US State Department Daily Briefing - June 21
Haiti – Sierra Leone – North Korea – Cuba –South Korea – Russia – Zimbabwe – Middle East – China – Indonesia – Greece
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Daily Press Briefing Index
Wednesday, June 21, 2000
Briefer: Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman
HAITI 1-2 Election Results / Special Haiti Coordinator Don Steinberg In Haiti/ Senate Races / U.S. Concerned About Results of Senate Election/ Missing Head of Electoral Council
SIERRA LEONE 2-4 U.S. Calls for Justice and Accountability/ Establishment of Special Court to Bring Perpetrators / Atrocities to Justice
NORTH KOREA 5-6 Pyongyang's announcement on its missile moratorium / Prospect of High Level Talks Between Pyongyang and Washington / Easing of Sanctions / National Missile Defense Installation / Protection of Japan by First Phase of National Missile Defense
CUBA 5 Altercation of Demonstrators at Cuban Interests Sections on April 14
SOUTH KOREA 5-6 Washington, Tokyo, Seoul Trilateral Discussions
RUSSIA 7 CIS Summit in Moscow
ZIMBABWE 7-10 Accreditation of Foreign Election Observers / U.S. Encourages Release of Cuban Defectors to UNHCR
MIDDLE EAST 10-11 Travel of Dennis Ross/U.S. Prepared to Host Summit Meeting / Israel-Palestinian Track / Secretary of State Visit
CHINA 6-7, 11 Chinese News Agency / Secretary of State Visit
INDONESIA 11-12 Violence in Molucca Province / Intervention of UN or Peacekeeping Group in Inter-Religious Wars
GREECE 12-13 Dispute Between the Simitis and the Greek Archbishop Christodoulos Regarding Religious I.D. Issue
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING DPB #63 WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21 2000, 1:45 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. REEKER: Welcome to the State Department this fine Wednesday afternoon. As you know, Spokesman Boucher is traveling with the Secretary and her party on their way to Beijing, the first stop of her trip. So I'm here to try to answer your questions. I have no statements today, and why don't we go directly to our friends from the Associated Press.
QUESTION: Can you tell us your reaction to the release of the election results in Haiti yesterday?
MR. REEKER: Yes. First of all, as Ambassador Boucher indicated yesterday, Special Haiti Coordinator Don Steinberg is in Port au Prince along with NSC Senior Director Valenzuela engaging with Haitian and OAS officials in discussions regarding the issue of the senate election results. I don't have a readout from him yet, and we expect him back in the next day or so.
As I understand it, the six remaining active members of Haiti's nine-member provisional electoral council issued the official results of the senate races yesterday. These results indicate that all senate seats were won by absolute majority in the first round; 16 of the 17 seats were won by candidates of the Lavalas Party; one seat was one by an independent candidate.
We understand that the CEP - that is, the electoral council - issued the results of the races also for Haiti's 83-member lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, later last night but we don't have yet any official documentation of those results.
Our major focus has been on the results of the senate races, and questions arise not about how many votes were obtained by individual candidates, but about the methodology used by the electoral council, the provisional electoral council, in determining the winners of the races, particularly since the published results are based on the vote tabulation methodology that the OAS has noted is completely inconsistent with Haitian electoral law. So we view with extreme concern the publication of results for the senate seats that perpetuates the methodological error used in calculating the outcome of the senate races on May 21st.
Right now we're consulting with the OAS, as I indicated. And as I understand it, they may have a statement and we may have something further later today once we have a better picture of the information.
QUESTION: On this, though, is there a general agreement that the Aristide party has won all of these elections and that it's a question of, like, whether they got less than 50 percent in some of these races but, if the races were held again, that they would probably win but just because there were many other competing candidates?
MR. REEKER: It's a little hard for me to get into the specifics, just because I don't have the full readouts yet. As I indicated, Mr. Steinberg is still in Port-au-Prince and so I don't have the full information. But I did indicate our concern with the way - the methodology used to determine winners of those races. As you indicated, the council issued official results in the senate races that indicate that all the seats were won by absolute majority in the first round and, as I said, 17 of those seats were won by the Lavalas Party. So until I have a better picture, I can't really make any broader comment.
As I indicated, perhaps later today we'll have statements from the OAS or something further to give you but, at this point, that's all I can mention now is that we do have extreme concern that the publication of these results went ahead perpetuating this methodological error.
QUESTION: Is it true that Steinberg is in Haiti because he can't get out because the airport is closed?
MR. REEKER: I had not heard that. I just know that he's still there and not back here, but that we expect him back shortly. I haven't done his travel. As you know, we have a history of not doing travel arrangements.
QUESTION: A new subject, Sierra Leone?
MR. REEKER: Was there anything else on Haiti?
QUESTION: The missing head of the electoral council --
MR. REEKER: Mr. Manus.
QUESTION: Yeah. Any word on his whereabouts?
MR. REEKER: I understand he's currently in the United States. I think as we mentioned before, he entered on a valid visa. I don't have anything on his whereabouts.
QUESTION: Are you seeking to discuss with him why he fled the country?
MR. REEKER: I'm not aware of any scheduled meetings at this time. I checked into that and don't have anything official with Department of State meeting Mr. Manus. We have met with him frequently in the past in Haiti.
Ready to switch to Sierra Leone?
QUESTION: Right. What can you say about this - I don't know if it's a formal proposal - it's an effort, at least, at the UN - to create an international court for Foday Sankoh? Apparently, the Sierra Leonean Government wants to be sitting in Sierra Leone. Apparently, the British helped draft that idea for the government there.
Is this something that the US would go along with, or how would that work in a country where they can't even keep the peacekeepers safe?
MR. REEKER: As we've said all along, we've very much called for peace and justice and accountability in Sierra Leone, and we've said that we would certainly support the Sierra Leoneans in their efforts.
As we touched on yesterday, I believe, President Kabbah sent a letter to the UN Secretary General requesting assistance and setting up a special court for Sierra Leone. As I understand it, the idea that President Kabbah put forward is to establish a special court that would blend international and Sierra Leonean law and would allow the international community, the region, the Government of Sierra Leone, all to work together to bring the principal perpetrators of atrocities in Sierra Leone to justice.
Perhaps, as you were indicating, Sierra Leonean law does not provide for prosecutions of crimes against humanity or crimes against UN peacekeepers, so some sort of umbrella of international legal authority would address this deficiency. We're looking to see how we can support the effort. I think talks are going on, certainly in New York. We want to make sure that justice is served, so there are consultations with the Government of Sierra Leone, with the UN and other interested parties.
The United States is, as I indicated, very actively considering options for possible Security Council action. We're leading efforts to develop a UN Security Council resolution with our counterparts on the UN Security Council and, as I indicated, examining all the possible options as we seek to respond to President Kabbah's request for international assistance. And we'll certainly give due consideration to President Kabbah's preference that the Government of Sierra Leone play a strong role in whatever justice mechanism is decided upon, and there is certainly, I think, very obviously many advantages to having a strong role for Sierra Leone in that.
QUESTION: Well, I mean, you are opposed to having this court sit in Sierra Leone? The Kabbah government has said it only wants to use it to try Foday Sankoh.
MR. REEKER: I think, right now, we're still looking at a number of things to establish a special court of some sort, along with the ideas that President Kabbah has indicated in his letter which, as I said, presented ideas. We're discussing that, I think quite actively, with the British, the Sierra Leoneans, and others in the international community, and trying to see what type of a Security Council resolution we would have. So it's a little premature to indicate one way or the other while these talks are ongoing.
QUESTION: But, I mean, at this stage you're not opposed to the ideas as he's put them forward?
MR. REEKER: I think his ideas have been very useful in presenting some ideas. We've welcomed that from the Sierra Leoneans - ideas that include blending international and Sierra Leonean law to allow the international community, the regional countries and the Sierra Leoneans obviously to have a role in this. Just once again, we have consistently called for justice and accountability in Sierra Leone.
>From our understanding of his request, this would be a unique court, perhaps just as the mechanism being developed in Cambodia to deal with Khmer Rouge justice issues. So we're discussing this, examining all of the relevant legal authorities for establishing such a body, and we'll continue apace on that.
QUESTION: On that, Phil, if it's premature to comment on the US position, why is Ambassador Holbrooke on the record commenting on it and saying that he doesn't think it's a good idea to set up the kind of court envisioned by Kabbah?
MR. REEKER: I think exactly what Ambassador Holbrooke indicated was that we are examining all possible options as we seek to respond to his request for international assistance. I spoke to his office this morning. We're giving due consideration to his preference. There are a lot of advantages to having the Sierra Leone Government have a strong role in this.
I think establishing a full-blown international tribunal, like those that exist for the former Yugoslavia or for Rwanda, could be a very lengthy undertaking --
QUESTION: But you're not ruling it out?
MR. REEKER: -- and, clearly, a lot of details have to be worked out. We're committed to doing our part in this process. I don't think anything has been ruled in or out. What I was indicating was that talks are ongoing and developing a response to President Kabbah's letter, and to continuing a process where we can get a good UN Security Council resolution and move forward on this.
QUESTION: When you say "take into account his preference," is that Holbrooke's personal preference to rule out at this point --
MR. REEKER: I was talking about taking into account President Kabbah's preferences, as he outlined in the letter he sent which provided the ideas that he was presenting as part of the discussion that we're having in the international community more broadly, with our Security Council colleagues more specifically, and that obviously includes ideas and thoughts from the Sierra Leoneans.
Any more on Sierra Leone?
QUESTION: Do you have any comment on Pyongyang's announcement on its renewed missile moratorium?
MR. REEKER: Yes. I saw those reports. We welcome the North Korean statement and the continued restraint by Pyongyang. This moratorium, which covers testing of all long-range missiles, has been in effect, as you know, since last September, and we look forward to conducting bilateral missile talks soon to address the range of issues related to the North Korean missile program. So we very much welcome this reaffirmation of the missile moratorium.
Did you have a follow-up?
QUESTION: Do you see it could brighten the prospect about the long-sought high-level talks between Pyongyang and Washington?
MR. REEKER: Well, I think if you go back to when Dr. Perry visited and the Agreed Framework, all the steps that have been taken in recent days, we've had an active dialogue there and a process. As I indicated just now and we discussed back at the beginning of the month, we've had a set of preparatory talks that took place in Rome on having the next set of missile talks, and we expect to conduct some bilateral missile talks soon to address the range of issues.
So, obviously, this reaffirmation that the North Koreans announced is something we welcome very much. And that moratorium which has been in place since September is also something we want to see continued.
QUESTION: Phil, for the past couple of briefings I've asked about the particulars or the outcome of the assault on April 14th by personnel from the Cuban Interest Section on protesters across the street. And from what I've learned, the Metropolitan Police has given its report to the US Attorney, and they are reviewing it.
And I would like to know if the State Department has assigned a person to keep his eye on this matter and to keep in close touch with the US Attorneys so appropriate action can be taken.
MR. REEKER: I'd have to check on the specifics. I don't have anything to add to what Ambassador Boucher had for you earlier in the week on that. We have regular dialogue certainly with the Justice Department on a variety of issues, but I can look into it and see if there is a specific point of contact on that issue.
QUESTION: Can I go back to Korea for one second?
MR. REEKER: Sure.
QUESTION: Is there a trilateral session coming up with Washington, Tokyo and Seoul that's been switched to Hawaii, I think the report was, so as to not aggravate the North Koreans?
MR. REEKER: I can check into that. I don't have any news of that. We do have regular trilateral discussions between or among the United States, South Korea and Japan. That's been part of our regular process for some time, and I know Honolulu is often a site for those things given the geography involved in travel there. But I don't have anything for you on anything specific to that.
Anything else on Korea?
QUESTION: On North Korea, Coca-Cola announced today that it had sent in its first shipment of soft drinks. Do you have any comment on that - into North Korea?
MR. REEKER: I hadn't seen that report, but I take it obviously that's under the easing of sanctions which went into effect on Monday. But I don't have anything specific to give you on that.
QUESTION: Mr. Reeker, yesterday at the Defense Department, Mr. Jacques Gansler and General Ronald Kadish gave an extensive briefing on national missile defense, stating many details, but never got to the point of saying outright the national missile defense to be located - the first stage of it to be located on the Aleutians was to prevent nuclear blackmail by North Korea of the United States directly.
And my question is: Does this particular installation, this first installation, is it designed to protect Japan from nuclear blackmail by the North Koreans by missile-borne warheads?
MR. REEKER: I think probably you should have asked your question at the Pentagon at that briefing. I don't have anything to add for you on NMD or specifics of the proposal, other than that we're going to make the appropriate decision at the appropriate time. So I really don't have anything to give you on that.
QUESTION: You couldn't say if Japan is to be protected by the first phase of the national missile defense? You couldn't --
MR. REEKER: The national missile defense program is designed to protect all 50 states from emerging ballistic missile threat from states like Iran, Iraq, North Korea, as we've discussed many times. And so I really don't have anything more to add. You're familiar with the criteria that will be used in making a decision. The President will make the appropriate decision at the appropriate time.
QUESTION: There has been reports in a Washington paper that the Chinese news agency has purchased a building with direct line sight of the Pentagon, and there have been some concerns expressed that this could pose some sort of a threat to security.
MR. REEKER: Obviously, that would be a question you would want to direct to the Pentagon. I don't usually deal with their security, but I did see that article.
QUESTION: Is the State Department not concerned about foreign - does the State Department consider that Xinhua is an agent of the Chinese Government, or is it considered a private news agency?
MR. REEKER: I would have to look into what the technical definition of Xinhua is and how they're registered. I'm not certain of that, but I think that's a matter - the question at hand is a matter for the Pentagon to address.
QUESTION: Phil, can I try one more on missile defense?
MR. REEKER: Sure. I had so much to give you on the last question.
QUESTION: I know. I'm going to try anyway. The CIS summit ended in Moscow today by praising Putin's stand on ABM as not in the interests of world security. Do you have any reaction or comment?
MR. REEKER: I saw that wire story, too, and it came over my line at 1:37 Eastern Standard Time. I don't have anything particular on that. I don't think there's anything new to add today on the NMD discussion, and I just don't have any specifics on the CIS summit which took place in Moscow.
MR. REEKER: Zimbabwe, sure.
QUESTION: Do you have anything new regarding the accreditations of foreign observers? And, more generally, what's your assessment of the situation there three days ahead of the election?
MR. REEKER: Further to add to what Ambassador Boucher said yesterday, we deplore the decision to refuse accreditation to the US election observer delegation, which includes members of the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the US Embassy in Harare.
The lack of accreditation and the Government of Zimbabwe's limitation on observer access will detract from the credibility of the elections which are due to take place this weekend, June 24 and 25. That is going to further tarnish Zimbabwe's reputation for holding open elections. The Government of Zimbabwe's actions are certainly a setback to the democratic process. The Government of Zimbabwe and the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front is primarily responsible for these deeply troubling developments and the election climate which we see now in Zimbabwe.
We still hope very much that the people of Zimbabwe will be able to express their views this weekend in the elections and that the voting process will be free of manipulation and intimidation. I'll note, as Ambassador Boucher mentioned yesterday, the deadline for the observers to be accredited is June 22nd. We've urged - and we continue to urge - the Government of Zimbabwe to accredit all foreign election observers, governmental and nongovernmental, before that deadline.
We've been in touch at the highest available levels of the Zimbabwean Government to urge reconsideration of their decision. I think both the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute put out some strongly worded statements on the situation in Zimbabwe yesterday. I would refer you to them for their specific plans. I'd also note that we are concerned that 17 African observers belonging to the European Union delegation were denied accreditation as well. We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe once again to accredit all international observers.
QUESTION: Do you mean that US diplomats were denied accreditations?
MR. REEKER: It is also our understanding that employees of embassies in Zimbabwe will not be given observer accreditation, which would be required for them to enter polling places and counting centers.
I mean, this is truly a sort of outrageous step against the standard practice. It makes absolutely no sense. And our diplomats will of course monitor other aspects of the election process as they have been doing up to this point but, without the accreditation, they can not effectively observe the actual polling and counting process.
The limitations on diplomats' access as election observers hinders the diplomats' ability to observe the elections in any sort of meaningful way, and we strongly disagree with such actions to limit observation efforts. And we really, as I indicated at the beginning, deplore the Government of Zimbabwe's failure to create a climate conducive to credible elections.
QUESTION: The government has said that it was just because these are NGOs and they're not going to accredit NGOS, but they would credit foreign officials. So you are saying that that is incorrect; that they have also refused to accredit foreign --
MR. REEKER: My understanding is that they have said they will not accredit NGOs; they will accredit foreign officials but not employees of embassies in Zimbabwe, which makes no sense and, as I indicated, certainly flies in the face of standard diplomatic practice as, again, as sort of effort which fails to create any kind of conducive climate for credible elections.
QUESTION: By employees of embassies, do you mean Zimbabwean citizens who are employed by the embassies, or American citizens who are attached to the embassies?
MR. REEKER: I understand diplomats. Our diplomats generally all over the world observe elections and are accredited as election observers. The Government of Zimbabwe has given us the understanding that our people at our embassy there will not be given observer accreditation. And while we will continue - our diplomats will continue to monitor other aspects of the election process without the accreditation, they'll be unable to enter polling places and they will be unable to effectively monitor and observe actual polling and counting processes.
QUESTION: Phil, is this unprecedented?
MR. REEKER: I would have to go back into the annals of electoral process and the standards of international observation, but I would point you to the statements released yesterday by the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, which would lead one to believe that this was a most unusual and perhaps unprecedented step.
MR. REEKER: Yes. Zimbabwe?
MR. REEKER: Then let's go to Terri.
QUESTION: There are reports again that the US has invited these defecting Cuban doctors to come to the US. Have we been able to confirm that yet?
MR. REEKER: I don't have anything further for you on that, other than to say that we continue to push the Government of Zimbabwe to release the doctors to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which is the appropriate and required step under international law.
QUESTION: You don't know whether there's been an offer made to them that they would be welcome to come to the US?
MR. REEKER: I am not in a position to discuss that.
QUESTION: Can you just - and I know that I'm just not understanding this, but you're right; it doesn't make any sense. So the Zimbabweans, they have said that they would accredit foreign officials. So did they say to the US, we want to accredit your foreign officials or we want to credit specifically those that work at the embassy? And have you offered other officials, or would you, if they continued to not --
MR. REEKER: My understanding is that employees of embassies, not just the United States Embassy, but embassies in Harare, in Zimbabwe, will not be given observer accreditation, which is what they would require to enter the polling places and the counting centers, which is contrary, completely, to the earlier suggestions that foreign officials would be accredited as election observers. My understanding is that's still the case if the foreign official comes from outside of the established embassy community.
QUESTION: Are you thinking about offering? Are you looking for officials that might --
MR. REEKER: I'll have to check and see. What we're saying right now, a day before the accreditation deadline approaches, is that we're urging, as we have done, the Government of Zimbabwe to accredit all foreign election observers: governmental, nongovernmental, accredited diplomats, and any non-diplomats that are coming for this purpose before that deadline.
QUESTION: Middle East?
MR. REEKER: Middle East, sure.
QUESTION: It's mid-week.
MR. REEKER: It's mid-week.
QUESTION: Is Dennis traveling today?
MR. REEKER: My understanding is that Dennis Ross expects to leave later today for Israel.
QUESTION: He has to return his tux from last night.
QUESTION: Have you heard from the Israelis about the date that they want a three-way summit?
MR. REEKER: I mean, think we sort of covered that yesterday in terms of the various press reports that we have seen. Just to reiterate again, the President has clearly stated that he's prepared to host a summit with Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat once the necessary basis has been achieved. The purpose of such a summit would be to reach a permanent status agreement. As the Secretary stated, she's going to go to the region next week, after she's in Poland, to determine if we have, at that point, a basis to go to a summit or if more work is necessary to reach that point.
QUESTION: But have the Israelis proposed a date yet to you?
MR. REEKER: Not that I'm aware of. I mean, the whole point is a determination has to be made whether we're at the point, and that's what the Secretary will do next week, to have a summit - whether the conditions are there, whether we've got the basis achieved to have a summit, the purpose of which will be to reach a permanent status agreement.
QUESTION: Can you tell what some of those conditions would be? It seems a bit early if they haven't come to any accord at this point for people to be talking about a summit within a couple of days.
MR. REEKER: I'm not going to get into the specifics of the conditions. The President made very clear that he is prepared to host a summit when the appropriate basis exists. And those are determinations that will be made by the Secretary when she visits the region next week, and obviously something Ambassador Ross will be looking at very closely after he arrives tomorrow. I think that's all we're prepared to say at this point.
MR. REEKER: Anymore on the Middle East? It saves me flipping pages.
QUESTION: Does the Secretary know whether she will have a meeting with President Jiang, and what are the issues on the agenda there? We've seen them stressed out - spelled out before,, Maybe you could -
MR. REEKER: I don't have anything more specific now on China than what we've already given. I believe there was a background briefing here a couple of days ago in preparation for the Secretary's trip. I don't have a schedule of meetings. To coin a phrase, I refer you to the traveling party who are currently still in the air. And obviously the most current information will be available after they arrive in Beijing on their schedule. They should be arriving there in the next couple of hours, I believe.
QUESTION: Thank you. Yes, sir. Mr. Reeker, there have been reports of more inter-religious fighting and assassinations by Muslims of Christians in yet another island in Indonesia. And my question is not only what is the reaction of the State Department, but what do you think - what does the US Government think about Indonesia's ability to keep this kind of civil strife from breaking out, especially this kind of hatred?
MR. REEKER: I believe you're referring to the press reports - and we've also had embassy reports - of violence in the Malukus.
QUESTION: That's correct.
MR. REEKER: These reports indicate that at least 114 people have died and 70 have been injured during the latest clashes in the Maluku province. We're deeply concerned about the intensifying cycle of violence and retaliation between Christian and Muslim communities in the Maluku provinces. We're especially troubled by the fact that the security forces have proven either unwilling or unable to stop large-scale attacks on communities.
So we're urging the Government of Indonesia to take immediate and effective measures to prevent further bloodshed; in particular, the government should prevent organized groups from initiating attacks and stop extremists from outside areas from inflaming the situation and engaging in violence. So we're calling upon all parties to show restraint, refrain from violence, and resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiation.
QUESTION: Is it time, perhaps, that the UN or some peacekeeping group might intervene in these kinds of inter-religious wars?
MR. REEKER: I think I've made our position fairly clear. We're calling upon the government to take steps and effective measures to prevent further bloodshed, and we're calling upon the groups involved to show the restraint necessary to stop the violence and resolve their differences through a dialogue. The violence isn't going to accomplish anything, as we've seen time and time again around the world. They need to have a dialogue and some sort of negotiation to see an end to this tragedy.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Is 114 from the Embassy, or is that just based on wire reports?
MR. REEKER: My information is press and Embassy reports indicating that. I think we try we try to use a combination. We're not in a position necessarily to get precise counts in locations like that, but those are the numbers that I've seen.
QUESTION: What is the US position on the religious ID issue? I mean the right of every individual to express his religious belief on an ID card.
MR. REEKER: I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the issue you're describing.
QUESTION: As you might be aware there is a dispute for this specific issue between the government, of course, the Simitis and the Greek Archbishop in Athens, Mr. Christodoulos So may we hear your comment?
MR. REEKER: I think that's an issue that's a Greek internal issue and we'll leave it for the Government of Greece and the Archbishop to work out.
QUESTION: But how do you explain the fact that, according to the reports, the Greek religious - this matter was discussed separately among US Embassy officials in Athens, the Greek church, and the governmental officials? So I would like to hear your comment.
MR. REEKER: My experience, having worked in embassies, is we often discuss matters of local interst with relevant parties as part of our daily work in terms of understanding and carrying out diplomatic relations with a country. That doesn't mean that we take a position or that we enunciate any postion. We're interested in hearing what people have to say.
QUESTION: But as US Government, you do not have position on a religious ID, that somebody has the right to express his religious belief?
MR. REEKER: I'd be happy to refer to our religious freedom reports, which come out regularly, and perhaps you can find something there. What we do in our country, I think, is very well known in terms of freedom of religion, and I just don't have anything for you on a specific Greek model.
QUESTION: But, the other day, five days ago in the Congress, there was a specific hearing on religious freedom and beliefs in Europe. (Inaudible) - the European Union it was a great concern on the part of some congressmen for a lot of anti-religious attitudes on the part of some European countries. So how come --
MR. REEKER: I'll let those congressmen speak for themselves. As you know, I'm here representing the State Department, the Executive Branch. I don't have anything for you on this.
QUESTION: As far as for the US Government, there is not anything on that specific issue?
MR. REEKER: I'd be happy to check into it, as usual.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. REEKER: Anything else? Thank you.
(The briefing was concluded at 2:25 P.M.)