State Dept. Daily Press Briefings, July 2-3, 2001
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Daily Press Briefing Index Monday, July 2, 2001, 2001
BRIEFER: Richard Boucher, Spokesman
STATEMENTS/ANNOUNCEMENTS 1 Resignation of David Trimble as First Minister of Northern Ireland Assembly 3 UNSC Resolution on Iraqi Sanctions
NORTHERN IRELAND 1-3 Next Steps / Richard Haas Agenda / Level of Involvement
IRAQ 4-10 Rollover of the Current Resolution / Frontline State Concerns / Goods Review List / Policy Review
ISRAEL- PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY 11-15,16 Timing of Ceasefire / Alleged War Crimes by Prime Minister Sharon / Assurances by Yasser Arafat International Monitors / Arms Sales to Israel / Consensus Among Other Nations Regarding Mitchell Plan SAUDI ARABIA 15-16 Secretary Powell's Meeting with Crown Prince Abdallah / Khobar Towers NATO 16-17 Russian Membership /
ASEAN 17 Secretary Powell's Trip Call to Foreign Minister Tang
MEXICO 17-18 Transit Visas / Illegal Immigration
MACEDONIA 18- 19 Arrest of Rector of Albanian University / Ambassador Pardew's Schedule
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL 19-20 Proceedings Against Milosevic / U.S. Evidence Against Milosevic
JAPAN 20 Okinawa Rape Case / Visit of Prime Minister
IRAN 21-22, 22-23 Italian Oil Company Signs Agreement / Repercussions / Approach to Kyoto Treaty
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING DPB # 92
FRIDAY, JULY 2, 2001 12:30 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Sorry I'm a bit late today. I wanted to do two things off the top. One is to tell you a little bit about the Northern Ireland situation as we see it, and the second is to give you the update on where we stand in New York on UN resolutions and Iraq.
On Northern Ireland, I would say the United States regrets the resignation of David Trimble as First Minister of the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly. We recognize the initiatives and risks that he, both as a Unionist Party leader
and as First Minister, has taken for peace in Northern Ireland. His determined and patient leadership of his own party was instrumental in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement itself, and he has persisted in seeking ways to implement that agreement in full. We welcome his intention to remain actively engaged in the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
We continue to believe that all parties to the agreement want it to take hold and want the peace process to succeed. We are pleased that negotiations toward these goals continue. We urge all parties to work together to avoid sectarian violence and to remain focused on consolidating the gains made thus far. We hope that Northern Ireland's leaders will redouble their efforts to
overcome the current impasse and deal with all the outstanding issues.
In the context of full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, the issue of paramilitary arms must be addressed. Guns have no part to play in democratic politics. The agreement clearly calls for decommissioning.
The 1998 referendum and recent election clearly show that all communities in
Northern Ireland want and deserve peaceful solutions to political, social and economic issues, and that the people want self-government. The United States remains ready to support Northern Ireland's political leaders as they, along
with the British and Irish governments, seek to carry out the will and fulfill the dreams of Northern Ireland's people.
QUESTION: Richard, President Clinton and Senator Mitchell and others in that administration made an enormous effort and moved the situation a long way. You say the US stands ready. Is there anything specific the US intends to do to try to save this situation -- the decommissioning problem?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, as you know, we continue to work with the parties. Ambassador Richard Haas, the director of our policy planning here, has been appointed the Administration's point man on Northern Ireland. He has been out there already, and he continues to be in touch with the parties to try to move the process forward, to do what we can to move the process forward.
QUESTION: Can you give us any details on the phone calls he has made since Mr. Trimble decided to resign? And the --
MR. BOUCHER: I am afraid I would have to check on that for you. I don't have anything off the top of my head.
QUESTION: Beyond expressing regret, are you concerned that this is a move which has fueled the crisis, or are there particular steps you think the parties ought to take to solve it?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, as I think I said in the statement, the parties continue
to say that they want to make this process work, so the step that we would like to see them take is to continue to make it work. We are pleased that Mr. Trimble has said that he will remain actively engaged in implementing the Good Friday Agreement, and we look to all the parties to try to do that.
QUESTION: I know you said you regret his resignation. Is that -- should we
take that as being criticism of his resignation? Or -- it's kind of rather -- this word "regret" is kind of -- it seems to be spreading across a lexical area that is confusing us.
MR. BOUCHER: This is we're more than very sorry that he resigned.
QUESTION: Are you urging him to resume his post?
MR. BOUCHER: I think we want to see him continue to work in this process. We're glad that he said he would continue. And we regret the fact that he resigned. I think I just have to leave it at that for the moment.
QUESTION: Didn't it take the US, in the first place, an outside force and it turned out the US grandly took on the role? Doesn't it take an outside force like the United States to move this process forward? Can they do it themselves and with Britain? I mean, the Clinton Administration stepped in.
It's a massive undertaking. I don't sense that there is -- I think you've left your phone number, and of course Richard Haas, estimable fellow that he
is, has been out there.
But we had a President involved before. Is there anything this Administration is going to do comparable to what the Clinton Administration did?
MR. BOUCHER: Barry, if you take the logic of that remark and try to extend it, it means any time the President has ever been involved in anything, then
every administration subsequently has to maintain its involvement at the presidential level. That obviously doesn't apply in the world.
Many of these situations -- and I think this is one where high-level involvement to get the process started is often necessary, but the goal in all these cases, and the goal in this particular case, is to make a process that
is self-governing and self-sustaining. And that is the process that we saw that was under way in terms of the kind of government they had and the kind of government organization that they had.
It is important for the parties to get back to that situation where they can
carry out all the aspects of the Good Friday Agreement and get back to the aspect of where they run a government and they run a process that continues to make peace in Northern Ireland. It is not our goal to have the United States involved at senior levels forever.
QUESTION: You're saying there's a foundation, the US helped establish it. You seem to --
MR. BOUCHER: And we want that to work.
QUESTION: There is a basis that --
MR. BOUCHER: There is certainly a basis for making it work, and that is the
Good Friday Agreements.
Can we go on to the situation with regard to Iraq? The Secretary asked me to come down and update you on where we stand with regard to Iraq resolutions because I know there have been a lot of statements and speculation about where we are at this juncture.
If I can start by going backwards, as we usually do around here, the Security Council at the beginning of June, arrived at a very strong political consensus to try to improve the lives of the Iraqi people by allowing them to acquire the civilian goods they needed to build a civilian economy in Iraq, and at the same time, to maintain the proper controls on Iraq's acquisition of weapons and particularly for weapons of mass destruction -- elements, items, that can threaten its neighbors.
There was a very strong consensus reflected in the 15-0 adoption by the Council of Resolution 1352. In that resolution, the Council set itself a 30- day deadline to try to get the work done, the detailed work done that would be necessary to implement this new policy.
We've had a good deal of success in these last 30 days. Four of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council have agreed on the list of goods that would be subject to review. That is the central part, the core, of what needs to be done, although there are a number of other elements that need to
be done as well.
Nonetheless, we were unable to obtain Russian agreement to these specifics during this period, despite the fact that Russia had agreed to endorse at the beginning of June the resolution that embodied the political direction.
We believe also that there continues to be very strong support among the non- Permanent Members of the Security Council for going in this direction and for adopting the new specific resolution.
But it's clear that the remaining differences will not be resolved by tomorrow; therefore, we will be joining the consensus for a rollover of the current resolution so that we can continue to work on the specifics, both in
terms of getting Russia on board with the goods review list and in terms of working out the rest of the elements of the resolution.
One of the elements of the resolution that needs to be worked out -- there are many in addition to the goods review list, but one of them is to make sure that the concerns of the frontline states are adequately taken care of and dealt with in the new resolution. And that is an example of the kind of the
other things that we'll be working on.
So we share the view of many that the revised policy is better for the people of Iraq and better for the people of the region, who can be protected against Iraq's acquisition of weapons.
QUESTION: So you'll be trying to get Russia -- needn't you be more clear about how Iraq will eventually get out from under the sanctions if, you know, everything goes according to plan? I mean, how can you -- is that it, or is
there some way you can hone this resolution -- new resolution, or whatever your approach is -- to attract Russia? Or is it just commercial and they won't go along?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, obviously that is the kind of question that Russia needs
to address. Is it just commercial and they won't go along? Is there some other concern that they have that we haven't understood properly yet? In our view, Resolution 1284 -- and again, in Resolution 1352, this is cited -- Resolution 1284 provides the process by which Iraq could show, demonstrate to the world, that it is not harboring intentions or harboring programs for the
development of weapons of mass destruction. That remains in place. That remains the path by which Iraq would be able to demonstrate to the world that it was not seeking to acquire this capability to threaten its neighbors.
QUESTION: How long a rollover are we prepared to support?
MR. BOUCHER: We haven't decided on the final, in terms of the time frame. I know there's various proposals out there. The British have already spoke about five months. But we will be talking to other members of the Council in terms of agreeing on the time period.
QUESTION: You talked about -- that this suggests the interest of frontline states. Can you expand on that?
MR. BOUCHER: I think the Secretary talked about it a bit when we were in Jordan, or coming out of Jordan. The states that neighbor Iraq have a variety of arrangements -- some of them barter arrangements, some of them pipeline arrangements and other things -- through which they have acquired discounted
oil or other goods and been able to trade with Iraq somewhat outside of the monetized escrow system that was set up by the UN. We are aware of the fact
that implementing the regulations that Iraq has in the past and in recent weeks threatened these neighboring states with economic harm, should they join the international consensus to help the people of Iraq. The Iraqi Government is threatening people who want to help the civilians of Iraq.
Granted, we think that remains the best course of action, but we also think it is important that they be protected against economic retaliation from Iraq, and so we will have to work out mechanisms in the agreement or work out a framework in the resolution or some other mechanism so that these states are
allowed to continue to do what they need to do vis-à-vis their trade with Iraq, and particularly in civilian goods with the people of Iraq, and so that Iraq is not allowed to hold them -- to threaten them with economic retaliation.
QUESTION: Richard, the Secretary was going to talk to Ivanov over the weekend. Did he do that?
MR. BOUCHER: They didn't connect over the weekend. He talked to him this morning. And they discussed the situation with regard to the resolutions. But frankly I don't think there were any -- I don't want to say that we moved it any closer to resolving it.
QUESTION: Originally, the Secretary was talking about revamping the sanctions against Iraq. One of the things he said, besides the consumer goods, was to
really tighten up in terms of importing the ingredients or actual weapons of
mass destruction. Can you describe at this point what kind of consensus you
have within the Security Council on the elements of the sanctions that deal with this question?
MR. BOUCHER: The core of the new resolution, the most important piece, needs to be the list of goods that are subject to review by the members of the Council or by the UN to ensure that they don't -- that they aren't sold to Iraq.
We have reached agreement with four out of the five Permanent Members of the
Security Council, after a number of very detailed experts meetings, on that list. And so this so-called goods review list is now agreed among four of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council.
That constitutes the list of goods that could make a significant contribution to Iraq's programs for weapons of mass destruction, and therefore the list of goods that need to be looked at very, very carefully to avoid contributing to Iraq's programs and Iraq's ability to threaten its neighbors.
QUESTION: Can I follow up a bit? But that list is being winnowed down from
the current list. Are there new proposals that the US had going into this process that they had hoped would also, I guess, better seal Iraq's borders in terms of those?
MR. BOUCHER: Being winnowed down from the current list in that, as far as I
know, the current list is basically everything.
MR. BOUCHER: What there has been in the United Nations, various lists within the list of everything that would receive more or less scrutiny. What this does is it focuses more precisely on the items that need to be looked at carefully.
That's about as far as I can go based on my own understanding. I would have
to look up 1051 lists and the other various procedures in the past a little more to explain it.
QUESTION: Can you give us any idea of the number of items on this list?
MR. BOUCHER: I will see if I can. I don't have it on the top of my head.
QUESTION: How does the United States hope to compensate countries like Jordan, which stand to lose over a billion dollars if they lose access to oil?
And secondly, the British are very concerned about the Russian introduction of its -- the damage to its economy as an issue in any of these resolutions eleven years after the Gulf War, and saying that that's more important than some of the principles of weapons of mass destruction.
How does the United States feel about that?
MR. BOUCHER: I think, first of all, let's remember that this resolution will provide for a freer flow of civilian goods to the Iraqi people. And if Ira
qallows the people to take advantage of that, then there will be more sales of ordinary daily use items and civilian goods from frontline states and from other countries.
So if Iraq cooperates with the resolution, then not only should the Iraqi people benefit but people who sell things to the Iraqi people should benefit
as well. So generally, there should be a freer economic flow with Iraq as a
result of this resolution.
Now, the problem is that certain frontline states have beneficial arrangements with regard to oil, which Iraq has threatened to cut off -- Iraq basically threatening countries that want to help the Iraqi people. And should that happen, other countries will need to make sure that they are supported and that there is a new system that preserves the interest of Iraq's neighbors.
How exactly that is to happen will be something that we should work out with
other governments over the course of the next period of time.
QUESTION: How about the second one, about Russia.
MR. BOUCHER: I forgot it. Try again.
QUESTION: The British are very concerned that the Russians have introduced the idea of their economy being hurt.
MR. BOUCHER: Oh, yes. I think the overall benefit to people who might be selling civilian goods to Iraq in commercial terms is quite clear, so it has
never been clear to us what other governments who don't have this sort of discounted oil arrangement or anything like that, what other governments might fear in terms of providing civilian goods to the Iraqi people. It seems to be Iraq's government that is most concerned that people might actually let the people of Iraq acquire the goods that they need.
QUESTION: Now that the US is supporting a rollover of the current regime, will you be pressuring Syria to get its pipeline cleared through the Sanctions Committee after they promised --
MR. BOUCHER: As we have mentioned before and as I think I mentioned just now, the arrangements for the frontline states is one of the elements that has to
be worked out in terms of the new resolution, so that is something that we'll be working on.
QUESTION: And there will be a longer period now, more than 30 days, where the current sanctions would continue and that those states would be in violation
of the sanctions. Does the US have any intention of trying to, in that period, keep the frontline states in line with what the UN says they ought to do?
MR. BOUCHER: I think we'll be working with the governments in the region, as well as other governments on the Council, to try to cover this. But how exactly it will be covered, I can't tell you at this point.
QUESTION: I may have missed this -- I'm sure it came up because I went out for a couple minutes. Does the United States have a proposal on how long the rollover should be for?
MR. BOUCHER: No, not at this point. We'll be talking to --
QUESTION: But you're -- what do you think of the five- or six-month proposal?
MR. BOUCHER: As I said in the last ten minutes several times, we'll be talking to other governments about that.
QUESTION: Just sort of picking up on the frontline states, it has been four
months since Secretary Powell met with Bashar Assad and was fairly confident
after speaking with him that the Syrians were going to cut off that pipeline. Is it fair to say, then, that the State Department is disappointed that, four months later, an assurance that Secretary Powell thought he had gotten is, in fact, not being followed through on? And what is the State Department doing
to try to pressure Syria to, in fact, live up to its word?
MR. BOUCHER: I haven't tried to characterize our view of any particular other country, except Russia, at this juncture. I think it's important to remember that the Council has done a lot of the work, a core element of the work that
it set out to do, but, as I mentioned earlier, there is still other elements
that haven't been worked out yet. So we're going to have to keep working on
QUESTION: I was just going to say, this is a fairly serious infraction of the UN Oil-for-Food. I mean, it's millions and millions of dollars that are going into Saddam Hussein's pockets. I understand that the Jordanians are getting
cut-rate oil, but, I mean, this is actually potentially --
MR. BOUCHER: I think there was an estimate in the past that there was something like 10 percent or something of the revenue that was in these non- subsumed -- there must be a better way to say it -- that was outside this UN
escrow system. I don't know if that still applies. I haven't seen recent figures.
But it's clear that that has to be dealt with, and how we go about making arrangements for these new -- for the frontline states will be something that will be dealt with in the coming period. It's not something that we have resolved at this point.
QUESTION: Do you have any ideas on that front for dealing with the frontline states?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: You do? New ideas?
MR. BOUCHER: Let's not go too far.
QUESTION: Some Arab governments say that Syria has, since that meeting between Powell and Assad, told the United States that it has no intention of
cutting off the pipeline.
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think you have to leave it to the Syrians to talk about their intentions. We think it's important that the Council -- that the governments involved continue to address this issue, and we'll see how it's dealt with.
You're asking me to answer a question that I said up front is one of the questions we can't answer at this point, so I can't go into 20 different aspects of it when I said it's -- you know, here's what we've done, we've worked out a political consensus, we've worked out four out of five of the Permanent Members on the goods review list, now we're going to roll over the
current arrangement for another period of time so that we can finish working
out these other things that we haven't worked out yet.
QUESTION: But have you not heard from the Syrians since that first meeting?
MR. BOUCHER: We continue to be in touch with the Syrians, but I'm not going
to try to characterize their views
QUESTION: Given the delay at this point on completing the sanctions policy in the UN, what impact is this going to have on the other two baskets of Iraq policy that have been under the review right now by the State Department and
the rest of the Bush Administration?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think any particular aspect has been held for the other, so I don't see that it would have any particular effect.
QUESTION: Can we move on?
QUESTION: One more on Iraq. Are you confident that the progress you say it
has been made is locked in, or if there is a rollover perhaps of five months
that the consensus you already have will start to become frayed?
MR. BOUCHER: There was a very strong consensus at the beginning of June. There were real accomplishments since the beginning of June in terms of working out this very detailed and specific list among four out of the five Permanent Members. So I think we are confident that the members that have joined in this consensus and the members that have worked out the list will continue to push in this direction, that this is the right way to go.
We have said from the beginning, the policy that we had was falling apart; we needed to have a new policy. We found strong political support for a new policy that allows Iraqi civilians to acquire the goods they need and yet which limits the Iraq Government's ability to acquire the material for weapons of mass destruction. That remains the right thing, and we think that that can hold.
QUESTION: Even if you did get five out of the five Perm 5 to support the new resolution, without the support of the frontline states, are you confident that this new policy would work?
MR. BOUCHER: The goods review list obviously would be something in the resolution that everybody would adopt, that everybody would support. Working with the Permanent 5 members, I think, is an important start to that. We think there is support among other non-permanent members of the Council. But in many cases the Permanent 5, and particularly with the more sophisticated items, are likely to find a lot of the manufacturing and production of those
items would be in Permanent 5 countries.
So it is a key element in getting started on the list, and having that list adopted in a UN resolution by the entire Council would obligate everybody. So that is the way that it spreads to the whole world.
QUESTION: Okay, but I'm just trying to connect the two, and you are saying that they are not really connected in a sense. If the frontline states are saying that they don't want to support, you don't have the support for the resolution --
MR. BOUCHER: No, if the Council adopts a resolution --
QUESTION: Then they are forced --
MR. BOUCHER: -- then everybody is bound by it, whether you are frontline or
not frontline, or back row.
QUESTION: Unless they smuggle.
MR. BOUCHER: Well, that is another part of the resolution, which is working
on the smuggling questions.
QUESTION: Can we move on?
QUESTION: Can I try though? If you don't have the support of the frontline
states to tighten their border patrols and tighten these military embargos, then you are going to have a whole bunch of goods going into Iraq, and no embargos on the military. So isn't that the kind of lynchpin of the whole new sanctions regime?
MR. BOUCHER: No, the lynchpin of the sanctions regime is not -- in most interdiction regimes where there's drug smuggling or whatever, it's not relying on the inspection containers that the US makes co-border. I mean, that is part of the effort to keep drugs out of this country. But we also have a very strong effort to prevent drug manufacturing, to prevent the chemicals from going to drug manufacturers, to work with governments concerned where these things are produced.
I would say that in any interdiction effort you don't rely solely on the chance of discovering something in a truck as it goes across the border. You have a very broad and widespread effort, and we will have a broad and widespread effort to make sure that manufacturers aren't selling to people who are suspicious, to follow the intelligence on what Iraq is trying to acquire, to work with governments who transit countries, including the question of smuggling and inspection of borders. So it is a much broader effort than that.
And second of all, I would point out that these governments have cooperated and supported UN resolutions in the past through a variety of arrangements, including their own inspections procedures at the borders. To the extent that that is an element of all this, I'm sure that will continue, because they have taken these obligations seriously and we have worked with them in the past.
QUESTION: Can I try to just get back to the Ivanov phone call? There seems
to be some uncertainty what motivates Russia to be the obstacle here. Was there any clarification? Did the Russian Foreign Minister make clearer to the Secretary what Russia's objections are?
MR. BOUCHER: Not at this point, no.
QUESTION: Okay. Can we move on?
MR. BOUCHER: Please.
QUESTION: It isn't day one, right? (Laughter.) Not to be frivolous about a deadly situation, but can you address the difficulty in even getting that seven-day period going?
MR. BOUCHER: No, not -- again, not to be frivolous, I agree that it's not day one, either. QUESTION: No, I was being frivolous. Not you.
MR. BOUCHER: It's very important that both sides take advantage of the opportunity in the Middle East that has been presented by the Mitchell Committee recommendations, by the work done earlier by CIA Director George Tenet, and by the Secretary's visit to the region last week, to end the cycle of violence and stop the hardship.
It is up to the parties to engage in the effective cooperation on security issues, as agreed with Director Tenet, and to take the other steps to end the terror and violence. In this context, we think the Palestinians have not done enough to fight terror and to end the violence. We also want to make clear that we remain opposed to Israel's policy of targeted killings.
Both sides need to exert maximum efforts to halt the violence, and we will continue to urge them to do so.
QUESTION: The Prime Minister several times -- I mean, you seem to be reasonably pleased with Sharon's form of restraint, but he has said several times that it isn't open-ended. You have the military chief coming in this afternoon to see the Secretary. Is there some message on that front? You spoke of targeting, but is it the US view that Israel should continue to hold its fire?
MR. BOUCHER: It is. But it's our view that both sides need to take steps, take positive steps, to try to restrain the violence. And in this regard, in addition to -- you know, I mentioned our opposition to Israel's policy of targeted killings, but also said quite clearly we don't think the Palestinians have done enough.
Both sides agreed that there must be seven days of quiet, and we are looking
for them to make that happen.
QUESTION: Richard, the Secretary last Friday said that if this didn't work within some days then you'd have to look at new approaches. I wondered how many days -- whether these days were --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't remember him saying "some days."
QUESTION: Oh, yes, he did.
MR. BOUCHER: Particularly specifying days --
QUESTION: Maybe a week. Several days, maybe a week.
QUESTION: What is "some days"?
MR. BOUCHER: What is clear to us is that the parties need to make a serious
effort to make carry out the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee, and that starts with the unconditional cessation of violence. I don't think we have an exact time period of when Mitchell becomes just another report on the shelf, but it's clear that there is an opportunity here and that we are going to continue to urge the parties to take advantage of it.
QUESTION: And I have another one. What do you think of the decision by the
Belgian prosecutor to allow an investigation into allegations of war crimes by Prime Minister Sharon?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we have any particular position on decisions by Belgian prosecutors on this or other cases. We deal with Prime Minister Sharon as the elected representative of the Israeli people.
QUESTION: I think that's -- I think you should say more than that. I mean --
MR. BOUCHER: Well, that's your opinion.
QUESTION: It's a serious matter. You know, this is --
MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry, Jonathan. That may be your opinion, but that's not
ours. We think we've said enough.
QUESTION: You have no comment on it?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: Richard, last week the Secretary was very careful not to point specific fingers of blame and specifically say that the Israelis haven't done enough or the Palestinians haven't. Today, you are saying that the Palestinians haven't done enough.
Is it fair to say, then, that you're disappointed by the lack of effort on the part of Yasser Arafat following --
MR. BOUCHER: Would you give me a list of things before the briefing that I'm supposed to be disappointed in, and then I can just kind of go through numbers one, seven and nine?
QUESTION: I'm going to get it on one of these answers. I mean, no we sat there in Ramallah last week and watched as Yasser Arafat told Secretary Powell in English that he was going to do all of these things. Do you feel that it
was a lot of hot air?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, we think there is still an opportunity that needs to be taken advantage of. I don't think I can put it any more clearly than that.
Both sides agreed that they would try to get seven-days of quiet. We think both sides need to take the steps, effective steps, to make that happen. And that means doing more on the Palestinian side. It has been several days since we heard that statement in Ramallah from Chairman Arafat, and we think that he needs to take more steps to make it effective.
QUESTION: As sort of a follow-up on what has been discussed earlier on Russia, Russia seems to be the obstacle in the sanctions against Iraq. But my question refers to Russia and NATO. Over the past few years --
MR. BOUCHER: Can we finish with the Middle East and then we'll do Russia and NATO? Okay? I think we generally let people exhaust a topic -- or me.
QUESTION: One of the things Arafat made clear last week was, in so many words, that he felt he could guarantee no doubt that his own people would follow his guidance and show restraint. Does what has happened since then strike you as proof, as some people argue, that he is not in control of his own people, or is this evidence of a lack of insincerity on Arafat's part?
MR. BOUCHER: Let me take option (c) which is -- (laughter). The point I think we're making is that the parties need to take concrete and positive steps. We need to see what we have talked about all along, which is the 100
percent effort. Until we see that 100 percent effort, arguments about degrees of control is probably not -- are probably more or less academic.
Chairman Arafat told us, as Prime Minister Sharon did, that they would take steps to see seven days of quiet, and then after that period we could get into the implementation of the Mitchell Committee recommendations in all its aspects, and that would then lead to the resumption of negotiations on the basis of US Resolutions 242 and 338.
It is very much in our interests and in their interests in getting that process under way, both for the sake of avoiding violence and ending the killings, but also in getting back on track with the process, as I said, based on the UN resolutions. So we look to the parties to take the steps necessary. And once we see them taking those steps, then we can start arguing over whether so-and-so has enough control to make them 100 percent effective.
QUESTION: Richard, can you clarify that? Because a week ago 100 percent effort was your policy, and then after you spoke to Mr. Sharon it suddenly became 100 percent results, and now you're back to 100 percent effort.
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think -- I wouldn't characterize our policy that way, Jonathan. Let me say that we have always said that there needs to be 100 percent effort. We have also said there needs to be a period of quiet. And
that is where we are.
QUESTION: Okay, and when he was in Ramallah, the Secretary said that he thought that it would be a good idea to have what he called "independent monitors" to make independent observations at flashpoints. Does he still believe that, and what are you doing to bring that into effect?
MR. BOUCHER: He said some sort of monitoring function by some group is part - -
QUESTION: (Inaudible) monitors?
MR. BOUCHER: He also said what I was saying. He said some sort of monitoring function by some group, as part of the confidence-building measures phase. We are not in that phase at this point.
QUESTION: Richard, for the targeted killings, the Israelis said these three
militants were on their way to commit a terrorist act. Does the US accept that explanation, or agree with it?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I can try to argue any specific case, but we have made quite clear that in any number of cases, and we have made quite clear repeatedly that we don't think targeted killings are appropriate, and we will stick with that today.
QUESTION: Even if somebody is in the act of doing something bad on the other side?
MR. BOUCHER: I am not aware of any specific information on that that we have. Put it that way.
QUESTION: To follow on that, is the Administration taking a critical look at all at some of the pending arms sales to Israel based on its concern about targeted killings, such as technology that is used for targeted killings, precision weapons, airplanes, whatever?
MR. BOUCHER: I would have to double-check on that and see if there is anything like that in the pipeline.
QUESTION: Hold on, I think that that has been in the pipeline for some time. I mean, there was apparently -- John Conyers has asked for a GAO report on this. People at lower levels in the State Department have looked into this.
Is this anything that has sort of come up at this point? I mean, I understand that you need to check on these things, but it's been there, hasn't it?
MR. BOUCHER: I will check on it.
QUESTION: You discussed both parties taking steps. What about other nations? I know Powell visited Saudi Arabia's leader and Jordan's. What is their take on the Mitchell Committee Report and recommendations?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, you would have to do an individual poll of all the different nations. I think we have found in our discussions, and if you look at the public comments by the United States, by the Europeans, by the Russians, by various people in the region, you can find very strong support for the Mitchell Committee recommendations. We think there is a strong international consensus that this is the best way to bring about resumption of negotiations. We think there is a strong consensus that the parties need to
take the steps to get started with the Mitchell Committee recommendations. And I think the parties themselves have told us that that is what they are hearing from everybody else, including people in the region, as well as the broader international community.
The Secretary spent a lot of time working with the European representatives,
with the Russians, with Kofi Annan of the United Nations, with the frontline
states. We stopped in Egypt to talk to President Mubarak. We stopped in Jordan to talk to King Abdallah. We stopped in Paris to see Crown Prince Abdallah.
So there has been a lot of effort we think that we have made quite successfully, and that the international community is united on the Mitchell
QUESTION: On the meeting with Crown Prince Abdallah, do you feel that the Saudis are any closer now to playing a more active role in the peace process
with Israel based on that meeting?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure what the benchmark is that we are measuring against.
QUESTION: Well, I haven't seen a readout of the meeting yet, but I --
MR. BOUCHER: Well, let me give you a readout of the meeting then, if I can.
Let me check on the readout that I wrote down at the time, just to make sure
it's not relying on my memory.
It was about an hour-and-a-half meeting. It was a very serious and a good conversation, I think, on developments in the region. They talked, first and foremost I think, of the fundamental basis of US-Saudi friendship and the long history of US-Saudi friendship, and then they discussed in particular the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The Secretary informed the Crown Prince of his efforts during his trip in the region of the attempt to establish quiet and get on with the implementation of the Mitchell Committee recommendations, which leads, as we have said before,
to the negotiations based on 242 and 338.
The Saudis stressed their hope for success in this process and their deep concern about the current situation of the Palestinians. The Secretary made
quite clear that he understood that and said that the way to get started with the process was the unconditional cessation of violence.
In terms of our particular relationship, there were no specific problems that were discussed. It was, I think, the opinion of both sides that the relationship is solid and healthy at this point.
In terms of regional issues, they discussed Iraq and the state of play with the UN resolutions as it stood on Friday afternoon when we were in Paris, and I would say that our views on that are fairly similar.
QUESTION: On the meeting, was Khobar Towers discussed at all, and is the United States concerned that the Saudis obviously intend to try these people
in their own country and not extradite them?
MR. BOUCHER: Khobar Towers was discussed, not in the formal meeting, but by
people on our delegation on the sidelines of the meeting.
And as far as the statements that I have seen in the press, I would have to go and check on those, if I can. Let me double-check if I have something already. I think we are going to leave it to the Department of Justice to handle it for us. And I would just note that President Bush, the Attorney General and the FBI Director have all praised Saudi cooperation in this case, and we would expect to continue that cooperation with the Saudi Government.
QUESTION: Were there any further on plans for meetings with Crown Prince Abdallah, other than --
MR. BOUCHER: We'll see him again.
QUESTION: We'll see him again?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes, I'm sure. Okay, are we going to go to Russia and NATO now?
QUESTION: Can I just ask one more question about the region? Do you have any comment on, I guess it was Sunday's -- Israeli strikes on Sunday? Any further things you can say on that? At this point, are you concerned in Lebanon? Syrian radar targets.
MR. BOUCHER: Oh, in Lebanon. In this area we have also seen a dangerous escalation in violence in the last 48 hours. We have called upon all sides to exercise maximum restraint. We think it is extremely important that there be no further provocative actions. There must be full respect for UN Security Council resolutions. We have been in touch with all sides to encourage maximum restraint and to try to get the parties to refrain from further provocative actions.
QUESTION: Along those lines, in terms of the UN resolutions, have you been in contact with the Lebanese to try to get some sort of military force on the border there? Near Shebba Farms?
MR. BOUCHER: As you know, we have supported full respect and full implementation of the Security Council resolutions, and we have been in touch with the Lebanese Government about restraining the situation there, as with other parties in the region.
Okay, now we are going to do Russia and NATO.
QUESTION: In terms of building this partnership, the Russians over the past
few years have been consistently raising the issue of joining NATO. President Putin referred to it, even in the press conference, the joint press conference with the President in Ljubljana. We remember that the previous administration basically rejected the idea, at least the Secretary of State Madeleine Albright did.
So I would like to ask whether anything has changed, what is the attitude of
this current Administration to that issue?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think if you look at the press conference in Slovenia,
you will see that President Bush addressed the issue as well there. The position has always been that NATO membership remains open to European countries who are ready and willing to shoulder the burdens and responsibilities of membership. The treaty itself provides that NATO members, by unanimous agreement, may invite any other European state in a position to
further the principles of the treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to the treaty. So the door is open to anyone who is ready and willing to assume the burdens and responsibilities of membership.
I would say whatever Russia's particular decision and then and/or NATO's particular decision on this point, we have made quite clear, the President has made quite clear, that we want Russia to continue to look to Europe. The Secretary said it, I think a couple weeks ago, that we believe that Russia's
future lies as part of an enlarged Europe, and that that is the goal, the general policy goal, whatever happens with regard to specific institutions.
QUESTION: But when you look at it, nothing has changed from the previous administration to this one.
MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't think I would precisely say that. Without trying to characterize the view of the previous administration, I would say that this Administration believes that the door should be open, and that Russia's destiny is clearly in Europe. And we intend to work with Russia to see -- to help them fulfill that destiny.
QUESTION: Well, wouldn't you say that their alliance with Iraq is kind of a
MR. BOUCHER: I'll let them characterize their relationship with Iraq. But obviously the burdens and responsibilities of NATO membership are a different sort of thing.
QUESTION: And if I may, another question on an unrelated subject. After Genoa, there will be this meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers. Is Secretary Powell going there? Does he intend to proceed with the dialogue with Mr. Ivanov in Hanoi?
MR. BOUCHER: Secretary Powell expects to go to Hanoi for the ASEAN meeting.
As far as whether we have a specific meeting at that point with Foreign Minister Ivanov, I don't know, but wouldn't Foreign Minister Ivanov be at the ministers meeting before Genoa as well? So I'm sure we will be seeing him soon.
QUESTION: Can I ask you a Mexican question? On June 22nd, a Mexican congressman on official assignment went to Los Angeles. He was trying to board a plane to fly to Russia but he did not have any transit visa. He was
stopped by immigration. They arrested him, did not allow him to make any telephone calls, and was deported with the other illegal immigrants.
In this case, he -- this congressman -- says that there are some agreements between Mexico and the US that allowed the holders of official passports not
to have a transit visa. Is there any agreement about it?
And I also would like to ask you, what do you think about this treatment to this congressman, and if you have received any note of protest from the Mexican Government because of this incident?
MR. BOUCHER: I am not aware of this specific situation, so I am just going to have to check into all those questions for you.
QUESTION: But is there any agreement?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I will have to check. We'll get back to you.
QUESTION: Okay, can I ask another thing? In regards to the operation (inaudible) international, the INS announced a big operation to capture illegal immigrants coming out to the United States. They were announcing that they capture 8,000 illegal immigrants; 5,000 of them were captured in Mexico.
But finally, the Mexican Government denied that Mexico was participating in any international operation of this nature. So is there any embarrassment from the US Government? Because they were trying to involve the Mexican Government in this operation when they really were not participating.
MR. BOUCHER: I am afraid you will have to ask the INS about that. That is a specific operation, and you would have to ask them about it.
MR. BOUCHER: Macedonia.
QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the arrest of the rector of the Albanian university -- the unofficial university?
MR. BOUCHER: My personal comment is it's news to me. So let me check on that.
QUESTION: Really? It's big news in Macedonia.
MR. BOUCHER: All right. Well, I'm afraid I'm not in Macedonia.
QUESTION: Well, okay. Can you update us on Mr. Pardew's talks?
MR. BOUCHER: I would be glad to. Ambassador James Pardew, the European Bureau's Special Advisor for Southeast Europe, got to Skopje on Sunday, July
1st. He has met with the European Union Special Envoy François Leotard yesterday. He met with President Trajkovski and Prime Minister Georgievski today, and he will meet with NATO officials as well during the course of the
He is working closely with the European Union's envoy, Mr. Leotard, and his team. They will also build on the discussions that were held by former French constitutional court chairman, Badinter. The goal is to work towards a long- lasting formal cease-fire to cover the entire country and to work with the parties to make significant progress in the next few days on the political dialogue and bring that dialogue to closure as soon as possible.
QUESTION: Did he send any reports back on how he feels the work is going?
MR. BOUCHER: I think he is sending reports back. At this point, he has just had his initial meetings from arriving there yesterday. Obviously this work
has been under way in various fora for some time, and we will report more as
we get closer to the goal, if we can help them do that. But it is important
that they reach these agreements and that they institute these cease-fires.
QUESTION: The Balkans, sort of? Do you have anything on the type of evidence that the United States will present to the -- or has presented to the Tribunal in The Hague concerning Milosevic?
MR. BOUCHER: I can review for you, I think, some of the efforts that we have had in the past to cooperate and to work with the court in The Hague. Mr. Milosevic, as I think you know, will be brought before the trial chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia tomorrow. At least it is scheduled for tomorrow morning. The Tribunal will have to give you details.
In terms of our cooperation and support for the Tribunal with regard to the matters of Mr. Milosevic, I would say that shortly after the Kosovo conflict
in 1999, we sent an FBI forensics team to Kosovo to help with the investigation. That information is available to the Tribunal.
Refugees who came to the United States were interviewed at Fort Dix, and those witness statements were provided to the Tribunal in the summer of 1999. Additional information has been provided to the Tribunal over the course of time as well.
But at this point the matter is in the hands of the Tribunal, and charges and ultimately justice for Mr. Milosevic are decisions for the Tribunal to make.
QUESTION: Have you passed on to the Trbunal everything that you have, or is
that it? Or is there more?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if I can make quite that sweeping statement. I would say that we have provided a lot of information to the Tribunal and would be prepared to provide additional information as necessary.
QUESTION: My question is, have you been asked to provide more help?
MR. BOUCHER: Not that I know of. I will have to double-check on that, though.
QUESTION: Has the success of the effort against Milosevic led to any rethinking about pursuing war crimes against Saddam Hussein?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't really have any update on that. I am not sure there has been any change in that at this point.
QUESTION: Could you characterize a little bit the nature of the evidence that was handed over?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I can at this point. It will be for the prosecutors and the people who take him to court to characterize the evidence, to describe it and to make the case, and I don't want to start a separate prosecution here.
QUESTION: New subject? On Okinawa, Okinawa police has applied for an arrest warrant for a US sergeant in the rape of a Japanese woman. Are you giving your consent for the arrest?
And secondly, it is reported that the local anger against a series of crimes
and US presence in Okinawa itself is escalating. Do you have any comment on
MR. BOUCHER: I think I would say a couple of things. First of all, we take
all such incidents very, very seriously, and that our US military officials in the area are cooperating very closely with local authorities in this investigation. At this point, we have received a Japanese request to turn over the suspects prior to indictment, and we are reviewing that request. We don't have a response on it.
As far as the general situation, I think I would go back and say we do take these allegations very, very seriously. We are very concerned about incidents like these, and I think we try to act with local authorities in a very responsible manner to make sure that justice is pursued.
QUESTION: Richard, was that a plural "suspects"? Is there more than one?
MR. BOUCHER: No, that was a little --
QUESTION: Slip of the tongue?
MR. BOUCHER: That was an extra "S." At this point, we have received the Japanese request to turn over the suspect. I should be clearer on that. Thank you. QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: On another subject, Iran? Do you have any comment on the agreement signed Saturday between the oil national company ENI and an Iranian company?
Does it violate the American rule, and if yes, what would be the procedures against ENI?
MR. BOUCHER: We are very concerned about these reports, about the reported agreement. We have raised our concerns in the past about this project with the Italian Government and with the company. We continue to be, first and foremost, concerned about Iranian policies, about Iran's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and missile delivery systems; with Iran's support for terrorism, including groups that are violently opposed to Middle East peace;
and with Iran's poor human rights record.
We thus continue to oppose involvement in Iran's petroleum sector, and the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, as you know, remains US law. In all such cases, we look first to the facts of what has happened in light of the law, and if sanctionable activity is found to have occurred, we will decide upon and take appropriate action after that.
QUESTION: Is there any question that starting a $1 billion contract with Iran's petroleum industry in the southwest of the country is a violation of ILSA as it is written? I mean, is that a question you are still looking into at this point?
MR. BOUCHER: Our job is not to jump to conclusions. Our job is to follow the law very carefully. We follow the same procedure in every case. We evaluate the facts, we determine whether sanctionable activity has taken place. And if it has, then we decide, in light of our national interests, what action to take.
QUESTION: Well, if I can follow up, how long will this process of determining whether sanctionable activities take in this particular issue?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know.
QUESTION: Has ILSA ever been applied against anybody in the five years it has been on the books?
MR. BOUCHER: As you know, there was an expectation that was expressed before, so there are other cases that remain pending. The expectation was a statement that we issued at the US-EU Summit in 1998. But we have made clear that the
expectation is not a guarantee, and therefore we would go through carefully the procedures in every case.
MR. BOUCHER: The expectation was expressed as that so long as there was a heightened level of EU cooperation on nonproliferation and counter-terrorism, we would expect that a review of our national interests in future cases under this law would be similar to the South Pars case and would result in like decisions with regard to waivers for EU companies.
But as I said, we --
QUESTION: Is that cooperation on counter-terrorism, and what was the other aspect of it?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, nonproliferation, counter-terrorism. We do continue to have cooperation with the European Union on counter-terrorism and nonproliferation, but obviously --
QUESTION: (Inaudible) to justify --
MR. BOUCHER: Well, that precise question would have to be looked at at the time. We are first involved in a procedure -- again, we determine the facts, determine whether there is sanctionable activity, determine what action under the law to take, whether to impose, waive sanctions or delay action for consultations with other governments.
So these questions would arrive at that later stage, when we were to decide what sort of action to take.
QUESTION: New subject?
MR. BOUCHER: Please.
QUESTION: North Korea. Do we have any talks scheduled in the near future, or the far future?
MR. BOUCHER: I haven't checked recently. Did you have anything last week on that? No, nothing new on that at this point.
QUESTION: On the issue of global warming. Could you just help us to interpret what Prime Minister Koizumi has promised with the United States last weekend? Did Japan supported a United States positions that saying Kyoto Protocol has been dead and should find the alternatives; or (b) Japan still seek to ratify the Protocol without the United States, but she thinks -- she
just thinks it's important to cooperate with the United States; or (c) you can't tell?
MR. BOUCHER: Thank you. I always like option (c). I think, first, some of
these questions you can address to the Japanese Prime Minister. I'm sure he'll be glad to explain it.
Our understanding of the discussion is as follows. The President underscored how much Japan has been a leader on environmental issues and pledged our interest and continued cooperation with Japan on these subjects, and they discussed the need to work together, particularly to work together on improving technology, that it is ultimately the solution to global climate change.
The Prime Minister, for his part, expressed his belief that if the US and Japan can cooperate that it would be a real boon to global climate change to
addressing the problem. And he agreed that we share the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Those were the basic elements of the discussion, and we'll continue to work with Japan and keep in close touch with Japan as we try to move forward on these issues.
QUESTION: On that expectation that you've reached with the EU, did you say that the Bush Administration essentially was prepared to continue to work under this expectation?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I didn't say that, but I'd be glad to.
MR. BOUCHER: It has been our policy in the past -- and we have reiterated it on several occasions -- to say that that exists. But at the same time, I would say as well that while we have repeatedly made clear that we do have that expectation, that the expectation is not a guarantee and that we will look at the particular facts and the questions involved in each particular case and determine what the appropriate course of action is.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. BOUCHER: Thank you.
(The briefing was concluded at 2:10 P.M.)
Daily Press Briefing Index Tuesday, July 3, 2001
BRIEFER: Richard Boucher, Spokesman
ISRAEL/PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY 1-2, 12, 13 US Opposition to Targeted Killings / Recent Violence / Status of Ceasefire G-8 SUMMIT 2, 3-4 Climate Change Policy / Security at Summit in Italy
JAPAN 2 Timing on Okinawa Investigation
PAKISTAN 3 Ambassador Visit
IRAQ 3, 4-7 Alleged Asylum Request for Reported Diplomat / War Crimes Charges Against Saddam Hussein / Smart Sanctions Resolution / Iraqi Opposition Sanction Support / Economic Retaliation
MEXICO 3, 4, 10 Visa Requirements for Mexican Legislator / Possible Seal of Southern Border With Guatemala
NORTH KOREA 6, 7-8 Possible Upcoming Meetings / Missile Engine Test
THE HAGUE 8-9 War Crimes Trial of Milosevic
JAPAN 9 Compensation for US Veterans of WWII
INDIA 9-10 Threats by Usama Bin Laden Against US Interests
GUATEMALA 10 Guatemalan President's Upcoming Visit
MACEDONIA 10-11 Reported Disappearance of American Citizen
CHINA 11-12 Return of the EP-3 / US Policy Towards China
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING DPB # 93
WEDNESDAY, JULY 3, 2001 12:40 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's a pleasure to be here. I don't have any statements or announcements, so I would be glad to take your questions.
QUESTION: Why don't we pick it up where we left off yesterday.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay.
QUESTION: Israel and the Palestinians. The cabinet's cabinet, or the inner
cabinet or the kitchen cabinet, whatever -- the elite of the Israeli cabinet - - met and scoffed, as the AP story put it, at the US admonition that it doesn't like targeted killings. One cabinet minister wondered what the US would do if terrorism was afloat in Manhattan.
In any event, is this just a disconnect? I mean, Israel and the United States can't agree on this, I take it, yes?
MR. BOUCHER: We have our view.
QUESTION: Is the US view that Israelis -- the general who was here yesterday when he came out after seeing -- the chief of staff,after seeing Mr. Powell,
said that we have the right to defend ourselves. Any quarrel with that?
MR. BOUCHER: No.
QUESTION: So how do they do it? If they have discriminate killing, they don't harm civilians; if they have indiscriminate -- you know --
MR. BOUCHER: Israel defends itself in a variety of ways that we are involved with, that we assist with. We think this policy is not right, and we've said that many times. We've made that quite clear.
QUESTION: Okay, and can I pursue one other thing?
MR. BOUCHER: Sure.
QUESTION: The Syrian-Israel dispute over whether Syria launched a missile or not. Is there anything the US State Department can do to shed light?
MR. BOUCHER: No, that's not the kind of matter I'm able to comment on.
QUESTION: Can I just get back to the targeted killings? Are you doing anything but stating your view publicly at this podium, and obviously I'm assuming in meetings with Israeli officials? What are you doing, I mean, if
you dislike this policy? Obviously, Secretary Powell has become --
MR. BOUCHER: We make clear our opposition to it publicly and privately.
QUESTION: I think the Secretary was supposed to have, at one point, a meeting with the EPA Administrator -- today, was it?
MR. BOUCHER: He meets with her periodically. I don't know if there is a meeting today or not, frankly.
QUESTION: Well, irrespective of whether there is a meeting, is there something going on vis-à-vis the environment in advance of, I guess, the G-8
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
MR. BOUCHER: Next question. There is always something going on with regards to the environment. We have been working on climate change policy. The Secretary has worked very closely with Government Whitman, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and other members of the cabinet, as you know, on climate change policy.
The meetings coming up in Bonn, first of all, are about the same time as the
leaders meeting of the G-8 that comes up in Genoa. It will provide another opportunity to discuss climate change policy with other governments, and it is important that we be out there and able to elaborate on the US position so people are in a position of discussing it now.
I don't have any new announcements or statements for you at this point. I am sure we will be in a position to state the US view at those meetings.
QUESTION: Is the US evolving toward -- with a view toward these meetings?
MR. BOUCHER: We are looking towards those meetings as an opportunity to state the US case.
QUESTION: Has there been any decision yet on handing over the US serviceman
to Japanese police in Okinawa?
MR. BOUCHER: No, we are still looking at that request from the Japanese.
QUESTION: Richard, a question on Pakistan's Ambassador to the US. Maleeha Lodhi is pretty angry and upset with the State Department, also at the Bush Administration. She is saying that, one, her Foreign Minister was not treated as the Indian Foreign Minister, he didn't get the red carpet treatment here;
and, two, that there is a discrimination compared with India and Pakistan dealing with -- from the United States, and Pakistan should be treated in the same way.
So do you have any comment on that?
MR. BOUCHER: No.
QUESTION: Richard, can you discuss a reported asylum request by an Iraqi diplomat?
MR. BOUCHER: Sorry. We don't discuss alleged asylum requests, so I can't.
QUESTION: Do you maybe have some information today in regards to the Congressman that was involving with that --
QUESTION: Could we follow up with --
MR. BOUCHER: Let me take care of this and take care of that.
I can't go into any specific situation. The Immigration Service would have to do that. But there was one aspect that you asked about yesterday, which was a question of regulations. And the State Department and INS regulations say that a visa is not required of a Mexican official bearing a diplomatic or official passport who is entering the United States for a visit of up to six
months as long as they are not a permanent employee assigned to an office of
the Mexican Government in the United States.
But whether in this specific case this person qualified for that, I don't know, and the Immigration Service would have to do any specifics.
QUESTION: Did the State Department conduct an investigation maybe with the INS to find out --
MR. BOUCHER: Again, with regard to a specific case, you would have to talk to the INS.
QUESTION: Have you received any diplomatic note from the Mexican Government
expressing concern about this incident?
MR. BOUCHER: Did we get an answer on that one? I don't think we did. That's another one we have got to double-check on. Sorry.
QUESTION: Okay, just one more. In regards with the meeting of the G-8, is the US involved in providing security or some sort of support for security?
MR. BOUCHER: With the G-8?
QUESTION: Yes, with the meeting of the G-8.
MR. BOUCHER: Our security people, the people who protect the President and other American dignitaries obviously work very closely with all the other security people involved in the G-8. But in terms of actual on-the-ground presence, it is really largely the responsibility of the host government.
QUESTION: Just a follow-up question. One, there was a time when Congress requested more H-1 visas -- now from 95,000 to 195,000 now. Many of those companies have gone out of business, bankrupt, or they have laid off their employees, now they are out of status. Now they are seeking jobs or to stay
in this country. There have been a number of -- the Supreme Court also took
some steps in a number of cases as far as immigrants are concerned, one about these visas.
And if the State Department --
MR. BOUCHER: If you get to the end of your question, I will refer you to the Immigration Service because we don't do people in the United States, and it is the same answer. You ask about people in the United States, whether they are Mexican officials who came in transit or whether they are H-1 visa holders who may be in California looking for jobs, Immigration Service is responsible for them. We take care of people overseas who want to get in. Once they are here, Immigration handles them.
QUESTION: Including the extension for 245-I and the --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't even know what 245-I is, but I bet it's Immigration Service.
QUESTION: I have a couple of questions on Iraq. On these defectors, it's not really alleged anymore if US law enforcement officials are confirming that it has taken place.
MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry, do you have a name of a US law enforcement official
confirming that it is taking place?
QUESTION: I don't have a name, but --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't either. Thank you.
QUESTION: Okay. You said yesterday that there was no change in the efforts
to bring Saddam Hussein -- to indict Saddam Hussein for war crimes. Can you
talk about the efforts, though, thus far to bring him to justice? The investigation or --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have the full brief with me here. Obviously we have been collecting information. I think part of our cooperation with the Iraqi
opposition, for example, has been in terms of collecting information. There
has been an effort under way for some time.
QUESTION: But nobody thought that Slobodan Milosevic would be brought to justice for his alleged war --
MR. BOUCHER: I think the people who set up the Tribunal and who carried through the indictment and who have undertaken this effort for so many years
to get him to The Hague did think that he would be indicted and did think he
would be brought to trial. And we did it.
QUESTION: Well, can you say that you are confident that that will happen to
Saddam Hussein as well?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we have exactly the same kind of effort under way, so I wouldn't make exactly the same claim.
QUESTION: Will the US continue to seek smart sanctions on Iraq now that it doesn't appear to have been accepted by the Security Council?
MR. BOUCHER: We see that what is happening today in the Council in terms of
the rollover to be, shall we say, a phase or a stage in the process and not the end of the process. We will continue to work on the new policy to get the policy implemented by the Council. The Council at the beginning of June said that they wanted to take a new approach to Iraq, and we think it is important to continue the work to carry this out.
We have made some significant progress in terms of getting four of the five members of the Council to agree on the goods review list. That is the core of any new system. And we will continue to work on that. We think it is important also for Russia to consider its position and try to bring itself into line with what the other members of the Council are doing. So we will keep working on that.
There will be, we think today, a rollover resolution to extend the period that we have to work on this. We have accepted a proposal for a five-month rollover and we'll use the next 150 days to try to implement what the Council said it would do in terms of a new policy. We think it's a better policy and one that the Council should follow.
QUESTION: Is the US ready to consider concessions such as direct foreign investment in Iraq's oil sector?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think there is any particular negotiation going on on points like that at this stage. We've done the list. There are various other elements that have to be done.
QUESTION: So are you working on Plan B just in case you can't get the Russians on board -- an alternative to Food-for-Oil and an alternative to the current proposal?
MR. BOUCHER: I think Plan B is to stay where we are, with an imperfect and -- granted -- not necessarily well-functioning system, but the alternative to proceeding with a new policy is to keep the old one.
QUESTION: Can I ask a somewhat relativistic question? You've asked the Russians to sort of maybe reconsider their position, at this point do you think that some of the other areas where you didn't reach the kind of consensus, such as some of the border state provisions, is there room there to maybe step back and reevaluate those kinds of things?
MR. BOUCHER: We're not reevaluating; we're proceeding forward. We're proceeding forward to put in place the details, to put in places the pieces of the resolution that need to be done. That's our goal and that's what we're actually going to be doing for the next 150 days.
The fact that all those pieces were not put in place in the first 30 days probably should come as no surprise to people who have watched these things in the past. It has taken six months to two years to work out that kind of detail in the past. We had hoped to do it in 30 days. The Council set itself a limit of 30 days, and I think the fact that four out of five were able to agree on the toughest part, which is the list, shows the Council could have done it in 30 days if everybody had wanted to play ball. But now we have given ourselves another five months to work through these, and we'll be working through those other pieces as we go forward.
QUESTION: On Korea, is there another session with North Korea?
QUESTION: I have a question about Iraq.
QUESTION: You want to do Iraq?
MR. BOUCHER: We'll finish on Iraq.
QUESTION: The Iraqi opposition supports the sanctions or did they ask any demand about sanctions?
MR. BOUCHER: As far as I can tell, Iraq has denounced everybody, including people that were trying to help them. Iraq's government has shown itself steadfastly opposed to any attempt to ease up on the flow of goods to the Iraqi people. I suppose that shouldn't come as any surprise, although it is
still a shock to us all that Iraq's government shows such callous disregard for its own people.
And as I noted, they seem to have denounced the British resolution, the Russian resolution, and just about any other resolution that's out there, and don't seem to indicate any desire to live in harmony with the international community or to fulfill their obligations.
QUESTION: One more on Iraq? Will you insist in the rollover, in terms of the rollover, on a restatement of the language of Resolution 1352? There have been some reports that Russia is now quarreling that that kind of language be included in the rollover terms.
MR. BOUCHER: There are meetings going on right now in New York, where exactly how to formulate this is being worked on. So that will be worked out in New
York. I don't have a definitive answer on that one yet.
QUESTION: In regard to economic retaliations about Iraq, are there any specific efforts to combat that or to assuage?
MR. BOUCHER: I think we have been making clear all along that we understand
that while there is an overall benefit from enhanced trade with the people of Iraq, that Iraq has also threatened retaliation against some countries, particularly neighboring states, and therefore we have been working with other governments.
I don't have any specifics to talk to you about, but we have been working with other governments to make sure that the interests and the needs of the neighboring states are looked after, and that should Iraq try to carry out any sort of retaliation, that people wouldn't suffer as a result of supporting the international community and its obligations.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) this matter?
MR. BOUCHER: We have been talking to the individual governments about it.
QUESTION: North Korea? Another meeting in prospect at some point?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think there is anything scheduled at this point. I can double-check. We met in New York June 13 to arrange bilateral talks. We have not yet received a direct response from Pyongyang. They did issue a public statement on June 18, but we don't consider the June 18 public statement -- which discussed some ideas about dialogue -- we don't consider that to be a response to the proposals that we made, and so we would expect to get a direct response back through the usual channel.
QUESTION: What do you mean the proposal? I mean, the agenda or --
MR. BOUCHER: The proposals that were made both in the President's statement
and also in the specific meeting that Jack Pritchard had in New York.
QUESTION: Well, why don't you consider the public statement a response?
MR. BOUCHER: Because it's not.
QUESTION: Because it doesn't address the --
MR. BOUCHER: It is not a response to what we talked to them about in private. It doesn't respond to the request, and we think a private discussion deserves a private response.
QUESTION: Bill Gertz today reported that there was an engine test in -- that North Korea has tested an engine for a long-term missile. Does that violate
the agreement on the --
QUESTION: (Inaudible) AP report.
QUESTION: Would it be AP? Sorry. Does that violate the moratorium on missile testing that the North Koreans agreed to in terms of --
MR. BOUCHER: Let me try to address this in a number of ways, and first of all tell you that I can't address it in any specific way, which is whether or not such an event occurred would be an intelligence matter, and I can't talk about intelligence matters.
But on North Korea's missile activity in general, I would say that we think those activities continue to pose a threat to regional security and stability, and to US friends, forces and interests. We expect North Korea to abide by its moratorium on the launch of long-range missiles. We will continue to take steps to address North Korea's overall missile efforts and to work closely with other countries in doing so.
The article claims that North Korea conducted a ground-based test of its rocket engines, not a flight test. A flight test, of course, would be prohibited by the moratorium. It would be a very serious matter and contrary to the understandings between the two sides.
QUESTION: On India?
QUESTION: Well, hold on, I just want to -- but a ground-based test is not prohibited by the moratorium?
MR. BOUCHER: The moratorium is on launches, flight-testing. That is what we have understandings on.
QUESTION: In the trial today, he said the trial is to produce false justification for the war crimes of NATO that were committed in Yugoslavia.
What is your comment on that? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any comment. I am sure there will be a lot of outrageous things said during the course of the trial, and we will rely on the court and the prosecutors to establish the facts.
QUESTION: There are also reports that some of his deeds in the late '80s and early '90s were agreed by Western governments, the US or the UK or Western governments. And then it's a tradeoff, and then he was sort of saying they betrayed him --
MR. BOUCHER: As I said, they are going to say all kinds of things during the course of this trial. We will leave it to the court, the Tribunal, to establish the facts. And I think you have seen, as well, a variety of people who were around in the late '80s and early '90s from our side who can tell what they did and did not agree to. And it sounds like they did not agree to much of anything.
QUESTION: Well, he didn't -- he even said the whole Tribunal is a false tribunal.
MR. BOUCHER: Again, we will let it be sorted out. The truth will out, don't worry.
QUESTION: I want to ask you about Americans POWs forced into slave labor in
Japan. Can you spell out what is the US policy on American POWs forced into
slave labor in Japan who are seeking compensation from those companies?
MR. BOUCHER: The US policy for 50 years, ever since the treaty of 1951, has
been to recognize that the claims were settled at that time. The treaty of peace with Japan that was signed by the US and some 40 allied nations settled all the claims, and since then, US administrations, as well as courts, have held that those claims were settled.
We have every sympathy with the injustices and the terrible hardships that many, many people suffered at the hands of the Japanese forces during the war. And it was deemed at the time, frankly, to try to settle those claims right away and to get those people settlement. And they were paid, in fact, compensation, various kinds, right after the war, often using assets taken from Japan.
So those claims were settled by the treaty shortly after the war for the people involved, and since then, all the courts and administrations have held that that was a final settlement.
QUESTION: Richard, on India, according to India Globe and other news, Usama
bin Laden have threatened US interests in India in connection with Indian Government's arrest of his number of terrorists in India.
Now, do you think this issue have come up here in this building during Sonja
Gandhi and (inaudible)'s meeting with a number of US officials?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know.
QUESTION: And what US is doing really about this threat, and Indian authorities are taking very seriously? Are they --
MR. BOUCHER: I am not going to be in a position to go into any specific threat in a specific place. We have put out advisories right now that indicate the possibility of terrorist attacks around the world. We are very
concerned about the situation at this moment.
With regard to the specific situation that arose in India, I know there were
some press reports a while back about some arrests that the Indian Government made. The Indian Government would have to comment on that. But I would say
generally that we cooperate very closely with the Indian Government and we work very closely with them to counter terrorist threats.
QUESTION: Going back to Mexico, how the US sees the plan of the Mexican Government to seal its south border to Guatemala to prevent illegal immigration and drug smuggling?
MR. BOUCHER: That is something that we have generally talked to the Mexican
Government about. We want to work cooperatively with Mexico to prevent the transits and the illegal immigration of all kinds, and to make immigration an orderly and safe passage for everyone.
So I don't think I can comment on a specific plan or proposal from the Mexican Government, but I would just say it has been a subject of interest to us in regularizing and making safe the whole process of immigration.
QUESTION: What do you think about the Plan Pueblo-Panama and --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know.
MR. BOUCHER: No, nothing specific on that.
QUESTION: Is the Secretary of State going to meet with the Guatemalan President when she is here in Washington?
MR. BOUCHER: I know the visit is coming up. Let me see what I have on the particular meetings. President Portillo will meet with President Bush and US Trade Representative Zoellick to discuss bilateral issues. I guess the embassy would have more information on particular meetings with NGOs or others.
So I guess he doesn't have a separate meeting with the Secretary, but I think we do have meetings with the President and with US Trade Representative Zoellick. We have an excellent relationship right now with Guatemala, and I
think the visit is a reflection of that.
QUESTION: Do you have anything on reports of an American missing in Macedonia?
MR. BOUCHER: I think all we really have is that we have seen the press reports. The embassy, as well as local police force, is looking into the disappearance. And that is all we know at this moment.
QUESTION: But into the disappearance?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: Not the reported disappearance?
MR. BOUCHER: The reported disappearance.
QUESTION: Okay. I understand. I mean, you seem to be --
MR. BOUCHER: The possible disappearance, yes.
QUESTION: Richard, I'm trying to -- it looks like the reconnaissance plane,
which is about to be returned to US custody after I guess a little more than
three months -- do you have any details on that? And is this chapter in the
US-Chinese relations closed, and can we look to a more productive future?
MR. BOUCHER: Let me give you the details on the airplane. The recovery operation that began on June 13 has been completed. After final loading operations, the remaining parts of the EP-3 aircraft, including the fuselage, are currently en route to the United States. The final flight of the AN-124
that carries the airplane departed Lingshui today at 4:45 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The AN-124 will make brief stops in Manila and Hawaii while en route to a final destination of Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Georgia.
The flight is scheduled to arrive in Hawaii later today at about 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time, so they are still a ways from Georgia.
As far as the future of the US-China relationship, certainly we are glad to resolve this issue and to get the airplane back. We do seek a productive relationship with China, as the Secretary and the President have made clear on a number of occasions. We don't see China as an enemy; we don't think China
should see us as one. We look for a relationship that is marked by cooperation, not confrontation, but we also look to raise in a serious manner some of the issues that divide us.
QUESTION: Are enemy and adversary sort of similar words, because it was described as a "strategic adversary." I don't mean to --
MR. BOUCHER: No, I'm not going to play word games with you.
QUESTION: No, no, I'm just -- it's important, the words, because you remember the Clinton Administration saw quite a different relationship, and it sounds
like this Administration is --
MR. BOUCHER: I do remember the Clinton Administration.
QUESTION: You were there. And it sounds like this Administration on this subject, like so many, has begun to find --
MR. BOUCHER: I think the phrase that has been used, Barry, is "strategic competitor," which is not adversary.
MR. BOUCHER: But in any case, rather than trying to parse individual words or not, I want to say we look for a productive relationship.
MR. BOUCHER: We look to bring China into the system of world standards and world rules. Whether it is a matter of trade or human rights or proliferation, we look for China to participate in and abide by the standards that the rest of us use. And within that context we look for a productive relationship with China.
QUESTION: Do you think the feeling is mutual at this point?
MR. BOUCHER: You would have to ask the Chinese.
QUESTION: So you want to forget what happened and what China did to the United States?
MR. BOUCHER: I didn't say that.
QUESTION: So what is your answer?
MR. BOUCHER: My answer is that we obviously are very cognizant of what happened. We are cognizant of what happened to our airplane and its crew. We are aware of the entire scope of the relationship, and we look within that context to try to make productive things happen.
QUESTION: On the Middle East problem, any phone calls recently you can tell
MR. BOUCHER: No, no phone calls. There was a security meeting last night with a trilateral meeting with the parties. It was quite constructive, we think, and there will be another one soon.
Our Ambassador there, Consul General Schlicher, has been in close touch with
the leaders in the region, continue to have meetings. Ambassador Burns, who
is in the region, and the Secretary here have followed the situation closely. We are looking to do everything we can to work with the parties to try to get them to calm the situation, and we will continue to urge them to make maximum efforts to do that.
QUESTION: Is today still possibly day one?
MR. BOUCHER: I haven't seen any of your dispatches report quiet, but we'll see.
QUESTION: Will there be, like, a system to let us know when it's day one?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes, we're going to put up a thermometer and we're going to have a little chart, and it will go up and down every day and back to zero.
QUESTION: Well, a clock, because if the clock was --
MR. BOUCHER: Maybe a clock. No, the answer is no. I think once we have a real period of quiet, then we can start debating and discussing these points. Clearly, that hasn't happened yet.
(The briefing was concluded at 1:10 p.m.)