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State Dept. Daily Press Briefing June 20, 2001


Daily Press Briefing Index Wednesday, June 20, 2001

BRIEFER: Richard Boucher, Spokesman

STATEMENT 1 Contribution to Global AIDS Funds World Refugee Day

MACEDONIA 2-4 Potential U.S. Troop Involvement in Arms Collection / Organization of Troops / Political Situation Update / Deputy Assistant Secretary Swigert Role

MIDDLE EAST 4-10 Secretary Travel to Region / U.S. Policy / Goals of Trip / Invitation to Secretary / Travel Schedule / U.S. Engagement in Region / Administration Policy / U.S. View on Role of International Peace Force

IRAQ 11 Sanctions / Secretary's Meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov

PAKISTAN 11-12 U.S. View on Progress Towards Democracy / Appointment of President / Discussions with Foreign Minister Sattar

TAIWAN 12-13 Missile Test / U.S. Involvement / Lee Teng-hui U.S. Visit /

YEMEN 13 U.S. Reaction to Reported Usama bin Laden Videotape Claiming Responsibility for U.S.S. Cole

UKRAINE 13-14 Visiting Ukraine Delegation

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING DPB # 87

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 2001 1:20 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. BOUCHER: Ladies and gentlemen, before I answer your questions, I want to introduce Saffina Ali and Ezekiel Tafari, who are shadowing Secretary Powell

today as part of the Powell-Cook, now Powell-Straw, Youth Exchange Program.

They lead off the briefing today by giving you statements that we have wanted to make on World Refugee Day and on contributions to the Global AIDS Funds.

And I think Saffina is going to start.

MS. ALI: The Department of State welcomes the commitment of financial resources by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the global fund to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB.

This contribution will increase [momentum] in the international community towards establishment of the public-private partnership based on the principles and priorities President Bush outlined in an announcement on May the 11th.

Organization such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are demonstrating leadership in international health issues.

MR. BOUCHER: Thank you. Elaine will translate the accent for anybody that needs it. (Laughter.)

MS. ALI: Sorry about that.

Q: Elaine doesn't do Liverpool. (Laughter.)

MR. BOUCHER: Okay, Ezekiel.

MR. TAFARI: The United Nations has designated June the 20th, 2001, as the first ever World Refugee Day. The United States has long played a key role in providing assistance to refugees. The United States is the single largest donor, and it accepts more refugees for resettlement than any other country.

Last year, more than 70,000 refugees were resettled in this country.

The United States is pleased to announce today, on World Refugee Day, additional funding of $46.5 million to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to protect and assist refugees worldwide. With the largest funding, the US Government has contributed more than $220 million to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in FY 2001.

MR. BOUCHER: Okay, thank you very much. Those statements will be out in writing after the briefing, so you will get all the details.

Q: Aren't they going to stay for questions?

MR. BOUCHER: They are going to stay for questions. I guess I get to take the questions.

Q: Well, okay. We should have been at the White House today, but let's begin with Macedonia, please. Lord Robertson, speaking to some of us --

MR. BOUCHER: Barry, you can go anywhere you want any day you want.

Q: No, I mean, if you are going to hear about Powell's trip by covering the

White House, I guess that's -- we're in the wrong building.

MR. BOUCHER: Sometimes the President asks the Secretary to do things. He is the man we work for.

Q: I thought only (inaudible) news. But anyhow, on Macedonia, we did hear the Secretary this morning, and we also heard Lord Robertson, and I just want to get as clean an answer, as clear an answer, as I can.

Robertson said that some NATO allies have made a preliminary offer to contribute troops to assist in the collection of arms. And we know how that

would work. It was described by the Secretary. He would not say if the United States is one of those countries.

The Secretary said we haven't taken a decision yet; it isn't necessary yet.

But the question is: Has the United States made a preliminary offer, a gesture, in any way indicated that it would be willing to be part of this operation?

MR. BOUCHER: Not at this point. The planning process is moving through NATO. I think you remember from when the President was at NATO at the summit level a week or two ago, there were in fact even then some countries who indicated that they were prepared to send troops to Macedonia for one or another purpose, including support for disarmament.

For the rest of us, we are working with NATO through the NATO military authorities, and as the Alliance announced today, they have reviewed a concept of operations which the military authorities will develop into an operational plan. And as that planning process goes through, that is when governments will commit troops to the operation.

So at this stage in that process, other than those who might have spontaneously or voluntarily said something a week or two ago or more recently, the commitments haven't been made or asked for. So we will look at that. I think the Secretary noted that we already have some troops in Macedonia doing logistics for Kosovo.

So there is, I think, a variety of opportunities and options here. The goal

of the Alliance as a whole is to support President Trajkovski, to support whatever political reform package they can agree upon and implement, and NATO is certainly very intent upon supporting that process.

Q: All right, that leads to the second question. Again, just to clarify, the Secretary -- we know what you just said and we know what he said -- he spoke

of there being 700 US troops in Macedonia. He spoke of other US troops being -- manning the border on the Kosovo side. There are others who are saying -- I don't want to attribute it to Robertson, but his people are saying that this force, if that is the right word, will not be drawn from KFOR people.

Is the Secretary saying, or is it the US position, if the US contributes troops to this operation, they will be additional, or they will be drawn from those two existing contingents?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we have specified one way or the other. Before we specify where troops would come from, we would have to make a commitment of troops. And as I said, we are not at that stage now. The military authorities at NATO are helping develop this into an operational plan of how

to go about it.

I would note in passing that Lord Robertson will be here tomorrow. The Secretary will meet with him tomorrow. I think actually he is meeting with Secretary Rumsfeld this afternoon. So we will be discussing this with Lord Robertson, as well as working the process of operational planning with our NATO allies in Brussels.

Q: Thank you.

Q: Richard, though, as the Secretary said, and as everyone said -- NATO, Lord Robertson, everyone -- that this force, if it were to come -- is contingent on a political solution. And I guess unfortunately, as the Secretary was extolling the virtues of the US pressure on the Macedonian Government to come up with a peaceful solution and also to make constitutional changes to satisfy the Albanians, President Trajkovski was calling off the talks and blaming the ethnic Albanians for their intransigence.

What do you make about the breakdown in --

MR. BOUCHER: Well, we and others are still working with them on this. The United States, the European Union, NATO, OSCE, all have people out there actively engaged in a political dialogue -- in supporting a political dialogue between the Albanian parties to try to get a political solution to the crisis. We are working closely with the parties. We are trying to encourage rapid movement on a package of agreed political reforms.

We have seen the statements today. We would only note that they are discussing very difficult, very sensitive issues. Differences between them do indeed remain, but we continue to encourage them to work towards a solution.

Q: So can we move to the other place where --

Q: No, I just have one more question. I'm sorry if you addressed this yesterday. The group of Albanian-Americans that met with Secretary Powell said that Powell told them that Deputy Assistant Secretary Swigert has now become his special assistant to the region. Has this been a kind of formal declaration, along the lines of Assistant Secretary Burns?

MR. BOUCHER: I think the correct title is -- the Secretary used it this morning -- was "my man in Macedonia." (Laughter.) His formal title is Deputy Assistant Secretary. Does he have another title on top of that? No. He is

the person who has been working this most actively for us, along with our Ambassador out there.

As you know, the ambassadors from NATO and EU countries are quite active out

in Skopje, and then there are various people who come in on behalf of one organization to the other. Deputy Assistant Secretary Swigert has been frequently a member of those teams from NATO and the EU, and they go out and

work, so he is the one who is working this for us most intensely from outside.

Q: Can we move now to the Middle East (inaudible) Secretarial travel and other details the White House may not have announced?

MR. BOUCHER: Other details the White House might not have announced? I was

hoping to get away with telling you the same thing the White House already said.

Q: And we'd be out the door right away.

MR. BOUCHER: You'd be out the door right away to file.

Q: No.

MR. BOUCHER: Or in disgust. All right.

The Secretary is going to travel to the Middle East next week at the request

of the President. We don't have timing on the trip yet. Ambassador Burns will go to the region in advance of the Secretary's travel. The goal of the

Secretary's travel is to continue to work with the parties to consolidate the cease-fire and to move towards the implementation of the Mitchell Committee's recommendations in all its aspects.

Q: Is it safe to assume, though, that he wouldn't leave until after Sharon left, meaning after Tuesday afternoon or so?

MR. BOUCHER: I am not going to try to pin it down as far as days and schedules at this point, but it will be next week. As I think you know but we haven't announced, we expect the Secretary to be in New York on Monday for the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, and then after that we'll get to the schedule to you of any Middle East travel.

Q: Richard, let me ask you -- actually it's being asked at the White House,

too. Let me ask you this as clearly as I can. The Government of Israel's position is that there must be a firm cease-fire and a cooling-off period before steps are taken to a resumption of talks. The cease-fire, which is only a week old, is in particularly shaky shape now. In fact, the Israeli cabinet had to have a meeting to decide what to do about the cease-fire and they have decided to continue their commitment to the cease-fire.

As you have described the Secretary's trip, which is the same way the White House did, of course, he has two purposes: to shore up the cease-fire and to look for ways to move down the peace road.

I could ask you -- but there's an easy way to answer it, just to tell me to ask the Israeli Government -- but it looks to me like you're at cross-purposes with the Government of Israel. The Government of Israel wants a cease-fire and a cooling-off period; in the midst of fighting and before Sharon even gets here, the Secretary of State is committed to go there and to try to find a way back to the peace table.

Is there some conflict here, or don't I understand policy?

MR. BOUCHER: I think you fail to understand -- did I say try to find a way back to the peace table as a goal of his trip?

Q: No, I'm talking about steps, confidence-building -- I'm trying to speak as tersely as possible. He's not just going for the cease-fire --

MR. BOUCHER: Okay, let's --

Q: He's not just -- let me finish the point. He is not just --

MR. BOUCHER: Let's talk truly tersely, okay?

Q: All right. He's not --

MR. BOUCHER: Mitchell Committee recommendations in all their aspects. Okay?

Q: Right, exactly.

MR. BOUCHER: If we've read the Mitchell Report and if we remember what we read in the Mitchell Report, we'll remember cease-fire, cooling-off period, confidence-building measures, peace talks, 242, 338.

Q: And Nirvana, yes.

(Laughter.)

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I don't remember that part of it.

Q: It's there, too.

MR. BOUCHER: But Mitchell Committee Report in all its aspects includes all the things you're talking about. The goal at this point for the Secretary, and the Assistant Secretary in going out in advance, is to help the parties consolidate the cease-fire. We are concerned about the upsurge in the violence in recent days. We think people have to redouble their efforts. It is going to require good faith and sustained efforts to consolidate this cease-fire and to get on to the track of implementing the Mitchell Report in

all its various phases and aspects.

Q: But there is a second purpose, and that is what I'm asking about. I'm not questioning whether it's inconsistent to try to shore up the cease-fire. I'm questioning whether there is an inconsistency between the Israeli position -- they are, after all, one of the two parties -- between the Israeli position,

which you have to have a cooling-off period before you move forward.

MR. BOUCHER: But that's part of the Mitchell Report, so every time I say Mitchell Report I'm saying cooling-off period.

Q: Well, I don't think the Mitchell Report -- I understand you're saying the Mitchell Report. I hear you. But it is a separate phase. The Prime Minister of Israel wants the cease-fire on solid ground, and then a cooling-off period, and then let's look into what we can do. Before he even gets here, the US Government is saying we're going there to do both, to shore up the cease-fire and move ahead on Mitchell.

I'm asking you if that's not inconsistent, and you say it isn't.

MR. BOUCHER: There is nothing inconsistent with what we have said and what the Israeli Government has said, and the Palestinians for that matter. They

have all said implement the Mitchell Report. All these things are parts of that.

Q: Richard, can you say what it is you mean by "consolidate the cease-fire"? And obviously George Tenet was out there. He was trying to get the cease- fire. They have been having these security meetings. So what is it that Secretary Powell expects to bring to the table, if you will, to try to get this cease-fire to stick?

MR. BOUCHER: I think it's what we're looking for the parties to bring to the table, and that is a renewed effort, a redoubled effort, an even stronger effort to stop the violence. Good faith sustained efforts are going to be necessary to stop the violence completely and to establish the foundation to

get on with those Mitchell Committee recommendations.

Q: And are we to read into this, then, that the Administration is concerned

that the cease-fire is on the verge of falling apart? And obviously this is

Secretary Powell's first trip -- oh, no, it isn't.

MR. BOUCHER: Since February.

Q: Not his first trip. It's not. I withdraw the question.

MR. BOUCHER: Okay. Terri?

Q: No, no, I'm still -- that other -- you didn't answer the first part.

MR. BOUCHER: The other question? I think you should be concerned that you should report that what we've actually said, that we have been concerned about the upsurge in violence and we think it requires redoubled efforts by the parties and that we will go out there in order to encourage them to redouble

their efforts to stop the violence and thereby lay the foundation for getting on with the implementation of all the other aspects of the Mitchell Committee Report.

Q: If I could just follow up. But then why is it necessary for Secretary Powell himself to go when obviously Bill Burns has been doing this, you've had Martin Indyk on the ground, we've been listening for weeks hearing you say that you've got very capable people on the ground who have been working this

issue. Why now is it necessary for Secretary Powell to go himself?

MR. BOUCHER: Because we have been concerned about the upsurge in the violence and we think that it's useful. The President is asking the Secretary to go because we think it's useful to go out there and really try to make this work.

Q: But we've had an upsurge in violence, Richard, for the last eight and a half months, and you have been in office now since January and this is the first time that Secretary Powell himself is going to try to get a cease-fire

to stick.

MR. BOUCHER: Since September, since the violence has been going on, we all recognize things haven't been the same every day. There have been upsurges and declines and reductions in the level of violence. We are at a period where there is a lower level of violence, but there needs to be more done to

stop it completely, to really reduce it, to get the violence down.

And the fact is that we had the parties accept the idea of a cease-fire. We

had Chairman Arafat accept the idea of a cease-fire, and Prime Minister Sharon as well. And Director Tenet went out after that to work with the parties on

specific things they can be doing to carry that out. We have had Ambassador

Indyk and Consul General Schlicher out there working it. We have had Ambassador Burns out there working it. And at times, as we have said all along, the Secretary is going to be out there working on it as well. This is very, very important to us, to get the violence down and to get on with the Mitchell Committee recommendations.

Q: She asked my question, but I'll ask it in a little different way. Aren't you afraid that because he is going due to the fact that violence hasn't ended that this will bring back criticism that you are squandering the prestige of

the office, which this Administration has said it's going to be very careful

not to do, to only send somebody when only that person could finish the job?

Hopefully that would have been signing something peaceful.

And the other criticism is that the people who say that violence brings rewards, isn't having Secretary Powell come visit you a reward? In fact, you haven't given the US what it wants to see yet?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure having Secretary Powell come visit you and tell you that you have to do more and you have to --

Q: But he could say it from here.

Q: He could start on the confidence-building measures as a reward.

MR. BOUCHER: Barry, if we get started on confidence-building measures, it's

because we will have reduced the violence and gone through a cooling-off period. Okay? We're following the Mitchell Committee Report. I mean, we can argue about this as long as you want, but it's her question so let's try to answer it.

The fact is that there is still violence. We need to stop the violence. Violence hurts people. We don't want people to be hurt. We want to stop the violence. If we can do something to contribute to that, we will do it. And

that, at this stage, involves having Assistant Secretary Burns go out there in advance of the Secretary and having the Secretary of State go out. His contribution, we hope, will be to help reduce the violence, and as I said, get on, if we can, with the process of implementing the Mitchell Committee Report in all its aspects.

Q: First question. Is this trip at the invitation of the parties themselves to President Bush? And also, Secretary Powell has said all along, and other

people in this Administration have said, that Secretary Powell is not going to take a trip there until there is something achievable. Ending the violence is a very elusive kind of thing, that he can't walk away and -- even if he leaves on a plane and the violence has stopped for an hour or so, that's not an achievable thing that he is going to leave with.

Is he going to try and broker some kind of time frame for implementation of the Mitchell agreement? Like, if there is a very specific goal here, what is he trying to achieve?

MR. BOUCHER: No, first of all, I don't think we have said that. I don't think we have said we are only going to go out there when we could put money

in the bank. I do think we have said quite clearly that we want to make the

Secretary's visits useful, we want to make a contribution, we want to make sure -- he wants to make sure -- that he can move the process forward by traveling. And we are going to try to do that. The direction we need to move to now is a further reduction in the violence. That is where he is going to

move the process forward.

Q: What about the parties? Did they invite Secretary Powell? Did they ask

for him?

MR. BOUCHER: Not that I particularly know of. I would have to double-check

on that. The White House may know whether it came up in any of the President's phone calls.

Q: Let me ask a very selfish question. If you can't tell me exactly how it

is the Secretary is mangling my vacation, can you at least say if you envision this trip being like two days, three days, something like that? And if you can't even say that, can you at least tell us when Ambassador Burns is going?

MR. BOUCHER: Why don't we talk about people's vacations later?

Q: Can you talk about Ambassador Burns? When is he going?

MR. BOUCHER: Soon. Soon and before the Secretary.

Q: Well, that's --

MR. BOUCHER: We'll talk about people's vacations later, Matt.

Q: Richard, is the Secretary planning to make other stops in the region or elsewhere on the trip?

MR. BOUCHER: It's a pretty big region.

Q: Well, is he planning to see --

MR. BOUCHER: The stops aren't set at this point. I am sure we will see various people when we are out there.

Q: Richard, I'm just trying to put a few pieces in place. Tomorrow, the new Foreign Minister of Egypt is going to be in town to meet with Secretary Powell, obviously. Yesterday, you had the Speaker of the Knesset who was here. You have got Sharon coming on Tuesday.

Is something in the works here? Do you feel that there is some kind of momentum that the Secretary might be able to take advantage of beyond trying

to get a cease-fire?

MR. BOUCHER: What is in the works is what we have been telling you about, is a continuing effort of engagement and involvement of the United States in trying to reduce the violence, get the violence to stop, in trying to move on with the implementation of the Mitchell Committee recommendations in all their aspects.

That is what we have been working on. That requires a constant effort, a sustained effort with all the parties. And I think we have been doing that.

Q: Stepping back a little bit, and remembering what he said on his first trip, can we say now there is an agreement that the Administration has come around to the view that the main focus of US policy in that area is the Arab- Israeli conflict?

And you know why I ask the question, because on our first trip, I almost want to say the refreshing or the new view of the new Administration was that it's a bigger region out there, that we are concerned about Iran, we are concerned about Iraq, we are concerned about sanctions, and we are not going to just concentrate on this one area. It seems we are.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I am not concentrating on it. You guys are asking a thousand questions about one area.

Q: Well, that's where he's going.

MR. BOUCHER: Do you want to talk about progress on the Iraq policy and the Iraq resolution? We're working that, too.

Q: Okay.

MR. BOUCHER: We are working in the entire region in a very active way. The

fact that Bill Burns is involved and engaged as our Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, I think we originally cited as an indication that we wanted to work these issues in their regional context, and indeed that is

how we are doing it and what we are doing and intend to continue doing.

Q: Can I ask about Iraq since you mentioned it?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I didn't, did I?

Q: Yes.

Q: Please.

MR. BOUCHER: One more Middle East?

Q: Yes. Why won't the US Government support the concept of international peace force to stop the violence and control cease-fires?

MR. BOUCHER: Anything like that would have to be acceptable to the parties.

At this stage, it doesn't look like it is.

Q: This is about the trip, which I guess will lead brilliantly, to quote the Secretary, into Elaine's question. Is part of the goal of this trip to stop

in some of the frontline states to shore up some support for the Iraq --

MR. BOUCHER: We don't have an itinerary yet at this point.

Q: Can you tell us where you are in terms of garnering support for the sanctions or amending sanctions against Iraq? And can you tell us what came

out of the Secretary's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov on this subject?

MR. BOUCHER: Generally, I would say that we are working intensively with other governments, UN Security Council members and others, on how to open up

access to civilian goods for the Iraqi civilian population and to focus UN controls on weapons-related items.

There is a US and British proposal that would change the system to improve the situation of the Iraqi people and strengthen control of Iraq's ability to rearm. We and others prefer to change the system rather than to retain the current status quo.

There are extensive consultations going on on the technical details of this new approach. There have been experts meetings in a variety of fora. These

discussions will continue, and we would urge the Council to meet its own deadline as we work towards July 3rd.

Q: Richard, what about the meeting with Ivanov? I wasn't on that trip so I

didn't --

MR. BOUCHER: In the meeting with Foreign Minister Ivanov in Slovenia, the Secretary called and he discussed a whole number of subjects, including this

issue of Iraq and the need for the technical experts to focus more carefully

on the goods review list and the other procedures that need to be developed.

So basically, they talked about reinvigorating the experts process to come to solid conclusions within the time frame the Council has set for itself.

Q: And did they reach any concrete conclusions about how they were going to

do that? I mean, did they make progress?

MR. BOUCHER: They reached the conclusion that they would do that, that they

would each get in touch with their experts and try to make it happen smoothly and quickly.

Q: Okay, thank you.

Q: Richard, if I can change the subject, yesterday the Pakistani Foreign Minister said that Pakistan was making progress towards democracy, and then just a couple of hours later, Musharraf kind of crowns himself emperor, throws out the President.

Is this the kind of thing that the United States thinks is progress towards democracy? And second of all, did the Foreign Minister give the Secretary any notice that this is what General Musharraf was going to do?

And then if I could just -- one other -- are you going to -- what is going to be the protocol? Will you address him as chief executive or president?

MR. BOUCHER: To take the questions in reverse order, I don't know, is the answer to the last one. The answer to the second-to-last one is no, Foreign

Minister Sattar did not inform us yesterday of this development. And in response to the first one, to the development itself, I would say that we are very concerned and we are very disappointed that Pakistan has taken another turn away from democracy, rather than, as we had hoped, a step toward democracy.

General Musharraf's actions to dissolve the elected assemblies and to appoint himself president severely undermine Pakistan's constitutional order. They cast Pakistan as a country ruled by decree rather than by democratic process.

Pakistan, we believe, should understand that US sanctions imposed because of

the military coup cannot be lifted until the President determines that a democratically elected government has taken office. So we urge the Government of Pakistan to move quickly towards genuine restoration of democracy through

free and fair national elections, and we will watch closely on what steps the government might take.

Q: I believe -- unless he has left in the last couple hours -- the Foreign Minister is still here in the States. Is there any idea about calling him back to ask him what the hell is going on?

MR. BOUCHER: He had a previously scheduled meeting with Mr. Armitage this afternoon, so they will be meeting this afternoon, and I am sure Mr. Armitage will make clear what our position is on these things.

Q: Did the Foreign Minister give Secretary Powell any advance warning during his meeting with the Minister --

MR. BOUCHER: That was asked, and the answer is no.

Q: I'm sorry.

Q: Taiwan tested the missile, the Patriot missile, yesterday. What is your

comment on that?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I'm not sure there is a whole lot to say from here. But

basically, this is a system that Taiwan has. Let me find the details of it.

It is a modified air defense system that is derived from the US Patriot system. It is primarily an anti-aircraft weapon, although it has some capability against lower-tier missile threats. Like any military, the Taiwan military routinely tests its weapons. And any details you would have to get

from the Taiwan military.

Q: Is the US facilitating the missile build-up in -- around Taiwan Strait, then?

MR. BOUCHER: Facilitating the missile build-up? No.

Q: But where did they get those missiles?

MR. BOUCHER: This missile? They buy them from us. This is -- let me see -- I'm trying to think if this is -- it is derived from the US Patriot system, so I don't know the exact nature of the technology, but certainly it is associated with one of our systems. But we have always said we will provide

Taiwan with the wherewithal to meet its legitimate defensive needs, and any sales are within that context.

Q: The former Taiwanese leader, Lee Teng-hui, is going to be in New York next week. Isn't that contradictory to the One China policy? Missile today, next week is the visitor?

MR. BOUCHER: I think this was a trip that was discussed actually for some time, and if I remember correctly, he postponed it. We issued a tourist visa to Mr. Lee in April that would permit him to travel to the United States. He is a private individual. We understand now that he is going to visit Cornell University beginning next week.

Q: (Inaudible?)

MR. BOUCHER: Another transit? Not that I know of. But I'm surprised often.

Q: The bin Laden videotape, in which the group appears to take responsibility for the bombing of the Cole, the US reaction? And does our government have information that would give credence to that claim?

MR. BOUCHER: We don't have any particular information on this videotape. We don't know its origin. As far as the responsibility for the bombing of the USS Cole, that is a matter of an ongoing investigation, and so I don't have any conclusions to draw about that.

I would just say that we have heard about this tape, we have seen the reports. The kind of exhortations in this videotape that we have heard about, exhortations to violence, deserve strong condemnation from everyone.

Once again, we call on the Taliban to comply with UN Resolution 1333, shut down the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and expel Usama bin Laden to a country where he can be brought to justice for his crimes.

Q: Thank you.

MR. BOUCHER: Thank you.

Q: Sorry. Has the Deputy Secretary already met with the Ukrainian delegation visiting, and do you have a readout?

MR. BOUCHER: With the -- ?

Q: The Ukrainian delegation who are visiting. And do you have a readout on

their discussions?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't know. I will have to check.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:50 p.m.)


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Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

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