

MOZAMBIQUE 8-9 US Assistance with Flood Relief Efforts

SUDAN 9 Update on Situation/Status of NGOs

CHINA 9-10 US Ambassador to China in Washington / Congressional Meetings 10 Admiral Blair's Travel to China / Discussion of "White Paper" 10-11 China's Human Rights Record

IRAQ 11-12 Acting Head of UNSCOM Charles Duelfer Resigns

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING DPB # 15 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2000, 12:40 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. RUBIN: Greetings. Welcome to the State Department briefing on this Monday, towards the end of February heading towards March, which lies before April.

QUESTION: Which is a very important month.

MR. RUBIN: Which is a very important month, both March and April in their own special ways.

We do have a statement on the pre-election irregularities in Kyrgyzstan that we will release after the briefing, and some advisories about upcoming events. And provided that Price doesn't knock over all the chairs in the back of the room, we'll go right to your questions.

QUESTION: I see Dennis Ross is heading back from the Middle East after a week of shuttle diplomacy. Any impressions you'd like to share with us?

MR. RUBIN: Yes. Ambassador Ross is heading back to consult with Secretary Albright and the President about his work over the past week. Obviously, he has had a number of meetings, some of them more difficult than others. Clearly, he is working very, very hard on the effort to restart the Palestinian track. Clearly, we are seeking to overcome the differences that exist between the Israelis and the Palestinians both on the remaining issues in the Sharm el Sheik accord as well as the prospect of getting agreement on the permanent status, the permanent peace, by September. This was an intensive effort by Ambassador Ross.

His preliminary conclusions he offered me to use were that he believes both sides are committed to the process but there are a number of ideas that have been discussed and that are being examined, that we intend to stick with this effort and that he will report, obviously, in more detail to the Secretary and the President.

QUESTION: On the Syrian track, after the cabinet meeting in Israel a couple of days ago, reports resurfaced that the Israeli Government did, in fact - the previous Israeli Government did, in fact, give Syria guarantees of complete withdrawal from the Golan Heights and that this was deposited with the United States. Are you now in a position to tell us - to enlighten us about what happened back in - when was it - in '95, '96, in the days of Prime Minister Rubin (sic) (Rabin).

MR. RUBIN: On the Syria track -- what did you call him? I like the sound of that.

Let me say this. On the Syria track, obviously, this is an issue that the President and the Secretary and Ambassador Ross have all been working intensively on for some weeks now. We have made it a practice of not describing the details of the negotiations because we believe that will make it that much harder for the negotiations to both restart formally and to resume successfully. That view, I think, was made true by the result of the leak of some of the working documents in the Israeli press, which clearly harmed our efforts. And I think our judgment about what one can and can't say in public was demonstrated through the aftermath of that publication.

So that is not a practice we intend to change. I can say this: There has been a continuity in Israeli policy, and Prime Minister Barak has made that clear to us. From our standpoint, what we have seen as the guiding principle is that both sides' needs must be met, and our effort has been rooted in that principle in trying to help both sides achieve that principle.

There is still an enormous amount of work to be done. We've had a problem where each side wants its needs to be met first, and that has made it not possible as yet to restart talks formally. We have stayed in very close contact with both sides in order to prepare the ground so that, if and when we get the formal discussions resumed, that they can be successful. And that is about as much as I can say on your question.

QUESTION: Can I just have a quick follow-up? Does this hint that the Israelis may be moving towards a recognition of full withdrawal make it easier or more likely that you will be able to get these talks restarted?

MR. RUBIN: Well, I'm not going to begin to play pundit for you on this subject. Maybe that will come in the future but, from our standpoint, I don't think it's wise to speculate as to what the chances of the effort occurring and then them being successful are. From our standpoint, what I can say is that we're working to achieve the principle I've described of both sides having their needs met and, at this point, that's all I have to say.

QUESTION: Well, on that, is the United States - there seems to be indications that the US and France are trying to put something together on this. I'm just wondering, did Ambassador Ross meet with Prime Minister Jospin when he was there, and do you have anything to say about the rather ugly turn of events that happened with the Prime Minister?

MR. RUBIN: Let me take those in separate pieces. We have been working with France to try to create as much calm as possible in southern Lebanon, to work in capitals to lay the groundwork for the meeting of Israeli-Lebanon Monitoring Group. There were further incidents of violence in south Lebanon over the weekend. We continue, along with France, to urge maximum restraint, to avoid an escalation of violence.

The April Understanding and the Monitoring Group process are important undertakings which all parties need to adhere to. We are working to bring about a meeting in the future. That said, however, only a comprehensive peace can resolve these issues and resolve the underlying tensions that cause this problem. That is why we are doing everything we can to restart the Lebanon track as well as the Syria track. And violence in Lebanon only makes this effort more difficult.

With respect to what the Prime Minister in France said, I think I will leave that for him to respond to.

QUESTION: Was there a meeting between him and --

MR. RUBIN: I am not aware of that. We've certainly been in touch with the French to talk about how to promote as much calm as possible in southern Lebanon.

QUESTION: Are you trying to get a meeting of the Monitoring Group?

MR. RUBIN: As I said to you last week, I think we do want to ultimately have such a meeting. In the meantime, we are working through capitals to try to create the groundwork for such a meeting. But we are working to bring about a meeting of the group in the near future.

QUESTION: It's not an immediate objective?

MR. RUBIN: What we are trying to do is work in capitals at this stage. And we would like to see a group meeting in the near future but, obviously, not immediately or I would have said so.

QUESTION: The Israeli Deputy Defense Minister was in Baltimore yesterday and he said that the United States and Israel have begun to draft a strategic agreement that isn't quite a treaty but contains lots of details about cooperation and so on. Can you tell us anything about it?

MR. RUBIN: Yes, I think I've said for some time I don't think there is anything new about that. I don't know about "drafting." I mean, there may be somebody's draft; I don't know about joint drafting. But we have been talking to the Israelis about what kind of adjustments might be appropriate in our strategic relationship in the context of a comprehensive peace. And we have been consulting with them on that for weeks now and we continue to do so, but there is nothing really new to report on that end.

QUESTION: You don't have any documents floating around?

MR. RUBIN: As I alluded to, I am sure there are some documents on one side. I don't know about "joint drafting." That strikes me as a little bit of wishful thinking.

QUESTION: On Cuba?

MR. RUBIN: Yes.

QUESTION: We were told that Mr. Imperatori --

MR. RUBIN: Well, let me add that that doesn't mean that we aren't consulting closely and intensively with the Israelis on this matter.

QUESTION: We were told that Mr. Imperatori would be back in Cuba by now and, apparently, he's still in Canada and the Cuban Government is saying that he is seeking permission to stay in Canada for the time needed to find an honorable solution to the problem. And that implies a solution to the problem regarding the fellow who was arrested on spy charges in Canada. Is something being worked out that would involve testimony from him in some US venue?

MR. RUBIN: Let me say this: In a meeting in the Department of State on the 26th, representatives of the Cuban Interests Section said they preferred that Mr. Imperatori return to Cuba via a third country and concurred with the travel arrangements for returning him back to Cuba via Canada when so advised.

This expulsion from the United States via Canada was arranged on the understanding he would simply transit on his way to Cuba. This was closely coordinated by US, Canadian and Cuban officials in Washington in advance.

>From our standpoint, the Cuban Government has acted in an unprecedented way and, in unprecedented manner, they have violated their international obligations by not voluntarily recalling their diplomat after we declared him persona non grata. PNG does not mean, "Please Now Go." It means person non grata. It means, "Go." And he either went voluntarily or, as you saw, he went involuntarily.

We presume that the Canadian Government will resolve this matter directly with Mr. Imperatori and/or the Cuban Government. The solution is for him to return to Cuba in accordance with the government of Cuba's international obligations.

The Canadians have kept us updated on this matter and we understand that the Canadians expect him to depart Canada before his visa expires. We have said for some time we would be willing to allow a number of officials, including Mr. Imperatori, to return to the United States after having been PNGed under specified conditions if and when law enforcement authorities feel it may be necessary. Under international practice, when a diplomat is declared persona non grata, his government must remove him. They have violated that diplomatic practice. When and if a time comes where law enforcement officials believe it appropriate for him to be here and those specified conditions for him and others are arranged, I'm not going to rule out that possibility. But in the meantime, PNG means PNG.

QUESTION: I'm a little confused as to why he was forcibly expelled and not arrested, as had been threatened. I mean, it leaves a kind of indication to me --

MR. RUBIN: I never threatened his arrest. I said there were a number of possibilities. There was the law enforcement possibility. On Friday, we indicated - on Thursday, we indicated the visa possibility, that it would be expired. So we - persona non grata means that he is no longer welcome in the United States. He was involuntarily removed from the United States because his government refused to voluntarily remove him.

Arrest would be the subject of a law enforcement matter, which was one of many possibilities which was not threatened but was mentioned as a possibility.

QUESTION: I'm sorry I used the word "threatened," but it was a possibility.

MR. RUBIN: Right.

QUESTION: He wasn't arrested, which would lead me - and maybe I'm just way off base here - but it would lead me to the conclusion that you don't really have the goods on this guy. He wanted to stay and to fight these charges in court and you didn't give him that opportunity.

MR. RUBIN: Right. I don't think you should draw conclusions about "having the goods" from this episode. As you all well know, preparing a prosecutorial case is not something that can be done in seven days. We made the judgment that because of activities inconsistent with his status, that he was PNG. That is a rather firm action by the United States and, obviously, we took the necessary steps to enforce that action.

Just as peace is not made in seven days in the Middle East or in Northern Ireland or in Ethiopia and Eritrea, a prosecutorial case is not made necessarily in seven days. If and when the time comes that law enforcement officials seek his presence in court or in other law enforcement proceedings and he chooses to come, that will be fine. But none of this should be read any other way other than that we made the decision to PNG him pursuant to the time frame and you shouldn't draw dramatic conclusions by the fact that an indictment was not put forward in a matter of a few days.

QUESTION: Is the United States contemplating loosening the passport restriction to Libya?

MR. RUBIN: I think some of your colleagues are a little focused on Cuba here.

QUESTION: Perhaps I missed something here, but you seemed to be saying at the beginning that the Interests Section here had agreed on the arrangements for his departure in advance and that they agreed that he would only go to Canada in transit.

Are you saying that they have reneged on this agreement?

MR. RUBIN: Well, I think I said what they told us and you saw the events as they unfold. We arranged for his transit through Canada based on the understanding he would simply transit on his way to Cuba. Obviously, that did not happen and that was not our understanding at the time.

QUESTION: That meeting took place on Saturday morning?

MR. RUBIN: The 26th, yes.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment about Philip Agee's new business in Cuba?

MR. RUBIN: I know nothing about it.

QUESTION: It's a travel - an Internet travel agency promoting tours to --

MR. RUBIN: I would think that all Americans would want to make sure that any business they were running through Cuba did not run afoul of the Treasury Department's rather stringent restrictions.

QUESTION: Are you loosening the passport policy for Libya for Americans traveling to Libya?

MR. RUBIN: We have made no such decision. The Secretary extended the passport restriction, I believe about three months ago, for another year. With respect to Libya in general, we continue to expect full Libyan compliance with the requirements of UN Security Council resolutions before we can support the lifting of UN sanctions. The travel restriction is based on a judgment about security. It's not a sanction; it's based on a judgment about security, and that judgment was renewed by the Secretary some months ago. I can get you the exact date for that. And I have nothing new for you on any new judgment.

With respect to the suggestion that the fact that Libyan diplomats are restricted to the five boroughs of New York City, we did approve Ambassador Doorda's travel to Washington, D.C., because the purpose of his travel was to attend a meeting of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, which is consistent with his UN duties. We did not have any bilateral contact with him in Washington and the Libyan mission did not request that we do so.

With respect to the related issue of Libyan participation in Congo peacekeeping, the mission was put together by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. This isn't a positive sign towards Libya or a negative sign towards Libya; it's no signal whatsoever.

QUESTION: So the Ambassador's comment, he's also engaging in a bit of wishful thinking?

MR. RUBIN: I haven't seen what he said. I'm just telling you what our policy is.

QUESTION: There is nothing that you might categorize as even a modest gesture toward Libya, that you're aware of?

MR. RUBIN: Well, he did travel here for the meeting, which hadn't happened before but it was consistent with his UN duties.

QUESTION: On North Korea?

MR. RUBIN: Sure.

QUESTION: On the meeting in New York later this week, can you give us some idea about what they're going to be discussing, any dates yet for the senior official coming? And, also, there was a report in the South Korean press that they're going to talk about opening liaison offices finally.

MR. RUBIN: Right. All of those things are possibilities. What I can tell you is that we do expect there to be a meeting to finalize preparation for the high-level visit to Washington, which is still on track as far as we know for next month. Consistent with that visit, we do intend to have discussions with North Korea on a number of issues that have been outstanding. We have always demonstrated a willingness to continue work on the liaison office effort. We have expressed a willingness to work on counter-terrorism issues, by explaining in some detail to the North Koreans what steps they need to take to remove North Korea from the terrorism list. And those efforts continue.

I can't give you a date for the New York meeting but we do expect to have something on that very, very shortly.

QUESTION: The press report said Wednesday but --

MR. RUBIN: It just hasn't been finalized with North Korea in particular. Until it's final, it's not final.

QUESTION: Is it possible it will be announced today?

MR. RUBIN: I am told "very, very shortly," which is more than I'm usually allowed to say but I don't think today is necessarily that shortly. Someday, by the way, I intend to define what "shortly" means.

QUESTION: For some days, this Department has said it is waiting for Moscow's response on Babitskiy. It would seem they have responded by now arresting him again and filing criminal charges. At the same time, President Putin today said that the case appears to have gotten "completely mixed up" were his words. I wonder if you could comment more fully on this today, especially with regard to specifics as to how Moscow will be held responsible?

MR. RUBIN: Well, first of all, let me say that we are relieved, as I am sure all involved are, that Mr. Babitskiy is alive and well in Dagestan; that Mrs. Babitskiy and her daughter and a lawyer traveled to Dagestan on Sunday, and that Russian authorities granted his attorney access to Babitskiy. There are wire reports indicating that Acting President Putin has said that Babitskiy should be released. If that were to happen, we would certainly welcome such a development.

There have been a number of conflicting reports about this. What happened in the trade, from our standpoint, the important thing is that Mr. Babitskiy is okay. And we hope the facts of the case become increasingly clear. From our standpoint in general, the Babitskiy case was extremely disturbing and it has been a top priority for the State Department and for this administration in dealing with Russia. And let me say the suggestion by some, including Tom Dine at Radio Liberty, about what we have and haven't done is extremely off base and doesn't bode well for the credibility and accuracy of Mr. Dine's statements.

>From the moment that this case has come up, we have acted with dispatch at the appropriate level, worked closely with Radio Liberty officials who actually were informed about the case, unlike Mr. Dine. And we worked very, very closely in making very clear to the Russians our concern about it. I recall personally being in Moscow when it developed, and Mr. Trimble, who we worked very closely and successfully with, was very pleased in the way that we constantly kept it on the agenda, that we sought to get Russian clarifications, and that we did whatever was appropriate in trying to get information about where he was.

So at this point, it's clearly an extremely disturbing case of trying to crack down on independent media. We're pleased that he's alive. We certainly hope that Mr. Putin's statements about the imminent release of Mr. Babitskiy prove true. If so, we would certainly welcome that.

QUESTION: There is some speculation in Austria that Mr. Haider may resign as the head of the Freedom Party. And I'm just wondering, if he does do that, if that would make any difference to the United States in terms of its policy toward --

MR. RUBIN: Well, it couldn't hurt. But Ambassador Hall met with Secretary Albright earlier today as part of her regular review of this matter. She received an update. I was not at the meeting but I think if there was an imminent expected resignation of Haider, that somehow that would have been brought to my attention. But I'll check that for you.

QUESTION: It's Austrian press reports.

QUESTION: I have a couple of questions. One, is the Secretary considering running for the presidency of the Czech Republic?

MR. RUBIN: The short answer to that question is no. The long answer is also no. From time to time, the Secretary of State has been approached by Czech officials who have indicated their interest in her succeeding Vaclav Havel as president. She has always been flattered by their interest in this. Obviously, if one is being considered for such a high post by serious people in the land of your birth, that's very flattering. She has never seriously considered this. She has always dismissed these entreaties, and there is no truth to the idea that she has been seriously campaigning, considering trying to succeed Havel.

QUESTION: And, also, do you have anything more on the US response to events in Mozambique, the flooding, the AIDS issue?

MR. RUBIN: Yes, I probably can get you something after the briefing. There is some efforts that we've certainly been making in that regard. Today, the US Agency for International Development has announced it will provide $132,000 to Save the Children for emergency cholera prevention activities. This brings our total assistance to just over $600,000. In addition, we've sent disaster assistance specialists to Mozambique. They are currently conducting assessments and we're working with the Department of Defense to send an emergency flight containing relief supplies, including shelter materials, blankets and water containers.

QUESTION: Do you have any update on the situation in Sudan where, apparently, Operation Lifeline in Sudan is in peril?

MR. RUBIN: It is our understanding that some of the non-governmental organizations who have been doing truly heroic work there have begun pulling out their expatriate staff and project assets. Some 26 international organizations have signed an MOU that has been demanded from the SPLM but another 13 have not yet signed, including some of the larger US-based organizations. We have repeatedly urged Dr. Garang and the SPLM to suspend its March 1st deadline, to reopen negotiations with these non-governmental organizations.

Our special envoy, Harry Johnston, along with our special - the UN Special Ambassador Vraalsen, met with the SPLM leadership in Kenya on February 17, last week, to offer direct US and other donor assistance to negotiate the outstanding points of the disagreement, to request a suspension of the deadline while negotiations are ongoing and to request that no NGOs be expelled.

The current situation remains unchanged with the SPLM continuing to hold that the organizations who do not sign the memorandum of agreement must leave.

QUESTION: Jamie, on this statement that was put out on Thursday or Friday which was very - quite harsh, the consideration that the - at the White House, of providing direct food aid to the SPLM, would that - if they go ahead with this in keeping the demands in the MOU, would that automatically mean that --

MR. RUBIN: At this point, we have made no decision as to whether to use the authority provided by Congress. Obviously, this is a matter of deep concern to us and we have deplored and continue to deplore the decision of Dr. Garang's Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement to expel relief workers from southern Sudan that don't sign an MOU by March the 1st. I am not going to predict for the end of time what we will do with that authority, but I can state rather comfortably that this can't help their case.

QUESTION: Can you state comfortably that the administration is still confident that --

MR. RUBIN: I'm so comfortable these days, it's easy to say things comfortably.

QUESTION: -- that the administration is still confident that permanent normal trade relations will be passed on the Hill? And if you could also speak to the US Ambassador to China, Admiral Prueher, is in town, what he's doing while he's here?

MR. RUBIN: Yes, the US Ambassador is here. We believe he is a very effective advocate for the wisdom of maintaining relations, good relations, with China even while we disagree on important issues including Taiwan, including certain nonproliferation issues and including profound differences on human rights.

Ambassador Prueher is here as part of our effort to convince the Congress that we should not cut off our nose to spite our face, that we should keep our eye on the ball. And the ball here is what will be in the interest of the United States with respect to the World Trade Organization. And what will be in the interest of the United States is for us to get the benefits of lowered trade barriers and non-tariff trade barriers, to improve the involvement of American companies, American businesses and American workers in getting trade with China, even while holding open the possibility that the World Trade Organization's admission of China will increase the prospect for China living under the rule of law.

And so these two benefits were negotiated, considered and planned, irrespective of disagreements with China about subjects like Taiwan, about subjects like human rights. So we hope that Ambassador Prueher's presence here and the efforts that Secretary Albright and Secretary Daley and ultimately the President have been making to try to convince members of Congress are successful in having them keep their eye on the ball. What's in the US national interest? If that's your standard, this agreement is clearly in the American national interest because it improves our trade position, it improves the chances that China will live under the rule of law domestically and internationally and, thus, improves the chances for the benefits of US-China relations being felt.

Whether the Congress decides to heed that sage advice is obviously unknowable. But we remain confident that, at the end of the day when all the arguments have been heard, that Congress will see the wisdom of the case that I just summarized for you.

QUESTION: In the week since the White Paper was issued or the days since it was issued, after your initial communications with Beijing and here in Washington with the Chinese Embassy, has the administration asked China, encouraged China to step back or make any kind of gestures or anything to try to calm things down?

MR. RUBIN: We have been in touch with China a number of times, a number of places over the last week. The most recent contact is by Admiral Blair who is in China and has expressed his concern on behalf of the United States about the release of this White Paper and the unhelpful and counter-productive remarks and positions stated in that paper.

We continue to urge China to look for ways to reduce tensions and we continue to strongly urge China not to take any additional steps that could increase tensions. We regarded that paper as counter-productive and not helpful to the situation in the cross-strait dialogue, nor was it obviously helpful in our internal efforts here.

QUESTION: Jamie, I asked this question to Mr. Koh on Friday and I would just like to ask it to you. Do you see that the repression internally in China of human rights being extended internationally to a threat or repression of human rights in Taiwan? Is there an international human rights violation going on here by China?

MR. RUBIN: Human rights, to the extent that Assistant Secretary Koh is the expert in defining them - from my standpoint, they refer to the international human rights instruments. And the Chinese record in the last year has been one of deterioration in a number of fronts, both with respect to organized groups like the Falun Gong, with respect to religious persecution and with respect to a number of activities, their record has deteriorated.

With respect to Taiwan, we have a One China policy. We have three communiqués with China but we don't always agree on their threats to Taiwan. And in the most recent case, we regarded their threat as counter-productive. We continue to regard it as counter-productive and we continue to oppose it very strongly.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on Andrea's question, you said that you would urge China to look for steps to decrease tensions.

MR. RUBIN: Right.

QUESTION: What sort of steps are you looking for?

MR. RUBIN: There are a number of different possibilities. I am not going to specify them but, obviously, we want the tension in the straits to be reduced.

QUESTION: I have a question about Iraq. Charles Duelfer, the acting head of UNSCOM, has now resigned. Do we have any reaction to that? Are we following Hans Blix in his efforts to create a new organization, and are we satisfied with what he is doing, that it will satisfy our needs vis-a-vis --

MR. RUBIN: Let me say this. I know Charlie Duelfer. Charlie Duelfer is a friend of mine and Charlie Duelfer is a very good arms controller. We believe that Mr. Duelfer has provided outstanding service to the United Nations in helping carry out the Security Council's mandate with reference to disarmament and monitoring. He has served two Executive Chairmen with great distinction and his service reflects great credit upon the United Nations.

We note that Mr. Duelfer has offered to make himself available as a resource to Dr. Blix and, from our standpoint, the new inspection organization, UNMOVIK, has the same mandate and the same rights, privileges and immunities as UNSCOM. We believe that Dr. Blix should be able to benefit from the experience of the current UNSCOM staff and have the option to retain them if he wishes. We've obviously been in touch with Dr. Blix but I don't want to prejudge what steps he may or may not take.

QUESTION: Do you have any idea if he will retain any of the current UNSCOM people?

MR. RUBIN: Certainly from our standpoint, we believe he should be able to have the benefit of the experience of the current UNSCOM staff and have the option to retain them, but I'm not Dr. Blix's spokesman and I don't want to prejudge what he would or wouldn't do.

QUESTION: I was wondering if you have anything more on Tony Lake's mission?

MR. RUBIN: I have nothing new on that but we can check after the briefing.

QUESTION: Is there any formal reaction to the formal nomination of Koch-Weser for the IMF by the EU this morning?

MR. RUBIN: I think the White House Spokesman will have something definitive to say about that and so I think, rather than muddy that message with a word here or a word there that's slightly off kilter, I would refer you on that very sensitive issue to the White House.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:20 p.m.)


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